Posts Tagged ‘metal’

Live Review: Cancer Bats @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – October 11, 2019


20 Nov

SEE GALLERY HERE

I was lucky enough to witness Canada’s Cancer Bats in action back sometime around 2013 and was struck by the band’s intensity and obvious enjoyment with what they were doing. That was a Sidewave at Sydney’s Hi-Fi Bar supporting Bullet for My Valentine – which in this reviewer’s mind was a bit of an odd pairing, but whatever…

Seeing the band tonight in the Cambridge Hotel‘s diminutive pressure-cooker of a front room seemed to amplify the intensity of the band’s performance. With no photo pit, I was shooting from the mosh – experiencing the effect they were having on the audience first hand. The band tore up the stage with a set list bursting with tracks from just about their entire back catalogue, with highlights including ‘Sorceress’ and ‘Hail Destroyer’ from the album of the same name and ‘Gatekeeper’ and ‘Space and Time’ from latest album ‘The Spark That Moves’.

As a band not known for their five-minute-plus prog epics, they move through their 15-song set list rapid fire, broken up with witty banter from frontman Liam Cormier, including some classic Aussie piss-taking that the crowd laps up, despite being the brunt of the jokes. All in all, a great way to spend a rainy night in Newcastle.

SEE GALLERY HERE

Cancer Bats @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - October 11, 2019
Cancer Bats @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - October 11, 2019
Cancer Bats @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - October 11, 2019
Cancer Bats @ Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle - October 11, 2019

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 πŸ™‚
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)

CLICK FOR FULL IMAGE GALLERY

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.

CLICK FOR FULL IMAGE GALLERY

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: Children of Bodom @ Sydney HiFi – May 9, 2014


21 May

Children of Bodom @ HiFi Sydney - May 9, 2014 Β  Β  Children of Bodom @ HiFi Sydney - May 9, 2014

Children of Bodom @ HiFi Sydney - May 9, 2014 Β  Β  Children of Bodom @ HiFi Sydney - May 9, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com recently published our live review and image gallery from Finland’s Children of Bodom, who rocked Sydney’s HiFi Bar on Friday May 9, 2014. Now we bring you our full review and image gallery of 20 concert images here. You can see the review below and CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails to check out the full gallery:

It’s a fittingly chilly evening in Sydney for Finnish metallers Children of Bodom. The pale-skinned shred-tastic troupe from the North country probably blew right into town on the cold wind that’s brought with it a motley crew of fans from all over like some kind of Pied Piper.

The lower level of the Hi-Fi isn’t quite full, but those who braved the chill have been rewarded with a set of scorching tracks from across Children of Bodom‘s extensive back catalogue. The mix is crystal clear and ear-drum bruising – just what’s required for the oft-complex and finger-busting technical riffs and licks that come screaming from the Hi-Fi stage.

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Live Gallery: Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney – April 12, 2014


24 Apr

Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104 Β  Β  Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104

Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104 Β  Β  Killswitch Engage + Kill Devil Hill @ UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney - April 12, 2104

Lifemusicmedia.com got us into Killswitch Engage‘s headlining show at Sydney’s UNSW Roundhouse on Aparil 21, supported by Kill Devil Hill. We can now bring you our gallery of 24 images from the gig, as well as our review of the performance. CLICK HERE or on the images above to jump to the gallery:

Last time this reviewer was lucky enough to see Killswitch Engage was at what was then called the Forum at Moore Park (now the HiFi). It was a sideshow to another festival and the bill included Divine Heresy and Shadows Fall. It was a remarkable show housed within a diminutive venue when the band was fronted by the mighty Howard Jones – who, at one point in the show climbed the speaker stack and proceeded to fall into the crowd below. The anticipation level was high for tonight’s show.

Opening things up was Kill Devil Hill. The not-really-supergroup (featuring Rex Brown from Pantera and Down on bass, Johnny Kelly from Type o Negative on drums and ex-Pissing Razors singer Dewey Bragg) have some fine pedigree behind them, but veer away from their collective reference points with a driving rock and roll style dissimilar to anything from any of those three bands.

