We all do this, talk amongst friends, other fans and forums about the best heavy bands we follow/support in Australia and who reigns supreme in not only success and worldwide recognition but ability to put out good songs and perform them in a live setting. Up until recently, (in no particular order) we’ve seen the following bands take out the top 5 spots: The Amity Affliction, Northlane, Parkway Drive, Hellions and In Hearts Wake but we think it’s time to re-evaluate the list before we head into 2018 and (because I always do things by 7’s), extend the list to include a couple more.
Before I go any further, I want to give a shout out to the bands who just missed out on our list but are still doing BIG things in our own backyard and overseas; bands like High Tension, In Hearts Wake, Make Them Suffer, Dune Rats, Void of Vision and Cursed Earth are all doing well in their own regards, given a couple more years they make their ways in (or back in) to the top, but without anymore stalling here’s The Top 7 Heavy Bands Dominating Australia’s Upper Echelon…
#7 – Ocean Grove New Entry
Nu-Metal was huge back in the days of baggy jeans and teenage angst with bands like Korn, Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit receiving radio airplay and spins on TV music shows, but as time went by, heavy bands like that became a niche and forgotten… BUT Melbourne’s Ocean Grove are bringing it back and holy shit they’re doing it right! After releasing their debut album The Rhapsody Tapes back in February this year (our review here), the boys have not only picked up some sweeeeet gigs supporting Architects and their own slots on UNIFY and Splendour in the Grass, but they’ve also ventured out on their own headline shows and proved they’re here to stay. One of the best, energetic bands you’ll see on the circuit right now. Watch them blow up following their next album. UPDATE: They’ve also been added to Download Festival in Melbourne.
#6 – The Amity Affliction
Slipping down four spots are The Amity Affliction who have spent more time overseas touring lately than in our own backyard and while that’s not exactly a bad thing, their live performances have decreased in quality over the past couple of years which has really started to show. We’re seeing melodic vocalist Ahren Stringer pulling off some of the heaviest throwaway growls during shows (review here) that rival those of Joel Birch, who’s job it is to scream at the audience with enough emotion to have us in the palm of his hands. From memory, the best thing about the band’s last performance in their own home town of Brisbane was drummer Ryan Burt who seamlessly bashed away like it was no struggle for him. Could that be because of the band’s more melodic direction of late? You only need to go back and hear their over-produced, synth heavy cover of The Weeknd for Punk Goes Pop to get an idea of where they may be heading next. Also, I’m in no way saying that going commercial is bad, but when you have more production than raw performance in your songs, it kinda defeats the purpose of being a band right? Don’t believe me, check out my review of their cover on UNFD‘s Spawn (Again): A Tribute to Silverchair album here
#5 – Hellions
In a short amount of time, Sydney based ARIA Nominees Hellions have ripped up the Australian music charts, touring circuit and international stages with their blend of heavy punk/rap rock infused awesomeness that keeps getting better with age. Their latest album Opera Oblivia is a masterpiece and for a band who only formed back in 2013, that’s a huge progression forward and indication that they’ve found their sound and themselves in this business. Their next release will either make or break them, so keep your eyes peeled for that soon.
#4 – Violent Soho New Entry
At one point, it seemed like you couldn’t go anywhere without running into Violent Soho playing a show in your city or headlining a Music Festival somewhere in Australia but the awesome foursome have definitely earned their place in the top tier of Australia’s best. Following the success of Hungry Ghost in 2013 and WACO‘s domination of the charts upon release last year, the band have brought back the old sound/feel that Silverchair and Nirvana did so well back in the early 90‘s, only this time there’s social media and music based apps assisting with their exposure. The hype train is still here and if you haven’t jumped on board yet, you’re missing out on one of the best Australian bands in the country right now.
#3 – Polaris New Entry
They literally came from nothing and have not stopped moving since. Polaris are one of the hardest working and best sounding bands who always put 1,000% into everything they do, whether it be live shows, recordings, interviews or meeting fans, they have all bases covered and are one of the most genuinely talented and highly motivated group of guys we’ve had the chance to cover. From their surprise hit EP The Guilt & The Grief to their support slots for Periphery, overshadowing of In Hearts Wake and countless sold out headline shows + a massive following at Big Sound, there is nothing that can stop this mental force. Our reviewer Parente covered the band’s debut album The Mortal Coil (review here) and stated “I have no doubt Polaris will be entering the upper echelon of Australian metalcore” and he was absolutely right. Find someone who doesn’t like this band, I guarantee they’ll be lying through their teeth. Resist/Sharptone Records are very lucky to have these new contenders on their roster.
#2 – Northlane
Not many bands can do a “Surprise Album” release and have it blow up bigger than expected (see Avenged Sevenfold) but that’s what happened with Northlane earlier this year when they thrust Mesmer upon the world and fans collectively lost their shit, us included (review here). They’ve toured the globe, appearing on Music Festivals playing to tens of thousands of new fans, they have also not stopped on the Australia circuit either playing to both Capital City and Regional fans proving they know their market and are doing what they can to increase their popularity with each year that passes. Luckily for them, they have potentially the best lineup they’ve ever had and are achieving more than they could have imagined, not bad for a band who fans said wouldn’t last without original frontman Adrian Fitipaldes.
and the winner is…
#1 – Parkway Drive No Change
As if the top spot wouldn’t feature the Byron Bay hardcore alumni that is Parkway Drive who have continued to make a name for themselves for well over a decade and not faded into oblivion or slipped following a dodgy release (Dark Days had it’s moments and you know it but it was still pretty good). You go overseas and speak to anyone who appreciates heavy music and the minute you say you’re from Australia, the first thing they say next is “Oh, do you like Parkway Drive?” The band are universally recognised and even with their latest album IRE taking a slightly commercial turn, they still manged to retain their dominance and not injure their brand in anyway shape or form.
With their Decade of Horizons Anniversary Tour next year followed up with a new album release (we’re predicting mid-year), they’ll remain in the top spot without even a nudge from those beneath them for years to come.
So there you have it, my thoughts on the current state of heavy music in Australia and where the bands sit. Did I miss anyone or get a band’s placement wrong? Tell us about it. I’ll leave you with the brutal sounds of Karina Utomo fronting Melbourne’s High Tension who literally missed out by a bee’s dick. I’ll have to revisit this list again once their new album is released.