Live Review: Graves w/ Kublai Khan, Justice For The Damned, I Shall Devour, Cursed Earth & Emecia @ The Brightside
Wollongong heavy-hitters Graves recently released their debut album ‘Monster’, and the crushingly heavy release landed high up the charts. In support of ‘Monster’ the band announced a victory lap of the country to showcase the new songs and bring the brutal, so we headed down to The Brightside to get in on the action!
Tasked with opening the show was Adelaide quartet Emecia. Taking the stage to an intimate audience, the 4-piece threw their all into the set, as their interesting brand of melodic metalcore was somewhat of an anomaly on a much heavier and more aggressive lineup. With some absorbing guitar work throughout the set the quartet played well, but ultimately being such a curve ball act on a far heavier bill they struggled to find friendly ears.
Next up were local deathcore-bruisers I Shall Devour. Having released their debut album in October the Brisbane boys had some tasty new tunes to unleash on the crowd, which they did with gusto. Unnerving atmospherics crept in as the set begun, before the band launched themselves into a blistering display of technicality.
Insane guitar work, punchy bass lines, and phenomenally tight drumming all served to generate a hellish wall of noise that slammed into the audience. The vocalist’s acrobatic vocal abilities saw him jumping from throat-shredding highs to guttural lows in an instant, perfectly complimenting the musical assault being delivered onto the audience. I Shall Devour were a great opening act, warming up the crowd for the tour’s big guns with just enough aural diversity.
By the time Perth hardcore crew Cursed Earth had finished soundcheck The Brightside had filled out substantially. As the first HM-2 laden note struck, the mosh pit exploded into a frenzy of flailing arms and legs, as active as the pit had seen so far, and it didn’t stop until the band unplugged their guitars.
The band were flawlessly tight, while frontwoman Jazmin Luders commanded the crowd with the assurance of someone who knows what they say will be unquestionably followed. The frantic set eventually drew to a close, leaving a sweaty and exhausted audience in its wake. With the bar set astronomically high for the rest of the acts, the crowd waited with bated breath to see Sydney hardcore act Justice For The Damned.
2016 has been a huge year for Justice For The Damned, with several national tours under their belts, a banging new single in the form of Please Don’t Leave Me, signing to Greyscale Records, and being part of UNIFY 2017. Arguably the most precise band of the night, Justice barrelled along at a breakneck speed, smashing out riffs hot enough you could toast marshmallows.
The crushing breakdown of Blacklisted segued into the band’s latest single Please Don’t Leave Me, which saw the mosh manage to get even wilder than the one Cursed Earth whipped up. Despite their shortened set, if only 4 songs, the band made every song count. The air was thick with anticipation as the first chords of Deep Rotting Fear exploded out of the speakers.
The groovy post-breakdown riff saw a myriad of two stepping in the pit, before the closing refrain saw half of the mosh pit leap at the stage in an effort to get their hands on the microphone. As they walked off the stage, it was clear to see the crowd would happily have watched a far longer set from the Sydney quintet, and with any luck they’ll be back soon to give us one!
The already packed ‘Brightside somehow managed to fit more people in for the next act, Kublai Khan. Their brand of downtuned hardcore come across extremely well, slamming into the adoring crowd and exciting what was arguably the most wild mosh of the night. The crushing riffs underpinned the vocalists aggressive delivery, which served to whip the already hectic mosh into a heaving frenzy of limbs.
Despite their heaviness Kublai Khan are a hardcore band at heart, and as most hardcore bands do they took time between songs to address the personal and emotional stories behind their songs as well as preaching love and tolerance. While many bands come across as cheesy doing this, the sincerity of Kublai Khan’s frontman had the entire venue on his side, proving that underneath their tough exteriors hardcore kids can also be softies. Finishing off the set with a few crowd favourites, the Texans strode from the stage having almost levelled The Brightside in the wake.
While the room emptied a little for the night’s headliner, the remaining fans restlessly waited to see Graves and they cheered loudly as the Wollongong group took to the stage. Exploding into action, the band slammed through their set of brutal hardcore while looking superbly confident.
With the breakdowns falling left right and centre the pit again exploded, becoming a mass of flailing limbs stoked by the bands music. Playing songs mostly from their debut album ‘Monster’, the Wollongong quartet were in their element. Towards the end of the set a few older songs, like fan favourite 506, were played to cheers of approval from the crowd.
As the final verse of 506 burst from the speakers the mosh lurched toward the stage as punters scrambled to grab the mic. Smashing through handful of songs they had left, the Wollongong boys left the stage looking exhausted but elated. However, chants of “one more song” coaxed them back to the stage for an encore, which they delivered with looks of joy on their faces, at odds with the crushing tunes they were cranking out.
As Graves packed down for good, punters slowly made their way outside to cool down and reminisce on what had been a fantastic show from some of Australia’s best rising heavy acts.
Check out our Photo Gallery HERE
Photos by Vincent Shaw