Not your everyday metal band, and that’s what makes these guys so special at this show tonight.
“Change is the spice of life” a friend once told me and every now and then I adopt that when I listen to music and go to shows. It’s interesting to see bands being unique for example, 1 guitarist that plays drums simultaneously, or 2 bass players and a drummer, or just a vocalist and a keyboard, or a piano player and a drummer. We’ve seen all this in 2023 in the Pacific Northwest and more. I’ve also seen bands that maybe scale back the band, or by attrition make due with less members and use backing tracks to fill them in. Either way, as long as you can entertain us and replicate the album tracks live is what we really care about.
Tonight, Australian based 6 piece Ne Obliviscaris are headlining with support from Omnific and Beyond Creation in Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre. Ne Obliviscaris have 2 vocalists, one for clean who is Tim Charles, and one for the growly parts being “Xenoyr” Campbell. Furthermore, Tim the clean vocalist also plays the violin in most if not all the songs. Due to health reasons, Xenoyr is not on this tour and they brought along Black Crown Initiate singer James Dorton to fill in. The other 4 musicians are Matt Klavins (guitar), Benjamin Baret (lead guitar), Martino Garattoni (bass) and new drummer Kevin Paradis who took the sticks just this year.
Ne Obliviscaris plays what can be described as extreme/melodic metal that have been around for over 20 years now. They have produced 4 full length albums with a few EPs, with the latest album, Exul which was birthed in 2023.
The night starts off with a recording of Sleep Token’s “Chokehold”. I find this incredibly odd, I mean this is a great song and all, but this is from the current album from Sleep Token. How about play some sort of Ne Obliviscaris passage or instrumental? Thereafter that 5 minutes, they start off with the over “Intra Venus” from 2017’s Urn album. From there we get a good look at Dorton as he leads off with the vocals as well as few licks from Tim’s violin.
Song 2 with “Equus” and I feel Dorton is filling in quite nicely with Xeno’s absence, his vocals are a really good match for the band. Throughout the night, he only appears on stage when his parts come up and then disappears behind the guitar amps. But when he does, he has great stage presence.
They finally hit some new songs off Exul with “Misercorde I – As the Flash Falls” and appropriately thereafter with “Misercorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence”. The latter song is more instrumental with some vocals in the end but great violin playing from Tim which is very clean and precisely heard within the confines of the Rickshaw Theatre.
I have to really hand it to Benjamin Baret on guitar. The left hander absolutely rips on the solos and his tone is incredible. You don’t see many left handed guitarists, especially lead players because left handed guitars are few and far between if you ever go to a music shop. They are hard to obtain and I know this first hand as I am left handed myself. He really stood out for me tonight.
Outside of the band dynamics, the stage lighting was atypical of bands this size, albeit good. The sound was executed well, as Tim’s violin didn’t get lost in the mix. As we are close to Halloween, there were a few dressed up for the occasion, namely the dude in the banana costume that was in the pit and thereafter crowd surfed his way to the stage.
Ne Obiviscaris songs are not timely, but are epic, as the next 3 they play which are “Liberia(Part I):Saturnine Spheres”, “Forget Not” and “Devour Me,Colossus(Part I):Blackholes” average over 10 minutes each. The long songs don’t settle the hardcore Ne fans however, as they were fairly lively the entire evening.
Once they completed the 8th song “Graal”, Tim mentioned to the crowd that this was the last song of the evening and that they would go to the back and listen to see if Vancouver wanted another. The trend over the past 10 years has slowly gotten away from actual “encores” as I did find this sort of ‘self icing of the cake’ from the audience, in distaste. But, eventually we gave into this, as the roar from the adoring crowd begged for more and they definitely brought it, with “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope” from their first album from 2012’s Portal of I.
Ne Obliviscaris are very appreciative of their audience’s support on this Sunday night, which was about ¾ at capacity at the Rickshaw Theatre. They played an over 90 minute set in the 9 songs, which is good value for this multi talented band. The first time they were here if you recall was back in 2016 with Cradle of Filth and the Butcher Babies. That was the last time I saw them until this show tonight as I always remembered this band since then because of the violin player Tim. All it takes is to do something a little different and you will be remembered. Tonight I am past that, as I will remember the talent of the entire band and the complexity of their songs. It was a fantastic performance that will be remembered by all that attended.