Live Review: Katatonia, Dumbsaint, James Norbert Ivanyi

12 December 2016 | 12:57 pm | Brendan Crabb

"The members' sweaty, tangled mess of hair was mirrored by the adoring masses."

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The previous occasion this reviewer caught Sydney-based axeman James Norbert Ivanyi a shortage of genuine presence was apparent. Although still developing, the instrumental outfit had boosted this facet. John Petrucci-esque phrasing appealed to the already sizeable gathering and several punters in Opeth shirts appreciated the sonic nods to Akerfeldt and co.

Dumbsaint typically seek to utilise "the screen on stage as an integral fifth member", meshing cinematic music with original narrative film projections, performed in sync. Even sans the accompaniment of eye-boggling, surrealist Lynchian visuals, the Sydney instrumentalists created a uniquely dark, ambient vibe, increasingly drawing the uninitiated towards the stage to investigate further. 

The packed room for the headliners reinforced that, even after 25 years of melancholia, misery sure loves company. Following support slots and festival teases, Katatonia's maiden headlining trek to these shores was greeted by melodic prog-metal devotees with the eagerness of a thirsty man who's just been informed that the bar has opened. 

The Swedes have zeroed in on their approach in recent years; respectfully updating the past with a considered modernity. Judging by the wide range of demographics at this show, it's a doom-laden, (nowadays) death-grunt-free approach that had evidently served them well, retaining long-time fans' interest while attracting a trickle of fresh recruits. Although understandably not live-wire in demeanour or oozing charisma, they were instead a no-frills, tight band whose lesser emphasis on slower fare aided momentum. The members' sweaty, tangled mess of hair was mirrored by the adoring masses throughout a set leaning heavily on latest disc The Fall Of Hearts and 2006's The Great Cold Distance, while additionally referencing other favourites a la Teargas and Ghost Of The Sun

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Katatonia executed with a class and gravitas that decades in the game imparts.