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Live Reviews : Insomnium, Orpheus Omega, Myridian & Naberus @ Max Watts, Melbourne 25/05/2017

By on May 27, 2017

Images: Stephanie Fothergill
Words: Bailey Graham

As the sun began and the bitter Melbourne winds carried into the city, it was only an omen of the impending wall of sound that would envelope Max Watt’s House of Music that night, for Finnish melodic death metal masters Insomnium had made their way back to Australia in support of their 40-minute epic Winters Gate. With the crowd already abuzz with excitement and anticipation of Insomnium’s first ever headliner show in Australia, the level of hype was only furthered by the addition of three of Melbourne’s premier metal acts – Doom metallers Myridian, melodic powerhouse Naberus and the unstoppable melodic death metal juggernaut Orpheus Omega.

From the conversations, I overheard whilst waiting in line, it was safe to assume that tonight bolstered one of the strongest line-ups in Melbourne metal this year, and I can safely speak on behalf of everyone in attendance when I say that the quality of the night’s proceedings was just as spectacular as the bands on the bill. Kicking things of in solemn, yet uncompromising fashion, Myridian unleashed a wall of sound that mesmerized and captivated. Vocalist and bassist Felix Lane possessed a voice like no other, which such intensity and passion behind his demonic growls, I’m convinced the microphone was merely there for show. In their short thirty-minute set, Myridian opened the night’s proceedings in true Melbourne fashion and can walk away from this performance knowing they delivered a sublime and memorable performance. Still reeling in from the sonic beatdown, the crowd was left little time to compose themselves before Naberus rushed the stage and made their presence known. Whilst I struggled to enjoy the vocals of James Ash towards the former half of their set, he slowly won me over during the latter half, as his muffled hardcore-esque screams turned into a set of pipes that truly impressed us all.

I’ll admit, this was my first Naberus experience, and fortunately, it won’t be my last. Naberus won me over with their melodic hooks, well-crafted choruses and up-tempo aggression that could wake a sleeping giant. It’s no secret that Melbourne’s hometown heroes Orpheus Omega are a mainstay favourite in the metal community, with a devout cult following trailing their every move, but after the performance that ensued, you can bet that several more individuals will be following these lads. Still touring off the back of their latest LP Partum, Vita, Mortem, Orpheus wasted no time in delivering a highoctane set of pure aggression and melodic brilliance. From the circle-pit inducing madness of “The Deconstruct” to the wall-of-death inspiring brilliance of “Sealed in Fate”, the first mosh pits of the night began to form, and in monstrous calibre.

A band that feeds off the energy of the crowd below, it was no surprise that these lads were an absolute hit with the crowd. Front man Chris Themelco commanded an authority over the audience that would put any drill sergeant to shame, whilst the remaining members unleashed a plethora of high-energy, on-stage theatrics that made the band as much of a joy to watch, as they were to hear. A true highlight of the night, the first-ever performance of never-before-heard “When Hope Gives Way to Reason” is but an omen of this statement – this is a band who continue to grow and prosper as artists, and that the world needs to be ready. It almost felt impossible for the night’s headliners to top the amazing local talent that had been displayed, but my god, Insomnium delivered and exceeded all our expectations. Whilst excluding a couple of instrumental interludes, Insomnium’s decision to open with the entirety of their latest release Winter’s Gate sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. For a band to maintain performance level quality throughout one song is difficult enough, but when that said song’s duration reaches into the 40-minute mark, you know that this is a band like no other.

Vocalist and bassist Niilo Sevänen, whilst possessing an absolute monstrous presence and demeanour on-stage, possessed the vocal capabilities to match; bringing the roof down onto the entranced punters below. The twin guitar attack of Markus Vanhala and Jani Limatainen was simply pure joy to watch, as the on-stage chemistry between the two was impeccable. Holding down the rhythms, drummer Markus Hirvonen failed to slip up during the entirety of the performance of Winter’s Gate, which cannot be understated as anything but pure technical excellence on his behalf. As the guitars faded and the lights began to dim, the conclusion of Winter’s Gate felt as though the crowd had been taken on a sonic journey, a journey that one will not forget any time soon. As the lights began to return to the stage below, one could only imagine how much there was still to come, after such a performance.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Finnish people and their dedication to heavy metal, it’s that the night was far from over. Jumping straight into “The Gale” and “Mortal Share”, a sea of headbangers erupted as the crowd once again fell under the spell of Insomnium’s grasp. As the night carried on, crowd favourites “Ephemeral”, “Change of Heart” and “Bereavement” were executed perfectly, much to the delight of myself and the hundreds in attendance. Rounding off the night with “Revelation”, “Only One Who Waits” and “The Promethean Song”, the Finnish melodic titans held their heads up high, in assured knowledge that they delivered a set that will be etched into the minds of every single punter in attendance.

As the screams of the crowds began to deafen us, it was only fitting that Insomnium retuned for one final song; a bonecrushing performance of fan-favourite “While We Sleep”. After fourty minutes of Winter’s Gate in full, followed by further hour of flawlessly executed material from their entire back catalogue, I left Max Watt’s completely astounded at how close to perfect this night was. Myridian held their own very well and have cemented their position in the Melbourne metal community as a force to be reckoned with. Naberus showed us all that their relevance in our community is as strong as ever, with a performance to back it up. Orpheus Omega, once again, delivered a sublime performance that has earned them to right to be called (dare I say) one of the very best this country has to offer. As for Insomnium themselves, well, I’m speechless. It’s hard to remain unbiased when it comes to voicing your opinion on a band you know and love, but when a performance is so god damn spectacular, that all you can talk is praise, bias plays no role in this article. Three years since their first ever visit to our shores, and Insomnium have shown us all what they truly are – a powerhouse of heavy music, with a live show that cannot be touched.