Metal United Down Under – Port Pirie (Port Pirie, SA)

22 September 2018 at Port Pirie Sporting and Community Club

Travelling from Adelaide with good mates, I’m on the way to Port Pirie – Why? Metal United Down Under is on a again. The 5th anniversary of this awesome event and growing stronger every year. I’ve been looking forwards to this day for a long time and with killer bands on the bill today, time to kick of this 11 hour shin dig.

It is a tough job being the first band to play at any gig but Port Augusta’s AFTASHOK have the honor of doing such thing. There is a small crowd at the moment but no the less very enthusiastic. AFTASHOK are a heavy rock band delivering tight riffs with the right mix of metal thrown in for good measure. Never having heard AFTASHOK’s music, I really like the bands straight forward approach. Invisible was one of the highlights for myself, finishing off with a ripping double bass drum flurry and twin guitar harmonies. AFTASHOK’s set was extended by the late arrival from the 2nd band but to the pleasure of the crowd in tow were given a medley of Metallica tune which went down a bloody treat.

HEADSTRONG were a little late but also had to travel from Port Lincoln, which im guessing was one of their parents driving because these lads are still in school. This is just showing how fertile the growing pool of bands are around the Mid North SA region. The young punk band were confident and showed great talent, a few little mistakes and timing issues were swept aside with the sheer look of excitement being a part of the day. HEADSTRONG can only get stronger with each gig they play, the youth will find their sound and will go onto bigger and better days.

Now things are beginning to get heavy, SUFFER THE EVENUE take all of 1.2 seconds to start shredding of faces, a blistering pace of Hardcore (it reminded me of Hatebreed in their attack). These guys had great support today with a family presence. I really liked the Winnie the Pooh head dancing along with the band. SUFFER THE EVENUE are unapologetic in the way of a take no prisoners feel to their in tour face approach, very fast and very heavy this is why they also produced the first of many mosh pits of the day. No surprises here for that happening.

OUROBORIC have a extremely unique sound, being highlighted by an enigmatic and highly entertaining front man. His vocal ranges and technique going from low gutteral death metal to high pitch screams. This alone to see was worth the price of admission today. The band have a heavy groove riffs which has the room mesmerized. Mid point of their set there was a light break in play by the official opening of Metal United Down Under Port Pirie by the local member of Parliament, Mr. Geoff Brock and youngster Jason Patrick Gray. This was important in many ways but mainly because it showed that the whole town has thrown their support to the show today. The M.P. and local businesses have really come to the party today – awesome to see.

Adelaide based maniacs SEDULOUS ROUSE adorn the stage next, all hells is about to break loose now. The 3 piece band have a reputation of putting on an insane show and this is just another one here today. Mixing thrash and death along with complicated progressive metal riffs. The band features new member to the band but old in the Adelaide metal scene the one and only Paul Murphy, hes pulling double duty today with his other band SICKNESS. Going off with crazy antics is bassist “Batman” Burt  fingers flying over the fret board of his bass. This was because of the insane manic riffing of partner in crime guitarist Roly Moore. SEDULOUS ROUSE chaotic set were filled with tunes from the debut album Seasons of Triumph and latest opus The Valley Beyond. The albums are great but to truly appreciate them is to join the masses of Sedulites and see the fretboard masters live in all of the technical glory.

Time for a quick beer or two before next band – WOOD OF SUICIDE. A refreshing change of pace which is being brought back down to a dark, doom/sludge laden level. These guys are sonically heavy as all fuck, featuring a elevation of skills I’ve not seen for a long time. WOOD OF SUICIDE brought an dark, dank atmosphere of death with them this afternoon. Long songs and raspy vocals are the order of the next half hour.

HATE FORCE FIVE are experiencing a little technical trouble of which happens from time to time so are a little late in kicking of but when they do the electronic drum kit of the source of the issues fly full tilt into a Fucking Angry set one full of punk abused anarchy is highly entertaining, proving age is no barrier, HATE FORCE FIVE  are like the goodies on acid. The first band use stage props (even if was only jackets and hats) working class level lyrics are funny as hell I enjoyed this set from HATE FORCE FIVE.

