Feature Car: Jason Sandner’s Holden LX Torana

14 Nov

Jason Sandner’s incredibly-detailed Holden LX Torana appeared in the November 2018 issue of Street Machine. It is the second time I’ve been able to get up close and personal with the car and it never fails to blow my tiny mind. Jason has done an incredible job of building the car, which is highly detailed, both on top and bottom. powered by a 378ci alloy Donovan SBC, it’s also potent!

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Jason Sandner's Holden LX Torana

Jason Sandner's Holden LX Torana

Jason Sandner's Holden LX Torana

Feature Cars: Ray and Tony Elia’s Holden VK Commodores

12 Nov

About the only thing better than one tough, tubbed HDT-style VK Commodore is two and between brothers Ray and Tony Elia, that’s exactly what I got to photograph a few months ago for the return issue of Street Machine Commodores! Ray’s white machine is blown, while Tony’s Blue Meanie replica BT1 boasts a wicked Injection Perfection trumpet setup.

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Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Ray and Tony Elia's Holden VK Commodores

Feature Car: United Speed Shop Chevrolet C10 Truck

07 Nov

United Speed Shop‘s latest creation is this very cool, airbagged and LS3-powered Chevy C10 truck. Boasting just the right amount of original patina and a stout 540hp, this is one sweet hauler. It is featured in issue 8 of Street Machine‘s LSX Tuner magazine.

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United Speed Shop Chevrolet C10 Truck

United Speed Shop Chevrolet C10 Truck

United Speed Shop Chevrolet C10 Truck

Live Review: Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle – October 27, 2018

01 Nov

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

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First a word of advice: It can really pay to check the opening times for a gig on more than one website! Thanks to an erroneous door time listing on one ticket website, this humbled reviewer ended up missing the brutal Thy Art is Murder.

Thankfully I didn’t miss the mighty Killswitch Engage, who tonight were playing the role of main support. For some, that might seem like an odd place for a renowned international act. However, when you look out across the sold out room at NEX in Newcastle (the old Worker’s Club), it seems like a pretty shrewd move and one that will no doubt win the Massachusetts band plenty of new fans off the back of a typically super strong performance.

Formed in 1999, the band are veterans of the metalcore scene they helped create and it isn’t until you watch their full set that you remember just how many big songs they’ve had. Singer Jesse Leach is a better live singer today than he was in the band’s early days and handles the material of former singer Howard Jones with ease – which is no mean feat.

The entire group bounce around the large NEX stage with the hunger of a band still in their twenties and their tight set and road-worn professionalism will see them return Stateside with some extra record sales and downloads, for sure.

After a short break, Parkway Drive makes one hell of an entrance thanks to six concussion bombs and all the smoke machine action you would ask for. It’s just a taste of what’s to come for the capacity crowd here tonight, with the band bringing over $5000 worth of pyro, according to the pyrotechnician that ushered us off to stage left before those aforementioned explosions took place.

Indeed, Parkway could never be accused of not putting on one hell of a show. I’m pretty sure all the stage hire places in town would have been drained of their lighting rigs by looking at the stage setup here tonight. Thankfully, the musicianship lived up to the theatrics.

While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the band, I still found the whole experience too far removed from how I remember them when I last reviewed a Parkway gig in 2010. It felt like a different band to me. Despite Winston’s filthy screaming, newer material is more accessible (not a bad thing on its own), the band were all clad politely in matching black and it all seemed a little staid.

Now, I understand that a band needs to grow and evolve. These dudes aren’t the kids that took Australian (and indeed international) stages by storm over a decade ago. But that sense of danger and aggression wasn’t there. It sure as hell was in the crowd. In fact, the performance came to an abrupt halt after the fourth song in their set (‘Vice’) when an audience member was injured to the point of being stretchered out of the venue by paramedics.

After a 20 minute breather, the band launched into ‘Dedicated’ and the crowd went suitably apeshit. Realistically, if there are any grumblings in the Parkway fanbase over the group becoming the Aussie equivalent of Bring Me the Horizon or the ‘Nickelback of Deathcore’, you wouldn’t know it here tonight. It’s admittedly a tight performance, but one that felt a lot more one dimensional, with the exception of Winston himself, who clearly gave the show every ounce of strength he had.

Accuse me of resisting progress, call me stuck in the mud. I don’t mind. I just like my metal a little more dangerous. 10 points for being, by far, the biggest metal act in Australia right now, though. There isn’t another band on this continent hauling such a large production around – and you have to respect that!

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Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Parkway Drive + Killswitch Engage @ NEX Newcastle - October 27, 2018

Front Cover: Wayne Penrose Volkswagen Racing Beetle for Retro Cars

23 Oct

My photo shoot of the insane turbo, stroker racing Volkswagen Beetle from Wayne Penrose Volkswagen (WPVW) made it on to the front cover of the new issue of Retro Cars in the UK!

