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[Review] Mudvayne @ Hordern Pavillion, Sydney 16/02/2024

After 18 long years between Australian tours, a 12 year hiatus and no new music since 2009 you cannot tell a single person in this venue that the masters of math metal, Mudvayne, are no longer relevant. With the loco ones, Coal Chamber in tow this is a neat little package of nu metal goodness we could only dream of.

After a sold out kick off in Brisbane two nights ago, tonight’s performance in Sydney takes place at the Hordern Pavilion. A line begins to build early, as bars nearby overflow with friends recounting memories of seeing these bands countless years ago. Many old school band shirts came out of the back of the drawer as I spot shirts from Mudvayne tours of the past. Most no longer black, fading to the lighter shade of grey, still adorned proudly.

Before we knew it the lights dimmed, Coal Chambers neon colourful lights shone menacingly around their amps as Mr Sandman plays over the PA, turning into the Halloween theme when the band enters the stage.

From the first note we are treated to a meticulously selected set list from their near 30 year catalogue.

Who ever decided on opening with Loco into Fiend into Big Truck obviously knows what fans want. Each track going harder, louder and more energetic.

We were last treated to fresh Coal Chamber in 2015, the stand out track being IOU Nothing which goes down very well with the crowd mostly here for the early 00s hits.

Dez Fafara proved yet again that he is a in a class of his own, he commands the stage while connecting with the crowd often.

The energy remains strong throughout their set, packed to the brim with hits such as Rowboat, Dark Days and Something Told Me. Drummer Mikey propped up moving like a wind up animal, is difficult to take your eyes off.

The energy reached its peak as Dez asks the crowd to sing along, ‘the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire’ with him. Beckoning in the staple Coal Chamber hit, Sway.

Luckily tonight we had an hour set from Coal Chamber, treated to 14 songs. This paring proved to be perfect, as the nostalgic moments have only begun.

The half an hour between sets, much shorter than anticipated as every turn had an old friend saying hello, still in disbelief that this tour is a reality.

We weren’t sure if Mudvayne would ever reunite, little alone tour Australia, and with Coal Chamber!

Mudvayne come running out of the gate right on 9.30 opening their time with Not Falling. As vocalist Chad Gray kicks things off with his iconic scream, bass player Ryan Martinie takes a tumble. We hope he wasn’t injured! It does not stop him from giving 100% for the rest of the show.

If you asked most Mudvayne fan their seminal album, you’ll more than likely get the answer of 2001’s LD50. It was an incredibly important album of its time and influentials and plethora of bands.

For the next few songs, fans of LD50 were beyond ecstatic with Internal Primates Forever, -1, Severed and Death Blooms were all met with monstrous screams.

Mudvayne have been this reviewers favourite band for more than half her life, hearing these songs tonight is truly special and hearing ones almost 25 years old is a treat!

Chad takes centre stage and asks the crowd to light up the venue for World so Cold. A beautiful song, despite his demonic stage make up! A few tears were shed by myself and those around me during this song.

The New Game was a favourite amongst fans as it was the first Mudvayne album released after the formation of HellYeah, in which both Chad and Greg were part of.

Title track, Fish out of Water and Dull Boy had many singing along although the energy in the room sky rocketed from the first note of Under My Skin from LD50, as we all jump to the sky like we are 18 again.

A glaringly obvious favourite for many came in the form of Nothing to Gein, an iconic track from Mudvaynes history detailing some horrific moments of serial killer Ed Gein.

Towards the end of the song, Chad crouches down at the front of the stage on his riser with minimal music as he shakes, rocks and screams ‘soiled dirty boy’ over and over before the band join back in louder again until Chad is screaming at the top of his lungs and drummer Matt McDonough couldn’t possibly hit those skins any harder. The emotion portrayed by Chad Gray on stage is unlike any other artist. He leaves every last ounce on stage, and gives his heavy metal family all he can.

Mudvayne are no longer the band to make their crowd wait for encores, there are only two more questions left for the evening.

The first, ‘are you happy?’ To summon in the chart topper Happy? from 2005’s Lost and Found. Many friends throw their arms around one another as they sing the chorus loud! Guitarist Greg Tribbett looms over with his red and black spiked hair and matching make up, remaining still, staring into the crowd although with black goggles you can’t quite make out where he is looking. This may make it even scarier!!

The final track can only be one, and this is where the second and final question remains. Chad waltzes over to the right side of the venue and asks the crowd if they can dig it, doing the same to the left before asking everyone ‘can you dig it’?

My smile reaches my ears (or so it feels) hearing the crowd sing Dig as loud as they possibly can until the final note.

Although it is abundantly clear the show is over, it doesn’t stop the ‘one more song’ or ‘10 more songs’ chants at different points of the venue, all joining into one.

As an avid music fan we all have a few stand out concerts in your life time, tonight will go down as a moment I’ll never forget. Coal Chamber were the perfect addition to this tour and made many happy tonight, with their powerful performance and astounding set list.

Though the headliners left their mark on each person in attendance tonight. Mudvayne have not toured here since 2006, tonight had been a long time coming. All in attendance made sure to embrace every moment and even selling out the merch table! Monitor and sound issues may have dampened a few moments but the band members never let that get in their way of delivering a spellbinding performances

This may very well be the last time we ever see Mudvayne in Australia, and as the only country outside of North America who has seen this reunited Mudvayne for that we are truly lucky.

