Posted in Shows with tags , , , , , on November 8, 2012 by Cameron Edmond


Day 2 of Steel Assassins was off to an early start, beginning at 2PM to ensure as much metal as possible could be fit into a single day. I’m sure there were more than a few hangovers floating around as survivors from the previous assassinations met at the bar and at the stage for ten hours of heavy metal heaven.

METREYA rise from the ashes of BLACKENED, with new vocalist Michael Demov and lead guitarist Adam Grozdanic. The band draw heavily on – it would seem – the Teutonic thrash scene, but have also managed to inject a mid-paced, heavy-handed groove into the sound, which I think actually primarily stems from the brooding, gravel-gargling vocals of Demov. The bands music is full of sinister riffs that harken back to the glory days of KREATOR, SODOM, DESTRUCTION, and sometimes EXODUS.

FENRIR are a group of young guys who have had quite a rise in popularity this year, despite having been down one guitarist. These blood-soaked barbarians aren’t afraid to have a good time, with the band juggling some serious musical chops with a little bit of humour, blending thrash and folk metal in a way that never ceases to get crowds going.


THUNDASTEEL, featuring a new skinsman, continue their crusade of 80s metal worship, playing a set primarily made up of songs from their debut album – Fallen Heroes – although the new song Thundasteel proves to be another instant-anthem from these guys. The band have been through a number of line-up changes here and there, but certainly have carved themselves into an impressive, well-oiled machine of pure, fist-pumping steel, with vocals that could slice through lead.


AVARIN, a Sydney band inspired by the likes of SYMPHONY X and FATE’S WARNING, were down one guitarist for their performance, but that doesn’t put a damper on things as the band plough through an impressive set of straight-forward progressive metal. The band’s music, although delving into heavy-as-hell territory at times, is more meditative in a way, resulting in a unique performance. Singer Mike Zoias makes sure to keep the crowd entertained with a few jokes here and there, and finishes them off with an absolutely ripping rendition of Children of The Sea.

There are more than a couple of repeat-offenders performing on day 2 of Steel Assassins, THE LOVING TONGUE’S Jim and Tom Petkoff are amoung them. After helping out Jim’s band RAVEN BLACK NIGHT the day before, Tom returns to the stage in his usual, epic metal outfit. The sound of THE LOVING TONGUE is quite hard to pin-down, and even as I sit here now spinning their albums, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Undoubtedly, it is hard and heavy metal, and it certainly recalls many of the acts that have come before them, but there is something unique about it, something that is just them. What I can say, however, is that THE LOVING TONGUE have a little bit of everything in their sound, with absolutely zero compromise. If you live in Adelaide, you need to go check these guys out. I can’t quite tell you why, but I can tell you that you’re going to love it.

MYSTERY are young. No no, you misunderstand – I don’t mean young as in “Oh, they are all about seventeen, eighteen”. The oldest member is around fifteen years old. Okay, that’s only a few years, but those years are a big leap, especially when it comes to musicianship. For most bands, anyway. There is a lot of press surrounding these guys at the moment, so there is a good chance you have already heard of them, so I’ll keep it short and sweet: there are much older, and sometimes more prolific musicians, who don’t sound as good as these guys do at their age. Stu Marshall of EMPIRES OF EDEN helped out the band on guitar as front-man Rocky Ravic had an injury that prevented him from playing, and as always his presence on stage is something to behold in and of itself. The guys put on a fantastic set, and if they keep going this way, they’ll be dominating the metal world in no time.

Wollongong thrashers RAMPAGE are a band that, at this point, need no introduction. They’ve been playing live for a few years now, and seem to be one of the most prevalent thrash bands in the NSW scene, continuing to gain momentum despite not having much in the way of studio material released, which speaks volumes for the band’s presence and ferocity on stage. Last time I saw them, they were performing as a three-piece, so seeing them with Shane Saw back on stage was great, the band not skipping a beat as their sweaty, denim-clad followers congregate front and centre. I don’t have much more to say about these guys, except that they have never failed to put on a good show in the past, and this was no exception. Tight, pissed-off and vicious – what’s more to love?


