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Live Reviews : Thy Art Is Murder, Emmure, Fit For An Autopsy & Justice For The Damned @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 16/02/2018

By on February 17, 2018

Images: Shane Henderson
Words: Mitch Alexander

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That this gig had bands that released my two favourite albums last year was one thing. That the other two bands on the bill are still insanely fun live just meant that I was so keen for this gig, I only got somewhat distracted by the Chinese dragons down the alleyway before the show. This is a weirdly good line up for Australia, and if you don’t agree you’ve stumbled onto the wrong website and should leave.

Justice For The Damned is Australia’s best band at the moment, and I’m not going to hear anything to the contrary (which is easy when I’m writing a review which is essentially a one-way conversation, so shut up and listen). Not only are they heavy, not only was their sound as massive and full and grinding as the internationals, not only did they benefit from having a full lighting show; the thing that has me so excited for these lads is how quickly I’ve seen them improve. The last time I saw them was only a few months ago, and they were already great. And yet somehow they’ve managed to get noticeably better; tighter, more confident, more relaxed, more in control of the crowd. They’re taking it seriously and it shows (and not in the grim death metal way – it takes a tour of Europe to build the confidence as an opener to try get the crowd to clap in time, and also try to use air horns for comedic effect between songs, both of which they pulled off). These guys are going to be massive, so a word of advice to the young lads – keep your cocks to yourselves and (I can’t believe this is something to be said) don’t fucking sexually assault anyone. The fuck is wrong with metalcore at the moment?

Fit For An Autopsy were next and they genuinely suffered for being placed after JFTD. Either something went wrong with their sound, or Justice have just been nailing it, but the slight boost in volume just accentuated the out-dated mix – muddy guitars, clacky kick triggers and snare that sounds like rice paper. They played well enough, but they were shown up by a band super hungry and eager to be there.

For a while, I thought it might just have been me, but as was pointed out a few times, the crowd tonight was somewhat more “bro-ish” than normal. Given that last time they were about 40% of the crowd were decked out in Ed Hardy gear, I place the blame for that squarely on Emmure. However, unlike last time, the band seems to have matured and outgrown the worst of their fan base; gone are the insightful bon mots of their singer Frankie, where he calls the crowd “faggots”, and the overabundance of lame breakdowns, and instead there is a professional and startlingly good vocalist accompanied by an absolutely monstrous sounding band. They were on top of their shit tonight, segueing through songs while maintaining a connection to the crowd, balancing really well between energetic performance and tight musicianship. Which is so fucking weird to say about Emmure for Christ’s sake. But they know who they are, and they know how to get the most out of it.

Especially exciting for me was the fact that Emmure is now essentially Frankie Palmeri featuring The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. Danza was an underground favourite of mine, who broke up well before their prime, and if this is the closest I’ll ever get to seeing them live, I’ll take it. The sound and musicianship was fucking ridiculous, even if hearing them play Emmure tracks was kinda like getting a Michelin star chef to guest cook at a taco truck in Fitzroy. Bass Player Of The Night award needs to go to Phil Lockett (that’s what Wiki is telling me) who put on the best performance of the night, hands down. I want to see him in every band.

Now anyone who has read my reviews before, knows that I don’t like unnecessarily dunking on bands for no good reason. And while that’s entirely a lie and I fucking love it, it sustains me, I am on record at this very website saying that not only do I dig me some Thy Art, I think they’re fucking essential. Case in point – this tour package. They took Justice to Europe to help give them a leg up, and they could’ve left it there. But they’ve taken them out again, helped them improve, and they are almost single-handedly helping a band build a sustainable future. Then they bring out two of the biggest deathcore bands in the world, one rising and becoming more creative, and another more established than even themselves, and mix it all together in a big breakdown milkshake which results in a deathcore act from western Sydney selling-out a venue that Devin Townsend filled. That’s almost preposterous, and I love them for it. They’re using their evil music for good.

Which is why it’s such a shame that they’re set was disappointing tonight, and it really just came down to the kick drums. Not a single extended run or quick triple trill was executed properly, and when you have the combined factors of the kick triggers being so prominent on top of the mix, and you write most of your songs centered around the drums doing exactly and only this, it was real fucking distracting having the drum lines sound like an emphysema-patient trying out vaping for the first time. It was consistently sputtering and non-starting, like your bowels the morning after the night before, you foul wretch of a man.

I wanted to like it, and I wanted to enjoy myself like most of the crowd who seemingly couldn’t hear it or didn’t care, but to me they stuck out like dog’s nuts. And this is because everything else was on point – sound was sick, vocals (as always) were treacle-thick, the lighting show was great. So there they were, the off kilter turd in my deathcore punchbowl.

I was hoping maybe it was just a case of needing to warm up, cause these songs are tough as fuck to pull off, but it somehow stayed consistently inconsistent, and got to me. Obviously, because I’m writing my review about it. I sincerely hope he was just having an off night, cause I don’t remember thinking this had sounded like this before, so there’s every chance the rest of the shows will be rock solid. Not sure; mine wasn’t, and I was asked to write about it. And it’s unfair on the band, because unlike a stringed instrument, if your drummer or vocalist is off, it ruins the whole thing. I’m both a drummer and a vocalist, I’ve fucked up countless gigs. So it’s not being an elitist (shut up) it’s me being a disappointed fan. I dare say if you’re looking to mosh, you won’t notice or give a shit, and the rest of the bill is bonkers, so you’re still going to have a great night. It just could’ve been a little extra.

About

Mitch is a 26 year old vegan, socialist, atheist, utilitarian, reductionist metalhead, stand up comedian and philosophy major that hates labels. When he isn't being politely ignored at dinner parties he's being politely ignored on comedy nights around the country.