I’m going to jump right into it because there is so much love to give to this night’s amazing lineup! It’s been a while since I’ve gone to a show and been excited to see more than one of the bands. Tonight I was more than excited to see not one, not two but three of the bands on the roster. As I said, let’s get right to it.
The Parallax had the tough job of opening up the night for an intense lineup. I was immediately expecting much from the band, not only for landing the slot, but for the six string bass that was propped up on stage. The musicianship was superb, these guys can definitely handle their instruments and have mastered prog beats. However the vocals kind of killed it for me. The clean vocals seemed forced and the growls sounded a bit too corey for my liking.
Exmortus crushed it onstage. Their stage performance alone was worth being up front and centre, and the Opera House responded in full force. Fun sized guitarist David Rivera was a burst of contagious energy like when you mix cocaine and red bull in large doses. At one point Rivera and guitarist/vocalist Conan swung their guitars behind their backs, leaned over each other and shredded on the other’s guitar… Fucking. Mind. Blown. Their tunes became immediate favourites and we were treated to some hits off their new album, Slave to the Sword (2014). My all-time favourite bit was watching drummer Mario Moreno’s fro grow in diameter as he whipped his head to their galloping beats. Own that fro, man!
Omnium Gatherum took over with their uniformed Omnium Gatherum logo shirts and much-beer-induced enthusiasm. Omnium Gatherum is the perfect picture of Finnish men in all their gold haired glory and Jukka Pelkonen repeatedly calling the night a “Me-tal Par-ty.” Their tunes transformed from melodic to progressive to death in a heartbeat and got fans happily heading along with the band. Not only did I love Jukka’s clean vocal and growl combo but he had a way of making eye contact with each individual person, which was both intense but made you feel involved. I heard many first time listeners say something along the lines of, “why do I not own all of their albums already?” Yup, that pretty much sums up their set.
Dark Tranquillity’s set up was intense as Opera House standards go. With a screen playing videos to each song and a really pro light set up, the show was visually stimulating and then some. Dark Tranquillity is one of those bands I loved in my teen years and never got to see, so my excitement for their set was over ten years of excitement packed into one night (that’s my way of saying I fan-girled out). They opened with “The Science of Noise” off their new album Construct (2013) but payed equal attention to older classics like “The Mundane and the Magic,” “The Wonders at Your Feet” and “Punish My Heaven.” Even though they lacked a bassist, due to Daniel Antonsson leaving the band last year, Dark Tranquillity made due (much to my surprise) with backing tracks of the bass lines. Though this seems really odd the decision seems like the most logical and a live bassist wasn’t really missed as the band was able to fill in the gap with their stage performance. It also started a bit of an excited rumour as to if or when auditions would take place.
Vocalist Mikael Stanne was exceptionally dedicated to making sure each and every fan had a good time. From pointing out fans and calling on them to chant louder, Stanne got the Opera House to surge with their tunes. Stanne was particularly well received as he jumped up to the barrier to sing with the crowd. I even got a smile of recognition and wave (I had just interviewed them before the show) which may or may not have made me fangirl out a tad.
The stars of the Gothenberg scene ruled the Opera House and had fans chanting along to every word of their encore of fan favourites “Lethe,” “Endtime Hearts” and “Misery’s Crown.” There was even a bit of crowdsurfing, in which I wholeheartedly participated in and was rewarded with a hand shake by Stanne. All in all, it was a night that left fans and musicians smiling.