Featuring Vanishing Point, Silent Knight, Taberah, Mason, Hidden Intent, Cold Fate, Bloodlust and Necromancer
June 17th, 2016
With eight bands playing over two stages at a new, larger venue from previous years Stormrider is going from strength to strength. This is heavy metal utopia in Perth. Featuring some of Australia’s (and Tasmania’s) best metal bands, this year was a line up of ear-bleeding goodness.
Kicking things off on the ‘Lightning Stage’ was WA’s own bastions of brutality, Necromancer giving punters no chance of being eased slowly into the night’s entertainment. The boys’ early wake up call was heard right down the alleyway and out onto Murray Street, with punters eager to get in to see what all the noise was about. Fans were craning their necks to see into the venue, such was the volume and brutality of the set.
No sooner had Necromancer finished when fellow West Australians Bloodlust fired up on the ‘Thunder Stage’. ‘We are Bloodlust!’ growled frontman Disaster and out for blood they were. Sure, black metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for the maniacs assembled it was just what Satan had ordered: heavy as fuck and thundering like a thousand steeds from Hell. The blood of the damned isn’t really my thing, so I settled for a quick stop at the bar for a cold bevie before heading back to the Lightning Stage to catch more West Australian goodness in the form of Cold Fate.
The five thrashers had their work cut out for them with such a strong and brutal start to Stormrider, but Paul Di Scerni and his band of thrashers weren’t going to pay anything at half speed. The five piece played like it was the end of the world, and had the world ended right now there would have been a shit load of happy people crammed into the front bar. The set had all the hallmarks of great thrash, including thundering drums courtesy of Seb Giorgi, pulling triple duty tonight by sitting on the stool for the previous two bands as well. I don’t know what the man is made of. He must have arms and legs of steel, or you know metal …
Mysterious limbs aside, it was time to quench a raging thirst before diving back to the ‘Thunder Stage’ for Hidden Intent. Who knew three South Australians could make so much fucking noise? You have to wonder how Adelaide is still standing with Hidden Intent’s regular gigs in their home town. Bass player and lead singer Chris McEwen moved effortlessly between death growls and clean vocals, soaring into his upper register. The trio have just returned from a tour of Asia and the time on the road really showed, putting in a tight, almost faultless set and culminating in the quite brilliant track ‘Addicted To Thrash’. As the final note of their set rang out, Hidden Intent certainly were addicted and so were the punters. With a little bit of lady luck going their way these guys are sure to become big players in the Australian heavy music scene.
The wall of sound was relentless with the Stormrider organisers running an incredibly tight ship. No sooner had one band finished than the next started, with barely time to shout “How fucking good was that?” before thundering drums and screaming guitars started another assault on the ears. Heading to the east coast once again, Victorian metallers Mason took things up a notch over on the ‘Thunder Stage’. A mosh pit quickly formed as the by now well lubricated and warmed up punters threw almost as much energy back to Mason as the band was giving out. The boys lapped it all up, turned the dial to eleven and became hell bent on destroying all in their wake.
Melbourne heavy weights Vanishing Point returned to Perth after eight long years away. Although at their request they opted to play their set early in the night, it was immediately apparent why the band was headlining, taking to the Thunder Stage at the reasonable time of twenty past ten. Lead singer Silvio Massaro vocals were faultless, his voice ringing out clear and loud over the incredibly tight maelstrom happening behind him. There was a crush to get to the front of the stage with punters of seemingly endless energy throwing fists in the air in appreciation. A small technical glitch was overcome, with guitarist James Maier diving to the rear of the stage, twiddling knobs and pushing buttons in a desperate attempt to stop a wayward backing track derailing an otherwise incredible set. It gave Massaro time to try out a few dad jokes on the audience, but thankfully he can sing because from the reaction he’ll never make it as a comedian. We were warned a slower song was coming, and although the tempo dropped, it was heavy as fuck with an almost Pantera-like groove. Vanishing Point mixed straight out speed with atmospheric sounds, adding extra complexity to a night of one hundred mile an hour music.
The boys from the dirty south were finally in the wild west. Ten years together and this was the Tasmanian lunatics’ first visit to Perth. Taberah are here for a good time, drinkin’ beers and pleasin’ ears. Not a band to take themselves too seriously, it was hard to miss Tom “Bam Bam” Brockman donning a pair of animal print spandex pants, and having a ball behind his drum kit. They might not take themselves seriously but they take their music very seriously indeed. Jonathon Barwick’s choral-like vocals sound as good live as they do in the recording studio, an amazing feat. Treating West Australia to the title track of 2012’s Necromancer Taberah signalled their intentions and the intention was to tear The Capital Bar a new one! By the time Battle For The Sun (off Welcome To The Crypt reviewed here ) was announced, Tasmania had West Australia in the palm of its hands. Never have I seen so many people losing their shit at songs few had ever heard before tonight. Punters were invited forward, with JB wanting to get eye to eye and face to face with his now adoring public. The crowd surged forward, giving the ginger nutcase his wish. But just being face to face wasn’t enough, as the band launched into a cover of Judas Priest’s Living After Midnight. Everyone, and I mean everyone was invited to join the party onstage. Things like that are risky at the best of times and I almost covered my eyes waiting for the impending chaos and disaster. Chaos ensued but the disaster was averted as the stage filled with well meaning and well behaved metalheads. Half an hour wasn’t nearly enough and I for one hope they don’t wait another ten years to get this side of the Nullabor. For me, up against some incredible talent, Taberah were the band of the night.
The final slot of the night fell to Perth’s own powermetal supremos Silent Knight. The opening instrumental, A Call To Arms played via backing track and beckoned punters still recovering from the madness that came before. Launching into 2015’s Conquer and Command, it was clear many had come to see Silent Knight. After a six month hiatus brought on by guitarist Stu McGill’s fatherhood, there was no signs of rust on these metalheads. The dreaded technical issues that headliners Vanishing Point had to endure reared their ugly head again. After a little discussion McGill shouted to drummer Paul Wrigley, ‘are we ready!’ Seconds later the band launched into Ravens Return. I’ve seen and reviewed Silent Knight in the past, and they have a habit of going a bit Spinal Tap at big gigs – usually due to no fault of their own. Tonight they were on! Jesse Onur Oz’s remarkable voice has never sounded better, hitting notes most mortals can only dream of. Wrigley’s double kick drums were like a punch in the chest every time his feet landed on the pedal. The sound was quite incredible. Running over time the band and the punters were having so much fun it would have been a shame to stop, so McGill asked the man upstairs if we could have one more song. His request was granted and we were well and truly living after midnight.
It may have been over four hours of nonstop, relentless heavy music yet it felt like a much shorter time, and the promoters and organisers of this year’s Stormrider Festival should take a bow. A killer line up supported by plenty of merchandise on offer, there was no reason not to support some of Australia’s finest metal bands. Friday the 17th of June will be a night not easily forgotten.
Can we do it again next week?
– Gareth Williams
Full photo gallery featured below courtesy of Emanuel Rudnicki
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