As winter draws to a close, KING have been trekking a path around the country bringing a final chill to the masses with their Cold Winds Across Australia Tour. Brought to you by Mountain Top Touring, they had first stopped over Sydney and Canberra on the 18th and 19th of this month; meeting their halfway mark for the tour in Melbourne this past Friday in Fitzroy’s the Evelyn Hotel. Punters rugged up and rocked up to relish in a fine serving of metal fit for the most blackened of palates. Geelong will be granted their taste of the action tonight at The Barwon Club, and for those of you in Hobart they will sound off a final show for the year at The Brisbane Hotel on the 2nd of September.
If you made it down to catch the opening act (as die hard metal supporters often do), then you were treated to Greytomb making their ghoulish mark onstage around 9:00pm, setting atmospheric tone for the evening with their powerful poetic lyrical imagery and dark thematic. They embody a sound of agonizingly drawn growls, haunting sinister screams, deep speedy pounding drums, heavy bass tones and whirring dissonant guitar riffs. They deliver with passion and conviction, effectively provoking one to think and feel. If you didn’t catch their set (or were left wanting more), they will be hosting a string of shows across October and November in support of their upcoming EP launch for Monumental Microcosm, which you can check out via the bands Facebook page.
Following on were Aquilus around 9:45pm who enriched the atmosphere; gliding through waves of emotion through transitional flows of soothing folky melodics into ebbs of impactful melancholic screams. Their layered and, at times, eerie instrumental sections are filled with delicate and graceful folk strings blended intricately and harmoniously with grandiose symphonic elements; namely in the mastery of keys. The juxtaposition of soft and heavy is an element I always find captivating, and Aquilus deliver this in a charming, enchanting manner. Solemnity doesn’t get much more beautiful, and the ability to address pain with beauty, and furthermore with comforting undertones, is an art form in itself.
Special Guests Blackhelm claimed the stage next around 10:30pm, bringing with them an air of aggression and fierceness which saw a shift in energy and crowd activity. Pulling no punches, vocalist Rob Widowmaker commanded the audience with his gutsy stage presence; addressing crowd with feedback on their activity, and effectively encouraging them to liven up throughout the set. Though he didn’t just vocally motive the crowd; the intensity in Widowmaker’s mannerisms coaxed a fire in people, particularly those closer to the stage. His emphatic fist pumps, drink raises and horn salutes were a constant throughout their performance, and left little room to disengage. Widowmaker worked the stage, moving erratically on and off of the foldback speakers like a platform, and at one point standing toward the back corner of the stage, facing toward the drum kit as he belted out gutturals in a true beastly fashion. Dramatic fog amidst light flashes and fades to darkness added atmospheric quality to the performance as crowd members moved and nodded along to the shifts in groove and rhythm. Blackhelm have blended elements of death, thrash and black metal, manifesting a balanced sound of ambience, deep heaviness, speed and higher tonal shifts in riff craftsmanship.
KING stole the stage around 11:20pm, claiming it for their own with the stage curtains being covered with a backdrop. The crowd packed in closer to the stage in anticipation as the stage and floor came alive. Tony Forde wastes no opportunity to interact with the crowd, at different points engaging directly with individual punters by means of hand gestures and the occasional direct scream with eye contact. If you were lucky enough to feel the wrath full force, you’d no doubt regard it a privilege. Diehard fans at the edge of the stage kept up a consistent frenzy of head-banging and windmilling as KING pounded and soared through tracks from their Debut LP Reclaim the Darkness including the tracks ‘All In Black’, ‘Night Sky Abyss’ and ‘The Journey Begins’, with the title track being a highlight and crowd favourite. Before playing ‘My Destination the Stars’, Forde informed the crowd that the song “goes out to my friend Jason”. The stage was hazed by thick fog, which served as a colourful mist with the ever-changing light displays; adding a theatrical element to their stage presence. The set concluded with ‘Winter Sons’ and the comical farewell “cheers, now fuck off”, leaving the audience on a high note, with a momentary hope of an encore (alas, next time).
Despite the dark essence that comes with blackened metal, the night was filled with great vibes amongst enthused crowd members and band kinship. If you missed this one Melbourne, you’ll have to sit tight until next year for the next opportunity to witness what KING are made of.
You can find details for the Hobart show here!