[LIVE REVIEW] Insomnium w/ Special Guests@ Max Watts, Melbourne 25/05/2017

Review Jodi Marino

Thursday night, Melbourne was fortunate enough to be the starting point for the much anticipated first headline tour by Finnish melodic death metal giants Insomnium. And with there being a considerable following for the genre here, it seemed the perfect place to start.

With fans lining the street outside Max Watts, knowing that all three support acts were fellow Melburnians, it was destined to be a large crowd and a great start to the tour.

Opening proceedings were the five-piece, Myridian. Having been together since 2009, they are a very tight, polished outfit. Playing a selection of tunes from their catalog of two studio albums, and one EP, they showcased well the distinguishing features of the style, being fierce double kicks, beautiful guitar harmonies and some haunting keys. With a slightly more clean style of vocals, they had an appealing sound.

After so long together, it was, in fact, founding member, Scott Brierly’s farewell gig, having decided to part ways. They will, however, continue on with a pending announcement on the line-up to come.

Myridian (3)
Myridian (5)

Naberus were next on the bill, and it was clear that they had their own little niche group of followers. Vocalist James Ash, used the stage to the fullest, working the full width with a high level of energy. The backing vocals struck me as being very strong as they charged through their set. With two EP’s and two full albums under their belt since 2006, they have more than earned their supporting role.

Naberus (2)
Naberus (1)

Orpheus Omega is one of Australia’s best known melodic death metal bands, and for good reason. Having been around since 2008, they have cemented themselves as one of our premier acts, with a sizeable following both here and overseas. With three albums and an EP to choose from, their set was always going to be high energy and entertaining. With all members except drummer Matt Themelco, being forward on the stage, it creates a very in-your-face frontline that works the crowd.

As vocalist Chris Themelco tells the room they are live streaming into Hong Kong, he encourages the crowd to show what they are made of and with that, they roar and become even more frantic on the floor than they already were.

And whilst they are serious about their music, they proved that they can also have fun as they took turns at wearing a rubber chicken mask throughout their last song. It made for a light hearted close to their set.

Orpheus Omega (7)
Orpheus Omega (2)

The usual surge to the front of the room that takes place as headliners prepare to take the stage was more cordial and measured than I expected, but having said that, the level of excitement and anticipation was visible as people took to their vantage points to witness what Insomnium were about to unleash.

With the lighting super low, and a stream of blue backlights, the atmosphere created was a perfect image for what lay ahead.

With Niilo Sevänen, Markus Vanhala, and Jani Liimatainen  ( filling in for Ville Friman ) lined up with their backs facing the audience, and the intro to the critically acclaimed Winters Gate playing, you know that the next 40 minutes are going to be an epic journey through the seven stages of the one song album, released last September.

To the uninitiated, a 40-minute song would seem daunting at best, however, the delivery and content keep the listener hanging on to every note and beat.  The storytelling ability of this band is simply amazing.

The ridiculously awesome double kicks by Markus Hirvonen, providing the undertones for the dramatic tale unfolding, and the guitar harmonies are some of the best I have ever heard. Lifting you through the different phases of the song like a soundtrack to a movie, only there is no movie, just the story and what images the individual conjures in their mind.

Orpheus Omega (7)
Orpheus Omega (2)

In what seems like no time, the epic song is over and the band takes a small but deserved break, to return to cheers from the crowd. The atmosphere and ambiance change up a little and the faces of each member are no longer appearing as shadows in the mist, as the stage lighting becomes more traditional.

Playing a select few of their other musical masterpieces, the harmonies continue in complete synchronicity. Closing out the night with ‘While We Sleep’ from the hugely successful Shadows of the Dying Sun album, both band and fans seemed equally satisfied with the nights’ performance, almost guaranteeing that this will definitely not be last time we see Insomnium in Australia.