Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

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

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

LIVE MUSIC: Make Them Suffer @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – August 15, 2018


22 Aug

Make Them Suffer

Live Review: Make Them Suffer + Silent Planet + Oceans Ate Alaska + Thornhill @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Wed, August 15, 2018

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Newcastle’s Cambridge Hotel has been playing host to a run of great metal shows of late. The latest gig to warm up the cold winter nights is Perth’s Make Them Suffer and despite being a mid-week show, Hunter punters turned out in their masses to witness a strong international line up of modern heaviness.

First on stage was Melbourne’s Thornhill who brought their own blend of contemporary metal styles to the proceedings. While they seemed a little self-conscious in front of the crowd, they brought with them some solid, dramatic progressions and some great, if well-worn riffage.

The UK’s Oceans Ate Alaska took to the stage in front of a half-filled room and proceeded to rampage like they were in front of a full house. Showing much more polish and cohesiveness, the five-piece boasted a great frontman in Jake Noakes, who stalked the stage with a brutal combination of screams, growls and hardcore shouts. From the blast beats, skittering riffs and finger tapping through to the breakdowns and sing-along choruses, Oceans had something for every modern metal fan and put on a very solid performance.

Perhaps the highlight of the night, LA’s Silent Planet made a big impact with their metal with a message. From themes of war and refugee welfare to mental illness, the band tore through a set that boasted metalcore at its core, but also included progressive traits for a sound that was at once mature and brutal. Singer Garrett Russell was clearly a bit of an eccentric, but that just added to the tension and sense of drama. Some fans up front looked as though they were having a religious experience.

After a short wait, headliners Make Them Suffer enjoyed a hero’s welcome to a darkened stage before they erupted into a powerful set of tracks from across their catalogue. The band were self-assured (coming straight from a sold-out show in Brisbane) and emitting a bruising energy that spilled into the crowd, where bodied flowed over the mosh barrier for the duration. At one point, singer Sean Harmanis instigated a Wall of Death, with half the audience politely obliging, no doubt causing more than a few bruises.

Currently touring on the back of their latest album Worlds Apart, Make Them Suffer were taut, tight and left the Cambo audience wasted, sweaty and just a little damaged.

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Oceans Ate Alaska

Silent Planet

Thornhill

LIVE GALLERY: Polaris @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – July 21, 2018


07 Aug

POLARIS LIVE AT THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL – JULY 21, 2018
(Originally published on Lifemusicmedia.com)

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I pity any metal head in the hunter region that missed out on tonight’s show at the Cambridge Hotel. Between the four acts on show, just about any genre-loyal fanatic would have been well catered to.

While the overarching theme of the night was of a decidedly modern take on the style, from opener Junkhead‘s spasmodic Dillinger-esque riffage and Diamond Construct‘s more progressive tendencies (these guys have really matured and improved over the last few years), you’d have been smiling from ear to ear by the half way point.

By the time Sydney band Justice for the Damned took to the stage, the Cambo was completely full with an obviously friendly crowd and the five-piece wasted no time in laying waste to each and every one of them. Despite the toy dinosaurs on the stage and some members looking decidedly ‘late ’80s thrash’ in white high-tops and tucked in tees, Justice for the Damned’s blend of ridiculously heavy down-tuned grooving riffs, mixed with equal parts death and hardcore means that while they may not take themselves too seriously, their tunes aren’t to be messed with.

By the time Polaris take to the stage, the audience one big sweaty mess – despite it only being about three degrees outside. One punter has even managed to dislocate his knee in the pit – his only consolation being granted the ability to watch the remainder of the set from side stage.

For the uninformed, Sydney’s Polaris are a highly polished, modern, crushing blend of metal styles, from metalcore to deathcore with hints of progressive elements thrown in for good measure. The band’s mix of growls, screams and clean vocals really adds to the dynamic.