Dale Corney is well known in various parts of Australia as paying his dues for ten years in DUNGEON, but now has returned to popularity as lead vocals in Broken Hill’s Viking-loving, heavy metal five-piece SOULFORGE. Their riffs weigh a ton, and Corney leaps around the stage like a man possessed. Not to be deterred by being in a bad way, drummer Bilyara Bates takes a quick break whilst TABERAH’S Jono Barwick takes the stage for the acoustic-driven epic Live Forever (300), with Bates returning about mid-way through, showing exactly what an event like this is all about. And did I mention their album absolutely slays?Image

EYEFEAR aren’t often mentioned without the incredible length of Danny Cecati’s hair coming up, but there’s a lot more to the band than that, and judging by the crowd, everyone knows it. These Aussie metal veterans are a solid, undeniably epic, power/prog outfit. Cecati has a few encouraging words for MYSTERY, drawing on his own history as a vocalist getting his start at fifteen. Now, years later, it is clear that the time certainly hasn’t gone to waste, and the outstanding control and power within his voice is something that only a hell of a lot of hard work can produce, commanding the crowd with his majestic wail. Here’s hoping these Melbournites make another trip to Sydney soon!Image

After locking themselves away to craft the second record, Desensitised, DARKER HALF returned to playing regular gigs sometime last year, and continue to blow audiences away. What interests me is that the album and the live band are in many ways very different animals. Certain nuances of the band are captured on CD, whilst others are expanded upon live. This makes for two very enjoyable, diverse experiences, and gives you a real reason to make it out to their shows. DARKER HALF are exactly as they should be – four dudes up on stage, playing metal and having a hell of a good time about it, with bass player Simon Hamilton and guitarist Brad Dickinson leaping about the stage whilst the guitar lines and vocals of Vo, and Dom’s pounding beats command the crowd.

With MEGAHERA getting ready to take the stage, Dave Balfour, Jono Barwick and DARKER HALF drew the raffle, entrance of which came from purchasing a two-day ticket. The first winner, of a double pass to see EPICA (With METAL supporting), was a lady named Susan (?). Then, much to my extreme happiness, yours truly won the absolutely amazing Steel Assassins prize-pack. Can I just say – again – a massive thank you both to Metal Evilution and all the bands playing for putting this pack together. To give away this much merchandise to a random winner isn’t something you see bands or festivals like this doing every day, and how goddamn lucky am I to have won? I was so over the moon to get my hands on such an awesome array of stuff, ranging from t-shirts and beanies, to CDs and DVDs. Not having any material out, METRYA still pitched in and threw in an I-Owe-You. “Heavy” doesn’t cut it. How awesome is metal?

Saturday night headliners were the international act MEGAHERA. The band, currently a three-piece, are doing the rounds of Australia, and playing to crowds who aren’t necessarily familiar with their music. I’d done my homework, but nothing could have prepared me for their live show. The phenomenal bass playing of Antonio Borgesi flabbergasted me, with the band decimating what was left of the crowd – not a single punter was anywhere else, all eyes and ears on who have to be one of the finest international acts to grace The Sando.

Nothing could be better than such an array of fantastic bands. If I could see this festival again and again, I’d be a happy man – every single musician and crowd member here tonight proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that heavy metal is where you find people who love what they do, and do it so damn well.

If for whatever reason you weren’t able to make the show, I urge you to check out these bands, other Metal Evilution shows, and especially look out for next year’s instalment. Oh, and for the love of God, if you are ever in Italy, go see MEGAHERA!Image


Posted in Shows with tags , , , , , on November 5, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

ImageIf you are in Sydney, I’d hope you were aware of what was going down this past weekend at The Sando. If not, allow me to explain: Steel Assassins is the product of Metal Evilution master-mind Dave Balfour, and 2012 marks the first of what is looking to be an annual, two-day trad/thrash/power metal festival. Sound like a bloody good time? Sure as hell it was! With my head well and truly ready to bang, I headed down King St on Friday for round one.Image

Kicking the night off at about 6.10 was Nowra’s TEMTRIS, a destructive five-piece fronted by the incredible pipes of Genevieve Rodda. The band made good use of their half-hour set, drenching the room in their thick, heavy and fresh brand of “dark metal”, that seemed to teeter somewhere between speed and death, with a few black and doom eccentricities thrown in. “Okay guys, get your shirts off,” quipped Rodda to the crowd – a little over half-way through the set – before launching into another throat-burning number, shattering any pre-conceptions that may unfortunately still float around about the female soldiers in the metal force. With two albums already under their belt, and a re-ignited line-up currently doing the rounds, this is a band to keep a close eye on.