Thank you to the team at Phoenix for making this tour a reality, I thought it would remain in my dreams.

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[Review] Royal Blood @ Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 13/12/2023

The Hordern Pavilion transformed into a rock playground on Wednesday night as Royal Blood, the notorious UK rock duo, graced the stage in support of their latest album, Back to the Water Below. Along for the ride were local acts Psychedelic Porn Crumpets and The Buoys, as supports for the entire Australian run. It’s been a long 5 years since their last headline run in Australia, and releasing two new #1 albums in their absence, fans are chomping at the bit to see them once more.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, hailing from Perth, took the night up a notch. As the second support act, sthey brought their unique brand of heavy drums and intense rhythms to the stage. Their setlist, featuring tracks like Tally-Ho, MundungusNootmare (K-I-L-L-I-n-G) Meow!, and Hymn for a Droid, showcased their ability to seamlessly blend heavy and (dare I say) psychedelic elements, the perfect addition to the evening by complimenting the headliners. There is no doubt that they gained many new fans tonight.

Before the show, the audience was treated to a prelude of Rage Against the Machine, Queens of the Stone Age, and Arctic Monkeys, over the venue PA – they sure know their clientele tonight!

As the lights dimmed, Prodigy’s Firestarter signalled the arrival of tonight’s headliners. Purple hues bathed the stage as Royal Blood emerged, front man Mike Kerr sporting sunglasses, and drummer Ben Thatcher, true to form, donning his signature hat. The set kicked off with Out of the Black instantly lighting up the crowd. From the first chorus you can hear the venue singing over the band, and this doesn’t stop for the remainder of the evening. As the first song is wrapping up Thatcher jumps down from his drum kit and motions for the crowd to split in two. He then hops down into the masses and joined his fans, snapping photos.

A brief hello led straight into an enormous set featuring hits like Come on Over, Boilermaker, Typhoons and Lights Out, each met with a louder roar from punters. During moments of banter between Kerr and fans, he says ‘a lot has changed in the years we haven’t been here but one that remains the same are the shoey chants.’ As he has newfound sobriety, he asks for a volunteer from the mosh pit to do one for him as he plays us the next track. One of the highlights of the night was Little Monster, which was met with howls from the crowd so loud that Kerr steps away from the microphone to the front of the stage to allow us to sing.

In a 2017 interview with The AU Review, both members expressed their hatred of encores, Mike Kerr said ‘we’d rather do our thing and destroy the place, and leave’. Although Royal Blood are now an encore band!  Returning with unexpected twist as they were joined by Chris Young from Psychedelic Porn Crumpets for Waves, from their latest album. A collaborative ballad showcased not only the seamless synergy between the two bands but also the exceptional vocal prowess of Kerr. The evening reached its pinnacle with the chart topper Figure It Out, ending on a truly unforgettable moment as fans dug deep and gave every last ounce of energy.

Royal Blood’s performance tonight, was nothing short of spectacular. The duo demonstrated an unparalleled mastery of their craft only honed by years of dedication and touring. From the power of Troubles Coming and How Did We Get So Dark? to the emotionally charged encore featuring hits like Waves and Ten Tonne Skeleton, the night was proof of their evolution as musicians. The energy, the flawless execution of their extensive setlist, and the unexpected collaboration with Psychedelic Porn Crumpets created an impression that stayed with the audience long after the last note had faded. I lost count of how many times I exclaimed after hearing the first note of the next song, the hits did not stop coming all night. With an absolutely stacked 18 song set list, this was easily the best I have ever seen Royal Blood and it only makes me hungrier to see them again.

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[Review] Slaughter To Prevail @ Liberty Hall, Sydney 5/11/2023

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.

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[Review] Good Things Festival @ Centennial Park, Sydney 03/12/2023

Review By Megan Milner

As the sun-drenched skyline of Sydney welcomes the much-anticipated Good Things Festival, 2023, it is quickly evident that music fanatics from all walks of life have converged upon Centennial Park. Following a wild kick-off in Melbourne yesterday and a sold-out anticipation for tomorrow’s climax in Brisbane, the festival has become a vital bond for fans eager to immerse themselves in an eclectic blend of international and local musical talents. With a lineup that reads like a rock and alternative music lover’s dream, featuring headliners Fall Out Boy, Limp Bizkit, and DEVO, alongside powerhouse acts like Bullet for My Valentine, Corey Taylor, and I Prevail, the air is charged with excitement and the promise of an unforgettable day. As the festival gates swing open, the collective heartbeat of the crowd echoes the anticipation of a day of music that transcends genres and unites enthusiasts under the banner of Good Things.

Although Centennial Park may not be everyone’s preferred festival venue owing to its location and accessibility challenges, there is a distinct advantage that emerges as you make your way in. The unmistakable sound of the main stages, today featuring Enter Shikari’s Sorry You’re Not a Winner, can be heard during your approach. Fortunately, my entrance into the festival proved remarkably straightforward. After a leisurely stroll along the park’s perimeter to the sole entry/exit point, the lines moved swiftly, and the security guards were notably friendly. Describing the sensation upon passing through the festival gates is a task in itself—there’s a deep exhale, a wide smile, and a palpable excitement as you contemplate the day ahead.

