Category: New Release

Artist: Seether

Album: Wasteland – The Purgatory EP

Date Of Release: 30th July, 2021

Label: Fantasy Records

Track Listing:

  1. Wasteland
  2. What Would You Do?
  3. Will It Ever End
  4. Feast Or Famine
  5. Wasteland (Alternate Version)


Despite the success that the band has had over the years I have always thought that Seether are a muchly under-rated band. When it comes to hard rock there isn’t much that these guys haven’t achieved, and let’s be honest no hard rock compilation is complete without tracks like Remedy or Fake It being included.

As a song-writer Shaun Morgan has always worn his heart on his sleeve – don’t believe me then go back and listen to Broken, and perhaps that becomes even more apparent when you take a listen to their brand new EP – titled Wasteland – The Purgatory EP.

This isn’t just an EP to showcase their brilliant new singe Wasteland it also contains three tracks that are good enough to be singles yet as Morgan playfully calls them “B-Sides that we couldn’t include on Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum.” When you are writing songs this good and calling them B-Sides then you are certainly showing a certain amount of brilliance when it comes to song-writing.

As a track itself Wasteland is a gut-wrenching listen when you actually listen to the lyrics and that comes to the fore even more with the final track of the EP which is a re-worked alternative version of the track. It is slowed down and includes piano and cello which in a way only enhances the pained lyrics.

The normal version though is everything that you have come to expect from Seether. It’s catchy yet brutal and sees Morgan deliver a scream that is among the best. Hands down this will go down in history as one of Seether’s best songs.

Then there is the great rock sound of What Would You Do which again is a deeply personal track that soon has the listener exploring their own inner demons. Will It Ever End is deceiptfully slow at the start but then gives way to the more brutal side of Seether while Feast Or Famine has single written all over it. It is purely catchy hard rock that deserves a life of its own.

Wasteland – The Purgatory EP is a sheer piece of brilliance from Seether. Once again the under-rated mastery of this band is there for all to see and I know I will be listening to this EP over and over for a long time to come.

Rating (out of 5):

Artist: Growth

Album: The Smothering Arms Of Mercy

Date Of Release: 4th December, 2020

Label: Wildthing Records

Track Listing:

  1. Cigarette Burns
  2. The Treatment For Melancholy
  3. Fortress Of Flesh And Bone
  4. Our Lady Of The Hanging Heart
  5. Lead Us To Our Glorious Times
  6. Darkly, It Tightens Its Grip
  7. Soul Rot
  8. Something Follows
  9. Gird Your Loved In Armour While Yet You Wither


There are two things that you should probably know about Melbourne prog-death outfit Growth. First of all they are ambitious – I mean what other band jumps head first into their career with a trilogy of albums exploring something as deep as mental illness. And secondly they are a band that will never die wondering. As a band they try everything humanly possible on this album and unlike some other bands out there they live up to their prog description by wearing it as a badge of honour.

From the opening of first track “Cigarette Burns” you know that The Smothering Arms Of Mercy is going to be like no other album that you have heard this year. It opens like a band warming up before a gig, each instrument is all over the place and then everything falls into place as Luke Frizon’s (ex Jack The Stripper) powerful vocals hit… it is at that moment that you know that you are about to experience something very special with this album.

Next track, “The Treatment For Melancholy” has a more traditional opening but the prog side of Growth comes to the fore which crazy and edgy guitar work from Tristan Barnes while Frizon’s manic screams of “let me go” take this track into a dark yet brilliant realm that few other bands have ventured into this year.

That wide difference between Growth and any Aussie artists this year becomes even more apparent with “Fortress Of Flesh And Bone” which starts with some slow, moody guitar that literally has the audience hearing every moment of reflection from Barnes. Then throughout the tracks we are treated to an onslaught of Frizon’s vocals while each instrument seems to be doing its own thing while at the same time also working in unison to bring us some of the most pleasant prog-death that you are ever likely to hear.

