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Live Reviews : Psycroptic, Archspire, Zeolite & The Absolution Sequence @ Brisbane Hotel, Hobart

By on August 27, 2018

Friday night found a group of metalheads standing in the freezing cold outside of Hobart’s Brisbane Hotel, eagerly awaiting a show from Aussie legends Psycroptic and Canadian tech-death wizards Archspire. While the crowd seemed keen for the upcoming show, I overheard many express their amazement at having to line up to get into the venue – clearly, a historic event was taking place. While metal gigs in Hobart may be typically attended by a small, die-hard group, no such restriction was in place that night as the gig was sold out and the Brissie was packed.

Opening act The Absolution Sequence read the room well and did a great job at getting the crowd pumped up for the rest of the night. Premiering new songs from their recent EP Subsidence, the band delivered a tight, heavy and energetic set that balanced atmospheric cleans with crushing riffing. By the end of their set, a solid mosh pit had formed toward the front of the room that the bassist partook in on occasion. Following on were Launceston band Zeolite, who performed their recent EP Sermones Mortis in full. They kept the energy going with a solid performance that was unfortunately marred somewhat by a less-than-stellar mix that resulted in the guitars being lost amongst the cymbals somewhat. Despite this, their final song ‘Plutocracy’ was tight and heavy and managed to get the crowd involved.

While the support acts delivered admirable performances, very little could compare to the phenomenal performances delivered by the headline acts. Archspire’s live performance must be seen in-person to be believed and they are truly a band of individual virtuosi all working together. Lead singer Oli Peter’s machine-gun vocals are extremely impressive live, as are the stream of fluid riffs and sweep-picked arpeggios that flow from the two guitarists like they were a recording. A particular highly was the bass riff opening to ‘Rapid Elemental Dissolve’ that wowed the crowd and showed of the chops of bassist Jared Smith. Archspire also pushed the crowd engagement further, hyping up an initially tepid crowd with a convincing performance, giving rise to the first crowd-surfers of the evening. The aforementioned ‘Rapid Elemental Dissolve’ and newer song ‘Involuntary Doppelganger’ were the highlights of a great set and the peak of crowd hype and involvement.

Psycroptic were on yet another level – it’s rare that I even notice a band soundcheck, yet I was struck by the heaviness and tightness of the sound in it, thinking to myself ‘even their soundcheck kicks arse!’. The crowd agreed, with cheering meeting the band before they launched into their first song. Psycroptic were the only band able to really engage the whole crowd (although they did have the home field advantage, so to speak). While the other bands mainly hyped up a group moshing toward the front, Psycroptic had most of the room moving, with even the most austere audience members bobbing their heads up the back. ‘The World’ was used to introduce new bassist Todd Stern to the Hobart crowd who welcomed him warmly with the encouragement of singer Jason Peppiatt. ‘Carriers of the Plague’ was another highlight with a crushingly heavy opening that moved the crowd and encourages the crowd surfers to reappear. Chorus sing-alongs were a feature of later parts of the set, with crowd favourites like ‘Ob(servant)’ and ‘The Colour of Sleep’ eliciting a particularly positive crowd response. The band were in top form throughout the set, staying full of energy the entire time. Psycroptic delivered a crushing set alongside Archspire and all bands involved in the tour are very much worth seeing should the opportunity arise.

About

Ben is a metalhead originally from Sydney, who has now moved to Hobart to pursue a PhD in Australian extreme metal. When not studying, writing about or playing metal, he can be found playing video games, browsing Reddit, knitting, fending off his cat or helping out at his local church.