This was a momentous occasion. Industrial metal titans Pain playing their first ever show in Sydney. You could practically feel the anticipation building throughout the Bald Faced Stag as the ever-growing crowd of metalheads gathered to share in this experience. Were we to be vindicated in our excitement? We were soon to find out!
First up was Our Last Enemy. With their ultra-heavy industrial metal sound, and a soot-stained aesthetic to match, they turned heads from the beginning and held the crowd the entire time. Their set was nicely varied in terms of pacing and dynamic, never feeling too same-same. They managed to fill the stage with a good presence, never overstepping their boundaries. Only thing is, the synth track could have been mixed a little higher; it wasn’t quite audible and the songs would have had more impact otherwise. Overall, a solid set from a band that clearly knew what they were doing.
Our Last Enemy- 7.4/10
Next we were treated to Witchgrinder. Their blend of classic thrash riffs with industrial metal sensibilities seemed to resonate with the crowd, and their playing was tight. They clearly knew how to work the crowd; the stage presence had a decent dose of classic metal swagger without it being overbearing. While it was certainly entertaining and well-executed, there wasn’t quite enough dynamic variation between the songs across the set, and the synth track had the same problem as Our Last Enemy. Despite this, it was still a good set and Witchgrinder is definitely a band worth seeing.
Pain were an absolute blast. Extraordinarily tight and supremely heavy, they had heads banging from beat one and they never let up. Every musician on that stage was exactly on point, no one missed a note and every one packed a punch to level buildings (it was also great fun to see father-and-son duo Peter and Sebastian Tagtgren on stage). The set was well-paced; there was a good interchange between the faster songs and the more mid-pace bangers that between them dominate their discography. The band had seemingly endless reserves of energy and they put them to good use- there was never a dull moment on that stage. Peter Tagtgren is a consummate frontman, alternating between gravelly melodies and roaring like a wild animal, and he had the whole crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the show. The setlist was a mix of old and new songs, with crowd favourites like End of the Line and Shut Your Mouth (an absolutely titanic closing song) whipping the crowd into a sea of banging heads and moving bodies. A worthy way to welcome Pain to Sydney for the first time, and I very much hope they come again soon.