It took almost four years and nearly a dozen recording studios across four countries, but Australian progressive extreme metal outfit Ne Obliviscaris are nearing the release of what could be their opus, Exul (available worldwide March 24 through Season of Mist).
Evidently, the process was anything but smooth sailing. Co-founder, violinist, and vocalist Tim Charles detailed the exhausting creative process that stretched years, and was massively hampered by the momentum-halting global pandemic, during a sit down with Metal Injection.
"We had a show at Download Festival Australia. We were going to do that and we'd record the album. Everyone was booked to be in Australia for six weeks and it would have been done. It would have been done in April, May 2020, and instead it got finished the first week of July, 2022. So it was over a two year delay. Instead of recording it altogether, it ended up being nine recording studios across four different countries. And that was the album," explained Charles, lamenting the process of what has certainly been the longest gap between albums for the band in their 20 year history.
"There was honestly times where there was worry in the band of like, 'shit, is this ever going to get done?' And I think that the testament to it getting done so well was that despite all the delays it was like okay, because of all the delays, we don't know when it's coming out. We don't know. We can't book any tours, so having already been so far behind, let's at least finish it like it was supposed to sound. Let's not rush the end just because we're so late."
And while frustration and personal doubt could have indeed derailed the band at a time where the trajectory was aimed skyward following 2017's colossal Urn, all hands came together for what is being touted as Ne Obliviscaris's most diverse and emotionally driven offering yet.
"It was a difficult time for the band. But the thing is we really believed in the songs, and for a long time going through it we're like 'we think that this could be the best album we've ever done, but we don't know yet because it's not done,'" Charles admits.
"And so we're holding on to that belief that we really believe in these songs in our heads and that this is the best thing we've ever done, but you don't know for sure till you get back the final master and you go 'fuck yes, that is something we're really proud of!" And that's where we got to. And from that moment, like from July last year when we finished it, then everything's been just a complete flick of a switch."
That head on collision between calm and chaos, serenity amidst the storm mirrors the duality between Charles's duel loves in classical and heavy metal music, a marriage that have buoyed Ne Obliviscaris from down under cult favourites to respected global touring entity across a two decade long saga.
"For me, my background going way back is as a classical musician. In high school, I was a metal head and I would go play my classical violin concerts and whatever. I kind of had this duality. And then the awesome thing with Ne Obliviscaris is that I managed to combine that," Charles shared of the early formula to the band.
"You know, like us or not, I mean, no one can ever say we sound like everyone else. We do sound like ourselves. And that's something we can always be proud of."
Following the exit of drummer Dan Presland in 2022, the band is set to unveil their drummer for their upcoming world tour in due course, with Charles teasing that the selected stick-man is, naturally, an "unbelievable drummer."
"Yeah, so we already have a new drummer in place and it'll be the same as what we did with the bass player role on the last record, which was, we hired Martino Garattoni to do the world tour basically as a session member. But then because we had such a great time and worked together so well, he then became a full member, I don't know, maybe after a year or whatever it was. And so it's the same sort of thing where I don't think it's a good idea to get married before you've gone out on a few dates," Charles teased, further adding his enthusiasm to the TBA addition.
"Who we have on board is a really unbelievable drummer. So it's been really exciting actually, because you know, how we handled it was we reached out to a bunch of our favorite drummers and basically said, 'Hey, would you be interested?' And a few people got back to us and were interested and we were like well, this is really cool because we couldn't have done that a few years ago.
"I mean, as much as it's always a big challenge when you have any sort of lineup change, there's always this mixture of that being really difficult in the short term, but if you find someone great to come in, it can give this fresh energy to the band that can then be a real positive as well. As much as it's kind of obviously a mixed bag of things, but the vibe of the band at the moment is really amazing and super excited for the tours coming up."
Catch Ne Obliviscaris on tour throughout 2023! Exul is available worldwide March 24!
w/ Persefone & Asymmetric Universe
5/5 Tavastia, Helsinki (FI)
5/6 Klubi, Tampere (FI)
5/9 Bla, Oslo (NO)
5/10 Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (DK)
5/11 Headcrash, Hamburg (DE)
5/13 Luxor, Cologne (DE)
5/14 Trix, Antwerp (BE)
5/16 Grand Social, Dublin (IE)
5/17 Slay, Glasgow (UK)
5/18 Rebellion, Manchester (UK)
5/19 Islington Academy, London (UK)
w/ Persefone & The Omnific
5/20 Gebr. de Nobel, Leiden (NL)
5/21 Petit Bain, Paris (FR)
5/22 Ferrailleur, Nantes (FR)
5/24 Hard Club, Porto (PT)
5/25 RCA Club, Lisbon (PT)
5/26 Nazca, Madrid (ES)
5/27 Boveda, Barcelona (ES)
5/29 Kofmehl Hall, Solothurn (CH)
5/30 Strom, Munich (DE)
5/31 Viper Room, Vienna (AT)
6/1 Futurum, Prague (CZ)
6/2 Hole44, Berlin (DE)
6/3 Naumann, Leipzig (DE)
w/ Beyond Creation & Persefone
10/5 Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage [Tickets]
10/6 Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts [Tickets]
10/7 Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry [Tickets]
10/8 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade [Tickets]
10/10 Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum [Tickets]
10/11 Orlando, FL @ The Haven [Tickets]
10/13 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live [Tickets]
10/14 Dallas, TX @ The Echo Lounge [Tickets]
10/15 San Antonio, TX @ Vibes Event Center [Tickets]
10/17 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater [Tickets]
10/18 Phoenix, AZ @ The Nile Theater [Tickets]
10/20 San Diego, CA @ House Of Blues [Tickets]
10/21 Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco Theater [Tickets]
10/22 San Francisco, CA @ DNA Lounge [Tickets]
10/24 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall [Tickets]
10/25 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory [Tickets]
10/26 Reno, NV @ Virginia Street Brewhouse [Tickets]
10/27 Portland, OR @ BossaNova Ballroom [Tickets]
10/28 Seattle, WA @ El Corazon [Tickets]
10/29 Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theater [Tickets]
10/31 Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room [Tickets]
11/1 Calgary, AB @ The Palace Theatre [Tickets]
11/3 Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre [Tickets]
11/4 Lincoln, NE @ Royal Grove [Tickets]
11/5 Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line [Tickets]
11/7 Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge [Tickets]
11/9 Toronto, ON @ Opera House [Tickets]
11/10 Montreal, QC @ Club Soda [Tickets]
11/11 Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall [Tickets]
11/13 New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater [Tickets]