"Solberg never broke the act, never missed a note as he commanded the audience like a priest in a dark cathedral, arms raised through the green wash."
Colibrium played first as the sun began to set outside. Playing hard-hitting rock with solid songwriting, every band member pushed their instrument to the limits as their music ebbed and flowed: a ballad into a fast riff, a theatrical number into a double-bass drum groove. Colibrium were intense 'til the very end, dynamic as much as they were diverse.
Dyssidia took us through unexpected twists as speed and groove turned to syncopation. Starting their latest song Good Grief with a slap-bass intro, our eyebrows raised as if Dyssidia were about to play Red Hot Chili Peppers. Enter a softly picked riff, then boom! Sudden brutality as vocalist Mitch Brackman's growls took over the song. Supplying face-scrunching polyrhythms and groove sections for headbanging, guitarist Corey Davis couldn't wipe the smile off his face. An Absolute Severance has become the closer we expect and it's honestly a ridiculous track to end the band's tight 30-minute set.
AlithiA blended a variety of sounds driven by emotion. After issuing an apology since their vocalist couldn't play the show, the band's instrumentals were engaging in their own way. As if Toto's Africa was taken in a progressive direction, the soft synths and tribal sounds all contributed to an earthy take. Moving timbales to the centre of the crowd was a spectacular way to end their set, except maybe for the punter who copped a stick in the eye.
After a slow build into Bonneville - the opening track to Leprous' album Malina - phat synths blended into the heavy bass tone, while Einar Solberg's falsetto vocals soared over the top. With a voice like a set of strings, he led the three-part harmonies like a ballroom dancer. New songs clashed with old as the Aristides eight-string complemented the sound of a classic Fender Telecaster. Droning yet dynamic, the repetitive nature of their songs was emphasised. Drummer Baard Kolstad stayed in complete control while pulling polyrhythms over The Price's shuffling groove. Solberg never broke the act, never missed a note as he commanded the audience like a priest in a dark cathedral, arms raised through the green wash. After their final song, calls were made for an encore that were louder and more in unison than this reviewer had ever heard before. Happy to return to the stage, an ambient Wurlitzer paired with a soft bass riff kicked off the title track from Leprous' Malina album and acted as a farewell.
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