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Album InterviewsInterviews

Interview with Chavez Cartel (Q & A)

Indulge yourself in a vibrant and soulful musical experience with Gold Coast rockers Chavez Cartel's latest single, “Dead Weekend.” This dynamic track is a perfect blend of hazy guitars, moody melodics, and sultry swagger that is sure to leave you captivated.

Chavez Cartel has always been known for their exceptional musical prowess and artistic vision, and “Dead Weekend” is no exception. The band has managed to fuse different elements of rock, blues, and soul into a single track, creating a unique sound that is both refreshing and energizing.

With their signature gritty and raw vocals, Chavez Cartel's lead singer delivers a powerful performance that perfectly complements the edgy and electrifying instrumentation. The guitar riffs are catchy and infectious, and the driving rhythm section is nothing short of impressive.

Dead Weekend” is a testament to Chavez Cartel's ability to evolve and experiment with their sound, while staying true to their roots. The track is a perfect representation of the band's dynamic and multifaceted approach to music, and a great addition to their already impressive discography.

So, whether you're in need of some musical escapism or simply looking for a new sound to explore, “Dead Weekend” is a must-listen for any rock enthusiast out there. With its infectious energy and irresistible hooks, this track is sure to leave you wanting more.

(Tell us about your new single Dead Weekend?

Dead weekend actually came about with a guitar riff idea and a half finished song being combined. We had these ideas for a while however, we could never get them sounding right…until we decided to join em together. It’s edgy, it's druggy and it builds up to a huge explosion of sound that makes a great last song on a set.

What’s the creative process like for you?

I think as a band we’re most creative in the jam room. Most of our songs have been written by jamming in between other songs and messing around with riffs and grooves. Individually, I think we all get our inspiration from different places. I personally feel most creative, or in the “creative zone”, while listening to songs, lyrics and drum grooves in the car because that’s where I can just forget about everything and get lost in the world of music.

If you could change something about the music industry what would change?

To be honest, I’d change how tough it is to actually make a living in this industry as a band. Sadly, making a living is close to impossible until you get to a certain level of fame which happens to 1 in (insert big enough number here). I’d change this because I’m sure this has put off a lot of people, myself included, from giving their all to their music, their instruments and their passion.

What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music/visual art as an outlet?

This is going to be a very short answer haha but for me, without music there is no happiness, sadness, energy or any form of life. It’s where I go to to be myself and without it I would go crazy.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

Growing up I always loved Santana’s collaboration with other artist and he is an amazing musician so he’d be in my top 3 people I’d want to collaborate with given the chance.

What’s your advice to young people who want to make career for themselves in the industry ?

Go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you that this industry is not good enough or not a career in itself. If it’s what you want, do it.

What’s your favourite song to perform?

I’d have to say either ‘Coming Around’ which we released a radio edit of not too long ago, or dead weekend. It always gets the crowd going.

Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by?

Right after my passion for music comes my passion for food. My full time job is in the restaurant industry and man do I love to cook, eat and then eat some more.

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Interview with Montana Sharp (Q & A)

Montana Sharp, a connoisseur of art-pop, has recently released a new emphatic track called “Something Wicked”, which is even edgier than her innovative debut EP “Blood Moon” from 2022. With this new offering, Montana Sharp continues to demonstrate her ever-growing powerhouse status. The accompanying music video for “Something Wicked” puts a modern spin on the symbolism of wickedness and villainy, while the track itself is a tempting blend of empowerment and soulful desires.

(STM) Tell us about your new single Something Wicked?

(Sharp)) Something Wicked is about the fear that you are innately bad, and that sooner or later, people are going to figure it out – a fear we all share to some degree. It was a departure for my songwriting after only writing about ‘pretty’ things with very pretty words and metaphors. I also recorded the song whilst super sick with the flu, and somehow that helped me tap into some really edgy vocals that I didn’t know I had to be honest! 

What’s the creative process like for you?

The best songs I’ve written are when I’m at the piano and music and lyrics are occurring simultaneously. Usually, I’ll stumble upon a piano motif that grabs me and the lyrics will follow in a sort of meditative automatic writing way. However, I’m not at the piano 24 hours a day and there’s a lot of times that an idea will come to me at inopportune times; at a gig, cooking dinner, and often – ON THE LOO! So, I’ll open my notes app on my phone and jot it down while it’s still there. I will be honest and say that sometimes I’ve had lyrics or music ideas come to me in a dream! 

