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METAL SLAM, DAY ONE @ Music Man Megastore, Victoria, Australia

DREADNAUGHT / AUDEMIA / OBSCURE / Epimetheus / Death Valley Avenue / Ethereal / Necron 99 / Vendetta King Of England / Temtris Eyes Wide Open / The Hazard Circular
in Sunday, 7 September 2014 at Music Man Megastore
by Casper De Ro Ro

The venue is the Music Man Megastore in Bendigo, Victoria. Three floors of absolute commitment to musical expression. Retail premises on the ground floor in case your roadie lost it all. Stage room on the 1st and intimate lounge area on the second where bands could set up merchandise for sale, kick back with a bevvy and field questions from interested folk. A really terrific set up.

Our generous host Paul takes us on a guided tour of this august chamber littered with rock memorabilia and main band room with a soul all its own. Stage just high enough communicate with the mixing board opposite, but short enough to stay intimate with the attendees.

The lovely Peta welcomes our company at the bar as musician’s young and old shuffle in. Mainly band members today for the 2014 Metal Slam. Few familiar with one another and testosterone everywhere, although not limited to the males. A true heavy metal congregation, but an atmosphere of mutual respect prevails. No need for security personal here. Who in their right mind would start trouble and risk being barred from the most fervent of musical supporters in the land. These people will look after each other and their gracious host.

First up today is a Cranbourne based act named EPIMETHEUS. Any reference to the Greek Titan whose name literally means ‘afterthought’ remains unclear however as I ‘look back’ at their performance, I recall the word relentless. The vocalist most particularly so, surrounded by three guitars, one bass and kit kicker at the rear. These lads were lyrically competent at the least in addition particularly energising and entertaining. I wonder what antics and theatrics they could muster with a little more stage room to explore.  For now doing well on a small stage for a six piece outfit. Influenced by acts such as JOB FOR A COWBOY and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, this progressive death metal skilfully opened proceedings setting a high standard for the day.

The brainchild of Josh Cahill and Robert Biggs, DEATH VALLEY AVENUE are a local Bendigo four piece. They established an instantaneous beat to follow holding the attention of those present.  Lead vocalist Rob is extremely diverse.  He possessed the ability to assume multiple vocal roles freshening each track with new emotion. This bands members obviously write and play from experience passionately wearing life’s turmoil and subsequent emotions on their collective sleeve. "Old Friends" took hold of every early afternoon moshing head and bounced them in perfect unison.A particularly animated and mysteriously masked bassist was obviously enjoying every moment on stage. Later unmasked I was relieved to recall it was not a school day or this young lad’s instrumental skill would be missing from the group. His presence on stage and bass ability truly belies his youth. This band is certainly noteworthy for future success our ensuing fond recollection of early days.

Next up ETHEREAL from Geelong present the modern voice of youthful frustration and outrage.  Frustration, anger and confusion to music and a soundtrack for those close to the edge to hold on.  "That’s All She Wrote" is passionate and meaningful, littered with the collective experience of this 5 strong group.  Most pleasing to the metal palate and carrying mixed influence from such bands as ARCHITECT, LAMB OF GOD and ALTERBRIDGE.   Great work derived from true passionate for their music.


Ezza Slaughter, Josh the Rock Pig and Nick Burt? C’mon Nick, really? Let’s get you a metal moniker and quick about it.
Ezza effortlessly commands her bright red SG whilst impressing all with a terrific vocal technique. A simple look for Ezza with a simple Iron Maiden t-shirt and jeans look. Listening to her sing I am reminded of TIA CARRERA'S cover of "Private Life-Touch Me" in the movie Wayne’s World. Very similar sound and style except for Ezza’s metal edge and gutsy name.  Very big and impressive sound for a three piece and their METALLICA covers were most skilfully executed, enjoyable and true to their owners.   Can’t wait for a December/January EP from NECRON 99.  Maybe? Perhaps?

VENDETTA produced a remarkable sound. True metal voice and sound close that of TOOL, but all their own. Their unassailable lead and vocalist Mick Kee has been at it since 1991 with the group. This veritable veteran is a masterful performer who provides a smorgasbord of guitar riffs. "Take Revenge" and "Bloodshot" were popular and excellently performed. Also from Geelong, VENDETTA are an unpretentious heavy rock meets metal outfit who I trust provide the staple musical diet for many and will for many year to come. Grab yourself a copy of their CD "Backstab" and it will never be far from your playlist.

grace the stage and although the lead is somewhat confronted vertically as compared to his forerunners, he musters a voice from… well… I don’t know where he got it but he’s got it nonetheless. I mean no disrespect to this terrific fellow. He simply takes you by surprise when performing. Young and energetic KOE thrash the audience with a relentless assault on the auditory senses. Melbourne based, very popular with those present and an authentic contender for growing metal popularity and notoriety. Their "Contingency" EP is certainly worth your time, however it does illustrate that their growing proficiency is made manifest in live performances.

TEMTRIS. An apt description if there ever was. Leather clad metal goddess Genevieve Rodda takes to the stage as the crowd stand firm, confident that they have the intestinal fortitude for what will follow. Some will be found wanting. This is because some know the mastery of TEMTRIS and some are to face metal music’s cruellest of twists. Devotees all around sport the male dominated band t shirts. SLIPKNOT, MOTORHEAD, IRON MAIDEN… Gang's all here.  And here is G. Live and XX.

Some stand close to the stage will arms folded and chests thrust forth wondering if this talker of the talk can walk the walk. Some secretly hoping this lady who looks so awesome, cannot match with vocal talent. Some are shit scared that she will. Some suspect they may not be worthy of what they are about to receive. All are, however united by their common passion for heavy metal music.