One of the bands I am most looking forward to are Russian deathcore goliaths, Slaughter to Prevail. Each band member appears on stage in the iconic ‘Kid of Darkness’ masks, lead singer Alex Terrible in gold and the band in silver. Opening their set with Bonebreaker the crowd kick into to mosh mode and it doesn’t slow for the remainder of their set. Alex’s monstrous vocals have been covered many times by online media, though none as much as his alligator growl in their latest single Viking, released in July this year. We all know it’s coming and there was a communal gasp when he did it, followed by loud cheers and headbangs! They take a short breather to thank the crowd for their first trip to Australia, before wrapping up with Demolisher. Sydney has one more chance to see them on Tuesday December 5th at Liberty Hall, before they pop over to Adelaide for their final performance in Australia on December 6th at The Gov. If you missed their festival set, don’t pass up the opportunity to witness Slaughter to Prevail in such a close setting.

Perth’s Make Them Suffer have the difficult task of following Slaughter to Prevails set on the adjoining stage, although Aussies tend to support their own – as the crowd fills quickly. Opening with Ghost of Me, they have the crowd moving before they can even get a drink of water. Their set list was really well crafted and flowed perfectly, their final songs Erase Me and Doomswitch were evidently crowd favourites.

The day and the heat were well underway as I take shelter under the trees for a moment catching up with friends new and old at every turn, because of the very scattered genre line up it really is a reunion of many people not seen in one place often! A few breaths and a cold beer later, its time to head back into the sun and the pit for Brazilian metal legends Sepultura. Derrick Green is an enormous tank of a man who commands the stage from the first note of Isolation, quickly followed by the 1993 classic track Territory. Sepultura have one of the strongest bands in the game with machine gun in human form drummer Eloy Casangrade, bass wizard Paulo Jr and everyones favourite shredder, Andreas Kisser. Their set was a good mix of current days Seps and Cavalera-era tracks including Arise, Ratamahatta and of course closing with Roots Bloody Roots.

Before racing off to see Slipknot front man Corey Taylor on the mainstage, I hear British metalcore act While She Sleeps begin their set, I suddenly feel very torn! Hearing the crowd scream back the intro to Sleep Society I know I have to stay. Lead singer Lawrence ‘Loz’ Taylor is full of energy, not staying still for more than a moment. I was surprised to hear Anti-Social as the second track, and I was not alone as others dance around beside me. The tracks I did hear from While She Sleeps were great, and thankfully they announced they will be returning to Aussie shores next year with new material – I need more!

Time to dash over to the main stage for Corey Taylor. If I hadn’t seen Taylor and co earlier in the week at their Metro Theatre side show, I may have stayed for the remainder of While She Sleeps although I had far too much fun and look forward to seeing them again. I arrive as he is wrapping up his first song Post Traumatic Blues. The setlist unfolded with a mix of Stone Sour and Slipknot hits, including Through the Glass, Tumult, Snuff, and the iconic Duality where a man in a Corey mask headbanged beside me. Taylor surprised and delighted the crowd with unexpected twists, such as a rendition of the SpongeBob SquarePants Theme, a main stay in his solo performances, showcasing his playful side in which he is still flipping of the crowd with a smile on his face. Their set concluded with a heartfelt cover of INXS’s Don’t Change. Corey was in this same park in March for a sold out Knotfest where Slipknot headlined, we are thankful he has returned so soon.

Next up on the main stage to our left are the Welsh metallers, Bullet for My Valentine, who were long overdue for a visit, last appearing at the very first Good Things Festival in 2018. The crowd had significantly swelled, and security guards had their hands full as crowd surfers and moshers flooded in during Your Betrayal. The setlist was stacked with hits, featuring favourites like 4 Words to Choke Upon and Scream Aim Fire. The nostalgic journey reached its peak when the entire crowd joined in to sing their hearts out during All These Things I Hate (Revolve Around Me) and Tears Don’t Fall. Vocalist Matt Tuck wore a continuous smile, expressing gratitude to the enthusiastic crowd and acknowledging that it had been too long since their last visit. He assured everyone that Bullet for My Valentine would be back in 2025, which is already too far away!

You could not have asked for a better band to continue the energy, than I, Prevail. They immediately took command with Bow Down as the energy surged through the crowd setting the tone for a huge performance. The setlist was a rollercoaster of intensity, featuring crowd favourites such as Hurricane, Choke, and the powerful Gasoline. I Prevail’s dynamic stage presence and seamless transitions between heavy hits showcased their mastery of the genre. A standout moment came with their unexpected cover of System of a Down’s Chop Suey injecting yet another momentous amount of energy into the already puffed out crowd.

One of the surprising additions to the line up are American new wave artists from the 70s, DEVO who are currently on their Farewell Tour celebrating 50 years as a band. From the opening notes of Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man) to classics like Whip It and Mongoloid, DEVO’s quirky energy and synchronized movements captivated fans old and new. The setlist, including hits such as Jocko Homo and Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy), had the crowd dancing from start to finish. Good Things organisers tend to throw in a wild card, and it’s safe to say DEVO were it this year!

I quickly ran over to stage 3 to catch Polish extreme metal band Behemoth. From the ominous chants of Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer to the relentless fury of Conquer All, Behemoth’s performance was a primitive journey into the depths of extreme metal. The setlist, featuring intense tracks like Ov Fire and the Void and Bartzabel, showcased the band’s mastery of dark atmospheres and ferocious arrangements. Frontman Nergal’s commanding stage presence and guttural vocals added a menacing layer to the performance, while the crowd was immersed in the occult and apocalyptic themes of Chant for Eschaton 2000. Behemoth’s set was a testament to their status as one of the most influential and uncompromising forces in the extreme metal scene and a great addition to the day.

