[LIVE REVIEW] Ne Obliviscaris @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 10/05/2019

Tonight, the aptly named ‘Painted Progression Tour’ takes place at 170 Russell and we will see all shades of music tonight, everyone attending already knows the caliber of musicianship to be expected. Another sign that it’s going to be a good night is that tonight’s show is sold out and people are showing up early. I haven’t seen a full house so early in a very long time, with 2 US bands Rivers of Nihil and Allegaeon, one Canadian band, Beyond Creation and then from Aussie Prog rockers Caligula’s Horse, why wouldn’t you show up early and see this incredible line-up?

Rivers of Nihil open up tonight and they walkout on stage already grinning from ear to ear looking out at the near full venue, they started at 6:50 pm, just take a moment to think on your last couple of gigs and try and think of a time that a venue was near full for the first band, that’s definitely something to write home about. Their first time being in Australia, the crowd are welcoming to their brand of progressive death with constant headbanging and occasional circle pits throughout their set. Rivers of Nihil frontman Jake Dieffenbach holds the crowd’s attention from the word go and does not let it go until the end of the set. This bands technical prowess and energy show why NeO chose these guys to kick off tonight’s festivities, smart choice!

Next up from the US is Allegaeon, Modern Death Metal Extraordinaires. I had never listened to these guys before tonight but I will be playing them regularly from now on. These guys are also here for their first time but apparently, this is their 61st gig with Ne Obliviscaris. The energy is stepped up another notch as they come out and the crowd goes nuts for the Black Dahlia Murder-esque tunes and they don’t let up. Coming in with a tasty tech death style, these guys have a constant flow of riffs that kept me mesmerised, barely any chord use, more singular note style, and their bassist was playing everything their guitarists were. Allegaeon enjoyed themselves just as much as Rivers of Nihil did, I don’t think anyone stopped smiling, everyone was having too much fun. They also got to enjoy a couple of rockstar moments with the singer crowd surfing and singing, also the guitarists standing back to back with a dual lead melody being played. After these two sets, I can safely say that these two bands will try to come back at some point.

Hailing from further north, Canada’s Beyond Creation came on stage to a piano intro and I didn’t know what to make of the set to start with, whether I was in a bad spot for the mix or whether their bass sound was just overpowering, I couldn’t hear much of what was being played. From what I could see, most of the riffs included tapping and eventually a bit more tremolo style playing. Their bassist had a really interesting low-end sound and it covered up the guitar’s distortion sound, cutting out some of their work. The vocalists had a great sound, they came through crystal clear, really aggressive. The second half of the set had more groove to it and less tapping, not too sure if the sound had also picked up at this stage but I was starting to hear more of their mix. Definitely, some killer tech death grooves thrown in there and you couldn’t fault the skill level of the playing, their drummer was all I could watch. I’m putting it to either where I was standing or the mix, could be both.

Brisbane’s Caligula’s Horse are the standout band from this line up, they were the lighter sounding band but in no way any less technical or incredible to watch. Jim Grey has an incredible voice to start with, everyone else tonight, besides Tim Charles of course, has an intense growl or scream on them but Jim’s vocals are just amazing. Clean, huge and a fair amount of emotion thrown in for good measure. Caligula’s Horse are more of a prog rock sounding band than the rest of tonight’s line up but their music has everyone singing along and swaying about instead of the circle pits previously going on, everyone still enjoyed it. For anyone that hasn’t check out this Aussie band yet, get on to it.

Home town heroes Ne Obliviscaris step it up another notch from the beginning of their set, they instantly show everyone that they can come home and put on a stacked headlining tour from their worldwide touring experience. I saw NeO after they had released Portal of I some years back, also supporting Cradle of Filth on their tour here and it has been a different band each time. These guys have improved each year and are still evolving their show and sound as they go, it’s incredible to watch. Their mix is clear as day for how intricate their music gets and you can hear everything being played. After their opening song, Tim greets the crowd, not being able to hold back the smile, the band knows how far they have come and seeing a sold-out hometown gig just brings out more energy from them. Xen’s vocals are ferocious and Tim’s cleans bring the polar opposite, the two vocalists work so well together and it shows on the stage. The crowd is eating up everything they throw out, screaming back, vocal harmonies, they give back more energy for the band to feed off. Their looks to be some cameras about the place filming the set tonight, so hopefully, we see some of the footage about soon enough.

Anyone that has a chance to see this tour should definitely get out and go witness this show of A Grade musicians. Anyone that has read my reviews before knows how passionate I am to see Aussie metal bands on the world stage, Ne Obliviscaris are probably one of the top contenders for the extreme style of metal from Australia, it is great to see them come back here and bring some incredible bands with them. I can’t wait to see what this band does next; they have had an incredible journey so far.

Review Contributed by Mitch Charlton

Gallery by Jose Sanchez