Ne Obliviscaris “Exul EU/UK Tour” (Tavastia, Helsinki) – 05/05/2023

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Due to the pandemic, it’s been years since the Australian proggers of Ne Obliviscaris have been able to play gigs, let alone tour Europe. So after having just released a pretty epic new album with ‘Exul’, them finally coming to the European territories is reason enough to make sure we don’t miss out. So off we went to catch them at the very first show of the tour at Tavastia in Helsinki. And with them they brought the Andorran prog death outfit Persefone and Italian instrumental proggers Asymmetric Universe, ensuring a night of world expanding and mind-bending music…

Asymmetric Universe

First up, to get us in the right mindset for a night of mind-blowing musicality, were the Italians of Asymmetric Universe. Not knowing these guys at all, I ended up being captivated by their jazzy, and at times even funky, sounding instrumental metal/rock music. It’s not something I would necessarily go out of my way for to see live, but I can definitely see myself putting this on at home if I’m looking for some intricate music to relax to. Nevertheless, it was great to get to see these talented guys live and discover them this way, because you could see and feel the passion for their compositions while they were playing them for us. A really lovely bunch of people that brought us a soft start for the night, but absolutely the right vibe for the more heavy prog bands that were awaiting their time on stage.


As Within, So Without


I took note of Persefone last year with their new album ‘Metanoia‘, and to this day I’m not sure why I didn’t catch onto them earlier. Because their style of combining progressive and technical elements with a melodic kind of death metal is just the right kind of music that should speak to me, having been a huge fan of for instance the old school Opeth sound. I hadn’t found the time to dive more into these guys earlier, so seeing them live now as support for Ne Obliviscaris was a perfect wake-up call!

As soon as they started off with ‘Flying See Dragons‘, the whole band completely threw themselves at playing their music for us. What an intensity and energy! And that energy was at least matched by a packed venue that went absolutely mental. Both the band and the crowd banged their heads relentlessly, and this truly felt like something special. When vocalist Marc joined on stage, starting to growl and sing, that energy went even higher! The blend of heavy and extreme metal with gorgeous compositions and melodies was absolutely stunning and brought to the Tavastia stage in its full splendor. Of course, since their 2022 release ‘Metanoia‘ hasn’t had its time on the stages yet, we got some tracks from that album with ‘Katabasis‘ and ‘Merkabah‘, but overall the setlist was a wonderful introduction to their catalog.

I’ll repeat myself, but I don’t know how these Andorrans could have flown under my radar as much as they did! A band you don’t want to sit on if you’re any bit into melodic death metal that has a healthy dose of atmosphere and intricacy injected into it!


Flying Sea Dragons
Mind as Universe
The Great Reality
Prison Skin
Living Waves
The Majestic of Gaia

Ne Obliviscaris

And then it was time for what most people had come out for tonight! Ne Obliviscaris has been itching to get back to spreading their amazing compositions all over the world, and finally the time was here. While we were blessed by the release of their most recent masterpiece ‘Exul‘ only about a month and a half before tonight, they definitely have gone through the wringer of late. This show was a performance with many firsts, and then we’re not only speaking of the tracks from ‘Exul‘ we got to experience live as the very first ones in the world. Last year, their longtime drummer Daniel Presland moved on to other things, so this was the first time they were playing in front of a crowd with replacement Kévin Paradis (Benighted) behind the drumkit. But not only that, just before they embarked on this European tour, their harsh vocalist Xenoyr had to announce that he needed to prioritize his own health and wouldn’t join his bandmates on tour this time. To not have to cancel coming over here, they enlisted no one less but James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate) to fulfill the harsh vocal duties for this tour.

Looking at all the hardship they seem to have gone through of late, and that they were playing live in front of a crowd for the very first time with 2 different members, you wouldn’t have guessed it if you didn’t know. The sheer intensity and energy was easily matched with that of their friends of Persefone, and the whole performance was a mesmerizing thing to behold. Going from the guitarists who were cranking out the craziest riffs and solos with absolute passion, to vocalists James and Tim bringing everything they got to their performance, where Tim regularly picked up his violin to add that signature special touch Ne Obliviscaris has in their music. James really did an excellent job, banging his head like there was no tomorrow, and trying to rile up the crowd, shouting them on to move and throw their fists in the air.

Of course, since this was the first stop of their tour promoting their recently released ‘Exul‘, we got the live debut of tracks like ‘Equus‘, ‘Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls‘ and ‘Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence‘ as one huge track of over 15 minutes of musical delight and excellence, and ‘Graal‘. The setlist was further fleshed out with the massively popular tracks ‘Intra Venus‘ and ‘Libera, Pt. I: Saturnine Spheres‘ from ‘Urn‘, ‘Devour Me, Colossus – Part I – Blackholes‘ from ‘Citadel‘, and fan favorites ‘Forget Not‘ and ‘And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope‘ from debut album ‘Portal of I’. One for one unbelievable compositions that are lengthy compositions created by massively talented musicians. And with tracks from every single album they released, a great introduction to this incredible band if you didn’t know them all that well yet.


Intra Venus
Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls
Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence
Libera, Pt. I: Saturnine Spheres
Forget Not
Devour Me, Colossus – Part I – Blackholes

And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope

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