RAVEN BLACK NIGHT, who I’m convinced are comprised of the very essence of rock n’ roll itself, turned the heat up with their beer-soaked set. The four-piece played an absolutely crushing round of stoner doom tunes, with Tom Petkoff of THE LOVING TONGUE helping the guys out on bass. Stopping to sip his beer every now and then, Jim Petkoff didn’t let up in the vocal department, soaring over the riffs he was laying down as the band descended into an energised cover of Paranoid, sending the crowd off with a bang and leaving my ears ringing.


From WA came SILENT KNIGHT – a band I managed to catch at their last Sydney show. Somehow, the group have gotten even tighter since then, and with axe-man Stu McGill and vocalist Zoran Cunjak leading the band, they took the crowd on a journey through the fist-pumping, HELLOWEEN-inspired anthems they’ll be unleashing on record soon with the debut, Masterplan, that looks to be full of some impressive vocal harmonies from a fair few of the members. Of course, no metal gig is complete without a bit of fun, and the band made good on Stu’s threats and launched into a few bars of Heavy Metal, a track from McGill’s brother’s band, METAL.


As the faith runs strong in the family, METAL soon took the stage, with Rayzor Ray and his cohort of steel disassembling the venue on a sonic level. The beers trembled as guitarist Ross Chinchmeister downed drinks without missing a single note, the band playing a number of headbang-worthy numbers that made reference to both their namesake and purpose, from opener Proving Our MettleHeavy Metal, and closing the set with the false-slaying riff-monster that is Fighting For Metal.


As the crowd began to grow, Tasmania’s number one export TABERAH remind us that at the end of the day, be it 12-bars or shred, its all rock n’ roll. The band show true range, even within the one track – showcasing melody and beauty, as well as a pounding, heavy darkness on album title-track The Light of Which I Dream, as well as playing some stuff from the soon-to-be-released new record. And seriously, you can’t go wrong with a band who covers DEEP PURPLE this good. I also have a theory that Tom Brockman’s stick-wielding arms can be seen from space when he drums, but perhaps that is for another day…

Closing the first night of the festival were the daring and wholly unique Power/Prog band VOYAGER. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the spirit of Peter Steele sat on the shoulder of lead vocalist and keytar player Danny Estrin. Melody and the devil sat side-by-side as the band ploughed through crowd-pleasers like I Am The Revolution and Stare Into The Night, relative new-comer Scott Kay making his presence known to all. The melancholic yet oddly uplifting mood was broken-up by the band’s odd-ball medley of everything from Gangnam Style to Ghostbusters, and a full cover of Killing In The Name.

As the legion of Assassins retired from the stage, the punters staggered out the door, sweat on our brows and a ringing in our ears that just hurt so damn good. Already set for round 2? I know I was!


Steel Assassins – 2nd & 3rd November 2012 @ The Sando

Posted in Shows on November 4, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

What an amazing time! Metal Evilution and all the bands that played made this a weekend not to forget. I’ll be putting up a proper write-up of what went down on-stage soon. Until then, enjoy a few of the pictures I snapped of some of the bands in action!


Silent Knight



Clash Of The Titans – Thundasteel + Hazmat, Atomesquad & Fenrir @ The Lansdowne, 25/8/12

Posted in Shows on September 1, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

ImageIt can be tricky to try and find a good way to measure one’s enjoyment of a metal gig without sounding completely cliché. Neck-pain seems to be a good indication, because Steel Musik’s Clash of The Titans left me with a neck seemingly made of jelly. If someone asked me to turn my head side-to-side right now, I really couldn’t do it.

