Sunday, August 14, 2016

Devour Me 2016 Tour Report

Live shows are always a treat because you get to see talented musicians perform your favorite songs and you are sometimes treated to special moments that you otherwise won’t get from an album. Agalloch performing “Sowilo Rune” live for the first time as a tribute to Christopher Lee was an amazing experience. The performance of Ne Obliviscaris from their Devour Me tour yielded a similar experience.

I arrived at Joe’s Grotto with my fiancée halfway through the set of Phoenix local band, Ironkill. They’re a young band that sounds like a mixture of Pantera, Testament, and Machine Head. Singer Joel Rodriguez is a mad scientist experiment melding of Phil Anelmo and Chuck Billy. He had great stage presence and commanded the stage well despite most of the small crowd being motionless aside from head bobbing in time and one guy getting really into the show. The guy was thrashing about and trying to get the crowd pumped but he did a fine job carrying on the energy himself. Rock on dude.
The rest of Ironkill were solid in their performance. I can’t comment on the songs too well since I’m not familiar with their catalog but it sounded like they were performing them flawlessly. Lead guitarist Reilly Mikus was hamming up the role of lead guitarist with blazing leads and showboating.

After dropping off my fiancée at home so that she can rest – thankfully the venue is only a few miles from our house – I returned to catch Black Crown Initiate as they went into their first song. The Colorado act was very solid and tight. I didn’t recognize too many of the songs but I definitely recognized “The Fractured One” which got a respectable mosh pit going. “Belie the Machine” and “A Great Mistake” were a couple other songs that I recognized. With their set complete I went over to the merch stand and picked up Citadel on vinyl. I wish I could have gotten more but money has to be conserved for the time being.

Up next was the act that everyone there to see. Joe’s Grotto started to fill up more as Ne Obliviscaris was setting up their set. Violinist and clean singer Tim Charles had some unfortunate news for us; Xenoyr was not going to be performing as he was suffering from voice problems. Because of that we were treated to a special performance. They would play the entirety of “Painters of the Tempst” – the first three songs off of their recent album Citadel. Despite missing one half of the dual vocal performance, the rest of the band performed flawlessly. I honestly barely noticed the absence of Xenoyr, not to disparage him at all, due to how well composed Ne Obliviscaris’ music is.

Following the completion of the epic 23 minute song, we were treated to guest vocals from Black Crown Initiate’s James Dorton. Since this was such short notice and the song he was singing “Devour Me Colossus” is 13 minutes long, he didn’t have time to memorize it so he sang the song while reading from a smart phone. Despite the sight reading, he did a fine job picking up the slack. His vocal style is more guttural than Xenoyr’s harsh black metal style performance on the record but it complements the music. They continued on with “Forget Not” which has only been played a few times live. There was another song that they played which they had an extended introduction but the name escapes me.

This was Ne Obliviscaris’ second time in the United States but the first time in Arizona. They made a fantastic debut and stands as one of my favorite shows that I’ve been to. I hope that they are able to tour in the US again and I’ll make sure to be there when they stop in Arizona.

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