Ne Obliviscaris: Stand in (Stand Out) Singer: Onstage Glasgow Slay

Ne Obliviscaris: Stand in (Stand Out) Singer: Onstage Glasgow Slay

A Night Of Prog

I was very lucky to be offered the chance to both interview someone from Persefone (that interview with Carlos will be up online here very soon) as well as see the 3 band bill of which they were a part whilst in Glasgow at the venue called Slay. It was a night of progressive music featuring bands from Italy, Andorra and Australia who despite all being part of the “prog” scene have their own sound and styles. A good crowd turned up on a Wednesday night to witness all 3 bands (the crowd did expand as the night wore on but plenty folks were in for all 3 acts) and they played their part whether it being quiet and respectful whilst there were calming or gentle moments or clapping, cheering, punching the air and shouting “woah” when required. Oh and with some heckling thrown in!

Impressive New Guys

Headliners Ne Obliviscaris from Australia were promoting their new album, their fourth since 2012 in Exul and were doing so with 2 new members who had to jump onboard late in the day (I am not sure why, they didn’t say and I found nothing online to say if the 2 not with them have left or have personal issues stopping them touring). When Tim Charles (clean vocals and violin) spoke about it he said that the new guys (I believe it was James from the USA on harsh vocals and Harold on drums… but I might have picked that up wrong) had very little time to learn a set of 110 minutes roughly. Both, from his comments, had to do so in under a week, which considering the style of music and their compositions was most impressive.

Ne Obliviscaris: Violinist Tim Charles: Live Onstage: Glasgow Slay

Ne Obliviscaris: Violinist Tim Charles: Live Onstage: Glasgow Slay

All About The Elegance

They played 4 of the 6 songs from the new album Exul which in themselves are around 40 minutes worth of music! After they played “EquusTim mentioned the new album to loud cheers from the crowd causing him to quip “just as well as we are playing a lot from it” before laughing. There is plenty bombast within the songs, but for me what sets them apart from others is their more subtle moments along with the sound of the violin.

A shining example of this is the start of “Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls” where it is just piano (from a track) and the sound of the violin. Slowly the other instruments came in, elegant touches on the drums and a subdued bass, all very delicate, haunting and truly stunning. When it lifted up the melody remained. I am sure I wasn’t the only person opened-mouthed watching them play.

A Very Confused Drunk

During “Libera: Saturnine Spheres” the crowd belted out the woah lines near the end of the piece with great aplomb. It was very loud indeed. The song itself has quite a number of changes and can switch from brutal heavy to calming beauty on a sixpence. These guys are good.

Before playing “Forget Not” from Portal Of  I Tim joked around saying it is the “best song that had been written” claiming that certainly up to that moment everything else had been “rubbish“. What was funny was later on someone shouted for the song resulting in Tim asking just how drunk that guy was that he hadn’t noticed they had recently played it. The song opens with some lovely guitar playing, all very atmospheric with violin slowly joining in then taking over.

The way they build it up to a heavier piece (and I have to mention that the drummer did a fantastic job especially on this), and then drop it back down to reimagine it was beautiful. When the clean vocals come in you could hear the crowd joining in.

Ne Obliviscaris: Onstage Glasgow Slay May 2023

Ne Obliviscaris: Onstage Glasgow Slay May 2023

Can Be Dangerous Up There

As a band they move around plenty, headbanging and even getting in among the crowd. James (if I am correct) on harsh vocals looks quite a big guy, rather imposing but he is obviously having a ball interacting with both crowd and new bandmates. He only needed to point out into the audience to get folks hands up. There were a couple of near collisions onstage which again resulted in smiles and laughter. It isn’t the biggest of stages (well it is a club) and with everyone that can move (2 guitarists, bassist, vocalist and vocalist/violinist) doing so they did well not to have any proper accidents!

Personally, I found the band to be absorbing to watch with the guys coming over as a top bunch of blokes. Sadly due to public transport, I had to leave before the end of their set. I imagine they did an encore as they were joking about it before their “last song” saying it depends on the crowd. However, what I did see (which was most of it) I loved. So much talent onstage but so unassuming. Their mix of almost classical and prog metal is fantastic and they deliver it live, even when they have to have members come in at short notice.

