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Live Review: PERTURBATOR and Rebel Yell at Max Watts, Melbourne on 21/11/17

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Straight off the bat I want it known that I love PERTURBATOR. I was really hesitant at first purely because I am pretty much exclusively a metal head and metal head only and I have never really had the time for anything purely electronic. I discovered him as I am an ardent and staunch supporter of the label Blood Music (who unleashed Perturbator upon the world) for some years purely because of the intent and desire to gift the world new, rare and undiscovered underground talent in the form of vinyl and incredible promotion and packaging.

I’d heard a few songs here and there but based on my non-metal bias I unwittingly wrote him off. That was until I saw the film clip to ‘She is Young, She is Beautiful, She is Next’ which is 32bit retro brilliance! The way the clip and the song meld as a single entity was just sheer magnificence and something I just could not ignore. So…My curiosity was awakened and I delved deeply into his bandcamp and bought everything.

James Kent, the man and programming mind behind Perturbator was once a guitarist in a black metal band but left it behind to forge a career in the realm of what is known as dark synth wave futurism. In my mind, a genre that holds equal weight to such other heavier modes of music, and let’s face it folks there has been an electronic influence in any form of heavy music for decades.

It’s hard to for me to garner some kind of starting line as I have never experienced and purely electronic gig before in my life. I have never attended a rave or any kind of dance party so the notion of last night was in many ways quite foreign to me. I loved it don’t get me wrong but I can’t see myself going to something of this calibre for many years to come.

Kicking off the evening was Zerotonine who was a perfect icebreaker for the Perturbator show. Dark and heavy. Which was most certainly the theme of the evening. What amazed me about this evening at Max Watts and the genre I am now an unapologetic fan of was the coming together unison of metalheads and electronic music fans and their ilk.

Pardon my ignorance but I am truly at a loss as to how to properly articulate my experience of last night and how to put it correctly into words. Put four or five sweaty dudes throwing their Pantene hair around and d-tuned guitars etc and I can easily construct a sentence on how decent or not they were, but talking about a new and somewhat foreign realm such as dark synth wave then I am an amateur. PS: The last track from Zerotonine which featured cuts from Master of Puppets was fucking killer! Just sayin’

Next up was Rebel Yell and I am not quite sure how to properly categorise her style. Heavily distorted and quite jarring and almost confronting programming I couldn’t quite get a grasp on what it was that was being conveyed. Her use of heavily effected vocals delivered/sung over her tracks lost me I think (Apologies as I said guys, I’m new to this!) but nonetheless, Rebel Yell was eerily captivating and very well received and appreciated by the eager audience.

Then kick into 10:30 and Mr. Kent aka Perturbator walked out, lights hot ready to roll with his rhythm and the set kicked off with Neo Tokyo from last years The Uncanny Valley and from there for the next hour we were treated to a one-man ’80’s inspired synth programming genius. Now I don’t know how much was performed, programmed and/or done live and honestly I don’t really care. What I do know is that I along with many other fans were treated to a sound and light spectacle that was so many fantastic things akin to watching our favourite ’80’s inspired kung fu/sci-fi movies, or playing Super NES listening to extended remixes of b-sides Vangelis’ ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack. and dancing around, jumping up and down and throwing our heads around as it it was a killer metal show. My only desire for the evening and all I found lacking was the use of visuals. Perturbator has a few awesome clips and I would of loved any semblance of cinematic backdrop to accompany his on stage presence.

Nevertheless, I was mid crowd jumping around and banging my head as if I didn’t have to work the next day (I did indeed have to work) but I walked out of my first dark synth wave gig thaks to the passion of a label known as Blood Music and their insistence of promoting one PERTURBATOR incredibly satisfied and grateful for the opportunity to witness and be a part of something new in my world of heavy music.

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