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?


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