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Live Review: Northlane, August Burns Red, Like Moths To Flames, Ocean Grove

11 November 2015 | 4:42 pm | Will Oakeshott

"To the progressive-djent-core New South Welshmen's credit, they are almost spiritual in a sense."

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The fact that one of the currently most adored melodic metalcore outfits from Sydney, Buried In Verona, were incapable of performing on this evening due to volcanic ash did not seem deter Adelaide heavy music aficionados one iota; the line for the entrance into HQ wrapped around the entire complex. 

Melbourne's Ocean Grove was the first to take the stage among a bustling, growing audience, and quickly stamped their presence, embracing the willing atmosphere. Their sound is a combination of party-hardcore along the lines of Hellions with the versatility of Earth Caller and just a hint of nu-metal a la Korn or Limp Bizkit for good measure; this quintet are by no means 'by the book' but that's why they're intriguing. Featuring songs from their Black Label EP, it was far from a cohesive performance, but engaging enough to warm up the audience properly (especially the ninja moshers). Credit must be given to bassist Dale Tanner whose Wayne's World-inspired clothing and very peculiar stage moves made him the star attraction of sorts.

While Like Moths To Flames' emotional melodic metalcore mixed with elements of post-hardcore is far from original, the five-piece did come out guns blazing. Vocalist Chris Roetter had Adelaide in his command but sadly overused the idea of "jumping" or "bouncing" to a very predictable level. However, his transition from screaming to clean singing was rather accomplished. The set featyred an array of tracks from their growing discography — most notably, newer songs were given the most attention, with the recent release of their third album The Dying Things We Live For. Truth be told, Like Moths To Flames are not quite at headliner status, but their following is growing, so potential is there.

Pennsylvania's August Burns Red had the role of main support for the entire tour, but it was quickly established that the math-metalcore five-piece could have quite easily headlined. How soon was this idea discovered? Honestly, drummer Matt Greiner's massive introduction solo for his band's march onto the stage was confirmation enough. From here, the technical, monstrous presence and incomprehensible vocal delivery that each member of ABR utilises is a collaboration that just has to be observed, as it is near impossible to justify with words. Identity, with its Tarantino-esque soundtrack interlude (think a Western film showdown) was incredible, especially with frontman Jake Luhrs' outstanding dance renditions. Provision and Ghosts had the crowd in sensational disarray which was elevated further by Composure. Empire closed the performance with a massive "whoa whoa" singalong, and at this point the damage had been done; the main act certainly had a challenge bestowed up them.

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With what had transpired it was up to Sydney's Northlane to bring a full arsenal to cement their position for this show, and their stage set-up plus lighting system was over-the-top but transfixing all the same. The opening track created an uproar and near riot with a deafening audience contribution; this was excelled rather brilliantly by new vocalist Marcus Bridge who has grown as a frontman, showcasing a dynamic and social interaction which can take years to perfect. The rest of the merry Northlane men stamped their presence also, climbing atop their strategically placed stage-steps to appear gigantic in nature. Leech, Rot, Soma, Quantum Flux, Impulse, Scarab, Node, Dream Awake and Dispossession (inspiring members of the quintet to exit the stage and join the crowd) were notable highlights. What occurred next was, to be frank, simply unnecessary. A momentary departure then return for an over-reaching encore of Masquerade could have been completely disregarded, but Adelaide seemed ecstatic.

The ultimate question was: were Northlane were able to outdo the prior acts? You can't exactly compare them. To the progressive-djent-core New South Welshmen's credit, they are almost spiritual in a sense — but it in a way that feels like a privilege to be a part of. Whereas the intensity of the beast that is August Burns Red is a chaotic mind-bender of outlandish magnificence. Nevertheless for the biggest show that Northlane have played in South Australia, a stellar effort was put forth, and one of very memorable nature.