The third annual Blister Metal Fest took place at The Tote in Collingwood on Saturday, November 4th, with a massive Death Metal prominent lineup clearly threatening to dominate those of the past two years. OVERDRIVE was there to see the carnage go down!
Opening up the huge evening were Ballarat newcomers Upon World’s End. Breakdowns filled the quickly packing room, as punters were clearly eager to start off hard. Unfortunately some missed cues by band members and onstage awkwardness marred the performance, but the night was off to a good start.
Hand of Fear were the first band to grace the upstairs stage. Their triple guitar attack belted out some serious Death Metal while singer Mark Aok carried out the set with far more energy than one usually conjures up at 3:30 pm.
Maleficium played their set with razor-sharp precision. Technical riffs in the vein of bands like Suffocation and Morbid Angel left the crowd clearly impressed. The veteran players launched hard at the crowd, barely even looking at their instruments as they delivered their old school throwback style with ease.
A nice change in pace occurred when ANKL took the stage upstairs. The upbeat and melodic hooks of the band were very welcome on this predominantly Death Metal lineup. Their bassist definitely stole the stage with his impeccable and intricate playing, while the vocalist rambled his lyrics in a very peculiar style.
The night really kicked off when As Flesh Decays took the stage. The Wodonga based horror-themed Death Metal band play a craft well rehearsed. On tour for their debut album, the band were well warmed up from a night before in Ballarat, and crushed the stage the moment they took it. The now filled room bounced the energy straight back to them, with headbangers coming out in full force for the band’s set.
Tasmanian three-piece Plague of Sickness were the next band up the top stage, which was quickly filling out. Delivering a mix of crushing blast beats and slamming riffs, the band definitely made new fans as each song was met with a huge round of applause. The night was definitely in motion and it was only set to get bigger.
Familiar faces to a Melbourne crowd, Annihilist took the stage with confidence. Faithful fans stood up the front and got lost in the technicality of guitarists Josh Voce and Miki Simankevicius’ intimidating leads. It’s very obvious the band take pride in their live show, delivering one of the tightest sets of the night. Vocalist Harry Pendock’s incredible energy was reflected by fans, who were well and truly warmed up by now. A row of headbangers up the front showed that the Melbourne melodic outfit were definitely worth your time.
Cryptic Abyss are a very welcome addition to any line-up, and this hometown show was a perfect example why. Vocalist Calvin Cobby belted out line after line of fury, while the rest of the band played energetically and and heavily behind him. It’s no surprise why these guys are one of Melbourne’s premier Death Metal bands. The mosh pit finally broke out for the first time of the night, with anyone standing around the pit area at risk of getting dragged in. Playing songs from their 2016 album Feed ‘em to the Sea as well as earlier material, Cobby passed the mic to eager fans in the front row for guest vocals.
Things were well and truly in motion when Fall and Resist got on stage and belted out their own fierce brand of Melodeath. Frontman Liam Frost’s stage banter was well received by the Melbourne crowd, who were clearly impressed by the Ballarat band’s efforts. Another band who were well and truly warmed up by the previous night’s show, the four-piece played an unrelenting set that resonated well with the crowd. Another band that has really come into their own recently, it was great to see them to play a hungry Melbourne crowd.
Unrelenting, Blunt Shovel hit the stage with full force. Vocalist Trent Simpson commanded the stage with dominating presence. The band were clearly a main attraction for punters, playing to a now packed room full of flying heads. The Melbourne band has made a massive impact among fans in their short time, and this set was a perfect example of why. The crowd got excited when Simpson pulled out the iconic shovel mic for the end of the band’s set. Closing with a Napalm Death cover, the band stopped as quickly as they’d started, leaving the crowd hungry for more.
Every bit of energy that was present in Blunt Shovel’s set moved straight upstairs to capture Headless. Another main staple in the Melbourne Death Metal scene, the four-piece unleashed their old school Death Metal riffs to a packed out upstairs room. Guitarist Luke Helgesen’s floyd work rivalled that of the very best, while drummer Nick Karamitanis and bassist Deo Aguanta laid down the perfect backbone for vocalist David Saddington to unleash terror upon.
The groove tech phenomenon that is Hadal Maw approached the stage with their now staple aura of suspense. Their last show for the year, the Melbourne five-piece made no hesitations of expelling their very best onto the captivated Melbourne audience. Vocalist Sam Dillon has mastered the art of stage presence, and had the room captivated from start to finish with his ghoulish moves. If fans were able to look past the wide glare of Dillon, they’d see guitarists Ben Boyle and Nick Rackham delivering their ridiculous groove / tech laden riffs with maximum proficiency, while drummer Rob Brens showcased his skills flawlessly. Tim Anderson has definitely made himself at home playing bass in the band, carrying out the set as if he’d been there from the start.
Grudge! Kept the party going upstairs, spewing forth an energetic and intense set filled with their brutal grind riffage. After the technical and intricate previous bands, it was refreshing to see some no bullshit straight up riffs. Even with the night drawing later, fans still had heaps of energy to give, with a sea of heads and horns making up the upstairs room.
‘Hit the lights’ played over the PA, which made for a fitting introduction for the Melbourne Thrash lords In Malice’s Wake. Plenty of Thrash fans had come out and braved a full day of Death Metal to catch the four-piece tear shreds on home turf for their final show of the year. Fully qualified to headline this extreme lineup, vocalist / guitarist Shaun Farrugia commanded the stage, playing furiously and energetically while guitarist Leigh Bartley wailed leads with conviction and precision. Bassist Karl Watterson’s repeated calls for circle pits made sure the mosh was constantly going throughout their set. Playing tracks from their latest album as well as fan favourites, Farrugia said the band was glad to be back on stage after taking some time off to write their fourth album. The band delivered the electric set that they’re well renowned for, with drummer Mark Farrugia playing the dangerously fast tempo beats with ease. Closing with a cover of Slayer’s ‘War Ensemble,’ the band left a seriously good impression with the crowd, who burst into a huge applause after the set.