Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, & Exmortus arrive at Stage 48, NYC 2-3-14

When Dark Tranquillity released their tenth studio album Construct in May of 2013, all North American fans could ponder was when will these Swedish melodic death metal kings tour this side of the ocean.  The wait came to an end when the announcement of Dark Tranquillity’s headlining Construct tour hit news-lines, with direct support from Omnium Gatherum and Exmortus. Only 4 shows into the 27 date trek, the tour buses pulled into a snow-bounded New York City on Monday February 3rd to play one of the city’s hottest newest venues Stage 48.

Pulling in a decent crowd early on, Brooklyn based death metal band Winter Nights started the evening out.  After their successful opening for Morbid Angel back in November 2013 at Irving Plaza, these guys are keeping the energy flowing at rapid speed.  Forming in 2007 the band is currently unsigned, but the fan support they brought with them to this show was extremely impressive.  Showing off old school metal riffing and plenty of melodic styling, Winter Nights had the crowd going with excitement and moshing all over the floor.

The first of the nationally billed bands to hit the stage, Exmortus, directly followed.  From Southern California this four-piece metal band consists of Conan (guitar/vocals), David Rivera (guitar), Jovanni Perez (bass), and Mario Mortus (drums).  With 3 full-length albums to their name, including their newest Slave to the Sword (2014) , this band is raising awareness to the metal community nationwide.  Taking Stage 48 with a whirl-wind of energy, their thrash-like death metal sound grabbed attendees by the throat.  With a lot of head banging taking place on the stage, the disease spread onto the floor with the undeniably catchy feel of Exmortus songs.  Using the venue to their advantage, the band displayed red tints with images of flames on the video screens adding to the intensity.  Conan’s deep growls combined perfectly with the aggressive guitar riffing with songs like “Slave to The Sword”.  While many knew of the band’s music, even those which did not were moshing midway through their set.  Exmortus posses speed, technique, and above all, a stage presence well worth checking out.

The evening took a more melodic turn with the arrival of Finland’s Omnium Gatherum.  Together now for nearly 2 decades, these Finns have released six full-length albums exploring melodic death metal along with some progressive elements.  Consisting of six members in all, the band is comprised of Jukka Pelkonen (vocals),  Markus Vanhala (guitar), Joonas “Jope” Koto (guitar), Aapo Koivisto (keyboards), Erkki Silvennoinen (bass), and Jarmo Pikka (drums).  This marks an extremely exciting time for the band and their followers with this being their first North American tour ever.

Opening up their set with the ambient sounds of “Luoto”, a swell of excitement built in the room while fans eyes were glued to the stage.  As the calm set in, the storm hit with a string of powerful melodic death metal tunes including “New Dynamic” and “New World Shadows”.  The guitar work of Vanhala and Jope blistered while Pelkonen voice roared above it all.  The majestic backdrop of keyboards provided by Koivisto added depth to the performance through songs like “Soul Journeys”.

Omnium Gatherum proved they can provide listeners with a metal assault, but also allow moments of clarity to breathe fully.  The crowd was spread all over the floor, rejoicing in the performance in the form of moshing and metal horns high in the air.  As their set came to a close it was clear their first performance in New York City was a huge success a midst a mood setting show not soon to be forgotten by dedicated and new fans.  One can only hope this is the first of many more appearances Omnium Gatherum will make state side.

The time had arrived for a strong turn out of metalheads at Stage 48 to experience Dark Tranquillity.  Having toured North America numerous times in the past, this was not the first time for many of those in attendance seeing the Swedes, nor will it be the last time for these dedicated backers.  Anticipating the band members walking onto the stage, the crowd packed closer to the stage, cheering loudly and aggressively.

As energetic as ever, Mikael Stanne (vocalist) blasted onto the stage with the rest of the band, opening with the new track “The Science of Noise”. The set moved quickly into an offering of Dark Tranquillity’s grand discography including “White Noise/Black Silence” and the powerful “Monochromatic Stains”. Martin Henriksson and Niklas Sundin’s guitar dueling was fierce, lightening fast, and precise. Witnessing a dread-less Henriksson for the first time live, he still seemed to move his head in the same synchronized rhythmic style with his playing as years past. With the blood flowing through all, the volcano erupted with “Lost To Apathy”. The mix of guitars, the battering of Anders Jivarp on the skins, and dream-like feel of Martin Brändström’s keyboards brought the track to life in monumental fashion.

Creating an atmosphere filled with a broad spectrum of emotion is something Dark Tranquillity has mastered over the course of their career, and this evening was no exception, as they continuing along with songs such as “The Fatalist” and “The Silence in Between”. The intensity was felt in vibration on the floor which gave way to the biggest pit of the evening joined by some motivated crowd surfing. Songs like “Zero Distance” and “The Mundane and the Magic” kept things moving at full force with no end in sight. This gave long-time listeners a chance to hear classics like “Punish My Heaven” midway through the performance.

Displaying amazing endurance, Stanne bellowed each word of each song with sheer emotion, insight, and clarity other death metal vocalists are envious of. Engaging fans, Stanne took the time to acknowledge their excitement pointing the microphone in their direction to sing along. Bridging the gap between the old and the new, songs like “The Wonders At Your Feet” mixed nicely with those off We Are The Void (2010), Fiction (2007), and Construct. Fans relished in the opportunity to see Dark Tranquillity on stage for such a long duration, covering an even balance of their material. Stanne even treated everyone to some of his unique clean vocalization on the song “Therein”, which was immediately followed by the set closing chant along “Final Resistance”.

Exhibiting immense joy, a chant absorbed the air pulling Dark Tranquillity right back out onto the stage for an encore. Stanne has always proven to be an extremely down to earth individual on stage, showing great appreciation for the audience with more than a handful of thank you’s to go around. With that, Dark Tranquillity ended the evening with oldie but goodie “Lethe”, “Endtime Hearts”, and the heart-wrenching “Misery’s Crown”. The snow storm aside, this was clearly a magical evening for Dark Tranquillity’s Construct tour at stage 48 in NYC.

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