Melbourne Pavilion, Melbourne
October 30th, 2022
Featuring: Alpha Wolf, Silent Planet, Deez Nuts, Currents, The Beautiful Monument, To The Grave, Bloom, Vengeance and Future Static
In the ten years since their inception, Alpha Wolf has managed to win the hearts of music fans around the globe; their dedication to the craft and work ethic is second to none. To give back to the community that allowed them to grow into the metalcore titans that they are today, the Melbourne-based group created CVLTFEST, an all-inclusive space to celebrate Alpha Wolf‘s success and heavy music at large.
On Melbourne’s warmest day in weeks, I arrived at the venue only to join in at the end of a long queue that wrapped around the building; the anticipation was increasing as the line moved quickly. Entering the venue, I was delighted to find that the festival’s layout was perfectly planned and executed; food trucks were outside, pop-up tattoo studios, a photo booth, and some merch/vinyl stalls were in their own room, which happened to be ample open space. The next room was the band room, with merch sales and a bar adjacent to the stage. Despite a big crowd present, at no point did the busy venue seem crowded or cluttered, which set up everyone in attendance for a great day ahead.
Having been one of the first bands to play on different days at both UNIFY Forever and Knight and Day, delivering mass amounts of high energy to a crowd at the beginning of a festival is something that this group should be considered veterans of by now. Vocalist Amariah Michelle Cook delivered a ‘no holding back’ vocal performance, notably as the band carried out the first breakdown of the day, which of course, began the moshpit that lasted all day, from the opening band to the headliners.
The energy was turned up a few notches when this Melbourne-based metalcore four-piece took to the stage. From the first note that was struck, a large moshpit with an abundance of two-stepping and fans screaming lyrics at the direction of the stage showed how much this group’s fan base has grown since they formed last year. Alpha Wolf vocalist Lochie Keogh jumped on stage to fulfil his role during ‘retaliation’; his stage presence was quite the impact as whispers of “Oh my god, that’s Lochie from Alpha Wolf” emerged from the crowd. This set finished with the events first of many walls of death.
By this time, the venue was full of excited music fans ready to sing along to this Sydney-based quintet’s emotive hardcore songs. From the beginning of the first song, audio issues were present. Unfortunately, these issues were maintained for most of the set, despite the best efforts of staff on the ground. This took away from the experience the band had on offer; however, nothing was to stop punters from singing along. Starve‘s Jordan Dunbar took to the stage during ‘Daylight’. Even just the visual of him on stage was enough for the crowd to produce an aggressive moshpit.
Before ending the set with ‘Cold’, the group debuted an unreleased song with many of the usual Bloom characteristics; it sounded to be some of their heaviest work yet, with two-step drum fills and a hard-hitting breakdown. Keep your eyes peeled for word of its release in the future.
To The Grave
The festival’s heaviest and only deathcore act blew all expectations of them out of the water, including my own, even after having seen them perform multiple times in the past. Dane Evans, who I firmly believe is one of this country’s best upcoming vocalists, stormed the stage wearing a white-coloured balaclava and began to show off his jaw-dropping vocal range. The entire venue turned into a violent mosh arena while I stood to the side, trying to process the sheer amount of talent that I was witnessing. The Knight and Day alums spectacularly performed their set, maintaining crowd involvement at a high level throughout. Finishing their set with the event’s biggest wall of death, I was left in awe of what I had just witnessed. Much like The Red Shore and Thy Art Is Murder before them, To The Grave are destined for greatness. The future of Australian deathcore has arrived.
The Beautiful Monument
Parts of the crowd dispersed for the performance of one of the line-up’s slower acts, with the moshpit being put on pause. Punters seemed happy singing along as they stood, without moving much at all. The energetic five-piece performed faultlessly and effortlessly, creating a very inclusive set for all to enjoy. Guitarist Amy McIntosh finished the set while keeping up with her guitar duties at the same time.
Completing their debut Australian festival appearance, the US-based metalcore group was one of the day’s most anticipated acts. Before their set had even begun, punters could be seen crowd surfing while sitting in chairs. Starting with ‘Into Despair’ deafening chants of “I never said I could walk on water…” would have been heard in the next suburb. This intense energy carried through until the end of the set.
This group’s first Melbourne show in four years began slowly. Surprisingly, at first, the crowd seemed somewhat disinterested and unenthused about this performance. Vocalist JJ Peters sounded a little rough at the beginning, but he found his groove soon enough. Towards the middle of the performance, the crowd began interacting and moshing, with JJ jokingly stating, “Oh, so you do know who the f*ck we are?!”. This energy was amplified when Peters went down to the barrier and handed the microphone to a fan, asking them to perform the rest of the song from the mosh area, which they did perfectly.
Before performing the song ‘SK Forever’, the band gave a heartwarming speech about their friend Sean Kennedy who tragically died last year; they stated, “The last time I was in Melbourne, my best friend was here with us.” I was personally disappointed as they didn’t perform the song ‘Band of Brothers’; I guess that just gives me a reason to see them the next time that they play!
The first thing I noticed as the group took to the stage was that all three mic stands had a bouquet of flowers attached to them, which added a nice touch. Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference. The high energy and fast-paced dynamics between band members and the audience heated things up, so much so that vocalist Garett Russell took his shirt off for the latter half of the set. Future Static vocalist Amariah Michelle Cook joined the Californian metalcore juggernauts, finishing the set with something nobody saw coming.
The time had come for Australia’s newest metalcore heavyweight to take to grace us with their on-stage presence. Kicking things off with the group’s latest single, ’60cm of steel’, for which bassist John Arnold performed the cleans section flawlessly. Giant, oversized black and orange balloons bounced around the venue as punters hit them in the air while singing along to new favourites, as well as old favourites that no longer get much attention from the band, such as ‘Failvre’, ‘I Am; Horror’, ‘Nail Biter’, and ‘#104’. Between songs, the band gave heartfelt sentiments on their journey that led to this point; however, it was hard to hear exactly what was said due to a muffled sound coming through the speakers. One thing is for sure, though, Keogh reminded the sea of AW fans that “You motherf*ckers are part of the cult” before inviting both Jerry Chard from Vengeance and Lizi Blanco from The Beautiful Monument on stage to take part in different songs before closing out the set with fan favourite ‘Akudama’.
This event’s overwhelming success attests to the results of the hard work and dedication that Alpha Wolf has invested in their career thus far. Becoming a key player in the metalcore world is a title that very few attain; however, against all odds, that is where Alpha Wolf find themselves at this point in their career.
Gig Review by Adam Rice
60cm Of Steel
Nail Biter / #104 / I Am; Horror (medley)
Rot In Pieces
Creep (ft Jerry Chard of Vengeance)
Bleed 4 U (ft Lizi Blanco of The Beautiful Monument)
To The Grave
The Beautiful Monument
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