Kicking off the festivities was Folk/Thrash five-piece Fenrir. Having recently lost axe-man Jordie Cissell, one of the band’s alumni, Riki Matsuo took the stage this evening to ensure the band were at their strongest. From my understanding, the band is still looking for a permanent replacement – any six-stringers out there looking to join a band?

A little over half-way into the set, the band announced they had hit 500 likes on facebook, and as such built a shield, which they’d be giving to the mightiest mosher in the audience. Head In A Jar guitarist Nick Coady thrashed like a motherfucker and was given the shield, a nurf sword and what looked like a penis painted on his head, but what singer Duncan Therkildsen Jones swore was Thor’s hammer.

ImageOnce the blood had dried and the punters had recovered from Fenrir’s face-melting set, power trio Atomesquad laid waste to the crowd with their unbelievably heavy, thick and tight set of melodic metal. The band’s sound is very eclectic, and seemed to be equal parts Jag Panzer and Queens of The Stone Age. I’m a real sucker for three-pieces that are so god-damn tight, because when there are only three guys, it is much harder to cover up mistakes – Atomesquad seemed to avoid this problem by playing flawlessly from start to finish. Now if only they had a longer set. Hopefully these guys have got a headlining gig coming up soon.


Hazmat put on, as always, a fantastic show of hard hitting rhythms and indomitable leads. The quartet swayed towards their groovier, heavier numbers tonight, focusing less on their more folk/country influenced songs. In doing so, the band simply prove that they are fitted for any stage, anywhere. Whilst a thrash band at their core, the band is versatile enough to play alongside bands of pretty much every aspect of the metal spectrum. If there ever was a band whose riffs could snap necks, its these guys!

Headliners Thundasteel brought things together nicely with a solid set of no nonsense traditional metal. The band’s banshee-screams and mind-bending solos let the crowd know that the group is more than happy to harken back to the old school of metal, writing and playing anthems fit for the arena. And hey, who doesn’t like a W.A.S.P cover?

The absence of full-time drummer Dean Curl didn’t slow the band down, and although perhaps there could have been a few more headbangers in the audience that night, the true testament to any band is their ability to tear the roof off no matter the size of the crowd. Thundasteel, and the other bands of the evening, all lived up to that.

So, when is Clash of The Titans Pt. II?



Posted in Shows on June 3, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

In a rush to get this out, I made a bad call which resulted in some pretty embarrassing typos and factual errors – I should have re-drafted the piece more rigorously to avoid such problems, which weren’t intentional but simply the product of some pretty poor writing on my behalf. I’ve made some corrections (and general additions to the piece), so this is an update. Thanks to The Ripper himself for pointing out my folly!

ImageComing up through the ranks as the later singer of a well known band can be hard work. It is always going to be a catch 22: sound like the previous guy, and people will complain you are a knock-off; sound different, and people will say you don’t know what you’re doing. It isn’t impossible, but it is certainly hard to break away from that and forge your own identity. With a set consisting primarily of Priest, Malmsteen, Iced Earth Winter’s Bane and Beyond Fearnumbers – as well as a some of his new material – Ripper Owens certainly isn’t interested in starting over, but has definitely shown any doubters that he has no real need to. Ripper is a pure metal vocalist, and a legend in his own right.

 Unfortunately, I missed a fair chunk of Norse’s set, but managed to catch the extreme metal quartet hammer through a few songs. I haven’t actually heard much from Norse since about 2007, and, from what I can remember, they have come a long way. It would appear there has been a bit of a line-up change, and guitarist Treelo is now on vocal duties (Although, this might not be news, I’m probably just out of the loop). The band blast through some impressive melodic and sometimes groovy black/death metal, showing real growth as a band since their earlier days.

Image Hazmat are a band of unwavering passion. They have endured a number of set backs both before and during their time together as a band, but have also put out one of the most interesting thrash metal albums in a long time. Making good use of their limited set-time tonight, the band launch into a number of stomping, relentless metal anthems. A couple of technical errors don’t damage the band as they plough on through and get a good portion of the crowd into the music, converting them into fans. And what better way to seal the deal than throwing some free merch into the pit? Hazmat are certainly one of the more original bands currently playing the pub circuit – melding old school thrash with Celtic folk and Australian country into a decidedly heavy blend – and seeing them open for an international act cements the fact they are moving on up the ladder.