If you could change something about the music industry what would change?

The idea that women can only become successful in their late teens or early twenties, and then we’re no longer viable in the music industry. It’s probably worse overseas than it is here, but as someone who’s just turned 26, this is something that really plagues me and adds unnecessary pressure. It’s a little ironic really, because I’m so much more capable and confident than I was when I was younger. I do think that this is something that IS changing, slowly, but I find it astounding that we’re expected to reach success in a period as messy and confusing as the early 20s. 

What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music/visual art as an outlet?

Really really really boring. And depressing. I don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t have an outlet to turn something tragic or difficult into something artful. Maybe I’d get really into slam poetry. Maybe I’d write a book. Maybe I’d become a full-time activist. Hmmm…. I’ve changed my mind. It can be fruitful to ponder who I’d be if I wasn’t doing this. It’s important and healthy to remember that we are NOT our craft.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

Diplomatic answer but there’s no one I WOULDN’T collaborate with. I hold the belief there’s something to learn and gain from everyone, no matter background, skill, or genre. Something I’d really like to do is collaborate with a fashion label for a show. Fashion is very important to me – my favourite thing to do in the whole world is not to play music, but to play dress up!

What’s your advice to young people who want to make a career for themselves in the industry ?

Do it for yourself.

What’s your favourite song to perform?

My favourite song of mine is Greenhouse (my first release). I usually play it with my full band and string trio, and it sounds super cinematic and orchestral. To me, Greenhouse is more than a song, it’s like me creating my own atmosphere. My favourite song to perform that ISN’T mine is Uninvited by Alanis Morrisette. 

Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by?

I like to read Twilight fanfiction. No, I will not be delving into this further. 

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August Burns Red – Death Below

For the uninitiated, August Burns Red (ABR) are a two-time Grammy nominated metalcore band from Lancaster Pennsylvania. Since their inception they have, for the most part,  been labeled a “Christian Metalcore” band. Whilst their members are indeed Christians, this in no way indicates that ABR preach , nor do they push any agenda. They are merely musicians who wish to entertain.and who pride themselves in generally promoting positivity and being positive influences.

Forming in 2003 while still in High School, drummer Matt Greiner, and guitarists Brent Rambler and John Benjamin (JB) Brubaker have been the foundation of the band, with vocalist Jake Luhrs and bassist Dustin Davidson both joining in 2006, and together they all remain to make up the current line up.

ABR have made a name for themselves as being a very melodic and atmospheric metalcore band, with some occasional progressive vibes also. Jake Luhrs, unlike many other metalcore vocalists, does not lend his vocals to both screams and clean vocals too much. His are mostly scream vocals.

The upcoming tenth studio album, titled Death Below, is due for release 24/3/2023, and features some heavy hitters in Jesse Leach ( Killswitch Engage) ,Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath), Jason Richardson ( Chelsea Grin and All That Remains) and also JT Cavey (Erra).

In fact the tracks featuring both Jesse and Spencer were some of the first to be released. Ancestry was released on November 3rd 2022, and Reckoning was released on February 22nd, both being received exceptionally well when you look at the plays across all platforms.

One thing that is apparent when listening to Death Below, is that this album seems markedly more deep, dark and personal. Given that writing for this album started right at the beginning of the global pandemic, it is not surprising that there is a vast array of heavy emotion transcending through both the lyrics and music. It was a time in the lives of our generation that was full of dread, with fear of the unknown at times becoming paralyzing for some people. Parts of the world were crippled financially, and we viewed our health, and our place in the world so much more differently than we did before.It took it’s toll on so many, yet, through music ABR have unleashed their feelings and have come through the other side with an album that is sure to be yet another success.

Opening with Premonition, this intro track lulls you in with an airy sound, with unusually clean spoken vocals and then smacks you fair in the face as it shifts seamlessly into The Cleansing. In very typical ABR fashion this is technically brilliant, with exceptionally captivating riffs, and a very likeable melody. At 7:48 minutes long, it takes you on a real  progressive sonic journey.

Ancestry, the track featuring Jesse from Killswitch Engage. is dark and heavy both lyrically and musically. It gets in your face from the get-go as it imparts on feelings of abandonment, and anger within the family. It can be interpreted to reflect many varied family situations and is sure to resonate with fans. This track is touted as being one of the darkest and most personal Jake has ever written. Definitely a highlight of the album for me.

