The Valve Bar - 30 October 2011
Hazmat - Kinoath - The Vaine - Damarill - Balescream - Exit For Freedom - Larry Leadfoot
The Valve in Tempe is a pub with a bistro, a patio enclosed verandah and an outside area with benches. There are harps pretty much everywhere you look. Keeping in mind this venue used to be called, 'The Harp'. The stage area is in a dark room towards the back of the pub. Something that sounds like Bolt Thrower is being played quietly before the bands start. Most of the musicians look pretty damn tired, some having just played last night at a more popular Saturday night slot and a couple have travelled from Newcastle. The bands were supposed to start at 1pm but were moved to 3pm due to conflicting times with a battle of the bands competition. Starting later in the day is always good but there is still no one here. The usual metalheads are either too hungover from last night or just could not be assed trying to get to a pub that has
little in the way of public transport on a Sunday afternoon.
From 3:30 to 4:00pm there are about 15 people patiently waiting while the band sets up. The sonic sounds created from these guitarists are beautiful to hear. It takes a minute after Larry Leadfoot blast into their set for me to realise there is no bass player. The competent drummer instead brings the chaos on his own and does it well. These guys are tight and solid, jumping about and enjoying themselves while they rip out some guitar squeals, finger tapping, high pitched solos, sonic sounds and layered guitar work. The lanky vocalist roars and screeches some screamo type sounds that aren't too bad. It’s interesting to watch and listen to. I should find out how these guys sound on a recording. Apparently they have gone through a series of bass players and using a seven string guitar pretty much makes up for it. I guess you really can get away with not having a bass player and let’s face it, they’re mostly lazy pricks anyway.
Larry Leadfoot Setlist:
Swab - Bovi Spongiform Encephelothapy - Bleeding Taco - Turboganucken - Any Way Is In
EXIT FOR FREEDOM
These Newcastlites hit the stage attempting to revive the fact that it was Halloween. I don’t think they were too prepared though. Covered in texta drawings, the bass player wearing a flashing necklace, Exit For Freedom crashed through a setlist of fast thrashy riffs and chugging breakdowns. The drums' double kick was loud; a warmer thunderous sound that pulsated around the room rather than cutting through the mix. The band didn't interact with each other as much as they could have to make their live performance a little more interesting, but there are few people to perform to anyway. The vocalist/guitarist brought out some great guitar work! His vocals were rugged, the cleaner melodic vocals were perhaps off-key but he could rip out some heavier roars. The band had a few people moshing which was good to see!
Exit For Freedom Setlist:
Walk The Minefield - Lol Joke - Pull Harder On The Strings Of Your Martyr Trivium cover - Untitled - Voices - Not My Fight
Balescream hit the stage in a whirlwind of thrashy metal. The singer is twice the size of everyone else in the room in a hulking Cannibal Corpse kind of way. The guys play hard and fast, ball-breaking and very fucking loud. However, at times the mix lacked clarity and I think the drums and vocals in particular were drowned out by some very loud guitars. These guys have only been playing for a year with an EP on the way, but looking at the musicians it looks like they have been playing music individually for a while.
Prelude - Cyconic Terror - Cold War - Becoming The Revenant - Fatality - Skeleton Key - Halloween - Kusanagi - Rust in Peace Megadeth cover
Damarill are melodic and heavy, fast paced with a mix of heavy and crystal clean vocals metalcorish, but guitar work is brilliant. The band is mostly metalcore, likeable and easy to listen to. The band's quieter riffs are really cool and have this interesting laid back off-key feel that you never find in any metal bands. At other times the band pulled out some classic metal sounds and catchy riffs, which the band seemed proficient in. A little crowd has gathered, which is not bad for a 7pm time.
Dirty Grub - Lamb Theatre - Bunniez And Things - Hallowed Be Thy Name Iron Maiden cover - Midnight Courtesan - Smilodon
The music of The Vaine firstly reminded me of Arch Enemy with a hint of something in the vocals that remind me of hardcore. There is tonnes of screaming, burpy vocals; nothing is done clean. The singer poses with one leg on the fold back while the rest of the band moshes in unison. These guys are not a bad five piece. Nice melodies, solos and technical guitar riffs and decent drums; its close enough for me to call it melodic death metal. The room is getting a few more punters than the rest of the bands and everyone is into it. There's even a punter showing his appreciation for the band by doing cartwheels and jumping about like an angry emo.
The Vaine Setlist:
Intro - Her Name Is Chaos - Beanstalking Jacque - Joshua - Doors - Faggot Features - The Sound Of The Mary Celeste
Kinoath set up their marshal stacks. The two guitarists each have two marshal quad boxes which look bloody awesome. The band jokingly claim they would have brought larger stacks but ran out of ceiling space. If this band can’t get a marshal promo deal, I don’t know who can! Kinoath are a classic metal sound. What you might call a ballsy hard rock sound. I think there's a double kick in there being toyed with but it’s not used much. The vocals are yelling with some more yelling in the backup vocals. The bass player has an awesome growly distorted bass that would impress any bass player who likes to play with his sound. The band play a cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls with the bass player again with the effects, doing a nice job with a wah type sound, and it gets a few people moving, myself included. These guys have some talent; however, in this room there's not really any vibe, with almost no audience to talk to and the singer has a running joke through the set, counting down until the last song.
Room 7 - One vs All - For Whom the Bell Tolls Metallica cover- Minority Rulz - The Grip - Critical Condition - Driven - Blacked Out - In Sanity
It’s more of the classic metal sounds that Hazmat brings to the stage. More Marshal stacks, Flying Vs and Jacksons are out in force with this five piece. The vocal sounds have a theatrical air to the clean vocals and reminds me of all sorts of different 70s and 80s metal bands. The drummer's backup vocals cement the sound into something worth opening your ears to. The bass player at one stage plays a tin whistle – it’s not Jethro Tull but it does add an interesting folk aspect to the music. During the set the singer yells at the small crowd to come closer and a couple of fans move in for some ferocious moshing. The rest watch casually, nodding along with a beer in hand. If you like your classic metal, Hazmat are a band you can enjoy with a few beers.
Wings Of The Devil - Blitz Attack - Life - Extinct - Changing Of The Guard - Unnatural Selection - Snake - Shadows - The Judge - Hate For Me - Ragged Bloody Heroes - Repressed - Spilt Trust - Blue Murder
Inevitably, whenever I find myself at a gig void of a crowd, I often have doubts on whether or not these gigs are a complete waste of time for all involved. What’s the point in playing them? There are no punters except for the band members and their friends supporting them. It’s empty and it’s boring. People have taken time off, organised the day, rehearsed for the gig, checked their instruments are in order, changed strings, prepared back-up guitars and amps, organised transport, loaded and unloaded their shit to get it all there. While it can often feel like a waste of time, I guess in reality you have to take the shit gigs with the good ones, enjoy your music or even try something different to the set list. There's an expertise and tightness you get from playing these gigs over and over again; a learned skill that is priceless to every musician.
Mystic Metal Live Review by Jaimey Foti © 03 November 2011
All pictures by Jaimey Foti
Editing and Layout by Déa di Morté