5.5.2023 Asymmetric Universe, Persefone, & Ne Obliviscaris @ Tavastia, Helsinki


Extreme progressive metal juggernauts NE OBLIVISCARIS recently released their strongest studio effort to date, “Equus.” Due to the pandemic, the band hadn’t been able to tour since 2019 (!), so it was about time for the band to set foot on the European continent once again. The tour package was an exquisite progressive feast with the up-and-coming progressive instrumental project ASYMMETRIC UNIVERSE and the Andorran progressive metal act PERSEFONE also included in the package, which made it definitely worth our while to check out all three acts at Tavastia, Helsinki, on May 5th, 2023.

It doesn’t happen a lot anymore nowadays that I check out a support act before going to see their show (I often like to be surprised), but for some reason, the whole lineup across Europe seemed very intriguing, so I checked out both ASYMMETRIC UNIVERSE and THE OMNIFIC, which are both instrumental trios, and I was totally impressed (even though later on, I noticed that THE OMNIFIC wasn’t set to play during the Finland dates).

NE OBLIVISCARIS is a pretty popular band in Finland, so it wasn’t surprising at all that they would sell out the evening at Helsinki. We arrived right at the time the doors would open and it turned out that there was a queue outside of the venue, meaning that ASYMMETRIC UNIVERSE had a pretty good turnout for their first-ever show in Finland. The trio was mostly focused on their instruments while playing their intricate progressive/jazz/fusion type of music and despite the fact that NE OBLIVISCARIS and PERSEFONE are both very different bands, they definitely managed to intrigue the audience. That being said, their blend of music isn’t necessarily the type one would dance to or even mosh, but they definitely did receive warm welcome!

ASYMMETRIC UNIVERSE have recently released a new album, “The Sun Would Disappear As I Imagined All The Stars,” which I would recommend checking it out if you – like me – like some soothing jazzy progressive instrumental tunes once in a while!

Next up was special guest PERSEFONE, a band that I personally had been waiting to see for a couple of years now. Again, I wasn’t disappointed. They turned out to have great energy on stage and while, admittedly, I was expecting to hear lots of songs from their latest outing, “metanoia,” instead we received a varied and dynamic setlist with lots of highlights. Opening trio “Flying Sea Dragons,” “Mind as Universe,” and “The Great Reality” were a great surprise to hear in their respective order off of “Spiritual Migration.”

It was great to finally hear songs like “Katabasis” and “Merkabah” from the latest album live, as they deserve to be played – true bangers! Often, it seemed like something was wrong with guitarist Carlos Lozano‘s setup, as sometimes he’d squat down and grab his phone. At some point, during the show, one of the fans actually grabbed their flash light to help him out. While this was happening though, he kept on playing as if there wasn’t anything going on.

The set was rounded out with “The Majestic of Gaia,” an almost 9-minute juggernaut of a track that showed the complexity of the songs this band plays. The highly dynamic piece was a great way for everyone to give their final all-in for the one last time during this setlist. In the end, the finale came way too soon, so let’s hope these guys get to play a headlining slot in Finland pretty soon!

Finally, it was time for NE OBLIVISCARIS to round out the evening with their extreme blend of music. Sadly, the band had made an announcement a couple of days before the start of the tour that growler Xenoyr wouldn’t be able to tour due to personal health matters. The replacement for this tour was found in James Dorton (THE FACELESS/BLACK CROWN INITIATE). Xenoyr‘s presence during the shows makes a huge difference in atmosphere, so we were really curious to see what the chemistry would be like on stage. Thankfully, James didn’t try to copy Xenoyr‘s quirky style on stage and was completely himself, which meant that instead of a growler shrouded in mystery (or how vocalist/violinist Tim Charles put it: a vampire), we were served with more of an in-your-face singer who instantly earned the fans’ respect. Another change in the lineup meant that it was also the first concert with Kevin Paradis behind the drum kit, who was announced to join the ranks a few weeks ago.

The band opened up with “Intra Venus” and despite having prepared very well for the set, there seemed to be some technical difficulties at the start of the show, which also meant that they had to briefly take a break before diving into “Equus.” Thankfully, the issues were resolved straight away and the rest of the show went on without any major issues.

Since this was the first stop on their tour, we were served a couple of live debuts and the band thankfully included “Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls” and “Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence” in their set. While these two chapters lasted over 15 minutes, it was a great experience to finally hear the mood of this song translated to the stage. Next, the band played a fan-favorite, “Libera (Part I): Saturnine Spheres,” which ultimately remains one of their best songs live, since it even has a part where fans can sing along – which the audience did, loudly!

“Forget Not” provided a little bit of a breather, as it is largely more atmospheric. Once again, Tim Charles was able to show off his incredible violin style. “Devour Me, Colossus (Part I): Blackholes” introduced the last and heavy part of the show and shifted the mood a little bit. Continuing with the live debut of the beautiful “Graal” meant that there was a nice flow to the setlist. The band returned with the encore that everybody was expecting (and needing): “And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope.” You could feel the audience’s excitement as the acoustic guitar and violin intro started and shifting through different moods within this song from more atmospheric moments to sections where headbanging was the norm, the band ended their set of this very special show on a high note!

Photos and text by Laureline Tilkin


  1. Intra Venus
  2. Equus (Live debut)
  3. Misericorde I – As the Flesh Falls (Live debut)
  4. Misericorde II – Anatomy of Quiescence (Live debut)
  5. Libera (Part I): Saturnine Spheres
  6. Forget Not
  7. Devour Me, Colossus (Part I): Blackholes
  8. Graal (Live debut)
  9. And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope (Encore)