Image Crimzon Lake – featuring NWOBHM survivor Paul Mario Day – waste no time in getting the crowd moving. Whilst the band’s sound is firmly rooted in the heavy metal and hard rock of decades past, they are anything but dated, and Day’s on stage antics are truly a sight to be seen. Having fronted Maiden, Wildfire, Moore and The Sweet, the steel-lunged singer has had time to hone and refine his appearance on stage, and it sure as hell shows, as he rolls and jumps around, belting out solid song after song over top of the rhythmically unwavering band.

Ripper takes the stage with a band comprised of members of Killrazer and Darker Half, opening the set with Painkiller, solidifying in everyone’s mind that the man is made of nothing but pure metal. With a voice fit for arenas, he and his band faithfully re-create songs from his past and projects – ranging from One On One to When The Eagle Cries to Heart Of A Killer – (plus a few Dio/Sabbath numbers) whilst also throwing in some tunes from Ripper’s more recent band, Beyond Fear. My only gripe is that I would have enjoyed to hear more from the solo album, “Play My Game”, which is an absolutely face-melting slab of heavy metal. Tonight, Ripper chooses only to play two songs from the record – Believe and Starting Over  -but, just like every other song tonight, he masure every note count. Starting Over especially left a huge impact on me, climaxing in some incredible screams.

It seems to be becoming more and more often that solo singers will take the stage here with bands comprised of local guys; Dianno did it, Grimmett did it and now Ripper has done it. Honestly, it is pretty cool – it keeps costs down for all, and it also gets our guys out there, playing to bigger crowds and reaching a larger audience, and also showing some of the international heavy weights just what Aussie metalers are made of!

This show made me wonder why Ripper isn’t selling out bigger venues, because it certainly isn’t for lack of vocal and song-writing ability. But when I get to see talent this big in a a venue this small, I’m sure as hell not complaining!



Posted in Shows on April 17, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

You know what I need, folks? A proper camera. Apologizes to the bands for such shoddy pictures.

It always baffles me how people can look at me, straight-faced, and tell me that Australia doesn’t have a metal scene. If one just opens their eyes and steps outside, they’ll see that nights like Friday aren’t all that uncommon – with a number of strong acts – both local and interstate – proving their steel night after night.

ImageThundasteel remain a growing force in NSW’s metal scene, playing a set of mind-numbingly tight, face melting 80s style metal. Alex Rivera’s vocals are straight out of Halford’s book, and I swear the man must have sold his soul to the devil to be able to consistently pull off those banshee screams all night. The rhythm section of Daniel Molloy and Dean Curl were a faultless, hard-as-iron machine that made way for Brett Molloy’s uncompromising guitar solos.

As a live band, the group are definitely gaining momentum, and their five year history has paid off in how strong their musicianship is. If the band continue to push themselves as they have been doing, they will be headlining these types of events very soon. With a touch more stage presence (although I will add that this has definitely increased since last time I saw them) they will be unstoppable.

Now that much of the hype surrounding The Thrash Revival has died down, the genre is no longer the fodder of the gimmick-hungry masses, and as a result, only the truly decent bands are still playing. So it almost goes without saying that Rampage once again prove their worth as the moshing flagship, playing their familiar brand of ravaging, devastating metal.

Rob’s vocals have gotten even better, his bass has gotten louder, and after having seen the band as a four piece not too long ago, I am reminded tonight how important their duel guitar attack is to the overall sound: the guitar tones and riffs they produce tonight drip with pure, fast-as-fuck evil. What more do you say about a band like this?  Rampage’s mission seems pretty straight forward: blow minds, kick arses, and Fuck Shit Up!

ImageAfter a lengthy intro complete with a Pick of Destiny snippet, Perth’s Silent Knight dominated the stage. Sharing front-man duties were rhythm guitarist Stu McGill and vocalist Zoran Cunjak. Although they may have seemed at first a bit crammed in on the stage, the five piece made it work, pulling out all the stops and delivering an epic performance complete with harmonies, swooping melodies and a crisp sound.