Even the more traditional sounding tracks like “Our Lady Of The Hanging Heart,” “Lead Us To Our Glorious Times” and “Darkly It Tightens Its Grip” are made ten times better by Frizon’s amazing vocals while the manic sound of the band’s instrumental side returns on “Soul Rot.”

Again “Something Follows” sees the strong instrumental side of Growth come to the fore and the band’s brilliance is there for all to hear on an epic closing track that never lets up for the entire 11 minutes of its life. It is a track of an epic scale but is sheer brilliance.

I have hear some great albums in 2020 but none even come close to the amazing, epic nature of “The Smothering Arms Of Mercy.” This is an album like no other and heralds the start of a band that is surely going to become one of the heavy greats.

Rating (out of 5):

Artist: Five Finger Death Punch

Album: F8

Date Of Release: 28th February 2020

Label: Big Noise Music

Track Listing:

1. F8

2. Inside Out

3. Full Circle

4. Living The Dream

5. A Little Bit Off

6. Bottom Of The Top

7. To Be Alone

8. Mother May I (Tic Toc)

9. Darkness Settles In

10. This Is War

11. Leave It All Behind

12. Scar Tissue

13. Brighter Side Of Grey

14. Making Monsters

15. Death Punch Therapy

16. Inside Out (Radio Edit)



Following the career of Five Finger Death Punch has been pretty interesting over the years. While the band has managed to attract a legion of fans, having so many fans has seen them also become a target as tall poppy syndrome is still rife amongst heavy music fans. Like Korn before them FFDP are a band that are cool to like and cool to hate.

For me that is what makes F8 such an important album. While the band themselves see this as an important album because of the fact it shows them back and still strong after their addictions, I see this as an important album because it shows a side of FFDP that we have never seen before, a side that sees them more than willing to experiment and mix up their sound a little.

From the opening strains of the album you know that this time around is going to be different. F8 begins with classical music that then explodes into the grunt with a killer self-titled opening track. That classical element remains on ‘Inside Out’ a track that you realise very quickly is the work of a band on a mission – a mission to see themselves be taken seriously and not just as a fad. Ivan Moody’s vocals are on song with a strong melody while Jason Hook delivers the goods with some amazing guitar work on as well.

The naysayers that claim that Five Finger Death Punch are ‘not hard’ and then slapped onto their asses with the brutal ‘Full Circle,’ a track that despite its brutality still keeps a great melody while bringing a slight electronic element.

With F8 Five Finger Death Punch do take the listener on an incredible journey where you never really know what they will serve up next. One of the most aggressive tracks on the album is also one of the softest as the strong lyrics of ‘A Little Bit Off’ is a track that we can relate to, while the very catchy ‘Living The Dream’ references Captain America and Superman while delivering some true instrumental magic.

‘Bottom Of The Top’ feels like it is aimed at the band’s haters as it aggressively asks ‘is it heaver enough for you?’ while both ‘To Be Alone’ and ‘Mother May I (Tic Toc)’ are thought-provoking tracks that really knock you for six. The former really captures what it is like to be truly alone while the latter sends you on your own path of reflection.

The serious side of FFDP returns with the beautifully poetic ‘Darkness Settles In’ which has a nearly country feel to the guitars while ‘Brighter Side Of Grey’ is a true song of hope. And for the lovers of the heavy stuff then you are going to very quickly warm to ‘Making Monsters’ and ‘This Is War’… the latter certainly a track written from the heart and aimed at someone with meaning.

F8 is a phenomenal album that shows just how good Five Finger Death Punch can be at their best. The band themselves believe that this is one of their best albums and as a listener you can only agree. This is the kind of album that is created when a band is at the top of their game and deliver an absolute classic.


