Words: Brady Irwin
Photos: Mark Hoffmann
Tonight was something of a dual celebration for punters – not only were we finally exposed to the powerful presence and talent of one of Finland’s melodic Death Metal institutions for the first time, but the supporting lineup was also packed with local legends quickly climbing the ranks in the Australian scene.
As an opening demonstration of this new blood, Primitive brought their fierce but grooving hybrid of breakneck Thrash and melodic Death to whip the crowd into a forest of neck swivelling from the get-go. Trading off solos and fast licks between one another, the vocalist/guitarist and lead player were quick to adjoin the pummelling riff section in fast, classic Thrash with modern breakdowns that saw the band and crowd headbanging hard into it. Watching the band grinning evilly as they pushed through hot takes such as A Thousand Cuts, Carved in Stone and Black Blood, even technical issues forcing the frontman off the amp didn’t slow them down a pace. In fact, it only helped rouse the crowd harder as the band pulled off crushing riffs without a second thought.
Next up were the incredibly popular and self-satirising Triple Kill. Earning a whooping applause as they stepped onto the stage adorned in everything from fairy wings, Kratos face-paint, corpse-paint to a skirt, it’d be easy to have passed them off as little more than a parody act if you weren’t in the know – which was a joke everyone was evidently in on, seeing as every second shirt in the gig sported their logo. Going the full edge-lord 90s-kid avenue, they ripped through (pun intended) songs themed of Beyblades, Bloodborne and other hot topics with a seriously tight, punchy and hook-laden brand of classic Metal worship. The band’s kitchen sink approach to riff-work balanced well alongside their goofball humour and, of course, the generous offering of many buttered Vegemite sandwiches prepared and launched into the pit by Orpheus Omega colleague Joao Goncalves. These local larrikins are ever on the ascent in the Australian scene with each fun-packed show.
Following up such a debaucherously well-received set like that is hard to maintain, but fellow locals Trigger didn’t let that dissuade them – nor did the crowd respond any less in kind. Opening in a very Blade Runner-esque veil of smoke and 80s synth effects, the fitting intro cut into focused, lead-heavy Thrash Metal riffing. Hitting the stage soon after, the frontman intertwined soulful and melodic crooning between solid, sharp rasps and barks. The frantic tapping, leads and blistering solos of classic Metal mixing with modern, crushing breakdowns earned a huge reaction from the now blood-drunk crowd. Jumping as one to punchy numbers like Demon Eyes and Tethered to the Tide, it wasn’t until Upon the Forge that the band announced they’d be filming, also imploring the floor to “circle around that big fucking pillar over there!” The crowd acquiesced to this in whirling mass of bodies like starving piranhas. Culminating in a massive wall of death with Operation Self-Destruct, it was clear Trigger had unleashed the beast in the crowd by the end of their set.
Being sufficiently warmed for the set, the immediacy and ferocity that Orpheus Omega brought was mirrored with bodies and hair flinging back and forth from the get-go. Channelling the glory days of Children of Bodom but with even more intensity, the co-headliners mingled blasting, tremolo-heavy sections with warbling synth, thundering bass and relentless drumming. Staying transfixed on the crowd as he ripped and tore through a menagerie of riffs and solos, frontman/guitarist Chris Themelco did a great job of holding up the higher register with his bandmate’s unfortunate departure from the stage due to injury – who later ran onstage to provide roaring backup vocal assistance to huge applause. Flanked by the whirling heads, clean additions and barked shouts of keyboardist (keytarist, really) Owen Gallagher and bassist Nathan Mesiti, the band were eager to demonstrate to their Finnish counterparts “Exactly what we meant when we told them this’d be the best show of the tour!” – an incitement that got the crowd raging as they belted heads and fists for ‘Wear Your Sins’ material such as Suffer, In Time, Swim in the Black, the title track as well as the ripping Karma Favours the Weak from their prior LP. That infamous pillar copped another washing-machine of punters during When Hope Gives Way to Reason, the furious pace of Matt Themelco’s drum-work aiding the cavernous bass to keep the band’s barrage of riffs locked-in and focused through the set. Sporting a marathon of intricate riffs, wailing leads and solos, ethereal synth and keyboard solos and accompaniments, Orpheus rightly earnt their space on the bill as a Melbournian melodic Death Metal institution.
Then it was time for the international superstars to bring their A-game to the stage. Amid a simple stage get-up, plenty of smoke and light, the opening refrains of ‘The Burning Cold’ instrumental interlude The Burning kicked right into Gods Go First amidst riotous cheers, hollers and screams as enigmatic frontman Jukka Pelkonen took to the stage and belted his throaty, guttural roars. Joining him to great applause for this track was Chris Themelco from Orpheus, whose complimentary growls added even more beef atop the bruising, relentless pacing of bassist Erkki Silvennoinen and ridiculous drummer Tuomo Latvala. With a razor-sharp and thunderous rhythm section infallible guitar wizards Joonas Koto and Markus Vanhala (of Insomnium fame) were able to glide and fly with soaring leads, intricate, dazzling solos and crushing riffs, a pattern that would stay delightfully consistent and captivating throughout.
Asking the crowd to “Show me how you headbang!” as he held devil’s horns horizontal to the crowd, the ever-appreciative frontman announced the wistful and melodic Frontiers, the clean-sung and ambient sections of which got the crowd swaying in unison in between head-bobbing riff sections. Following this up with the breakneck, tapping-heavy Nail, the crushing presence of the low growls underneath a much speedier, thrashing melodeath number got the crowd frantically smashing into one another with abandon. Reminding the audience (“my sweet, sweet Metalheads!”) in his thick but endearing Finnish accent, the frontman implored us that, “There’s no rules, no restrictions here tonight – just go!” and thus we did as one as they tore through Be the Sky, Over the Battlefield and the classic-Swedish-inspired Blade Reflections; even slower, proggier parts in The Unknowing and Driven By Conflict were bolstered by chants, fist-pumping and hands and fists pointed to and from the crowd. Circling the stage during blistering solos, facing off in classic dual-guitarist stance, heck, even being fed beers by the keyboardist at one stage – all the histrionics and trappings of a classic Metal act were onstage tonight. It was clear the band had a genuine love for the crowd and were just having pure, unadulterated fun. Seeing the set out with the The Great Liberation, Refining Fire, New World Shadows and the epic closer Cold, by the time the pensive Luoto/New Dynamic signified an encore, the venue was set ablaze by a blistering rendition of Skyline. Closing out to well wishes and thanks to “My babies,” it’s clear Omnium Gatherum have made their first mark here a lasting one.
Get tickets for the remaining Orpheus Omega Tasmanian shows HERE!