Next up is Tightrope, with the added dimension of having Jason Richardson impart some of his touch. A moderate track of 4:14 long, it is intricate and powerful.

Leading in with a gentle and mesmerizing sound, Fool’s Gold In the Bear Trap quickly hits you with a wall of sound at 1:47 and  is unrelenting until the end.

Backfire has a really strong message within it, along the lines of being responsible for your own decisions. Don’t be influenced by others, and choosing wisely who you follow.

Revival is next, followed by Sevink, which is a 1 minute 23 second shot in the arm of hope and peace amongst all the darkness, or at least that’s how it felt to me.

Dark Divide and Deadbolt come next, both staying true to the ABR formula of searing riffs and solid breakdowns, however I personally found Deadbolt to be a little more catchy and memorable. I found myself going back to it over and again.

The Abyss is a track which  features artist JT Cavey. I found this track to have the cadence and melody of some old school thrash in parts which I really liked.

Reckoning closes out the album, featuring Spencer Chamberlain from Underoath, a band very close to the ABR boys, so it was a very natural collaboration.

All in all, Death Below is yet another feather in the cap of August Burns Red. They have consistently provided absolutely stellar music over the years, maintaining their style, their perfectly intricate musicianship and are a testament to the theory that sticking to the formula that works for you, is often times what the legions of die hard fans want to hear. They don’t vary too much from their tried and true way of doing things, and that’s ok. If you like it ,you like it. And if you don’t, then you don’t. Masses of metalcore fans across the globe love it, and that is a great reason to keep following the path that has brought them so much success to date.

Death Below is out 24/3/23, so if you like what you have heard from August Burns Red before, be sure to check it out. It’s been a long time since we saw them here in 2019, so let’s hope we can get the boys back down, as their last tour kicked some serious ass.

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In Flames – Forgone

Review by Mitch Charlton

Straight off the bat, this album reminded me of why I put on an In Flames album, it has all the right ingredients, heavy, diverse, bouncy, and catchy as hell, this is In Flames in true fashion. You know when you hear a track and you get that hit of nostalgia, remembering the first time you put them on and the reasons why you liked them in the first place? This is what I felt when I put this on, welcome to Forgone.

In Flames have now been around the scene for 30 odd years, I can only imagine what kind of pressure or strain that can put on creativity. There is nothing new here from them, it’s brilliantly performed riffage just like their previous albums but the biggest stand out is that it has a different energy to it. You know when you hear a track, and it just takes you back to being a teenager or whenever you first heard a band and you get that excitement? That’s what I got when listening to this. This is album number 14 for In Flames and I was just excited for this release as I was back when Come Clarity was released in 2006, and that was only from hearing the singles.

The album opener, The Beginning Of All Things That Will End, is incredible, I’ve always enjoyed their acoustic pieces and melodies, it was something different they used to do on older albums and they still do the dual guitars and melodies so elegantly, and it’ s only going to get better from here on out with Chris Broderick on guitar, damn that guy can play! Word on the street is, that he wasn’t involved too much in the overall album writing process but did sprinkle his flavour on solo’s throughout the album.

One of the singles, State of Slow Decay with its Straight Outta Gothenburg sound, just hit home. It sounds like they wrote it in a jam session with At The Gates, it has that old school melo death vibe. Anders’ vocals are the perfect mix for each scenario as always, laying down that killer melo death growl and then straight into those big chorus cleans. Listening to Pure Light of Mind, this song is an incredible song of light vs dark, it is well written and catchy as hell, a perfect example of how good Anders vocals really are.

Meet your Maker, another one of the singles released before the album drop, sounds like it comes out of Come Clarity era In Flames, I loved it, fast paced, melodic with that classic chorus hook that makes a single great! The single choice for Forgone was brilliantly chosen, I was excited to hear the rest of the album just from the energy of these first couple of tracks released.

With their upcoming shows at Knotfest, I am really keen to see and hear how these tracks go live. I can imagine songs like The Great Deceiver really getting that crowd moving with the opening riff and then into the stomping verse riff. Its been a little while since In Flames were here to bring the goods and with this new album under their belt, it’s gonna be one hell of a show!

