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[LIVE REVIEW] DIRECT UNDERGROUND FEST @ The Factory Theatre, Sydney

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Ah Direct Touring. Notorious for bringing many dreams come true for extreme and black metal fans in Australia and this celebration was proof again of that. Five years old, Direct Touring decided to bring out some of black metal’s finest in honour of their efforts put in over the years and all of the absolutely brilliant tours. with one of the most brutal line ups I’ve seen in a while. .

The Factory Theatre is a great venue and I’ve seen some of my favourite shows there but this had to be right at the top. The night began with the mighty Tasmanians Departe taking to the stage with the majesty of a triumphant emperor and filling the room with sounds of elegant dissonanceThe slow, wonderous drones were sending the crowd into a state of hypnosis as they played tracks from their recent debut release ‘Failure, Subside‘. Sam Dishington’s guttaral vocals evoke feelings of all kinds, sending chills down your spine as they perfectly merge with drone of the guitars and the magnificent bass chugs with their underlying melodies creating an absolutely eerie atmosphere. Relentless riffs that forge through your skull and surround you with a sonic bliss of heaviness, Departe’s music translated live is nothing short of glorious.

Setting the perfect mood and tone for the night, as the band finished, I couldn’t help but think about all the times I’ve seen people coming after the support bands finish and be proud and happy with the turnout there was last night. The next band on this big night of metal was one where I personally feel, none of the members are human. To watch Ulcerate play is like watching a well-oiled (metal – excuse the pun) machine work together to create an unbelievable product – something that will knock you off of your boots and man, is it heavy. The personification of an aural assault, the three piece from New Zealand played a mind-numbing set that had people going off from the very start. Even though they were the least black metal band on the bill, Ulcerate came and conquered the thirsty Sydney crowd  tracks from their latest album ‘Shrines of Paralysis’, a true tech-death delight of a record. Right from the sheer intensity of ‘Abrogation’ and the title track, every minute of their performance was flawless, as if listening to them on audio. Along with songs from their latest offering, the band also revisited a couple of old songs from ‘Vermis’ and ‘The Destroyers of All’. It’s bands like Ulcerate that just go to show, you don’t always need a slew of theatrics, props and on stage banter to add to the performance – just

The moment I had been waiting for for months finally came when darkness filled the room, to welcome  the presence of Mgla. In addition the sheer power and intensity of this band’s music, their presence on stage is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The first time I saw Mgla live, it blew me away, but given that that was just 15 minutes of a half an hour set and in a festival setting, I couldn’t dedicate as much attention to them as I did last night. Last night, I understood why they remain covered, identities hidden and shrouded in mystery. The music must speak and this is clearly something the band believe in. If I’m being completely honest as I am with all of my articles, I would have been happy seeing Mgla and then calling it a night. They set the bar for me the moment I listened to ‘Further Down The Nest’, and seeing that live,was beautiful.

But there was more to come in the form of the mighty Gorguts. Only being familiar with a couple of Gorguts releases, I was keen to see what this band would bring to the table and they certainly brought forth.

If I’m being completely honest as I am with all of my articles, I would have been happy seeing Mgla and then calling it a night. They set the bar for me the moment I listened to ‘Further Down The Nest’, and seeing that live,was beautiful. But there was more to come in the form of the mighty Gorguts. Only being familiar with a couple of Gorguts releases, I was keen to see what this band would bring to the table and they certainly brought forth.

 

Swedish black metal pioneers Marduk were as magnificent and confronting as you’d imagine them to be. What has got to be the most hilarious and brilliant opening to any set at any gig ever, members of this very controversial, powerful band graced us with their presence to the sounds of what was a very very Christian gospel song.I mean, talk about giving religion, society and all those other mainstream aspects of the world the proverbial finger.

The inaugural Direct Underground Fest had its ups and downs, and at times its overwhelming brutality did indeed get the better of it. However, as a show of extreme metal force, it’s hard to think of the outing as anything but superlative, and one wonders just how exactly they intend to up the ante, should future ‘Fests’ occur.

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Prarthana Venunathan

Prarthana is an Indo-Aussie, vegan, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. She enjoys listening to different genres with a special passion for being consumed by the extreme, the occult and the obscure. Travelling is an obsession.
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