Total Time: 52:08
Label: Season Of Mist
After six whole years of silence, NE OBLIVISCARIS return with their fourth full-length album, entitled “Exul”. Coming from Australia, the six-member band likes to compose lengthy songs with elements taken from the extreme scene and a distinct progressive attitude. What noticeably differentiates the sound of NE OBLIVISCARIS are the constant vocal exchanges (going from clean to brutal and vice versa) and that they are using a violin. In between the countless yet technical guitar solos and the intense drumming, one can distinctly spot a violin going rogue. It is worth mentioning that “Exul” also features the world-renowned cellist Dalai Theofilopoulou of Greek-Mongolian origin.
Let’s take “Exul” from the beginning, meaning the artwork. The cover art of the album could very well adorn the exterior of a well-known videogame. It’s an obviously digitally rigged scene with an overabundance of elements like scattered human figures, random arms and legs here and there, a few crosses, a sword, a horse and many other details. In general, there is an overwhelming chaos one might say, that I personally could not decipher, no matter how hard I tried to connect it with the title of the album (“Exul” meaning exile). Despite that, I would say that it represents the musical content of the album adequately. As far as the production is concerned, there is not much room for any bad comments. The sound is of top quality, especially if we take into account the complexities which arise with the addition of stringed instruments. In terms of composition, we are facing a technically excellent record. NE OBLIVISCARIS are top musicians and they prove it everytime. However, there are a few objections that will be analyzed below.
The new creation of NE OBLIVISCARIS consists of six compositions, with an average duration of nine minutes each, apart from the last track “Anhedonia” which lasts a little less than four minutes. Everything is fine and there is no objection to long songs, as long as they do not become tiring. Which unfortunately, is not entirely the case with “Exul”. There is not a more typical example of such, other than “Equus”, the first track of the album. Repetitive parts, bridge over bridge and a song outro that just goes and goes and tries to get somewhere but then it goes somewhere else again and reaches elsewhere. The whole album treads on similar paths, with countless guitar and violin solos while, the entirely instrumental parts last for inexplicably long durations. Thins seem to get better with “Suspyre” and “Graal” – songs that I consider to be the highlights of the album- but it is just inadequate. The album finale belongs to the spine-chilling and eerie “Anhedonia”.
In conclusion, “Exul” is not a bad album. It is a technically excellent record with many interesting elements. However, the long song durations do not particularly help in this case. Despite the abundance of information, “Exul” exaggerates itself and consequently, becomes repetitive and tiring to the listener. It is like I wrote this whole article using just five enormous sentences. Would this be practical?
Editor: Vaggos “Arkouda” Katsis
Related Link: NE OBLIVISCARIS – Facebook Page