The sun was setting over Centennial Park and many sunburnt faces finally took a sigh of relief. As the sun descends, it means it is headliner time and it is now time for nu metal master’s Limp Bizkit! Opening with the explosive Break Stuff, the crowd immediately kicked into gear. Hits like Rollin’ and My Way had us all singing along, showcasing the lasting appeal of the band’s anthems. A standout for me was Show Me What You Got from 1999’s Significant Other, quickly showing the old school fans in the crowd rapping every word flawlessly. Guitarist Wes Borland is always a showman with his movements and more so, his outfits. Today is no exception as he dons an ornate mask with teeth hanging from the jaw (originally buffalo teeth but weren’t permitted in the country), and a white suite adorned with flowers and Scandinavian designs. He was first spotted with this new stage outfit in Japan, it’s great to see in person.

The setlist featured a energetic mix of old favourites such as Nookie and My Generation, and their classic cover of George Michael’s Faith. Frontman Fred Durst’s charismatic stage presence and the band’s tight performance was perfection as Sam Rivers, John Otto, DJ Lethal and Wes Borland were back together once more. The set concluded with a powerful reprise of Break Stuff, leaving the audience on an adrenaline high and cementing Limp Bizkit’s status as influential trailblazers in the fusion of rap and rock. This will be an incredibly hard act to follow!

Fall Out Boy are the festival headliners this year and the crowd is packed in tight, ready for the pop rockers. Opening with the infectious energy of The Pink Seashell and transitioning seamlessly into the anthemic The Phoenix, the band set the tone for a night of unbridled enthusiasm. Classics like Sugar, We’re Goin Down had the audience singing in unison, showcasing the popularity of Fall Out Boy’s signature blend of catchy hooks and emotive lyrics. The setlist also featured gems like Love from the Other Side and Uma Thurman, the latter cut short due to an impending storm.

“Please bear with us for a moment. There’s a storm approaching,” bass player Pete Wentz explained amid a chorus of confused boos from the crowd. “We’re informed that we need to pause the show momentarily. We’re hoping to resume real soon. Your patience is appreciated; we’ll be back shortly.”

However, in a matter of moments, at roughly 8:40pm an announcer over the PA system urgently instructed us to evacuate immediately due to the imminent threat of a hailstorm.

“We have a hailstorm approaching with large hailstones and lightning,” the announcer emphasized. “We kindly request an orderly evacuation of the site. Please avoid rushing and move away from the structures for your safety.”

I didn’t hear a confirmed number of fans in attendance today, although I was told it was close to 25,000 of us were all ordered out a single exit with the skies flashing above us. The storm felt imminent as announcers said the festival will resume after the storm, although in a statement posted to the Good Things Festival social media pages after 11pm stated the decision to evacuate was made by police, the State Emergency Service and event organisers.

I was extremely fortunate to see each band I set out for, although I know many weren’t as lucky with the early cancellation of Pvris due to illness and headliners Fall Out Boy cut short. The band posted a statement to social media, promising they would “make it up to” Sydney fans.
“Sydney, we’re bummed that last night’s @GoodThingsFest set got cut short due to the weather. We’re working hard to figure out how to make it up to you, stay tuned. ❤️” – Fall Out Boy

Ultimately, my time at Good Things Festival 2023 was truly fantastic! The short lines at the bars, food stalls, and water stations made the day incredibly smooth, letting me fully immerse myself in the music hassle-free. The diverse lineup featured bands at the top of their game, with Corey Taylor, Bullet for My Valentine, and I Prevail delivering main stage energy performances, alongside the iconic presence of DEVO and the heavy vibes from Behemoth. Thankfully the issues with low sound from last year were rectified and my personal highlights were the nostalgic rap-metal hits of Limp Bizkit and the raw power of Slaughter to Prevail. Good Things Festival, though relatively new since its debut in 2018, (and two years lost to Covid) has become a staple event for alternative music fans, and I’m already looking forward to what 2024 will bring!Top of Form

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[Review] Corey Taylor @ Metro Theatre, Sydney 28.11.2023

As a millennial Metalhead, few artists have been as prominent in my heavy music journey as Corey Taylor. Whether you know him as number eight the masked madman in Slipknot, the charismatic unmasked frontman of Stone Sour, affectionately as ‘The Neck,’ or the constant query in headlines and comment sections – ‘but what does Corey Taylor think?’ – his impact on the music world is undeniable. Tonight, we are lucky to see him stripped back, in an intimate setting performing a little taste of everything he’s ever been a part of ahead of his appearance at Good Things Festival.

Tonight, Taylor is backed by Clay J Gladstone, a regular on Sydney’s local AM//PM club circuit, delivering a punk rock emo fusion. Described on their Triple J Unearthed profile as a must-listen for fans of Violent Soho, The Used, and Stand Atlantic, Clay J Gladstone captivates audiences with their ‘heart on sleeve’ lyrics, emotive earworm bangers, and intense performances. Corey himself, recounting on stage, bestowed significant praise upon Clay J Gladstone, noting that while every potential support band that came his way was rubbish, Clay J had something truly special. You can’t get much more praise than that!

Not the weeknight or the pouring rain outside could dampen the energy of the jam-packed, sold-out show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre tonight. The anticipation is intense as “Corey! Corey!” chants begin before the house music fades away – this crowd is ready, unwilling to wait a second longer.

