1 November 2019 at The Crowbar
Newcastle-base Evocatus opened the night with their blend of death, thrash and old-school heavy metal. They played a solid and enjoyable set, Adam Watts‘ rock-solid performance on drums and Nich Shields’ consistent screams driving the music for the entire set.
Hot off the release of their 1st album Tales of Myth and Madness, Stone Sovereign rocked their unique blend of Viking and fantasy metal, weaving tales of battle and bloodshed. Frontman Jordan Giblett gave a vicious vocal performance, tearing his throat out with the intensity of his screams yet somehow managing to do so exceptionally for the entire set. My personal favourite track is Cradle of Life which contrasts the traditional gutturals of death metal with ominous whispers, a simple yet incredibly effective dynamic. Whilst they didn’t play it last night I urge you to check that out for your first foray into the band.
Next to take the stage was Valhalore. Full disclosure, I love this band and they have been on a well earnt upwards trajectory since they stormed onto the scene. Spearheaded by the powerful presence and vocal performance of Lachlan Neate the band played their recent release Legacy in addition to personal favorites Across the Frozen Ocean and Guardians of Time. Anthony Willis was as always a fantastic stage performer, engaging the crowd every beat of each song, and Sophie Christensen and her whistles were pitch-perfect, adding that trademark Valhalore sound.
Despite multiple attempts to instigate incredibly appropriate and enjoyable circle and jig pits throughout the night, including by the cordless guitarists themselves who ventured into the crowd for a song, a disappointingly small proportion of the Sydney crowd did so. As any fan of Valhalore will know the best way to enjoy their tunes is whilst jigging so I hope that Sydney can up our game next time these talented folk-metallers visit our town. Nonetheless the entire audience heartily enjoyed their performance, raucous cheers following each song, and the crowd was audibly disappointed when the band put down their instruments.
Kalmah were up next, the crowd swelling in size and anticipation to see the Finnish Swamp Lords for the first time in Sydney. The band put on a great show, playing a diverse mix tracks from both their latest release Palo as well their extensive back-catalogue. Frontman Pekka Kokko was incredibly charismatic, his banter between songs putting his wry Finnish humor on full display. A crowd-interaction highlight was when he took a few shots at Australian beer, obligatory Fosters joke included. The band gave every song and the crowd their absolute all and were clearly ecstatic to be on Australian shores, enthused by the warm reception the crowd gave them. I wish the band luck for their final Australian show (November 3 @ Max Watts in Melbourne) and look forward to their return.
Line-up: Kalmah, Valhalore, Evocatus, Stone Sovereign
Reviewer: Cal McGlinchey
Photocredits: Mira Live Photography