I strolled on in to the Royal on a crisp, expectant, and and oddly sober night, one Friday in dirty ole Swamp Central, to find a dedicated, expectant, and impressive crowd. After making the customary exchange at the door, I was the proud owner of a red stamp, and more importantly, Hellborne's final self-titled CD – one with some stunning artwork and even more stunning content. But I obviously didn't find that out till later, much much later …
Unfortunately I was my usual tardy self, even though I was sober, so I missed Lynchway. Fortunately however, I was early enough to witness Cage Demise in all their thrash-fuelled glory – man those dudes put on one wicked show, full of intensity and raw, ripped power. A very technical performance, beset at times by banter resulting from dropped cues and such, still a stirling show that I would not hesitate to witness once again – next time from deep in the mosh!
Project Blood then emerged from the darkness of yon backstage area, and unleashed some intensely euro-feeling industrial metal – heavy with trippy samples and utterly astounding. It strikes me still how incredibly difficult it must be to perform in this way – no space for fuck-ups!
Hellborne then triumphantly took the stage, well after midnight, and launched right on in to 'Lost Boy'. A staunch back-catalog was thrown down for the sweaty bare-chested throng, including 'Fuck You', 'Poverty', and 'Raping of Society', all mixed nicely with a couple of new songs – 'Swamp King' and 'Dead or Nothing New' – ending the set with 'One More' (I know, ironic huh?).
The guys bowed to the pressure for an encore, and belted out one of my personal favourites to finish their last ever set – 'Bed of Gold'. Awesome. It still gives me chills. Full credit to the guys – Chris in particular who allegedly had been drinking since 10am (all the more impressive is that they were all still going at 5.30am!). Hellborne'll be sadly missed, I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing them the best for the future.
2am rolls round, the lights go up, the place empties out, the customary half-shouted misunderstood conversations ensue with the regulars one encounters at such events, one last drink, and off out the door I go – satisfied, sore, and stunned.
All in all, I'm fucking stoked to have witnessed three wicked bands, and especially so to be able to proudly say I was one of the privileged swamp rats to have seen Hellborne one last time.
Can't you please play just one more?
Hellborne formed in August 2002 from other local bands including Turbostill, Sense_, 7.62 Short and The Hendersons.
They have been gigging around the North Island since November 2002 having played in Palmerston North, Wellington, Napier, New Plymouth, Gisborne and soon Auckland.
They released a self-financed CD 'Raping of Society' in July 2003 with seven original tracks and three remixes: two by Sense_ and one by Faker.