Review By Nikki Eenink
It was Thursday night but there was still a close to a capacity crowd at Liberty Hall in Moore Park, Sydney. Not bad for a “school night”.
Liberty Hall has gone through several name changes and incarnations over the past decade, it's been quite some time since I ventured to this part of Sydney, so I am pleasantly surprised to find that there’s now a cool adjoining pub that has a nice selection of burgers and fries and has Newtowner on tap, so bro and I are set for a quick feed and a beer or two before the show and after our long drive down to the “big smoke”. We enter the venue and everything has big, easy to see signage. Toilets, Bar and Merch. Bro and I head straight to the merch line and then find a good spot on the floor near the stage to watch the bands. It’s an all ages show tonight so the punters include mum, dad, the kids and everything in-between.
At 7.30pm there was a sense of excitement in the air as the first cab off the rank was local support band, Harroway, a metalcore quintet of Sydneysiders, who took the stage.
Harroway warmed the crowd up with a handful of solid ‘core tracks, including current single, Parasite. Lead vocalist, Matt Banks did a great job of getting the audience involved and gee’d up for the next band on the evenings trio of metal.
Next up were Texan metalcore heavyweights, Invent Animate.
Invent Animate released a killer new album, Heavener, in March 2023 and finally made their first trip to Australia.
Everyone is finally inside the venue and energised for the show. You could feel that this audience came to participate, so after a quick stage change over, Invent Animate made their Sydney debut, opening with the in your face, Shade Astray then a blistering set of Heavener bangers followed with False Meridian, Labyrinthine, Absence Persistence, Elysium, then finally my favourite, Without A Whisper and rounded the set out with Immolation of Night. Every member of the band was wearing all-white outfits, even the lighting effects were lighter and brighter - it was refreshing visually.
Lead vocalist, Marcus Vik interacted with the crowd between songs, and encouraged, in fact, practically demanded jumping, moshing and crowd surfing. He asked if the audience had heard of Invent Animate, to which the audience responded with a resounding “yes” and enthusiastic applause. The crowd sang along loudly and circle-moshed. A handful of people crowd surfed, no need to ask this crowd twice, this is what they came for. The set ended sooner than we all wanted but the crowd remained excited as we awaited the main act, We Came As Romans.
It’s been almost 8 years since we've seen Michigan-based metalcore/hardcore outfit, We Came As Romans. A lot has happened during that absence. Aside from the pandemic that shut down touring for 2 years, We Came As Romans suffered a great personal loss with the sudden death of much loved keyboardist, Kyle Pavone in 2018. Even after this great sadness, WCAR chose to push forward and in 2022 they released a total banger of an album with Darkbloom.
At 9.15pm, the stage lights dimmed, Mr Brightside by The Killers played through the speakers while everyone sang along, then the lights came up as the band entered the stage to thunderous cheers and applause. We hadn't seen WCAR since 2015 so the audience was beyond thrilled to finally see them return to a Sydney stage. The set opened with the title track and single, Darkbloom and from the opening notes, the room was electric with anticipation. Vocalist David Stephens sang, “ I won’t pretend that I can see the end, the light may fade, but I won’t wither away, ohhhhh, I won’t wither away, ohhhhh, I won’t wither away…..” then the AI voice announces, “I am Darkbloom” … and with that the band and audience exploded into movement, jumping and dancing. The crowd was headbanging and moshing, singing loudly, I looked to the left of me and there was a young boy with his mother. He was maybe 10 years old and he knew every word and sang loudly with such enthusiasm. It warmed my cold dead heart to see the younger generations loving metal music with such passion. At the end of the song, Stephens stopped to greet the audience and said, “it's so great to be in a country when I can say the word c*nt. If I did that in the States I’d be cancelled” the audience responded with cheers and the band started playing Doublespeak.
Next they played Wasted Age. Several members of the band assisted Stephens as he divided the audience on the floor area in half before unleashing the “wall of death” as they play Cold Like War from the 2017 album of the same name. Then it was back to the Darkbloom album’s second track, Plagued. Stephens stoped to converse with the audience again, saying that the next song was Kyle's favourite and dedicated the song to him, the band played Tracing Back Roots, followed up with The Anchor, when David stopped to talk with the audience this time, the mosh pit gets down on the floor and rows together and as the band played Lost In The Moment, from Cold Like War, the moshpit became a juggernaut of circular, swirling movement. During Cold Like War’s Learning To Survive, Stephens jumped down from the stage into the crowd, who held him up as he sang, then surfed back up onto the stage. At the end of the song, Stephens talked about how he wanted to do a “shoe-y”. The audience cheered him on and chanted “shoey shoey shoey”, Bassist, Andy Glass agreed to do it as well, and both band members proceeded to drink beer from Stephens’ sneaker. It’s gross, its an Aussie tradition and the audience loved it. Then it was time to play the Darkbloom song, Golden, at the end of the song, Stephens calls an audience member to join him up on the stage. He informed the room that this lady had supported the band from the start, had travelled all around Australia and even the world to attend their concerts, then a crew member brought out a broken guitar that the band had signed and Stephens presented it to her as a thank you gift. Everyone cheered and they played Hope from the 2013 album, Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be and finished the set off with another Darkbloom track, Daggers. The band thanked everyone and left the stage for a couple of minutes while the audience cheered loudly and yelled out for “one more song”. The chanting brought the band back and they returned to the stage and performed one final song from Darkbloom, Black Hole, then as they left the stage once again with thanks and waves, tossing out some guitar picks and handing out setlists to the hungry hands of fans up near the front of the stage. The lights came up as the house PA played the Thirty Seconds To Mars hit, The Kill. Phew! What a night!
Each band brought so much positive energy to the evening. The setlists were filled with bangers. They each entertained the crowd who were hyped for a great evening of moshing, headbanging, crowd surfing, and singing along loudly, all of which were done with respectful, animated enthusiasm. The atmosphere was electric for a much-loved band's long awaited return. The venue was clean and the staff were friendly and accommodating. I honestly can't find a negative thing to say about the concert. From go to whoa, my expectations were exceeded. If you haven’t checked out Invent Animate yet, then put that on your To-Do List. We Came As Romans were incredible, putting on a highly entertaining, energetic performance with a set list that included new and past faves. I couldn’t recommend this tour more highly. For remaining dates and further details, check the Destroy All Lines webpage.