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Gig Review: Brewtality Festival, Melbourne

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The Bendigo Hotel/The Tote, Melbourne
8 August 2015
Review by Callum Doig

Brewtality is one of the best local celebrations in Melbourne for metal music and beer. Since 2013, the festival has spawned some great acts in their line-up such as Witchgrinder, King Parrot, Dreadnaught, Psycroptic and Barbariön. With Brewtality happening for the third time, I went down to The Tote and The Bendigo Hotel in Collingwood to check out some of the bands that were performing that day. During that same day, I happened to find Ari White of King Parrot and Anty of The Bennies checking out a number of bands at the festival.

Cosmic Kahuna were my first act for the day, showing what they had to offer in The Tote. Being it early in the day, the band had a good crowd. Cosmic Kahuna were the first in the main room in The Tote, and I found them to have a pretty good set as my first band at Brewtality. I may not have been all that familiar with the music they had, but overall, I enjoyed what they showed off in sound.

Heading down to The Bendigo Hotel, I caught up to thrash metallers Direblaze, who were my first band to check out at the venue. For some reason I expected some sludgy doom riffs, but their thrash metal tracks were mind-blowing. Direblaze’s crowd was quite decent, considering it was in four in the afternoon, but the music was enough to waken up their crowds’ spirits. A handful of my mates at Brewtality were telling me about Coffin Wolf, and even though I planned to check out Envenomed, I let peer pressure get the best of me and check out Coffin Wolf. Their stoner punk was actually quite refreshing, and I approved of the live sound they executed onstage.

I’ve always had faith in many bands in Adelaide, and Adelaide locals Alkira had quite the reputation as another thrash metal act on the line-up. There was a decent amount of movement in the pit, however, I felt that it should’ve gone a little bit crazier for Alkira, as they were a really unique thrash band. Zombie Motors Wrecking Yard had me confused with their name for a while, as I kept mispronouncing their name as Hotel City Wrecking Traders. Nonetheless, the band had some grooves to their stoner sound to that of Clutch. The band brought some chilling vibes in that half hour set they were given, and they seemed like a fun band to see again. I have more to learn about Zombie Motors Wrecking Yard, but they were another great one to check out at The Tote.

Horsehunter are one of those bands that cannot be missed any time they have a set going on. The band’s half hour set consisted of only two songs, with a brand new track they’ve titled as ‘Nuclear Rapture’. Horsehunter gigs only get better and better every time anyone sees them. I guarantee that just about everyone in the crowd who saw Horsehunter will be back for more of their shows in the future. There was more than just doom metal to be seen from Horsehunter, there was live quality that a lot of people could take note of on how to execute their music flawlessly.

Truth Corroded have been one act I had been meaning to see for a few years, and their 30 minute set was more than what I was expecting. The Adelaide death metal group pulled off some fine riffs throughout the set, and had quite a powerful execution of their songs that sounded as amazing as their studio recordings. Captives are one of the more energetic bands you’ll find on any line-up. I remember hearing a handful of their songs in the past before actually seeing then live, and like Truth Corroded, their sound as a live band is as good as what they sound like in the studio. Though the crowd’s movement wasn’t all that stiff, I could see a handful of satisfied attendees in the audience. Though Tasmania doesn’t get a whole lot of love from overseas acts, Captives show that just like Perth and Adelaide, they put more effort into their music than a lot of other bands in the east coast of our country. Spacejunk were one that Ari White of King Parrot suggested to me to check out, so I took his word for it, went upstairs and found a very tight capacity of 40 people in the small rooms upstairs in The Tote checking out the band. Spacejunk had quite the impressive set, and the small percentage of those at Brewtality who took a minute to check them out made the right choice. And I say thanks to Ari White for telling me to check them out!

Nothing Sacred were an unexpected highlight for me. A band of old dudes and their Iced Earth/Queensrÿche inspired tunes put the crowd in awe, with vocals that just about made Geoff Tate sound like a kiddy choir. Nothing Sacred weren’t originally part of my schedule, as I originally intended to see Heaven The Axe, but Nothing Sacred were better than what I had originally expected of the band. I’m happy to say that I will definitely be seeing Nothing Sacred again in the future.

Hobbs Angel of Death were more than what I expected as a live band. Hearing the name for several years, only now did I have the opportunity to check them out once and for all. Despite being tight in the venue, the moshpit was absolutely nuts. For a band going for over 30 years, Hobbs Angel of Death had one of the most energetic crowds I’ve seen of any local band in my life, and their set that night was one of the heaviest thrash sets of the day at Brewtality.

There were a lot of bands I wanted to check out that day, but the clashes won as usual. But, I enjoyed every band I saw throughout the day at Brewtality. The smell of beer and weed, the sound of heavy riffs, the sight of so much local band merch worn and people smashing down chips and pizza at a small takeaway restaurant between the venues, everything was just great. With my day revolving around stoner, punk, death, thrash and power metal, it was a fun combination. I can only hope I can witness another great time at Brewtality next year, and I give my thanks to everyone who put this festival together for this year.

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