Date: October 9th, 2016
Venue: Voodoo Lounge, Dublin
Line-up: Ne Obliviscaris + Oceans of Slumber + Jenova
Ne Obliviscaris are a group who’ve gone from strength to strength over these past few years. Their albums, Portal of I and Citadel, have garnered critical acclaim and over this past year they’ve embarked on huge tours supporting Cradle of Filth in the US and Enslaved throughout Europe. While they’re on break from their slot with Enslaved they’ve taken themselves and touring mates Oceans of Slumber on a headline tour through the UK and Ireland.
Before the tour Ne Obliviscaris asked on social media for suggestions of some great local bands to open their shows in each town. With overwhelming support it was Dublin’s Jenova chosen to open tonight’s show. The online support translated well to punters on the night with a healthy group gathered in front of the stage early on. Jenova sounded heavier than a juggernaut and that might be an understatement, everything about them was just crushing and huge. From the drilling double bass to the razor sharp guitars, it was all just right on point. Vocalist Brian J Harrington hit all the right notes, mixing it up between gutturals and high pitched screams with some pig squeals thrown in for good measure. It was a good start to the night.
Touring with My Dying Bride and Enslaved along with a critically acclaimed new album, some were very excited to catch Oceans of Slumber’s set. Opening with the title track of their latest album Winter their performance was immediately captivating thanks in no small part to lead vocalist Cammie Gilbert. Her singing was simply gorgeous with a soaring range, faithfully recreating her performance on record with the emotional closer ‘Grace’ being one the highlights of the night. The rest of the band were no slouches either with the brilliant rhythm section of bassist Keegan Kelly and drummer Dobber Beverly, who is perhaps one of the only men brave enough to include extended blastbeats sections in a cover of ‘Nights in White Satin’. Leading their music through jazzy progressive sections to heavier death metal were guitarists Sean Gary and Anthony Contreras, with the latter showcasing his playing prowess to those lucky enough to meet him up close at the front of the stage.
I’m still finding it very hard to put into words what I thought of headliners Ne Obliviscaris but as this is a review I’d better find some pretty quickly! Bands of their nature, the kind that put meticulous detail into their work, often fall flat when that material has to be recreated in a live environment but luckily Ne Obliviscaris don’t make that mistake.
It was clear from the beginning of their set that this show was highly anticipated by a large portion of the crowd, it didn’t take long after the band started playing for the crowd to start screaming and jumping around the floor. The guys in the band were just as excitable as the crowd were, as vocalist / violinist Tim Charles was explaining they set up crowdfunding camapigns, etc, just so they could tour the world and come and meet fans from all over the world.
One of the core elements of Ne Obliviscaris’ music is Tim’s violin and often I’ve found those sorts of instruments to be hit or miss at metal shows but this one sounded immaculate, cutting right through the other ‘metal’ sounds and was clearly heard as it should. The same could be said of Tim’s amazing cleans vocals. The musicianship shown by the other members was just as exciting, there aren’t many bands that can keep such consistent, technical playing in the span of a sixteen minute opus like they can.
The setlist was fit pretty fairly between both Portal of I and Citadel, with the aforementioned sixteen minute track ‘Painters of the Tempest (Part II)’ being one the best on display. ‘Xenoflux’ and ‘Pyrrhic’ satisfied those who wanted something heavier and also got some mosh pits started. The surprise addition of ‘Forget Not’ left some people weak at the knees when Tim announced they were playing it. To end the night there was only one possible song to choose, barely even a second had passed of the tracks opening notes when the crowd erupted into screams of joy, ‘And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope’ was a spectacular end to what could only be described as a spectacular night.