Ne Obliviscaris- Citadel (Season of Mist)

A stunning success.
Release Date: 
7 Nov 2014 (All day)

Ne Obliviscaris has managed to achieve quite a lot in a short period of time. This is not to say that their success has been a matter of chance, the gains that the band is receiving now are the result of close to 10 years of hard work, most of which has been behind the scenes. Songs that were to be featured on their debut album- 2012’s Portal of I- had existed in some form or another as far back as 2007, but visa trouble saw Benjamin Baret, their French born guitarist, unable to get into the country and work on an album. For 5 long years, the band existed in a state of flux until the issues were sorted out and Portal of I was released.

A cult following online had amassed around the band thanks to the demo they released and expectations were high for their debut. Well, Ne Obliviscaris certainly delivered; Portal of I was an astonishing record that easily elevated the band to the upper echelon of Australian music.

Now, the question is how will Ne Obliviscaris follow up that album? While Citadel is coming hot off the heels of their debut, this is all brand new material only recently written by the band. How have the band changed as songwriters in the intervening years? I think it’s safe to say that “maturity” is the watch-word of this new album. They’ve taken their distinctly unique take on extreme, progressive metal and delved even deeper into its creative well of possibilities, shedding some of the more superficially pleasing elements of their sound in the process.

The immediacy of tacks like Xenoflux and As Icicles Fall on their debut has been replaced with a much more album-minded approach to songwriting. Out of the six songs on Citadel, five of them are parts of multi-song suites. It is perhaps better then, to not think of Citadel as a collection of songs, but as a single musical statement with several different movements. The fact that the album only technically contains three songs might make it hard to pick out individual highlights, but as a complete album, it is matched only by Yob’s new work in its mastery of mood and pacing.

Citadel marks a new chapter for Ne Obliviscaris. They’ve shown they can take a strong foundation and build on it. Their song-writing is more intricate, their creative vision grander in scope, this album is a triumph in every sense of the word.