Album Review: NE OBLIVISCARIS Citadel
After completing a demo in 2007, which was then followed by their first full-length album, Portal of I, Ne Obliviscaris displays two very distinguishing releases. November 7th, 2014 marked the release of their newest creation, Citadel. This Australian six-piece has already made an admirable impression on their disciples, so the anticipation leading to the release of Citadel has been exciting, but also left many of their followers restless. When comparing similar bands to Ne Obliviscaris, these bands demonstrate a willingness to change and progression that can be beneficial but simultaneously wearisome for the many devoted fans who cannot comprehend what proceeds. This is what sets Ne Obliviscaris apart from comparable progressive and experimental bands.
In short, this extreme metal band has compiled an album that is filled with some of the best music written in 2014. It contains a dark mood as Portal of I did, but has less of a black metal feel to it. The songs are superbly constructed and have a targeted flow. This is clearly growth from their previous album. Although Portal of I was an excellent release and great experience, it lacked in cohesive flow and binding symmetry, and this is where Citadel excels. Within this release, there are portions where just the violin, or solely the piano are present. This slowed pace, coupled with the notes summoned, present a great emotional release and twist. There is a clear passion and spirit that is discharged in many of the songs. Portal of I contained this attribute, but in smaller quantities that remained compartmentalized. This attribute is what makes Citadel such a great event to absorb.
If I were stuck on a desert island, and could only pick a few albums to accompany my solitude, Citadel would be there. One of the aspects this album displays as its capital achievement would be the layers. Yes, metal is known for its complex and technical layers that makes it specifically deep and "intelligent", but not every band can master this. Ne Obliviscaris almost breaks the rules here, by using the violin and piano to the extent it's portrayed. This is not cheating, and certainly not lame, it's masterfully performed and integrated. Incorporating these "different" elements into their sound runs the risk of ending horribly. Thanks to the musicians exquisite handling these features though, it's conquered in a format that is difficult to replicate or match.
Another exceptional attribute is the transitions between segments. "Painters of the Tempest – Part II (Triptych Lux)" is over 16 minutes in length, and while it sounds as if this could be an album all in itself, it molds comfortably to the rest of the album. The song is comprised of several portions, all with transitions between these divisions that are simply beautiful, for lack of a more brutal adjective. It's amazing to witness the key contributors on this song as well. There are grand guitar solos as well as smooth bass lines and violin solos. The atmosphere is not crowded, it's delicately performed in a way that each instrument gets to showcase itself in its given time. Even the drumming has complex fills that would otherwise be lost if every other instrument was shattering the glass with their composition.
This dark beauty of a release is one of the better compositions of the year. It's difficult to target faults in this musical selection called Citadel, and for this reason it will stand the test of time, as I'm sure we'll still be listening to this with no complaints years in the future. This accessible title will bring a pleasant smirk from metal enthusiast new and old. Sit back, and drink the spirit of good metal with no regrets.