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Words and pix by Simon Russell-White

As news broke of the impending death of Brisbane’s infamous venue known as The Zoo us punters rallied on social media with the possibility of a ‘boots on ground’ approach to saving the iconic music hall that has given us music lovers countless memories over the past 32 years.

A sad day for the music scene here in Southeast Queensland, but as we always do we kept our heads high and embraced what was to be an insane night of true Old School Death Metal!

Even though we welcomed the month of May/ ενδέχεται tonight the weather was still balmy enough to have all the windows of the venue open, a welcome sight for those who have endured hot nights of the past in this iconic venue.

As we entered clad black and paid our respects to our beloved deities of darkness with beers in hand, with respective merch purchases sorted Brisbane’s own Pustilence took to the stage. The only true way to open this night of “Deayyyth” Metal was to be ear pummelled right from the get go and by jingos did this three piece deliver!

Warring their way through an abrupt and to the point set keeping to strict death metal rules, they played, they slayed and exited back stage. Do yourself a favour, learn the history of this band and get on-board punters.

Now, no mucking about, as Australia has waited long enough and here we are, in Brisbane about to witness the first ever Jungle Rot show on Australian soil! As the band settles well into their fourth decade of existence we finally get to see this incredible, genre defining band live.

With opener Worst Case Scenario it was made very clear that the near capacity crowd was somehow going to have to figure out how to settle into this tidal wave of heaviness. Like always, together we called to arm and surged forward and back as these season metal masters shredded and embedded their classic tunes into our ear pipes!

Personal favourite A Burning Cinder called for the beginning of a very prominent reminder to the adoring crowd as Dave Matrise (guitar/vocals) screamed ‘Old School, Old School, Old School‘ again and again, this becoming a theme catch phrase between songs.

It was that awesome, and Jungle Rot are that awesome! Newish drummer Spenser Syphers flawlessly impacted the set with a skill set beyond his age whilst long time members Geoff Bub (guitar) and James Genenz (bass) captivated those on the sides of the stage with riff by riff confrontation with their instruments.

With an encore that saw punters receive three more tracks, the set ender Psychotic Creation polished off any rust on the highest beam within The Zoo, it was simply that blistering!

Having had the privilege of being able to see live music for 27 plus years now, from the tender age of 14 onwards I’ve personally witnessed some incredibly moving live performances in venues large and small. Over this time there is definitely shows that stand out especially where the vibe of the room was captured turning it into a musical experience, and an experience that left I/we somewhat transfixed.

Greece’s own Rotting Christ don’t mince words when it comes to their lyrical theme and overall vocalised disdain for the Holy Bible and all of its inclusions.

As the ritual began Χ Ξ Σ sounded over the egar crowd with the collective signing of devil horns and baphomet hand signs as we entered into the world of Rotting Christ live on stage, in Australia for the first time in 12 years!

Death metal has a lot to offer musically, with it’s layering of heavy rhythm and tone that can literally have one fixated on it’s delivery, with tracks like Purcha Kahun-Tuta Kahun, Demonon Vrosis and Kata Ton Daimona Eaftoy filling out the early incarnation of the set saw this live show go from not only being witnessed but quickly becoming unforgettable.

Sakis Tolis (guitar/vocals) and Themis Tolis (drums) have been ripping venues into two for 35 plus years now and Sakis remarks very clearly his intentions and believes of the Satanic belief, with repeating sentences throughout the set capturing the true essence of the belief/ writings to ‘being oneself and not to follow or require false idols’, to put it simply.

Though brutal, though extremely heavy, the underbelly of Rotting Christ is incredibly moving and peaceful, with tracks Apage Satana and Elthe Kyrie forcing some darkened grace over the crowd as we moshed, circle pitted and most importantly picked each other up with warm embrace and collective caring.

Members Kostis Foukarakis (guitar/backing vocals) and Kostas “Spades” Heliotis (bass/backing vocals) offer deep charisma and personality to this legendary band, with promotion of the Rotting Christ flavour throughout the show, making for a true feeling on oneness on and off the stage.

Personal favourite In Yumen Xibalba and the song to end the set Grandis Spiritus Diavolos rounded out a live performance that really is hard to explain in words, but having witnessed it in person I felt the warmth of this music, this being a truly spiritual experience!

Before I go on and on know that The Sign of Evil Existence and Fgmenth Thy Gift were the encore songs, and if you’re a die hard Rotting Christ then you know, and if this legendary Death metal band is new to you, now you know.

Horns up, what a time it was!

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