Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes, Joliet (US)

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DARK TRANQUILLITY / OMNIUM GATHERUM / EXMORTUS

Date: 12th February, 2014
Venue: Mojoes
Ticket: $18 (€13) in advance - $20 (€15) day of show
Promoter: n/a


DimK: It was the middle of the week all right and the bitter cold was not willing to let us go but at the same time it seemed the perfect conditions for some Swedish melodic Metal from one of this scene’s forefathers and, of course, I am referring to DARK TRANQUILLITY. The rest of the billing was equally tempting and the ticket price was ridiculously low, so there were absolutely no excuses not to drive to Mojoe’s that cold evening. As it usually happens, we had to sacrifice the opening band of the billing because there was an interview scheduled with Mikael Stanne and expect to get it online pretty soon.

There was a nice crowd inside Mojoe’s watching DISSONA finishing off their 30-minute long setlist, so everything was set for a good show (yeah, the attendance has a lot to do with how a concert will proceed). The stage preparations lasted less than 20 minutes, so EXMORTUS were ready to deliver their technical Death Thrash without further ado. Before the show I was aware of this band’s doings simply because “In Hatred’s Flame” was an impressive to say the least debut (released by Heavy Artillery Records that is no longer around). “How are you Joliet?” were there first words coming from Jadran "Conan" Gonzales before kicking off the festivities with the brand new “Rising”. The first thing one notices with EXMORTUS is that the lineup featuring young at age musicians who are not lacking a bit from playing expertise. I mean, the double-guitar assault was insane and was a perfect fit for the overall brutality of the music.

From the get-go EXMORTUS put a lot of effort to warm up the audience during the short time given and I think they did well since during “Slave To The Sword” there was a lot of headbanging, even though this was another new song. Considering the short playing-time, the band picked wisely the songs for the setlist and included three new tracks, and if I were to choose the best I‘d go with “Immmortality Made Flesh” even though David Rivera had to switch guitars and some double-axe action was lost. On the other hand, the EXMORTUS guitar leads are quite complex, so Conan did fill the gap. Triumph By Fire” can be considered as the highlight of the set featuring an interesting solo during which the two guitarists had exchanged guitars in a strange pose. Yeah, the band did extremely well and I’d like to see more EXMORTUS live in a maybe more Thrash-oriented billing (wink, wink).

EXMORTUS setlist:

01. “Rising”
02. “Slave To The Sword”
03. “Immortality Made Flesh”
04. “Kneel Before The Steel”
05. “Triumph By Fire”

EXMORTUS

Exmortus @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Exmortus @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Exmortus @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Exmortus @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Exmortus @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: OMNIUM GATHERUM were next and since I only knew them via their studio recordings, I had no idea what to expect live. I am saying this because the moment the Finns had stepped one by one onstage under the sounds of the intro-like “Luoto”, a solid communication channel was built connecting them with the audience. And this became evident during “New Dynamic” that saw the band’s frontman Jukka Pelkonen wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen in concerts and seemed really pumped for OMNIUM GATHERUM’s onstage US debut. This also means that there was no warming up period and things got pretty steamy under the riff-driven song start and the following melodic Death Metal explosion. The melodic breaks where the keyboards and the lead guitars created the trademark Scandinavian sound were perfectly combined to the snowy weather, inviting the crowd to OMNIUM GATHERUM’s universe. It goes without saying that is 666 times better having a keyboard player and not pre-recorded parts right in front of your eyes that, I believe, confide a band from sounding live and not be served like a microwaved dinner.

Before “New World Shadows”, Jukka said “This is a very good crowd for a Wednesday night” and he was 100% correct because there was singing-along and a lot of headbanging, so the onstage energy started bouncing on and off the very responsive audience. There was kind a lot of action in the front rows during my personal favorite “The Sonic Sign” with the hearty double-guitar action and, in fact, the Koto - Vanhala duo deserves additional credit for the non-stop action. “This will be our last song” added Jukka before “The Unknowing” but soon after he took it back by saying “I think I own my colleagues an apology because we have two more songs for you”. So, we got “Nail” and “Deep Cold” back-to-back and as the band was dropping the curtain for OMNIUM GATHERUM setlist, the singer stepped off stage and greeted/hugged everyone standing in the front rows while keeping the wide smile still in place. Yes, this was a successful show for the Finns and I think they have the potential to put their foot on the US market’s door for good, meaning that we should/will get more from OMNIUM GATHERUM in the not so distant future. Well done, guys!

