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Live Reviews : Lune, Advocates, Vatic, In Vanity @ Stay Gold, Melbourne, 21/12/2019

By on December 23, 2019

Metalcore/post-hardcore is one of those sub-genres that has been bagged mercilessly by the ‘true’ metalheads as being a ‘fad’ and other such nonsense, but is now making them eat their words due to the incredible longevity it has achieved. You can probably trace its true rise back to the early-mid 2000s, when Killswitch Engage starting kicking right into gear, and now, more than a decade and a half later, KE are still kickin’ and the sub-genre is stronger than ever.

One of the main reasons for that it that is a sub-genre that evolves over time. At the moment we are seeing it morph into something a little darker, a little edgier, a little gnarlier than it started out to be, and that is on full display tonight. This bill is kinda samey, all four bands plough a very similar musical terrain. Personally, I prefer a little more variety in a live bill, however, viewed in isolation, each band is very good at what they do.

In Vanity open proceedings, and yes the sound is very dark, the vocals harsh and the breakdowns crushing. They seem slightly nervous initially but soon hit their stride, growing in confidence and stature over the course of their brief but destructive 25 minute set. They consist of a twin guitar assault, a frontman and a drummer, who provides extra vocals, and no bass. A lot of bands seem to feel no need to have a bass guitar in their arsenal these days, but I still prefer to hear and feel that rumble. Nevertheless, this band has some great ideas, their songs have a discordant, unsettling feel to them and they deliver it all like a fist to the face.  

Vatic smash out similar, razor-sharp metalcore with deep, rumbling bass and again, stomping breakdowns and very abrasive vocals. They have a big sound, to which the presence of a bass guitar adds significantly, and play around with some atmospherics here and there, which gives the sound some real dynamics. The brief sets whiz by tonight, but also allow each band to pack as much power-packed energy into their performance as possible, and Vatic is no exception.

It’s a sad occasion tonight for main support Advocates, who are farewelling their frontman. Tonight he sports a highly appropriate t-shirt, which simply says ‘Shred’, and he gives his all in his last gig with the band. These guys are very impressive, musically, however again the lack of a bass guitar robs the sound of a smidgeon of its depth. Nonetheless, their slightly more djenty riffs make a real statement. Another vocalist sneaks on to the stage for a very brief but impactful guest spot, and the energy levels rise another level, which carries through to the end of their set.

Melbourne’s Lune have only recently put themselves together. In fact, they only have two tracks available online, and tonight is the launch of one of those tunes, Ghost. Despite their inexperience as an entity, all members have a great pedigree behind them, and they have hit the ground running. The wall of sound they create is enormous and the grooves exceptionally fat. At the same time, some melody and some aethereal ambience rear their heads on occasion, adding very welcome variation. Put all that together with a highly energetic stage performance and you have yourself a new band that is very well worth keeping a close eye on.

Tonight, all bands occupy a very similar musical space, but all are mighty impressive nonetheless. Modern metalcore is alive and slaying, in this country and around the world.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.