17 August 2013 at Valve Bar, Tempe
When I heard that Awaken Solace are coming to Sydney and are playing with Lycanthia, I couldn't wait for it. I have listened to both bands' albums quite a few times and really enjoyed their music.
The concert started with Head In A Jar who is always fun (or quoting bassist Onni "quite alright"). It's the third time we have seen them and they seem to be on every bill of all upcoming concerts we go to. Fortunately, they are very entertaining and play some great thrash.
Only this time, they almost made me blind… singer/guitarist Gordon was wearing some Hawaii / LSD trip combination of clothing and bassist Onni apparently borrowed pants from Gordon in that same colourful style. After my eyes adapted, I noticed singer/guitarist Nick's new haircut which was compared to Prince Valliant's hairdo. Besides their questionable fashion taste, those guys sing obscure songs like "Nuclear Family"…. a nuclear (core) family which is melted together after a nuclear catastrophe… and do some interesting dancing – as I said, entertaining! They played some songs of their very new album and ended on my favourite even though "old" song, Head In A Jar.
Nowra's Temtris were up next. Sexy front woman Genevieve heated up the room… partly because of her fire red tight leather pants. She is quite a powerful singer backed by a good band. The guitarist Anthony did his part in entertainment, jumping down the stage a couple of times to play in the audience.
Guitarist Lew takes over vocal parts and I like how his grunting/growling takes over Genevieve's melodies. He is quite a good singer and it gives Temtris a distinctive sound.
And then came Awaken Solace. They had a few problems with the technical equipment of the Valve Bar but I really liked them. Maree has a fantastic voice and they have one of the rare female guitar players. The keyboarder was on and off stage with his keyboard, playing everywhere and the (male) guitar player sang a couple of songs which was a change from Maree's ethereal voice.
I'm not very much into symphonic or melodic metal and generally prefer thrash, power and speed but I also like diversity and Awaken Solace fits into that perfectly.
I caught only little of Avarin's Power Metal because I had a chat to Maree:
Melodic / symphonic metal is something we typically expect more from dark Northern European countries and not from sunny Queensland. How is the melodic metal community in Brisbane?
– Actually quite supportive, even though melodic metal is a niche. I think an appreciation for symphonic and female-fronted music is growing in Brisbane and Australia in general and it is an exciting time to be doing it.
How did you get into this metal niche? Why melodic? Why metal?
– Growing up with 4 older brothers, I was never going to be a girly girl. My brothers were not really metalheads but they listened to a lot of alternative and different styles of music, there was a lot of heavy music around. Even though I listened to heavy music, when I began singing my idols were singers like Kate Bush and Tori Amos. When I heard melodic metal, it just combined the singing with the heavy music so well. This "that just works" experience was similar for our keyboardist as well. Coming from classical music, the melodic niche of metal just fitted.
Your album is out (and sold in e.g. JB HIFI) – what's next?
– We are writing the next one. It will be a concept album which is different from the last album which was mostly just spontaneously written. I have begun writing the concept which our guitarist, Elspeth, is using as inspiration while drafting the music and then the rest of the band is putting their ideas in and writing/embellishing our own parts. It is expected the concept and final sound will evolve as we progress further with it. It will be exciting to see how it comes together, we also have some new influences that we didn't have before.
Last year you supported Apocalyptica – how did you manage to do that?
– That was a surprise! It was only our fifth show altogether and we were just starting. We found out who to contact to make an application and just sent an email. When we got the answer that we were actually being considered, we were really nervous. And then we got it – really exciting and a great experience!
Sydney is part of your tour. Where are you going after tonight?
– Back to Brisbane [playing a show with Sydney's Rise of Avernus which is part of their East Coast Tour]. After that Adelaide and Melbourne at the end of September (20 & 28).
After my previous eulogy, I suggest you check them out yourself. Awaken Solace are worth seeing and their album is just beautiful (and I don't mean the pretty cover ;-).
Headliners Lycanthia gave the evening the last touch. Keyboard, guitars and violin together with the heavenly voice of violinist Vanessa, guitarist Lee's brutal black growling and keyboarder Megan's powerful singing. The play between the voices is just beautiful. I stopped writing after the first songs and just listened.
Line-up: Lycanthia, Avarin, Awaken Solace, Temtris, Head In A Jar