Thursday, May 31, 2012

REVIEW: BURG, ACOREA and SOUL ILLUSION, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 26 May 2012

"Old-school "truck with "1987" on the back spotted on the Jakarta motorway. Follow that truck!
REVIEW: BURG, ACOREA and SOUL ILLUSION, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 26 May 2012

Well it was great to learn about this death-metal show in my town of Toowoomba (population 100,000), in the mountains two hours west of Brisbane. The show was due to start at 5pm but around 6pm I got lost in the streets north of Russell Street and couldn't find the place. It was a sunny day but after the sun went down it got very cold. The night before was six degrees at 8pm or 4.8 degrees after the wind chill factor. Actually it was a perfect cold night for black-metal! When I was just going to give up on finding the place I reached it. It was a small shed around 15 metres by 15 metres with a small stage on the front wall not even raised up above ground level. That was going to allow for an intimate show and bonding with the bands! There is a little room at the back where the drummer sits so if you are not standing directly in front of the stage you will not see the drummer.

I was happy to see my friend and colleague Pauline there. There was around twenty people when I arrived and the number built up to around 50 when SOUL ILLUSION was playing. It was an "All Ages" show and soft drinks were on sale for the great price of $2 along with band tee-shirts and CDs for all bands on the bill. (Alcohol BYO.) The crowd ranged in age from high-school up to 40s. Pauline introduced me to Mark Davison, the Event Organiser and vocalist for ACOREA.

When I arrived guitarist DG of two-man black-metal band BURG was playing. From where I was standing the talented drummer BG could not be seen so it looked like DG up there on his lonesome. I have interviewed DG for his other band CROWNED which is three-person black-metal. If anything BURG has a more accessible sound with some groovy riffs. It is less frigid and austere compared to CROWNED although DG's vocals are the same. It could be said that CROWNED and BURG are Toowoomba bands as DG went to high-school in Toowoomba. This year he moved to the Gold Coast to start his university study. I bought the BURG demo EP which was recorded on a MP3 in a living room. It sounds remarkably lush and multi-dimensional for a two-man band playing in a living room. The band logo uses the BURZUM style font so the name BURG was probably to trade off the similarities in the names. It was good to finally meet and talk to DG after the show. DG does not engage the crowd onstage and that might be due to a combination of his introverted nature and the black-metal philosophy of cold aloofness.

ACOREA (live)
At this point, Pauline and her friend Liz and I drove to the Irish Club Hotel on Russell Street for a drink. There was a long wait between bands as one band member was held up in Brisbane. Although the long breaks allowed for socializing I would say this was a weak point of the show overall. When we returned ACOREA was playing. ACOREA is a five-person death-metal band from Brisbane and they have a six-track EP available called The Manifestation of Duality (see bottom of page for more details). This night they played the first three songs and the last one off the EP.

I really enjoyed ACOREA (Brisbane) as they are energetic, warm, cheerful, and groovy old-school death-metal reminding me of Eaten Back To Life era CANNIBAL CORPSE and the great OBITUARY. It was great to see the band having so much fun and just enjoying themselves a lot as death-metal has become way too serious. Vocalist Mark Davison ran around and around the small stage area in perpetual motion. He never stopped moving around. I have never seen a vocalist move around so much. He alternated between a high shriek and death growl very quickly so if you were listening to the CD you might think there were two vocalists. Even the look of this band is like early CANNIBAL CORPSE with Davison being a tall, skinny, dark-haired, and black-bearded giant in jeans and long sleeve black DESPISED ICON shirt who looks very much like the Chris Barnes of the early-1990s. The band alternated between slow, groovy monster-size songs (first and last track on the CD) and fast, thrashy, AT THE GATES style songs (the second and third track on the CD). Some progressive guitar sections (not actually solos) appear here and there but are not overly present. 

Overall it was a very enjoyable old-school performance and the band radiated warmth, good cheer, and good vibes. The band has some original old-school riffs in their bag of tricks as well. Please check this band out (they are on Facebook) and get the EP. I talked to Mark after the show and he listed his influences as including OBITUARY, MORBID ANGEL, KREATOR, and SIX FEET UNDER. I enjoyed headbanging up the front. As the stage was not raised you could get right up close and in the face of the band members when they were playing and the young fans took advantage of this. ACOREA had two young high-school guys up the front banging away to the band and SOUL ILLUSION had a larger group of dedicated fans up from Brisbane.

Next up was SOUL ILLUSION from Brisbane. This band seemed somewhat older, thirties rather than twenties. Although a death-metal band too their style and sound is completely opposite from ACOREA. The SOUL ILLUSION sound is cold and restrained, with trance-inducing repetitive riffs. They have a very disciplined and clinical sound. Whereas ACOREA radiates warmth, SOUL ILLUSION radiates chill and anger. The vocalist wore a light-blue tee-shirt and beanie hardcore style and his style was growling phrases into the microphone while looking up to the ceiling. He did not engage the audience the way Davison of ACOREA did although SOUL ILLUSION has its own fan base who were there this night in their white with black logo band tee shirts. What is obvious is the anger and power in the vocalist's voice - this is the Phil Anselmo type of anger in my thinking. There were some great progressive guitar parts too and the trance like nature of the riffs combined with the fury of the vocalist made SOUL ILLUSION a memorable experience too.

I'm not sure if THE DAWN ADDICTS actually played or if I missed them. Nearly at the end of the SOUL ILLUSION set Pauline was leaving and I took a lift home from her. As a result I was not able to watch headliners STATE OF INTEGRITY.

Overall, it was an enjoyable show with good bands and a friendly atmosphere. The cold weather made headbanging a less sweaty experience than usual. I hope Mark or others can arrange more similar shows in Toowoomba. The simple old-school, school-hall type venue fitted the mood of the night too and contributed to the friendly atmosphere. It was great to get up so close to the bands and not have them raised up on a high stage up above the floor level. ACOREA and SOUL ILLUSION can be found on Facebook.

By: Jack Frost, 31 May 2012
BURG (Toowoomba black-metal) self-titled 2012 demo
Track listing: 1 Vlad 2 Barghest 3 Undead Keep
BURG is: DG (guitar & vocals), BG (drums).
Price: 3 Australian dollars.
ACOREA (Brisbane death-metal) EP The Manifestation of Duality
Track listing: 1 Bet on Black 2 Murder 3 Collapsed Structure 4 Tick Tock 5 Last Chance 6 Blood Drips
ACOREA is: Mark Davison (vocals), Matt Tyson (lead guitar), Jesse Haywood (rhythm guitar), Gary Werner (bass), Brendan Moore (drums).
Recorded at: JRM Production.
Mastered by: Henrik Udd, Studio Fredman, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Jack Frost & John Yoedi, BUSUK WEBZINE - Promoting Indonesian metal in Australia and Australian metal in Indonesia

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