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[LIVE REVIEW] KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, Brisbane, 04/03/2017

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“Being up there on that stage in front of a couple of thousand people was so surreal,” enthused Michael Gee, drummer for Brisbane’s Chronolyth of their support slot for Killswitch Engage.  “I was possibly way more nervous this time than any other show we’ve played. The reception was incredible and literally blew our minds. The crowd loved us and we fed off it and truly wanted to give it our best shot. Whether you play in front of a couple of hundred people or a couple of thousand or a couple of dozen you still have to give it your all but last night was amazing looking down at the crowd smiling and going mental.”

So said from a side of the stage many of us don’t get to experience – on it – and he wasn’t exaggerating.

Chronolyth proved they aren’t out of place amongst the heavyweights of metal with a blistering set that made you proud to be an Aussie metal fan.

Running through songs like ‘Atrophy’, ‘Silent Eyes’, ‘Live to Destroy’ and ‘The Heresy’ the boys were tight, loud, and ferocious and looked set to be on a mission to convert the large crowd into the fold.

Often local bands find the sense of the occasion a little overwhelming but not so tonight. Well done boys!

Next was Fallujah who are playing their first shows in this country and while on disk these guys tick all the right boxes unfortunately tonight they were stifled to a large degree due to poor sound.

The mix started muddy and muffled, with Alex Hofmann’s vocals barely audible and sadly this didn’t improve much throughout the set.

Musically, the band was excellent, especially the double (or was that triple – it sounded like it) kicks machine gunning from Andrew Baird’s drums.

Even that, although impressive, was overly loud in the mix and drowned out most of the guitars and had a major bearing on the front of house sound.

Hofmann pushed on valiantly, finally managing to entice a circle pit by the last song and I would say based on tonight’s performance Fallujah would be a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, they are a great band but every band has one of those nights…

On this, their Alive or Just Breathing tour, Killswitch Engage promised fans a complete run through of their ground breaking second album by the same name and anticipation in the lead up to the tour was through the roof.

KSE delivered and then some. From set opener ‘Numbered Days’ Killswitch owned the stage, with vocalist Jesse Leach possessing a stage presence demanding attention.

The bands persona and professionalism dedicated to each song was note perfect and through the sheer weight of on stage enthusiasm KSE breathed fresh life into songs written over fifteen years ago.

It is rare for a music fan to listen to an entire album enough to know the words to every song but such is obviously the case on this album with every song being sung from the crowd with gusto, providing Leach ample opportunity to throw the vocal duties over to the eager fans.

Running through ‘Last Serenade’, ‘Just Barely Breathing’, ‘Temple from the Within’ and ‘Rise Inside’ the set list followed the track listing on the album and to say any one song was a standout over the rest would be doing the set an injustice.

The band played their part as well, especially bass player Mike DÁntonio and lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz who prowled the stage from side to side, interacting and making eye contact with as many of their fans as possible and drawing the crowd into the performance.

At one stage Leach implored the crowd to send someone up to pick up the microphone if he passed out from heat exhaustion, but the band even had that covered stopping the show on numerous occasions to hand out bottles of water.

Finishing the set with a literal best of from their remaining albums, including ‘Hate by Design’, ‘Beyond the Flames’, ‘My Curse ’and ‘The End of Heartache’, Killswitch Engage left nothing on stage and left an indelible impression that they are almost peerless on the current live circuit.

Leach even moved through the crowd on encore ‘Rose of Sharyn’ and made contact with as many fans as possible in a closing address that left an exhausted but overwhelmed crowd feeling the love.

One of the live highlights of this decade.

Kris Peters

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