Sunday, January 26, 2014

CONCERT REVIEW: HEAVYFEST SYDNEY / Featuring Rotting Christ, The Amenta, Terra Australis, Bane Of Isildur, Rise Of Avernus (Venue: The HI.FI Bar Sydney, Friday 17/01/2014) by Collin Brophy

It was Rotting Christ first headline tour of Australia, and Australia’s very own, The Amenta’s last ever Sydney live appearance, due to calling it quits, which is a shame, as they are one of Australia’s best live acts going around at this point of time.  They will be missed by the metal community.
What a brilliant line up it is tonight, with Rise Of Avernus (Sydney, Melbourne), Bane Of Isildur (Sydney), Terra Australis (Melbourne), The Amenta (Sydney), and Rotting Christ (Greece).
When I arrived at the HI.FI Bar, there didn’t seem to be many people around, even the Irish pub next door was quiet, which is not the norm as it’s usually pumped full of excited metal heads having a few cold ones before the doors open. After I had a couple of cold ones, I headed off to the main entry.  There weren’t many people around the door or inside by the looks of it. Once inside there were around 100 people getting ready for the start of tonight entertainment.
First up on tonight’s bill was Rise Of Avernus.  Having seen these guys a few times now, I knew what to expect, but every show that I attended, they just seem to excel more then the previous show, playing their own mix of progressive doom / death metal, which the crowd reacts really well to. With Ben Vanvollenhoven (Vocal & Guitar), Daniel Warrington (Bass & Vocals)) haunting and deathly vocals mix harmonising with Cats Guirguis (Vocals & Keyboard)  angel like vocals, coupled with Andrew Craig (Drums & Percussion) and Matthew Bell (Guitar & Orchestral arrangements)  gave the set an eerie feeling for what was going to be one of the best gigs of the year.  2014 is going to be a massive year for the guys in Rise of Avernus, and I wish them all the best. Tonight’s set list was…1. A Triptych Journey, 2. The Mire, 3. Disenchanted, 4. An Somnium. 

Second band up was Bane of Isildur.  I haven’t seen these guys before, but from what I have been told about their shows, I was really looking forward to seeing them. With Aaron Worboys (Vocals & Guitar), walking on stage in a big black fur coat and looking very intimidating, Ray McGill (Bass & Vocals), Matthew Bell (Guitar) also backing up from Rise Of Avernus, and Ryan Bresler (Drums) all dressed and ready for a Viking battle.  The crowd and I were also ready to go into battle with them.  I was blown away by their intense and energy on stage. These guys play a brutal genre of Triumphant War Metal, which until tonight I have never heard of.  After watching these guys smash their way through their set, I am now a convert to their genre of music and the band itself. Tonight’s set list was…1. The War of Gods and Men, 2. Born to Scorch the Earth, 3. …And the Earth Becomes Aflame, 4. Furious Hunt, 5. Chosen Path.

Third band up was Terra Australis.  I was told by another metal head that, these guys are brilliant live, and that I was in for a set full of evil music. The band members Thorgrim Hammerheart (Vocals), Invisus (Guitar), Warlock Necrofiend (Guitar), Desecrator (4 String Bass) and The Raven (Drums) all dressed in leathers, spikes, chains and even a dog collar with faces painted, all entered the stage and had their back to the crowd for the intro.  

Once they started it was an intense, fast and straight out fury of black metal. These guys remind me of Hellhammer and Bathory and with a “take no prisoner’s attitude”, which was evident by the time they finished their set, as everyone was stuffed. Thorgrim’s stage presence was menacing, with his long hair, and his evil vocals made this one hell of an awesome set.  Well worth seeing if you get a chance. 

Forth was The Amenta. This is their last ever live Sydney show, which is very depressing, as they are one of Australia’s best live metal bands around. With the members all walking out onto the stage like they own it, and they did tonight, followed the very intimidating Cain Cressall (Vocals), with chains strapped to all parts of his body and also taped to his wrist.  Cain has never look so menacing.
The Amenta have never sounded more brutal then they did tonight. It was a massive shame that all members (Cain Cressall (Vocals), Erik Miehs (Guitar), Dan Quinlan (Bass), David Haley (Drums) and Timothy Pope (Samples/Programming)) couldn’t all be playing together for their very last ever Sydney gig.

The Amenta played their hearts out tonight.  They have never played so fast and fierce, it was like a tornado going through the HI.FI. The drumming was like a machine.  The guitarist and bass players smashed it, with lots of head banging, and with Cain’s ear piercing vocals, made this my best ever The Amenta show. It is a real shame for those who had never seen them play live before because they will never get that chance. The set list was …1. V01D, 2. Flesh Is Heir, 3. Ego Ergo Sum, 4. Vermin, 5. Teeth, 6. Erebus.

Last but by no means least, “The Greek Gods” themselves, Rotting Christ, finally graced the stage, and by this time the HI.FI was nearly full and you could feel the vibe in the air. Each band member came out on the stage one by one, with massive cheers from the crowd for each member.
It was Rotting Christ’s first headline tour of Australia, and I have been waiting for a long time for this. The guys opened with 666, with much applause from the crowd. There was plenty of head banging, not just from the fans, but also the band themselves.  They were into it just as much as the crowd was, with lots of chanting and singing form the fans. The set list continued without much talking in-between songs.  

Band members Sakis Tolis Vocals (Guitar), Themis Tolis (Drums), George Emmanouel (Guitar) and Vaggelis Karzis(Bass), all smashed out each song like it was their last.
Rotting Christ obviously  love what they do and it showed in the performance tonight. The demonstrated why they are one of the best live bands going around the metal world today. Half way through, I though my head was going to fall off.  

In all the years I have been going to metal gigs, I have never head banged as much as tonight.  My neck was killing me but I couldn’t resist the urge not to stop as I was in a trance. I was right at the front of the stage and watching guitarist George Emmanoule playing and head banging, when he walk over and pointed the horns at me and gave me his guitar pick.  To say I was in awe and speechless is an understatement. I wished that this gig didn’t have to end, but all good things must come to an end.  

This was truly one of the best gigs I have ever been to. The guys left the stage and not one person in the crowd left.  Everyone stayed where they were and started chanting “Rotting Christ” for a few minutes before they came back out and thanked the Sydney crowd and then finished off with Archon.  No one wanted to leave at the end, but that was it for tonight ... until next time.  Set list was: 1.  666, 2.  Dub-sag-ta-ke, 3.  Kata ton Demona Eautou, 4.  Athanati Este, 5.  The Sign of Evil Existence, 6.  Transform All Suffering Into Plagues, 7.  Societas Satanas (Thou Art Lord cover), 8.  King of a Stellar War, 9.  Chaos Geneto (The Sign of Prime Creation), 10.  In Yumen-Xibalba, 11.  Grandis Spiritus Diavolos, 12.  Non Serviam,  13.  Noctis Era, 14.  Archon (Encore).

It’s always a pleasure to support and encourage our local Australian bands but it’s always an experience to have the privilege to see great international bands visit our shores. 

Published by Collin Brophy 

1 comment:

  1. George Emmanoule did the same thing to me at the Brisbane gig. great experience and a fantastic gig in a tiny venue. Awesome night!