The Aurora Veil
posted on 10/2007 By:
I felt somewhat obligated to review this Australian collective’s demo, simply because I have the band’s name tattooed on my forearm. If you want to know why I got it, or what it translates to, fucking Google it. Don’t be the guy that thinks he can ask me successive personal questions about my body art just because we are both standing in the same supermarket line, or because I ordered a goddamned burrito from you. I loathe that guy…and his mother.
General disdain for the human race aside, when I caught wind of this band’s existence, my initial reaction was one of trepidation. My first thought was, “Oh, shiiiiiiiiiiiit. If I end up with the name of some screamy, female bassist sporting, Christian pseudocore band tattooed across nine inches of my arm, I’m goin…..JEN! Where the hell did you put my exacto knife?!” But then I took a deep breath, slunk over to their iwannagetlaidspace page, clicked ‘play’…and was slapped with a wet fish named Pleasant Surprise. Ne Obliviscaris play a unique variety of progressive black metal (a term that is understandably oxymoronic to some, but is not without validity) that isn’t dissimilar to the works of Borknagar, Agalloch, and Pantheon I. This is a comparison that is all the more unexpected when considering this, The Aurora Veil, is merely a three-track “demo”.
Cool thing about NeO is they really don’t sound like any of those bands per se; there’s never a moment during The Aurora Veil’s 33 minute running time that blatantly apes their contemporaries. Instead of employing predictable acoustic folk flavorings into their arsenal, the band incorporates flowing flamenco guitars that dance with a weeping violin. As one that listens to heavy metal nearly exclusively, I can’t comment on the musicianship in the way that one versed in classically oriented instrumentation could. But to these ears, the result of the interplay between the wicked-fast drumming, the anguished violins, the haunting leads, and the Tony Choy-schooled bubbling basslines is nothing short of breathtaking. Those that wished Pantheon I had utilized their cellist more frequently on The Wanderer and His Shadow should look here, as Tim Charles’ violin is as integral to NeO’s sound as any other instrument, and truly makes this band one to watch. Their composition potential seems nearly boundless after hearing this little gem.
Whether that potential will come to fruition is the question at hand. The vocal duties are shared by Charles, who provides the clean prog metal stylizations, and harsh vocalist Xenoyr. Frankly, the harsh vocals are somewhat underutilized, and the band would do well to keep their black metal element firmly intact by injecting his gravelly rasp into the maelstrom more often. And, if I were a dick, I’d make a comment about Charles’ need to fine tune his singing…but occasionally I have to stab myself in the ear and remind myself that this is a fucking demo, not Candlelight’s latest find, and appreciate the amazing performances for what they are. These guys display so much heart, skill, and class that it truly blows my mind; the stoutly professional approach to this recording is something to behold.
And that leads me to believe that there is prosperity in this band's future. Losing their lead guitarist (whose soulful solos on “When Icicles Fall” enforce the aforementioned Agalloch vibe) is a significant blow, but not a crippling one, as Australia’s burgeoning metal scene is bound to produce another warrior that is up to the task. I haven’t been this excited over a demo since my all-too-brief love affair with Serberus a handful of years back, and, with apologies to Empyrean Eclipse, I think I have a new favorite unsigned band. Granted, I’m slightly biased, as I’m still thankful that I won’t be needing skin grafts in the near future (MR’s health benefits aren’t exactly tip-top)...but, stupid jokes aside, you would be wise to seek this out ASAP.
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