Back to the stage as TEMTRIS tune in. Friendly greetings to the crowd and a warm welcome. No pretence here as smiles are offered along with the news that they have just endured an eight hour car trip to be live and local.

Ben Hart. A clean cut young man at the kit sneaks in a knowing grin. He cymbal taps the intro to "Captured" and the bands game faces and instantaneously donned.

Lew Smith reaches within and musters a demonic roar of vengeance and lets fly at the front row. His skilful vocal assault matched only by simultaneous guitar mastery.

Genevieve throws devil horns back to admirers and sheds the leather jacket. In case you were not sure, she is now in control and she needs no whip to command respect.

The first line of the first track and some are hearing her voice for the first time. You can tell because they rear back as Genevieve raises melodically to roughly ten feet tall.

The sultry lead of this fantastic ensemble instantaneously soars masterfully raising what was a small assembly into heaving crucible of neck shattering mosh. Genevieve demonstrates a vocal range that would render many professional singers dumbfounded as she holds notes both high and low captive until she is done.

Fox takes lead guitar and skilfully introduces "Slave to the System". As the author of this piece we see the emotion and meaning long since penned, come to life. The lead solo allows Anthony to showcase his guitarist prowess.

"Shallow Grave" is the title track from the current album and provides Spoon, the chance to highlight the necessity for the five string bass to establish the bands unique sound. And his does so admirably.

Fox nods along as the group pay homage to yet another of his creations. The expressive tale haunts all mustered as Genevieve leads us holding the "Last Blade of Light before darkness descends and entwines us in paradoxical reticence. The songs finale is met with howls and cheers from now adoring spectators.  One wonders how a group of such tremendously talented individuals together are within reach.

As I recollect the performance and reference video and photographs I am literally stunned, shocked and amazed.  One of my favourite tracks from the "Shallow Grave" recording is "Entity".  I type and lovingly recall the lyrics penned by Green, Rodda and Fox. One glance at the photograph below and I literally lapse into metal vernacular and fall off my chair.

This image is not doctored, enhanced or ‘touched up’ in any way.  Readers can make up their own mind what came to experience the masterful tracks, follows from gig to gig or what the band summoned forth. But regardless …’fuck right off!’ My humble belief is the lyrics of "Entity" explain all. I am literally struck bereft of further comment.

A performance of "Silent Tears" again showcases Genevieve’s tremendous vocal supremacy as I ponder which of the James Bond soundtracks would best suit her voice. Later investigation reveals that all would benefit from her influence.

"Forever Haunted" is an immediate favourite of all present igniting the metal passion within each assembled. It is your humble author’s belief that mid-point during a long day of music, TEMTRIS were collectively responsible at this point for all enthusiasm demonstrated for the remainder of the night. A reawakening and refreshment of passion if you will.

Lew Smith and Genevieve Rodda passionately present their collaborative creation "Darkness Lies" for all to enjoy, and enjoy they did. Fox thrills attendees with a crowd romp whilst serenading a select few with screeching riffs, setting the scene for Genevieve to visit a blessed few at floor level.  Mosh it up.

A genuine sadness amongst all as TEMTRIS leave the stage.

How is it possible in today world of mass media that performers of such metal-surgical expertise can exist under the radar?  One visualises the metal giant in wait, TEMTRIS leading the mosh pit in the world largest of arenas. What genuine passion for their genre and appreciation for all who enjoy.
I remain in a blissful stupor that these performers sound even better live than in the studio.

I’m sure the ‘guardian’ making the cameo appearance will light their way to metal malevolence and resounding magnificence.

Really… Watch this space.

And while we are appreciating something really remarkable, on comes CHASE THE ACE. I won’t use too many specifics without expressed permission, suffice it to say that the age of Jack Crosbie (lead vocals/guitar) and Tara Crosbie (drums) with knock your socks off. They have a truly unique sound which leaves one wondering if they have lived previous lives as heavy rock and metal master. Jack’s commanding appearance on stage is only lacking a horned helmet as this Nordic looking vocal warrior belts out lyrics with a voice Odin himself would find pleasing. Jacks sister shreds the skins with the proficiency of seasoned metal elder. The group’s collective sound is terrific and the fact that they have taken the forward step of marketing themselves as a valuable commodity is truly indicative of genuine knowledge and experience. I suspect that they are young enough to know what people want but old enough to deliver it. This brilliant brother and sister team along with their equally extraordinary band are destined to brilliance. I hope in music, but I suspect these people can achieve anything they are passionate about.

Next are EYES WIDE OPEN with Declan Clarke assuming his new role at the microphone on lead vocals. He obviously fits in extremely well and the group are happy with the live performance working well with his presence. This energetic group perform extremely well together and are terrific camera fodder as their legerdemain and persistent musical dexterity apparently know no boundaries. One wonders where the groupies are hiding in wait for their appearance in the crowd.

THE HAZARD CIRCULAR front man with dreadlocks flying zealously delivers the bands raw progressive metal and superior homogenised blend of metal genres.  Masterfully executed tracks brutally delivered make this band are an obvious crowd pleaser. THE HAZARD CIRCULAR are tried, tested and successfully pushing out metal for all to enjoy. The energy they create within the audience is something that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated.

Which brings our account of the day’s feast of Metal Slam delights to an end. We thank Music Man Megastore, Paul and Peta for their hospitality and opening the doors to support these magnificently entertaining acts to showcase their skills.

Our sincere thanks to all the bands and individuals for their performances and generosity with their time for discussions post act.

We eagerly anticipate an opportunity to review bands individually and more thoroughly.

But for now… Back to the shadows.

Live well and enjoy.

Casper De Ro Ro.

Ticket Price: 15AUD


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Edited 04 July 2020

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