Mercenary, Omnium Gatherum & Essence – Belgrade, September 3rd, 2013

It has become an unwritten rule that mid-league bands’ shows are often set to fail. For reasons I would prefer not to get into at this point, gigs by bands such as the Danish Mercenary are often not as attended as the artist deserves (and the promoter would love). Yet, this does not diminish the band’s determination to bring out the best of themselves and provide the few metalheads in the front rows with the show they deserve, and this is precisely why these gigs always carry the real spirit of the scene, and are often better and more sincere than those attended by tens of thousands.

[divider]

Unfortunately, due to working late, I was not able to catch Essence’s performance, which I heard was top-notch, but unfortunately with just a few people to support them. The schedule presented on the event page was followed without any delay, so when the main support act (or the co-headliners) Omnium Gatherum hit the stage around 9 PM the majority of the crowd was already in front of the stage. After the final notes of “Louto,” the band rocked the audience with “The New Dynamic,” off of their latest album, Beyond. The band’s set list was well-balanced, focusing as much on the tracks from Beyond, as on the previous albums such as The Redshift or New World Shadows.

Omnium Gatherum

The bands’ musicianship was immaculate; with the band delivering songs that may even sound better live than on the tape, which is quite an achievement in the age of digitized music recording. The other thing that vastly contributed to the overall enjoyment is that the sound was amazing, considering the size of the club. What surprised me the most was that the band’s enthusiasm did not seem to vain before a smaller audience; and just like Mercenary, they played with the same eagerness as if they were playing in front of a thousand people. The band had a constant contact with the audience, greeting the fans in the front row and constantly motivating the rest of the audience to participate too. All of this even resulted in the band playing a totally impromptu encore, after which the band bid their farewells to the amazed audience.

Without much delay, the symphonic intro to the headliner’s set echoed through the speakers, and the band climbed up on the stage, their backs turned on the audience until the intro faded, and Mercenary kicked-off their set with “A New Dawn,” off of their latest effort, Through Our Darkest Days. An instant link between the band and the audience was created, and everyone sang along to the chorus. While I was afraid that due to the not-so-recent line-up change the band would force more tracks from their last two records, the set-list paid tribute to most of their career, evident immediately with the second track, “Soul Decision,” taken from their highly acclaimed album The Hours That Remain. The band’s main-man René Pedersen was up to the task of filling the position of the lead singer, handling both growls and high-pitched clean vocals with extreme skill and power.

René Pedersen

While they still focused more on their latest opus with tracks such as the bombastic “Generation Hate,” the powerful “Welcome the Sickness” or the title track, the band also included tunes from their previous efforts: Metamorphosis, 11 Dreams, and the aforementioned The Hours That Remain. The sound was clear for the most part, and although there were some brief technical difficulties, it only gave Pedersen the chance to have a lighthearted chat with the people in the audience, giving off the impression that the band was playing for a bunch of old friends. I must mention again that the small number of people in the audience did not play any part in the band’s performance: they were as enthusiastic and professional as they would have been in front of a much larger audience. The band was caught flat-footed when the audience unanimously requested an encore. Although they had no more songs up their sleeve, the band was evidently amazed, thanking the audience and promising to return as soon as possible. Afterwards, the guys from all the bands indulged the fans’ requests for pictures and autographs, and had a nice chat with a few of us as well. They admitted that they were amazed that everyone in the audience knew and sang the songs by heart, and that was ultimately the most important thing to them.

Overall this was an intimate show both fans and the bands enjoyed. I would like to commend the local promoter, “Zlabog Promotions” for giving us a chance to see these three amazing bands, as well as their professional approach and punctuality. If you get the chance to see this amazing package near you, be sure to check them out – you are definitely in for a treat!

 

Mercenary