The band takes the stage first, launching into an auditory onslaught with precision. Mr. Taylor himself bounds on stage shortly after dressed in a suit jacket, kicking off Post Traumatic Blues from his latest solo album, CMF2. All five band members sport smiles by the end of the first song, clearly bewildered by the enthusiastic reception from the Sydney crowd. The time machine then transports us back to 2002 with a Stone Sour deep cut, Tumult. Since the inaugural Good Things Festival in 2018, Australia hasn’t witnessed Stone Sour live, making the revival of these songs nostalgic as many of us thought we wouldn’t hear them again!

While our love for Corey’s bands is undeniable, we are here to see him on his solo run. Strapping on a guitar he kicks off Black Eyes Blue which is such a beautifully crafted song bordering on ballad which had the crowd singing in unison. To everyone’s delight, they pull out a song for the couples (and bromances) in the form of Song #3 by Stone Sour. I wasn’t sure if he was being serious when he asked, ‘I hope you remember this one’. Multiple members of the crowd drape their arms around a loved one and sing it loud! I cannot wipe the smile off my face seeing Corey so comfortable on stage, his smile stretches ear to ear, interacting with his band members who all share the same energy and happiness.

In a brief break to chat with the crowd, Corey teases, saying “before I forget,” prompting a roaring response. Playing along, he asks if he’s missed something, building anticipation. After some playful banter, he declares, Before I Forget as the next song. Having seen Slipknot twice this year at Knotfest in Sydney and Download Festival UK, experiencing Corey sing this iconic track unmasked in an intimate 1,000-pack venue is unbelievably special.

There are few songs that artists turn their nose up at and flip off the crowd but that’s exactly what Corey does before dropping his head and giving into the peer pressure to play the Spongebob Squarepants theme. Quickly shortening the rendition, before asking if he can sing a song he actually enjoys playing, emotions were immediately switched on and turned to tears, to the sounds of the Slipknot heartbreaker Snuff.

The hits keep on coming, such as 30/30-150 and Through the Glass by Stone Sour, Midnight and Beyond from his solo work, it’s incredible that each projects songs are easily distinguishable. Usually when you have the same vocalist, they can be similar in style, although each are expertly crafted offering something different. The onstage chemistry between Corey and guitarist Christian Martucci is mesmerizing. Christian, who permanently joined Stone Sour in 2014 as Jim Root’s replacement, exhibits a seasoned partnership with Corey matching energy, bouncing off each other all night, Taylor even changes lyrics to praise his buddy.

After a brief intermission, the band returns for the encore. The unmistakable riff of Duality by Slipknot fills the room, as the venue begins to shake. Despite having just four members on stage, their performance echoes the intensity of the full nine (minus the keg). The night concludes on a high note with a cover of INXS’s Don’t Change, a choice Corey hopes won’t be considered meandering, expressing his love for the Australian band.

The sweaty, happy crowd pour out of the venue all raving on about a different part of the set which was their personal highlight. Collectively we know we witnessed something special tonight, treated to almost flawless renditions of songs we’ve cherished for over two decades. Corey was incredibly heartfelt with his thankyous, telling us that the reception he continues to receive is the reason why we are one of his favourite destinations on earth to tour.

Tonight’s performance was the first of 4 in Australia and if you are heading to Good Things over the weekend, catching Corey Taylor and co is a MUST. You will not be disappointed! I will be speaking about this show for a very long time.

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[Review] Avatar @ Metro Theatre, Sydney 26/08/2023

Review By Megan Milner

The enigmatic carnival of chaos known as Avatar has finally graced Australian shores, for the very first time. With a string of three exhilarating performances down the east coast, Melbourne had the privilege of being the inaugural stop on this wild journey. However, tonight, it’s Sydney’s turn to step into the mesmerizing circus. My introduction to Avatar was back in 2016 when I embarked on a heavy metal cruise called Shiprocked, a five-day odyssey from Miami to Mexico. It was within those tempestuous waves of music that I first encountered and fell head over heels for Avatar. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness their captivating stage presence on four separate occasions, spanning across international stages, including this year’s Download Festival UK. The culmination of this journey finds me here tonight, as I stand on the brink of experiencing the band’s full headline set on home soil—a dream I’ve wished since that initial encounter seven years ago. Thanks to the incredible team at Phoenix, my long-awaited wish has been granted.

The night kicked off with anticipation and excitement, as fans eagerly awaited the spectacle that was about to unfold. After a late change in the lineup due to an unfortunate injury, Pyrefly took the stage, setting the tone for the night with their energetic and powerful performance. In the brief span of their 30-minute time slot, this group managed to forge a passionate fanbase among those who might not have previously encountered their music. Lead vocalist and charismatic frontman KJ even fearlessly ventured into the midst of the audience midway through their set, seamlessly becoming one with the crowd. Despite the absence of Our Last Enemy, the crowd’s spirits remained high, ready to embrace the main act. 

Avatar’s reputation preceded them as a band that’s crisscrossed the globe, appearing on the largest international music festival stages, leaving a trail of mesmerized fans in their wake. As the lights dimmed, a deafening roar erupted from the crowd, signalling the beginning of an unforgettable night. The two guitarists Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby, Tim Öhrström and bass player Henrik Sandelin strode onto the stage, commanding attention standing completely still with their hands behind their backs facing the crowd, soon joined by drummer John Alfredsson who distributed their instruments via a masked roadie. 

