For as much as I truly love heavy metal, it has been a few years since a metal record has blown me away so much as to warrant the title of my favorite record of the year. Last year Devin Townsend’s Deconstruction lost the title to Steven Wilson’s jazz infused progressive masterpiece Grace For Drowning. Even 2010 was a toss up between Brothers by the Black Keys and Compass by Jamie Lidell over the metal releases of the year. From the opening moments of “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract” by Ne Obliviscaris, I knew their album The Portal of I was that long awaited metal album to trump all else.
First of all: the name is pronounced “Nay Ob-li-vis-kar-is”
Ne Obliviscaris are an Australian progressive metal band with black metal and classical elements. Their line-up consists of a pair of guitarists, bass, drummer, a harsh vocalist and a clean singer who also plays violin. These guys would produce fantastic music even without the violinist, but the addition of this nontraditional element to the their metal collective puts them over the edge as an absolutely amazing musical experience.
Their debut full-length album, The Portal of I, is some of the most beautiful and interesting music I have ever heard that was also heavy. The whole subgenre of black metal with atmosphere has become such an overdone cliché that it was so refreshing to hear Ne Obliviscaris take black metal, add tons of melody and foreign influences and have it sound unique. The band has a knack to using their non-metal elements, like the lengthy violin/bass intro to the epic, “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope,” to emphasize the heavy portions of their songs.
I have already converted a few people to listen to this band and many of these folks were not metal fans. Your traditional kvlt black metal fans will not be too into this one, but fans of Opeth, Agalloch, Alcest, prog metal, black metal, etc. will probably adore this one as much as I do.
This is not only my favorite album of 2012, it is one of my favorite albums ever.
So nice humans, I ask you…
What is YOUR favorite album of this year?
*Two songs after the jump*