Dragged Into Sunlight
Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW
22nd June, 2019
Supports: Zhrine & Ploughshare
Like an eclipse that turns the moon the colour of blood, a lineup such as this only occurs once every few years. Three bands so drenched in the atmosphere of despair and brutality, it makes one want to exorcise themselves then and there.
Canberra based Ploughshare, by the cover of darkness and the glare of red, created such a feeling of isolation it was as if no one else was present in the room. The dread elicited by the agonised screams of their introduction was only increased by the addition of three layers of vocals at different times. The deep, throaty growls of the frontman were backed up by tortured howls reminiscent of The Body, and echoey shouts underneath. The relentless instrumentation was straight up black metal, but not long into their set, the guitarist seemed to lose his mind and mash out some Ulcerate-esque riffs and overlay that all with a hefty dose of amp feedback. A perfect start into the void.
Up next were Zhrine, seeming to bring with their instruments the frigid cold of Icelandic winter and the fury of a collapsing iceberg. The build up of ‘Utopian Warfare’ had the crowd tense; the almost religious fervour that precedes a mass executions of heretics. However, the explosion of instruments and the bellowing roar of Þorbjörn tore those present into a plane outside of themselves. The heavy sustained notes of the upright bass mixed with the sheer intensity of the guitars reminded me heavily of Départe, and that feeling of being in a trance and out of one’s self. Truly, the wash of light made reality seem immaterial; all that mattered was the musical soul crushing that I was being very happily subjected to.
After a brief introspection into the futility of my own existence, I realised the whole room was obscured in thick fog. An antlered skull surrounded by candles preceded what I can only describe as a void of writhing shapes. It was so dark I couldn’t tell if the stage was populated with creatures or men. Whatever they were, the next few seconds were utterly disorienting. The voice of a serial killer slithers out of the speakers but is quickly blasted away by a wall of noise so vast my eyes refuse to blink. Flashes of red, strobes of white do little to penetrate the inky blackness from which Dragged Into Sunlight operate.
The heaviness cannot be overstated. Any experience of playing ‘Boiled Angel’ from a disc will never prepare anyone for the absolute chest shattering of their live rendition. The drums hit with the weight of a murderous sledgehammer or a machine gun shooting into a brick wall. The unearthly, demonic screams only intent is to scour you from existence. Dragged Into Sunlight have never been a very approachable band, but the violence with which they play ‘Lashed to the Grinder and Stoned to Death’ makes one think they have a strong disdain for the entirety of humanity. Nothing but death and possibly uninterrupted torture can prepare anyone for the experience of this band live. If anything, I’m relieved they turn their backs on the crowd when they play; I would be legitimately terrified to gaze upon their faces, lest I go insane.
Review — Dylonov Tomasivic
P.S. I think the vocalist had his hand taped to the microphone for added discomfort? It was so dark I couldn’t tell but… I wouldn’t put it past them.
Revisit our interview with Dragged Into Sunlight‘s vocalist T. right here