Heavy SA Fest (Adelaide, SA)

7 May 2016 at Fowlers Live

Adelaide, the city of churches, is the setting of another massive day of unrelenting metal madness. It is Saturday morning on the 7th of May,2016. It is overcast and miserable, rain is holding off….just. Not that it matters because today is Heavy SA fest day, 18 bands crammed into 12 hours of metal bliss. Does it get any better than this…..Nope.

Kicking off the insanity are ARMI graduates Strider. A young band making their major show debut in front of a pretty decent audience since it is before lunch time, and it was pretty cool. Strider is a 5 piece metal band of up and comers.  Kicking off with twin guitar harmonies and killer drumming it is just the start to the day we need. They boys show the energy of youth, revving up the crowd with their brand of metal with original tunes such as ‘Rotten to the Core’, and finishing off their set with cover song ‘Killing in the name of’ featuring Declan O’Moore, another upcoming vocalist as a guest on stage with the dual vocal attack. It is a brilliant way finish off a high energy set.

We Ate The Search Party are 2nd today on stage. This is first time I have seen these guys play and to say I was impressed is an understatement. Heavy grooves and a mix of jazz fusion finger picking bass lines with lots of bass doodling thrown into the mix because it’s cool. These dudes have a really unique sound which reminded me in parts of a heavier version of Faith No More, featuring catchy tunes with a strong vocal delivery, I ate the search party are one band not to miss.

The intensity is raised through the fucking roof with the next band Wounded Pig. With the only female bassist for today, Wounded Pig give the crowd a master class in grind core/punk infused madness, an engaging experience. The veins in the vocalists’ head I think will pop with the ferocity he delivers throughout the set.

With the crowd building nicely inside Fowlers Live, Soul Screamer’s set begins featuring technical guitar work. The melodic death metal band are tight and feature songs like “Thirst for Blood”  that are really well written and executed.

Another band, another a first for me, Shadow Realm. These dudes are amazing. Heavy power metal, featuring keyboards for that extra element of atmosphere. Sweep picking solos and a vocalist with a range that would impress the Metal God himself. Shadow Realm has it going on. A really cool mix of tunes that is heavy and melodic at the same time.

3 piece band Zelorage who are here today from Renmark, kick it into high gear as it’s their turn to assault the ears of the masses. Their original tunes feature heavy grooves which are a little more alternate to what we have experienced thus far today, but that’s why today is so important. We are getting exposed to many heavy bands that we may not have heard before.

With a tone and style that would make American band Hell Yeah stand up and take notice, Witmotr or What is the meaning of this racket produce the first mosh pit of the day. With a dual vocal attack which complimented both vocal styles, these dudes are a fucking cool band. I really enjoy the down and dirty tracks like ‘Watch the world burn’ they belt out with brand of metal.

I haven’t seen next band for a while but AModernDeath play a set full of brutal death metal tunes that they are well known for. The guys give 100% effort and it shows with the audience head banging. Smashing out tunes from their album Odyssey they are as tight as ever.

Thirteen Black are another new band for me to see live tonight. They have a bass heavy stoner sludge metal groove going on that is infectious. Definitely one band I need to learn more about but I like what I hear.
Coming off a successful South East Asia tour, Hidden Intent are next up. Thrash metal played at a speed that is impressive to watch and sounds incredible. The three piece band has a sound that is aggressive and frenetic.

Playing as tight as ever Hidden Intent is firing on all cylinders especially during soon to be certain classic “Addicted to Thrash”. They had a strong following in the mosh pit and played the only instrumental song of the day.

Voros continue their consistent and brutal death metal. A blistering performance is on display for the heaving crowd who lap up every moment and in turn repay by singing along to “City of dead trees” from the Voros album, Diseased Deity.

By far the sonically heaviest band on stage today is Mammoth, featuring 3 guitarists with six members in all, playing at the same time. Good times were on hand. Mammoth aren’t a fast band but have a down tuned style that can’t be replaced. I really like the vocalist’s use of an old school microphone. Not sure if it makes any difference but sure looks cool. Singing about weed was the call some in the crowd needed, sparking it up mid song.

The bass player for Gorlapse spent more time in the crowd in the middle of the mosh pit than on-stage which was awesome. The closeness of the bands and fans show how respectful metal heads are to the Horror inspired band. Playing “Forever Gone” a hidden gem off their latest album, their metal is more infectious than a zombie bite.

Atmosphere and intellectual lyrics are on display now as Dyssidia hit the stage. They aren’t your typical metal band, with 3 keyboards playing alongside creating an eerie soundscape of brilliance to pound the ears of all around. Clean and growling vocals raise the roof and show how diverse the metal scene is in Adelaide tonight.

Truth Corroded is on absolute fire tonight. They just seem hell bent on destroying all in their way. They give a scorching performance from all members which is traditionally their thing, and they obliterate who came  all before them. They once again prove to all the reason why Truth Corroded are leaders in their field.

Getting the best out of the crowd, and showing a master class of thrash mastery, is Se Bon Ki Ra. They are a fun band to witness live as they constantly deliver potent tunes time and time again. The crowd lap up from beginning to end, with songs like ‘Nailed into place”, the term epic is not enough to describe them tonight.

Beginning with a version of “Ride the Lightning” that THE band that wrote it could only hope to play with such vigour and power, Alkira burst into their set with unbelievable aggression which I haven’t seen from them before. They are a solid tight band; abusing their instrument with tracks like “Submission therapy” this is a show that had to be witnessed to be believed. Truly this is a show for the history books.

17 bands have now played and there is one last to go, part of the reason why we are all here. To help launch “The Grey” album number two from the brilliant Headbore. Now without going into too much detail in this, they have several false starts into the set which is disappointing and I can see that Fish was getting upset with this. With that aside not only can Headbore mix it with the big boys of the Adelaide heavy music scene, they also prove without doubt that they are worthy of the top billing. Playing a killer list of songs that included among many more, Temptress from their first album to new tracks Slaves and their new single and title track ‘The Grey’ the lads energy and drive draws the crowd into a frenzy mess once again. Topping off what is a long day of metal madness.

In summary, 18 bands for $15, how the hell could anyone say no to value like that! My hats off to Jason North and Truth Inc records; Christian Broome and ARMI and Fowlers Live; The bar staff that kept us all refreshed; The staff that cooked the barbecue all day. My only issue is mixing up the tomato sauce and the chilli sauce. I don’t do chilli…

There are issues with the sound that the bands had to put up with and I thought that the lighting could be better but for me these don’t detract from a great night. I get to chat to good friends and made new ones.

Thanks also have to go to all the bands that performed so brilliantly throughout the day. Finally I send a huge thanks to everyone who attended and supported Adelaide heavy music.
Until next time…..\m/

Line-up: Headbore, Alkira, Se Bon Ki Ra, Truth Corroded, Dyssidia, Gorlapse, Mammoth, Voros, Hidden Intent, Thirteen Black, AModernDeath, WITMOTR, Zelorage, Shadow Realm, Soul Screamer, Wounded Pig, We Ate The Search Party, Strider

Reviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham