Crowbar, Sydney NSW
February 15th, 2019
Supports: Hazmat, Fenrir and Deiformity
I love when I can support local bands, in local venues and give back to those that give to us. Sydney’s Crowbar was the saving grace for one of our most popular venues, previously known as The Bald Faced Stag. The awesome folk from Brisbane’s Crowbar saved our beloved venue from becoming a block of apartments and gave it just the right amount of TLC it needed, for its rebirth. Now playing host to some of the largest shows Sydney has seen, providing more opportunities for local bands to land support acts and creating a beautifully diverse and inclusive atmosphere.
Tonight, with thanks to Your Mate Bookings, Crowbar play host to a diverse line-up of heavy acts. Death metal, thrash/speed metal, power metal, what more could anyone ask for on the one line-up?
Deiformity undoubtedly set the bar for the night, with their face-melting set of brutal death metal. Although a man down, these guys held their own. Pauly behind his spectacular beast of a kit, with double kick techniques that only intensified his blasts, resulting in a heavy, beefy as fuck sound. Rob absolutely shredded on guitar, shooting out some fiercely thrash riffs. Chris slapped his bass, in a way that had other bass players in the audience drooling with envy. Frontman Loz, reaching down to the depths of hell to let loose some deep abrasive growls, that only matched his look as a frontman.
A small glitch with the stage lights, had the band playing in the dark for part of their opening song, ‘Corpse Stomper’, the title track from their debut album released late last year. Fans not allowing this to kill the moment used the torches on their mobile phones to light up the band. Loz jesting, “death metal by braille”. Closing song ‘Masters of War’, would have any death metal fans appreciating the deliberate tribute to Bolt Thrower, that was evident in the inspiration for the riffs.
I’d love to see these guys perform in front of a worthy sized crowd.
Next up was Fenrir. I’ve watched this band change stylistically, with the change in members over the years. Transitioning from a band influenced by old Norse mythology, incorporating flutes and era apt costumes in their production, to the modern day Fenrir that is straight up speed/thrash. Although entertaining, these guys don’t need to keep up appearances, as their music speaks for itself. Nick is a little cracker of a frontman while tending to his duties on bass. Nick has a great vocal range and is not afraid to let out some power screams.
Anthony and Christopher, feeding off each other on guitars, belt out some great harmonies and duels. George, like a king on his throne, tying the band together with his technically sound, furiously fast, drum poundings. Fenrir put on one hell of an energetic set. It’s hard to stand still when these guys are playing. The small crowd is a testament to this, as they continued to bang their heads for the entire duration of the set.
Old school thrashers Hazmat hit the stage with a new level of energy and pizzazz. With the recent hiatus of Duck on guitars, frontman Jay announced his son Roy would “Phil-inn” for the night. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing Roy do some solo stuff and can testify that this young up and comer is an absolute gun guitarist, with a voice to suit. He certainly didn’t disappoint tonight, stealing the show as he nailed every note and riff. He did Duck proud, as he did the rest of the band and their fans. While thrashing his guitar, Jay’s vocals were on point and effortless. Stopping only to give recognition to the birthday of one of the pioneers of Sydney metal, the late great Mick Burke (Mortal Sin, Slaughter Lord).
While Caine faultlessly pounded his skins, he added some essential and effective backing vox. Aaron on bass bounced around the stage, engaging both Jay and Roy in a fun display of showmanship. Including 3 new tracks from their third and forthcoming album, Hazmat played a set of favourites, that had their loyal fans singing along and throwing up their horns.
Power metal supergroup, comprised of metal greats – Stu Marshall (Death Dealer, Blasted To Static), Vo Simpson (Darker Half), Glenn Williams (Dungeon), Col Higginson (Wishing Tree) and with their fill-in drummer for the night, Dom Simpson (Darker Half), Night Legion were the headlining act tonight. Releasing their self-titled album in 2017, Night Legion have been building momentum ever since. Guitars begin, then the hit of the cymbal, before Vo becomes visible to the audience. Walking on stage letting out an almighty power wail, that he holds for several seconds, leading into opening song ‘Into The Light’. Some atmospheric lighting kicked in for the first time tonight, which would have been nice to see during the other bands.
Night Legion showcased their exemplary wealth of talent from beginning to end. Stu shreds on guitar, laying down some tasty riffs and solos. A man of his musical calibre, I would expect nothing less. A few songs in and a familiar riff begins, immediately grabbing my attention, Iron Maiden’s – ‘The Trooper’. I had no doubt these guys could pull it off, both musically and vocally. Vo’s vocal range is world class. If you think along the lines of Rob Halford vs Bruce Dickinson, then you’ll get an idea of Vo’s sound and capabilities.
We were privileged to hear Vo singing ‘Hammer Down’, a song he wrote with Stu over five years ago for Empires of Eden, that Udo Dirkshneider sang, then Death Dealer did on their album. Today was the first time since the demo, that Vo has sung the song. Bloody amazing and the guitar solo’s absolutely ripped. Glen and Col tying any loose ends that create this powerhouse of a band. I only wish the room was full to give these guys, along with the support bands, the attention, and accolades they deserved.
A great night of variety, that could easily have been improved upon for the bands and the fans, if Sydney metalheads left the comforting confines of their homes and made an effort to support the metal community. Sitting at home whining about the things you don’t like, is not creating change or growth. Come out and actively support what you love and everything else will grow with it. Change starts with you!
Gig Review by Trudy Johnson @BrutalTrudes
Photo Gallery courtesy of George Georgas Photography
Please credit Wall of Sound and George Georgas if you repost.