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Ville Valo – Neon Noir

It’s been 10 years since HIM released their last album Tears on Tape, I didn’t think it had been that long but Ville Valo, the king of Love Metal is back with his own album Neon Noir. After the heartbreaking news that HIM was calling it a day back in 2017, at least it was for me, I didn’t think I would hear music from one of my all-time favourite singers again but here we are, 2023 and goddamn it’s unreal to hear this guy’s voice on new music once more.

From start to finish, Neon Noir has all the hooks to get you singing, humming, or moving along, it’s something that Ville has always had a knack for, it’s rocky, it’s gothy, it’s soft in all the right places. I got a strange feeling from listening to this for the first time. I never expected to hear new music from Ville so it I had a sense of nostalgia from older albums but then excitement at the realisation this is new solo music, his own demon to control, this can go wherever He likes.

A big thing for me was the sound of this album. HIM albums had a doomy fuzz tone to them, a mix of Linde and Mige’s guitar and bass, Neon Noir is cleaner and crisper, it’s own sound. Yes, there is distortion still but it’s less Sabbathy in sound. The writing style is still the same or incredibly similar as to what He had been doing in the past but maybe more the arrangement of the album tracks is a new or different way of looking at things as it starts off more on the rock edge and then slowly makes its way to the moodier, goth sound with songs like Heartful of Ghosts.

My favourite track would be the title track, Neon Noir, I have been singing it non stop since hearing it. The main riff and the chorus are catchy as hell. This is one of the songs that have now been released on youtube with a film clip, alongside Loveletting and Echolocate your Love, which will also draw you in. I really enjoy seeing the released singles and then listening to the album to see what is the song that draws me in as a listener and the title track got me good!

This will be hard for Ville, whether he wants to break away from the HIM sound and create his very own thing or stay close by, he will have critics having a go from either side surely. Fans will either gravitate towards this because its so HIM like or they will dismiss it for the same reason, thinking he will do something completely different. I mean, still using the heartagram makes it pretty clear in the direction he wants to go but you know, people like to whine. I loved this album the whole way through and I’m excited to see what He does next with this project.

If you’re a lover of HIM or Goth n Roll, or just some catchy rock, then you will fall for this album just as hard as you did when you were 13 or 14. It has that sense of giving you nostalgia yet it’s something new to your ears as well.

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[Review] The Crystal Method @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 16/12/2022

Returning to 170 Russell was like a rush of nostalgia for me. Memories of old gigs and dirty club nights on a Saturday. Nostalgia was certainly the key for this evening’s entertainment, as both The Crystal Method and his support act Black Cab dealt in it as their main theme.

Opening the show was Melbourne’s own Black Cab, a three-piece electronica group with classic roots. With clear inspiration from New Order, the band dealt a constant vibe for their entire set. The drummer played almost entirely 16th notes for the whole show, an incredibly bold move for a live band. That kind of rhythmic consistency is generally limited to raves and prog shows. In this case, it held a strong backbeat and pace for a crowd of mostly 50-somethings to bop along to. Layering on synth pads, arpeggios and effects, the band built a danceable sound with a bright palette. About 10 minutes into the set, the singer began to add a layer of ambient vocals, adding to an already solid sound.

With every song gradually evolving into the next, it was a surprise when their set ended, as it felt like one fantastic long dance hit drawing me further and further in.

Once the main act began, there was almost no stopping him. What was once a duo, is now one man (Scott Kirkland), and The Crystal Method lives on through him. Taking us back to the 90s, to the height of the Big Beat movement, the show was a non-stop rave-ride through the soundscape that defined the genre and the era. The sound featured sampled guitars, huge drums, massive basslines and all contrasted fantastically with insane visuals. These featured spacey sci-fi worlds, cityscapes and even concert footage from stadium shows of yesteryear. It felt like a journey to another time, and I was invited along for the ride.

Half-way through the set, Kirkland took to the microphone to pay tribute to fellow big beat icon, Keith Flint, of The Prodigy fame, who unfortunately passed away in early 2019. He played their mega hit Firestarter, which then blew the lid off an already insane crowd.

Finishing off the show with the hits of Busy Child, Name of the Game and more was the obvious choice, but still sunk in deep with the audience of diehard fans. The real skill was in creating an almost two-hour set of constant big beat bangers, remixes and classics to bring the house down on a night of nostalgia, rave and pure ecstasy.