These guys had a crowd primarily made up of people who had never heard them before singing along and headbanging away within the first couple of songs – a true testament to their ability to work an audience. It seems the quintet have only just begun to show Australia their steel, and their return to Sydney in November for Steel Assassins will no doubt be a show not to be missed.

ImageNSW’s own Metal, are soon to begin recording of their full length, but the metal maniacs still had one more show in them before disappearing into the studios. Metal seem like one of the rare cases where a band has decided to become an icon for their scene and actually achieved it, with a sturdy battalion of headbangers showing up to their gigs, this one being no exception.

The band have become a much tighter and much more dominating force over the last year or so, and I’m sure it will come through on their album, as well. But really, what’s not to love about a band who can write a whole chorus made up simply of “Heavy metal!” And get away with it? With Metal in your ears and a schooner in hand, you really can’t go wrong.


Off the back of a new music video, Darker Half headline for the first time this year. Vo Simpson’s friendly, fun-loving self is in fine form; “We promise none of you are going to be killed!” And the fun doesn’t stop here, with bass player Simon Hamilton leaping around the stage, full of energy and vibrancy – you could feel his enthusiasm from the back of the room – whilst Brad Dickson stomped along, staring down the crowd like a killing machine, encompassing the dark edge the power-prog outfit hold.

Darker Half are a band that prove hard work pays off. The band is flawless in their performance as always, and the fan base they have garnered only continues to grow. It is funny to think that I saw them in the same venue about four years ago playing to a much smaller crowd. Whilst I wouldn’t say their sound has changed, it has certainly grown. The first time I saw them, I thought “This is Maiden meets Genesis.” Both these sides to the band have grown into a heavier, fuller beast. Are these guys perhaps worldwide metal legends in the making? There is something so perfectly unique about Darker Half: for all their progressive leanings and 80s influence, they really aren’t pinned down in any one niche. And hey, being a prog metal band who still know how to have fun sure as hell helps them stand out, too!

Like I said, it’s hard to take someone seriously when they say Australia doesn’t have any metal; any true banger would find it hard not to see it, or at the very least hear it!

Darker Half
Silent Knight


Posted in Shows on March 15, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

Steve Grimmett has been active in the world of metal since the late 70s. From his early days in Medusa and Chateux to his rise to fame with Grim Reaper, his recent work with Empires of Eden and everything in between, he has become an icon for the heavy metal underground. It is fitting, then, that his first appearance in Australia should be a gathering of some of our finest national acts. From start to finish, tonight was nothing but pure metal (and sexy rock n’ roll!).

Dragonsclaw, showcasing their debut album, got things off to a heavy start. Giles Lavery’s vocals were inhuman, and I’m pretty sure guitarist Ben Thomas’ right hand broke the speed of light a couple of times. The inclusion of a keyboard player doesn’t seem to be as much of a staple here as it is in other parts of the world, so to see Ray Martens headbanging away behind his was refreshing.

The band are still quite new, and as such are at a specific point in their career where they are yet to garner a huge crowd, and the energy projected back and forth between band and punters always reflects that. This isn’t to take away from their set at all, which was the perfect example of a breathtaking band on a stage that can’t contain them. Like many bands that have opened up shows at The Sando, they are on to bigger and better things, and may very well be leading the pact in Sydney metal very soon.

Refusing to be lumped into any one genre, Taberah continue their crusade of metal-injected rock n’ roll, playing songs both old and new. Jono Barwick’s stage persona was in full swing tonight, disembarking from the stage and diving right down passed the crowd and…wait, where did he go?

The band continue to go from strength to strength, and devoured their short-set time, drenching the crowd in big riffs, pounding rhythms and rock n’ roll crooning, sealing the deal with closing number “Light of Which I Dream”.

Here to remind us that they still reign supreme in their hometown, it was business as usual for Darker Half and their unique brand of prog-power, showing off an impressive range from their expanding catalogue, The band attracted a strong, enthusiastic audience, all of whom were singing along and hanging off every solo. Throwing in a cover of “Hallowed Be Thy Name” proved to be a definite crowd pleaser, with the band faithfully paying tribute to their idols.

