Live Reviews : Cursed Earth, Fallujah & Killswitch Engage @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney, 03/03/2017
Gig nights are always a highlight of the day/week but getting around Sydney on a Friday night amidst a torrential downpour is rather challenging. Making my way through the busy streets of Newtown towards the Enmore Theatre for a sold out show, I managed to get there just in time for the final minutes of Perth’s Cursed Earth. It’s quite simple really; Cursed Earth is just straight up brutal. Relentless and downright heavy, it was clear that the band’s objective was to demolish all ear drums in the room and there were quite a few. They smashed out songs from their release ‘Enslaved By The Insignificant‘ which came out last year. Definitely one band to keep your eyes and ears on!
With everyone buzzing after the opening act, people were positioning themselves in anticipation of watching one of the greatest bands of our time. Lights dimming down, and the excitement kicking in, Fallujah forged onto the stage with so much energy and a massive greeting to the Sydney crowd. It was clear from the get-go that the Bay Area metallers were absolutely thrilled to finally be in our country and in Sydney for their first ever Australian show. The Enmore was packed to see the musical brilliance of this band, bringing their unique style of metal to our city. Kicking off with the powerful ‘Face of Death‘ from their latest album ‘Dreamless‘, punters were already a cheering mass of flailing limbs, going apeshit in perfect time to the deadly vocals of Alex Hofman. A truly charismatic and incredible frontman, Alex powered through some of the best tracks off their 2016 release, psyching the crowd up at every step of the way and getting multiple circle pits going while Scott Carstairs and Brian James were kicking up windmill frenzies and slaying on their respective guitars. One of the most beautiful things about this band’s live shows is that they maintain a beautiful energy without trying too hard; it’s effortless, brutally elegant and just uplifting to say the least. It was as good as listening to a CD; just as flawless with a massive sound and creating an incredibly powerful atmosphere which is an experience in itself. At one point, there were lighters swaying along with some of the melodic sections that the band are well-known for, just before the heavy drops kick in and assault your senses. Some of the highlights were ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Sapphire‘ and of course, one of my favourite tracks ever ‘Scar Queen‘ along with one track off The Flesh Prevails, ‘The Prodigal Son‘. Musically, I could go on about how perfect Fallujah is; the crushing extreme metal sections that blend oh-so perfectly with the layers and layers of ambient melody – every song that they played (and have created for that matter) is a piece of art and exhibits the extent to which they have mastered as well as refined this signature sound. Being a relatively younger band as well, it was amazing to see how big a fan base they have in Australia and acknowledging that, the band are certainly coming back sooner than later!
Filled to the brim at this point, with a sea of black t-shirts and metal vests, I shifted to the side of the venue and found myself a good spot during the quick changeover, watching people get piss drunk in celebration of the next act. It wasn’t long before the whole of the Enmore shouted “Killswitch, Killswitch” in unison, welcoming the band on stage, as they emerged one by one. It was great to see them back on our shores and they made sure they showed us how happy they were to be back! Jesse Leach is an absolute beast and ripped straight into the first track of their legendary album ‘Alive or Just Breathing‘ and essentially forging through track after track with an ardent passion and energy that was really cool to see! Playing what was definitely one of the most intense and electrifying sets I’ve seen this year, it was great to see how much the band ‘engage’ (excuse the pun) with the crowd and really connect with the fans while they play. Also equally entertaining is lead guitarist’s Adam D’s on stage antics and humorous banter at various points throughout their set. “Anyone know how big a kangaroo cock is? Probably not as big as a whale cock!” As random as it was, the whole crowd was in splits at this sudden heated discussion along with Adam’s declaration of “YOU ARE SYDNEY AUTRALIA FROM SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA!“. Announcing the final song on their 2002 record and celebrating it’s 15th year, the band ripped into some other hits starting with ‘Hate By Design‘ from their 2016 release ‘Incarnate‘ along with ‘Alone I Stand‘ and ‘Strength of the Mind‘. But the real aural assault came in even harder with the massive sound of their ‘Disarm the Descent‘ album, playing ‘In Due Time‘ and ‘Beyond The Flames‘. The ecstatic mood escalated with a few hardcore fans pouncing on and off the stage and crowd surfing, much to the delight of the band. Apart from the sheer intensity of Killswitch Engage’s music, it’s just fun to watch the band live. They love what they do as much as they love their fans and every minute of their performance proved this. It was indeed a good night for live metal.