OMNIUM GATHERUM setlist:

01. “Luoto”
02. “New Dynamic”
03. “New World Shadows”
04. “The Sonic Sign”
05. “Soul Journeys”
06. “Living In Me”
07. “The Unknowing”
08. “Nail”
09. “Deep Cold”

OMNIUM GATHERUM

Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Omnium Gatherum @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: I was shocked the moment I realized that six years had passed since the last time I’ve watched DARK TRANQUILLITY live. And that was a real shame because the Swedish band has never failed me from the studio but for some reasons our paths did not cross in Europe or the US. So, I was extremely excited to listen the new and - of course - the old good tunes. As it happened in the previous sets, the stage preparations lasted only the time necessary to get everything up and running having a white banner as a backdrop. Yeah, the Swedes like to use projections to enrich visually their shows but this also means less lights onstage and tougher job to get good pics. Anyway, the music is what comes first and this is exactly what we got at around 10pm when the lights were dimmed and the graph of “The Science Of Noise” was projected on the backdrop marking the DT time. The double-guitars and the eerie keyboards (yep, Martin Brändström was in charge of these and it was not used a sampler) filled the venue getting everyone in the DARK TRANQUILLITY universe as Mikael and his characteristic singing topped the beautiful setup. The sound was great and the band’s fans didn’t need time to get on with the show, so there was a full of excitement reaction. Without stopping, the main riff of “White Noise/Black Silence” came next along with the hearty headbanging rhythm and taking pictures had just become tough (as if the low lighting was not enough). “Monochromatic Stains” completed the three-song opening attack and everything looked promising for the rest of the night, seeing a constantly moving and smiling Mikael as the two guitarists kept exchanging sides and less smiling. In fact, this can be my only complaint from the DARK TRANQUILLITY; the two guitarists seemed a little bit disconnected (especially Niklas who seemed to be more serious than the situation required). But no, this was not enough (not even close) to lose the already gathered momentum from the three setlist starters and everything exploded with “Lost To Apathy” during which e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e (the band included) was headbanging while the back projections kept the Gothic-like atmosphere intact. I love how the keyboards sounded in this track, especially during the slower break and killer guitar solo, leaving Mikael to provoke the audience for some hey-hey chanting. I already mentioned the back projection and how the eerie pictures fitted the show but I cannot help but mention how awesome “The Fatalist” sounded and looked with the beautiful black and white drawings, doing justice to the band’s dark side that all the DT fans love.

“We filmed a video for this one on a day that was extremely cold” said Mikael as a short intro for “Zero Distance” and watching the snowy video on the background seemed so fitting with the brutally cold outside Mojoe’s making it almost welcomed. The opening keyboard tunes and the following groovy rhythm of “The Wonders At Your Feet” got everyone clapping and singing along but things reached a climax during the awesome “Punish My Heaven” and I have to admit I got goosebumps seeing the “The Gallery” (one of the albums that defined the Gothenburg scene) cover artwork on the background when I was not headbanging following the killer lead guitar action. It’s amazing how Mikael sings all these dark lyrics wearing a huge smile on his face but at the same time it perfectly represents how DARK TRANQUILLITY uses all this darkness to make such great music. There was more headbanging during “Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)” while it was time for some oooohs to back up the guitars during “Therein” while the projector on the back displayed the refrain lyrics helping the crowd to join the singing-along festivities, and I have to admit I did not expect for such a warm response during Mikael’s clean vocals.

The regular setlist ended with the groovy-as-hell “Final Resistance” pushing the US audience to draw more energy drops than a Wednesday might allow one to have on his tank. Ok, Mikael did not jump on the crowd as he occasionally does but he did end this one on a high note. Of course, no one was willing to move an inch and after some screaming, the Swedes came back onstage re-starting the festivities with the amazing minor clean guitar melodies of “Lethe” and I think some more ooohs took place during the unforgettable riff sequence. The up-tempo “Endtime Hearts” (more kudos to Martin Brändström for the keyboards melodies) gave its place to the final song of the night, “Misery's Crown”, that was another personal favorite of mine.

Yeah, this was another typical DARK TRANQUILLITY show with lots of atmosphere, groove, headbanging, sweat and occasionally singing-along. I hope it won’t take much time to see the Swedes back in the States because they have a strong following here. Watching the fans leaving the venue, it did not feel like a Wednesday night but more like a Friday. Until we meet again...

“Don't bring it
Don't bring it
Don't bring your misery down on me
Wear misery's crown”

DARK TRANQUILLITY setlist:

01. “The Science Of Noise”
02. “White Noise/Black Silence”
03. “Monochromatic Stains”
04. “Lost To Apathy”
06. “The Fatalist”
07. “The Silence In Between”
08. “Zero Distance”
09. “The Wonders At Your Feet”
10. “The Mundane And The Magic”
11. “Punish My Heaven”
12. “What Only You Know”
13. “Terminus (Where Death Is Most Alive)”
14. “State Of Trust”
15. “Therein”
16. “Final Resistance”
17. “Lethe”
18. “Endtime Hearts”
19. “Misery's Crown”

DARK TRANQUILLITY

Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Dark Tranquillity @ Mojoes (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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