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 bands 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 to balance things out. 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 night’s 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.
Set On End
Photos and Review originally published for Libel Music.