The concert took off with explosive energy as Avatar launched into Dance Devil Dance and The Eagle Has Landed. A standout of the set for me personally was Bloody Angel from their 2104 masterpiece Hail The Apocalypse. During each song, the four members in front of the drum rise were windmilling with their luscious locks, my neck already in agony after a few songs. I really need to find out the Avatar trick, to doing this night after night! Johannes, the mesmerizing vocalist and ringmaster extraordinaire initiated the evening by establishing an unusual but alluring connection with the audience—consent. It was an unexpectedly enthralling way to kick off the night, a precursor to the eccentric yet electrifying journey that awaited us. 

Johannes left the stage during Puppet Show, only to reappear on the balcony to the left of the mosh pit, entertaining the crowd with balloon animals and a larger-than-life gold trombone performance. The band’s showmanship was nothing short of extraordinary, seamlessly blending music and theatrics. Even with the humorous interludes, Avatar’s musical prowess remained undeniable. The guitarists, Tim and Kungen, engaged in a riveting riff battle that left the audience in awe. Their performance showcased their talents as much as their camaraderie. 

Most metal drummers are hidden with cymbals and dark lighting from beyond. Although this is not the case for Alfredsson as from the very beginning of the night, when he handed out the instruments, he was as much a part of the carnival of madness as those up front. He towers above his kit, eyes wide and staring down the members of the crowd. His still body contrasted magnificently with the frenetic movement of his arms as they navigated the drum kit. 

Colossus turned the tables, with the band freezing in place while the crowd watched in anticipation. The interplay between the performers and the audience created a dynamic and immersive experience, making everyone an integral part of the show. Moments of respite arrived as Johannes took to the piano for Tower, connecting with the audience on a more intimate level and offering a temporary reprieve from the electrifying chaos. He called us family and thanked each one of us from his soul, and we all felt the sincerity. 

Avatar’s latest single, The Dirt in Buried In, already a fan favourite, was met with thunderous cheers. It was later announced Avatar have gained their very first Billboard number 1 with the song in America, congratulations! The setlist skillfully balanced heavy, melodic tunes, showcasing the band’s versatility and dynamic range. 

The concert culminated in a breathtaking crescendo with Hail the Apocalypse and Smells Like a Freak Show. These final two songs encapsulated the essence of Avatar’s music—powerful, heavy, melodic, and anthemic. The synergy between the band and the audience reached its zenith as everyone sang along, forming a harmonious union of sound and emotion. 

As the final notes reverberated through the venue, a palpable sense of fulfillment hung in the air. Avatar had delivered a flawless performance, leaving the audience happy yet yearning for more. The setlist was meticulously curated, a whopping 17 songs, the interaction with the crowd was unparalleled, and the band’s musical prowess and theatrics were on full display. 

Leaving the concert venue, I couldn’t help but feel that something special had transpired. Avatar had not only brought their music to Sydney but had also forged a profound connection with the Australian audience. The hope for a lasting and beautiful relationship between Avatar and Australia seemed not only plausible but inevitable. Avatar’s enchanting performance defied genre stereotypes, inviting everyone to join their captivating circus. It was more than a concert; it was an unforgettable experience that left a lasting imprint, beckoning us to return to the madness, again and again.

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[Review] Void Of Vision @ Factory Theatre, Sydney 13/08/2023

Review By Megan Milner

It was a night of international mayhem as Thailand’s very own ANNALYNN, the US powerhouses Varials, and Like Moths to Flames joined forces to set the stage ablaze but it was the Australian metalcore titans, Void of Vision, who truly stole the show. After back-to-back sold out shows in Brisbane and Newcastle, the spotlight is on Sydney’s Factory Theatre where the frenzy continues. 

ANNALYNN’s debut Australian tour kicked off with an exciting start, drawing in a crowd eager to catch their set as the opening act of the night. They wasted no time diving headfirst into a high-energy set that had the venue buzzing. A particularly memorable moment saw one of the guitarists jumping in the middle of the mosh pit, kicking the air while delivering a chunky riff! What struck a chord beyond the music was the genuine kindness and gratitude each band member radiated in response to the warm reception from the Sydney crowd. This connection between performers and fans added an extra layer of magic to the night, setting the stage for a hell of a night. 

Varials shattered the silence with heavy vocals that felt like a punch to the gut. The bass in their breakdowns hit so hard, you’d think they were trying to rearrange your internal organs. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, these guys brought the melodic heavy vibes that made you want to throw down. The frontman was a whirlwind, engaging the crowd with infectious energy. Choreographed guitar swings during breakdowns left the audience spellbound, and the closing anthem Stigmata, with its battle cry of “This is a holy war, death to all who fail” was a fitting finale. What truly set them apart was the constant dynamic movement of each band member, a visual treat that matched the auditory onslaught. After the show I learnt their original vocalist, Mitch was involved in quite a serious van crash returning home after a show and was on doctor ordered rest. We wish him a very speedy recovery!  

Then, Ohio’s Like Moths to Flames grabbed the baton and ran with it. The crowd packed in tighter, fuelling the energy as livewire lead singer Chris Roetter moved like he was born on the stage, commanding attention with every move. The backup vocalist, belted out cleans that could rival anyone’s, adding a new layer of intensity. With piercing eye contact and demanding interaction, the crowd did not stand still for their entire set. The lighting might’ve been a bit flat, but the performance was anything but. As their set came to a close with Bury Your Pain it was evident that every band on the bill was elevating their game, leaving us eagerly awaiting what the headliner had in store. 