Rating (out of 5): 


Artist: Silverstein

Album: A Beautiful Place To Drown

Date Of Release: 6th March 2020

Label: UNFD

Track Listing:

1. Bad Habits (feat Intervals)

2. Burn It Down (feat Caleb Shomo)

3. Where Are You

4. Infinite (feat Aaron Gillespie)

5. Shape Shift

6. All On Me

7. Madness (feat Princess Nokia)

8. Say Yes

9. Stop

10. September 14th

11. Coming Down

12. Take What You Give (feat Pierre Bouvier)



Canadian post-hardcore outfit Silverstein wowed audiences earlier this year at UNFD The Gathering and now they return with their latest album – A Beautiful Place To Drown. Upon the first listen of the album one word springs to mind – infectious.

Yes what Silverstein have created here is one of the most damn catchy albums you are likely to hear this year. Foot tapping and singing along are almost guaranteed with this album.  Opening track ‘Bad Habits’ reveals all the catchiness in one foul swoop while it also showcases some amazing vocals from Shane Told.

From then on you really do just sit back and enjoy the ride. ‘Where Are You’ gets stuck in your brain straight away while ‘Burn It Down’ shows that while Silverstein plan on making this a catchy album it doesn’t mean that the tracks haven’t been written from a personal place.

‘Infinite’ is one of the best tracks on the album and sees a great piece of work by Shane Told teaming up with Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie. It is a brilliant track and one of those songs that you just want to keep listening to over and over.

The album slows down for the first time for the opening of ‘Shape Shift’ while ‘All On Me’ shows the more experimental side of Silverstein. It is slowed right down, is very electronic and even contains saxophone at one part of the song.

That experimental side continues with the very busy sounding ‘Madness’ while ‘Stop’ sees the brutal side of Silverstein raise its head. For the most part though is purely an enjoyable catchy album. Again ‘Say Yes’ and ‘September 14th’ will have you singing along while the strong melodies of ‘Coming Down’ and ‘Take What You Give’ make them standout tracks.

There is little doubt that A Beautiful Place To Drown is going to become a crowd favourite amongst Silverstein’s fans. Catchy tracks like the ones found here are exactly the kind of songs that go down a treat live. The key to this album is to just sing-a-long and enjoy yourself.


Rating (out of 5): 


Artist: Glass Tides

Album: In Between

Date Of Release: 17th January 2020

Label: Independent

Track Listing:

1. Crawling

2. Somebody Else

3. Waste

4. Sympathy

5. Insecure

6. The Past Is Dead

7. Mirrors

8. Pointless View

9. Happy

10. In Between



If you have been keeping one eye on the Australian music scene over the past two years then there is a good chance that you have heard of Adelaide post-hardcore outfit Glass Tides. During that time the band have released two EPs that certainly caught a lot of people’s attention and have had the chance to open for bands such as Bodyjar and Spiderbait.

Now Glass Tides have released their debut feature album titled In Between and if you love albums that contain raw passion then you are simply going to adore this album. There is a unique rawness to this album, a rawness that shows a band that is willing to explore as they go on but also a band where the vocals reveal the pain of humanity with everything out in the open.

Smooth tracks like ‘Crawling’ are taken to new levels with stunning vocal work from Paul Bakker while the beautiful layers of ‘Somebody Else’ reveal a band that are much more mature than the fact that this is a debut album would allude to.

‘Waste’ is the kind of track that could see Glass Tides make it on the world stage and it is catchy as hell but still boasts are serious side that will draw on serious music fans. ‘Sympathy’ again sees the smoothness of the band return while the sound of the track itself conjures up memories of bands like Angela’s Dish and Kisschasy. Then there is the brilliant ‘Insecure’ that just continues to build in intensity while the vocals clearly portray the pain the song is written about.

Glass Tide’s aggressive side is revealed with ‘The Past is Dead’ while the beautiful ‘Mirrors’ and the haunting ‘Pointless View’ show the exact polar opposite. In Between then reaches the heights again as Bakker declares ‘take me away’ over and over on ‘Happy’ while that late 2000s vibe returns with the heartfelt title track that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on one of the soundtracks for One Tree Hill.

