October 2021 Feature Release – The Infinite Edition

First Post September 30, 2021 07:23 PM

So just like that we find that a new month is upon us which of course means that we’ll be nominating a brand new monthly feature release for each clan. This essentially means that we’re asking you to rate, review & discuss our chosen features for no other reason than because we enjoy the process & banter. We’re really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our chosen releases so don’t be shy.

This month’s feature release for The Infinite has been nominated by Saxy. It's the classic 2012 debut album "Portal Of I" from Australian progressive metal outfit Ne Obliviscaris.


October 01, 2021 12:14 AM

I did my review, here's its summary:

Ne Obliviscaris is one of the most epic extreme progressive metal bands in my playlist, possibly in the world! This band has everything including "(male) Beauty and the Beast" vocals, brilliant guitars, creative drums, groovy melodic bass, and top-notch violin. It's hard to say exactly what style they play, but I say it's a mix of mixes; neo-classical death metal, jazz-fused black metal, avant-garde thrash metal, and melodic flamenco metal. And wow! Just WOW!! What an album this is! First part of Ne Obliviscaris' discography, and they absolutely nailed it! This album, along with the band's other material, clearly establishes that Ne Obliviscaris is one of my favorite progressive metal bands of all time. One time there's blasting black metal, and another is a quiet atmospheric passage with violin, all to be found in mostly 10+ minute epics that are loud and emotional at the same time. This is definitely one of my favorite progressive metal albums ever with the best and most consistent songwriting. This album flows like a captivating emotional roller-coaster. The production is appropriately clean. I'm saying, completely certainly, that this is a masterpiece you just gotta enjoy. Do not forget this album!


October 08, 2021 04:31 AM

Very important progressive black metal for me during the 2010s that I would consider not just a great album, but one of the best debuts of any kind. When a lot of people were very disgruntled at Opeth's recent attempts to drop more metal from their playbook, Ne Obliviscaris were more than willing to pick up the slack and do the exact opposite and make Opeth, but heavier. Beautiful production, excellent melodic storytelling, and compositions that are the furthest thing from overzealous.


October 08, 2021 12:56 PM

I've been waiting for this one to show up. I've told myself I need to write a review for it for months now so I guess this was the sign I was looking for. I bumped this album to a 5/5 after a few months of going back to it and contemplating its place in The Infinite landscape and I think that it's a true turning point for finally putting a new coat of paint onto Progressive Metal in the modern era. Even I've become tired of the Dream Theater and Opeth clones out there, and Ne Obliviscaris finally dropped something that was fresh and monolithic with how it incorporates some of the best songwriting in the genre with amazing performances and additions of other instruments that don't feel shoehorned in. Gonna be hashing out a (probably) massive review for this one this month. 

October 08, 2021 07:42 PM

It's interesting that my rating has gone in the other direction as I've dropped it back half a star. At the time of release I was completely blown away by the sheer virtuosity, precision & attention to detail that Ne Obliviscaris have achieved. I mean all of the instrumentalists are performing at a level that was completely unheard of for an Australian band & it left me feeling a huge sense of national pride. The lead guitar work of Benjamin Baret is spectacular, the bass lines of Brendan Brown are wonderful & Daniel Presland is frankly the best metal drummer this country has ever produced & you can easily hear the time that the band have put into developing every piece that's included over the nine years they'd been in existence to that point, an extremely long time before a debut full-length when you think about it. It really shouldn't be a surprise when you find out that three of the pieces made up the "The Aurora Veil" E.P. a full five years earlier as this artist clearly likes to refine their craft to the nth degree. Regardless of that though, to have all of these dudes pop up on the one release from a band that I'd never even heard of before was astounding & the fact that I quickly had the pleasure of seeing them all perform this material live several times in quick succession only added to their appeal.

That being said, I do have to admit that there was always an internal battle going on inside me when contemplating my overall feelings for "Portal Of I" & I remember struggling with it when I first tried to rate it too. Whenever I revisit "Portal Of I" I'm left with no doubt at all that it's a genuine progressive metal masterpiece but at the same time I find that it it's also a little too melodic (& at times even pretty) for my personal taste. The more brutal moments certainly get my blood pumping in a way that few bands can manage (see the one-two punch of "Xenoflux" & "Of the Leper Butterflies" or the magical closer "Of Petrichor Weaves Black Noise") but the folkier parts of the album where the violin work of Tim Charles takes the forefront don't always maintain that level of enthusiasm, especially the sections that hint at a folk metal jig which isn't something I want to hear in my extreme metal. Plus, the harsh vocals of Xenoyr do tend to be a touch generic some of the time if I'm being honest. I really dig Charles' Mike Patton-ish clean vocals but I'm not sure his hooks are quite strong enough to have them ringing in my head for days afterwards. (Hint: don't take your girlfriend to see them live as their ovaries tend to pop out of their bodies in a frantic attempt to devour him). 

So while I find "Portal Of I" to be a really refreshing, intriguing & generally impressive metal experience (particularly the drumming of Presland which is the clear highlight in my opinion), I now have to be honest with myself & admit that it's simply a touch too accessible for me to be placing alongside the Slayers, Morbid Angels & Suffocations in my Hall of Metal Glory. It's the uplifting positivity of the atmosphere that I'm a little bit at odds with. I have a few melodically inclined records in my Hall but they all tend to be deeply mournful & melancholic, traits that "Portal Of I" can't claim to (& never tries to) possess. Nonetheless, this is a perfect representation of the progressive metal subgenre in every respect & it deserves all of the praise that it receives.

For fans of Opeth, Xanthochroid & Persefone.


October 11, 2021 06:11 AM

Holy shit!! Managed a first listen through of this on my dawn dog walk this morning and it has blown me away. There is so much going on that it's going to take a few listens for me to absorb all it has to offer, but I'm looking forward to discovering it's intricacies. This is what progressive metal should sound like to me. Many thanks Saxy for possibly filling the Opeth-shaped hole that's been in my life since 2005. What a great start to a Monday morning!

October 23, 2021 04:16 PM

I'm really glad to have had Portal of I pushed into my periphery via this month's Infinite feature. It may not be very apparent, but I am actually quite a bit of a prog nut. 1970s prog rock is one of my favourite genres, Van Der Graaf Generator, Gabriel-era Genesis and Yes are three of my all-time favourite bands and in fact there's a few modern prog bands I enjoy too like Riverside and Galahad. However, an awful lot of progressive metal leaves me cold for some reason - if it's not one band trying to be the next Dream Theater, it's another trying to impress everyone with their technical prowess. Meanwhile they all seem to forget about the songs. This is why I admired Opeth so much - they were technically superb but never forgot that the song was king and everything they did worked to that end without resorting to technicality and flashiness for it's own sake. On the evidence of Portal of I, Ne Obliviscaris seem to be a band with the same philosophy and with this album have ticked many of the boxes that appeal to me. I'm especially on board with the marriage between prog and black metal, in a similar way that Oranssi Pazuzu's fusion between black metal and psychedelic rock is so successful, Ne Obliviscaris seem to understand exactly how to alloy black metal with progressive metal in way that makes the whole more than the separate elements (something Opeth also achieved). While the entire album is exceedingly good Forget Not, for me, is a song on a whole different level and has jumped right onto my list of greatest tracks of all-time.

I've got to admit that the past four or five months' features have got me much more interested in Infinite bands. Despite my previous reservations, I look forward to Infinite features as much as any now, particularly as I am unlikely to have heard them before. So thanks to all you Infinite contributors who have proved once more that you can teach an old dog new tricks.