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Ne Obliviscaris - Portal of I CD (album) cover

PORTAL OF I

Ne Obliviscaris

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.01 | 106 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

CCVP
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Next big thing in progressive metal? Maybe in the future, but definitively not for now

From time to time, a band arises in the progressive rock (and metal) community that claiming the position of possible big guysin the scene and, in 2012, Ne Obliviscaris has taken that place. Obviously, for being in such position, their debut album was for many times discussed and talked about by the community, so I had to see (or hear) for myself if all what was being said did in fact made sense. Also, I feel that it is necessary to mention that, however big the amount of positive feedback, there were people bashing the guys for not being original and claiming they were mere copiers of Opeth and generic symphonic black metal bands. Even though the band had previously released a demo EP some years back, Portal of I is my first contact with this Australian progressive black metal group.

Since the beginning, from the very first song, you can see that, to some degree, the people that praise this album does indeed have some reason in doing so. The compositions in general are indeed impressive and they evolve gradually, they are carefully crafted and well developed, denoting that the guys from the world's largest island did take their time writing and sharpening the material they had for Portal of I. Also, there is the impressive violin and solo guitar parts that, together, amount for the best elements in the whole album; indeed, they are truly awe inspiring, specially the violin parts. Another quite interesting part of the band's opus are the lyrics which, in spite of not making much sense themselves (if taken literally), are quite beautiful in the way they sound and how you need to twist and turn them to get their true meaning.

However, this album does not comes without flaws. starting with the compositions, the strongest element in this album, even though they are very well crafted, the band allowed their influences to be too much in our face, instead of letting them to subtly guide themselves. The most obvious ones are Opeth, which guides most of the album's light - dark, forte - piano, growling vocals - clean vocals aesthetics (these are the whole musical concepts of Portal of I); and Borknagard, whose influence can be felt in how the band portrays their melodic black metal lines, much in the same vein as the Norwegian band does themselves.

Another issue I have myself with this album is with the mixing and mastering. Starting with the former, I feel that whoever mixed this album cared mostly for the base part of Portal of I's sound, because the drums and the bass are way too high. They are so loud that at points they drown mostly every other thing, besides the violin and the highest notes from the solo guitar. Everything else gets inaudible, the music turns into a mass of blast beats, repetitive bass lines and some indistinguishable noise which consist in all other instruments and the vocals. As for the mastering, there are also some problems with the music's loudness; instead of just keeping how the instruments were, the person responsible for the album's mastering decided to make everything louder, making the music get clipped at times, further worsening the problems of the bad mixing.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Having addressed both strong and weak points in the band's output, I must say that both sides on the prog music community are right in their claims to some extent. The guys from Ne Obliviscaris do have a strong chance to impress us in the future whenever they choose to release another album (or when they decide to re-record or re-release Portal of I without so many flaws regarding the mixing and mastering and making their influences less apparent).

For now, however, I feel that, in spite of releasing an album with strong compositions, Portal of I is so fundamentally flawed in such important instances that for some moments the album's qualities are unimportant.

Everything considered, I think that the three stars rating is the most appropriate for this particular album.

CCVP | 3/5 |

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