Assembling a line-up of NSW metal all-stars, Steve Grimmett took his long awaited first leap onto a Sydney stage, wasting no time by launching straight into the Grim Reaper classics. The legend has still got it vocally – able to dominate even some of the trickier vocal parts from his career, and branched across his Lionsheart days, as well as nodding at his time spent with Onslaught via a stomping, relentless medley.

Perhaps the other celebrity on stage tonight was Empires of Eden main-man Stu Marshall, an icon in the Sydney scene in his own right. The band played both Empire of Eden’s track with Steve – “Beyond Daybreak” – as well as a new track, which had the entire crowd hooked straight away.

Grimmett left the stage and stormed the audience during “See You In Hell”, singing with us, not at us. This was the perfect closing to a perfect show – who could have asked for more?


Posted in Records on February 17, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

Despite the first two tracks indicating it as such, to call Dead City Ruins’ debut full-length Midnight Killer a sleaze metal album would be to do the band a dis-service, as it is far more diverse than that. The Melbourne quartet (now a five piece) take a great deal of influence from across the metal and rock n’ roll board, releasing a fun, catchy and heavy album.

Lets get something straight, though – there isn’t anything particularly glammy about this band.

Sure, there may be influences from that particular genre throughout, but these guys are a dirty, honest bunch of rock n’ rollers. This album is free of pretence, and chock full of excess – just the way it should be.

What hits home the most about the album for me is it’s sheer bottom end. The bass playing leaps between relentless, doomy fuzz to clean accompaniments, and at times the band seems to have more in common with Witchfinder General’s faster moments than Motley Crue.

Other moments on the album, such as “My Lai Massacre” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dio album, with each member showing off their chops – from heavy bass fuzz, to killer metallic leads and soaring vocals. Oh, and the lyrics kick-arse, too.

For much of the album, however, it isn’t so cut and dry as to what genre each song falls into. The band have achieved a cross-section of influences on many of the tracks, with bluesy rock n’ roll riffs shoulder-to-shoulder with speed metal sections.

Not content to follow the traditional formula, DCR bring the tempo down, free of cliche, with the aptly titled “Blues”. This track is heavy and eerie, with singer Jake Wiffen whispering his way into an evil, downright creepy dude. Like every song on this album, the band takes the listener through highs and lows, with the song turning on its head two or three times before it is over. Definitely the stand out track on the album.

Everything on the album are elements you will have heard before, but mixed together in quite this way – not so much. The band definitely summons the ghosts of music’s past, but putting enough of their own spin on these influences to dodge the pit of becoming a throw-back band. This is true, straight-up rock n’ metal. What’s not to love?

Dead City Ruins + Rampage, Metal @ The Town Hall Hotel 11/2/12

Posted in Shows on February 14, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

In the world of rock n’ roll and heavy metal, it isn’t surprising that sometimes things don’t go as planned. Problems occur for bands which can stunt or put a stop to their gigs all together, and it can be a very frustrating experience for all involved. This can result in bands kicking up a stink sometimes about the problems – but it is good to know that there are still bands out there who manage to take it in their stride, which is exactly what tonight’s headliners, Melbourne’s Dead City Ruins, did.

Saturday night at the Town Hall Hotel in Newtown started out with heavy metal four piece Metal, who are continuing to improve every time I see them. The band unleashed a new song or two, and whilst song writing and overall performance is improving, a certain tightness is still lacking from the band – occasionally slipping out of otherwise decent rhythms and riffs. However, some fantastic lead guitar work, anthemic choruses and a “fuckin’ metal” attitude ensure the band are living up to their namesake. Metal are a great band to have a beer to, bang a head with, and just bask in the glory that is HEAVY METAL!

Cranking up the amps, attitude and chaos to the absolute max, Rampage took the stage and drew a large, thrash-hungry crowd. Having just played a set with Metal didn’t slow axe-man “Chinch” down one iota, who manage to compensate for the absence of fellow guitarist Shane Saw for the night. Rampage create in the room the very atmosphere they sing about, with the whole place turning into a true “Headbanger Hell”, and a thrashified cover of “Born To Be Wild” proves to be quite the crowd pleaser.

