Last week we launched the inaugural Connecting the Dots feature, where we looked at Caligula’s Horse and other bands that have shared members with it. Those with a good memory will know that one of the projects we looked at was Arcane, and in particular 2015’s opus Known/Learned. A little known fact is that the session bassist on Known was none other than Brendan Brown of Ne Obliviscaris, and thus it is with NeO that our second edition will be focused upon.
[Tim Charles (violin, clean vocals), Benjamin Baret (lead guitar), Matt Klavins (guitar), Xenoyr (harsh vocals), Brendan Brown (bass), Dan Presland (drums)]
Regular readers need to no introduction to Ne Obliviscaris. They’re one of Australia’s most extreme progressive metal bands, a fact which is hardly surprising given the enormous number of influences the band draws from. Piercing, cathartic black metal. Schuldiner-inspired death metal. Dance-inducing flamenco. Free-flowing jazz. These are all key tenets of the Ne Obliviscaris sound. This package is then wrapped up within a classical framework; one in which lengthy compositions are separated into different movements, and the violin makes wonderfully frequent contributions. Their two near-perfect releases, 2012’s Portal of I and 2014’s Citadel, feature regular interplay between light and darkness through the use of both clean and harsh vocals, and the inherent differences between the lighter, more beautiful aspects of their sound with the darker and heavier aspects With writing for album number three already underway, and with a Patreon campaign in full swing to ensure the band continues to thrive, one can only hope it’s not too long until we’re treated to another progressive metal masterpiece.
Track to check out: “Devour Me, Colossus”
[Ben Boyle (guitar), Benjamin Baret (guitar), Brendan Brown (bass), Dan Presland (drums)]
Almost 10 years after ideas for this project began forming, they finally released their debut EP Śünyatā earlier this year. Drawing from a range of influences, most notably Beyond Creation, this instrumental outfit released an atmospheric, technical death metal record which earned the vaunted 5/5 from HBIH. Despite counting three NeO members amongst them, it is actually Ben Boyle who composed the majority of the record, and his technical riffs sit perfectly alongside the fretless bass, dextrous drumming and ethereal backing vocals. There aren’t many bands around who sound like this, so we suggest you get onto them ASAP if you haven’t already.
Track to check out: “Benzaiten”
A Million Dead Birds Laughing
[Ben Boyle (guitar), Dan Presland (drums), Sean Aggett (bass) and Adam Stewart (vocals)]
As well as having one of the greatest band names out there, AMDBL is a killer grind band from Melbourne. With three records under their belt, they’re in the midst of tracking a fourth, with NeO’s Dan Presland now manning the skins. AMDBL has typically short songs for the genre, usually not much longer than a couple of minutes, and each of them is jam-packed with some of the finest riffs and licks you can find. With good production and a distinct lack of the grime and crust associated with stalwarts of the genre, AMDBL serves as a strong gateway band: both for people looking to get into grindcore for the first time, and those seeking to expand their horizons from it. Much like Vipassi, the main man behind this operation is none other than riff lord Ben Boyle, so you know it’s good.
Track to check out: “Warlord”
[Ben Boyle (guitar), Nick Rackham (guitar), Sam Dillon (vocals), Jim Luxford (bass) and Rob Brens (drums)]
Given his prominence in two bands featuring NeO band members, and his great friendship with the band, we’ve also included Ben Boyle’s other main project, Hadal Maw, even though it doesn’t feature any past or present members of NeO. Dark, brutal, technical death metal, Hadal Maw are expected to release a follow up to their highly praised debut album Senium later this year. If you’re a fan of incredibly dense and heavy death metal full of polyrhythms and groove, then go no further than Hadal Maw.
Track to check out: “Altar of Ire”