Cover Cars: Andy Roberts’ Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

17 Oct

Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Andy Roberts’ Trio of Volkswagen Samba buses were featured on the front cover of issue 59 of VW Magazine Australia (VWMA). The trio consists a 1957 23-window, 1960 23-window and 1963 21-window model and surely makes it one of the more impressive private collections in the country. The fact that they’ve been immaculately restored and catalogued just adds to the appeal. The feature also marks my fifth front cover of VWMA 🙂

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Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Andy Roberts' Trio of Volkswagen Samba Buses

Feature Car: Charlie Saliba’s 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38

11 Oct

Charlie Saliba's 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38

My photo shoot on Charlie Saliba’s 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38 was featured in the September 2018 issue of Street Machine. The 265ci Hemi six-powered coupe took a long time to get to this point, but the results of Charlie’s hard labour is evident no matter where you look and you can read all about it in the Sept. 2018 issue.

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Charlie Saliba's 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38

Charlie Saliba's 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38

Charlie Saliba's 1971 Chrysler Valiant VH Charger R/T E38

Feature Car: Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin’s twin-turbo, 5-second, 4000hp 526ci Holden VB Commodore

10 Oct

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

I had the pleasure of photographing Jeremy ‘Jet’ Martin’s insane twin-turbo, 5-second, 4000hp 526ci Holden VB Commodore for the September issue of Street Machine. This car, currently credited as being Australia’s fastest and quickest Commodore and Jet has also shipped the car to the USA to compete in the No Mercy 9 1/8th mile event where he finished in the Top 8 against some of the fastest cars in the world.

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Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

Jeremy 'Jet' Martin's 5sec 4000hp Holden VB Commodore

Feature Car: Jason Grima’s 1971 XY Ford Falcon

03 Oct

Jason Grima's 1971 Ford XY Falcon

Jason Grima’s beautiful 1971 XY Ford Falcon was featured in the September 2018 issue of Street Machine magazine. I reckon the images speak louder than any technical info I could hurl at you. Enjoy!

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As always, we’ve got a series of FREE desktop wallpaper images for you to enjoy. Simply CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails below to visit our Flickr page where all the goodies lay in wait for your visit.

Jason Grima's 1971 Ford XY Falcon

Jason Grima's 1971 Ford XY Falcon

Jason Grima's 1971 Ford XY Falcon

TesseracT + Circles @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – Sept. 15, 2018

03 Oct

Live Review: TesseracT + Circles @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney – September 15, 2018

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Warning: this review may end up sounding a little biased. Both Circles and TesseracT occupy a very high level of rotation on this humble scribe’s playlists in any given month. There… I said it!
Anyway, I digress. Let’s begin 🙂
Melbourne’s Circles have undergone some significant change since I last witnessed them live at Sydney’s Bald Faced Stag – both in terms of personnel and sound. Now a four-piece after the departure of a guitarist and singer, new singer/guitarist Ben Rechter seemed right at home fronting the band tonight – which was a big relief to this reviewer. There’s no denying that they were some large shoes to fill.
There’s also no denying that Circles circa 2018 is a different band to the one that brought us some of Australia’s top modern metal over the last eight years. But it’s a case of different good, not bad.
While Rechter handles the old material with seeming ease (playing guitar as well as performing the vocals), Circles’ new material, as heard on new album The Last One, has shed some of the more jagged ‘djent-ish’ angularity in favour of bigger choruses and a direction that is a little more straight ahead than before. Some might call it a more ‘mature’ direction. Either way, it’s killer and tonight’s performance more than lives up to the lofty heights that those new tunes have reached. It’ll be a great injustice if Circles don’t at least reach the level of bigger progressive bands like Karnivool within the next few years.
TesseracT walked onto a darkened stage and showed no signs of nerves at having to perform after such a strong act. After all, this nearly-full Metro crowd was here to see them – and over the next hour or so, the UK band didn’t disappoint.
I’m not sure how I missed it, but the last time the band was on our shores was 2015. I was lucky enough to see them in a very sweaty Annandale Hotel on their first Australian tour back in 2011 with Periphery and the band has been through a lot over those ensuing years. Singer Daniel Tompkins left the band after that tour with TesseracT releasing an excellent second album fronted by another singer before Tompkins returned to the fold. They’ve released two stellar discs since then, including latest, Sonder.
To his credit, Tompkins performed cuts from Altered State despite being originally performed by Ashe O’Hara and he did a killer job of them, too. In fact, the set list included tracks from across the band’s four album history and the crowd lapped up every emotionally charged second of it – including Tompkins’ trademark dramatic stage moves.
There was no encore, but no one seemed too upset by the fact. TesseracT had done their job and the audience was spent, having witnessed a truly astounding and technically brilliant performance of modern progressive metal. Hopefully we’ll see the band back on our shores before too long.

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Tesseract @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept. 15, 2018

Tesseract @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept. 15, 2018

Tesseract @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept. 15, 2018