Ne Obliviscaris is one of my favorite live shows of the year.
Touring for their newest album “Urn”, they began with ‘Libera’ (both parts, as it’s separated on the album) accompanied at the intro by wild applause from the very animated audience. The six-piece band immediately interacted with their lively fans and kept their admiration and full attention through the lengthy songs. ‘And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope’ as their second song is an excellent example of the band’s ability to weave vibrant folk, classical and metal together in an effortless and elegant way that translated their skills perfectly onstage.
Not usually being one to attend 18+ shows, I was initially skeptical about this crowd- at first glance mostly young men in glasses with an exorbitant amount of energy that seemed it would be better placed at a hardcore show. Later, upon closer inspection I realized this audience was just what you would expect at a progressive metal show: a smattering of younger enthusiasts just getting interested in the scene, some serious looking middle aged IT fiends who looked ready to critique every technical aspect of the songs played, a few goths, and the obvious old school metal heads.
Every person roared approval before and after each song but ‘Intra Venus’ seemed to be the crowd favorite from “Urn”, judging by the response it got while being introduced. It’s a song that easily demonstrates vocalist Xenoyr’s stamina and the energy of yin/yang guitarists Benjamin Baret (stoic, in place and focused) and Matt Klavins (exuberant and constantly moving around to all sides of the stage).
Lead vocalist and violinist Tim Charles joked about the length of their songs while introducing ‘Painters of the Tempest’, saying “this next song comes in at 17 minutes long, which is actually just past average for us” with a laugh. He asked the crowd to “raise their horns” and smiled constantly, lightly bumping fists or grabbing hands with those who pushed their way to be closer to the stage while he sang. Drummer Daniel Presland stood up before ‘Forget Not’ to dedicate it to “those who have been lost and gone before us” mentioning a friend of the band’s that had passed away recently.
After completing their set with both parts of title song ’Urn’ (also the last songs on the album), the band rushed offstage for just moments before coming back onstage amidst cheers to perform ‘Devour Me, Colossus’ (from the last album Citadel) as their encore. Every member then took a moment to greet their fans, thanking them in such a humble way that brought a beautiful close to a phenomenal, exciting set. -Julliet
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