29 November 2014 at The Bald Faced Stag Hotel
The first Metal-Roos show and at the same time the first Metal United Down Under show. Metal United Down Under is the umbrella for 13 shows all over Australia with just under 100 bands in 13 cities and 7 states/territories connected by the same date and the same banner. Metal-Roos is organizer of this project.
So it's a nice sunny day outside with loud sound checks and the members covering each other with black runes and smear themselves with blood inside. Bands arriving, equipment filling the corners and a relaxed pre-show mood is spreading through the Bald Faced Stag Hotel in Leichhardt.
First band up is Fenrir. Norse speed metal, a singer in wolf fur and a flute. Duncan Jones starts with an awesome flute solo and then the rest of the band joins in to create an aural storm which makes you think of fighting gods of the North or Vikings attacking – fantastic! In the beginning of this year, the guys invaded Japan. They have then played several cities in Australia and are now working on a follow up of their EP. We are very much looking forward to the album! Duncan's wild flute, Adrian Cyconovic and Anthony Ierardo thrashing and shredding the hell on their guitars, Blake Barnes-James' bass work plus George Delinicolis, the drummer of uncountable bands in Sydney, giving this speedy battle ensemble the best rhythm possible. The songs are about Nordic sagas and battles which are presented theatrically by Duncan. The moshers can't hold back when Fenrir plays Heavy Fucking Metal.
Up next a very different band from the Norse battles, Edenfall. 5 guys with ethnic Chinese background playing alternative progressive rock. Heavy guitars and bass plus a vocalist with a crazy range of voices, melodic, grunting and screaming. Kyo's repertoire includes the Death Metal schizophrenic change from screams to grunts and back. All in Chinese. Edenfall has been established in 2010 and is already well-known in the Chinese community; now they are conquering their place in the rest of Sydney's metal scene. The twin guitars are played by Lune and Raymond. Andrew provides the chugging bass and Joey is Edenfall's drummer. Jazzy interludes, something which reminds me a bit of a very heavy syrtaki and some parts sounding like Chinese melodies. True alternative progressive and surely metal as they always return to heavy guitars and death metal-ish screams.
And so we come to Fatigue, together with Fenrir our first bands we saw in Sydney when we joined the metal community. The members are Malikoth, Aranae and Meristem; still a three piece and still full of hate and violence. Blackened thrash with zombie face paint. Like an evil storm their sound is swirling through the Bald Faced Stag.
Before Ciada is only for the second time at the Bald Faced Stag stage even though they've already existed some time. Last year they released their EP Birth To Burial. Deep roars transform into clear and screamed vocals. Singer Troy Ware has a powerful voice filled with anger. They have played a couple of shows in Germany. Guitarist Michael Taylor has been performing with Buried in Verona and toured Australia several times. On the second guitar is Gabriel Castro. Completed is the quintet by bassist Nathaniel Watkins and drummer Daniel Kinder. The style is metal core and they describe it as progressive speed metal core. One thing is sure, it's fast, it's brutal and it feels like a punch in your face.
Flaming Wrekage have started their Sabotour Australia 2014/15 the day before in Canberra. The 4 guys from Sydney are Dave Lupton (vocalist/guitarist), Justin Humphry (guitar), James Buckingham (bass) and Luke Jackson (drums). Their album Catharsis was released last year. They call their style melodic thrash metal and that sounds about right to me. Very guitar driven with the almost screamed vocals, aggressive and hard. Pretty awesome! Very fast thrash guitars… well, I guess you have to go to one of their shows while they are on tour and listen to it yourself.
War Rages Within, already the last band of the evening. Formed by guitarist Ziad Beydoun and bassist Zeno Kong in 2013, the band has far more experience than a year. Ziad and Zeno are veterans of the metal scene with touring experience in Australia and Europe. Their newest project, War Rages Within, is a fusion of metal, post-hardcore and punk rock. Their EP has just been released and is called Vitriol. They had to change singers and enlisted Dimitri, originally from Novosibirsk which adds to the bands metal and ethnic fusion. Their music is brutal with half-clear, half-screamed vocals a full sound of rhythm & guitar and melodic singing in contrast to the screams.
And so ends the first Metal United Down Under edition in Sydney. Time to start another round.
Line-up: War Rages Within, Flaming Wrekage, Before Ciada, Fatigue, Edenfall, Fenrir
Photocredits: Henri Ky, Michael Lueders