The Painted Progression Tour Australia (Adelaide, SA)

9 May 2019 at Lion Arts Factory

 It is with great anticipation that the night of this show is finally upon me. The line-up is massive, three international acts supporting two of Australia’s biggest underground exports. Fantastic for the Aussie bands to be the headline acts! Truly shows how great Australian metal music has become.

Releasing what I consider to be last year’s album of the year, the brilliant Where Owl’s know My Name, the first band on the night is American act Rivers of Nihil. I arrived at the venue just as they were starting and was then made to wait, for no apparent reason, to be let into the venue slowly because they don’t seem to understand that people want to get in and see the bands. Due to this I missed the first 10 mins of their set. Despite this annoyance as soon as I made my way to the front of the stage the band was in full flight. They are a powerful band and their music has even more impact live than on record. Playing songs predominantly from their latest release the band delivered soaring vocals, heavy grooves and moments of pure head banging joy. Old Nothing and A Home were played with real intensity and showcased just how groovy this band can be. Title track of their latest album was a joy to hear live but it was the closing song of the set that cemented this as a show to remember. The Silent Life bellowed out through the speakers and the band played it with palpable passion and it really was a monumental way to sign off on their first ever Australian show. Brilliant!

Next up on the night were fellow Americans Allegaeon. I was not very familiar with their work but am aware they just released a new album: Apoptosis. Well, what they brought with them to this show was sheer brutal intensity! They play at a break neck speed and don’t let up for a second. Both guitarists seemingly had more fingers than normal they played with such speed and dexterity. Their singer was very animated throughout their set although his repeated calls for a circle pit did not yield much joy except for a handful of willing punters. Two tracks really stood out for me Grey Matter Mechanics and 1.618. The first song was clearly a favourite of the fans who knew their material and the second which they closed with was a whirlwind of brutality and headbanging goodness. They certainly impressed lot of the crowd and received a rapturous round of applause as they said their goodbyes for the night.

Beyond Creation took to the stage next as an air of calm anticipation took over the crowd. This is not their first time in Adelaide and it showed as more and more people worked their way to the front of the stage. These Canadians are supremely confident in their music and it shows with how they hold themselves onstage and the ease at which they wield their eight string guitars and work through their complex riffs and often offbeat time signatures. As calm as they are their music is still brutal in parts and beautiful in others. Ethereal Kingdom from their latest album Algorithm truly showed their class as players and songwriters with brilliant leadwork and driving rhythms. They followed this up with the brilliant title track off the album and by this stage the crowd was in awe at this sublime display of musicianship and control. They played a song called The Afterlife which furthered enamoured them to the crowd before the song everyone was waiting for as a finale, Omnipresent Perception. This is a standout track amongst their repertoire and the crowd duly gave it the full head banging singalong treatment. It was a fantastic end to another brilliant set of technical death metal.

The next band on the bill was the first Aussie band of the night, Caligula’s Horse. A very popular band among progressive metal heads but a band I had yet to experience in the live setting. They are a much different experience to the three bands that had come before them as their music is not as traditionally heavy as the others, but certainly was just as impactful. This is clearly a band on top of its game, they had good stage banter from their front man and well-earned confidence in their material. Playing tracks off their latest two albums In Contact and Bloom they had a lot of dedicated followers singing along to every lyric and clearly loving every moment. Their songs are very dynamic and their lead guitarist really knows how to shred! Highlights were the song Rust off the Bloom album and set closer the completely epic Daughter of The Mountain. This final track featured two blistering guitar solos and really will inspire me to see them again.

Finally the band everyone had been waiting for Ne Obliviscaris. The sheer fact that the headline act tonight above multiple international acts is Australian is cause for celebration in itself, but couple this with the quality and stage show that these guys bring with them and it is no wonder that they are now world beaters. Kicking off their set with Devour Me Colossus they instantly had everyone in the crowd enthralled. Their light show perfectly matched the music and gave the show an atmosphere of speciality. Of particular note was the drumming of Dan Pressland. He is a machine on the doublekick and I thought this was mixed perfectly with the guitars to give an almighty presence that was unrivalled all night. Their songs are long but they are brutal and beautiful in equal measure. Playing Intra Venus of latest album Urn they really got the crowd going with deep guttural roars and Tim’s clean vocal approach standing out. They truly know how to maintain the intensity of the show and the years of hard touring have made them a force to be reckoned with.

Showing that they have not forgotten their history they played Forget Not off the Portal of I album and this really showcased their ability to play beautiful music that has that ethereal sense to it. With clean guitars and Violin dispersed throughout they were showing the crowd their full range of abilities and judging by the huge cheers at the end of this song the crowd absolutely loved it. As this was a headline set they played for just an over an hour and this really shows how far they have come over the past few years. This show was going on for 5 hours and no one was in the mood to leave. After ripping through Urn Part 1 and Part 2 they briefly left the stage and not a soul moved as we waited for the inevitable encore. Playing their classic track And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope the band had truly hit a high point which the crowd lapped up and banged their heads right until the very last note. Aussie metal is alive and well!

This is a huge line-up and every band is not only worth your time but worth watching for different reasons, this could already be the tour of the year. It certainly was for me.

Line-up: Ne Obliviscaris, Caligula’s Horse, Beyond Creation, Allegaeon, River of Nihil

Reviewer: Roly Moore