Crowbar, Sydney NSW
August 30th, 2019
Supports: Hazmat & Temtris
This gig was a long time coming, and what a privilege it is to be here. To see Metal Church, one of the pioneers of heavy metal, and an inspiration to so many bands, is amazing, and an unmissable show. When Metal Church burst back on the scene with long time absent vocalist Mike Howe in 2014, not only was this a new lease of life for the band, but it turned the metal scene, worldwide, in to a frenzy. The band have released two albums to date with this reformation, XI and Damned If You Do. Both releases have been extremely strong and have reiterated just why this band is so important to the scene.
Tonight the Crowbar, rightly so, is sold out and there are metalheads here from across the whole gamut of the scene, both sound, and generation wise. There is also a very cool vibe in the room, and if anything a sense of celebration for a gig that should have been here decades ago.
First up tonight is Temtris, and they had definitely come along to play! On the back of their latest album, Rapture, they played a set that was worthy of any metal band out there. This latest release, now twelve months old, has taken the band to a whole new level, and if you haven’t heard this album yet, and you say you are a metal fan, go and lay down some cash. I know Temtris have had their line up issues, namely drummers, over the last few years, but the new drummer in the chair tonight really locked the band together, and he definitely seems to be the piece of the puzzle they have been missing. The band were extremely tight and unleashed a set that not only drew the punters in, but flowed with seamless and enlightening energy. New tracks such as ‘Wings of Death’ and ‘Run’ fit so well within the set and put this band in great stead for the future. ‘Enter the Asylum’ also deserves a mention from this set, a great track that just went over so well tonight. Temtris really deserved the accolades they received tonight, they are a tight, melodic and engaging band whose hardworking and dedication is paying off.
Next up were Hazmat and they played a very solid and honest set. These guys have the respect of the scene in Sydney, earnt through hard work, integrity and the love of the music. Jay and co are great guys and they never let a room full of punters down. It was different for me, seeing new guitarist Roy Callaby, Jay’s son, handling axe duties, whilst Duck is on a break, but this young guy is a great guitarist and locked in so well with the old man and the band; it was great to see Duck though, supporting hid band from the floor and having the odd ale or two in testament to the set. The rapport that Hazmat has built across the scene is fantastic and the room had a great energy. On the back of songs tonight from Atonement (the latest release) and their self-titled debut, Hazmat have solidified their part in the scene, both in Sydney and Australia.
By the time Metal Church hit the stage the room was packed and ready for their first ever Sydney show; thirty five years in the making. They open with their latest album’s title track, ‘Damned If You Do’ and back it up with ‘Needle and Suture‘ from XI. What a start!! The band sounded great, extremely crisp and tight and the room was captivated. The band then launch into the classic track ‘The Badlands’, from Blessing in Disguise; the 1989 masterpiece. The room now explodes and the band represent the song with intensity, class and poise. By the time the band take a second to enable Mike to interact with the crowd, they already have the room eating out of their hands, and the band thank the room very humbly for their presence. This was a real theme of the set, thanking the room for their commitment, and the sincerity and honest elation was evident in the whole band. They were seriously happy to be here tonight and on this tour.
The band then move in to classic after classic, covering albums such as The Dark (1984), Blessing in Disguise (as mentioned above), The Human Factor (1991) and the much underrated Hanging in the Balance from 1993. We get smashed with tracks such as ‘Gods of Second Chance’, ‘Date with Poverty’, ‘You’re no Friend of Mine’ and ‘Watch the Children Prey’; amongst so many more. I really need to mention Mike Howe, whose voice is as strong as 1989, he commanded the stage with a selfless presence, and looked punters straight in the eye with integrity and conviction. Tonight we were in “Church,” and Mike was the clergyman. The band were extremely tight and showed first hand why they are so important to the scene. Finally, Kurt as Metal Church’s stalwart leader was also amazingly solid, strong and intense, which sums up his performance tonight.
I really can’t say what songs stood out for me tonight as the whole set was incredibly strong, from the opener, to the final encore in ‘Fake Healer’. The set also went so quickly, an hour and a half felt like fifteen minutes, and this is purely due to the set and the strength of the material.
Tonight was not just a show but an event, a lesson in what traditional heavy metal really is. To see Metal Church for the first time in Sydney, as I mentioned earlier, was a privilege and I am sure that no one left the room tonight disappointed. The band even hung around after the set, interacted with the audience, and sincerely thanked the strong Sydney support. Metal Church had proven tonight exactly why they are so important to the scene worldwide and I just hope that they will grace our shores again soon; I don’t think this room can wait another thirty five years.
Review by Mark Snedden
Revisit our interview with Metal Church‘s Mike Howe right here
Photo Gallery by Mark Kent. Facebook: MK Media
Please credit Wall of Sound and Mark Kent if you use published photos
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