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By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Saturday, February 15, 2014 @ 11:38 AM

Scandinavian Death Metallers DARK TRANQUILLITY And OMNIUM GATHERUM Build Up Momentum On The Construct Tour At Mavericks, Ottawa, Canada, February 7, 2014; No Lisas Were Harmed In The Moshpit During The Writing Of This Review

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Following this concert featuring two of Scandinavia's rising melodic death metal bands, it occurred to me that their biggest challenge wasn't being able to play sold-out shows in places like Israel, Tunisia, India, Turkey, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates; it was actually attracting my former high school classmate Lisa Regimbal to stay for their set. Granted, she only came because she hadn't hung out with the venue's owner since high school and stayed away from the circle pit the whole night as she was in high heels but that's still an accomplishment for metal nonetheless. And it was an accomplishment for me too as this show was among three invites I had to choose from that night, with bar-hopping with my Hash House Harriers chapter and catching my friend's band 1993 playing at the Ritual a block away being my other choices that night.

Lucky that I did for despite having missed local thrashers SAWED-OFF SHOTGUN's set the following set by WHITTIER, California-based extreme death metal quartet EXMORTUS who were touring behind their third full- length disc Slave To The Sword. For a band with very clear death metal influences in their music you'd expect them to be above song titles such as "Kneel Before The Steel", "Triumph By Fire" and of course the title track off their latest plastic platter. Had that been MANOWAR or HAMMERFAL (both bands I enjoy listening to as well), they wouldn't escape the enduring ridicule from several extreme traditional death metal listening types who'd dismiss such titles as trite and amateurish. Somehow when frontman/guitarist Conan blurts out "KNEEL BEFORE THE FUCKING STEEEEEL!" with equal amounts of fury and conviction you can't ignore his command. Nor can you avoid making comparisons to DESTRUCTION's "Nailed To The Cross" when Schmier shouts out the chorus in a similar fashion. And given that EXMORTUS describe their music as being "complex and thoroughly hook-laden" while "refusing to lend itself to easy categorization" maybe that was just their way of paying tribute to the various spectrums of metal that have inspired their own sound while in turn lending itself to fans who appreciate other genres of metal. At least I think that's how it works. And both Conan and lead guitarist David Rivera do this awesome soloing and gymnastic trick during "Triumph By Fire" in which they bend over each other and play their solos on each other's guitars. It got my attention. And if you're truly in league with Satan as you claim to be these guys will get your attention too.


Turns out DAFT PUNK weren't the only band capable of recording a song in the past 12 months I enjoyed to the point that it got so ingrained into my inner neural senses I never wanted to hear it again. However, where they're just two French DJ's with robot costumes and solid connections with hip-hop producers across the Pacific seaboard OMNIUM GATHERUM are five Finnish musicians who've been plying their melodic and sometimes melancholic death metal and boasting 18 years' experience and seven albums under their belt including last year's Beyond which features the insanely catchy hypersonic riff-rider "The Unknowing". And, yes, they played it. It's not like they couldn't but being relatively new to this band I somehow managed to get that song lodged in my brain for over a week and counting. I'm certain the opening riffs to that song played at a 14/14 measure in sequence to the keyboards had something to do with it. No wonder their lead guitarist is named Vanhala. They did play other songs that night though since they, y'know, have a song catalogue that spans seven whole studio albums. "New World Shadows" and "The Sonic Sign" were definite circle pit starters and if you were able to survive those tracks and their melodic sonic beatdown closers such as "Nail" guaranteed you'd be stiff and sore come the grim and frostbitten morning. I'm just happy that OMNIUM GATHERUM have established a following here or else I'd be stuck reviewing DAFT PUNK concerts. And bribing Lisa to start up moshpits during "Around The World".

Speaking of Lisa I eventually run into her after OMNIUM GATHERUM are done spending up the crowd with their closing number "Deep Cold", which reminded me of the beer that wasn't in my hand. Being the only person in the audience not wearing black, she was immediately recognizable. We chatted for a bit, I bought her a drink, chatted some more, took a photo of us and then resumed my reviewing duties as she wished me good luck in the moshpit once headliners DARK TRANQUILLITY lit the stage up with their opening number "The Science Of Noise". References to themes such as sounds and color seem to be apparent in the first half of tonight's setlist for the Swedish quintet having released their tenth album, Construct, last year. The album was described as being their most darkest and melodramatic compared to past releases but given their lively performance you wouldn't have known it. Playing in front of a screen which broadcast gothic images that bordered on dark steampunk art in parts along with some of the song lyrics, DARK TRANQUILLITY plowed their way through a good two hours of shadowy death metal laced with melodic overtones and never let up. Frontman Mikael Stanne with his golden locks and suave demeanour could still cut a menacing figure once he was behind the mic belting out numbers such as "Monochromatic Stains" and "Zero Distance". He could also engage the crowd into backing him up on numbers like "Endtime Hearts" and "What Only You Know", even though having the lyrics flashing in the background were still an obvious giveaway. And the dual guitar work of Niklas Sundin and Martin Henriksson was so impressively tight and in league with the keyboard work of Martin Brandstrom half the time you wouldn't even notice that there wasn't a bass player with them. Come the closing number in the form of "Misery's Crown" the crowd are so worn out from the pit the atmosphere is pretty close to tranquil. Sore necks from headbanging, sore throats from chanting at the top of one's lungs.....imagine if DARK TRANQUILLITY had included "Lost To Apathy" in the setlist that night.

But they succeeded in building on the momentum from their first Ottawa show. And that should make 'em feel loud and proud and eager to return in the near future.



  • "The Science Of Noise"
  • "White Noise/Black Silence"
  • "Monochromatic Stains"
  • "The Fatalist"
  • "The Silence In Between"
  • "Zero Distance"
  • "The Wonders At Your Feet"
  • "The Mundane And The Magic"
  • "Punish My Heaven"
  • "What Only You Know"
  • "Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)"
  • "State Of Trust"
  • "Therein"
  • "Lethe"
  • "Endtime Hearts"
  • "Misery's Crown"

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