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ARCTURUS and Blood Incantation at Max Watts, Melbourne on 14/09/17

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HEADLINER:
Arcturus
SUPPORT ACTS:
Blood Incantation, Rise of Avernus, Contaminated
VENUE:
Max Watts, Melbourne
LOCATION:
Melbourne, Australia
DATE:
14th September, 2017

Here was an evening I had waited to roll around for a long time. Let’s get to the main event in a paragraph or so… But first… The Melbourne kings of death sludge and inter-song banter CONTAMINATED were first to grace the stage this evening performing songs from their magnificent filth that is Final Man.

I truly like their debut album and it was a treat to hear Contaminated live for the first time. (‘A treat to hear…for the first time!’ is MOST DEFINITELY the LEAST metal thing you will read here about anything METAL related!) Then came an amazing surprise wrapped up in the package that is Rise of Avernus from Sydney. One word: AMAZING. That is all I have to say about them.

What I am loving being a punter of recent years is that we the metal loving people are getting out to venues early to see and hear the incredible support bands chosen to nowadays be more than a sound check. Quite often chosen by headlining bands and their ears to the ground promoters and rightfully and gratefully so. Rise of Avernus, if you dear readers are yet to experience them, a perfect blend and encapsulation of symphonic black death metal and in this mere reviewer’s opinion an Aussie metal band that is a little shining light of brilliance rising above the dross of copycats we see all too often. Check out Rise of Avernus at your next available opportunity readers. They have done some killer supports and I can’t wait to see ‘em do a headline tour when their album drop early next year.

Now… Blood Incantation… Atmospheric reverb filled black / death performed with the sheer brilliance and discordant disdain you would never expect. Technically flawless and absolutely magnificent. They are another anomaly that took us by surprise and again, totally worth getting to the venue early. Blood Incantation are one of those bands that are easily recognised but hard to categorise so I won’t. They are one of the rare bands that don’t even have an official facey presence. I suspect that’s to get punters and fans alike to dig a little deeper into them and let the music speak for itself.

Quite often chosen by headlining bands and their ears to the ground promoters and rightfully and gratefully so. Rise of Avernus, if you dear readers are yet to experience them, a perfect blend and encapsulation of symphonic black death metal and in this mere reviewer’s opinion an Aussie metal band that is a little shining light of brilliance rising above the dross of copycats we see all too often. Check out Rise of Avernus at your next available opportunity readers. They have done some killer supports and I can’t wait to see ‘em do a headline tour when their album drop early next year. Now…Blood Incantation…Atmospheric reverb filled black / death performed with the sheer brilliance and discordant disdain you would never expect. Technically flawless and absolutely magnificent. They are another anomaly that took us by surprise and again, totally worth getting to the venue early. Blood Incantation are one of those bands that are easily recognised but hard to categorise so I won’t. They are one of the rare bands that don’t even have an official facey presence. I suspect that’s to get punters and fans alike to dig a little deeper into them and let the music speak for itself.

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One of the greatest comments I have ever heard regarding ICS Vortex vocals was regarding the Dimmu Borgir release of ‘Forces of the Northern Night’ and a person had made the beautiful sentiment ‘It took a choir to replace Vortex!’ regarding the incredible song ‘The Serpentine Offering’. And that person wasn’t wrong and knew what they were talking about. The voice of Simen Hestnæs, aka ICS Vortex, is unmistakable, near perfect, immediately recognisable, and just amazing. His vocals are revered worldwide by the heavy community thanks so much to his diversity and range. Hestnæs’ voice has been one of my absolute faves for two decades now and he is the reason I fell in love with Dimmu. I’ve been a big fan and follower of Arcturus since La Masquerade Infernale came out in 1997. That was an album that pushed the boundaries for me and a large chunk of the metal community for that matter. Through all the hype and mediocrity that was early Norwegian black metal (YES I SAID IT!) Arcturus were that shining light that drew me into Norwegian heavy music. I am not here to give a history lesson, so let’s fast forward to 2017. But rewind a little…I was one of the few fans that

Through all the hype and mediocrity that was early Norwegian black metal (YES I SAID IT!) Arcturus were that shining light that drew me into Norwegian heavy music. I am not here to give a history lesson, so let’s fast forward to 2017. But rewind a little…I was one of the few fans that was present at The Espy Gershwin Room in 2007 to see Arcturus give a crushing and stunning performance. Which I might add Vortex announced would be Arcturus’ last show. (I know because I recorded that show on my handheld mini camcorder and still have it! It is almost worn out from the repeats it has had in Metal V’s house.) That intimate setting is one I talk of still to this day fondly and seriously a gig I honestly thought could never be topped… And I have also seen the beauty that is ‘Shipwrecked in Oslo’! It is here I fast forward to Thursday 14th Sept 2017 at Max Watts in Melbourne… FUCK ME! Here was a band, who are clearly at the top of their game. 2015’s ARCTURIAN was a stunning return to form. The band’s first studio album in ten years since 2005 – Sideshow Symphonies. We know when a band tours the listening public, the fans of the band get the best of set… OBVIOUSLY… But Arcturus are an obscure bunch and I honestly think they could’ve played an eclectic off-kilter array of songs and gotten away with it. But they didn’t, tonight was the best of the best from Arcturus. Almost all of La Masquerade Infernale was played which warmed my heart greatly, not forgetting, in no particular order of appearance, Shipwrecked, The Arcturian Sign, Crashland, Nocturnal Vision Revisited (Which is a personal fave of mine!), Evacuation Code Deciphered and many other amazing songs perfectly replicated and delivered to a more than appreciative and captivated audience. I have never heard Hestnæs in such magnificence and I have seen him on numerous occasions. But at Max Watts tonight it was as though this was Vortex’s (actually this goes for the entire Arcturus ensemble) last performance EVER, like back at the Espy ten years ago and Arcturus were without fault and perfect. Nothing more and nothing less. I made my way to the front and stared in awe at the carnivale of magnificence performed before Melbourne tonight and I think we all left beyond jubilant at Arcturus long awaited gift to Australia. What a night, what a performance and what a band. Arcturus, from your collective fan base that came out to witness this Australian tour, we thank you for your gift. It will be a treasure we hold to our chest for the next ten years.

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Photography by Jess Miller from the Sydney Arcturus show.

         

 

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DATE:
14th September, 2017
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Neil Vance

Metal V is a passionate, devoted METAL fan who's contributed to metal press & radio for over two decades. He lives & breathes metal 24/7 & surrounds himself with it always!
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