Wintersun – Gig Review 3rd November @ Max Watt’s Sydney, NSW

Max Watt’s, Sydney NSW
November 3rd, 2017
Supports: Orpheus Omega and Claim the Throne

This is an amazing line-up, Wintersun on their debut Australian tour, Orpheus Omega, brutal yet melodic death metal from Melbourne, and the ale quaffing and folk riffery of Perth’s Claim the Throne. It has actually been a while since a “folkish” metal bill has played in Sydney and so punters are looking forward to this one! And we were actually fortunate to gain this gig as it was tacked on to the end of Wintersun’s Japanese tour and came about through Soundworks‘ links to the Japanese scene.

The punters in attendance were pretty much a standard metal crowd, and despite there being a number of metal gigs on in the city tonight, the venue was close to capacity. First up were Perth’s Claim the Throne, and as always they got stuck straight in! This band has grown so much over a short period of time with ‘Forged in Flame’, released in 2013, launching them into a new level of musical complexity and melody, but tonight they were showcasing not only their back catalogue, but their latest album On Desolate Plains; released just this month. The new material fits in well with the set but really stands a part as the band just gets better and better and the new material appeared to be a lot darker; but I will have to wait until I give the album a listen as to fully conclude this, I only purchased it tonight. The thing I like about this outfit is that no one takes themselves too seriously and this really lends their performances to crowd interaction and ultimately a good time. Songs that stood out tonight for me were those from ‘Forged in Flame, but I think this is because I know and love this material so well. The presence of front man Brenden Capriotti really shone through tonight as he commanded the audience and really made sure every punter in the room was on their side. Vocally he is in great form and his low clean voice is cutting through so much stronger than it used to. I also need to mention Ray from Metal and Bane of Isuldur who stood in for Jimmy on bass and did a great job; despite not being able to find a shirt.  The only disappointing element of the set was the sound, it wasn’t mixed well and the guitars during most songs were virtually inaudible, but despite this the band won the venue over. I strongly urge everyone to check out the new album as Claim the Throne just keep getting stronger and stronger. I am looking forward to taking the album home and giving it a good listen before their headlining national tour in January next year.

Next up Orpheus Omega. Now if you ever wanted a band to rip your head off and then fill it with complex and haunting melodies, this is your band. They certainly came to Sydney to play and by the reaction of the crowd as they hit the stage, punters came to listen. I haven’t seen these guys play for about five years and a lot seems to have happened in this time. Unfortunately, they have only released two albums to date, and we are all sorely in need of another. The band battered their way through their set and they really raised the intensity of the room. I really think this band has flown under the radar to a large extent in this country and I think this is because it is hard to pigeon hole them. They are heavy, they have death metal style vocals, but really, despite them sporting the moniker, they are not death metal. They are nu metal with traditional overtones, so they don’t really fit anywhere in my opinion. I hope on the back of another release they can start and get the respect that they deserve.

Last but not least Wintersun. This is a band built around pure musicology and a desire to be creative. Founding member Jari, needs little introduction, he was one of the founding members of Ensiferum, and has established himself as somewhat of a folk metal pioneer and genius. The band has only released three albums since their formation in 2003, but over these releases they have established themselves firmly within the scene. The debut self-titled was a watershed album, that made a lot of people stand and listen, and Time 1, released in 2012, built on the soundscape and concept of Wintersun. Now to The Forest Seasons, despite it only having three separate tracks, it is a very rounded album that really belongs more to a movie sound track, than a metal album, but it just works. I have actually been wondering how this band is going to recreate their material live, so bring it on. Wintersun hit the stage with the opening song to ‘The Forest Seasons Awaken from the Dark Slumber, and it seems that everyone in the audience had already purchased the band’s latest offering. Jari was complimented on stage by a twin guitar attack and a solid rhythm section, and for such a small band they create a huge sound. The folkish soundscapes and the death metal like intensity of these songs was really quite mesmerising and I can only conclude this is because of the depth of the song writing and the dedication to the music by the musicians on the stage. Jari comes across really well live, he has his own personality on stage and comes across as a man who was built to do nothing else. I was really impressed by ‘Time, which is to be expected, it stood out as a composition that was born to be played live and not in the studio. This has been the downfall of a number of bands like Wintersun, the fact that a lot of material from folk metal bands can’t be recreated live, but this band isn’t in this category. Vocally Jari was very impressive, weaving in and out of clean vocals and delving into the depths of the death metal growl, but I am sure that this is something that he would have honed in his days in Ensiferum. The set navigated the long compositions very well and nothing seemed laboured like some epic bands do, and again, I believe this is attributed by the skill in song writing and the strength of each composition. The band seemed genuinely humbled to be playing in Australia for the first time and the audience really appreciated the fact that they made the effort.

My conclusion from the bands set tonight is that they aren’t your typical partying ale swigging folk metal band, and nor are they your serious introverted Lord of the Rings worshipping folk metal band, they are a band that revolves purely around creativity and the creation of escapism and gripping story telling. Tonight was a fantastic gig, we experienced two examples of the epitome of the Australian metal scene, and a genius from the northern hemisphere, who is nearly flawless in song writing and musicianship. Thank you Sound works for a fantastic gig and opportunity.

Review by Mark Snedden


Wintersun – Australian Tour 2017

Nov 4th – Brisbane, Max Watt’s The Brightside NEW VENUE
W/ Orpheous Omega & Claim the Throne

Tickets Here