Once the sonic dust from Rampage’s set settled, Dead City Ruins were soon to take the stage. After a great instrumental start, singer Jake Wiffen leapt from the audience to join his band members.

Exactly what follows I’m not too sure, and I don’t wish to speculate, but there seemed to be a few problems, with Wiffen’s otherwise outstanding vocals being lost in the mix. After two songs, the power was cut.

The band didn’t, and still haven’t made any sort of fuss about it, with a simple “Power has been cut, cheers”, and they were off. A commendable way to handle a bad situation. It was definitely unfortunate, as the two opening numbers were promising slabs of hard n’ heavy rock n’ roll. As such, I didn’t manage to snag a shot of the band in performance, but Jake was good enough to give me a snap of his smiling mug, and a free CD.

This was gearing up to be an excellent gig, and it is really unfortunate that the band travelled all the way from Melbourne only to be cut short. Whatever the reasons for the power cut, one can only hope Dead City Ruins will return to Sydney soon to finish what they started, and I will most definitely be there!Image


Posted in Shows on January 2, 2012 by Cameron Edmond

2011 has been a great year for Australian heavy metal – Taberah exploded onto the national scene, Darker Half released a new record, not to mention a number of great international acts coming to our shores. What better way to ring in the new year than with a night of metal at Sydney’s own bastion for live music: The Sandringham Hotel? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d much rather raise a glass and bang a head to four solid bands playing Priest covers and originals than watch fireworks.


The opening set is always a funny thing. Generally, your audience consists of the other bands, maybe the promoter, and only a handful of others. But let’s face it, someone has to do it. A small turn-out can’t be helped sometimes, but what you do with it certainly can, and Thundasteel are well aware of this. The band was un-relenting in their approach, with riffs fit for a much larger crowd and stage, playing mainly originals but throwing in a cover of Hellbent For Leather. It was odd in this way seeing them play to such a small amount of people, because their sound was just so mammoth. With a few more gigs under their belt, and a bit more stage presence, this band will be pulling in bigger crowds in no time.


Taberah drew a much larger audience, and ran through their usual blend of rock n’ roll theatrics and heavy metal anthems. They were the only band of the evening not to play a Judas Priest cover, and opted for a rather unique run through of Bohemian Rhapsody; breaking off from an original the song’s second half. The band really shines however in their stage banter and antics, much of which is just subtle enough to be recognised – like a few fun lyrical changes – but without crossing into the realm of wankery.

In what was, if I’m not mistaken, their first time in Sydney, Melbourne hellraisers Elm Street cracked a hole in the sky, and left the crowd in a heavy metal daze. The band let out a real exuberance in their set; they were scummy, dirty and all together metal, but tight as anything, too. Once again, Judas Priest covers appeared, with the band blazing through Jawbreaker and Breaking The Law mid-way through their set.


Headlining the show was Sydney heavyweights Darker Half. Having taken time off to record their new album, this is the first time I’ve seen the band in a fair while, and there seem to have been some changes with how they present themselves on stage, for the better. Bass player Simon Hamilton and guitarist Brad Dickinson leapt back and forth across the stage as the band nailed a set of old and new songs, throwing in a cover of Hallowed Be Thy Name for good measure. Considering the band’s recent opening slot for Children of Bodom, the band may not be playing these smaller venues for much longer, as their fan-base will be unable to contain them.

What made the whole night really special was, of course, the countdown to 2012 itself. Whilst they may have missed the exact mark, singer Vo Simpson shrugged it off and said “Fuck it, we will do a count down anyway!” before ripping into Livin’ After Midnight, with Taberah’s Jono Barwick hoping up on stage to take vocals for a verse or two.

All in all, this was an excellent show. The bands were all loud, tight and happy as hell to be there, and they made sure the crowd was too. If the curtain call on 2011 is anything to go by, 2012 is going to be a hell of a year for the Aussie metal hordes.