One special Saturday night a mere six weeks ago there was a union of Aussie metal legends at Max Watts for the inaugural Metal Fest put together and hosted by long time champion of the Melbourne Metal Scene and Birthday Boy Mr. Jackson Donohue.
Eight months in the making was this evening featuring Headless, Cryptic Abyss, Envenomed, In Malice’s Wake, Frankenbok, Dreadnaught and the incredible death metal legends that are Abramelin.
Warming up the early attendee’s were Headless stunning the few of us there at the ungodly hour of 6:45pm with their crushing and well oiled form of extreme death metal. One of the great things about a few of the younger extreme metal bands in our fair state of Victoria such as Headless and next to grace the stage Cryptic Abyss (otherwise hilariously known as Spikey Logo) is that for all their brutal brilliance, they in no way take themselves seriously. Whilst the lyrical and musical content is delivered flawlessly the undertones and amusing tongue in cheek frivolity in which the likes of Headless and Cryptic Abyss conduct both themselves onstage and via their songwriting, we the punters can have an awesome night evening down the pub with some mates and beers and also be immersed in the extremes of brutal death metal.
I really dig Cryptic Abyss! Their debut album Feed ‘Em to the Sea is all Killer and no filler and a testament to a young band with passion and drive and don’t give a fuck attitude that they consistently deliver on stage. Check both their album and gigs out as soon as possible.
Band number three to storm the stage, also from Melbourne was Envenomed. Melodic thrash with horns and fists thumping and pulsating for their entire set. Bringing back the glory days of the birth of thrash these four blokes in Envenomed are carrying the torch fourth, marching to the future of a thrash metal apocalyptic armageddon of which they could well pen the soundtrack.
And grasping the torch after them were thrash titans In Malice’s Wake…Man IMW are amazing. With three incredibly solid and brilliant albums under their belts, In Malice’s Wake constantly put on an epic and unforgettable show and tonight at Metal Fest was no exception. Shaun, Mark, Leigh and Karl are on top of their game, writing, producing and releasing a new breed of intense and considerably mature and punishing thrash metal for the new millenia and whilst their albums are killer its their live performances that truly prove how fucking good In Malice’s Wake are a mere ten years into their careers. Check out IMW soon!
Item number five of the evening’s agenda was the undisputed legends, workhorse, band that refuses to lay down and die, the mighty Frankenbok. This is my first date with old mates since the departure of one of the founding members and bass player Tim. I had no preconceived notions or expectations seeing the ‘bok tonight. But I did without question, wonder what kind of state Frankenbok would be in now with Azza being the only original member left. I came here tonight and bore witness both seeing and hearing Frankenbok reborn, reinvigorated, re energised or whatever buzzword I can use to articulate the nearly two decade old reawakening and fucking heavy hello again to the general heavy music elite and bands and fans that have come and go.
Dan, Reiki, Tommy, Dan (the new Bass man) and of course Old Mate Azza delivered the best set I have seen them play in years. Frankenbok have never had any pretense or misguided rock star notions of themselves and their music, they have done what they’ve always done as only the ‘bok can do but tonight their set was something special and what I think they’ve always been and that’s straight up heavy fucking music that bleeds and sweats honesty, integrity and passion, grit and determination.
Next time you see a flyer promoting another Frankenbok show and think to yourself that you’ve seen them before, please reconsider and go to a newly charged ‘bok gig based on their killer set on Saturday night their new life will have you leaving their show loving every second.
Next up were Dreadnaught. I have documented my adoration and love for this band on many occasions and I will not stop now. I fucking love Dreadnaught. I have seen them many many times over their two decade career and have never heard or witnessed a bad set from them. Dreadnaught have also recently been the victims of a revolving door of a few members, but like Frankenbok before them, it was but a mere bump in the progression of their stellar existence. Every song in their repertoire is as important as any track that made the setlist cut. As always balls to the wall angry, heartfelt passion and honesty when witnessing a Dreadnaught show and tonight was no exception. I just can’t wait to hear to some new music from them with new guitarist Scott and new drummer Leith. Magic in sure to emit from our speakers.
And here we are at the piece de resistance of the evening. All the blood soaked majesty that is world renowned, revered, respected and loved ABRAMELIN. They took a short decade or so break, but make no mistake about it, Matt, Robb, Tim, Dave and Dower are as punishing and important and amazing as they have ever been. Each time they play for those in the old guard or new to embrace the pioneers of old Abramelin are giving us all a course in the history and extreme nature of death metal roots. Tonight we a few new tracks (what’s not to love about a song called ‘Never Enough Snuff’ I mean really?) and the family favorites of gore filled masterpieces from their back catalogue. ‘Age shall not weary them!’ rings true for many band members and us fans this evening. It was a truly astonishing set from the godfathers of Death Metal in this country Abramelin. A new world of gore is imminent from them for both adoring new and old school fans alike. Buy their incredibly box set package now to tide you over and catch them playing as soon as you can and acquaint yourselves with significant and incredible death metal done properly.
Thanks heaps for putting Metal Fest 2018 together Jackson. Complete Success! See you’se all there next year!