Bodies start falling over the barrier right from the start of the set and continue throughout the show – and anyone not breathless from the full body contact is singing every word at the top of their lungs. It’s really inspiring to see such support and enthusiasm for local music. I’ve born witness to plenty of international touring acts fail to fill the Cambo main room like this.

It was a truly amazing night of Aussie metal.

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Live Gallery and Review – Red Fang @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – May 11, 2018


30 May

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

Red Fang + Drunk Mums + Black Rheno @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – Friday, May 11, 2018
Words and Pics: www.hoskingindustries.com.au

CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.Newcastle has always played host to international bands. It’s just that it has never been with the same kind of frequency of our neighbours south to Sydney. In fact, my very first proper concert experience was Pantera when they played the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on their Far Beyond Driven tour.

Still, it’s always exciting when a good international band gets booked into one of our remaining live venues. So when Red Fang announced a show at the Cambridge Hotel, you can bet this scribe had his hand up waving wildly like an excited kid at the front of the classroom with the answer to a geography question.

There is, however, always some level of trepidation when said international act is below the tier of, say, a band used to playing the big sheds and arenas. I’ve personally seen some amazing bands play to less than half full rooms and so it was that opening act Black Rheno performed to a handful of eager punters soon after the doors opened.Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

That’s a shame, too. Because the Sydney three piece (with the guitarist running a split rig that also acted as a bass, a-la White Stripes and Local H) rocked out hard with a manic set of high energy rock that was tight, but loose in all the right ways. Apparently the band has just started recording an album, so that’s definitely something to look forward to.

Next, the Drunk Mums looked like they’d stepped off a plane direct from the 1960s, complete with requisite ’60s axes and well-worn chord progressions. Despite the familiarity, the band brought a certain raucous sense of humour to the sound that helped make it unique. Loose, noisy and plenty of amusing between-song banter.

After a short intermission, no doubt thanks to their stripped down rigs not requiring too much setup, Portland, Oregon’s Red Fang took to the stage in front of a half-full, but very appreciative room of fans. They launched into a sweet rendition of Blood Like Cream and didn’t say too much for about three songs, when they’d clearly started to warm up a bit.

The mix tonight was nice and clear, with plenty of definition in the low end where singer/bassist Aaron Beam’s chord work could really shine. He really wields that thing like a baritone guitar and it works perfectly for Red Fang’s Sabbathian, stoner vibe.

Over what would be a 14-song set with no encore, the band wowed the enthusiastic crowd with tunes from all its previous releases, including latest disc, 2016’s Only Ghosts. They were super tight, despite the inherent fuzziness and ageless scunge that lies between all the grooves in their riffs. Oh, and how sweet their grooves and riffs are! They were certainly inspiration for all the middle-aged rockers in the audience and the DIYers out there.

Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018. Red Fang, performing at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, Australia on May 11, 2018.

 

CLICK HERE to view the full gallery on my Flickr page.

Live Gallery: Dead Letter Circus + sleepmakeswaves @ Metro Theatre – Sydney, Dec 19, 2014


06 Jan

Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014     Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014

Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014     Dead Letter Circus @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Dec 19, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our live review and image gallery from Dead Letter Circus‘ headlining show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre, supported by sleepmakeswaves on December 19, 2014. Read our review below and CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails above to see the full image gallery:

What a way to close out the gigging year: a headlining shot from Dead Letter Circus at Sydney’s venerable Metro Theatre, supported by sleepmakeswaves. Sydney’s 4-piece instrumental act sleepmakeswaves are an interesting proposition, given the lack of a front person. Yet despite the unconventional post-rock style, in the vein of recent acts like Scale the Summit and Russian Circles, the band is keeping the audience’s attention easily – not doubt via their combination of soaring crescendos and delicate, intricate twin-guitar interplay. Tonight is certainly the perfect Aussie prog’ tonic for a hard, working year.

