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!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: