YOB + Sumeru + Thorax
Manning Bar, Sydney
22 August 2015
Review by Gary Grim
The crowd might have been rather small at the beginning of the night but the sound produced by Sydney’s Thorax was huge. As good as they were in the claustrophobic, intimate space of Black Wire Records the last time I saw this band, these guys truly thrived on a bigger stage. Plus, this time, they had their full complement so I got to see vocalist Kallie in action as she took to the pit rather than the stage to deliver her tortured, screaming vocals. Thorax‘s music is unique so comparisons to other bands or even genres in general fall short. You can hear elements of doom/stoner metal, prog and maybe even post punk but, at the same time, they don’t adhere to the boundaries of any of these styles let alone those of traditional song writing. Add to this a solid rhythm section and inventive, ponderous riffs and this band is a must-hear for anyone looking for unique and groundbreaking music.
Sumeru‘s set was more straightforward and traditional stoner/doom with more than a touch of Down worship on display. As such, they kind of seemed like an odd fit in this line up sandwiched between more experimental acts such as Thorax and YOB. That aside, Sumeru delivered a tight set that sometimes upped the pace of your regular stoner bands but they still had plenty of the plodding, heavy riffs you’d expect from the genre. Plus, the band’s passion for their music really came across as they in their performance. By the end of the set, the venue had really filled out with an eager audience ready for the mighty YOB.
A wave of feedback grew from the amps before the leaden opening riff of Prepare the Ground came crashing down upon us. As the song, and the rest of the set, progressed, I found it impressive how well this music transferred over into the live setting considering the epic nature of these tracks. I was particularly pleased by just how good Mike Scheidt’s vocals were on the night. With the accompaniment of a healthy serving of reverb and effects on the mic, Scheidt’s voice went from a melodic spaced out clean vocal in the vein of someone like Wino (Saint Vitus, Hidden Hand, The Obsessed et al) to a more high pitched Halford-esque scream to bellowing roars all of which sounded just as good as it does on the band’s albums if not better.
Speaking of YOB‘s albums, this wasn’t just a case of a set list comprised mostly of the newest material (which is still really good) with an old song thrown in here or there. These guys covered a good chunk of the group’s discography. It was a great way of showcasing the range and inventiveness of the band’s catalogue for the uninitiated and a pure pleasure for more ardent fans. Between these songs, Scheidt would show as much enthusiasm for touring in Australia and being able to play these songs in a country they had not previously performed as each individual member did in the execution of said songs. After a big, heavy set and encore (consisting of Grasping Air), the crowd seemed to be exuding the same enthusiasm right back to YOB.