"It quickly becomes evident just why these guys are sitting atop the Aussie heavy music food chain."
Melburnian outfit Ocean Grove kick everything off with a unique display. With the onstage jocular demeanour of early Faith No More and some high-range dissonant rings, these guys make for one hell of an opener and really should be higher on the bill.
Buried In Verona garner a decent amount of anticipation, due mostly to their shirts spotted around the venue with “YOU FUCKING MAKE ME SICK” in big block letters. The music and live show unfortunately don’t live up to the aggression and disdain the merch would have one expect. The band churns out a vanilla set of tunes that at times could be mistaken for a fringe-donning high school band's (it’s not just a phase, mum!).
After Like Moths To Flames reignite the crowd with an abundance of bass booms and pieces made for moshing, it’s time for metalcore authorities August Burns Red. The Pennsylvanians take the stage to the droning guitar intro of White Washed, eventually breaking out into frenzy through transitions of thrash phases, breakdowns and crowd chants in perfect unison of “You’re the straw that’s crushing my back”. As frontman Jake Luhrs towers over the audience and screams with absolute intensity, the band charges through complex riff after complex riff with precision virtuosity. It takes a lot for yours truly to sing the praise of a metalcore band, but ABR take what is generally a very plain, limited sub-genre and transform it into a dynamic, technical onslaught that everyone should see.
The spacey echoes of Obelisk ricochet off the walls as Australia’s newest metal royalty, Northlane, grace the crowd with their presence. It quickly becomes evident just why these guys are sitting atop the Aussie heavy music food chain. New singer Marcus Bridge’s voice melodically sails over the chorus backing of Impulse, delay pedals realise their true potential in Quantum Flux, and scattered ambient breaks contrasted by sub-sonic heaviness and syncopation feature in every song. The Sydney crew make a sound no other band seems to be able to produce (or at least not as well), weaving subtle technicalities, rhythmic U-turns and melodic phrasing in order to create a set of tunes that can find the sweet spot between musical complexity and listenability. The set finishes on the carnage that is Dispossession, ensuring that anyone who once was sceptical of recent line-up changes definitely has their opinion changed — this writer included.
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