As the dust is still settling from Good Things Festival, there are a handful of bands remaining in Australia for side shows. Tonight, I return to Moore Park, although not the parklands but to Liberty Hall for a headline performance by Slaughter to Prevail. The Russian deathcore act was a notable highlight for many at the festival over the weekend, and we are lucky to see them for a full set, this time out of the sun.
Adjacent to the venue, Mary’s serves as a prelude, spinning tracks from bands like Parkway Drive, Make Them Suffer, Spiritbox, and, of course, tonight’s headliners. With no prior announcement of set times, the crowd gathers early, forming a serpentine line that winds its way around the venue, past the basketball courts, and down the road at Fox Studios. With no support, the main event arrives right on 9pm with New Orders Confusion remix (famously associated with the blood rave scene from the film Blade) fills the packed room making the metal heads dance.
The set kicks off with the relentless Bonebreaker, immediately signalling that Slaughter to Prevail is here to deliver an unapologetically heavy night. The crowd responds with a surge of energy as bodies collide in the mosh pit, embracing the controlled chaos that characterizes the deathcore scene. The intensity only escalates with each subsequent track, including the bone-chilling Agony and Bratva which begins with an enormous wall of death as those from the safety of the balcony above cheer on.
Zavali Ebalo and Viking showcase the band’s versatility, seamlessly blending guttural vocals with intricate guitar work and thunderous percussion as we all again hold our breath to hear vocalist Alex Terrible perform the alligator growl. The band take a moment to introduce themselves, all but one member (British guitarist Jack Simmons) hailing from Russia. After many thank you’s for allowing them to travel the world and play their music, we are treated to Made in Russia, of their 2019 album Kostolom.
As the set progresses, Slaughter to Prevail continues to unleash their hits and frontman Alex Terrible is all smiles despite the demon vocals throughout his songs. Before they kick off, I Killed a Man Terrible says the band have never done this before, while it is semi common in the heavy music scene, he would like Sydney to be his first, requesting the entire venue to sit down on the floor. We all know this is a ‘Jump the F*ck Up’ made famous by Slipknot in live renditions of Spit it Out. As I join the venue crouching down, we are all smiles as we hold onto one another from falling over and laughing about our aching knees, though once the music hits we jump to the skies! A highlight of their set for many is the ominous Baba Yaga, creating an atmosphere that mirrors the dark folklore from which the song takes its name. The venue pulsates with energy as the band unleashes their signature track Demolisher, prompting a collective eruption from the crowd.
For the encore, the band returns to the stage with unwavering intensity, each member wearing the ‘Kid of Darkness’ masks, delivering a final blow with Hell. The crowd, now a sea of sweat and exhilaration, savours every moment, knowing that this night marks a historic chapter in Slaughter to Prevail.
We all pour over to the water station and notice the walls of the venue dripping with condensation. In their Australian debut, Slaughter to Prevail has not only conquered the stage but has left a lasting mark on the hearts of their fans, no doubt gaining a fair few after this week! The performance is a testament to the band’s ability to translate their raw, unbridled energy from the festival grounds to a headline show, solidifying their status as a force to be reckoned with in the world of deathcore. As the final notes fade away, Liberty Hall stands as a battleground, bearing witness to the assault that was Slaughter to Prevail’s inaugural Sydney headline performance.