In Between is the kind of album that shows that Glass Tides have a big future ahead of them. This is an album from the heart that is not going to disappoint.



Rating (out of 5):


Artist: Oceans

Title: The Sun And The Cold

Year: 10th January 2020

Label: Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:

  1. The Sun And The Cold
  2. We Are The Storm
  3. Dark
  4. Payalyzed
  5. Take The Crown
  6. Shadows
  7. Legions Arise
  8. Polaris
  9. Truth Served Force Fed
  10. Water Rising
  11. Hope


When serious music journalists were asked who would be some of the bands to watch in 2020 one of the bands that a lot of people mentioned were Germany’s very own Oceans. The band hit like a tsunami in 2019 with two killer EPs which gave them a record deal with Nuclear Blast and the opportunity to hit the road with the likes of Cellar Darling and Equilibrium.

Now 2020 is here and Oceans haven’t kept us waiting very long for their debut feature length album as they are just about to drop their debut – The Sun And The Cold – and what a debut it is.

The thing that has always stood out about Oceans are they are a band that is not afraid to mash genres together as they go and the result is an album that really feels like it takes its audience on a journey while creating a rare sound that is going to see this band go a long way.

The album delivers sheer brilliance from the start as opening track ‘The Sun And The Cold’ begins with a looming atmospheric feel that then explodes into life delivering a very unique sound indeed. Timo Rotten’s mellow vocals almost have a bit of a Brit-Rock sound to them while his growls more than forced the moral of the song home.

The catchy side of Oceans comes out to play on ‘We Are The Storm’ which again sees the mix of Rotten’s gruff growls and melodic vocals sound a new level of awesome, while JF Grill’s pounding drum work really add intensity to the track.

As you continue to listen to the track you can see that Oceans promise of mixing everything from traditional death metal to the sounds of nu metal certainly come to life here as the layers of how the built that tracks are all there for the audience to hear on ‘Dark’ and ‘Paralyzed’, that latter a truly haunting masterpiece.

The aggressive side of Oceans is revealed on ‘Take The Crown’ and as Rotten’s growls declare ‘I’ll break your fucking face’ you can tell this is a song written with a real point in mind rather than aggression for the sake of aggression. Then comes the amazing ‘Shadows’ which needs to be the next single off the album while ‘Legions Arise’ is again another track that shows Oceans can take any mantle they set their minds to.

‘Polaris’ sees the album slow for the first time and the breather allows for a great solo from Patrick Zarske while the keys that are also present hails in a bit of a proggy and experimental sound for the band which then lingers around for both ‘Water Rising’ and ‘Hope’. Some may question such a dramatic change in sound but with Oceans and it seems to work, but then this feels like a band that could make any genre work.

We were all expecting something very special for Oceans’ debut feature album but I doubt anyone expected an album as special as what The Sun And The Cold has turned. This is a truly brilliant album that shows why 2020 is the year where everybody will learn who Oceans are.


Rating (out of 5):


Artist: Kenny Wayne Shepherd

Title: The Traveler

Year: 2019

Label: Concord

Track Listing:

  1. Woman Like You
  2. Long Time Running
  3. I Want You
  4. Tailwind
  5. Gravity
  6. We All Alright
  7. Take It On Home
  8. Mr. Soul
  9. Better With Time
  10. Turn To Stone


Subculture Entertainment Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band:  The Traveler Review:

When you listen to a lot of musicians these days you realise that many of them have forgotten the art of great song-writing. Catch a brief listen to any pop radio stations and the tracks seem repetitive with vanity being the main song subject… the art of telling a story or capturing real human emotion in the lyrics seems to be something that is long forgotten. Well I am happy to say that one talented musician that hasn’t lost that art is Kenny Wayne Shepherd. His new album, his ninth, is an album full of tracks that will regain your faith in modern day music… because when it comes to song-writing this man really knows what he is doing.