It was time to brace ourselves for the Aussie ambush, Void of Vision! As they took the stage, the lead singer Jack Bergin sports a spiked balaclava that hinted at the madness to come. The Factory Theatre, the very same venue where I had witnessed Bad Omens’ first-ever headline show in Sydney earlier this year, was now the stage for yet another unforgettable show. The memory of that night, cut short by lead singer Noah Sebastian’s vocal troubles, lingered in my mind as I watched Void of Vision’s lead singer, adorned in a similar mask, command the stage with unstoppable force. 

With tracks like BERGHAIN, they sent us spiralling into a sonic vortex, balancing raw heaviness with melodic finesse. DOMINATRIX came to life, and the energy was off the charts, their choruses were like anthems, by the leather-and-chains-clad band, a sight far from your stereotypical metalcore scene. The drummer showed off with stick-spinning tricks, he may not have been up front with the guitarists and vocalists, but he was showing us he could move just as much and add to the visual element. Their foray into a heavy dance beat, ASMR transformed the atmosphere, showcasing the band’s versatility. HELL HELL HELL and the entrancing GOTHIKA REMIX shook the venue, a testament to their mastery of diverse genres. 

INTO THE DARK emerged as a standout track of the night and an undeniable favourite for many, myself included. The energy was electric, with every soul in the crowd seemingly knowing the lyrics by heart. The chorus ignited a unity of jumping that reverberated through the floor, creating a palpable connection between the band and their dedicated fans. As ALTER and THE LONELY PEOPLE made their appearance, there was a subtle sense that the set was winding down. But just when you thought it was over, Bergin made a triumphant return to the stage with a guitar in hand, signalling the beginning of Angel of Darkness

In the end, this concert was a metalcore lover’s dream, and the resilient Sydney crowd who braved the weather were rewarded with an unforgettable night of musical brilliance. The grins were as wide as the mosh pits, and it was clear that new favourite bands had been discovered. The sea of newly adorned merch was a testament to the connection forged between artists and their fans. As the echoes of the night’s performance lingered, one thing was certain: this wasn’t just a concert; it was an immersive experience that left a lasting mark on everyone fortunate enough to be part of it.  

 

You can still catch Void of Vision at the following dates: 

AUG 16TH • THE BASEMENT, CANBERRA
AUG 18TH • 170 RUSSELL, MELKBOURNE
AUG 19TH • LION ARTS FACTORY, ADELAIDE
AUG 20TH • MAGNET HOUSE, PERTH

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[Review] Bad Omens @ Factory Theatre, Sydney 22/03/2023

Review by Megan Milner

Undoubtedly one of the most highly anticipated acts on the Knotfest line up, are American metal band Bad Omens. Hot off the back of a sold out US run, they’ve stopped in early for 2 side shows – mere days ahead of their festival appearance. Last night in Brisbane at the Triffid and tonight at the Factory Theatre in Sydney, will be celebrated as the first every Australian shows for the four piece. Both Brisbane and Sydney performances sold out in less than a minute, leaving many begging for tickets up until show day.  

A last minute addition see’s melodic hardcore band, Bloom kick off the night to a sold out crowd. The Sydney boys played their hearts out, lifting the energy early on, creating many new fans. The line for Bad Omens merch snaked back to the entrance, luckily for those patience folks they had a great show to watch! Each member of Bloom was gracious and spoke of being very fortunate for the opportunity to share the stage with tonight’s headliner. Closing out their set with Cold; dedicated to anyone who knew the band before tonight.  

The energy in the room is electric and tense, each one of the sold out crowd eagerly awaiting the band we all came to see. Bad Omens trajectory in the last couple of years is undeniable. While they may have been an established act, the release of their 2022 album The Death of Peace of Mind saw their popularity sky rocket to unimaginable heights. Minutes before their scheduled 9pm arrival, the lights dim and pre recorded audio fills the room. Lead singer Noah Sebastian appears on stage dressed in a trenchcoat and gloves, wasting no time starting Concrete Jungle, with drummer Nick Folio.  

The volume of the mostly female crowd is immense, we have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of Bad Omens to Australia and we finally have our moment. The stage lights lower again, Noah leading the band back to the stage in a balaclava for Artificial Suicide. It’s one of their heavier songs and one I absolutely adore. Headbangers fill the floor and the pit starts early, packed in nice and tight. Guitarist Joakim Karlsson and bass player Nicholas Ruffilo tower over the crowd on either side of the stage. Their long hair and axes in hand create a menacing image! 

Nowhere to Go gives the crowd a chance to open up those vocal chords and sing along. With a huge chorus, this has been a fan favourite since release and one of their top streamed songs. After three tracks all from their latest album they take a break to speak with the crowd, appreciating each person in attendance for their first Sydney show ever. Noah explains their next track, Glass Houses is the very first they ever released, the crowd sung in unison right to the end. 

The breaks between songs seem to grow longer and longer, while the fans try to fill the silence with chants for the band, and of course, for shoeys. 

The Grey begins acapella, as I look around the room to see multiple fans pouring their hearts into the lyrics, ‘gave you way too many chances, you ran through ‘em all’. 

