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Live Review: Make Them Suffer, Wage War, Alpha Wolf, DREGG

18 September 2017 | 7:32 pm | Rod Whitfield

"Make Them Suffer's bombastic, orchestral feel and use of ethereal female vocals amid the grind are what sets them apart in this scene."

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DREGG combine a whole bunch of sounds, styles and looks, and channel it all into a rather entertaining package. Kinda nu-metal in look and general aesthetic, they throw a little of the influence of that particular sub-genre into their sound as well; especially in the vocal department, although with extra harshness. Add in some rock, some grind, their short, ultra-impactful tunes and a rather over the top, extroverted performance and you have yourself a killer opening set.

Alpha Wolf explode onto the stage next, spitting venom and shifting from slow, grinding, low-end dirge to blast-beat insanity on a dime, with DREGG's vocalist Christopher Mackertich joining them onstage during the first song. The trade-off vocals between frontman Aidan Ellaz and bassist John Arnold are intense, as both have a similar range and coarse tone, and the appearance of some occasional soaring cleans provides welcome relief from the cacophonous roars. Inciting an insane circle-pit, Ellaz whips the already-capacity crowd into frenzy for the twin-headliners to follow. This band pours about as much intensity into a 30-minute set as is humanly possible.

The completely sold-out, jam-packed crowd are completely beside themselves by the time American monsters Wage War assault the stage on their first-ever Aussie tour. You can tell all five members are ecstatic to be here; especially frontman Briton Bond who prowls the stage with the confidence and prowess of a hungry lion on the hunt and howls his positive, life-affirming lyrics like his life depends on it. He sounds like he has a bag of nails in his throat as he sings (in the best way possible). Guitarist Cody Quistad's sweet, soaring cleans provide the perfect counterbalance to Bond's dry-lunged bellowing and the band slam out a 40-minute set that leaves their adoring fans in rapture. Twin-barrelled closers Don't Let Me Fade Away and Twenty One are particularly stirring.

The crowd become even more passionate as they belt out a rousing rendition of Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer while waiting for Perth powerhouse Make Them Suffer to make their appearance. Their new album Worlds Apart is a mature and progressive departure from their original sound and has been released to virtually wall-to-wall acclaim. As if in celebration of this, they open with the first two songs in tracklisted order: The First Movement followed by Uncharted. In fact, the entire set is absolutely, understandably, heavily weighted to material from the new album with a few of their older, heavier tunes (such as Weeping Wastelands and Widower) thrown in for grunt and dynamics.

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Make Them Suffer's bombastic, orchestral feel and use of ethereal female vocals amid the grind are what sets them apart in this scene. Already a world-class symphonic deathcore outfit, Make Them Suffer have reached a whole new level again in their songcraft with the release of their latest album and their live show has increased significantly in stature and spectacle as well. Intricate and precise in its foundation, and brutishly passionate in delivery, their presentation is all splendour and majesty; more than capable of appealing to the deathcore kids and aficionados of the more progressive styles of heavy music at the same time.

Make Them Suffer are phenomenal and formidable this night, and the throngs walk away exhausted but ecstatic, content in the fact that they just witnessed an evening of supreme-grade extreme music.