The music on this album is massive. But is it good? Do I like it?
I have listened to this album on repeat for a few weeks now, and I am still asking myself this. On paper, I should love this. Ne Obliviscaris is an extreme prog metal band with a unique sound and some brilliant musicians. They burst on the scene from their native Australia just a few years ago and have an almost cult-like following due to a large social media presence and a couple of damn solid albums under their belt.
But for their third album, every element that the band is known for is on full display. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is neither a memorable album nor is it an elite album either. When NeO is at their best, they are truly stunning – and there are certainly some moments on this album that are very impressive. Special kudos to Tim Charles on violin – there are some wonderful soft moments that are made better by his playing. The violins have always been one of the things that have made this band unique.
I think the best thing I can say for this album is that it is tremendously well-performed and the production is crystal clear. But I have streamed it constantly since it arrived in my inbox, and I don’t think I’ll listen to it much after writing this review. I’d love to see them live – I have been convinced to revisit music I once deemed unworthy by seeing a band on stage. Until then, I have to admit to myself and to whoever might read this that in 2017 Ne Obliviscaris released a decent album that it is just not for me. These guys are obviously super talented; I’d recommend this to anyone who is already a fan of the band, but I’d suggest their first album especially for anyone not yet familiar with their sound.
This is a difficult review to write. I typically like to give praise where it’s due and prop up bands that deserve it. NeO deserves their success, but I have to admit when an album drops at a time where I’m perhaps not ready for it or just not really into it. Even though all the pieces are there, I doubt this will become an album I remember the year 2017 for.