Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Bathe Myself In The Entrails Of You

One of the nice things about living in a big city like Sydney is that you get more opportunities to attend sophisticated art and cultural events. Sunday night was one such opportunity, as the international short film festival Tropfest was playing in the botanic gardens. As my loyal readers would expect nothing less of me, I passed on it in order to see these people:

Because there's not much that can beat an evening of crazy go nuts brutal death metal.

Suffocation - Live at The Gaelic Club, 18th February

The headliners were Suffocation (coincidentally reviewed on this very blog last week), but they had a full complement of three opening bands. The gig was at The Gaelic Club, a venue I hadn't visited before, although I'd been tempted to go and see both Cannibal Corpse and Deicide there. It's a pretty small place, probably only holding a few hundred, and is perfectly suited to metal concerts. You've got your dankness, your grime, and your angry no nonsense bouncers. The crowd was pretty much as you'd expect for this kind of thing, mainly male, and mainly fitting into the caricature of either the scrawny metal geek or the big fat sweaty metal munter, although there were a bunch of well dressed 'Sydney princess' type young women there for some reason. They stood out because they weren't wearing black.

As I arrived Vaticide were playing. They were competent death metallers but I don't really have much to say about them other than that I was impressed by their technical musicianship and little else.
Vaticide: Featuring the backs of a bunch of fat ugly dude's heads

Next up were Degeneracy, who were a bit more interesting. The music was pretty average but they made up for it with shitloads of energy. Their songs were short and punky, and very goofy. Sample stage banter: “This next song is called 'Covered in shit and semen. Don't laugh! This is a very personal song!” They had a really good drummer.

Degeneracy: featuring fat ugly shirtless guy in front of stage

The third band was Ebolie, who were a lot more interesting musically than their battlerish appearance may suggest. They had the proficiency of Vaticide and the energy of Degeneracy, and they were easily better than both. They also win the funny song title sweepstakes for the night for 'Why are so many fat chicks into metal?'

Ebolie: featuring dude jumping on stage and about to get beaten by angry security guys

Finally Suffocation arrived. Like their opening bands they didn't take themselves too seriously and just went all out to have a head banging, hard moshing good time. Frank Mullen is a really good front man, always paying attention to the audience and pumping up the front rows with his antics (during the numerous instrumental breaks he either runs up and down the front of the stage shaking people's hands or stands by the soloist and gesticulates wildly in time with them). The entire band are total wizards on their instruments, and it was awesome to see them performing close up. I managed to get a place right in front of Terrance, the lead guitarist (he even shook my hand!) and watching him solo was pretty fucking mind blowing. Unfortunately I couldn't focus my complete attention on the musicianship due to the (not unexpected) perils of the moshpit. It wasn't too bad (I've been in far worse) because there were only a couple of hundred people in attendance, but with music this brutal it was easy even for such a small crowd to make things pretty crazy.

Suffocation tune their guitars. This is actually the best picture I got of them.

The only disappointment was the absence of an encore. Since the band and the audience both seemed to be enjoying themselves this was a bit surprising but rumour has it that the band (hailing from grim, frost-bitten New York) were about to die of heat exhaustion in Sydney's humid February climate (exacerbated of course by 355 people going nuts in the tiny venue).

Suffocation: featuring Terrance's back and Frank's side.

Taken as 'serious' music these guys are nothing on Tool or Isis, but for a fun, unpretentious show with lots of brutal chugging and amazing musicianship, where you can just munt around like a gimp for a while these guys are fucking excellent, as long as your idea of a good time won't be spoiled by being jammed between smelly, sweaty metalheads thrashing their long hair around for an hour.

An attempt to capture one of Terrance's solos. You can't really tell from this picture but this guys fingers were actually that blurry in real life.

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