Gatecreeper & Undeath – Gig Review 17th March @ The Brightside, Bris QLD

into the fall sideshow brisbane

Gatecreeper, Undeath
The Brightside, Brisbane, QLD
March 17th, 2023
Support: Convulsing

On what surely must be one of the muggiest March nights in Brisbane’s history, The Brightside will be playing host to the Australian debut of two of the USA’s hottest new death metal bands. A sideshow of the Into The Fall Festival, the rare chance to see both Gatekeeper and Undeath in a club setting is not lost on the growing ground of long haired punters.

Opening this evening is the dissonant, blastbeat-filled stylings of local trio Convulsing. The group’s first live show of 2020’s is warmly received by the rapidly swelling Brightside, but perhaps not the best choice of support act. Their more technical sound comes across a little lifeless in comparison to both the headliner’s more meat and potatoes, old school death metal. That being said, Convulsing’s set is completely airtight and musically faultless, with frontman/guitarist Brendan Sloan pulling out some truly unnatural sounds from his instrument. The occasional dynamic passage helps break up their set, but things begin to drag a little by the time their allocated time draws to a close.

Fresh off the road with Aussie heavyweights Thy Art Is Murder on the North American leg of the Decade of Hate Tour, New York State’s Undeath immediately get the energy pumping with their fun, riff-driven death metal. Sure, it’s nothing super fresh, but songs like ‘Necrobionics’, ‘Chained to a Reeking Rotted Body’ and the anthemic ‘Rise From The Grave’ are perfect for the rapidly intoxicated Friday night extreme metal crowd. Frontman Alexander Jones is an endless ball of energy, Ala the late great Trevor Strnad, constantly pushing the heaving crowd to keep moving and to get ‘goofy’, all with a big smile plastered on his face. It’s a faultless set – even the usually punishing Brightside mix is tolerable – and with endless pits and crowd surfing, you could be forgiven for thinking that Undeath were tonight’s headliners. Closing their set with the title track of the breakthrough debut ‘Lesions of a Different Kind’, the New York five piece delivered an awesome showing on their Australian arrival.

With The Brightside crammed with black shirted patrons, this evening’s main event Gatecreeper arrive to a hero’s welcome. Armed with the nastiest HM2 guitar tone this side of Stockholm, there is a more serious mood to Arizonans’ set – not to say that energy levels have been brought down. Quite the contrary, especially during the short, fast cuts from the Unexpected Reality release which sees the sweating dance floor whipped into a frenzy. Other tunes like ‘Craving Flesh’ and set-opener ‘Sweltering Madness’ will be the cause of many a bangover tomorrow morning, with a relentless cavalcade of riff and grooves. Vocalist Chase Mason is a more restrained frontman than his Undeath counterpart, happy to clutch onto his mic stand as he delivers roars and screams. The mid-set highpoint ‘From The Ashes’ sounds even bigger live than on the record, veering almost into melodic-death metal territory with it’s marching-into-war Amon Amarth/Bolt Thrower ending. Even an extended break to fix a broken piece of drum equipment isn’t enough to derail momentum, with Gatecreeper keeping the sweat drenched crowd moving across their hour-long set. A different vibe than Undeath for sure, Gatecreeper are a well oiled machine live, and with so many great guitar parts, hooks and tracks, it’s clear to see why they are so highly touted amongst the extreme metal crowd.

Despite the mercury reaching obscene levels, tonight has been a huge success story for Gatecreeper, Undeath and death metal as a whole. Two of it’s finest American exports played their collective asses off, both delivering faultless sets that had the room full of hardened metal enthusiasts eating out of their hands. Showers will be had and clothes will be washed, but this evening’s death metal masterclass will linger for long to come.

Review by Andrew Kapper.

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