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[Review] The Killers @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 13/12/2022

It wasn’t quite the summers night we were expecting but the fans turned out in force united by their love of music. The wait had been long, four very long years in fact, but the time had arrived, and The Killers were playing in Melbourne for the first of two capacity shows at Rod Laver Arena on their Imploding The Mirage tour. Hot off the back of their open-air show at Mt Duneed Estate Geelong which wrapped up to rave reviews, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about. Plenty had turned out early to nab a prime position, myself included, and I was thankful I did, as the crowd started packing in swiftly behind me.

Opening the coveted support slot was Alex Cameron who was looking the goods in his three-piece suit and definitely gave off the Brian Ferry vibes. Strutting through a 45 minute set he kept the fans entertained with lots of cheeky banter, endlessly reminding us of this sax player and business partner Roy Molloy and his backing vocalist/keyboard player Jess Parsons. He was shown plenty of appreciation from the ever-expanding crowd as he belted out songs such as Miami Memory and Sarah Jo. A terrific addition that had RLA singing along was a cheeky cover of Island’s In The Stream which was very well received. Having co-wrote quite a few tracks with The Killers he was quite comfortable on stage and had plenty of fans up front singing along to his songs.

Feeling well warmed up it was time to move on to the main event, the one we were all waiting for, Las Vegas rockers The Killers! The anticipation was building and the energy quite frenetic as the lights dropped to squeals of delight and the band filled the stage. Bursting out bringing the stage to life was vocalist Brandon Flowers was straight to it with My Own Soul’s Warning followed closely by Interlude. The stage was awash with lights, projections on the giant screens and confetti cannons turning Rod Laver into quite the spectacle as we were coated in the colourful offerings as they descended in slow motion. When You Were Young got the floor bouncing and showed just how tight The Killers are as a live band, Brandon making use of every corner of the stage as he delivered the mega hit with gusto. There was no time for chat between songs, packing in as much as they could in their allotted time, Jenny Was A Friend of Mine, Smile Like You Mean It and Shot At The Night flying out in rapid fire.

Human was coupled with intriguing videos on the big screen, covered with tiny boxes filled with dancing figures it was quite captivating.  Spaceman really hit the mark with Brandon easily making the transition from keyboard to launching off risers in a heartbeat. Engaging with the crowd on every level, and ripping out that stunning smile on autopilot, Somebody Told Me turned up the heat with red lights, smoke machines and lasers cutting a wicked picture across the stage, the energy was palpable in the arena as the floor moved as one collective group. Runaways gave us all a chance to catch our breath before we all welcomed a sing-a-long of “we can’t wait ‘til tomorrow” on repeat as Brandon told us to “think about it” it felt like a special moment and one I was glad to be a part of.

Another huge hit was Caution off the 2020 Imploding The Mirage album, this came complete with the whole rear of the stage igniting in sparklers projected out via baby smoke cannons, this was not just a feast for your eyes it was a whole banquet and we could not get a seat at the table quick enough.  All These Things That I’ve Done had all our voices primed and ready for ‘I’ve got soul, but I’m not a soldier’ which echoed back across Rod Laver as the masses didn’t miss an opportunity to be involved in this amazing spectacle as green and gold confetti exploded over us. With a speedy exit from the stage, it was time to start the chants and clapping to draw them back out, and it didn’t take long as they returned with The Man. With the arena on their feet, it was a glorious encore as the confetti cannons shot out million-dollar bills with Brandon’s picture showing he really is ‘The Man’ and of course I pocketed a few for prosperity’s sake. Bling (Confession of a King) from Sam’s Town was next up then the one we had all been waiting for Mr Brightside. Starting with a slower remix of the song I was left wanting but not for long as they jumped into the OG radio version and boy oh boy did Rod Laver erupt. Hands in the air, punters bouncing in unison, it was the perfect end to a spectacular live show and I now see why The Killers are one of the worlds biggest bands.

If you are yet to catch The Killers DO NOT miss this opportunity there are just a few shows left on the tour, so get out and see some live music and I guarantee the memory will make you Smile Like You Mean It for years to come!

