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Live Review & Gallery: Make Them Suffer w/ Silent Planet, Oceans Ate Alaska & Thornhill @ The Zoo – 14.08.2018

Literally the only good thing about the Ekka these days is that it provides a much-needed midweek holiday and with Make Them Suffer and co touring the country, we knew there was only one place to be.

We arrived at The Zoo with what we thought was plenty of time to spare, only to be greeted by a line of eager fans spanning pretty much into the next postcode. Unfortunately for us, and many other punters, Thornhill’s set began before many people could even get inside. Luckily, the Zoo’s windows were wide open which allowed us to enjoy some fresh bangers from the from the Melbourne five-piece’s latest EP ‘Butterfly’. In our opinion, if Thornhill can sound good from the pavement outside the venue then we will definitely make an effort to catch these guys when they return.

We finally made it into The Zoo just before the first international act of the evening hailing from Birmingham, England, Oceans Ate Alaska. The lads came out swinging with some great intensity and killer musicianship, which really could not be faulted. The mosh pit literally exploded out of nowhere with the first of many absolutely filthy breakdowns hit hard featuring frontman, Jake Noakes’ brutal lows and searing highs. It was awesome to see such a solid turnout for the opening bands and the crowd definitely helped Noakes through some rather sketchy clean vocals. Oceans At Alaska were incredibly appreciative to the crowd and headliners for bringing them along and definitely got everyone pumped up on their Australian debut and we’re sure Aussie fans will gladly welcome them back with open arms.

Californian activists/metalcore giants Silent Planet took the stage on what was also their first performance on Australian soil. Wasting no time, the foursome came out swinging with one of their newer tracks The New Eternity with incredible gusto. We were blown away by the amazing musicianship, emotion and immersive nature of each members’ performance as they flew through some of their hits incincludingphan, XX (City Grave) and Native Blood. Frontman, Garret Russell took some time to show some love to the crowd and Make Them Suffer for bringing them along before really blowing some minds with Psychescape and Nervosa. While there can be no doubt that Silent Hill absolutely killed their performances, the set got slightly monotonous towards the end due to the similarities in the structure of their songs. Nonetheless, the crowd seemed incredibly satisfied and sung along to almost every word.

Silent Planet are an interesting band and definitely break the mould in terms of what we expect from heavy music. Their poetic and intellectual approach to their writing is very impressive while still delivering some of the heaviest breakdowns we’d heard all night. The four-piece provide some very relevant and confronting commentary on some troubling issues such as human trafficking, PTSD and genocide to name a few. It’s really cool to find a band so humble and who use their art to deliver a message.

The room was electrified with excitement and anticipation as we all waited for Perth’s metalcore-maestros in Make Them Suffer to take the stage. The strobes were working overtime, bringing epilepsy for days as the quintet launched into their set to a packed crowd at the sold out venue. The crowd surfing and stage dives began early as the crowd really mirrored the energy of the band who absolutely smashed through an array of hits spanning across their discography such as Vortex (Interdimensional Spiral Hindering Inexplicable Euphoria) and Let Me In.

Make Them Suffer have always had an incredible stage presence and this show was no different despite the small stage with bassist, Jaya Jeffrey flying all over the place and guitarist Nick McLernon throwing some insane windmills with his guitar. Vocalist, Sean Harmanis had the crowd jumping in unison with him to the point that you could literally feel the wooden floor moving! While it can be said that the frontman’s pronunciation during his lows could be slightly better, his overall intensity and stage presence is fierce.

Taking things back almost a decade, Weeping Wastelands was a huge hit which showcased some impressive blasting from Jordan Mather on drums and rather filthy guttorals from Harmanis. The crowd obliged as the frontman called for a wall of death, splitting The Zoo from the stage to the sound desk before erupting into chaos as bodies collided with limbs flailing everywhere! It was frustrating to see a few crowd-killers in the mosh but luckily they taken care of quite quickly and the good old comradery that exists within the heavy music community allowed everyone to enjoy the show without any serious injuries.

Make Them Suffer wrapped up their set very solidly with three absolute bangers that could set practically any venue off. The leading lady on keys, Booka Nile, showcased her beautiful, ethereal vocals in The First Movement before nailing the piano-led track Unchartered to ostensibly conclude the set. Of course, the classic “one more song” chants brought the band back on stage only to be treated to the sound of another classic chant, “Shoey, shoey, shoey!” As the frontman, Harmanis took one for the team and removed his shoe, chugging his beer much to the crowds delight. “Those are brand new shoes for the tour, f#ck you guys!” joked the vocalist. With spirits high, Make Them Suffer belted out Ether, a crowd favourite, which really was a great way to round up the evening. With all the guitar windmills and filthy breakdowns you could ever want, Make Them Suffer really stepped up to the plate and hit this one out the park!

Written by Daniel Devitt

Photos by Ebony Mealing