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Gig Review: Witchgrinder + supports, Sydney

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Witchgrinder  + Tensions Arise + Noveaux + The Abyss Collective + Shatter The Crown
Venom, Sydney
22 August 2015
Review by Greg Smith

With five bands on the bill, it was always going to be a big night. First up was Sydney newcomers Shatter The Crown. They treated the relatively small crowd to their eclectic mix of gothic rock and punk, and vocalist Hayley Jamieson was impressive with her Evanescence / Lacuna Coil inspired vocals. It takes a certain level of guts to announce to a metal crowd that you’re about to do a Britney Spears cover but they did just that and managed to pull it off, with the band’s rendition of Britney’s Toxic being one of the highlights. Other highlights included Pathetic Excuse For a Man, and the set closer, Sarah, which were well received.

Next up was The Abyss Collective. Their music is an aggressive, dark blend of industrial metal and punk, combining slow, grinding beats and samples with heavy thrash riffs. Guitarist / vocalist Tim Lim-Sands was in a talkative mood, and did his best to rev up the crowd, at one point even getting them to scream “F*CK EVERYONE” along with him. The three-piece are about to release an EP, and highlights from their short set were Pity, The Burning, and My Heart Is a Whore.

As Noveaux began to set up, the crowd began to swell, and when guitarist / vocalist (James Barnes) growled, “let’s do this”, the mayhem began. The six-piece unleashed their assault of ultra-heavy riffs and crunching bass lines over synth / industrial backgrounds, and the enthusiastic crowd ate it up. The band played several songs from their brand new album Augment, including Descent, War and Pride, which received a big cheer from the raucous punters. Other highlights included Surprise, and the closer, Light The Fire, which ensured that the set finished on a high.

Following Noveaux was always going to be a tough task, but the boys from Tensions Arise were up for the challenge. They began their set by dancing around the stage with 5, 6, 7, 8 by Steps blasting through the PA, which drew plenty of laughs from the pumped up crowd. They then launched into a blast of straight-up, balls-out, in your face heavy metal. This was the band’s first show with new bassist Tim Hannaford and they opened with Downfall, Wannabe Superstar and new single Maniac. Innocence was a definite highlight with fast riffs, plenty of double-kick, and big chorus. A Faker’s Smile and EKC were also well received. They finished the set off with Darkness Binds, which brought on an enthusiastic round of collective headbanging from the audience.

With the anticipation in the room building, Melbourne’s Witchgrinder took to the stage. Guitarist / vocalist Travis Everett summed it up perfectly when he said ‘’it’s a small room, but when you all come together, it’s brutal’’…and that’s exactly what Witchgrinder were. Brutal. They opened with Rigor Mortis from the new album Haunted, and followed with more new stuff, including Bloodlust, Haunted and The Butcher. The new songs had the crowd in a frenzy, and when the band launched into The Demon Calling, (the title track from their first album) it sent them right over the edge.

Another oldie, Trioxin 2-4-5 was a definite highlight, with plenty of scream along, fist pumping and headbanging from the crowd. Another new song, When Devils Speak kept the momentum going, and then Jack The Ripper brought the house down. Travis Everett then announced that they weren’t getting off the stage until they were banned from the venue, before closing the set with crowd favourite Cult Of Voodoo, which included a guest from the crowd playing guitar with the band while Travis himself indulged in some serious crowd surfing (well done to the big dude in the Slayer T-Shirt who prevented Mr Everett from falling on his ass more than once).

The crowd filed out with hoarse voices and huge grins. Another great night at Venom!



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