Ne Obliviscaris / The Ocean – LIVE – Adelaide, Australia
Big night in town, with Ne Obliviscaris (NeO) headlining across Australia with support from the German metallers, The Ocean. This is the ticket to have as the growth and popularity of NeO has everyone along for the ride, though their popularity is no real surprise to anyone.
The Ocean are first up and it’s a real coup to see them in Australia. Starting out as the Ocean Collective, now the Ocean, this band are as enigmatic and unpredictable as their name suggests. The traditional setup with two guitarists, vocalist, bass and drums is augmented by Dalai Cellai (Dalai Theofilopoulou) on death black cello. The audience largely had no idea of what was coming but the continuous waves of feedback, growls and emotion swept everyone away. We started with an ominous progressive drone and somehow finished with a fervent little mosh pit and a stage diving front man.
It was a joy to stand and watch from the edge of the stage, to watch the audience just get sucked in by what sounded like one continuous piece of music. It was immense, the band were firing and the audience were just transfixed to the show. You couldn’t look away as you had no idea what was coming next. The songs build and crash over you, then build again, this time you think you have a handle on it, but no, it’s different and you are swept away. A more enigmatic and mysterious performance I can’t think of this year, or even the last few years. I have no idea what songs were played, or how many, but what I can tell you is that time was irrelevant. This was a vast performance and if The Ocean said that they were doing it all again right now then I know where I would be. Having seen so many bands over many years it takes a lot to be totally captivated as you are always trying to compare band against band, but The Ocean are just on another plane. If you get the opportunity then just go. Can’t say much more than that but vinyl doesn’t do these guys justice and you need to see them on stage for the full brain melting experience.
With that NeO hit the stage and it has been almost a year since I last saw them. Last December they looked weary from constant touring but smashed it out that night. They had worked their way across Europe the August before after creating a solid fan base at Soundwave. Since that night they have travelled North America and Europe again taking their brand of melodic and extreme progressive metal to the masses. With six accomplished musicians there is enough variety, depth and passion to keep tonight’s audience enthralled. But not just great musicians but a group that totally believe in what they create. This is the band that started the funding model, the Patreon, to help pay for the band’s vision. The Patreon is like a membership system where fans pay a regular subscription and they are rewarded with news, music and access to the band. Brilliantly simple and a way for the band to get an income, in an ever changing market.
The band hit the stage full of energy. The performance was solid, passionate and delivered with an intensity that tells you that they believe in what they create. The audience were transfixed by NeO and completely compliant to the dark worlds and writhing stories created on stage. When I last saw them in December I wrote that, “this band now have to take all this experience and passion and create another recording of the same power and scope as Citadel. Now is the time to do it because on the strength of this performance they will have another quality recording that takes progressive music in new directions”. Well, we heard and we saw that this is becoming a reality and it’s an exciting step to hear new music from this progressive powerhouse who plan to release another album in the new year.
I can’t fault The Ocean or Ne Obliviscaris tonight. They were both intense, sublime and powerful. Both of these bands are honed by constant touring and the immersion in what they do. Just get out there and see them because with their touring history they will be at a theatre near you before you know it.
Review – Craig Grant