Ne Obliviscaris, Persefone, Asymmetric Universe @ Tavastia Helsinki
5.5.2023 Tavastia Klubi, Helsinki, Finland
An excellent tour package you can enjoy until June – DETAILS HERE – and you are strongly advised to do so, after this brilliant EU-tour kick-off in Helsinki, in probably the most legendary club the Finnish capital has to offer. However, even a legendary venue doesn’t automatically lead to a sold-out gig on a Friday, therefore the massive level of attention had proved in advance that the headliner Ne Obliviscaris really has achieved cult status in Finland. Plus, there was notable interest in the two supporting acts – after all, how often do you get to see a band from Andorra? – which ensured that a huge crowd actually arrived on time at the venue.
This must have been a pleasant surprise for the first band Asymmetric Universe, because they could experience their premiere on Finnish grounds in front of an almost full house. And Finns are an attentive audience, which meant a warm, hearty welcome for those Italians. Their nervousness quickly dissipated and you noticed beaming faces on stage … The fact that these gentlemen had quite little space – their equipment was set up in front of the next acts’ gears – did not play a big role. Their highly complex instrumental compositions, closer to Jazz than to Metal, require concentration on both sides, hence no action on stage or mosh pits. Something for the mathematicians among the music lovers 🙂 As I could observe in the foyer afterwards, the guys had indeed won many new fans with this performance. Nice!
Persefone were a first-time-experience for me, but for many in the audience they seemed to be old acquaintances, because the guys from Andorra received a hearty celebration right from the start. And rightly so, what a great show, impressive and intense! Musically, they are closer to the headliner’s style with their progressive death metal, which has ear candy quality despite its aggression and complexity. The band surely convinced everybody who saw them for the first time right away. One negative aspect of such full-action & effects: If you are only allowed to take photos of the first three songs and then the hall is so crowded, even on the balcony, that you hardly manage to squeeze in somewhere – there’s no chance to take any more snapshots.
I have seen the Australians Ne Obliviscaris live on stage several times, I was very curious this time. Admittedly it had less to do with the new album EXUL and rather with bad news shortly before the tour: Shouter Xen had to pull out of the whole tour for personal reasons, James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate/The Faceless) was found as a substitute at extremely short notice. And he only had one week to prepare… No wonder that the band seemed a bit nervous and erratic at the beginning, experiencing some tech hiccups on top of that. But after only two songs, James no longer seemed slightly unsecure, the whole band seemed to cheer up and blossomed, experiencing the waves of affection from the audience. Instead of super-concentrated, even grim expressions, you saw a literally relieved grin on their faces, the boys were having fun together and letting it spill over into the audience as well. I captured a heartwarming moment of true mutual affection:
Apropos photo – well, I was grateful that “only the first 3 songs” in this case means almost 30min time to shoot some pics 😉 and luckily the lighting became more camera-friendly, too. Otherwise I would not even have noticed this moment – yes, Progressive Metal can be fun! Well, if all the shows on the tour will turn out as triumphant as this kick-off gig in Helsinki, those guys will be able to multiply their fan base. Which would be a very good thing, fingers crossed!