Hybrid Nightmares, Primitive, Myridian, Catacombs @ The Evelyn Hotel 21/10/2017

Hybrid Nightmares land in Melbourne to launch Almagest

Hot on the heels of the release of their first full-length album Almagest, Melbourne’s Hybrid Nightmares landed at The Evelyn Hotel in Melbourne to launch the album to their hometown fans. I suppose one may call the Melbourne chapter of the Almagest tour a ‘local’ show as all four bands on the bill hail from this fine city. The standard was above and beyond, with Catacombs, Myridian, Primitive, and Hybrid Nightmares packing the lineup wall to wall with some of Melbourne’s finest emerging bands.

Catacombs were a formidable opening act. Although they billed as ‘melodic death metal’ the sound was far blacker that I expected. Much of this was due to the impressive vocals of Matt Askeland and the blackened riffs through the two opening songs. In ‘Gluttony’ drummer Matt Boarder opened fire to take the set into its high energy, yet broodingly dark, potential. The guitar pairing of Ian Mather and Mark Hamano was perfect; they worked together to create the ambitious combination of technical complexity and emotive range. Certainly the latest material from ‘Sin’ (2015) showcased this band in their live element and they’ve really nailed the kind of sound that works for their strengths. A guest appearance from Myridian vocalist Felix Lane was a fun surprise. Very keen to see what Catacombs do next.

Melbourne’s Myridian are a dark and complex melodic death/doom metal band with immersive atmospheric elements. This captivating set featured four longer songs characterised by shifting dynamic and moods that were performed to perfection. The first two songs, from their 2015 album We, The Forlorn demonstrated Myridian’s intricate compositions. ‘Mourning Tide’ carried the audience through a sequence of neck-grindingly heaviness with deep guttural vocals and mid-paced unnerving sections, to sparse instrumental interludes punctuated with dire screeches, swelling into a majestic finale. The profoundly sombre opening to ‘We, The Forlorn’ gave way to a mid pace mosh-pit monster and showcased some silky smooth solo tones from relatively new guitarist Jeremy Landry. The astounding proficiency of drummer Zebådee Scott framed the final two songs as narratives unfolded through the vast and diverse vocal skills of Felix Lane, to close with the eerily enchanting song ‘Starless’.

Up next were emerging Melbourne metal band Primitive, who launched their self-titled debut EP, Primitive. Their performance of the single ‘A Thousand Faces’ showcased their capacity for invigorating drum hooks and extended solos. The crowd really got moving with the rumbling power and pulverising breakdowns of ‘Black Blood’ and we were treated to an intriguing new song that indicates this is an energetic young band with serious technical clout. Standout song of the set, however, was ‘Primitive (Scriptures Burning)’. This song was a moshpit grinder interspersed with skilfully restrained sections and engaging emotional range. Also in the mix were tight but chaotic faster movements and some fierce shredding from Frank Ortisi.

I was extremely excited to see how the new Hybrid Nightmares album Almagest translated to live performance. Almagest contains its share of savagely heavy tracks that build upon the classic Hybrid Nightmares penchant for crazy moshpits. Hybrid Nightmares delivered a classy set that mixed old and new songs perfectly. Opening with the relentless ‘Ultor’, followed by the wild moshpit of ‘Terra’, it was clear that the Almagest songs were already a hit with the band’s Melbourne fanbase. The trademark theatrics of Hybrid Nightmares’ live set familiar to fans came through again in ‘Blackheart’, with vocalist Loki towering over the audience like some kind of cloaked prophet.

As the unsettling ambience of celestial guitars gave way to majestically heavy riffs, I was intrigued to see how the new song ‘Luna’ would manifest as a live number. I loved this track on the album but it does mark a significant departure from the established Hybrid Nightmares sound. In the live setting, ‘Luna’ took the set to another level of immersion. The audience lapped it up, with fists in the air, transfixed by the swelling power and serenity of the song. After this excursion into the astral plane Hybrid Nightmares brought the audience back to familiar territory with the engaging antics of ‘And Reach the Stars’ before introducing ‘Jupiter’. As one the heaviest songs from Almagest, ‘Jupiter’ ignited a vicious mosphpit. The set closed with thundering classics ‘Thrown to the Wolves’ and ‘The Obelisk’. 

What a night. Four incredible bands, all on the launching pad to the wider acclaim they deserve. Melbourne, well done, you got talent.