It seems as though it was a lifetime ago when NE OBLIVISCARIS released their sophomore album Citadel (2014). The Australian progressive metal group embarked on a few tours including their own headlining North American run back in July 2016. They decided on quitting their day jobs and launched a crowdfunding campaign to make NE OBLIVISCARIS their full time employer. Most importantly, they’ve gained an extensive fan base, which could potentially make writing new material more challenging.
Speaking of challenges, it was earlier this year when they had to remove bassist Brendan “Cygnus” Brown from the group, leaving many assumptions that recording a new album wouldn’t be in the cards for 2017. However, we were mistaken and these dark visionaries revealed their forthcoming third studio effort Urn will be released on October 27 via Season of Mist.
Their previous efforts consisted of near perfection that in some aspect, it changed the way we perceive progressive metal. Once you reach your creative peak, it’s typically difficult to sustain a consecutive successful outcome. Before even listening to it, Urn would most likely be featured on top ten best album of the year lists. Fortunately, that assumption could be correct since it’s another brilliant record. However, it takes quite a few listens to grasp its credibility.
The album kicks off on a strong note with “Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres,” which will most likely be a fan favorite track. It’s dark, emotional, transcending along with the addition of strings, making it once again a NeO original. “Libera (Part II) – Ascent of Burning Moths” continues the introduction and quickly disappears as “Intra Venus” enters. At this point, we have three consecutive solid tunes.
“Eyrie,” the longest track of the album will excite and surprise you. The talent and technicalities are clearly heard as the emotional melodies blow you away. Urn continues its strength as the record concludes with “Urn (Part I) – And Within the Void We Are Breathless,” and “Urn (Part II) – As Embers Dance in Our Eyes.” Despite Urn being roughly three minutes shorter than their prior release, its brevity is visible and I would have preferred if they added one more song. Still, Urn is an excellent album that rightfully sits alongside their other works.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM
-ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI