Words by Will Oakeshott
“With comedy I can search for the profound.” – Dario Fo.
To an outside observer, the musical genres known as Death Metal and Deathcore would in all likelihood provoke a perception of anger, darkness, morbidity and even terror. Although these descriptions have relevance to the acts performing on this night, the metaphorical phrase of: Never judge a book by its cover undoubtedly comes into play. Each outfit’s brand of metal does negotiate the prior mentioned topics to an extent; however, in the live setting, it is practically the opposite to the presumed themes. Remarkably, all three bands are able to engage their audiences with their sense of comedy which astonishingly matched perfectly with their art, however light-hearted or nearing dangerous it may have been. As the first statement mentioned in this article by arguably one of the world’s most celebrated playwrights, the word “profound” became the concept of this entire event. The music and humour combined so flawlessly that perhaps a new genre could be created: Death CoMetaldy? It’s a work in progress.
Melbourne (via Adelaide) trio Werewolves howled at the attendees to: Get the fuck in here now to signal the beginning of their onslaught of snarling death metal and the enthusiasts obeyed quickly, escaping the luminous glow of the bar, and it was quickly evident that this was a very sizeable crowd for a Sunday night. Know Your Place was ferociously fantastic and enforced the focus of the onlookers into a heavy music hypnotism as bassist/vocalist Sam Bean and guitarist/vocalist Matt Wilcock growled viciously and headbanged in unison as if they were a demonic canine choir. The thrash-driven No More Heroes brought about a devastating honesty that although has a terrific tongue-in-cheek motif, hit a little harder considering the current state of the world. In true brutal brilliance, the three-piece thanked the audience with the Australian adored hilarious statement of: Cheers c*nts then leapt into Sublime Wartime Voyeurism exquisitely.
Newer single Under The Ground features the shrieked lyrics We Are The Heaviest Thing You Will Ever See and although this might not be entirely true for all present in the venue, on this day, at this moment, the statement WAS true with the breakneck blast-beats courtesy of drummer David Haleyand with joint brutal barks from both vocalists.
Crushing Heaven’s Mandate also crushed the witness’s souls beautifully with its death grind severity; this matter-of-factly seemed to be so profound that it actually disorientated Werewolves with their introduction to Showering Teeth, ironically joking about how they were so old their teeth were falling out.
The invigor(e)rating I Don’t Like You closed the set inciting the mosh-pit into a circle-pit and numerous neck dislocating whirlwinds. If there is a current list of Australian death metal anthems, this single would be near the top. Truthfully, it has the fieriness to feature on an episode of Metalocalypse – admittedly this writer (and assuredly many more) would love to have an Australian band presence on the comedy series that features Dethklok. How profound would that be?
With an eerie effect overtaking Lion Arts Factory in both light and sound featuring quotes from Rambo, an astonishing anticipation and unease overwhelmed the audience in a rather brilliant fashion. Suddenly, four Mancunian men took to the stage known as Ingested and the demonic smile of front-man Jason Evans quickly indicated that Adelaide was in for a merriment(al) time.
Impending Dominance was a ground-shaker both in the thunderclaps of the UK’s death metal recipe, but also in the sense that the quartet were implementing more of a party atmosphere that virtually the entire venue engaged with. Mr Evans is intently individual with his onstage persona, adopting an almost comic book character identity that is perhaps the offspring of The Joker and Hellcat but raised by The Clown from Spawn – very animated as well as being very mischievous. Also, he literally purrs, but in a fun demonour (re-imagination of “demeanour” and “demon”). Perhaps MetaLynx could be his comic name? Another work in progress.
Invidious enhanced the earthquake that the opener did with a larger circle-pit and a commentary from Jason playfully singing Around the world she goes. This was excellently followed by a British breakdown call-out of Fookin’ Hell adding that humorous value that this review has focussed on.
Skinned & Fucked incorporated a shimmy and bop feel to the death metal formula that this scribe had not yet witnessed in this realm of heavy music. It honestly felt like it could have been used in the swing dance scene of The Mask film. The closer certainly required a bold statement and Echoes Of Hate accomplished this in devastating deathcore fashion; although the fun had only really just begun.
Vancouver’s Archspire did not make a grand entrance to state their arrival onstage. In fact, they walked very casually onto the Lion Arts Factory platform and literally faced away from the crowd. A voiceover then announced that Archspire’s performance this evening has been cancelled. A replacement has been organised and we present to you five old, balding, alcoholic losers. Please enjoy the show. The comical entrance was met with “boos”, “you sucks” and obligatory deafening laughter. Joke’s over, Bleed The Future kicked off the party and what a party it became.
Death metal rapper Oliver Rae Aleron is undeniably (Im)pure entertainment; besides his superhuman ability of growling his lyrics faster than a hummingbird’s heartbeat – his between-song jokester personality is wickedly astonishing. Witticisms about home-schooling, bestiality, the male reproductive organ and more were so fluently delivered that an assignment of another comic book character could be utilised. Olligator Snapping Turtle perhaps? The cousin of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and known prankster? Again, a work in progress.
A Dark Horizontal was an exhibition of musical gymnastics, technical death metal is already mind-bending with its skill set, but this was of elite nature. How can a band make technical death metal more profound? Boost the technicality with a game of “Twister” for the audience. A DJ mix interlude and a few spins of the spinner seemed awkward – however, it ended with the Wall Of Death and Golden Mouth Of Ruin becoming the funnest heavy song to mosh to in the genre.
When one would think the festivities were over, Archspire had more jokes in the cannon. The “Shoey” is a rather famed Australian drinking anecdote – why not make it a competition? Why not put a splash of whiskey on top of the rancid beer? Why not make the crowd contestants put their soaked shoes on their head to mark their victory? Better yet, promise the winner a t-shirt, but the prize is a clothing item designed by the quintet, drawn on a plain t-shirt with a permanent marker and not their merchandise as was expected. Does this sound like a metal show? How profound.
The non-core (encore, but the band skipped the theatrics) of Drone Corpse Aviator was the best way to illustrate the quintet – math metal interludes nearing jazz professionalism and almost scientific in approach. The five-piece have proved they are without doubt a headliner, but they had to STAND out to do so in Australia – welcome to death metal comedy.
The search is over.