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SUFFOCATION, REVOCATION, BRIMSTONE: The Brightside, Brisbane 18/04/24

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Rocking into Fortitude Valley on a school night is never a good idea. And because I rocked up a bit early for the show, I threw down some chicken roll from a food truck out the front of the venue, which was possibly my second bad decision for the evening. I will say though, it was pretty damn good even though it was a bit hard to eat due to twice as much chicken filling, gravy and cheese sauce as there was bread.

No complaints for now though until the stomach cramps start a little later.

Media list, what media list? After almost not being allowed in, I get the last-minute ok from the tour manager, but no backstage access. I don’t know if any of you have ever seen the backroom area at The Brightside, but it’s not much bigger than a single bedroom, so I’m not at all disappointed because there is no doubt it’s gonna smell like sweaty death metal ass back there.

I still manage to get in early, and the bands are still just roaming freely with a few punters who are hanging around after the meet and greet. As for the rest of the punters, they are all still hanging around outside on the footpath, and I wonder if the venues thought about letting them in so they can get a drink and make the place some money. I mean, with venues complaining that they don’t make enough money, they leave a couple of hundred people on the footpath when the place is already serving drinks anyway.

And on that note, I head to the bar to grab a JD and as I turn to face the stage, I am reminded how little this place is, capping out at a couple of hundred people. It’s going to get crazy as fuck in here once they finally let people in and all of this evil death metal begins.

The room starts filling very quickly as they let people in, and in a nice twist of events, it turns out there is a local support tonight called Brimstone. It’s not death metal, it’s just a rocking good time, almost like Reinventing the Steel era Pantera but with milder vocals. At least for the first couple of riffs and up until a rocking guitar solo grabs my attention. Their opening song is a good one, and I’ll try to get a set list, so I can tell ya some names, but I’m not holding my breath because I’ve just been informed that they’ve “disappeared” from the sound desk during the meet & greet.

Their next track is a bit more of a punk number, although it does pull back to a groove for what I think are the pre-choruses. This one has a momentary dual guitar lead, which has a nice touch of Metallica flavour to it. The vocalist kind of looks like a younger version of Skenie from The Poor, but with a dirty big moustache. This guy also doesn’t know what a t-shirt is, and speaking of shirts, he thanks the crowd for buying merch and reminds them just how important merch sales are for touring bands right now. All 300 of them that we’ve had in the last few months.

But I digress, the next one is a complete chugger and a bit of a slower mover which works itself into more of the sludge realm and pushes towards a Down type style. The band has now found their chugging groove which places them somewhere in the stoner/doom/sludge field, but it’s not super dark. It’s a little lighter on the pallet and a touch more rocking. The solos keep coming thick and fast in every song which keeps me invested up until the final track Viking Lord. Aye, aye, aye!

That was a great toned back warm-up before all the brutal hits. A fluffer if you will, and the crowd are now standing to attention.

It’s very rare at this type of touring show, that you see a band soundcheck in front of the crowd, but Revocation don’t seem to have an issue with it as they tweak their grinding guitar tones. Vocalist Dave Davidson then lifts his head and tells us it’s time to rock n roll as they kick into Diabolical Majesty. And well, it’s diabolical.

For a 3 piece, they sure do manage to make a hell of a lot of noise, but there doesn’t appear to be a bassist even though I can hear some bass in the mix. The next song may be titled Nihilistic Thyroid, or so it sounded… but I doubt it. Whatever the song title is (Nihilistic Violence as I just googled), a circle pit opens up and carnage commences. Dion Purnell from Eternal Torment and Dreamkillers doesn’t seem to care though, as he stands strong in the middle and lets everyone skip around him. It’s a funny thing, the old circle pit, a bunch of scary metal heads skipping around in a circle. If only they were holding hands, it would be a Ring Around the Rosie pit.

Dave mentions being here last time during the pandemic, and I look over and see someone with a mask on. Either he’s paranoid or he has the Rona, and if it’s the latter, he should probably just fuck right off.

I didn’t manage to catch the name of that next one, but the one after it was called Madness Rah, Rah, or something like that (Madness Opus). The pits a bit crazy now, and there is no chance in hell that I’m going anywhere near it. I was wondering where the bass was coming from, and then a break in the song unleashes some carnival music on a backing track. It’s all coming together now, including the bass on the backing track for a tight little instrumental interlude.

Every once in a while, the band slows right down and hits some groovy as fuck droning riffs, which are a good break from the otherwise relentless grinding. It’s pretty much a constant circle pit as riff after relentless riff blasts our ear holes. As per standard crowd banter, we get told that Australians are the maddest crowd, and that Europeans are soft. Better lift ya game ya soccer playing Euro pansies.

We get word that they have a couple more songs to go, and the next one has a lot of ride bell, but is very lacking in the cowbell department. Their last song kicks in with one of the most intense blast beats that I think I’ve ever heard, and it barely breaks for the entire song, bar a couple of breakaway rock beats here and there. It does end up tracking off at the end for some noodling guitars to take over, but then gets straight back into it. That was brutal!

Another onstage soundcheck unveils some very triggered kicks, which I can’t wait to hear blasting at 200+ bpm. The stage darkens and a dawning swell emerges from the PA. It’s a full house now, which I’m sensing is about to explode. Suffocation then re-enters from the darkness, and the crowd lets out a scream of appreciation as a quick two count gets the brutality underway.

I’ve ended up lodged at the back of the room against the bar and I can’t see much except for some red lights on a black stage. It’s quite fitting really, for that first song inaudible blurrrrrrgh.

The next track is possibly called Thrones of Blood, but it doesn’t start until the lighting guy gets told ever so nicely to light up the stage so that the band can see what they are doing. For a bunch of blokes who couldn’t see what they were doing, it was brutally tight.

We get asked if we are having a good time, and it turns out that the crowd is as Breeding the Spawn kicks in with one crazy riff after another. It’s a bit hard to keep up with it all really, but the crowd has no problem stirring themselves into a frenzy. The back of the room is starting to free up a little due to the crowd forcing their way onto the floor as the band kicks into Pierced from Within. I attempt to make my way down to the pit to get some photos, but I quickly pussy out because I’m too old and don’t want to dislodge my hip, or scratch myself and bleed to death.

And there goes another circle pit. You know that brutal riff face? There is so much of that going on in here right now, as the riffs slow right down and a brutal guitar solo takes flight. Then as the solo finishes up, another circle pit is called, and I’m feeling pretty fucking glad I didn’t go down there.

This death metal crowd is a weird one. I don’t know any of them, which is unusual for a metal gig in Brisbane, but I guess the whole death thing is a scene itself inside a bigger scene. I also don’t think that this crowd leave their houses much for any other purpose than going to death metal gigs, and to be honest, there just aren’t that many of them on these days. And if there is, I’m just not there anyway.

We get asked if we want some more and the crowd says “yeah”, but then frontman Ricky Myers screams it and the crowd blurghs “YEAAAARGH”!!! I take my earplugs out for a second to grasp the full intensity of it, and holy fuck, it’s brutal! They drop a new one which is the title track of the new album, but I miss the actual name of it, and it’s brutal nonetheless.

The band then invites everyone onstage and strangely enough absolutely no one does. No one wants to be up there when you’re allowed, where’s the fun in that? This song has a lot of blast beats, as have most of them, and this one has the bonus of one of those token slow chuggy death metal bits … it’s both brutal and beautiful.

As the last song of the night is called, I make my way out to beat the carpark traffic. And now I’m off to find some ghosts in an abandoned train tunnel. I might even run into some satanic devil worshippers from this very gig. One can only hope!

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