Live Review: High On Fire, Batpiss, YLVA, Big Bread

22 February 2016 | 1:03 pm | Xavier Fennell

"Beads fly from his fingers as he smashes out heavier riffs than anyone present is worthy of hearing."

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The venue trembles in preparation for a heavy onslaught. The barriers are up and towers of amps cover the stage, so much so that there is little room for actual musicians.

Melbourne's metal community is alive and well. There are three supports tonight and the first gang of locals Big Bread don't give a shit that they're opening. They seem like four pretty regular blokes bashing it out as loudly as possible, rumbling through their set for the simple love of metal itself. 

YLVA begin without warning: no count, no greeting, just a sudden barrage of death-filled distortion and roaring. There is something underlying that is vaguely symphonic and while bass continues to rumble onwards, the guitars harmonise. They then move into a downbeat jam for a good ten minutes, taking a step away from the thrashing to break it down a bit. 

Batpiss take to the stage, with a heavier rock/punk attitude than tonight's other acts and rip across their smacking riffs. They're electric, tearing at their instruments and standing up well against the heaviness of those who have come before them. A pit has now opened up, many throwing their bodies around like rag dolls, smashing into each other with great enjoyment.

Max Watt's House Of Music becomes Matt Pike's Church Of Metal. Devout followers, waiting for their great leader to bestow his gift upon them, surround High On Fire's stage. The crowd roars as Pike saunters on stage. No sound comes from his guitar as his drummer and bassist launch into their barrage. After some hesitation a new lead is fetched. Des Kensel supplies heavy artillery on drums, continually pounding machine gun-style while Jeff Matz flies across his strings, rolling and bouncing through bass lines. Pike is a man born to play guitar and he plays hard. The Californian Godfather Of Doom has put in the years, his beer gut has sunken somewhat, and we witness his thinned-out hair as he drips with sweat. Beads fly from his fingers as he smashes out heavier riffs than anyone present is worthy of hearing. Pike pauses, there have been several moments of amp difficulty throughout and he seems frustrated by not being able to give the punters what they came for.

Pike seems satisfied that his equipment is now working as it should be and growls Dark Side Of The Compass into the mic by way of intro into the very same track lifted from their 2015 effort, Luminiferous. Puffs of smoke rise occasionally from the crowd despite the stringent smoking laws and throbbing mass of people in the pit. The head of security yells at punters not to smoke, but does not have them removed (what a nice guy!). 10,000 Years sees the black-clad crowd chanting and pumping their fists as Matz grooves into one of the band's sickest riffs. It is unbelievably loud and a gratuitous break in decibels takes place as the band step off stage so they can come back on to play their encore. They finish with Snakes For The Divine, it is the quintessence of the whole night and the epitome of metal.

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