Live Review: Living Death Fest

The array of live music concerts and entertainment options around Melbourne last night left Living Death Fest with some considerable competition. But even with the variety of shows on around town, fans of all things macabre and brutal were really only left with one truly viable option. Kiss Or Kill and Heavy sponsored event Living Death Fest with Disentomb, Internal Nightmare, The Seaford Monster, Broozer, Seminal Embalmment, Myridian and Involuntary Convulsion provided that option.

An early six o’clock start for any act on a seven band line-up would be daunting, Involuntary Convulsion however seemed to overlook the early slot and drew extra numbers by offering some tasty watermelon. Watermelon at extreme music festivals, this could be a staple for bands who haven’t yet released any merchandise. Paul from Internal Nightmare (and Living Death Fest organiser) joined the stage for one song, a sense of comradery that was sustained throughout the evening by other bands. With a line-up of more extreme acts, Myridian felt slightly out of place with their brand of progressive doom metal. They’re a band that are clearly in their infancy and need time to mature and grow. Their awkward stage presence and technical hiccups were indications of their adolescence and was felt by the crowd. Myridian have the potential to be the heaviest band on a bill, or the softest. This particular scenario fell in the latter and proved to be the bands downfall. Nevertheless, Myridian are an interesting doom metal band with potential to gain a legion of followers.

South Australian brutal death metallers Seminal Embalmment took the stage next. The fast and furious tempo’d music was comically accompanied by a fairly cavalier front man. Windmills were in abundance during Seminal Embalmment’s set, with some even utlising the technique as a means of humanised air conditioners. Its always a delight to hear bands of this type announce song titles in guttural death metal voices, it simply feels right. Following on from the Adelaide quartet were the poster boys for true blue aussie death metal, Broozer. Brutal rocky bogan death metal seems to be a term that comes to mind when seeing these chaps live. They are the metal band Dale Kerrigan would follow if he were a heavy music fan. Wifebeaters and shoeless feet aside, Broozer are excellent at what they do. They’ve perfected their own brand of rock meets extreme metal and love to mess around with time signatures and confusing guitar riffs. Their set ended with a succinct ‘we are Broozer, cya’ and a modest nod to the crowd.

The most enigmatic and comedic front man of the night came with The Seaford Monster. Nick ‘Deathtripper’ doesn’t allow the sound of a pin drop be heard between songs as he is far more interested in cracking jokes and generally amusing the crowd with hilarious sarcasm. Once the music kicks in though, The Seaford Monster are no laughing matter. If crushing death slam is the game, then Seaford Monster is the name. The evening’s commonality of bands getting on stage to share songs with other bands is continued as both Involuntary Convulsions lead singer and Disentomb’s Philp get up on seperate occassions to belt out covers, one of which included a Disfiguring The Goddess song. Paul Hammond, bassist and Living Death Fest event organiser, took the stage next with his band Internal Nightmare. There hadn’t been much in the way of moshpits until Internal Nightmare graced the stage. Mr. Doomsday Hammond ensured crowd participation by getting in the pit himself, guitarist Christian Doherty betting $10 he’d come unplugged as a result. Internal Nightmare’s combination of Slayer-esque riffage and Sepultura like rhythms was clearly favored by the crowd as the moshpit endured until the end of their set.

Whilst metalcore fans were busy getting their breakdowns on over at Parkway Drive, Living Death Fest Patrons were more interested in slamming to the tunes of Queensland’s Disentomb. The interstate headliners are no newcomers to Melbourne, having already performed with death metal legends Cannibal Corpse late last year and again at Bastard Fest, Disentomb were ready to handle the duties of headline act. The very minute lead singer Jordan Philp hit the stage, it was obvious that things were bound to erupt. The highly masculine physicality and intense stage persona of Philp coaxed anyone standing around bopping there heads to suddenly break out into a frenzy of moshing. The arrangement of slam riffs and a furious display of relentless blast beat drumming proved to be just what the crowd had been yearning for. To further highlight this point, Philp demanded the crowd get up on stage to slam with Disentomb. Eight people then rushed the already cramped stage to engage in the motion of synchronized head banging and the all important art of crowd surfing, ending the night in the traditional metal gig sense of flailing bodies and mass amounts of hair.

Although there may have been some luke-warm reception to bands earlier in the night, headliners Disentomb put any thoughts of a waning Melbourne death metal scene to rest with their furious aggression and engaging live show. Living Death Fest may have suffered a bit from a smaller than expected turnout but the overall outcome for the night was well-received and the line of fans cuing up to purchase merchandise at the end of the show was a relieving prospect of a long standing and enduring scene.

Written by Josh Voce

Oriental metal pioneers Orphaned Land touring Australia in March 2014.

Meshuggah and Lamb of God Live @ Festival Hall, Melbourne