A conflicting schedule of another popular metal band playing in a nearby venue could have contributed to this show not being on the verge of full-capacity, however, the line-up had pulled in an impressive audience.
Kicking off the night to a swift beginning is Quebec’s experimental technical death metal fivesome First Fragment. Tour fatigue could have possibly contributed to frontman David AB coming off as a little bit nervous before he got into the zone of performing, conjuring the crowd to come closer and loosening up.
Without a doubt bass master, Dominic ‘Forest’ Lapointe (ex-Beyond Creation) stole the show, brandishing a 6-string fretless and jamming ridiculously effortlessly some insane technical riffs.
Colorado’s Allegaeon (pronounced ‘a-legion’, for those wondering) took the stage after a 15-minute interval for set-up, effortlessly blasting into their seven-strong setlist with the opening performance of “All Hail Science”.
For a band that has been going for 15 years and finally getting overseas recognition in the live scene, especially after their support slot with Ne Obliviscaris in this very venue last spring, the band had brought in some loyal fans who discovered them only a year ago.
A fun blend of energetic and fast-paced technical death metal with at times small folky easter eggs and soaring clear vocals, and the introduction of two teaser songs from their upcoming ‘Apoptosis‘ album which will be released in April.
Coming away from the performance and hearing crowd optimism about their set and stage show, it is clear to say Allegaeon will have no problem summoning an audience should they plan on returning to Irish ground.
First Fragment and Allegaeon had warmed up the crowd in time for Fallujah’s entrance to the stage, as an influx of people entered the venue in time for the San Francisco four-piece.
Very new vocalist Anthony Palermo, who joined the band only two weeks ago debuts the bands first Irish show with the added bonus of ex-Aborted’s and current Alkaloid guitarist Danny Tunker filling in on live guitar duties.
While the band put on an intense atmospheric performance with heavy chugging riffs and lights set to reveal only silhouettes, something seemed amiss in the performance for a lot of the crowd, however the stage front audience were intensely into the show – questioning whether some acts really do need that intimacy between crowd and band to really feel what is being performed.
After removing support backdrops to reveal Sebastian Lansers TAMA/Meinl clad drumkit and some quick smoke machines tests, Obscura took on a stunning entrance before kicking into the tour-titled album Diluvium’s “Emergent Evolution”, to cheers of recognition.
With some members of the band no strangers to playing to an Irish crowd, as this is their fourth performance in Dublin (after headlining in the now-defunct The Pint in 2011, supporting Death To All in 2013, and a support slot with Sepultura in The Tivoli last March), the crowd had definitely come to show major support with some patrons attempting to air-drum along to Lanser’s difficult paradiddles.
Four songs into a set of more recent releases, members leave the stage to give way for Linus’ Klausenitzers dark and deep fretless bass solo – donning an Ibanez “Ashula” a fretted/fretless hybrid bass – before kicking back into the Omnivium album’s opening track “Septuagint”.
Despite the recurrent line-up changes within the band, between the initial release of the Retribution album in 2006 and last years Diluvium, there has been an obvious progression displayed in the bands’ songwriting style and dynamics.
While earlier releases go for a straight-forward death metal sound with smaller elements of experimentation between vocoders and song structure, the more recent line-up embraces the musical backgrounds of the two most recent members; drummer Lanser who is already known for being part of Munich’s wacky jazz-metal quintet Panzerballett, and young jazz graduate guitarist Rafael Trujillo – allowing Obscura as an entirety to gradually evolve into a more sophisticated sounding technical death metal band with a lot of hidden jazz layers.
While the 12-song strong setlist gives many opportunities for older songs to be performed, the general prognosis is to stick to songs from more recent releases, with Cosmogenesis‘ “Incarnated” being one of the only early songs on the schedule.
Coming towards the end of their set, frontman Steffen Kummerer enthusiastically taunts the crowd asking what the next song they will play will be, with an avid fan yelling back “The Anticosmic Overload!”. “No!”, Kummerer points and yells; “This is An Epilogue to Infinity!”, to an eruption of laughter.
A quick exit stage left leaves the crowd yelling for more and allowing some upfront fans to quickly grab some plectrums that were lodged in the mic-stand. Chants demand the return of the band for the Cosmogenesis albums predicted “The Anticosmic Overload” encore, their most infamous song that really pushed the band into the limelight of the technical metal scene after the album’s release in 2009.
Kummerer jokes that they will not play the encore until each and every plectrum is returned to the stage, before bursting into the song and wrapping up the night. Given the outside perception of death metal demanding moodiness and stone-wall faces, the night refreshingly included a lot of smiles and laughter from most bands during performances, infecting the crowd with good-spirits for the night.
Words / Photos – Norrie Kivelhan