Once upon a time it was up-and-comers (at that stage) House Vs Hurricane and Dream On Dreamer ruling Melbourne with their unique brands of metalcore but fast forward over half a decade and here we have the new leaders of the hype train, the new band to listen to; Void of Vision.
On a recent dreary Sunday gone by I attended said band’s show, and may I say just how comfortably familiar it all was. A Melbourne-based heavy band. Their headlining album tour. A stacked local line-up. Phoenix Youth Centre. Cheap entry. All ages. This was all so reminiscent of my earlier days ‘in the local scene.
Eastern ‘burbs quintet Thornhill opened the proceedings to an, unfortunately, minimal and unresponsive crowd, but with it being only their third show to date, they were honestly quite impressive. In this context, the vocals were decent and didn’t deteriorate too drastically, the instrumentals were solid and the stage presence wasn’t too awkward. The interchange of vocals was enough to keep the performance interesting enough, and their surprising under-reliance on pointless, copy-paste breakdowns deserves recognition (younger metalcore bands, take note!). There are plenty of facets that need to be developed, but they’re young and show some great potential. Improvement will most certainly come with experience. On a side note, big respect to Jack Bergin of VOV for lending his voice during his own part within ‘XY’. It’s great to see some headlining bands are still genuine, generous, and without ego.
Next were the straight-up hardcore band Broken. Now, if you keep up with the Melbourne hardcore scene (no, not just ‘heavy’ music, I mean the genre in particular), you should be fully aware of them, and the apparent cult following that they’re building. HxC bands these days tend to have this effect through their alliance with the vegan and/or straight edge community, however, Broken take it one step further. Whenever they’re playing, a bunch of blokes rock up sporting ‘Broken Army’ clothing of all different variations, and you know they’re about to do business. Just as the opening note strikes, side-to-side mosh comes out in abundance. This is what I love about hardcore and heavy music. As expected, the energy throughout the set was consistent, entertaining and inspiring. The band’s riffs, two-steps, and breakdowns were solid and adrenaline pumping and the countless guest vocals performed by friends and fans throughout were not just enjoyable, but also quite pleasing. It’s great to see such a strong sense of community in our… well, community.
Onto the third band of the day, and the first of two from the interstate. Gold Coast’s very own She Cries Wolf has built quite the reputation for intense and passionate performances. This one was no different. I have to admit, though, the extremity of the set didn’t really rival that of the past, and this was quite disappointing for me. The audience participation that I’ve become accustomed to was sadly non-existent. Maybe this was due to a seemingly lacking number of fans within the average attendance. On a positive note, however, this left me able to better concentrate on their musicianship, and oh boy was it impressive. I’m not too sure if I’ve simply never realized how tight the band are because I’ve been too busy watching guitarist Daniel Belic make himself bleed to death over and over or they’ve just drastically improved, but oh my do they kill it. Props for doing justice and then some to songs from their first full-length ‘Divorce’ and their newly released and banger of a full length ‘Doubt’. If you don’t know about SCW, then I highly recommend you give this band a shot.
Rounding out the dose of interstate bands, Justice for the Damned smashed through a solid 30 mins of their deathcore-influenced hardcore. Playing Greyscale Records (label also boasting Graves and Our Past Days) debut ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ plus the absolutely huge ‘Deep Rotting Fear’ among other set mainstays, I could feel the bass pummelling in my chest from start to finish. A few fans showed their interest throughout but again, the participation was quite poor. It’s surprising, considering the amount of hype that this band has received as of late. I guess it was the damn dreary Sunday though, as I mentioned earlier.
Now, for the closing act of the cold and gloomy day, we had the newest of the UNFD family. Boasting new jerseys and of course, a new record, Void ushered the (again) somewhat reluctant crowd in closer with single ‘//’, and in the process proving that as many expected, their new content goes down even better in a live environment. This is a consistent theme and strength for the band, and honestly a commendable one, considering a large portion of artists display the opposite in this day and age. Continuing on with the set, more newbies were played including the melodic ‘Sun//Rise’ and the punchy ‘Blacklist’ to a decent response. The greatest reactions, however, were found when playing oldies such as ‘Lifeblood’, ‘Nightmare’ and set closer ‘Purge’. Perhaps recent release ‘Children of Chrome’ hasn’t quite had enough time to resonate with audiences yet, or maybe the heavier sound is just preferred, maybe both. While on the topic of being ‘heavier’, vocalist Bergin is known for his solid and consistent mid-range screams, yet his few lows during this performance were his best yet and really threw me off guard. I’ve seen the band countless times as they support everyone ever or so it seems, and he’s never quite nailed the lows that much.
All in all, I think there are two things that can be taken away from this review. One is that these bands are well deserving of their hype, there’s absolutely no doubt about it. The second is that even though bands may get hyped, that doesn’t automatically translate into sold out shows, crowd participation, etc. From a musicianship standpoint, the entire spectacle was above par with each band killing it. From a viewing perspective, though, I personally love seeing a show go ‘off’ and to my complete surprise, this show just did not go off. Also, A quick tip for promoters and organizers; keeping the lights on rather than dimming them or turning them off will make for less interaction too, just sayin’. Admittedly, with Year 12 and University exams currently on and with the weather on the day, I’m sure that would’ve definitely turned some punters away. But man, I was expecting… more as I had heard that the 18+ show only two days prior was killer. Well, hopefully the next Melbourne AA show will be better.
Photo credit: Digital Beard.