29 Jul 2021

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Gig Review: Music Is Dead @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 13/02/2015

26 Feb 2015 // A review by Andrew Smit

On a warm summer evening the Kings Arms was the place to be for a prodigious night of metal mayhem, organised by the super dedicated Seb Mackay and his company Music is Dead. With six bands on the bill I knew I was in for big night, and what I night it was. Each band listed their “Metal” genre a little differently with post metal, progressive metal, metal core, and melodic metal, but I’m not going to dissect the many metal subgenres right now, but I will one day.

It was a night with all six bands proving themselves in their chosen genre and they all get my highest commendation for their efforts on this fine night, the super solid sound that they produced was pure and real, full of everything you would want and more from a Friday the 13th Metal showcase. The melodic and harmonic sound produced by each band was so broad and devouring it became hypnotic and engrossing, you could hear their inspiration and you could hear their commitment, for they must have worked creatively and rehearsed so many hours to get to this point. They all enjoyed their work and they were appreciative for the opportunity to play for us, you could hear their passion and desire, and you could hear their hopes and aspirations for the future. So please take a seat and get a surgical mask as I dissect each band…

In the last light of the day we kicked off with Helgorithms, a frenetic 3 piece with wailing guitar work from Luke Finlay and his 8 string axe, ably transported with frenzied rhythm and kicking bass from Bailey Roiall on Bass and Ross Curtain on Drums. Their sound was full of riffs and grinds and harmonics, with hellish vocals which may have been assisted by a gravel effect machine. Other than that their sound was organic and pure, a vigorous and rhythmic metal grind, with a good dose rock and blues. They were willing to try something different, like in one song they used the famous JFK “we're going to the moon” speech as an intro which created a nice effect as they built a song around it and eventually to overwhelm it. At times the jangle jungle sound was a bit loose but it was alive and kicking, the young boys showed they have potential for true progressive metal to look out for in the future.

Next up Patriot (Be my Anchor) filled the stage with their full on rock sound, with vocalist William Devery jumping around and being pushed about in roguish fashion with bassist Joe O'Connor. This young 5 piece held nothing back delivering their melodic tunes, the way they moved about showed how they feel the rhythm in their bodies. William delivered his gravelly vocals with unabated enthusiasm throughout their set, yet in between songs sounded incredibly fresh as he spoke about how they were available to chat anytime and maybe help with any issues we may have in our life, how nice is that!

Seasons were brutal, aggressive and tight. Their super strong sound and ferocious delivery was an assault on the senses which had you standing bolt upright from the outset. Complex arrangements were ripped into with controlled aggression and stunning exactness. Vocalist Anthony Whitehead was a powerhouse of energy and intimidation as he belted out his raspy scowls with incredible ferocity, it was so powerful it could tear away at the fabric of society! The speed and driving rhythm had the audience banging imaginary nails with their heads in uncontrollable unison. The broad tube screaming distorted guitar sound was awesome to hear, in fact guitarist Andrew Smith was a study in dedication working in feverish unison with the superb bass of Dan Munro, they both were solidly connected to drummer Brad Stansell with his fast fills and power drills delivered with uncompromising precision. Keep an eye out for Seasons, these guys will impress you with their intensity wherever they show up.

The completely unknown Clunge Attack were up next and soon the question of “who are these guys?” was answered as they turned out to be Villainy a thrilling insertion, I recently saw their brilliant sold out show at the Arms, and here I was again with around 40 odd people, most of which had no idea what was happening, but I did and it was good to see people’s reactions. Most were not sure what to make of the incredible sound being pelted at them which was familiar, ferocious and tight. Vocalist Neill Fraser knows how to perform at the highest level no matter the audience and his voice was sounding amazing, when they peeled off Ammunition with a little more edge and speed than usual it really took your breath away, a “cover” they said cheekily. Their hard rock was not quite metalcore but as they had no pressure they were able to relax to a degree and let rip, and it sounded awesome, they are going to kick some ass at Homegrown 2015. They peeled off a collection of their outstanding tracks from their brilliant debut album Mode Set Clear, full of angry riffs and super-fast explosions of frenetic rock rhythms. Finishing off perfectly with their hit Alligator Skin, a song that encapsulates their fierce and energetic sound wholeheartedly.

And then His Master's Voice hit the stage, they looked ready to perform voodoo on us with their skull makeup and hair everywhere, and soon they were stabbing us with their hard core blues. The look and sound transported us to the swamp lands of New Orleans and instantly we were under the black magic spell of the devils blues! The rhythm and hard groove of each track was entrancing, and the super extended solo’s that were a trip into genuine blues territory. Lead vocals were vigorously delivered by Jesse Sorensen, looking like a blood relative of “Cousin It” and sounding a lot like Dave Gleeson from The Screaming Jets. At times the whole band wailed cool riffs together which was heady and potent. Az Burns was in full flight on his Gibson giving us tremendous melodious lead solo’s with smooth complexity and incredible dexterity. “The Blues” were first coined from the phrase “The blue devils” from the emancipated blacks of the deep south, who found freedom met with social depravity and squalor that led to depression which was soon expressed in their music, over time it formed many styles and was fundamental in influencing modern Rock n Roll. Today we hear little of good hard blues, but thankfully The Devil's Blues are alive and well in the sound delivered by His Master's Voice. Their sound was not out of place in a night of a metal subgenre bands due to the hard edge and heavy sound that they beat out in merciless fashion. The 40 odd crowd were involuntary drawn up close to the stage and there they stayed transfixed by the complete show playing out in front of them, the sight, the sound and the witchcraft at work was compelling to say the least, rest assured these guys won’t be playing to small audiences like this for very long.

Last up was Lead Us Forth, a dedicated five piece metalcore group that tore into their songs with power and determination, lead vocalist Kent Hartman held nothing back as he savagely screamed his words in fervent style. With skilled guitar playing from axe men Luke Welten and James German, their sound is a broad a mix of distorted harmonic heaven and hell. Their songs have complex arrangements with surprising down tempo changes accompanied by tuneful “clean” singing, that soon enough was returned to full blown metal bombast. They have a great set of originals, and with their potent sound and enthusiastic presence these guys will grow in popularity as they evolve their progressive metalcore for us to digest in the future.

And so it was the end, hats off to another great night, thank you Seb, now please excuse me as I go lie down.

Helgorithms, Patriot, Seasons, Clunge Attack, His Master's Voice and Lead Us Forth.




Other Reviews By Andrew Smit

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The alternative sound force is strong in this one! With its hypnotic mystical sound Lizard Prom have produced a 3-song EP that is full of compelling transcendent power.
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The latest release from Bingo Fighter, On My Guard, is a very cool song with vivid pulsating guitar which is driven along by stomping drums, that pump through the song with outstanding clarity. The chorus is simple enough with its straightforward repeated phrase "on a far-king train", delivered in a unique singing style from vocalist Hayden, which is strikingly distinct with a clear enunciated style that makes the track sound super sublime.
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Jam Henderson - Single Review: Rainbow
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