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Live Gallery: Devildriver + Whitechapel @ HiFI Sydney – Sept 6, 2014


08 Oct

Devildriver + Whitechapel @ HiFi Sydney - Sept 6, 2014     Devildriver + Whitechapel @ HiFi Sydney - Sept 6, 2014

Devildriver + Whitechapel @ HiFi Sydney - Sept 6, 2014     Devildriver + Whitechapel @ HiFi Sydney - Sept 6, 2014

Oops! We forgot to post out photos and live review of Devildriver‘s headlining gig at the HiFi in Sydney on September 6, 2014. D’oh! Originally published on lifemusicmedia.com, you’ll find a full gallery of images by CLICKING HERE or on the thumbnails above. Enjoy our full review below:

With a line waiting out front that stretched around the corner and up the street, there was no question tonight’s show with US metal bands Whitechapel and Devildriver was going to be a brutal show. White it’s unfortunate that most of those people would miss the opening act due to the HiFi’s super slow entry process (to the extent that the tour manager would have to delay Whitechapel’s start time until everyone was allowed in well past 9pm), Whitechapel and Devildriver no doubt made every single punter in the full room forget about any annoying delays.

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Live Gallery: Cannibal Corpse + Hour of Penance @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – Sept. 11, 2014


16 Sep

Cannibal Corpse @ Metro Theatre, Sydney     Cannibal Corpse @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept, 11, 2014

Cannibal Corpse @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept, 11, 2014     Cannibal Corpse @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - Sept, 11, 2014

Enjoy our live review and image gallery of 29 photos from Cannibal Corpse‘s Sydney concert at the Metro Theatre on Sept. 11, 2014 – originally published at lifemusicmedia.com.

When Cannibal Corpse last played Sydney two years ago at the Manning Bar, punters were left bruised, broken and scarred. If the line up for tonight’s show at the Metro is anything to go by, there’s sure to be a room full of battered corpses by the end of the night.

Italy’s Hour of Penance opened up proceedings with their brand of Behemoth-esque death that had the quickly-filling venue moshing. Having just been to our shores last year in support of Poland’s Behemoth, there were plenty of punters singing along enjoying the unrelenting riffing and punishing blastbeats – occasionally interrupted by crushing mid-tempo numbers like ‘Ascension’. By the time they reach their last track, the middle of the dance floor has opened up into a raging circle pit.

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Live Gallery: Anathema @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – 22 August, 2014


03 Sep

Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014     Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014

Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014     Anathema - Metro Theatre, Sydney - Aug 22, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our photo gallery and live review of UK band Anathema‘s recent Sydney show at the Metro Theatre on August 22, 2014. It was the band’s first tour to our shores in their 25-year history. You can now see both here! CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails above to see the gallery.

Spiritual. Transcendental. Spellbinding. Miraculous. That’s the best way to describe Anathema‘s first Sydney concert in their 25-year history. There’s electricity in the air and from the first bars of Untouchable Part 1, everyone can feel it – including the band themselves who are visibly stoked at the reception. (more…)

Live Gallery: Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney – June 14, 2014


24 Jun

Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014     Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014

Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014     Carcass + Tortured @ Metro Theatre, Sydney - June 14, 2014

UK death metal legends Carcass returned to Australian shores in June to lay waste to Aussie audiences. Supported by Canberra’s Tortured, Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our full review and photo gallery from the show, which we can bring you here now. CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails to view the entire gallery and read the review below:

Since their formation in the mid 1980s, the UK’s Carcass has been at the forefront of the death metal movement. Even during the years of their break up in the mid-’90s through to their reformation in 2007, no other bands in the genre came close to matching the forward thinking, cutting edge metal they created on classic albums like Heartwork and Swansong.

So, it was no surprise that Sydney’s Metro Theatre should be near capacity for the band’s first tour here in over five years. Even Canberra’s Tortured played a punishing barrage of brutal death riffs to a significant crowd – although many were waiting patiently in the line up for the merch stand, with the line stretching out past the bar!

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