Dragged Into Sunlight (Sydney, NSW)

22 June 2019 at The Factory Theatre

Known only by their initials, I was very excited to see Dragged Into Sunlight. An extreme British metal band, I had heard that this band were composed of balaclava clad men who don’t disclose their identity, and only play with their back to the audience.

As soon as I saw the stage being set with a candelabra, complete with goat skull, candles,  a single strobe and lots of smoke, I definitely became just a bit more antsy.  It drew a lot of attention from the crowd , selfies galore and the anticipation of what type of show was to come. Unfortunately, the candles remained unlit.

Known only by their initials, they walk onto the tiny factory floor stage and it is all black, occasional red light. Unholy and ritualistic from the start, we are not to be disappointed. As if the singer is exorcising his inner demons with every agonising vitriol filled scream, all his rage projecting onto the drummer who is the only one that is not NOT facing the audience.

It was a treat to have Hatred for Mankind. The opener, Boiled Angel, named after Mike Diana’s graphic novel of the same name (he was the first person in U.S. history to receive a conviction for artistic obscenity ) is the first track off the album released in 2010. Dragged Into Sunlight translate that into music and also to the stage with their blood boiling screams and violent riffs. Although no balaclavas are worn and the bass player and singer both face the audience at some points, the crowd stood witness to a vicious  on stage atmosphere. The blackened/doom/sludgy elements of the songs at its finest descends upon us, the fans. Plenty of head banging but no moshing.

All in all their underground sound, terrifying lyrics and horrifying samples all contribute to the nightmarish atmosphere of the stage. It just builds and builds with each song , from the terrifying high pitched shrieks in Buried with  Leeches to the more guttural anger filled growling and thrashing drums of Volcanic Birth.

They walk off the stage and leave us sadistically waiting and wondering for more, but alas, the nightmare that felt like a crime we were all witness to, hand ended just as soon as it had begun, even though it was an hour or so of extreme aural assault. That, my friends, is Dragged Into Sunlight.

ZHRINE is my introduction to Icelandic Black Metal. The set starts, (and ends) with dissonance, discordance, and despair. The guitars start, and we get  complimented with more chunky sounding death metal riffs. The drummer is tight and has nightmarish intensity behind the kit, and everything seemingly falls into place.

Then, the vocals start. That scream! The powerful monstrosity of Þorbjörn Steingrímssons’ growls. Their clean image on stage with their button up shirts and neatly combed slick short hair did not prepare me for his bestial roaring. I’m won over instantly . As if seemingly from the depths of a frozen over lifandi helvíti. The opener Utopian Warfare, is first track off the album Unortheta, released in 2016 is very haunting. Unsettling. Like the ocean, the guitarist riffs and the bass, all mould  

well together as we get drawn in with ebbs and waves. By the time they played Syringe Dance , everyone’s  horns were in the air and hair was starting to fly. Finally, with the end of Unortheta, we were  back to such extreme discord but it was just so beautiful and it engulfed everyone in the crowd in a trancelike state. We begin to feel hopeless, a lot of desolation in the long instrumentals and the use of that upright bass definitely gave it that extra dimension. It was very otherworldly, I didn’t feel like I was watching a band play. I was definitely transported to a different place, some kind of icy purgatory. And then the  screaming starts again. The raw vocals reel me in and spit me out.  So much respect and awe for this band. Disappointed they did not have any merch whatsoever. 

Walking into a nearly pitch black tiny room, of the Factory Floor on a cold rainy Saturday night and into some spine tingling screaming  from the opening band members Ploughshare onstage. Quite a brutal set, at which they all take on the vocals at some point. With songs that sound very sacredly profane… this is Ploughshare, the local support band from Canberra. They sounded pissed off and ready to crack at any moment. A lot of intensity and aggressiveness, and the sounds from this four  piece definitely set the tone for the night ahead.

Line-up: Dragged Into The Sunlight, Zhrine, Ploughshare

Reviewer: Candy
Photocredits: Mira Live Photography