The Traveler is one of those albums that you can’t just listen to once. Put it on and you’ll have it on repeat for days because it is one of those albums that is not only filled with great tracks but also an album where the lyrics really speak to you and remind you moments from your own life… yes the album’s premise might be able travelling but it is the listener themselves that is taken on the journey here.

Opening track ‘Woman Like You’ shows straight away that you are in for something special. It’s great mix of hard rock and blues shows the unique brand of music that Kenny Wayne Shepherd has made his own. The brilliant guitar playing and catchiness of the track just make it a track that you fall in love with straight-away.

That is a re-occuring theme throughout the album. ‘Gravity’ and ‘We All Alright’ are simply so catchy that you find yourself singing along to them on just the first listen while that infectious catchiness is also present on ‘Long Time Running’. Then there is ‘I Want You’ which shows why Shepherd is one of the best guitar players in the world.

What wins you over on this album though is the brilliance of his song-writing. The emotion that he captures in ‘Tailwind’ is something that is lost these days. The song captures that emotion of travelling back home after being away like very few songs have managed to do in the past. It is clearly one of the best songs of the year and a track that deserves to be heard on radio right around the world. A similar theme is also explored with some exceptional story-telling on ‘Take It On Home,’ another track that is just sheer brilliance.

The diversity of Shepherd’s music is on show as he covers Buffalo Springfield’s ‘Mr Soul’ with a brass heavy rendition and then delivers Joe Walsh’s ‘Turn To Stone’ in true blues rock fashion. The two are separated by ‘Better With Time’ which is just begging to be used on a soundtrack.

For fans of Kenny Wayne Shepherd it is easy to see that The Traveler is going to become a favourite, while for those that haven’t discovered his wonderful music – this will be the album that makes you go out and want to hunt down every album he has ever  recorded. Make no mistake this is one of the albums of the year.


Rating (out of 5):

Eluveitie - Evocation II - Pantheon - Artwork

Year: 2017

Label: Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:

  1. Dvressu
  2. Epona
  3. Svcellos II (Sequel)
  4. Nantosvelta
  5. Tovtatis
  6. Lvgvs
  7. Grannos
  8. Cernvnnos
  9. Catrvix
  10. Artio
  11. Aventia
  12. Ogmios
  13. Esvs
  14. Antvmnos
  15. Tarvos II (Sequel)
  16. Belenos
  17. Taranis
  18. Nemeton

Subculture Entertainment Eluveitie:  Evocation II: Pantheon Review:

It’s not many bands that can boast that their latest album is 2,000 years in the making… nor can many say that their album had to have the help of scientists and history professors when it came to the lyric writing – but that is exactly what has happened with Swiss Folk Metal masters Eluveitie. While putting together an album that meant spending countless hours with professors of language and the like sounds like an ordeal upon itself the band also had to deal with the fact that three members had left the band to form Cellar Darling while five new members joined the band (four were returning after a brief hiatus) including a new clean vocalist Fabienne Erni.

Fans of Eluveitie at their most extreme should be warned that Evocation II: Pantheon does fall more on the side of folk than does to metal – largely due to the fact that the band have chosen to not only record the album in the Gaulish language but also because they have chosen to record with the instruments that were around 2000 years ago. The result is folk music written as it was intended but with the power of a metal band… and it is one of the best things I have heard all year.

The emotions that Eluveitie manage to conjure up during this album really does show that true emotion in music comes through the music itself and not through any digital enhancements that can be done using computers and such. The atmospheric feel of tracks like ‘Belenos’ show the true skills of Eluveitie, while the infusion of a true tribal and haunting feel of ‘Catvrix’ and ‘Esvs’ is a true beauty that will stick with the listener.

