Their stagecraft displays a band that has been around and toured like road dogs for well over a decade.
Stay Gold is a fantastic little venue, but wildly inappropriate for a band of MTS’s profile. This show sold out days and days before, and many of their fans in Melbourne missed out on tickets, which is a shame. Maybe no larger venue was available for this tour on this night? Who knows, but for those of us lucky enough to be in attendance, seeing a band of this magnitude in such an intimate setting is a real treat.
There’s a couple of excellent support acts to experience first, however, and locals Starve get things rolling in blistering style. Their gnarly take on metalcore strays into hardcore territory at times, with minimal in the way of melody or technical playing and an emphasis on hyper-aggressive delivery, frontman Jordan Dunbar in particular, a ball of energy and agro as he howls his lungs up. An unexpected dynamic moment comes when they give us a 60-second tease of Korn’s Blind before launching back into their own stuff. Plus, there is a now almost-obligatory guest vocal spot that is brief but impactful.
Raw as an open wound, what this band lacks in intricacy and technical prowess they more than make up for with the contagious, in-your-face energy and exuberance of their approach, and their 30-minute opening set whizzes by in a whirlwind of crushing grooves and throat-shredding vocals.
The crowd is almost at bulging capacity when Melbourne’s Gravemind take the stage. This band has been steadily rising up the ranks of the national heavy music spectrum in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why: they are intense, crushing and choc-full of the type of energy that flows like a tsunami from the stage, but there is a little more nuance to it, a little more melody, brief but telling flashes of ambience and a little more in the way of precision technical riffage.
Gravemind are charting their own musical course, not fitting completely comfortably into any classifying box. They’re not really metalcore, not proggy, not thrash or death metal, they are their own thing. This may make them a little hard to market at times, but I’m sure they’d have it no other way, and they certainly have the live show to back this up. As if to display this to fullest effect, their best cut, Volgin, makes a monumental appearance late in the set, threatening to shake the venue to the ground.
Give this band a few more years, another major release or two, and they’ll be ready to break free of a mere ‘national’ profile and step onto the global stage.
Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter
The room is packed to the back and at fever-pitch when Perth’s magnificent Make Them Suffer appear. This band has gone through a major lineup change very recently, but it doesn’t appear to have affected them in the slightest, as new keyboardist/female vocalist Alex Reade (former frontwoman of ultra-promising Melbourne post-hardcore act Drown This City, who have since, sadly, called it a day) slots into the role with seamless and powerful effect.
Opening with 2019 single Hollowed Heart, MTS take us through an hour-long set that focuses on their releases of the last six or seven years, almost complete eschewing their earlier, more deathcore days. Their set, naturally, includes excellent new single Doomswitch, which they are currently promoting, several tracks from their 2020 album How To Survive A Funeral, and their magnificent breakthrough tune of 2016, Ether. The sound is catastrophic, although melodic and dynamic at the same time, and their stagecraft displays a band that has been around and toured like road dogs for well over a decade. Iron-lunged and enigmatic frontman Sean Harmanis is in particularly fine fettle as he prowls the stage and howls like his very life depends on it.
Again, Stay Gold is a fabulous venue, but it is too small to contain a band with such a sound and stature. Hopefully, the next time this band hits Melbourne, it’ll be at a place that can accommodate both.