Archive for April, 2012

DARKER HALF + METAL, SILENT KNIGHT, RAMPAGE, THUNDASTEEL @ THE WALL 13/04/2012

Posted in Shows on April 17, 2012 by Cameron Cooper

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.

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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!

Links:
Darker Half
Metal
Silent Knight
Rampage
Thundasteel
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