Heathen Fest 2019 (Moruya, NSW)

1 June 2019 at Mouyra Waterfront

After a six-hour car ride down the South Coast, I arrive in Moyura (a place where the locals tell me I pronounce completely wrong) and I am immediately taken back by the beauty of this quaint yet super cool small town. My eyes meet with the Waterfront Hotel, set right on the riverbank. This was to be the house of the 3rd Heathen Fest, a metal festival showcasing some of the Australian Capital Territory and NSW states underground and extreme bands.

Grabbing a beer first, of course, I move out to the grassed area with all the other metal-minded people all dressed battle ready and in black. As we stand and chat in front of a glassy river, pink sunset and the purple shaded hills, I immediately feel a brilliant vibe for an afternoon and night of exceptionally intense and brutal extreme metal. Let the show begin!

First to take the stage and kick this darkened night off was Auld, an interesting and intense band hailing from Canberra. Vocalist Daniel Weber together with the band of excellent musicians showcased intensity and determination. This being only their second show playing together and the band’s synergy was commendable. Auld gave us a set full of interesting drum tracks, sounds created by Celtic instruments, metal with a folk influence and threw in a  very cool Dissections cover, to surprise us all.  What a start, what a way to set the bar for the rest of the night.

Next to plague the stage, while looking secular draped in black cloaks was Unholy Vendetta out of Canberra.  As their name suggests there truly was nothing pure about them as they brought an onslaught of blast beats, heavy bass, played by a bassist with such enthusiasm and energy continually encouraging the crowd to fire up, excellent and heavy guitar work and crushing vocals by JJ Lodding. These guys brought darkness to the stage with their fast-paced dirty raw black metal sound, laced with crunching death influences and elements. Such an old school blackened sound collaborated with something unique and modern. A great set by the boys.

Sydney death metal band; Golgothem Remains took to the stage with such savagery and smashed our senses with their big sound full of speed, heaviness, and ferocity. Vocalist Matthieu was imposing as he stood face covered with his hair, while committing 100% to his high shrieks and lows. The drum tracks were perfectly rhythmic with some incredible guitar solos thrown in. This was a heavy thumping set that was felt right through our chests.

With just enough time to grab a quick beer from the bar, the lights dim for Somnium Nox, conjured from Sydney and Canberra, this black metal band brought a dark and evil force to the stage this night, which inundated all who watched.  For me, it was a wondefuly intimidating sight and experience. These guys created a sadistic occultist sacrificial atmosphere and we were the lambs.  A quirky influence of indigenous didgeridoo created another layer to their dark ambiance. Vocalist, Mosh, draped in a black cloak, like some impious reaper, faceless and void of movement and emotion created an unnerving mood and delivered a vocal style that was incredibly unique and forceful while the rest of the band smashed their set out with huge conviction. 

Enter Black Mountain, summoned from Canberra. These guys came storming in and devastated the crowd with a set full of raw and nasty first wave sound black metal. This was an incredible and punishing setlist, one full of the not so nice metal vibe that is oh so damn good!. These guys could  not have been more abrupt with their harsh instrument execution and lyrics of “I don’t like god” belted from the guts of vocalist Apollyon who was relentless in his delivery. Excellent guitar solos and trve kvlt sounds Black Mountain were a sacrilegious rage on stage.

Death/Thrash band Bastardizer, from Sydney, soiled the stage next with their big thrashing and dark sound. Showering us all with a frenzy of dark weighted riffs, impressive guitar solos highlighting the death component of their metal composition. There was absolutely no rest for the heartbeat within the chaos that this band threw at us. The crowd reciprocating by creating a pit of appreciation. Exceptional thrashing vocals by Chis. Bastardizer was an exhausting and fantastic show of metal.

A metal legend, a thrashing veteran and 40 years in the metal industry stood Hobbs, with his most excellent and savage band; Hobbs Angel Of Death. Immediately they draw in a sea of black-clad patrons frantically finding their position in front of the stage. As the crowd threw their respect toward Hobbs with horns, headbangs and vicious moshing, Hobbs stood proud, spitting his malicious lyrics at us with a look of nostalgia on his face. A terrific set, loaded with full throttle anarchic drums, bold bass,  heavy darkened riffs and big vocals by Hobbs.  We all felt privileged to watch. Hobbs Angel Of Death thrashed out a memorable set.

To close the night out was the obscure, unconventional and wonderfully strange porno grind solo metal artist, Cucklord, from Baranduda. I had been told not to miss Cucklord on stage, and I now understand why. This truly was a great set to end a brilliant underground metal festival. Aiden straddled the stage in black jeans, black hoodie, and balaclava bashing out party bangers full of energy, fast pasted riffs and vocals going from quick intervals of gutturals to highs. Excellent guitar work display through was heard through his set and a fun/heavy energy that was rather addictive and very catching as the crowd banged heads and danced to his metal to see the night out.

Heathen Fest was an excellent festival, professionally organised and run by South Coast Metalheads and packed with extremely talented musicians showcasing their blood, sweat, and tears to a crowd that mingled and moshed together, clearly enjoying every single moment.

Line-up: Cuck Lord, Hobbs Angel Of Death, Bastardizer, Black Mountain, Somnium Nox, Golgothan Remains, Unholy Vendetta, Auld

Reviewer: Kelly Tee