OMNIUM GATHERUM and ORPHEUS OMEGA at Crowbar, Sydney on 12/04/2019

Finland has produced some great metal bands, such as Children Of Bodom and Nightwish. Omnium Gatherum has been mainstays of Finnish melodic death metal since forming in 1996, but, until this week, they have never been to Australia. Tonight, the band are in Sydney to repay their loyal fans, and perhaps win over some new ones. Crowbar is the venue, and with some awesome supports on the bill, this reviewer is primed for a night of heavy, melodic mayhem.

Opening this evening, up and coming local metal band Together As One. With elements of thrash, metalcore, and a hint of Trivium, they wasted no time in unleashing their fury on the small, but swelling crowd.

Together As One produce epic songs that oscillate between heavy and melodic, with seamless tempo changes, and loads of power. Imposing guitarist/vocalist Nick Hartnett performing both heavy and clean vocals unassisted. The sheer brutality of his heavy vocals was absorbing.

With only a short time slot, they gave us a taste of their recent album, 2018 release Crawl. The crowd got more into it as the set went on, and tracks from said album “Together As One” and closer “Grand Deception” were both highlights, the latter getting a huge cheer from the Crowbar crowd.

With the crowd continuing to grow, and the beer continuing to flow, it was time for the aural onslaught of death metal newcomers Alchemy. Since forming in 2018, this band have already carved quite a reputation, and have supported the likes of Aussie death metal royalty in Psychroptic.

After a sound sample intro, the band launched into their brutal brand of blast beats and barbarism. Combining traditional elements of black and death metal with intricate riffs, melody and groove, they bludgeoned the crowd with tracks such as “Nocturnal Forest”, “Infinite”, and the cute love ditty, “Clit Splitter”.

Guitarist Chris Puglia was impressive, while vocalist Nic Webb stripped paint from the walls with his ferocious delivery. Seriously, those guttural growls would make a T- Rex shit its pants! He also enjoyed a bit of light-hearted banter in between songs.

The band are off to Japan next month supporting Hypocrisy and Kataklysm. Godzilla, brace yourself.

After a brief break to allow the eardrums to recover, it was time for Sydney thrash metal four-piece Flaming Wrekage. As a long-time fan of the thrash metal genre, this reviewer was pumped to see these guys, and opening track “From Flesh To Dust” made my ears prick up like a hungry hyena on the Serengeti. By the end of the second song, Leech, Flaming Wreckage had won me over, and there were plenty of other punters in the room who were getting into it too.

All the elements of the great thrash bands are present in their songs: ultrafast rhythm guitar, crunching bass, pulverising double kick, and searing solos. Throw in the powerful vocals of Dave Lupton and some synapse-stretching breakdowns, and you have yourself a highly intense live show that gets the blood pumping, and heads banging.

“Thrown To The Wolves” got the mosh pit going, after which one generous punter donated a beer to Dave, which he was more than happy to accept. They closed the set with the blistering “Cataclysm”, which literally caused a cataclysm of banging heads and pumping fists.

I absolutely loved this band. They were tight, energetic and powerful, and guitarist Justin Humphry absolutely SHREDS. Their latest album is titled From Flesh To Dust. If you love thrash, be sure to check it out.

A large number of punters were still out at the bar when Melbourne’s masters of melodeath, Orpheus Omega hit the stage. The sound sample opening of “In Time” acting as a call to arms. By the time they had got to the first chorus, a cavalcade of comrades had filled the floor in front of the stage.

The band sounded awesome, Chris Themelco and co-firing on all cylinders. The set drew largely from ripping new album Wear Your Sins, and it took a few songs for the crowd to warm up, but “Wash It All Away” got the mosh pit moving, and heads banging. They kept the intensity going with new single “Suffer”, which featured Nic from Alchemy on guest vocals. All of the new songs sounded great, but the older tried and tested tracks also had the fans in a frenzy, with “Beacons” (probably my favourite Orpheus song) from 2015 album Partum Vita Mortum putting some bounce into the mosh pit. But, the best was yet to come, with Themelco calling for a wall of death before set closer “Sealed In Fate”, a large section of punters responding savagely!

Orpheus Omega never disappoints, and tonight was no exception. The new songs sitting well with the old, and the band living up to their reputation as Australia’s premier melodic death metal outfit.

Despite having existed for over twenty years, I have only recently discovered Omnium Gatherum, with the release of 2018 album The Burning Cold. To be honest, I don’t think the band’s studio sound has captured the energy of their live show. The Finnish forebears of melodic fury killed it tonight. The low end rumbling like a dark storm cloud across a Finnish fjord complimented perfectly by the keys and leads of Aapo Koivisto, Markus Vanhala and Joonas Koto. The set began with the sound sample of “The Burning”, the band then launching into the crunching intro of “Gods Go First”. They paused for a nanosecond before vocalist Jukka Pelkonen stormed the stage to take control of the Crowbar crowd, and control them he did. The crowd obeyed his every command as he and the band served up a frenzied feast of melodic death metal, and the fans ate it up like a school of hungry sharks!

The musicianship on display was mesmerising as the band charged through blistering tracks such as “Be The Sky”, “Over The Battlefield”, “The Unknowing” and “Refining Fire”. All the while Jukka held the crowd in the palm of his hand. When he asked them to respond, they responded with unbridled enthusiasm. The energy in the room, driven by the high audience engagement was an unforgettable live music experience.

Jukka asked for more, and the crowd went to a whole other level during “New World Shadows”, which was delivered with power and precision. However, just when you thought both band and crowd were done, the delirious encore “Skyline” had the whole room screaming with fists and horns thrust skyward!

The strong connection between Omnium Gatherum and their fans was evident tonight, as the band played with fervour and fury. And, to top the evening off, they hung around for a few beers with the fans after the show. Tonight I was converted from a casual listener to a lifelong fan. Thanks, Omnium Gatherum, any time you want to come back, Sydney will have you!

Written by Greg Smith

Contributor since 2015. Greg has been a devoted fan of heavy music since he first heard Van Halen as a kid back in the '80s. He 'matured' to the Big Four, survived the Grunge Revolution (and other fads) of the '90s, and has seen some of metal's biggest bands, as well as hundreds of lesser known bands in small venues from Gosford to Wollongong. His passion is supporting local heavy bands.

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