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Live Reviews : Turisas (Sydney) – 22/05/2010

By on May 25, 2010


w/ Be’lakor and Dead Letter Opener

The Factory Theatre, Enmore (Sydney) – 22nd May, 2010

Turisas are an amazing live band, period. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to witness their live spectacle a few times now in my European travels, but have never had the chance to see them perform a headlining show of their own. So naturally I was excited when they announced that they would be touring Australia for the very first time, playing a string of headlining shows with two excellent local supports, Brisbane’s Dead Letter Opener and Melbourne’s Be’lakor.

Unfortunately less than a month ago, a certain promoter decided to cancel the tour without any valid reason and as a result, it looked like Australia wasn’t going to see Turisas after all. Luckily the band wasn’t ready to give up without a fight and they posted on their website that the tour was not cancelled and that they were going to try and find another promoter to take over the reigns. Fortunately Soundwave Touring came to the rescue and made the tour (minus one date) happen.

So, fast forward a couple of weeks and here I was at the Factory Theatre in Newtown (Sydney) ready for the show of a lifetime. The Factory Theatre hasn’t been used for metal gigs much over the last couple of years, but since The Gaelic has reduced in size, it seems like numerous upcoming tours that would normally play at The Gaelic are now being transferred to The Factory. Personally, I’m glad for the change as I find that The Factory has much better sound and it also has great viewpoints of the stage no matter where you stand. I’m definitely happy with more shows being announced at this venue.

As I arrived at the venue, I noticed an abundance of face-painted fans lingering around the outside bar and I immediate knew I was at the right place. After a few quick greetings to some friends hanging outside, I got inside just as Dead Letter Opener was playing their second last track. I missed their last Sydney show earlier this year and was eager to see their whole set, but unfortunately traffic issues prevented this. At least I was able to see a small selection of the Brisbane trio’s brand of experimental metal. For the technical type of music they play, they were extremely tight and powerful. The audience that had arrived early enough to catch their set seemed to be really getting into it. Their last track, which I’m pretty sure was from their latest album “Lumen”, was a perfect end for their set as it was both furious and enthralling. I’ll definitely have to make sure I get to see their whole show next time they perform in Sydney.

Next up were Melbourne band Be’lakor who play a very impressive blend of melodic death metal with harmonious passages much akin to the greats like Opeth and Enslaved. From memory, this was only the second time Be’lakor has played in Sydney and you can tell even just from that small amount that they are quickly becoming a national favourite. It’s quite rare when you see almost as many people wearing shirts of the support band as compared to the headlining band. A great sign that people in Australia are recognising the talented bands that we keep producing. Be’lakor performed their set flawlessly with great stage presence from each member. Vocalist (and guitarist) George Kosmas put forth a powerful vocal performance while keeping the crowd entertained in between songs, as the band soared through the atmospheric, crushing set. I can’t wait till these guys hit our neck of the woods again!

And finally we come to the headliners of the night, Finland’s Turisas. With the expected epic intro tape climaxing, they exploded on to the stage clad in furs and body armour with faces painted ready for battle. They burst straight into the first track from their latest album, To Holmgard and Beyond, which sent the crowd into a headbanging, singing, dancing extravaganza and they remained that way all night. After playing The Messenger, vocalist Mathias Nygård started interacting with the crowd. The first thing he proclaimed was that they’d travelled all this way and he was being served Belgian beer, so he demanded an Australian beer be served right away. I’m glad he was given Little Creatures and not some crap like VB, otherwise they may never come back. The crowd chanted to scull it but he said that he wasn’t going to go waste it like Joey DeMaio and that’d he saviour it. But I’m pretty sure he got through several of them by the time the set was completed. After another track from their debut album, they kicked into In the Court of Jarisleif which was one of the most fun songs I’ve ever seen performed live. The whole band was dancing around the stage, looping arms and swinging around in circles, all without missing a note. An amazing feat! One thing you notice about Turisas is that every member is having an absolute ball on stage and you can tell that they’re grateful of the audience’s participation and feedback.

Turisas lost their keyboardist a while back so now they have all their orchestrations playing as a backing track which I felt gave it more of an epicness from the previous times I saw them as everything you hear on the album is now present in their live set. This really came through on Rex Regi Rebellis and Miklagard Overture. The encore provided some of the sets most crowd interactive material, including the Boney M. cover, Rasputin, where Mathias tried to separate the crowd into two for singing purposes but the crowd went straight into, as he quoted, a “moron’s wall of death”. Damn that Australian mentality…haha! They closed with their most popular track, and one that defines the band’s style perfectly, Battle Metal. A perfect closer for a perfect set. Turisas’ music came across amazingly live and I’m extremely glad they found a way to get down to our country after the certain setbacks that occurred. Fingers crossed they made enough profit from the shows that’ll warrant another tour for their upcoming third album.

Turisas Setlist

To Holmgard and Beyond
A Portage to the Unknown
The Messenger
One More
In the Court of Jarisleif / Dark Eyes
Rex Regi Rebellis
Miklagard Overture


Battle Metal