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Live Review: Soilwork, Desecrator, Mason

4 November 2019 | 1:36 pm | Rod Whitfield

"[O]ne of the tightest and most professional outfits in heavy music."

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Mason are a four-piece thrash outfit from Melbourne and tonight they relish the opportunity to support one of the giants of the modern metal scene, grasping it with both hands and slamming as much energy into a 30-minute opening set as humanly possible. They're primal and visceral, and what they lack in musical sophistication they make up for with the sheer exuberance of their delivery. The lead guitar work is blistering, the drumming highly active, and in Jimmy Benson, they have a firecracker of a frontman.

Local veterans Desecrator's sound and approach are similar to that of the openers, just with maybe a smidgeon more finesse, if such terms apply to this style of music. The songs are flat-knacker thrash, interspersed with some fatter grooves, and the big choruses provide welcome relief from the frenzied delivery. Again, the drummer is in perpetual motion, the trade-off lead guitar breaks rip the skin from your body and frontman Riley Strong’s performance is completely over the top. He also possesses the best skullet in metal today, Devin Townsend having lost his many years ago now. It’s been a very thrash-tastic show so far.

Soilwork were supposed to have been here in March, but had to postpone due to unforeseen circumstances. Tonight they prove to be worth the eight-month wait - almost a quarter of a century in the job has made them one of the tightest and most professional outfits in heavy music.


Soilwork @ Max Watts. Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.

Tonight’s set is heavily weighted towards their more recent material, including brand new standalone single Feverish, with which they close the 60-minute set proper, and several cuts from their January release, Verkligheten. The new stuff is tight, dark and powerful, and delivered with fist-pumping intensity. However, it leaves a little less space in the set for certain key moments from their career, both Figure Number Five and Natural Born Chaos are all but completely ignored. 

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Ignoring this small gripe, Soilwork play a truly masterful set, all centred around the huge voice and presence of band mainstay, frontman Bjorn "Speed" Strid. The way his voice encompasses soaring highs, guttural lows and blistering screams is a joy to behold.

Tonight is another triumph for local and international heavy music at Max Watt's.


Soilwork @ Max Watts. Photo by Nathan Goldsworthy.