Live Reviews : Be'lakor Album Launch (Melbourne) – 20/06/2009
w/ ‘neath, Envenomed, Arbrynth
The Espy – Melbourne, 20th June 2009.
The hype was immense and the street team in full force weeks leading up to this event. Two years since their launch of ‘The Frail Tide’ at iconic Melbourne venue The Tote, atmospheric death metal band Be’lakor were back, this time launching Stone’s Reach at the even more iconic Esplanade Hotel, to the heavily crowded Gershwin Room.
Kicking proceedings off on a calm winter’s night were forest dwellers Arbrynth, who despite only making sporadic live appearances, are forming a massive following in the Melbourne scene. Never was this more apparently than at 8:30pm when they kicked off their set to an impressive sized and very partisan crowd, hanging on every folk driven melody and beat. The four piece, who I’ll gladly admit are a favourite of mine, benefitted largely to a fantastic mix, of which the breathtaking female vocals received much attention which gained many thanks to ardent supporters. Now the band has completely nailed their live performance, all we need is an official recording to devour! Extra snaps out to Dodd’s for the cheesiest call of the night
Also launching their record on the night was power thrash band Envenomed, who while very professional in Thrash metal attire and smoke laden stage, weren’t exactly my cup of tea, therefore after a song or two I partook in some of Tasmania’s finest (Cascade Pale Ale) and relaxed in the luscious leather couches situated at the back of the Gershwin Room. A major highlight of their was the comedic intro music where they suggested that they were about to come in our ‘ear pussies’… very unexpected given their somewhat delicate looks!
Queenslander’s ‘neath made the trek down south to play to the local scene for the second time this year. Their first appearance here in Melbourne supporting Mournful Congregation + more at the EBC was met with what I felt unfounded live critic, their performance at the Espy this night was left somewhat wanting compared to the energy offered up by the preceding bands. The band’s live sound was fantastic I’ll grant, with tracks such as ‘When The Birds Lie Dead’ and ‘The Spiders Sleep’ gaining deserved response by those familiar with their music. However a larger stage presence and intensity would surely go a long way for the band.
The hour had come, the crowd moved forward and the curtains were drawn – ‘Stone’s Reach’ was released. Opening with an already fan favourite Venator (which was released on MySpace a week before the launch), Be’lakor moved their way through a fantastic set mixing many new songs up with a couple old favourites, all the head banging appreciation from the 350+ crowd. Epic sound scapes courtesy of soaring melodies and atmospheric keys, the 5 piece never let up throughout their set, which saw oft eager crowd participation (BE’LAKOR! FUCK!).
Easily one of the best gigs in Melbourne for 2009, very much supported by one of the largest attendances at a local gig of recent times. Congratulations to Be’lakor on launching what is set to be one of the best releases of 2009 – not only in Australia, but also internationally – and that’s not too much of an overstatement!
BE’LAKOR SETLIST: Saturday 20th June, 2009
From Scythe to Sceptre
Neither Shape Nor Shadow
Held in Hollows
Review by Brendan Amos
Photos by Jess Day