After an absence of five years, Wintersun were back in Vancouver this week, along with Ne Obliviscaris and Sarah Longfield.
The Vogue Theatre Vancouver, was the latest stop on Wintersun’s Forest Seasons Tour. I was excited for this show as I had not seen either Wintersun, or the other two acts in the bill, Ne Obliviscaris, or Sarah Longfield previously. It was five years since Wintersun had been to Vancouver, last time playing at the smaller Rickshaw Theatre. The size of the crowd, and also, as it turned out, the size of the stage backdrops for both Ne Obliviscaris and Wintersun made the Vogue a great choice this time around.
Unfortunately, I arrived when Sarah Longfield’s set had already started, that combined with a dark stage, something that was common for all three acts, meant that the opportunities for photos was limited. I did arrive in time to appreciate Longfield’s fantastic technical prog-metal set though.
Although it was a relatively short set, she kicked it out of the park for the entire 30 mins. The minimal stage set up, of drums and a second guitarist was in stark contrast to the complex fretwork. Not surprisingly she left the stage to solid applause.
Ne Obliviscaris are no strangers, to Vancouver, this was the Melbourne, Australia-based band’s third visit in as many years. Over that time, they have continued to add fans, and started the show by letting the fans know how much they appreciate the city. The unusual set up of the band, with two vocalists could be somewhat chaotic, but they clearly have this worked out to a fine art. The growling vocals of Xen balanced nicely with the cleaner sound provided by Tim Charles. Also, uniquely, Charles doubles as a violin player, the addition of which sets the band apart from other prog metal outfits.
The band played through a selection of songs from all three of their albums, opening with Devour Me, Colossus (Part 1) – Blackholes, from 2014’s Citadel, and closing with And Plague Flowers the Kaleidoscope, with the remaining tracks coming from their latest outing Urn.
They sounded great, the audience loved it, but not enough light for us poor photographers 😊
Wintersun were awe inspiring before they even hit the stage. Their backdrop was huge, in fact I am not sure how they even got it in the building. It did however provide a talking point, before themselves came out, with it’s Forest theme, with trees made up of wolves and bears. As the house lights lowered, the excitement increased, and it wasn’t long before the band took the stage and the opening bars of Awaken From The Dark Slumber were ringing out, and Jari Mäenpää flew onto the stage to send the crowd over the top. Jari’s voice was amazing all night, and the entire band really looked like they were having a blast, and really enjoying touring North America again.
After the opening song, the band returned to tracks from their debut self-titled album, with Winter Madness, Sleeping Stars and Starchild being played back to back. Other songs from 2017’s crowdfunded album, The Forest Seasons included The Forest That Weeps (Summer) and the excellent Loneliness (Winter).
The set closed out with Battle Against Time and Time.
Overall it was a fantastic night of progressive metal, which left fans hoping that the wait to see all three acts will not be so long next time around.
The tour’s last stop in Canada will be in Edmonton on September 30th, so Edmontonians, don’t miss out, and get to the Starlite for the show. Other dates at http://www.wintersun.fi/
Photos: Stewart Johnstone