Bangers and Thrash II (Sydney, NSW)

7 June 2014 at Lewisham Hotel
Queen's birthday long weekend is loaded with gigs and we were heading towards Metal Thrashing Productions second edition of Bangers and Thrash in Sydney's Lewisham Hotel.

Opening the show are thrashers Under Night's Cover who we already saw supporting LORD about a month ago. Very young guys but wow, they play a hell of guitars. Jake, Hayden and Mark on guitar and bass are so fast and skilled that it's a joy to just watch them play their instruments. Because of that Under Night's Cover's songs are mostly instrumental with singer Johnny having only small portions to contribute his vocals – not diminishing his performance though. In the end of their slot they do a Megadeth cover of Holy Wars for which Adrian from Hangman and Zane from Pizza Gut cramp themselves onto the already full stage. And so the party has started already at 1pm.

Thrashed was on next. They do exactly what they are their title says, thrash. Starting the show with a big scream welcoming Bangers and Thrash and they are then going into a more brutal and rock 'n' roll influenced thrash. Their bassist Todd is a scary version of Ronald McDonald. Singer Tim has a rough voice slipping into grunts and the staccato is emphasized by the drums of Blinky. They have 2 guitarists, BenJammin and Scott. Scott also throws in some melodic singing parts, giving the sound an interesting range. When they play their song Gypsy Blood, Tim eats a banana offered by a guy from the crowd and promotes healthy eating. I can only say, cheers! 😉

BlackSmith are starting with a guitar intro. With guitarist Sam, they are the only other band with a woman on stage (next to Temtris). Singer Jono's long stretched and dramatic vocals on the backdrop of a funky, somehow bluesy and certainly groove sound created by Cameron on the bass, lead guitarist Felix and drummer Nick. Nice one to chill after the full start.

After a bit of chilling, Abacination from the Central Coast Abacination brutally thrash us back to metal. The guys from the Central Coast are touring with Bleeding Gasoline the East Coast. Their album is out since January and Abacination plays all the song of the album – so we hear Abused of Authority, Cold Blooded and Extermination… to name just a couple. As a bonus we got a tribute to Jeff Hahnemann with a Slayer Cover Reign In Blood. As always, their cardboard Orang Utan is with them on stage – nowadays as display for their t-shirt. The 4 piece consists of guitarist Gavin, singer & guitarist Billy, bassist Daniel and drummer Jarrod.

Long time, no see but always a pleasure to have Atomesquad on the stage. They are a 3 piece and I have done a bit guess work with their music and their ambitions when I started writing reviews, so I'm today going for the obvious: Awesome metal from these 3 cousins! Singer Leon has a powerful melodic voice. He also plays the bass while Mike shreds the guitar oh so nicely and Matt takes care of the drums. To say nothing wrong again, I take the time to lean back and enjoy.

I have seen all of the previous bands before but for Aeternus Dominion it's the first time. They have been around for ages and seem different. Not only because they seem to wear a kind of uniform, consisting of a black metal shirt, army pants and long hair but they also didn't bring their singer. So bassist Tait and guitarist Ted share the vocals – aggressive, attacking vocals. The four piece has also PJ Westbury on the guitar and drummer Steve. It's a lot of heavy shredding – awesome! Guest singer for them is Mike Ryan from Paralysis.

It's also been some time since I saw Fenrir last. They've been with Septicflesh in Japan and recruited a new guitarist after Ben left. Adrian from Hangman took the position and so we have again 5 guys on stage who are smeared with blood and covered with runes. Singer Duncan has a classically trained voice and plays the flute… maybe not really metal but combined with a cape of wolf fur and super fast guitars, it's really cool norse, folk, battle metal. Duncan’s entertainment skills also make the show fun every time. Blake, who had been on the guitar when Ben left, is back on the bass. Anthony and George are where they've always been – on guitar and drums respectively. They launched their EP last year but I'm hoping for an album next. A good sign is that they play a new song. It starts with Duncan’s tin whistle intro – showing once again the musical variety, Fenrir has to offer. After that intro mayhem starts and we are back to metal. Loki's Slaughter – nice one! Berzerker is also awesome. And for Heavy Fucking Metal, we get a beautiful circle pit with Duncan in there.

Azreal are up next. It's a hard attack with singer Luke angrily screaming at us with full power. Andrew on the guitar, Scott on the bass and Chris on the drums create the perfect sound for this attack. We get some thrashy and some sludgy songs. After the show, the guys have to leave right away to jump on a plane. Their drummer plays in other bands as well and has the next show at lunch time while their official Queensland album release is in Gold Coast the next evening. Yes, their album Premonition is out – go and get it.

Up next are Temtris from Nowra. Even though Nowra is a couple of hours south of Sydney, they count as local. I have seen them already a few times but not since their new album Shallow Grave has been released (by Battlegod Productions). I guess you can't say Temtris without mentioning Genevieve, their singer. One of the very strong metal women… which is sadly still an exception. Temtris consists of Genevieve, guitarists Anthony and Lew, bassist Adam and drummer Ben. All great musicians but Genevieve is the icing not only because of her latex suit and sexy looks but also because of her powerful voice. I also like Lew grunting parts – the contrast gives their sound this extra bit of spice.

The second interstate band tonight are Knightmare from Melbourne – Power Metal. They have a drum machine and the show starts with just the guitarists Jim Munro and Luke Besley and bassist Matt McConaghy on stage, waving their long hair against the wind machine/fan. Then singer Mick 'O' War climbs, hm, conquers the stage. It's a pretty show with lights, posing and flying hair but also very skilled guitarists (and bassist), melodramatic long stretched vocals and a well manufactured sound. I like them!

Last time I saw Dark Order it was the first time they have played in ages. They had a new line-up and got a good crowd on Saturday evening – they are just legends in the Sydney thrash scene. Singer, guitarist and front man Raul Garcia is from Chile which explains the album name Cold War of the Condor and Spanish song parts/titles. Sean Veale who also plays in Metreya is on the bass and Jimmie MacGregor is on the guitar. Zac Sale does all the drum work. Dark Order are not legends for nothing. Some spoken parts are slower but it's mostly nice heavy… militant… thrash with loads of awesome guitar work. It's been a long day and 12 bands are nothing for the weak, so it's good to have Dark Order giving us a strong last push towards the end.

And up last are Grenade – a blackened death thrash metal band from the Blue Mountains. Haven't heard of them before but am curious what makes them headliner. They seem to have disbanded in 2006 with only guitarist/vocalist Nigel continuing. I'm not sure about the current line-up but we have a 4 piece which produces a hypnotic sound. There is growling but it is not dominant and the focus is on guitars and rhythm. After the opening track, the guitarist takes of his boots. The socks go as well and off we head again into the middle of the tornado with all the soaring and threatening noise around us. Their tracks are very long and mostly instrumental. At some point the bootless guitarist finishes his drink, throws the empty bottle away and declares "One more and then we go to bed. Yeah, that's right, bed!" After 12 bands, nobody seems to disagree and we willingly disembark into the last song before we head towards bed (or in my case my well-deserved first beer at home… unlucky designated driver).

Line-up: Grenade,Dark Order, Knightmare, Temtris, Azreal, Fenrir, Aeturnus Dominion, Atomesquad, Abacination, BlackSmith, Thrashed, Under Night's Cover

Reviewer: Anja