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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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Gig ReviewsReviews

[Review] Soulfly @ Manning Bar, Sydney 6/12/2022

The 6th of December marks the end of sideshows for this year’s Good Things Festival, and I’m spending it at the Manning Bar in Sydney seeing the mighty Soufly. They must be looking forwards to one last throwdown to cap off the Australian performances after appearing at 3 festivals in 3 days across 3 different states. 

The initial support, Melbourne’s Primitive pull-out of the show last-minute moving Sydney’s deathcore superstars To The Grave to the main and only support. To The Grave have been busy! Not only did they also appear at Good Things Festival (in Melbourne and Brisbane only), they supported Soulfly on their Melbourne sideshow and we’re lucky to have them here tonight.  

They open with Red Dot Sight as lead singer Dane Evans storms the stage in a balaclava under his hoodie. They may be a different brand of metal in comparison to tonight’s headliner, but the crowd bounce and headbang along as the Sydney squad play their hearts out. If you haven’t seen To The Grave perform before, I highly recommend it. Evans has a stage presence beyond his years and a voice that can compete with the likes of Phil Bozeman and Brooke Reeves. I can’t wait to see his evolution; I feel he will only get better!
Simon’s drum kit is positioned in front of Soulfly’s, leaving little room for movement up there, he nonetheless near destroys each drum with strength and accuracy. Just that morning, the film clip to Axe of Kindness was released, and we get to hear the heavy, gritty assault live!
The single is out now and will be on their new album Directors Cuts coming February 24th
Closing the set with Wastage, they call for a wall of death. Metalheads pour down to the floor from the outskirts as Evans counts down to carnage.  

The venue’s capacity fills very quickly as the time draws near for metal legends Soulfly to take the stage. I make a very silly decision to buy merch as I hear the intro to Back To the Primitive stream out of the speakers behind me. I tap my card, grab my shirt and sprint to the front. The venue claps along as the band appears one by one.
It may be a Tuesday but that does not stop the pit from going ballistic! The album Primitive, in which Back to the Primitive is from, was released in 2000 and looking around, everyone sure knows the words. Max and co take no prisoners ripping through tracks such as Prophecy, Downstroy and Filth Upon Filth from their latest album Totem. 

As most know, Dino Cazares, guitarist from Fear Factory is along for the ride. The two guitar legends share a moment on stage, axes facing each other – shredding like it’s child’s play, the crowd lap it up. Ritual is one of the strongest songs of the night, a loud chanting chorus that everyone can join in and a chugging slower outro to bang our heads.
Soulfly was born in 1998, but they were made when they arrived in Australia in 1999, according to metal god himself Max Cavalera. Tonight, the admiration is mutual!
Multiple sound problems at Good Things made me glad I went to tonight’s event because the sound is excellent! One punter rips his top off and twirls it around his head, giving Bleed one of the finest receptions of the night. 

Max asks us if we want some Chaos AD, to roars of excitement! Max’s son Zyon (who it’s playing drums for Soulfly) counts down to the Sepultura classic, Refuse Resist and the venue lose their minds. Brazilian football chants work very well in a metal setting, with a few lyrical alteration we are singing “ole ole ole ole Soulflyyyy Soulfyyyy’.
As an enormous Fear Factory fan, I am beyond excited to hear the intro to Body Hammer, it’s cut short to make way for the huge single, Replica. The intro to Demanufacture also teased as Soulfly gets back to business.  

Tonight’s fantastic show is rounded up with Eye For An Eye and the ever-amazing Jumpdafuckup. As metalheads we are used to artists asking us to sit down, only to jump to the sky as the beat kicks in. I could not wipe the smile off my face watching the entire venue takes part, not just the moshpit! The energy is electric as we yell the chorus knowing the show is coming to an end.  

Soulfly was a highlight of the Good Things line up and I was so fortunate to see them perform twice. With his contagious grooves, persistent worldwide touring, and love for metal, Max Cavalera has established himself as a true symbol of our scene. The current Soulfly line up, Dino Cazares, Mike Leon and Zyon Cavalera is outrageously talented, I hope it stays this way for some time.
The world is opening back up, and the shows keep on coming. I can’t wait to see what 2023 has instore for music lovers across Australia.  

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VADER Announce October 2022 Australian Tour

Hardline Media could not be more thrilled to relaunch both international Metal music in Australia and Hardline Touring with Polish legends Nuclear Blast’s VADER and THY DISEASE! Playing a selection of songs from throughout their massive career, VADER will hit Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne stages with THY DISEASE in October 2022. After a very quiet couple of years, this is the way to get heavy back Down Under…

Polish Death Metal legends VADER have already released their 16th studio album, Solitude In Madness (via Nuclear Blast), in 2020, with Covid-starved fans keen to see it in action, live. Never one to rest or relax, VADER have done it all during the course of their 37-year history. From playing super-aggressive, Thrash under the watchful eye of Communist Poland… signing a worldwide deal with popular UK indie label Earache Records… to touring the globe (after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, of course) and enjoying a near-maniacal fanbase, there’s no stopping the Piotr “Peter” Wiwczarek – led outfit. Proof of that lies in the exceptionally great Solitude In Madness, where speed and power are back as the driving factors in VADER’s fiendish yet proficient Death Metal style. Further evidence can be found in the differences that separate previous pounder The Empire from Solitude in Madness.

With the band dynamic stable – Marek “Spider” Pająk (guitars), Tomasz “Hal” Halicki (bass), and James Stewart (drums) whom have been in VADER for almost a decade – the song-writing sessions were similar to Tibi et Igni (2014), The Empire (2016), and the tour-only Dark Age (2017). They were easy and smooth. Although things weren’t always like this in the VADER camp, the current line-up has afforded Wiwczarek a platform on which to focus VADER’s most important trait: the music.


THY DISEASE is a Polish industrial metal band from Kraków. Their lyrics generally deal with nihilism, apocalypse, and war. The band was formed in 1999, by musicians formerly active in bands like Sceptic, Anal Stench and Crionics.

Their fourth album, Rat Age (Sworn Kinds Final Verses), was released in early 2006 under Empire Records. The band’s label for the previous three albums was Metal Mind Productions.

The readers of Polish edition of Metal Hammer magazine voted THY DISEASE the best Polish debut act.


(* The Earlybird catches the worm – these tickets are cheaper, no booking fee charged! limited)






*Once presales are sold out, full price General Public ticket go on sale on Tuesday 26th April)

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