Concert Review with PHOTOS: Ne Obliviscaris

Photos by Mark Derricutt

Photos by Mark Derricutt

By Mark Derricutt

Artist: Ne Obliviscaris

Date / Venue: Wednesday February 21st, 2018 - Kings Arms, Auckland

Ne Obliviscaris - even without knowing anything more - the name rolls off the tongue giving you a sense of something technical, beautiful and yet harsh, and that's how I'd describe the band's sound to a newcomer.

Forming back in 2003, NeO are a Melbourne based progressive/symphonic death metal act - and whilst the death metal element is very much present, it's balanced out with a heavy symphonic/melodic counterpart of clean vocals and violins. This was one of the main things I was curious about — seeing how smooth and clean the transition between those elements worked in a live setting; and I was far from disappointed. The ease and fluidity that Tim Charles showed as he stepped backwards away from the mic to both pick up, or put down his violin/bow combo without missing a beat or wavering his voice was alone a joy to see. This was a band who have not only perfected their sound, but also their live performance and I suspect having dedicated growl vocalist Xenoyr plays a large part in the seamlessness of the night.

Being the last ever metal gig at Auckland's historic Kings Arms Tavern - I had thought there would be more people in attendance, even if they weren't fans of the band, but with the venue a little over half full, it was an intimate show and Ne Obliviscaris put on one hell of a performance for whose who made it out for the mid week show.

The evening started somewhat behind schedule with Gisbourne based Metal Tower, bringing forth technical, progressive metal to set the tone. I felt the sound mix didn't quite do their set justice with long standard King's Arms sound wizard Mark Petersen having moved on to Whammy Bar/Wine Cellar, a revolving door of sound engineers during the venues last few months has — to my ears at least led to a hit-and-miss sound when it comes to mixing the more extreme bands.

None of this deterred those in attendance, as Auckland act Set On End took the stage with a set that didn't quite catch my interest - the band was tight and played well, but I wasn't feeling the music last night - anticipation for Ne Obliviscaris was rising within me with each moment, and I was getting impatient…

Back to Ne Obliviscaris - I'm always impressed when a band acknowledges the opening acts, or even seems aware of the venue they're playing at - and tonight was no exception in this regard. Declaring that whilst this was their first time in New Zealand, and that they were the last metal act to perform here —- it would not be the last time they come back to play.

Musically - last nights Ne Oblivliscaris show was up there as one of the best live acts I've seen - they play one more show in New Zealand at Wellington's Valhalla tonight.