There comes a time in the life cycle of music genres, where in order to evolve, the torch must be passed to the younger generation. Feeding off of Dream Theater‘s and Necrophagist’s, the blueprint was set out for bands to begin to experiment in entirely new and exciting ways to create what is essentially their own unique brand of Prog. Enter three bands that have been at the forefront of the Progressive Metal movement combining their talent to create one hell of a live performance this good Friday.
Hailing from Switzerland Virvum are definitely ones to watch. In my ignorance, I hadn’t really listened to the band previously until their 2016 release Illuminance caught my eye recently. With their performance consisting primarily of Illuminance material, the band was doing more than just turning heads to the rapidly growing audience at tonight’s sold out Dome. The cavernous cleans of “Illuminance” open the performance showcasing their secret weapon of atmospherics nestled within the technicality. It’s not long before the band has the whole room egging them on for the finale of the Sci-Fi cinematic suite that is “A New Journey Awaits” and “A Final Warning Shine“. Leaving more than just an imprint on fans tonight, proving that Virvum are vital in the Progressive Metal scene.
Good things come to those who wait couldn’t be a more apt saying for the arrival of Colorado’s Allegaeon. Now four albums in, the band have at last brought their blend of Sci-Fi infused Progressive Death Metal to the UK. With an opening gambit of “Proponent of Sentience III – The Extermination” its hard to argue with Allegaeon’s sheer power. With guitarists Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel‘s leads blistering out, they’re both flanked by the vocal prowess that would have Bjorn Speed Strid envious of Riley McShane.
With a new album on the horizon, the band unveiled a brand new song going down a treat delighting fans old and new. Nevertheless its the classic of “1.618” that really gets everyone going, with that inescapable melody ear-worming its way into the subconscious. Despite it taking little over a decade for the band to make it over to the UK, the wait has more than been worth it. In an evening that will have a veritable smorgasbord of emotion, Allegaeon’s defiant arrival to the UK is a definite highlight. If you ever have the chance to go out and see this band, make sure that its seized!
Moving out of the realm of Sci-Fi now for far loftier, philosophical musings, headliners Ne Obliviscaris confidently emerge from behind the stage. The sextet instantly floor fans with Urn number “Libera I : Saturnine Spheres“. Despite the busy stage, the soundscapes tonight are vast and spacious. Moving from the cinematic grandeur of “Intra Venus” to the metallic rigor of “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope” proving that Ne Obliviscaris’s might well be a beautiful creature but also retains the spirit of Metal’s aggression. Nevertheless the band surprise the audience with a guest appearance of TimCharles‘ fiancée on “Eyrie” making for a very sweet moment for the couple.
Sonically, what could be a sound man’s absolute nightmare, tonight each member of the band sound pitch perfect, making the build up to grand finale of “Devour Me Colossus” bass section from newly initiated guitarist MartinoGarattoni all the more serene and enhancing Charles‘, atonal screech to brilliant effect before Benjamin Baret’s signature grand finale solo. Not to mention running through the just shy of 16 minute “Painters of the Tempest” note for note perfect. However if there was one moment that summed up the evening, it’s the look of absolute wonderment on the entire band’s faces as they ask for a picture with 500 UK friends. A staggering accomplishment given 18 months ago the band performed at the same venue to half of the people. It’s a heartwarming sight to see a band like Ne Obliviscaris come into their own tonight and is a surefire reminder that the Progressive Metal torch has been passed and it’s in safe hands.