Wed 14 Dec, 2022 Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – Lic. All Ages

Sat 17 Dec, 2022 Hope Estate, Hunter Valley – Lic. All Ages

Mon 19 Dec, 2022 Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – Lic. All Ages

and newly announced intimate show

Mon 19 Dec, 2022 Liberty Hall, Sydney – 18+

Tickets available: https://www.frontiertouring.com/thekillers 

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[Review] King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard @ Palais Foreshore, Melbourne 10/12/2022

There is something about outdoor gigs that really makes a live show shine to the max. May it be the atmosphere, the fresh air, the beautiful St Kilda scenery, or the inviting lack of condensation within crowds of people. These outdoor venues are certainly popular and drawing in the crowds time and time again. And what better way to enjoy such an event than with the legendary King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Upon entering the Palace Foreshore venue, the vibe of the crowd was exactly as I envisioned; the smoke in which you can’t differentiate between the smoke machine or vaping teenagers and the sight of breskies passed around between patrons and fans alike. Civic swiftly opened the event with a very electric demonstration of local Melbourne Punk, with a very fitting visual look of the band members especially one of the guitarists with an axe hanging at his knees and a cigarette out his mouth. You could tell the crowd got pumped up with this energy awaiting the main event, fuelled by a local ferocity of youth wanting to express emotion through music that fit.

As the foreshore packed tightly together, punk band Civic was followed ever so closely by Stella Donnelly, and what can I say, the wholesome indie vibe of her performance really brought us together collectively, resonating with our youthful feeling of liberation and happiness through music. We looked through her apologetic complaints about her hairstyle (which visually trumped this self-feedback as the sun made her kissed-by-fire locks shine as bright as her musical capabilities) and gazed ever so admirably at a different but graceful alternative set of tunes. This support really stood out and I will be paying close attention to her musical journey, as I’m even at the moment enjoying her track Lungs, which was a personal highlight.

We crammed together awaiting the main act for the night, and even with an ever so casual entrance to a roar of applause and screams, the boys of King Gizz after a long year of touring were ready to perform a monstrous set on their home soil….and oh boy did they deliver.

The first half of their set perfectly set up among us with Crumbling Castle, The  Fourth Colour, and Planet B, all explosive tracks that created chaotic mosh pits that even I found myself in, and my enthusiasm heightened as I returned to my colleagues dripping in sweat with a dangling untucked shirt. Every individual member of the legendary local band perfectly demonstrated their technologically heightened music skills, from robotic, wavy synths, to Michael Cavanagh’s mind-blowing drum fills and solos, and the ever so entertained theatrics of the lead singers and guitarists, flipping their guitars around behind their backs wowing all of us.

The rest of the set felt incredibly ethereal and psychedelic, as the group performed veteran length versions of most of their hits filled with guitar/synth solos and the unbreakable groove between bass and drums that kept our feet tapping tirelessly. Even while admittedly unfamiliar with a lot of these live tracks, I found myself belting the chorus of Iron Lung, a song they described as “being about vaping”, along with newcomers and fans alike. Even people who had not experience the magic of King Gizzard were absolutely drawn to this funky, prog experience. I found myself in various trances, completely losing myself in this positively manipulative style of music, as my appreciation and love for these local boys grew exponentially.

I left the foreshore among the crowds of patrons absolutely stunned, as even I, who had a general understanding of their vibe, did not expect the magical experience King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard gave me, and I will ‘Fore-SHORE’ (hah, see what I did there) be catching more and more of their live sets in the coming years.

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[Review] Orpheus Omega @ Stay Gold, Melbourne 9/12/2022

As the year comes to a close, I sit here and reflect on the vast number of bands I have seen and written about in the last couple of months. What an experience it has been, multiple genres and bands from all over the world.

It then seems almost poetic and fitting for me, that my final review of the year is here at Stay Gold for the Kicking, Screaming and Live Streaming show by Melbourne’s very own Orpheus Omega.


The first thing that you notice about the opening band, Ironstone is how young they are! However, as soon as they start playing you realise that these boys have certainly spent their youthful years dedicated to developing their skills to be proficient at the progressive metal genre.

On their song, Staring at the Sun off their EP, The Place I Cannot Find, they showcased a good use of vocal harmonies and odd meter time signatures were in abundance that surely satisfied the prog fans.

It’s encouraging to see a new generation continue to push the musical boundaries and it’s gonna be interesting to see where they lead us next.


Sheathed in darkness and gilded in black war paint were Scaphis. I always love it when a band goes the extra mile to put on a show with costumes and makeup. Scaphis would have undoubtedly pleased the dark lord himself.

