Northern Hyperblast in Sydney (Sydney, NSW)

7 December 2013 at Manning Bar
A balmy Saturday night and a bunch of metalheads are chilling in front of Sydney's Manning Bar. Metal is filling the air while the last sound check is in progress. Finally, the doors open and the crowd, dressed in black, enters the halls of the Manning Bar.

The Seer from Newcastle (NSW) open the show. The band was founded in 2006 by Ryan Huthnance (ex Mortal Sin) as a solo project but has grown into a 4 piece since then. They play really good (and fast) Symphonic/Progressive Death Metal and got the first people to bang their head. With their last song "Wasteland" (from their EP Prologue), they announce the next band with the advice that "now would be the time to bang your head" which they immediately start themselves.

DepriVatioN, Melodic Death Metal hailing from Orange (NSW), attack next. It certainly feels like an attack – aggressive and hard. Obviously influenced by Pantera, they make a very good contribution for us to Dimebag's tribute weekend. With a number of stage appearances at home as well as overseas under their belt, they are an experienced live band and frontman Benn Weber even performs a successful dive from the stage (concert is not sold out and first rows don't stand that tight).

Gotsu Totsu Kotsu is a Death / Thrash Metal 3 piece from Japan named after an ancient samurai warrior. And that's what they are on stage, samurais. Guitarist and bassist wear kimonos, it's clearly war and the battle has started. Fast guitars and drums plus vocalist/bassist Haruhisa Takahata's dark growling put you directly into the middle of a combat. It's threatening, it's aggressive and over all, it's incredibly fast. The Japanese lyrics enforce Haruhisa's war cry impression – Gotsu Totsu Kotsu might be in modern "Western" clothes off stage but on stage they are very Japanese. Haruhisa announces "Samurai speak English very little. We wanna play next song" and when the guitarist interrupts with quick guitar tuning, Haruhisa barks something which must mean QUIET (when I speak) – which just earns him a cheeky smile from the guitarist who does it again in the next announcement. Haruhisa is using less English words but a lot of sign language – especially imitating constantly what looks like Seppuku, the Japanese suicide for honor . The highlight is the duel between Haruhisa with the bass and guitarist Atsushi – Haruhisa finally praises Atsushi's great skills but it's a tight outcome as Haruhisa is very fast himself. In the end luckily nobody gets killed nor commits suicide but with some polite and friendly bowing and a couple of Arigato, the band leaves the stage.

Then finally, Kataklysm – the masters of Death Metal! From experience we knew that they don't always play when they have a gig, so we were a bit anxious. But no signs of that! Maurizio, JF, Stephane plus new drummer Oli marched in and the show started. Full power and energy loaded, Kataklysm showed no signs of the jetlag Maurizio admitted during the show. With 5 concerts in 5 days – they had played in Melbourne on the previous night and Perth on the next – the lumberjacks were hyperblasting over Australia! Kataklysm's super fast beats, aggressive guitars and Maurizio's hypnotic voice changing from screams to throaty barking and growling… Wait here, I just had to go into the crowd and bang my head for a while. The guys are just too good to sit around and write about them.

Back after a few songs enjoying Kataklysm's brutal force, here is what I remember after recollecting my senses:
"Like Animals and "Fire" from the album Waiting For The End To Come which they just released in November. It's the first album with drummer Oli Beaudoin replacing Max Duhamel who was too busy struggling with his own demons. Oli does a good job in drumming with Kataklysm's well known speed.
A heart warming little speech about sheep and following the herd leads over to social critics and "Kill The Elite" (also from the new album) starts with its full brutality. One by one… of us gets aurally smashed into the ground.
"Iron Will" which was released as single with last year. The song describes the 20 year struggle of the band and Maurizio announces the song with words about coming from the bottom and struggling your way up – you need an Iron Will.
Kataklysm play also some older songs like "In Shadow & Dust " from the 2002 album Shadows & Dust and "Crippled & Broken" about Vietnam War Veterans (2006 album In The Arms Of Devastation).

Battling and struggling through 2 decades but Kataklysm show no signs of weakness but have recovered into a mature Death Metal band – they just know what they do and they do it so very well.

Line-up: Kataklysm, Gotsu Totsu Kotsu, DepriVatioN, The Seer

Reviewer: Anja