After yet another long break with no stage lights, Noah walks to the centre of the stage to apologise. He’s experiencing vocal issues and is concerned he won’t be able to perform the show we all came to see. It comes as a real surprise, as he has been sounding fantastic from the first note. ‘We are going to try do one more song and go from there’, Noah reluctantly confesses. As the band throw themselves into Mercy, the energy has altered on stage and in the crowd. Less punters are moving, you can almost see them holding their breath, hoping for the best while Noah has clear signs of frustration. The band get through the song before disappearing once more. 

This time the break is longer than previous, the chants dissipate and our concern grows. The house lights come on as Noah returns to the stage once more to explain that they are here for Knotfest and believes if he continues tonight, he will damage his voice to the point that he may not be able to perform at the festival. Concern for his voice aside, he announces he will play the track ‘most of you came to hear’, Dethrone. The crowd roars, but a few are confused as it is their heaviest track and will not do any favours to a strained voice.  

Regardless, he kicks off Dethrone with the ‘CONCRETE! JUNGLE!’ mantra and makes it through the track before departing the stage. The band delay leaving to hand out guitar picks, setlists, drum sticks and shake as many hands as possible.  

Nobody expected tonight to turn out the way it did. Mixed feelings can be found at the Factory Theatre's bar, including regret over just witnessing 8 songs and an understanding, sympathetic heart for Noah's voice, fortunate for seeing the songs we did get. We definitely anticipated a lengthier show tonight from Bad Omens after waiting so long, especially since all three Knotfests only allowed for half-hour sets at a midday time slot. 

We wish Noah all the best back to recovery and hope he can get up on stage at Knotfest for all 3 performances! 

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[Review] Sacred Reich / Vio-Lence @ Manning Bar, Sydney 08/03/2023

I stand tonight in the heart of many happy metalheads. After multiple cancellations, delays, and pandemics; we blew the dust that had settled upon our tickets from 2019 for the Aussie Thrash Fest has arrived. Sydney is the second stop on the tour, which began in our nation’s capital. Before the grand finale in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide will also be decimated!

A double header of these thrash titans is sure to be a wild ride.  

Founded in 1985, at the height of the Bay Area thrash movement, Vio-lence came up alongside fellow Bay bashers as Testament, Exodus, Death Angel, Heathen, Forbidden, Laaz Rockit, Dark Angel, and of course Metallica. Tonight, we celebrate their very first visit down under. Aussie fans may have thought they’d never see Vio-Lence on our shores as they’ve had many stints together, only recently reforming in 2019 after their 2003 split. 

Sadly, guitarist and founding member Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head) isn’t with them on this tour. One man down doesn’t stop remaining members storming the stage and throwing down Bay Area style! Red lighting creates a menacing atmosphere as they ferociously fire through many well known songs including Serial Killer, Calling In the Coroner and Kill on Command. Vocalist Sean Killian is a true professional, commanding the stage ensuring every punter who makes eye contact with him, he’s returning. A nice surprise was seeing Christian Olde Wolbers (ex Fear Factory) on bass duties. He’s been with Vio-lence since 2020 and is having a great time up on stage. He’s always had a wonderful stage presence and gives his everything, a great addition to an already solid line up. Vio-Lence have ignited the crowd with their merciless set, most songs coming from 1988’s Eternal Nightmare. As this is their first time to Australia, Vio-Lence fans have been waiting a long time to hear these tracks. There are smiles a plenty as their time is wrapped up with Phobophobia, Upon Their Cross and World in a World

As the sounds of Sacred Reich ride through the outdoor smoking area, fans are dropping everything to run inside. By the time I’ve rushed in with the masses, The American Way has kicked off with many fists in the air, singing along. Vocalist Phil Rind takes a moment to say hello to the crowd. When asked if anyone was born after 1994, a fair few hand rose. Rind chuckles and informs us all that 1994 was the last time Sacred Reich were on our shores with Sepultura. 

Most of the songs tonight come from their latest album, 2019’s Awakening. Including Divide & Conquer, Manifest Reality and Salvation. World renowned skinsman Dave McClain (ex Machine Head) is holding down the beat with precision and concentration. I’ve been seeing Dave play since I was a young teenager and I’ve always admired his style, tonight his bass drum emanate through each one of us bringing a whole new meaning to feeling the music! One confused crowd member may not know where he is as he screams for ‘Holy Wars!’ (of course, by Megadeth, not Sacred Reich.) Phil handles this well by giving his two cents on which albums he likes, because the one thing we all have in common tonight, is thrash metal!  

I can’t help but watch new blood Joey Radziwill, on rhythm guitar. He is pouring all his energy and enthusiasm into his axe tonight, headbanging at every moment, not missing a note. Free and Who’s to Blame garner great responses from the crowd. Sacred Reich have always been a little different to the rest, preferring to cover social and political issues than the more demonic elements of their peers but despite the intense subject matter and the furious riffing of the likes of Death Squad, frontman Phil Rind’s beaming smile, friendly on-stage demeanour and positive inter-song banter was at odds with those weighty topics. 

The night appeared to fly by after such a lengthy wait, which was testament to the band’s powerful, hugely entertaining performance. Long-time axeman Wiley Arnett kicks off Surf Nicaragua to close tonight’s set, igniting a small riot on the floor of the Manning Bar. 

As the punters saunter away from the stage, hungry for 1 more song, smiles are still wide on everyone’s faces. The merch table is many people deep while security attempt to clear the venue. To experience a bands first trip to Australia, and one almost 30 years in the making was truly special. Hardline Media proving once more they are a promotor for the people. 

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