On an uncharacteristically chilly Brisbane night, I make my way into the local home of heavy, Crowbar, to catch what promises to be one of the most brutal death metal shows of the year. With fond memories still lingering from Psycroptic’s recent appearance alongside Cattle Decapitation just a couple of months ago, I can’t wait to catch them again, with the added bonus of some incredible support acts, one of which hailing all the way from the USA – Massachusetts metal lords Revocation.
As the night begins, I walk into a nicely packed Crowbar for Brisbane heavy favourites, Amicable Treason. These guys have been making some serious waves in the Brisbane metal scene, supporting Cattle Decapitation and Psycroptic on their recent The Australian Extinction tour, which saw them perform to their largest crowd to date. The band is tight and energetic and despite their best efforts, punters were well into the swing of this quintet by the end of their set. Blending brutal death metal and classic heavy metal licks with particularly varied vocals and fluid guitars, they have a cohesive and memorable sound, easy for any fan of Revocation to fall in love with, albeit resting somewhere on the lighter end of the spectrum. Front man Hamish McSorley is a fairly recent addition to the band, also of Chronolyth fame. He is a fierce front man and this is more than just a show – it’s a conversation with the audience, and I’m certain a large portion of the attendees here tonight will leave the building Amicable Treason fans.
Second up are Eternal Rest. This band also appeared on the recent Brisbane leg of the Cattle Decapitation tour in February, and tonight they are in fine form. A brooding, eerie and low frequency-heavy intro opens their set to a scarce crowd, at least at first. You can tell Eternal Rest are working very hard to grab the attention of the audience, and that is perhaps what makes them come across a little over-exuberant. That said, their tunes are seriously heavy, with a tinge of straight-up, old school death metal with chugging riffs, dizzyingly fast and complex drums and a powerhouse vocalist that is every bit the showman a band like this deserves. Shanon Davern seems almost possessed by the music and his presence is quite powerful and compelling. The overall sound is all-consumingly heavy and at the end of their set one feels the need for a break – a clear sign there is some serious metal magic in the mix. The Crowbar quite suits their vibe and the intimacy of a show this size seems to work in the band’s favour as the front of stage is tightly packed by the time they finish. The end of every track was met with loud cheers which were exceedingly getting louder during this 30-minute sonic onslaught, and with the increase of the reaction, the band’s confidence grew and they steadily powered on and ultimately, held their own. Fans of Psycroptic, this is a band you need to look into.
It’s time for Boston metallers Revocation to take the stage, and punters shift to the front in a devil-horn yielding human mass. The band bursts into their set with grit and boundless energy they retain throughout the show. This is a band with almost two decades of music and touring behind them, and it really shows – Revocation make their brand of technical death metal look deceivingly easy to perform, as they approach every song with the relaxed demeanour of experienced professionals, only gained over years of relentless work. There is an authority to them that is both intimidating and approachable, making them a great discovery for anyone here who might be unfamiliar with their work. The mosh pit is a constant during this set, and even the cross-armed critics at the back of the venue can’t help but move along to this foursome’s infectious riffs and gruelling rhythm section. I am a little disappointed the turnout is less than ideal as the Crowbar is way too easy to move around, but the people who are here, some 200 plus, are rowdy, loud and the energy bouncing between the stage and the rest of the room is intense. There is an exchange of pure joy and love of music between the band and the crowd that makes one leave this set inspired and feeling like they took part in something truly unforgettable. As front man David Davidson announced there was time for only one more song, it became clear that no one here wanted Revocation to leave the stage. A superb performance by a band I hope to see on Australian soil again in the near future, and luckily for me and everyone else here tonight, Revocation have confirmed that their seventh studio album is on the way, so here’s hoping they return here shortly.
As the headlining set approaches, the excitement is so apparent, the air is almost thick with tension and the mood shifts significantly. Its obvious Crowbar is about to welcome death metal royalty onto its cosy stage, and Psycroptic unleash hell on us for the next hour. A behemoth in their own right, this band is astoundingly powerful and in full control of every mind and body in the room. Vocalist Jason Peppiatt has the rare ability of maintaining his distorted vocals clear, cutting and powerful for the duration of the show, while remaining in constant motion without a single second of respite. Fan favourite The World Discarded starts an all-encompassing mosh pit from which the crowd never truly recovers, and the night continues to get rowdier and louder. Watching Psycroptic here tonight, I can’t help but think that this sound and performance belong on the festival stages of Europe and the larger capacity venues of Australia. This is a world class act and it feels like quite the privilege to catch them in a smaller venue such as this. The pure love and enjoyment these guys draw from just playing their music is what proves time and time again that they are in possession of that special something that’s so often missing when it comes to live performances. Every single band member puts on a show in their corner of the stage and they give 110% from start to finish. There is a real connection between Psycroptic and their fans and that is exactly why they need no introduction.
Photos by BRANDON SHIELDS