I got to the Factory nice and early to catch the opening acts and found that the gig was to be hosted on the downstairs stage. This is the first time I have ever been to a gig held down on this smaller, more intimate stage setting and was impatient to get in there and see what the sound and atmosphere would be like.
First up on stage was the orchestral, progressive, doom metal band, Rise of Avernus (RoA). Before kicking off their set they asked the names of a couple of the guys at the front, Steve and Dick, and sung them a little tune including their names, a new style of audience interaction, and a fun one to boot. With a small crowd around the stage RoA kicked off with An Alarum of Fate, which was the sirens call dragging in those loitering out in the Factory’s courtyard. This is the first gig RoA have played since the loss of their original bassist Daniel Warrington. I am unsure of who filled in his mighty shoes but they did an admiral job and came through loud and crushing on their third song of the night In Hope We Drown. Rise closed off their set with the song Act Est Fabula, which also happens to be the lyric video from their latest offering Dramatis Personae.
Second on stage was Mish a band I find hard to describe but best to call them simply progressive metal or else the list of prefixes would grow too large. The first song of their set had me questioning my sanity; a song of dual clean vocals with a smooth clean doom vibe. The reason this had me questioning the state of my mental health was due to the last time I had seen these guys, back at Slaughterfest 2013 was that this style of music was a far from the style I had remembered them playing. Luckily my confusion was soon to be dismissed with the second song kicking off with the fast-paced mercurial rhythm and the scathing dirty vocals I remembered. The rest of the set has a pleasing ebb and flow between the heavy and lighter sections of the songs with seamless transitions. Throughout the set the bassist Nathan from Grindhead Records (check them out fucking well worth a minute of your time, I’ve gotten some great finds before) was throwing himself around the stage with his usual high-spirited abandon, even jumping down into the crowd for their final song.
Next up was Ruins Alone, a two man duo consisting of the soundboard/drummer/vocalist Tatsuya Yoshida and a bassist who was not present for this show so, in fact it was a one man set and it was impressive. This was a shorter set, but noting that Tatsuya was going to be doing drums with Vampillia for their dual drum set would indicate why. Tatsuya was able to simultaneous hold down his clean vocals, use the soundboard and wail away on the skins at a fairly hectic pace which is no mean feat is a testament to his high level of skill.
Headliners Vampillia came out, and then kept coming out to fill every inch of the stage with 8 members of their band + guest drummer Tatsuya. A breakdown of what the band consisted of was 2 guitars, a bass, 2 drummers, keyboardist, violinist and a vocalist with an accompanying soundboard. Even from my first impression let me tell you, I was not prepared for what I was about to witness. The first song kicked off nicely with some lilting notes from the keyboard, soon joined by an absolutely haunting violin. If I could have laid down and just drowned in the atmosphere (without getting immediately kicked out) I damn well would have. By the end of the first song (I assume) I had been transported to another realm. The second song kicked off harder and brought in both the drums and guitars to create a harmonic crescendo of insane proportions.
Soon after the third song had started, a giant moss green tumbleweed came barrelling into the stage and then rolling back out into the crowd. Out of this tumbleweed emerged the 9th member of the band the main vocalist lead Mongoloid. After quickly detangling himself from his mossy casing he climbed onto the stage and began his earthy growling to mass applause from the crowd. Continuing on through the set, Mongoloid disappeared from sight only to return later with a ladder which he placed within the center of the room. He then proceed to climb up and perch upon the top of the ladder, so he could growl out over the crowd who clambered at it’s base. This wasn’t the only part of Vampillia’s audience engagement, later on in the set Mongoloid came to the front and sat down on the speakers; gathering the room together and having them sit down in front of the band as they played (which is truly impressive because getting Sydney to much of anything can be like herding cats). Soon after the ladder was brought out we got our first taste of the female vocalist Velladon’s soaring clean operatic vocal stylings.
I have seen Iron Maiden (bare with me for the name dropping), Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson, Alice Cooper and many, many more of the most celebrated live acts to have ever hit the stage; and after all is said done I can say without hesitation Vampillia’s live act is the single most transformative set I have ever had the pure pleasure to witness. If you ever get the chance to see these guys in action I would highly recommend jumping on it with both feet.
Cheers and beers