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6 March

Photos & Review by Sheldon Ang

With a line-up such as Burial Ground, Illyria, Deadspace, Christ Dismembered, and the headliner act Earth Rot embarking on their Australian tour, we could only expect sick and twisted thematically-charged charade and shenanigans, the kind of filth relating to death, darkness, dejection, dying, detestation, denigration, degradation, dirty and the devil…and all the D’s including more deaths that would serve the depressed…into becoming more depressed.

Influenced by the 80s and 90s, with my first concert being Celine Dion at the Perth Entertainment Centre in 1994 (followed by Air Supply – do yourself a favour and Youtube them), the darkened death metal genre is not what I’d listen over a dinner date, with lyrics and vocals seemingly incongruous with the professed principles in my personal predilections of life (mind you, I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian music of this genre. And I’ve read Anton Lavey’s The Satanic Bible twice – for literature purposes).

Perhaps it was the will of the above, but the main supporting act Christ Dismembered were stuck in Adelaide due to aviation-related technical issues. However, they made it on time, pushing them to the last slot of the night.

I attended from Deadspace onwards, and as the night being one of their last performances on Australian soil before embarking to Europe, I was keen to witness the on-stage onslaught, the kind that has amassed over thirteen thousand Facebook likes, more than all the other bands tonight – put together.

The men of Deadspace rocked onto the stage, with more face paint than what you’d find in the make-up bag of Krusty. The crowd roared, punching into the air with rock god (no pun intended) gestures. Smoke billowed from the stage, engulfing the worshippers drowning in delirium, the kind of ecstasy that was surprisingly voracious for a band named in the middle of a set list.

I’m not going to pretend that I recognised every song from their album The Liquid Sky, but as the performance went on, it was a darkened, pitch black death metal all over performance, with the barely coherent lyrics of BDSM smearing, grinded with post-rock influences. The vocals of Chris Gebauer was sweet (or clean) in parts, and brutally deep in the growls for most. The on-stage theatrics were beyond mesmerising – with hair flying at neck breaking speeds; it was as if I was witnessing the making of a shampoo ad, while the clan on the floor blended in as extras. Indeed, it was an unforgiving performance, emasculating, and unrelenting by the six men that were only meant to get the pit fire started but ended fuelling disarray to a bloody bon fire.

Next came the main act. Earth Rot. If you’re a local and into death metal music, you’d be familiar with them, having released albums since 2014. Black Tides of Obscurity is their third full length album released in 6th of March.

It was my second time witnessing Earth Rot in over a month as they kicked start their Australian tour across four cities, with home city Perth being their first stop. Fast paced and brutal, Earth Rot are a well-oiled machine delivering the styles that’d you’d expect from their influences such as Gorgoroth, Naglfar – and other (not so) household names. What I love about Earth Rot is their fresh sounding filth from the quartet…strong guitar grooves and riffs injecting madness spewing onto the crowd, sounding more pronounced as the show went on.

The lead vocals of Jared Bridgeman were raw, with evil undertones and deep brutality as what you’d expect from the classic death metal genre, howling darkness and vileness and the kind that would make you think what had just happened, compounding vocals in range with the dynamics of the tracks. Guttural is perhaps the word I’m searching for.

If there was one stand-out performance I could take away from, it would be the drums of Daniel Maloney as he pummelled his way into heavenly chaos (or hell) that was utterly world class. With precise timing, the captain steered the ship into ethereal perfection.

The main support act Christ Dismembered was last on the revised set list. They reminded me a bit of black metal pioneer Dark Funeral (more (not so) household names), who released their self-titled debut album in May 2017. Formed in Millicent South Australia in 2012, and with names such as NecroStatan , Plague and Baphvomit, you’d expect nothing less than the evilness of all evils.

They set the stage scene face painted (unsurprisingly) – with the base player stamped an inverted cross on his forehead. I was mesmerised, perhaps it was the beard of Baphvomit, or perhaps it was the Cross of Saint Peter that kept staring into my camera lens.

Currently unsigned, their foreboding appearance was intimidatingly infectious, almost an addiction as I fired away with the shutter of my camera at twelve frames per second, albeit the lighting considered a nightmare to work with. They sounded more coherent than most dark metal bands yet managed to keep the aggression and spreading the immoral diseases that were infectiously embraced by the crowd.

While the night was meant to be Earth Rot’s, I got the the feeling that Deadspace might have stolen the show – purely because it was their last performance on Australian soil.

I spoke with a member of Deadspace. He humbly asked me – with an innocent undertone, “What can we do to improve ourselves?” Absolutely nothing my friend. You guys rock, with KISS-like showmanship…all the best with your journey in Europe.

The members of tonight’s line up and the audience were one of the nicest, humblest, happiest and unassuming people I’ve met; a stark contrast to their on-stage illusion. After all, they are performers and actors of all sorts.

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