After the great enjoyment of playing a set with my band, Sedulous Rouse, I settled into enjoy some of the fantastic talent that the Aussie metal scene has to offer. First up for me was the grind core legends SICKNESS. Led out front by imposing front man Nick Hansen the band launched into a ferocious set of blitzkrieg fast grind. “I might need some fucking help” rang out through the Port Pirie Sporting and Community club as the crowd got right behind the band that had put the whole show together. They played Fast Food Culture which was clearly a crowd favourite and ended their set with a cover of the Napalm Death Classic SCUM. Everybody is eagerly awaiting their next release said to be in the works.

Next up is a band I personally love, WOUNDED PIG. This husband and wife duo are becoming legendary in the Aussie heavy music scene for the sheer intensity of their live set. Playing songs from their full length debut A Permanent Mark the duo delivered a brutal set of fast but catchy grindcore that few can match. With Jess in her full power stance on the bass and Sam delivering vocals and guitar lines at a ferocious rate this is a band not to be messed with. They incited a circle pit on the night for what was a visceral set of heavy pleasure!

Next up was a band I had never witnessed before but had heard plenty about, GOOD TIME AUSSIE BOGALARS. This band is about as Aussie as it comes. They were rude abrasive and brutal. The guitarist/singer handed out some VB stubbies just to give you an idea about them. They ripped through their set and with their fast riffs intense drumming and multiple vocal approach they really caught the attention of the crowd who lapped up every song including the obvious favourite: Born Again Bushpig. Don’t miss these guys if they are in your town!

After quite a few years off the live circuit IN:EXTREMIS are back and boy is it in a big way. At this show they were playing as a 3 piece rather than their usual 5 man line up but with the help of technology they had it all in order. Playing songs from their early days and their latest release The Human Plague Volume 1 and Volume 2 they showed that they are back with an intention to lift the bar once again for groove & aggression that is in your face. With new drummer Andrew “El Hefe” Parkinson playing his first show with the band they demonstrated what they are capable of in the live setting. They involved the crowd and ripped through their set leaving a lot of very satisfied fans, especially Jai from CRANNK who is a rabid supporter of theirs!

With members who are originally from Port Pirie death metal heavyweights OATH OF DAMNATION then took to the stage and brought with them the evil. They have a very well defined sound and boy is it heavy. They are an incredibly tight band and in lead guitarist Matt Gillick have one of the best soloists in the country. He is an incredible player who deserves all the plaudits that come his way and he mesmerised the crowd with some incredibly fast, smooth and melodic lead playing. Their set was brutal and played with a determination that comes when all members are locked in sync. The crowd loved their set and their reputation continues to grow.

The headline band of the evening is SHADOW REALM, who comprise of all the members of Oath of Damnation with the addition of a powerful melodic singer in the mould of Bruce Dickinson. Torsha the vocalist of Shadow Realm has an incredible range but sadly this was his final show with the band. They play an incredibly impressive brand of power metal that you just can’t help raise your mental horns to! They write their songs in such a way that they do not lose any heaviness despite being so melodic. The lead playing of guitarist Matt Gillick is a highlight only challenged by the powerful and brilliantly performed vocals of Torsha. They were the right band to headline the show and put on a great display of what heavy metal is all about.

I’d like to personally give a huge round of applause to Mr Dan Pearse and the False Flag crew, the Minister of Parliament, Mr. Geoff Brock and little Jason for opening the show and showing much support to the music we love.

Line-up: Shadow Realm, Oath Of Damnation, In:Extremis, Good Time Aussie Bogalars, Wounded Pig, Sickness, Wood of Suicides, Hate Force Five, Sedulous Rouse, Suffer The Evenue, Ouroboric, Headstrong, Aftashok

Reviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham and Roly Moore