Anaal Nathrakh Sydney 2019 (Sydney, NSW)

7 March 2019 at Crowbar

Coming all the way from the ACT, Inhuman Remnants gave a really energetic set. Heavy as balls with an intimidating presence as the vocalist stalked the audience while performing his guttural growls. There were hooks in the heavy as both guitarists gave it their all, a really strong performance. The negative thing that I want to bring up, and it’s probably just situational, but I wanted to see the vocalist on stage, even of it was just for a short time. Seeing them all on stage, as a unit, rocking out, would have made a solid impact in my opinion. Still, a killer set none the less.

Lo! were up next and unique is a good word to describe these veterans of the Sydney music scene. They are all about walls of sludgy guitar riffing courtesy of Carl Whitebread to fill the room. The mesmerizing vocalist Sam Dillion (Hadal Maw), giving off a slithery reptilian vibe up front. The energy given out by the band is one of honesty, they truly believe in what they do, and it shows. The crowd loved it, as Sam found his way into the crowd and proceeded to arch backwards and scream at the ceiling, quite a performance. A great set, tight and powerful.

Hybrid Nightmares lived up to their namesake, with their black battle metal having the melody of NWOBHM guitar harmonies while blast beats batter your brain. Hot from shows in Japan supporting the mighty Watain and lathered in corpse-paint Hybrid Nightmares were a storm on-stage. Unfortunately, the muddy sound didn’t help, the guitar didn’t come through that cleanly so some of the more intricate soloing was lost in the wash, and the songs did start to blend into each other. Still an enjoyable set and a great watch from Hybrid Nightmares.

Now, listening to Anaal Nathrakh in their studio work, you would think to yourself, how can they possibly pull this off live…well…goddamn can they. The moment these killers walked on-stage the energy in the room lifted, a nervous excitement flowed through the room in anticipation of what was about to come next. Anaal did not disappoint, launching into Obscene as Cancer from last year’s monstrous A New Kind Of Horror and they never took their foot of the audiences throat. When you think they can’t possibly get heavier, they do. Just when you think they can’t get faster, they do. It was just so intense.

Having crowd favourites Hold your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion followed by Forward! blew the roof off the place, with many brave souls diving into the mosh at the front. The only moments of calm during the few words from vocalist Dave Hunt had their own kind of impact. Calling for crowd-surfers and the audience to give it some, the Crowbar crowd tried its best to rip it up. But it seemed the sheer ferocious energy from the stage was simply overwhelming, with most people stunned into a smiling admiration while banging their head.

Speaking of the audience here is a good time for my small whinge. I know we have all been drunk or whatever at a gig. I know that the hyper aggressive energy at a show that heavy can influence the situation. But I detest it when the vocalist is trying to talk to the crowd and people shout ‘Just play a song’ or something just as stupid. It makes you come off as a complete knob. Quite pathetic really. There weren’t many, only one or two idiots, and it didn’t happen often, and I know this probably won’t make any difference, but it truly gets under my skin. They came all the way from the UK, it’s their first headlining tour here, they’re playing their asses off, why say that? Why be that person? Just enjoy the show.

Getting back to how incredible Anaal Nathrakh were, I must tip my hat to Anil Carrier the man behind the drums. If you want to know why, just listen to the music and know he didn’t miss a beat. Mick Kenney was destructive on his guitar, laying waste to the place with his riffs. Between the Shit and Piss We Are Born proceeded to tear people’s heads off. Ending the night with a serious message about how poverty is killing tens of thousands of children everyday Anaal. Stormed through the last three songs of their set, Do Not Speak, Idol and The Joystream. By this stage, I had run out of superlatives to describe what I was hearing, but Anaal seemed to push The Crowbar’s P.A. even further, giving it even more, again, just so god damned heavy.

Massive thanks to Brimstone Bookings for bringing these guys out, it was a show I won’t forget. I really hope to see them in front a bigger room that is jam packed one day, they deserve it.

Line-up: Anaal Nathrakh, Hybrid Nightmares, Lo!, Inhuman Remnants

Reviewer: Jonathan Hurley