Blast beats, black metal-tremolo picked guitar rhythms abound and a voice straight out of the deepest recesses of Hell defiled  the stage at Stay Gold.

Yet Scaphis is more than just speed and brutality. Their songs also had segments of beautiful arpeggiated guitar lines combined with melodic leads. Vocalist Spyke, has a savagery in her performance and delivery that will turn your stomach and make your blood run cold.

Melbourne’s very own sons (and daughter) of Southern Darkness.

Andy Gillion

An 80’s synth wave sample played as drummer, Frankie Demuru teased his cymbals and the crowd. Then there he was, strutting out on stage in a glittering silver jacket, the virtuoso himself, Andy Gillion.

Backed by the formidable talents of Ryan Huthnance on guitar and Chris Themelco and Leon Monaco sharing bass duties.

The set began with the blistering, In the Arcade and 1988 off Andy’s new album, Arcade Metal.

There was plenty of fun and comedy coming from the lads on stage but make no mistake, they are no joke. This is technical ability at its highest level and an absolute masterclass for any guitarist or fan of virtuosic music. Sweeping, tapping, string-skipping and every technique under the sun were executed cleanly and precisely. However, Andy always considered in his compositions to prioritise melody and had a great ear for good phrasing.

Following this we were spellbound by  Becoming the Nightmare,

Becoming the Dream, Black Lotus and Skyless from Andy’s previous album, Neverafter.

Andy tells a story with his music and takes you on a journey with his playing. From the mystical and ethereal, to the dark and chaotic, you are transported there and back again by his imagination that is so beautifully presented before your very eyes.

It is a challenge trying to compare Andy Gillion’s music to other artists as he truly has a unique voice of his own, but I will say that his playing reminds me of Michael Romeo of Symphony X and the band Illnath, two hugely influential bands in the metal scene.

Andy Gillion truly is a special talent and Melbourne is all too keen to claim him and call him our own.

Orpheus Omega

Orpheus Omega were not only the headliners of the show but they had also organised the entire event and even managed to coordinate a live stream of the whole gig. A gargantuan task to achieve, but this tells you a lot about the kind of person Chris Themelco is. Vocalist, guitarist, bassist, organiser, audio engineer, the list goes on – and Chris excels at everything he does.

All this can only be achieved with intense passion, and that passion is exactly what you see come across when Orpheus Omega take the stage.

Together with brother, Matt Themelco on Drums, Luke Ashley on Guitar, Leon Monaco on Bass and Kes Gallagher on Keyboards and backing vocals, the boys played a phenomenal set of their newest material and fan favourites from early in their career.

Some of you eagle-eyed readers would have noticed that both Chris and Leon performed double duties and played bass with Andy Gillion in the previous set. I guess this is the epitome of do what you love.

The band plays with so much chemistry between members that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were all brothers as they harmoniously navigate their way between aggression and melody.

The call and response vocals between Chris and Kes was perfectly executed as beautiful clean lines cascaded over blood-curdling screams.

The two new tracks, Within These Walls and Edge of Forever are already crowd favourites as was evident by the voices singing along with the band.

Chris then surprised us by announcing that the 2 new songs are part of an upcoming limited edition 5 track, vinyl only EP and any band that still recognises the value of vinyl is a good egg in my book.

A few days prior to the gig the band had posted on their Facebook page telling their fans to come dressed in their best party shirts for a very special segment of the live show. Looking out across the crowd it resembled more of a Hawaiian Tiki bar than a metal gig. This was the level of dedication that the Orpheus Omega fans had.

In their final song of the night, Sealed In Fate, Chris invited everyone in a party shirt up on stage to celebrate with the band. This was a magical moment and if there was a better way to cap off the night I don’t know it. Luke Ashley and Leon Monaco stepped down from the stage and stood in the middle of a circle pit as bodies raced around them like some kind of pagan ritual. Meanwhile, I had climbed on stage myself as I watched Kes Gallagher and Matt Themelco play to a fevered pitch. I’m pretty sure the fans wouldn’t have minded the set continuing for another hour but alas, all good things must come to an end.

It is clear that Orpheus Omega draw a lot of inspiration from the Melo-death genre but they have unequivocally made it their own and in the process created something that makes me proud to say that I’m from Melbourne and that I am a fan.

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