Sadly – and despite some excellent stage craft – the songs largely lack the magnetism and dynamic movement found in their former brands’ song writing. Bragg’s repeated reference to Pantera seemed a little unnecessary as well, with the band going so far as to covering ‘Mouth for War’ to close out what was an entertaining set, but one that left us wanting.

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Monster Magnet + King of the North @ HiFi Sydney – April 4, 2014


14 Apr

Monster Magnet @ Sydney HiFi - April 4, 2014 Β  Β  Monster Magnet @ Sydney HiFi - April 4, 2014

Monster Magnet @ Sydney HiFi - April 4, 2014 Β  Β  Monster Magnet @ Sydney HiFi - April 4, 2014

Lifemusicmedia.com published our image gallery and review of Monster Magnet‘s headlining gig at Sydney’s HiFi Bar on Friday April 4, 2014 – supported by King of the North and Arrowhead.

CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails to see the entire gallery and read our review below:

To say that we were a little concerned about Monster Magnet’s set upon reaching the HiFi Bar just as the doors were opening would be an understatement. Simply put, there was very little sign of life. Granted, it was a dismal evening with some drizzle and cold Autumn winds blowing through, but there was hot night of raucous rock and roll to be enjoyed inside.

Regardless, Sydney band Arrowhead opened the night’s festivities to an almost empty room, rocking out with an energetic mix of mid-paced stoner/desert/Sabbath vibes. The three-piece made a beautiful racket and the small crowd clearly appreciated their driving, grooving slabs of riffage.

In terms of small outfits making a grand noise, King of the North won’t find many contemporaries coming close to their sonic footprint. The Aussie two-piece (made up of singer/guitarist Andrew Higgs and drummer Danny Leo) utilises a clever guitar rig that channels low frequencies to a bass amp via an octave pedal, creating a thick grind that’s fish-arse tight. It’s a technique put to great use by earlier two-piece groups like Local H, but don’t think for a moment that King of the North are simple clones.

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Live Music: Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders in Premier Guitar Magazine


28 Mar

One of our photos of Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders performing in Sydney in January made it into the latest issue of Premier Guitar magazine!

Tosin Abasi in Premier Guitar - April 2014

Image Gallery: Alter Bridge + Living Colour @ Sydney HiFi – Feb 25, 2014


16 Mar

Alter Bridge + Living Colour @ Sydney HiFi - Feb 25, 2014 Β  Β  Alter Bridge + Living Colour @ Sydney HiFi - Feb 25, 2014

Alter Bridge + Living Colour @ Sydney HiFi - Feb 25, 2014 Β  Β  Alter Bridge + Living Colour @ Sydney HiFi - Feb 25, 2014

We were fortunate enough to watch Alter Bridge‘s recent headlining side show gig at Sydney’s HiFi Bar, supported by the legendary Living Colour. After photographing the typical first three songs, we then had the privilege of watching the rest of the show from within the photo pit! CLICK HERE or on the thumbnails to view our 33-photo image gallery and read our review below:

It almost seems absurd that a chart-topping US rock band like Alter Bridge should be playing a venue as small as Sydney’s HiFi. So, it makes sense that tonight’s show – a Soundwave sideshow – should be completely sold out. Indeed, the line of punters stretches from the front door, around the side and turns back on itself to the front door. The Tremonti (AB’s guitarist) tattoo taking one guy’s entire lower leg tells us that he’s probably been here most of the day waiting.

Funk rock legends Living Colour open up tonight’s festivities, celebrating 25 years of their iconic album ‘Livid’ with a room already full of eager audience members. Each musical legends in their own right, guitarist Vernon Reid, bassist Doug Wimbish, drummer Will Calhoun and singer Corey Glover are equal parts tight and loose all at the same time in a magical way that makes almost no sense and total sense all at once. Β It’s no wonder AB front man Myles Kennedy later proclaimed that one of the primary reasons we were seeing them tonight was so they could play a gig with them and that it “was a dream come true”.

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