Factore Theatre, Sydney NSW
December 7th, 2018
Supports: Alchemy, Flaming Wrekage and Orpheus Omega
Just four months after their last tour, Tasmania’s Psycroptic are back again with another national tour, to celebrate the release of their latest album As The Kingdom Drowns. I’ve labelled this album, my “album of the year”, so my expectations for the show were fairly sizeable, as was my excitement.
Arriving at Sydney’s Factory Theatre shortly after 7:30pm, I was surprised to see so few people at the venue. It’s always a daunting feeling when this happens, as you want a good crowd to support the bands and the venues that host live music. Doors weren’t until 8pm, so there was still time and hope. My fears were short lived as slowly but steadily, people arrived. The growing crowd stood around talking, sharing their expectations for tonight’s show. If one thing was blatantly obvious, I wasn’t the only one crowning As The Kingdom Drown, their album of the year. Rave reviews from everyone I encountered and a shared anticipation for the show.
A few minutes after 8pm, fans made their way inside the venue. Some made their way directly to the merch desk, located at the back of the venue, while others headed to the bar for a cold bevvie. I set myself up directly front and centre of the stage and wasn’t going anywhere. Though the show wasn’t the sell out it deserved to be, there was no shortage of fans and the venue was at a comfortable capacity.
Kicking the night off, were Sydney’s Alchemy. A young 4 piece death metal outfit, that do a stellar job of captivating their audience. Vocalist Nic Webb, has such an animated stage presence. Combine this with the talent from his fellow band mates, they have no problem in motivating the crowd to bang their heads. Special mention to Mateja Ostrugnaj, an absolute champion on drums, I was gobsmacked watching this youngster pound his skins. Alchemy were a great choice to open the show this evening.
Sydney’s Flaming Wrekage were up next, with their raw, aggressive brand of metal, strongly reminiscent of the teutonic sound that was European Thrash Metal in the 80’s. Chunky as fuck riffs, scorching guitar solos from Justin Humphry and Dave Lupton’s crushing vocals, not forgetting the bass from Lachlan Campbell that tied them all together. Complete with Matt Thornton, a relentless beast of a skins man. I was truly surprised at the lack of movement from the crowd, I could only hope they were saving themselves for Psycroptic?
With the support bands drum kit now cleared from the stage, Melbourne’s Orpheus Omega deservedly supporting Psycroptic on the national tour, were next to hit the stage. The 5 piece Melo-death ensemble were great fun. While taking what they do seriously, they leave plenty of room for their on stage antics, particularly Nathan Mesiti on bass. Swaying and twirling around the stage, all the while slapping his bass, like it owes him money. Most bands with keys, place the member to the side of stage, or they’re left behind, not Keswick Gallagher. With his keytar, he was all part of the fun and talent of this band, and a “key” part of their sound. Chris Themelco displaying his multi talents, as he slayed on guitar, while doing a sound job on vocals. Orpheus Omega proving more than capable of both warming the crowd and pumping them up for Psycroptic’s set.
Lights were dimmed as Psycroptic took their place on stage, fans rushing back in to the venue after taking the opportunity to have a quick break between bands. With the roll of Dave Haley’s drums, and a shower of lights, ‘We Were The Keepers’ was unleashed, the first track from the new album, As The Kingdom Drowns. What a way to start the set. Joe Haley making his furious riff playing seem effortless, as he stood there with a nonchalant look on his face, whilst melting ours off. Jason Peppiatt marching up to the the front of the stage screaming “C’mon Sydney, it’s time to get your arses moving”! Damn right it was, I don’t know anyone that could stand idle while experiencing the battering that Psycroptic delivered.
Taking us back to 2012, the following two tracks ‘Carriers of the Plague’ and ‘Euphorinasia’ from The Inherited Repression were next. The pit already very much alive, the crowd letting loose. Psycroptic displaying how they are one of the worlds finest technical death metal bands, yet have nothing to prove to anyone. Peppiatt reminding Sydney about their recent release of As The Kingdom Drowns, as fans yelled out “fuck yeah!”, in approval. Peppiatt introduced the next song from that album, ‘Directive’. Again, I found myself consumed by the fingering skills of Joe, whom I should mention, was celebrating his birthday. I certainly hope Sydney made it a memorable one for him.
Peppiatt announced, “we’re going to pick the pace up a little bit (as if they even needed to), this one’s called Ob(servant)“. Probably my favourite track from the same-titled album. Dave Hayley’s skin skills are second to none. I was overwhelmed with a melange of feelings right about now. Peppiatt’s vocals reaching out, grabbing me by the throat and giving me a serve I didn’t feel worthy of. My brain was at war with my body.. “I want to bang my head”, “No, I need to watch”, “Who do I look at, where do I focus my attention…. fuuuuck”. After a shove from the pit, I regained my composure. Watching these guys perform makes me feel like a kid in a lolly shop. Yes, the excitement is that intense.
I needed cooling down and ‘Cold’ from Psycroptic‘s self titled album, seemed the appropriate song for that, at least by title only. There was nothing about this song that was going to cool anyone down. The pit opened up and everyone unleashed their inner crazy, as the band then rolled on to ‘The World Discarded’ and later in the set ‘Echoes to Come’, also from their self titled album.
Bringing us back to their latest album, the intro to ‘Upon These stones’ began. I had hoped they would play this one, definitely a favourite and one I think really showcases the talent of the band, both individually and as a tight unit. I wasn’t disappointed, the consolidation that Psycroptic have woven for themselves is astounding. Everything each of them do, compliments the other, an art they have certainly mastered.
Sadly, we had reached the final song of the evening, ‘As The Kingdom Drowns’, title track from the new album. Another technically crafted track and display of unity between the group. Despite chants and cheers from fans, there was no encore. Were we left disappointed? Not a chance. Psycroptic brutally annihilated Sydney and left us with no doubt that they are worthy of every accolade they receive.
We Were The Keepers
Carriers of the Plague
The World Discarded
Upon These Stones
Echoes to Come
As the Kingdom Drowns
Gig Review and Photos by Trudy Johnson