Support Persefone: Singer Marc (With Guitarist Carlos Behind): Live Glasgow Slay

Support Persefone: Singer Marc (With Guitarist Carlos Behind): Live Glasgow Slay

Main Support, Full Of Energy

Full credit to the headliners Ne Obliviscaris not only for a great show, but for also making sure prog fans have a great night by adding 2 quality support bands. The main support was Andorran outfit Persefone who had around a 45 to 50 min slot to play their style of progressive metal. They played a selection of music from their last 3 albums Metanoia (2022), Aathma (2017) and Spiritual Migration (2013). They focussed more on the earliest of the 3 performing 4 songs during their set, 3 of those being the first 3 songs of the night.

Opener “Flying Sea Dragons” is just a short musical piece that leads into “Mind As Universe“.  Like the headliners these guys are full of energy, headbanging furiously through much of their set. Some of the windmilling made this bald guy jealous! Harsh vocalist Marc is either bent over double headbanging or standing right at the very front of the stage, standing static watching over the crowd.

Going For A Wander

The band seems to have picked a fairly heavy set for this tour, perhaps to punch fast and hard. They do of course still have moments of beauty within the set. During “The Great Reality” there is a section where it drops down for some haunting vocals from keyboardist Moe and guitarist Carlos plays a solo that goes into David Gilmour territory.

When it did heavy up at the end the crowd were quick (and loud) joining in the “heys”. The newer songs played from Metanoia allow for more keys and effects along with more clean vocals from Moe. For “Merkabah” the audience was encouraged to get their phones out and put the flashlights on for the opening. During this guitarist Felipe went for a wander into the audience and nearly got stuck (and was close to knocking over the effects pedal) due to the lead. There were laughs going both off and onstage.

Living Waves” has the recorded vocals of Paul Masvidal from Cynic at the start as heard on the album. The rest of the vocals were live of course. This is a song that leans into Opeth and also Dream Theater territory, certainly a more proggy piece with a metal edge. Some of the fingerwork is impressive in the faster sections. They finished with the epic “The Majestic Of Gaia” which ebbs and flows over near 9 minutes but feels a lot shorter. A set that punched hard yet had enough moments of beauty to be moving. Hopefully, they will return soon and play a headline set. Plenty of folks certainly seemed keen for more.

First Support Of Night: Asymmetric Universe: Jazz Fusion: Live Glasgow Slay May 2023

First Support Of Night: Asymmetric Universe: Jazz Fusion: Live Glasgow Slay May 2023

A Jazzy Start To The Night

Opening the night from Italy were 3 piece outfit Asymmetric Universe who play a jazz fusion mixed with ambient rock with their style of prog rock. They only had 30 minutes so they didn’t waste any time at all trying to fit in as much music as possible. If I am correct they played a couple of tracks from their new EP called The Sun Would Disappear As I Imagined All The Stars (now that is a mouthful) in “Extrospection” and “Kaleidoscope“.

The band comprised of 2 brothers with the surname Vese those being 6 string bassist Nicolo and guitarist Federico along with drummer Gabriele Bullita focussed on their playing, with just Nicolo occasionally bobbing his head at points. Pretty sure one of the other pieces they played was “Off The Beaten Track” which lives up to its name. It reminded me a little of Liquid Tension Experiment (actually them and Animals As Leaders through the set). Despite them being less metal the audience were very receptive and attentive which was good to see.

A Bonus

It was an excellent night of music for sure with all 3 bands performing to the highest of standards. There were moments of fun and interaction (with at least one band member uttering that he didn’t understand anything anyone shouted, well the Glasgow accent is quite difficult to make out for those not from the city) but music was really at the forefront of the night. The fact that we were watching great musicians and 2 of those bands had members able to headbang, run around and throw shapes was a bonus.

Also, a shoutout if I may to the lady in charge in Slayon the night who if memory serves was either Jeanette or Janet (my apologies if wrong) who was lovely and very helpful on the night to me. When managers or staff take time to help reviewers and interviewers despite their busy schedules it is very much appreciated. Also thanks to Andy at Metal Blade for organising the night. The interview will follow soon!

Ne Obliviscaris: Official Website  //  Official Facebook

Persefone: Official Website  //  Official Facebook

Asymmetric Universe: Official Bandcamp  //  Official Facebook

Check out my other reviews and interviews here. Tom.