Darkmatter – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 4th February @ Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
February 4th, 2023
Supports: Pincer+, Shattered, No Guilt
Just over 6 months ago, I was introduced to Darkmatter when they supported Alpha Wolf and Fit For A King on the ‘Metalcore Snitches’ tour. I was quite impressed by the band’s level of finesse, given they had only been around for a year or so. The boys recently dropped a massive 3-track EP The Anatomy Of Violence, so suffice to say, I was pretty keen to see them again. Headlining their own show though? Did Darkmatter have what it takes?
No Guilt was first to take the stage. The room was barren when they started, but a hefty chunk of punters appeared moments later, half-filling the room. The hardcore band tore through a few originals, with bassist Lindsay ‘Fridge’ Frigeri showing some stage presence with a couple of cheeky punk jumps. The venue lighting tech must have been off sick tonight, as two static green lights produced the stage lighting. No Guilt sunk into a Trapped Under Ice cover which elicited some more movement from the crowd. This movement oiled the joints of the punters, allowing those in the room to show the band a bit more love, with a few bringing out some hardcore dance moves throughout the remainder of the band’s set. No Guilt showed some promise for a band only two gigs in!
Up next were Shattered, who turned up the dial on heaviness – getting the fans a little more prepared for Darkmatter. The band shredded through a track, before the vocalist demanded “MORE MOVEMENT” from the room. A slosh of keen punters followed orders – swinging arms and legs wildly throughout the next couple of tunes, which were full of unyielding sub drops that threatened to bring the walls down. Not one to be a hypocrite, the vocalist jumped into the crowd, started a row of two-steppers, before passing the mic to multiple fans eager to unleash a vocal line or two. Shattered as a whole were very tight, highlighted during breakdowns full of fast-paced chops and stops (that were utterly silent) – one would be forgiven for thinking it was a recording. With a bit of work on stage presence (the bassist needed to step back to allow the vocalist to be front and centre) these boys have potential.
Pincer+ followed, continuing the night’s path to heavier genres. The band took to the stage, accompanied by a trap track to set the mood. After unleashing a few songs, half the band left the stage and a guest vocalist appeared. Another trap beat blared from the speakers and the band’s guitarist and the guest vocalist proceeded to rap over it – an act that seemed to confuse half the venue. The band returned and got straight back into their usual repertoire. The crowd resumed moshing, with large doses of headbanging and throwing down. It’s probably just me, but Pincer+’s audioscape just sounded like noise and I think they need to work on some more defined clarity between the instruments to really step it up.
Now came the moment punters had been waiting for, the room already filling up while the stage was still empty. The static green lights were replaced by multiple others, a huge screen at the back flashing with Darkmatter’s logo. The vibe shifted from local band to touring band. The boys bounded onto stage, the room erupting in applause as they jumped straight into ‘Claustrophobia’. The screen’s graphics changed to match the tone of the video clip with some of the main lyrics appearing throughout, ensuring the crowd yelled them back. As the belter was coming to a close, vocalist Jack Bell commanded the crowd “DO SOMETHING” for that final crushing breakdown – the room exploding in response. One track in and Darkmatter had already delivered. The stage presence, audio quality, lighting, and graphic screen proved these boys aren’t messing around, and the bar has been lifted.
Darkmatter wasted no time, perfectly performing ‘Binge’ and ‘Cyan’ from their debut Project Darkmatter. The nu-metal influences are strong in these two thrashers, particularly the final moments of ‘Cyan’ where the band sink into a huge groove, carried by James Glover’s gigantic beat that had every fan’s head rocking along. The band took a moment to breathe here and gave shoutouts to the other bands.
‘Overdose’ and ‘DNA’ came next and continued to take advantage of the stage setup, with prescription pills and double helix graphics brandishing the screen during the respective tracks. As guitarist and clean vocalist Josh Martin had eluded to earlier, ‘Overdose’ goes “Full send” at the end and punters took the opportunity to release some energy in the mosh as the colossal breakdown had the venue shaking. Josh’s haunting cleans were on point in these tracks (and throughout the night), while the guest vocalist in ‘DNA’ unleashed some menacing screams. Josh then took the opportunity to thank their crew and fans – showing some sincere appreciation.
Darkmatter then pummelled the crowd with ‘Bladerunner’, ‘Soul Sick’, and ‘Parasite Culture’. Jourdan Kestel absolutely slayed throughout these anthems, his bass tone giving monstrous low end to the songs’ riffs. The room continued to bounce, mosh and throwdown throughout. Jack flexed his powerful vocals, easily cutting through the mix, as he controlled the crowd. When the time came for the night-ending breakdown of ‘Parasite Culture’ the band paused, and Jack demanded the crowd “OPEN IT UP ONE LAST TIME” signalling for a wall of death. There was some splitting of the room, but Jack wasn’t impressed yet asking “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT???” provoking the crowd to make a bit more of a chasm prior to the gargantuan breakdown. Happy with the result, the band unleashed, bodies slammed, walls trembled, and the ground shook.
I don’t know what these boys have been mixing into their water or how many extra Weet-Bix they’ve been eating, but it’s working. Darkmatter haven’t even left WA yet and they are bringing the finesse of a band that’s been touring for a few years. It’s a massive call, but it’s reminding this geezer of what it felt like watching Make Them Suffer tear apart YMCA HQ back in 2012. If Darkmatter continue on this trajectory, national and international tours should be in their future.
Review by Anthony Santoro
Photo Gallery provided by James Kilian @jameskilian
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