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Bald Faced Stag

Bald Faced Stag

on 19/08/2011

Bands:

Synthetic Breed
Alice Through The Windshield Glass
Datura Curse
Elysian
Hell Itself

Bald Faced Stag - 19 August 2011

Datura Curse - Hell Itself - Elysian - Alice Through the Windshield Glass - Synthetic Breed

Alice Through The Windshield Glass  Elysian  Hell Itself

It was a rainy, windy August as I splashed up late to the shores of the Bald Faced Stag hotel and parked my trusty dinghy. I retreated to the back of the pub where to my surprise the bistro was miraculously still open. That is just awesome! If having a bistro still open at 9pm is not awesome, I don’t know what is. I had unfortunately just missed the first band though, called Datura Curse, whom I have seen before and must say are a great band and it was unfortunate not to see them this time.

Hell Itself Hell Itself 

After some hot wedges and a beer I'm dry and recovered and ready for Hell Itself, which hits the stage with little preamble. Singer Loz wears a Suffocation shirt and it’s a pretty good indicator of the band's direction. There’s plenty of death and grind elements in there, with the vocals being a consistent low, meaty rumble with few noticeable effects. There’s little range compared to a lot of the metal sub-genres out there these days but I certainly found the music's influences refreshing. What also helped was the ability of the band and an amazing sound. The drummer is brilliant and the sound was not only incredibly loud and vibrating in my stomach but it was also crystal clear without any white noise or feedback. The last time I saw these guys there was a drum machine being used and seeing the band playing with a drummer was a massive improvement. The music is brutal, well-crafted and polished and as the crowd watches on you can tell there is respect. It’s deserving of a full moshing crowd, but the band does little to engage the audience and the guitarists stand rock still, focusing on their craft. Some great music being played here! I’m sure the crowd would move forward if the band could create some physical energy in their live performance and perhaps some verbal abuse might be in order to whip those lazy-ass metal heads to the front of the stage.

Hell Itself Setlist Brainsaw Fallen Betrayer
Self Skinned Art of Death Incoming
Bloodless Heretic Impaled
Elysian Elysian

First thing I noticed about these guys was the distinct and dynamic vocalist. The singer reminded me of a European black metal vocalist at one point and then the vocalist from Lamb of God at another. There was however some echo effects on the vocals which I felt were overboard. Elysian had a more raw form than the previous bands; the drummer's china and crash cymbals sounded like they were being smashed to pieces and I was on guard for any flying shrapnel. To make matters worse, when not singing, the vocalist was bashing into his own set of percussive toms with gusto. However, the culprit may have been the overall sound mix because I also felt the double kicks and bass guitar were too soft. Regardless, the crowd seemed to love it. The vocals were interesting to listen to and the guitar's mix of brutality and melody was a pleasure to hear. The band engaged the audience well; the guitarists were constantly moshing, working the crowd who were well entertained by the band's ferocious energy. Towards the end of the set the sound improved and I could hear the bass guitarist punching through with some delicious sounds that you don't hear enough in metal bands these days.

Elysian Setlist  
Conquest Fear of Futility Cry for Helplessness
Sigma Machine Climb From Fear
Alice Through The Windshield Glass  Alice Through The Windshield Glass

Alice Through The Windshield Glass is racking up quite a crowd and you can tell it’s a band that’s been on Sydney’s music scene for a while. Amps are turned up and the entire venue is rumbling from pretty much every instrument. While busying myself saving the fine china in the room, I watched the ensuing high energy set of loud, thrashy chaos; their songs ending in feedback before they turned their pedals off. The vocals seem to be the steady rock-solid backbone while the rest of the band thrashes away, which makes for interesting chemistry. The band is having a great time, entertaining their rowdy crowd with familiar jokes, leaning on the fold backs and showing off some mega blast beats and speedy thrash with ease. The band's image is one of fun rather than any serious or unique metal, which is further marked by the lack of long hair, and yes, I even checked the drummer. I might email wig suggestions. In any case, the band is entertaining though the thrash was a little messy.

Alice Through the Windshield Glass Setlist

Tetris Chainsaw Massacre Earth Brutalis Australis
The Gaarden Berlin Preheat Your Ovens to Death
Synthetic Breed Synthetic Breed

I had heard of these Melbournites before and was interested to see how they played live. Especially seeing as Synthetic Breed has gone through so many lineup changes and I was sure would sound vastly different because of this. I think there is only one original band member left and despite this they’ve played with more international acts than you can poke a booking agent at. The band began the set thrashing away as a three piece; drummer, bass player and guitarist have their heads down in intense concentration as fourth member vocalist Mares Refalaeda jumps out of nowhere on stage, spewing some seriously heavy vocals at the crowd and they erupt in a cheer. Mares has the crowd in the palm of her hand as she engages and controls the audience and keeps it that way roaring through the set. The band keeps it heavy despite the lack of a second guitarist. Some chunky rhythms fill the room and there’s some backing tracks playing out some subtle synth to enhance the epic sound. There's some synchronised moshing of which if I were so inclined to judge such events, would give 10 out of 10 for. The band has a tight sound; a factory of industrial rhythms and complexity enhanced with some clever synth, all played in style with professionalism and showmanship. As the band ended and the night came to a close, the rowdy crowd began demanding encores and drum solos until it was obvious they were not to be obliged.

Synthetic Breed Elysian

The Bald Faced Stag seems to be a great pub venue, especially for the bands. I have to say that the local bands are getting a great sound and are lucky to be there. The stage is out back in a large room with a lot of empty space for gear and a backstage exit. The music gets really fucking loud but the bands all seem to enjoy the sound on stage at this venue. The acoustics and sound engineer at the mixing desk are top notch. The sound quality for the punters I think is brilliant and you only have to duck out of the room to get clear of the noise for a quiet beer, a chat, a game of pool or to chow into some food at the bistro. I can see why the Bald Faced Stag is such an enjoyable live Sydney venue. Let’s hope it stays that way!

 

Mystic Metal Live Review by Jaimey Foti © 22 August 2011

All pictures by Jaimey Foti and Déa di Morté

Editing and Layout by Déa di Morté