Insomnium, Orpheus Omega, Darker Half, Anno Domini @ The Bald Faced Stag 26/05/2017

Melodeath mayhem hits the Stag...

It’s Friday night, there’s a gig on at the Stag. You know what’s up, let’s not fuck around. First up is Anno Domini, who got things off to a good start with their melodic black/death stylings. Vocalist Andy Suppradit displayed his impressive range as the band tore through songs from last year’s album, The Cold Expanse

Up next was Darker Half, the Sydney regulars may have been a bit out of place on the bill, being much more inspired by classic metal. However, that didn’t deter them from setting out to prove their melodic mettle. Playing a set comprised of 2014’s Nemesis and last years Classified E.P., the band played a strong set particularly on songs like Heaven’s Falling. Not a bad effort from this consistent crew. 

Main support for the tour, Orpheus Omega, was pretty much a no brainer choice. Their style of melodeath slots in perfectly with Insomnium’s and their live show is consistently great. Unfortunately, the hands of fate attempted to deal the band a dud hand tonight with a myriad of sound issues that left the guitars and backing vocals severely muffled. But you know what? I don’t think you could have found one person in the whole venue that gave a single fuck. Playing an amended set of choice cuts from their latest album, Partum Vita Mortem, plus a brand new number –When Hope Gives Way to Reason- both crowd and band was on fire. Moshing, huge circle pits and even a wall of death, the action was such that it led frontman Chris Themelco to breathlessly state “Sydney, you just beat Melbourne.” And so we did. You’d have to see it to believe it. Ner. 

Finally, the lights go dim and smoke shrouds the stage. A cheer goes up from the crowd as the opening refrains from the sound system start to slowly swell in volume. Emerging from the darkness, Insomnium hits the stage, launching into their first song of the night, the masterful 40 minute epic that is Winter’s Gate. As facetious as it sounds it might be more accurate to say that Winter's Gate is more of a symphony than a song. Length notwithstanding, the whole piece is akin to being transported to that same wintery landscape that the story is based off. Of course, the heat generated by the awed and tightly packed crowd was the furthest you could be from the cold grips of winter. In turns offering up chants, hand claps and simply full absorption, it was clear that everyone present was putty in the hands of the band. 

Speaking of which, it has to be said just how air tight the performances were. With Niilo Sevänen on bass and vocals; Markus Vanhala and Jani Limatainen handling guitars and Markus Hirvonen beating the skins on drums the whole band displayed a level of masterful precision that was so impressive. It’s not easy to keep that level of focus up for a full 40 minute song, but they managed it excellently. 

At the conclusion of Winter’s Gate, the tone of the show changed as the band proceeded to play some of their older –and shorter- fan favourite songs. Mortal Share, Revelation and The Promethean Song were all greeted with ravenous appreciation. Closing things out with a massive play through of While We Sleep, the band bids us farewell, putting a close on what was arguably one of the strongest metal shows put on in Sydney this year. 



*Photo courtesy of Misty Shadow of Shadow-World Photography (Melbourne performance)