"Straddling metallic thrust, Converge-inspired hardcore, classy melodicism and doomy bleakness."
The last time this scribe reviewed Lo! on an international bill (Trivium and In Flames) they were the square peg in the show’s round hole, but this was vastly more familiar territory and the reception reinforced that. Even a last-minute drummer substitution didn’t hamper the Sydneysiders’ punishingly sludgy hardcore being delivered with wide-eyed, vein-popping intensity.
More melodic in delivery and possessing an engaging sense of humour was Brisbane progressive outfit Caligula’s Horse. Their dynamics bridged Meshuggah, Tool, Opeth and Karnivool to create their own fresh and enticing outlook bustling with carefully inserted atmospherics. The eclectic djent-lemen aired new material, exuding energy, not to mention an abundance of groove-laden, Periphery-like riffage and tasty harmonies.
In the digital age there are few mysteries regarding set-lists. In this instance all and sundry knew what was on the cards before venturing inside – The Ocean performing their entire Pelagial opus. The German post-metal collective’s latest effort should be filed under “ideas we can’t believe they didn’t attempt before”, being a concept record dissecting, wait for it… the ocean. Irrespective, or more likely because of, punters’ pre-gig knowledge, they eagerly jockeyed for viewing position. A small, intimate venue proved ideal surrounds, members often shrouded in semi-darkness and accompanied by hypnotic visuals. Straddling metallic thrust, Converge-inspired hardcore, classy melodicism and doomy bleakness, they escalated mood and tension like an Alfred Hitchcock classic before heaving, sludge-laden crescendos Mastodon would approve of crashed like gigantic waves. Although sound gremlins afforded vocalist Loïc Rossetti few favours, minimal chatter embellished the ambience. An encore consisting of cuts from 2010’s Heliocentric further ramped up the forcefulness and audience appreciation. Said performance was also filmed, so diehards present will be able to relive this sold-out experience in future. Meanwhile, those who didn’t attend can watch the footage and lament their absence.