The metal grunt of Eluveitie comes to the fore with the faster paced tracks – ‘Lvgvs,’ ‘Taranis,’ ‘Nantosvelta’ and ‘Cemvnnos’ – but is the fact that slower tracks – ‘Artio,’ ‘Aventio’ and ‘Antvmnos’ – work alongside other tracks of spoken word that really show that Evocation II: Pantheon truly captures its audience. Of course the most amazing track on this album is lead single ‘Epona’ which for me is one of the best songs of 2017, the instrumentals behind it are amazing while on the album it serves as a great introduction to the vocals of Fabienne Erni. Her amazing voice really comes through on the track and throughout the album you are constantly reminded of what she know brings to the future of Eluveitie.

Evocation II: Pantheon is truly a masterpiece. Close your eyes while listening to this album and you are transported back to the Celtic times of 2000 years ago. There is a power in the music here that is rare in modern day music. Eluveitie have created a work of art with this stunningly beautiful album.



Rating (out of 5):


Thy Art Is Murder - Dear Desolation - Artwork

Year: 2017

Label: Nuclear Blast

Track Listing:

  1. Slaves Beyond Death
  2. The Son Of Misery
  3. Puppet Master
  4. Dear Desolation
  5. Death Dealer
  6. Man Is The Enemy
  7. The Skin Of The Serpant
  8. Fire In The Sky
  9. Into Chaos We Climb
  10. The Final Curtain

Subculture Entertainment Thy Art Is Murder:  Dear Desolation Review:

Take a bow Thy Art Is Murder because you boys have delivered one of the most brutal albums of 2017. I could use all the traditional clichés when it come to talking about Dear Desolation – it’s in your face, it’s the kind of album that your Mum doesn’t want you to listen to yada yada – but really this album is a lot more than that. Yes it’s brutal, yes it’s in-your-face but an album this unrelenting is extremely rare.

Opening track ‘Slaves Beyond Death’ doesn’t just start playing when you hit play this bloody thing erupts and explodes from your speakers. The drumming work of Lee Stanton is off the scale and when CJ McMahon’s (welcome back to the fold, mate) suddenly hit this album goes to a whole new level. ‘The Son Of Misery’ is a wall of sound that shows that Thy Art Is Murder is a band that just continually keeps pushing the boundaries while McMahon’s vocals on the title track drift from deathcore through to manic growls.

The early instrumentals of ‘Death Dealer’ build like an air raid siren before launching into the best track of the album which has a real feel of tribal cries while that tribal sound returns on ‘Into Chaos We Climb’ which also features some fine melodic guitar sounds from Andy Marshthat sweep through the track from time to time. Marsh’s work also makes ‘The Final Curtain’ a stand-out as everything comes together while the guitars soar above them all.

The wall-of-sound element that Thy Art Is Murder manage to achieve with Dear Desolation is nothing short of amazing. The sheer brutality of tracks like ‘Man Is The Enemy’ is rare while the creativity that allows the band to let ‘The Skin Of The Serpent’ and ‘Fire In The Sky’ just build and build until they reach new epic heights of deathcore separates this band from the pretenders once and for all.

Dear Desolation is the pinnacle of deathcore music. While people in the past have compared Thy Art Is Murder with bands like Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse this album plants them in that exclusive club right beside them.
Rating (out of 5):


Once Poster

Summary: Set in modern day Dublin, Once is the story of a Guy who gave up on his music and his love and the Girl who inspired him to dream again.

Australian Premier Date: 4th October, 2014

Performance Review Date: 4th October, 2014

Director: John Tiffany

Playwright: Enda Walsh

Cast: Anton Berezin (Bank Manager), Andrew Broadbent (Older Male/Male Swing), Ben Brown (Emcee), Gerald Carroll (Eamon), Colin Dean (Billy), Margi de Farranti (Baruska (understudy)), Matthew Hamilton (Guy (understudy)), Lisa Hanley (Swing), Brent Hill (Svec), Shanae Icovski (Ivanka), Madeleine Jones (Girl), Stefanie Jones (Swing), Keegan Joyce (Andre), Amy Lehpamer (Reza), Tara Lyon (Ivanka), Summer Moore (Ivanka), Lachlan Neate (Young Male/Male Swing), Tom Parsons (Guy), Jane Patterson (Ex-Girlfriend), Greg Stone (Da), Susan-ann Walker (Baruska), Paul Watson (Young Male/Male Swing)



David Griffiths:

Over the years there have been a number of theatre musicals that have been turned into big stage spectaculars. Even in recent years films such as Les Miserables and Rock Of Ages have successfully made the transition, although as Spider-Man recently showed the trade back the other way often flops.

