What a brutal line-up to see off 2014 in ultra-devastating fashion! Admittedly not all the bands on the bill were quite my cup of tea but it would prove to be an interesting clash of styles with varying levels of audience participation and a lot of mosh pit related injuries to recover from the next morning.
The always reliably brutal Disentomb were first up and wasted no time in pumping out a set of immense, slamming death metal full of breakdowns and blast beats. Their set mostly consisted of chaotic aural warfare from their outstanding second full length, Misery with tracks like ‘Forced Adornment of the Funerary Crown’ and vicious set closer ‘Vultures Descend’ being the highlights of a short but intense set. Just by the amount of merch these guys were selling out front, this bands popularity is noticeably and continually rising for good reason – they are easily one of Australia’s heaviest and hardest working metal bands at the moment.
On next was the band I was most keen to see being a fan of them for many years now, Boston’s Revocation and they didn’t disappoint. On the back of their amazing and most recent record, Deathless, they proceeded to tear through a quick fire set of thrashing technical death metal continually highlighted by the sublime guitar work of front man, Dave Davidson. Their five song set which spanned their entire discography, managed to encapsulate everything that’s so great about the still, somehow underrated four piece especially ‘Dismantle The Dictator’ and the gloriously brutal ‘Madness Opus’ . My only wish was that they were higher up the bill and had a longer set list but hopefully that can be resolved if and when they return for a headlining tour. Fingers crossed!
Any band that followed were going to have a hard time following up Revocation’s craziness but Fit For An Autopsy certainly gave it their all trying. They were a ‘beer queue band’ for me but I could still appreciate the effort they were putting in on stage and their popularity amongst the many deathcore scene kids in attendance looking to expend a little energy before the headliners arrived.
Next on was another of my favourite bands and in my opinion probably the best technical death metal band that Australia has to offer, Psycroptic. Their performances and showmanship have improved substantially each time I’ve seen them, especially front man Jason Peppiatt who bounds from one side of the stage to the other like a man possessed, whipping the small but energetic pit into a frenzy. A couple of new songs were performed including the savage sounding ‘Echoes to Come’, giving fans a taster for their much anticipated upcoming sixth album. The only negative of their set was the lack of any older material, perhaps they have moved on somewhat from their earlier work but a bruising rendition of ‘Carriers of the Plague’ and the crushing set closer ‘Initiate’ reminded fans how devastating they are in their current incarnation.
Without too much of a break, the lights went off and out strode headliners and hometown heroes, Thy Art Is Murder, led by the demonic looking CJ McMahon. it’s as if they flicked a switch as the energy levels in the room just exploded and it was immediately clear that this was the band that a majority in attendance were here to see and had been saving all their energy for all night. Consequently as the band tore into ‘Defective Breed’, bodies immediately went flying everywhere with one poor guy knocked unconscious and falling backwards onto my feet. Seriously, I have never experienced a more violent pit before, too many swinging fists and karate kicks for my liking but hey each to their own. If anything, the energy level kept rising as the amount of crowd surfers became almost too much for security to handle as the band got stuck into several more tracks from their most recent album Hate as well as ‘Whore to a Chainsaw’ and the fan favourite tribute to Mary Jane, ‘The Purest Strain of Hate’.
CJ even made a mention of the infamous Soundwave incident and their run in with promoter AJ Maddah before declaring their love for their hometown and finishing up their set with a punishing rendition of ‘Reign of Darkness’. Admittedly at first, I approached their set with a fair bit of scepticism but their flawless set proved that they are the real deal and I expect them to have even more success and a fair bit of world domination in 2015.