With many thanks to Brimstone Bookings, Hell on the Bay returned for the 5th instalment of the iconic event which has become an eagerly anticipated tradition amongst the Melbourne metal scene. Taking place this past Saturday night, the avid community gathered for a sold out night of havoc on the water. Divided only by attire, punters had the added hype of fashioning themselves a costume for the year’s theme of Pirates VS Vikings; with many impressive efforts to be seen in all directions as you navigated throughout the Victoria Star Cruise Ship, which set sail at 7:30pm sharp. This year’s ripper line-up consisted of Elm Street, Hybrid Nightmares, Orpheus Omega and Truth Corroded; with guest DJ sets also being played to an enthused crowd in the Below Deck Party Room by DJ Sinister( Madhouse), Iballa Chantelle( The Creptter Children), Travis Everett(Witchgrinder) and Dennis ‘Den Den’ Sudzuka (Espionage, The Hard Rock Show). Downstairs punters could also treat themselves to a cheeky beverage (or several) from the bar, with free pizza also available throughout the night to tame the hunger of pirates and Vikings alike. A merchandise table was also running in the party room, with special edition event themed band shirts available, as well as Routwear stall selling Viking themed jewellery including wood carved runes for those who wanted a little something extra to take home in memory of the night.


Attendees were sent out these specially themed wristbands as their boarding pass:

I’d also like to note this comical delivery of the importance to run a tight ship; which is a mere glimpse at the high-spirited atmosphere of the entire event:


Kicking off the evening at 7:40pm were Adelaide’s death/thrash fusion Truth Corroded, and they sure know how to fire up a party. They had guest fill-in guitarist Corey Davis from Adelaide progressive outfit Dyssidia, as well as a welcome for Jake Sproule (Whoretopsy, Necrospyre) on drums. They thrust a swift heavy assault upon the ship, sparking activity early in the night amidst the keenly rowdy crowd. Fans in the centre of the pit flung themselves toward one another, which was aided by the steady movement of the ship as it sailed across the water. Some unfortunate technical difficulties arose during their set, but the band met this with positivity and determination; with vocalist Jason North joking “unlike the Titanic, we have returned” and insisting “there’s no way we weren’t finishing that song!” upon the eventual return to order. Their set included tracks such as “Last of My Flesh” (The Saviours Slain, 2013) “Pride of Demise” (Worship the Bled, 2011) and “The Disfiguring” (Upon the Warlords Crawl, 2008). A Viking hat was passed amongst bandmates during the set, getting the spirit of the evening well underway.

Melbourne melodeath titans Orpheus Omega were on next at 8:40pm, sporting mutinous pirate gear and an attitude to match. Vocalist Chris Themelco was ever the moshpit motivational speaker; enthusiastically sparking a show of love for the event, noting that it’s “one of the best gigs of the year to look forward to!” Highlights of their set included a fitting cover of “Karma” by Parkway Drive and a tasty sneak peek at a new track “When Hope Gives Way to Reason” which invoked chaos amidst the crowd. Not to mention blowing the roof off the ship with a cover of “Drink” by Alestorm, met with a heartfelt sing-along from the crowd. They too experienced some technical difficulties as well as a momentary interruption to the set due to an event requiring the ship to dock, but fear not; the crowd kept the spirit alive by belting out the rest of the song as well as breaking into a chant of the lyric “DRINK!”, proving this community runs as tight as the ship they were on. Keswick Gallagher took opportune moment to drink from a horn during the track. The band also handled the unfortunate situation with humorous antics as they carried on in stride. During a further interruption for their final performance of the track “Beacons”, Themelco went on to joke that it was “the worst case of blue balls ever”, to which the crowd started chanting “rock the boat” as they waited for things to commence.

Next up Melbourne’s beloved extreme metallers Hybrid Nightmares dominated the stage, fiercely decked out in armour for a theatrical stage presence, and wielding axes at points in their performance. The crowd packed in like sardines, promptly flailing around the mosh in a frenzy like fish out of water. Enthused punters broke into pounding their fists against the low-rise roof, stepping up the game from your usual fist pumps and chants. Members of the crowd repeatedly throttled into the sides of the boat, all the while grinning from ear to ear. At one point a mysterious shoe surfaced, much to the amusement of punters who couldn’t seem to find its rightful owner amongst the crowd. Once again there were unfortunate interruptions to the set, but everyone maintained a positive attitude despite this; determined not to let it put a damper on the night. The band treated fans to the new single “Ultor” which they’ve recently released a music video for. Fans also got a taste of 2 new tracks “Lunar” and “Jupiter” from the upcoming debut album “Almagest” which is due for release on the 6th of October. Tracks such as “Mourn Not the Dead” (Hybrid Nightmares EP, 2011) and “What It Means to Die” (The Second Age, 2015) also dowsed fuel into the unrelenting pit fire.

Sounding off the night we had Elm Street headlining and energetic yet unfortunately shortened set due to the PA system giving out. The delays during the night had meant that the finish time was changed from 11:20pm to midnight; however the PA incident meant an earlier return to the docks. The crowd had dispersed somewhat towards the end, though a decent number of punters remained enthused in front of the barrier until the end. Ben Batres engaged the crowd with his expressive interactive nature whilst he simultaneously played guitar and powered out his mighty voice. Aaron Adie and Nick Ivkovic added to the bands overall charismatic and upbeat energy, headbanging along to the tunes with Batres with smiles aplenty. They played a selection of their anthemic heavy metal hits, including fan favourite “Face the Reaper”. The crowd spirit didn’t wane, even after the PA called it a night; many lingered around the barrier to interact with the band as they packed up, and a hint of hope for the issue to be resolved. One punter joked about the band spending too much on their uniformed jeans, which was met with giggling.

Everyone involved in running the event put in a stellar effort, handling the frustrations with utmost professionalism to uphold the joyous atmosphere that comes with a tightknit community of diehard local metal supporters hauling onto a cosy boat for 4 hours of live music. The faces of punters as they left the boat as jolly as roger really said it all. If you didn’t secure your spot this year, it is advised that you keep an eye out over at the Brimstone Bookings page next year for details on the 6th instalment of the festivities. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!


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