The increased interest in extreme metal and acceptance of progressive, challenging music means there’s never been a better time for a new Ne Obliviscaris record. The Australians’ amalgam of tech-death, prog and a dash of the symphonic still remains a unique proposition, although, frustratingly, this still has yet to translate into the coherently brilliant set of songs that their imagination promises. The sound of Tim Charles’s violin weaving its melodies through the blasting double kickdrum at the end of opening track Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres is wonderfully exciting, but moments of such inspiration don’t hit often enough to make Urn the magnum opus you wish for. Often the diametrically opposed elements jar rather than meld, but when the pot is left to simmer for long enough, such as on album centrepiece Eyrie, you get a glimpse of how special Ne Obliviscaris could be.
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Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.