Ne Obliviscaris - Interview
Ne Obliviscaris have only been around for two full-lengths thus far and have already released two first class albums in Portal of I and more recently Citadel. Having already incorporated orchestral elements into their sound with their first album, the band looked to expand their horizons with more focused, yet even more elaborate song structures. Also, more elements from the death metal and jazz metal sub-genres find their way onto the mix with Citadel. Ne Obliviscaris’ improved vision has left us with an album that is very difficult to find any faults with. Wonderful excursions into even more vast musical territories leave the listener feeling satisfied with the amount of variety the band is now able to attain musically. There is also an undeniable passion to be found within each note of the tracks of 'Citadel'. I conducted an interview with drummer Dan Presland to find out exactly how he feels about the band’s current direction and what might come for them in the future.
I like the move towards death metal over the slightly greater emphasis on black metal on Citadel compared to the last disc, Portal of I. Was this a natural evolution to your sound or an attempt to broaden yourselves musically? Was it both?
We never really sat down to discuss what styles or direction we wanted to take. It would just be a natural progression of how the bands sound has evolved.
Are you pleased with the current state of the Australian heavy metal scene? I'm fond of Voyager and in the past have enjoyed the work of such bands as Virgin Black and Alchemist. Has there been an evolution towards progressive bands from this country and how do you feel you fit in with them in terms of the "progressiveness" aspect?
Australia's heavy music scene is growing rapidly. More and more high quality bands are beginning to emerge. It is really awesome to see! I'm not sure there's a progressive evolution of sorts, but bands are certainly broadening their horizons and pushing the boundaries, which is killer. We have a dynamic sound I feel, and I think we can fit in with varying lineups. From the likes of progressive type bands to the death metal sorts.
The new album seems to be more focused so that the songs are more tightly structured in comparison to Portal of I. What thought process or series of decisions leads to this type of change?
I feel it was just our maturity as song writers, and our drive to always explore different musical environments.
I think the incorporation of a heavy use of violins and orchestration to be a pleasant portion of your music. Symphonic elements have been effectively used by other bands such as Septic Flesh and Hollenthon as well. Do you wish that heavy metal expands to incorporate these types of elements more seamlessly in the future? Also, what sub-genres of heavy metal would you like to see them placed most prominently within?
For sure orchestration can be really awesome in heavy music. It would be cool to see more bands use string instruments, or even wind instruments in their music. It's not for everyone though. I think a death metal band with trumpet would be really cool! I always wanted to play trumpet, so I am often curious as to how this would sound.
The songs you craft are intricate and also quite lengthy. The second track or movement of Citadel, 'Tritpych Lux', is a prime example of this. What advantage does such a song have over one with a more traditional song structure?
Well that track you mention is just one long story. We didn't sit down and make a decision we wanted to make a 16 minute piece, it just came out that way. A cool element of having a long piece is being able to explore a lot of different feels and dynamics. It's a fun challenge to keep a song interesting over a long period of time.
The new album successfully merges death metal with the avant-garde music. How do you balance elements from both of these genres so effectively?
I think it is just the chemistry we have between all of us. We are all very open minded, and we are all very open to trying new ideas. We don't move on with writing until all members are really happy with the idea we are composing.
There is a strong use of changes in dynamics on Citadel. How do you emphasize the contrast between subtlety and aggression so naturally? I'm a fan of how bands like Opeth have a strong dichotomy between loud and soft portions of their music in some of their older albums, such as Still Life and Morningrise. How influenced are you by the work of bands like this? Also, how do you expect to utilize dynamics in the future?
It's really hard to answer! We don't ever really discuss elements of the music in such a way. We basically have a direction or feel we want to get across, and go from there. I guess not being over analytical could be a key. Opeth are a great band for sure, a few of us are fans of those guys. For sure their music has somewhat had an influence on how we go about our compositions. It's really hard to say what direction we will go in the future. We have begun writing album #3 already, and so far the material has quite a dark feel to it. So we will see how we go from there.
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