Tonight’s sold-out event at the good old Factory Theatre provided more grind then your local barista. All of Sydney’s metal brothers and sisters united for one bill of massive proportions.
Last time Napalm Death graced our shores they brought Carcass along to this very venue, with the Death Crush tour of 2015.
Two years later and Mexican heavy weights, Brujeria have tagged along for the ride, making it their first Australian tour. To top that off Lock Up, another grind band to feature veteran bass master-blaster, Shane Embury, who were the first of the international acts to take the stage.
Breaking the cherry of sound tonight were Sydney three-piece, Black Rheno.
Showcasing stellar musicianship from the get go, with crazed front man Milla, jumping around like he had springs on the soles of his shoes, to the thick riffs of guitarist Nano, and blistering beats of Dougy, taking to the skins like King Kong pulverising anything that would get in his way.
Mainly focusing on their brilliant EP, Let’s Start a Cult (2016) blending sludge, stoner, metal grooves to get the grind in gear, it is good to hear new material giving punters a taste of what’s to come on the Black Rheno camp.
Milla informs the crowd that they are all in for one hell of a night, and the man is spot on the money. The sound on display is world class gaining the much deserved support spot. Tighter than a jar of pickles or a twist top beer that you just can’t seem to open, walls of sound overpower the Factory floor, proving why Black Rheno are the best up and coming Aussie act, since Mebourne’s King Parrot, now Sydney are represented. Filling the void for sludge, stoner after the demise of Canberra’s Pod People, the time is now for Black Rheno.
Songs such as “Lock the Gate” and “Destruction Line” went down well with punters banging their melons like there was no tomorrow. A much needed break before punters were in need of neck braces, with the grind and banging in tow, it was hard for one to pace themselves.
Closing the set was, “No Time for Numbnuts” which was destined to be a highlight, given its release as a single and memorable video. Check it out below, for that famous pineapple and do yourself a favour, go to a Black Rheno show and support your local scene!
Up next were UK grind, death beasts, Lock Up, formed by Embury in Birmingham, now lead by Kevin Sharp (Venomous Concept) on vocals, who greeted his Australian friends, having a history, once fronting Ballarat bruisers Damaged from 1999 to 2002.
Guitarist Anton Reisenegger, who goes by the El Criminal moniker whilst grooving for Brujeria, pulverises the guitar, shedding demonic riffs. At times Sharp sounds like a demon summoned by the brutal beats of drum lord Nicholas Barker, former sticksman for Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Old Man’s Child to name a few, going by the Hongo Jr. moniker whilst tearing the skins for Brujeria.
A good mix from their back- catalogue is torn asunder as if they were pages ripped out of the satanic bible. Hate Breeds Suffering (2002) gave us the destructive “Feeding on the Opiate” and “Slaughterous Ways”, while Necropolis Transparent (2011) unleashed “Accelerated Mutation”, “Brethren of the Pentagram” and “Vomiting Evil”. The latter being a possible favourite for Linda Blairs’ Ragan character on the Exorcist.
Material from the most recent Demonization (2017) receive praise with highlight, “Void”, “Demons Raging” and “The Plague That Stalks the Darkness” which are all called out in shrieks, of which Satan would approve with horns and pitchforks giving the salute.
Not to leave out “After Life in Purgatory” from the debut Pleasures Pave Sewers (1999) which proved to be a crowd favourite from the rapid rate of head banging and screams of rage. Unlike Postman Pat Lock Up delivered the goods tonight.
After a short break Reisenegger, Barker and Embury returned to the stage to groove and grind with Mexican madmen Brujeria, who were welcomed by cheers of many punters who had got the opportunity to witness a band they had grown up with for the first time.
You couldn’t wipe smiles off faces as the distinct opening riff of “Brujerizmo” taken from Brujerizmo (2000) brought surrealism to a new level. Personal favourite “La Migra”, taken off Raza Odiada (1995) sent shivers down the spine bringing back memories of watching the film clip on Channel V’s the Heavy Shift. Check out the laugh in the film clip below, which was a nostalgic moment with both Juan Brujo and El Sangron in fine form.
Other highlights from Raza Odiada, included “La ley de plomo” and the heavy groove of “Revolución”, with “Anti-Castro” also from Brujerizmo another standout, ensuring pleased punters.
“¡Viva Presidente Trump!” brings the crowd together as they chant “Fuck Donald Trump”, middle fingers in the air before belting through “Seis Seis Seis” from the debut LP, Matando güeros (1993) and a double-header of two new tracks “Ángel de la frontera” and “Satongo”, from Pocho Aztlan (2016), making it their first LP in sixteen years. The latter about the Sathongo monster, i.e. Hongo (Embury) who’s hair looks like a mushroom, hence the half man, half mushroom dance moves of both Juan Brujo and El Sangron which brings on laughter from the most serios of men.
“Desperado” and “Matando güeros” also see the light of day, both stand out tracks from the debut LP. Ending the set with their take on the Los del Río hit “Macerena” with their rendition “Marjiuana” showing their comedy routine one last time.
Let’s hope Trump enables visas so the mighty Brujeria return down under to entertain with their Mexican melodies of metal in the not too distant future.
If Ozzy Osbourne earned the title ‘Godfather of Heavy Metal’ and Iggy Pop, the ‘Godfather of Punk’, then Napalm Death has definitely earned the title to be the ‘Godfathers of Grind’.
The veterans took to the stage with a faultless performance of “Silence is Defining”, from The Code Is Red… Long Live the Code (2005), after the intro to “Apex Predator/ Easy Meat”.
The title track from the 2005 album is later played as well-spoken front man, Mark “Barney” Greenway speaks of zero-tolerance. Music with a message is always a strong factor at a Napalm Death gig, something the music industry shows a lack there of in these current times.
New track “Dear Slum Landlord” taken from the latest offering, Apex Predator/Easy Meat (2015) is most relevant, with Barney talking of slave labour which provides us with the shitty t-shirt or pair of jeans we have on our backs today. “Smash a Single Digit”, “Stubborn Stains” and “Stunt Your Growth”, all from that same album also prove to go down well, backing up against old Napalm tracks.
Described as a hidden gem from Utopia Banished (1992), Barney lets out almighty growls and shrieks to “Christening of the Blind” We get love from Fear, Emptiness, Despair (1994) with the aptly titled, “Twist the Knife (Slowly)” and it is a treat to hear “Suffer the Children” with a throwback to nineties ground-breaking death/grind, taken from Harmony Corruption (1990)
It is not a Napalm show without your usual cover or two, tonight we get two in the form of Dead Kennedy’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and “Victims of a Bomb Raid” by Swedish hard-core punk group, Anti Cimex.
Then there’s arguably the shortest song ever written with “You Suffer”, where Barney tells the crowd “that’s why it is critical to concentrate at one of our shows” as it’s over before you had a chance to blink. “The Kill” and the title track to the debut LP, Scum (1987) also gets a heroes response tonight.
“How the Years condemn” has the crowd screaming along with “Adversarial/Copulating Snakes”, the final song from the 2015 record, closing another faultless performance by one hardworking group of grinders.
The drumming of Danny Herrera (Venomous Concept) proves that the man is a behemoth behind the kit, given his power to drive the kit with precision. Embury, an absolute machine belting away at the bass to the brutal riffs of long-time guitarist, Mitch Harris, after pelting away with three out of the four bands tonight.
Tonight has been a lesson in grind, with the perfect line-up. Napalm and friends have done it again!
Photos by Jainash Prakash