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Live Reviews : Coroner, Killrazer, Elm Street, Bastardizer and The Devil Himself @ The Manning Bar, Sydney 08/06/14

By on June 11, 2014

Images: Mick Goddard
Words: Prarthana Venunathan

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Sunday night at the Manning Bar, my second home, and also home to some of the best metal gigs Sydney has seen. This time around, it was another night of thrash-filled brilliance courtesy of the legendary Coroner from Switzerland. I got there just before doors opened and there were a few people scattered around the place but the crowd grew in number as the first bands came on to get the show started.

Up first were The Devil Himself. Now with a name like that, what would you expect? Death? Thrash? SOMETHING heavy yeah? Nope. This band certainly did have an element of metal to their music but it wasn’t heavy. It was quite an odd mix of sounds, with the vocalist ( who was dressed like a freestyle street artist ), beginning with a rap and ended up in a soulful song. Quite frankly, I wasn’t very sure what genre these guys were aiming at, but the closest I could come to describing them is contemporary metal (if that’s a thing?), their music a culmination of all kinds of genres. There were a couple of tracks which you couldn’t help but move your head in time to the beat, and also the vocalists enthusiasm was pretty contagious! I’m guessing this lot from Sydney are relatively new because they seemed rather timid on stage .Apart from the fact that they were the ‘odd man out’ on the night, objectively speaking, their sound kind of grows on you and is rather catchy. If you’re into a very mixed kind of sound and like unpredictability when you listen to music, definitely give these guys a listen! They’re not your ordinary metal band but they do throw in some heavy segments along with an array of other things.

Up next were Sydney’s very own Bastardizer! I’ve seen these guys once before and they really bring a whole lot of madness to the stage. Their music is absolutely heavy, riff-fuelled, and at some points, mind-numbingly fast. Vocalist Chris Beesley entered the stage in quite an amusing manner, after which I also realized he was sporting some very big sunnies! Although bringing in a humorous feel, his vocals do justice to the ‘black thrash and roll’ label that they’ve given themselves. There’s heaps of fun sections in their songs that have a metallic bounce to them, lots of killer solos, and an evil, underlying darkness in general. Guitarist Billy ‘Goat’ Morgan effortlessly shred his guitar at unforgivable speeds, half the time without even looking given his extremely wild hair! Having opened for bands like Morbid Angel and Havok, these lads from Sydney are gaining a huge fan base not only for their intense blend of black, thrash and death metal but also for their energetic stage presence. They clearly didn’t need a breather!

Elm Street

Elm Street

Third act for the night were Elm Street. Last I saw these guys was when they opened for Iced Earth and they did not fail to impress! Every second this band is on stage, they are upbeat, energetic and have quite a cool stage presence, especially frontman Ben Batres. He did a good job of getting the crowd psyched out of their wits and ready to face the majestic Coroner. Playing tracks that ranged from the fun and thrashy ‘Hellraiser’ to their most popular track and one of my favourites ‘Elm Street Children’ they are a band that forge through their songs with relentless speed and power. Another thing to keep an eye out for is drummer Tomislav Perkovic and his awesome kit set up. Alternating with his hands moving up and down, it was fun to watch him and seems to be the backbone of ES’s music. Catchy, lots of groove and a lot of enthusiasm just about sums up Elm Street’s set! My only complaint would probably be that their set seemed to draw out for a little longer than expected which is probably the reason for the next band’s set cut short and at times some of their songs seemed quite repetitive. Nonetheless they proved to be a good support and were responsible for a now completely pumped up crowd.

The final supporting act of the night to put it quite simply were brutally awesome. Killrazer are a regal bunch and are really everything a thrash metal band should be.  Having not heard of the band before and not knowing what to expect, needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. Vocalist Doug Dalton stands tall and strong with his vocals fierce and his fingers moving at the speed of light providing some absolutely magnificent guitarwork, in sync with the thunderous drums and really distinct bass. Their new single ‘Salt in the Wound’ is a beast of a track and although their songs were quick, they had so much rhythm and heavy chugging it led to quite a few mini mosh-pits, lots of headbanging and mad cheering from the crowd. Although with their set was cut back, in their short 30 minutes, they definitely had the full attention of the now packed venue  with their extreme, aggressive and headbang-inducing music. Do yourself a favour and pick up their new single, listen to their stuff and head to a show, support them because they REALLY deserve it!

Finally it was time for the mighty Coroner! I’ve only heard three albums of theirs and I loved every single one of them especially ‘Mental Vortex’. There’s an element to their music which I still can’t identify but it sets them apart from any other technical/thrash band that I’ve heard and seen live. These guys are the real deal. A reunion after 14 years, you’d think, “They might be a little bit rusty.” Nope. This amazing lot from Switzerland owned every minute of their set and did so in the most graceful manner you could imagine when it comes to metal. Entering on stage with quite a sophisticated elegance, the four-piece band from Zurich reflect the same sophistication in their music. Kicking off their set with quite a bang, with ‘Golden Cashmere Sleeper, Part 1’ ‘Internal Conflicts’ and the punishing ‘Sons Of Lilith’ there was no sign that these guys had split for 14 odd years. The progression in Coroner’s music is something you need to keep an ear out for. One song just led into another, but you could still make out the difference between each track. It’s a little difficult to put into words but in more simple terms, the flow of their music is fantastic, and given that this progression stands out, the impact of their sound is even more!

Coroner

Coroner

With a collection of albums to their credit, Coroner covered tracks from my personal favourite, ‘Mental Vortex’ like ‘Metamorphosis’ and ‘Divine Step(Conspectu Mortis) and ‘Punishment For Decadence’ like the maddening and fast ‘Masked Jackal’. Ron Royce’s  ability to switch from raspy growls to a more aggressive and deeper drawl is outstanding. Music aside, he along with the rest of the band are such beautiful people! Tommy Vetterli seemed to have fingers of butter, watching him tap , strum and play so effortlessly it was amazing to watch him! Musical ingenious aside, this four piece technical thrash metal band, are the warmest and friendliest bunch you’ll ever come across, absolutely beautiful people! Engaging in a few jokes and entertaining banter with the audience, he told us how delighted they were coming to Australia for the very first time. He also showed so much love and respect to their newest member Diego Rapachietti, introducing him even before they started playing and continuously pointing out the drummer in between songs. Diego is a beast. I wouldn’t have thought for a second that he was a new drummer with the way he drums so fluidly and like he composed the songs himself! It was brilliant to just watch him pounding the hell out of his kit with no sign of effort on his face. Just pure focus.

Returning happily for a two song encore, Coroner ended their absolutely incredible and electrifying performance with ‘Reborn Through Hate’ and ‘Die By My Hand’, two songs which boosted the energy in the atmosphere all over again. It was truly an experience seeing them play live and for their very first Aussie tour. If they’re heading to your city, DO NOT miss them, you never know when they’ll be playing again and obliterating all your senses. Epic night!

About

Prarthana is a vegan, Indo-Aussie, heavy music addict, fluent in sarcasm and metal. Traveling is an obsession as she enjoys taking in the history of various countries and following her favorite bands. She's either eating, teaching grammar or learning an instrument, when not occupied with windmilling in the faces of other humans.