Live Review: Alithia, Chaos Divine, Headtorch, Sons Of Abraham

31 August 2015 | 11:43 am | Guido Farnell

"Alithia ought to score the next installment of the Heavy Metal series of anime films."

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Descending into car parking hell in Fitzroy is not easy, especially when it means walking a mile in torrential rain to get to the Evelyn. This gig offers a sliding door into the local metal scene with an expansive bill of four bands that deal fast and furious sets.

Feeling more like a Soundwave sideshow, the hard and heavy, testosterone-fueled metal grind is mind-numbingly relentless. Tonight we rub shoulders with the usual quota of burly, hirsute metalheads in need of a shave and haircut, quite a few goths plus total randoms. Interestingly, the crowd seems to ebb and flow from the room depending on who's on stage. Each of these of these bands have clearly brought their own fans who seem to be only mildly interested in the other acts on the bill.

Amusingly, many of these musicians' friends and family are on hand to fill out the crowd. Sons Of Abraham, not to be confused with the defunct Jewish metal band from New York, warm the crowd with a thick sludge of metal noise. Like all the bands on the bill this evening they play like a well-oiled machine dropping a reasonably slick sound that connects the dots between '90s-style grunge and more straight-up metal.

Headtorch continue to deliver on the kickass tone of the evening, confidently playing a selection of heavy tunes that start to get the crowd moving and nodding with approval. Perth's Chaos Divine pull a sizeable crowd and are largely here to promote new album Colliding Skies. Thanking friends from whom they have borrowed equipment to make this show possible, they seem grateful to have dodged the cost associated with transporting their equipment from the other side of the country. Their anthemic, stadium-sized sound, which revolves around the guitar mayhem Ryan Felton and Simon Mitchell unleash, is an instant crowd-pleaser. Vocalist David Anderton flicks a mane of long hair about and seems to really engage with the crowd, especially when he drops that archetypally death metal, deep guttural growl that's at once aggressive but also suggests a bad case of constipation. So far all the bands this evening deliver fine performances, but they tend to observe all the usual conventions and idioms of metal.  

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Labelling themselves as progressive space rockers, Alithia seem keen twist the conventions of the genre into something new. They are, for example, the only band on the bill with a synth player, who adds an interesting dimension to the mix. On their album To The Edge Of Time, Alithia experiment with a more spaced-out take on metal. Tonight they tend towards symphonic space opera, but, underlying, is the inescapable sense of doom that their roots in metal bring to the mix. These guys ought to score the next installment of the Heavy Metal series of anime films.