It was for that reason that I was a little sceptical when first heading into the theatre to see Once. Once first surfaced in 2006 as an Irish film pieced together by director John Carney (who recently was responsible for the brilliant Begin Again… which I am praying also gets turned into a stage musical). The film has a bit of a cult following but isn’t exactly the kind of film that all members of the general public have heard of so the fact that it has been turned into a theatre production was a brave one to say the least. But if the Australian production is anything to go by it is a decision that I am very pleased to say I’m happy they made.

For those that haven’t seen Once the story revolves around Guy (played by Tom Parsons in the Australian production) and Girl (Madeleine Jones). Guy is a gifted musician who is about to give up on music due to the fact that he is heartbroken by the fact that his girlfriend (Jane Patterson), whom most of his songs have been written for or about, has moved to America. A chance meeting introduces him to Girl who falls in love with his music and begs him to launch into a music career.

At first Guy is reluctant but with further persuasion from Girl soon recruits the local Music Shop Owner, Billy (Colin Dean) and a higgly-piggly group of Dublin musicians together in an attempt to record a low-priced album.

Meanwhile Girl, who is a Czech immigrant (she is serious she is Czech) faces problems of her own as she raises her daughter Ivanka (Tara Lyon/Summer Moore) with no support from her husband. Her mother Baruska (Susan-ann Walker) and friends such as Reza (Amy Lehpamer) help her out in any way they can.

Any doubts that Once is going to work is quickly eroded as soon as you enter the theatre as director John Tiffany puts the productions bar set to good use by throwing open the stage and letting the patrons drink at the bar while the cast mingle amongst them playing traditional Irish folk music to really create the feeling that you are no longer in a Melbourne theatre but instead in a friendly Dublin bar. Tiffany’s excellence is on show throughout the production as he constantly finds creative and new lighting techniques and ways to complete set changes all night long.

My biggest fear for Once was not knowing any of the music. This wasn’t going to be like Rock Of Ages, there are no famous rock tracks known universally around the world that you can sing-a-long to, this is original music that has the audience going in cold, and to the productions credit it works wonders. And while you may not be able to sing-a-long while they are being performed you will find yourself singing them to yourself for days after watching the production, I’ve been humming If You Want Me and Falling Slowly ever since the curtain dropped.

Also deserving a lot of credit for how spectacular Once is the very hard-working cast. This has to be one of the most challenging musicals ever put together for a cast as they really have to be a quadruple threat. Nobody gets to hide here as the cast are called upon to act, sing, play musical instruments, dance and even act as stage-hand throughout the production. To their credit the Australian cast work so well together that they leave you in awe.

Leading the way is the brilliant Tom Parsons who has a folk music to die for and demands a great stage presence despite playing the shy and reserved Guy. Matching him at every turn is the talented Madeline Jones whose vocals on If You Want has to be heard to be believed… it is one of the reasons why you will be stopping by the theatre store on the way out to grab a copy of the CD. Cast wise Colin Dean and Brent Hill also provide amazing comedic relief while Amy Lehpamer announces herself as an actress to watch as she proves more than capable with some great violin playing while playing the very ‘friendly’ Reza.

Once is a stunning put together musical that truly deserves the awards that it has won overseas, something that it is guaranteed to do here in Australia as well. John Tiffany’s creativity makes this a theatre production that the audience is going to remember for a long time to come, while the production’s musical numbers are guaranteed to become classics. They are so well performed it feels like you are at a concert and not a theatre. Once is most likely the first ever folk musical… but it is one production that you should not miss.


Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(5)