Review and Photography : Stephen Brophy for MPM
It’s great to have a visit from Aussie progressive metal band Ne Obliviscaris again, sadly regular vocalist Xen was unable to do this European Tour for personal reasons, which was disappointing, but health is the most important thing and hopefully he’s back on the road with the guys again soon, but the band drafted in Black Crown Iniatiate vocalist James Dorton to fill in, and that’s pretty cool.
The you add in the fact that these were the first shows with the band for Drummer Kevin Paradis (Benighted) and in reality there are more possibilities for something to go wrong that for everything to run smoothly, but that’s ignoring the quality of the musicians involved.
First up on the bill tonight are for me a very interesting trio that mix funky jazz with progressive metal, their music is instrumental, but damn they are good at what they do, Asymmetric Universe is their name, they hail from Turin, Italy and are just a pleasure to listen to.
In fact it’s one of those bands that you can just close your to and drift away into the music. Kicking off the set with ‘Extrospection’ from their recent EP The Sun Would Disappear As I Imagined All The Stars.
Of course this combination of music won’t be to everybody’s tastes, but that’s the great thing about music, everything is different for each individual.
The band are 100% into what they are doing and don’t speak to the audience until their set has completed, but not in an arrogant or rude way, for them I think it’s all about the music, hopefully we will see them back again, they got a really good reaction from the crowd that was already quite big.
Next we get the first band from Andorra I think I have ever seen, but if there are more similar to Persefone then I’d be very happy to see them make a visit too. Musically they are a modern sounding progressive Death metal band, there is plenty of speed and aggression in the music. Powerful vocals, both harsh and clean, twin guitars, additional nuances with the keyboards and a beast of a drummer.
And what a set, the venue was nearly full already when they kicked off their set and it was hard to take your eyes off them for the whole set, pure power mixed with technical excellence.
The set was a mainly made up of material from their last three releases, and there were moments of sheer brilliance, for me ‘Living Waves’, ‘Merkabah’ and the epic ‘The Majestic Of Gaia’ but lets be honest it’s a cracking journey from the first note to the last, the audience were very much invested in it and the band appeared to not only delighted to be out on tour but to be in the Ireland and loving the show.
Really hope we get to see them back here soon, terrific band playing music at a very high technical level. It was also a nice moment when vocalist Marc asked the crowd to take out their phone lights and the next song saw the venue lit up from the back to the front, that only happens when a crowd is into the show.
When the headliners take to the stage to the theme music of George Michael’s Careless whisper it’s a little odd, but hey lets go with the fun. Ne Obliviscaris are a mixture of many things, but one constant is the quality of their music and ability. With violin incorporated into their sound there’s an almost Classical/Folk element thrown into the mix.
James Dorton does a fine job taking on the extreme vocals, not an easy thing to do at short notice, learn a set, fit in with the band etc… and we all wish Xen well. Naturally there was the odd mistake, but hey when a band has gone through what they have recently and not toured for four years it’s no surprise and no issue, just shows they are in fact human.
Musically the band manage to mesh their different styles of music beautifully and can flow from a clean vocal/violin intro directly into extreme metal, losing nothing of the song or vice versa, it’s just talent all over the stage.
It’s funny sometimes when you look at the setlist from a show, and to some when you see 9 songs for a headline set it seems wrong, but with a band like this a number of songs are twelve minutes plus in length, so you are never going to have an 18-20 song set.
The guys worked out a set that would be almost half made up from the new album EXUL both promoting the new release and showing their belief in the new material, no filler in the set every song is a cracker, but things reach a crescendo with the last two songs, the bludgeoning ‘Graal’ and the stunning ‘And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope’ bringing the night to an all to too quick close. In reality every song is a highlight,
The atmosphere has been brilliant, having moved to the back of the hall after finishing photographing the band, it was pretty hot up front, and it’s nice to get a different perspective of the show sometimes. There’s a vision of joy, involvement and people really getting involved with the music. Makes being at a gig a happy place to be when everything seems to be slotting together so well.
What a terrific blend of music tonight, 3 very different bands all putting in terrific performances to a packed house in Dublin. Please all come back soon.
We don’t often get the opportunity to see shows like this very often and maybe that makes nights like this all the sweeter. Many thanks as always to DME Promotions for bringing variety to Dublin.