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Gig Review: Soilwork + Supports

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Soilwork + Aversions Crown + Orpheus Omega
170 Russell, Melbourne
16 February 2016
Review by Joshua Bulleid

Coming off the back of the lauded Partum Vita Mortem (2015), openers Orpheus Omega were as tight and proficient as ever. Orpheus Omega were practically tailor-made to support Soilwork, and the few gig-goers who turned out early ate them up. However, tonight also has to be one of the weaker sets I’ve seen from the band. Although they were still in fine form, a few minor fractures could be seen in their otherwise faultless facade. Usually superb frontman Chris Themelco’s vocals (particularly the clean) seemed a bit off, to the point where he was being clearly outclassed by the supporting growls of bassist Nathan Mesiti. Perhaps Themelco was simply having an off-night but I also got the feeling that along with the band’s newfound notoriety has perhaps come a touch of over-confidence.

We’re not talking Hulk Hogan boxing levels of over-confidence or anything here and perhaps I’m projecting. But this night’s Orpheus Omega just didn’t seem as hungry as the Orpheus Omega I’ve seen in the past, with shenanigans such as Mesiti going out into the crowd for the final number; seeming a bit out of place given the minimal early attendance. Still, if this is the low bar Orpheus Omega then the fact remains that the band deserve to be recognised as one of the best melodic death metal acts in the field, in any country. The set also featured a guest appearance by Hollow World’s Ben Roberts.

At the complete other end of metal’s sonic spectrum were Brisbane’s rising deathcore superstars (and newly Nuclear Blast signees) Aversions Crown. From the hip-hop playlist that introduced them, throughout their demolishing downbeat set, Aversions Crown were the underdogs of tonight’s line-up. A fact readily acknowledged by the band’s new frontman Mark Poida (ex-I, Valliance) who introduced the band’s songs as “something no one in this room has ever heard before,” on more than one occasion.

It has to be said that Aversions Crown wound up delivering the most impressive performance of the night. This band’s output has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, and it seems that their live performance has developed equally alongside it. Each member played their part perfectly, and the set was gifted with a thick and clear sound that spread out to fill each corner of the venue with their otherworldly brutality. However, now that the aural component of their performance has been sorted out, Aversions Crown perhaps need a bit of work on their visuals.

Soilwork took the stage to one of the most excited crowds I’ve ever witnessed, and it seemed that not even the band themselves were prepared for how rowdily they were received. The far larger and more imposing than expected Bjorn “Speed” Strid left no doubt that he’s one of the most talented and versatile vocalists in the business, while the rest of the band were equally on-point. The band’s set focussed on their more recent output while also managing to delve back into their eleven album, twenty year-long career for at least one song off most of their albums, which was great to hear. Although the jumps back and forth sometime felt jarring, and the band never seemed to really get a proper flow going.

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