I’ve been an Aborted fan for a while, and honestly have been looking forward to finally seeing them in the flesh down at a new venue, The Hell Hole in Perth’s western precinct, a short walk from central Leederville. The venue itself was a warehouse style structure, with a bar and some couches and booths, a sausage sizzle and two bars stocked with WA’s finest, Emu Export. Little did they know the crowds would soon drink the bar dry as the night went on.

Xenobiotic, a longstanding figure in technical death metal here in Perth, started earlier than the advertised time, however, having seen these guys many times before I was well aware of what to expect, and that was heavy riffs tied together with tasteful technicality and an almost contradictory manic performance full of grit and awe, to go along with the tight, polished sound. I caught the last few songs, and these guys played flawlessly, the vocalist TJ, always an eccentric character, was on the mark tonight and the rest of the band put on an energetic and tight performance, both Cam and Nish pulling off their guitar work in perfect synchronicity. These guys can take any and every opening slot and absolutely nail it. After watching Xenobiotic kick off Soundwave a few years ago, it’s no surprise why they were picked for the Nightbringers tour, and their upcoming tour with Marduk in Japan.

Zeolite, another band I always enjoy watching, took the stage with professionalism beyond their years, pulling in the crowds to watch some Australian-made tech death.
By the time these guys were just one song in, they were proving hard and fast that they deserved their spot on the whole tour, something crowds attending the other shows will attest to as well. A band who have done the rounds and worked hard, practiced hard, these guys mean business. The thick riffs from their new release “Sermones Mortis” laden with perfectly executed leads, make this band an unstoppable force. Riff-lords Pat and Grant steal the show easily with their dual attack of hair swinging licks. One of those bands you go to watch and can hardly believe are an Australian band, I feel like these guys are really pulling their A-Game for this tour and are going to impress new and old fans alike. And if that doesn’t do it, the fact that they sell hot sauce as merch will probably win some people over.

Now begins time for Aborted. Personally, the band I’m most looking forward to on the lineup. Opening with Devine Impediment before Meticulous Invagination comes roaring in, with Sven screaming “lets’ see a circle pit down here” as the front rows immediately rose into a manic mosh. Bassist Stefano shows his agility both on the bass and by bending his spine in half while the riffs just continue to hammer an enthusiastic mob taking up the full venue now. The Hell Hole is completely packed at this point, a sea of heads stretching right to the back of the venue. Sven ends the song with a shriek and the crowd cheers, one punter can be clearly heard screaming “how fuckin’ sick are these cunts!” which was met with a few people chuckling. The band haven’t been here in 10 years, so they promptly thank the crowd for coming out, amid more cheers.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with Aborted, new album “Terrorvision” came out that night, making this a particularly chaotic set as fans eagerly waited for the new tracks to be played. As they played the aforementioned albums title track, guitarist Mendel was stoic, however never missing a note, playing each passage of the song with precision and confidence, a stark contrast to Sven, who was shaking his head violently around, dripping with sweat like a madman, commanding the audience through the heaviest part.

Termination Redux started, and boy was this huge. A guttural “bang your fucking heads” is drowned out as the chugging begins, and it was at this point the crowd was the most energetic I’ve seen all night.  Ian Jekelis begins incorporating tapping into the heavy down-tuned filth, switching seamlessly to melodic soaring riffs while the drums and bass provide a solid foundation to the hellish screams laid over the top. By this point the crowd were beginning to jump on stage, one guy holding his arm around Sven, as the bassist and guitarist moved over to one another banging their heads in sync as the security moved on stage to rush the fan off stage.

Bit By Bit came on, and at this point, there was a full circle pit swarming the venue like a horde, there was only a brief point where there was even a sense of calm, however fleeting, until Sven screamed at the amped up crowd to “move mother fuckers” and the eager onlookers again began circling around destroying each other, like watching rabid animals throwing themselves around as the songs just blurred together in a hectic, heavy mess of limbs.

Aborted themselves are an incredibly hard act to follow, but if anybody can do it, it’s The Black Dahlia Murder. Aborted were definitely at the top of their game as far as live death metal goes, I was almost worried for Black Dahlia by how insanely tight Aborted were. There was a good mix of new and old, but to be honest, after having a few days to let the new record really sink in and after hearing the total brutality of Terrorvision live, these guys are wiping the floor with their competition with the new album and they could have played that in its entirety and left out older tracks, and I still would have had a great time.

After a short intermission, Black Dahlia Murder started. The bar had already run out of beer by this point. I really think they underestimated just how much a gaggle of drunk metalheads egged on by Trevor Strnad can drink, because I’ve never seen fridges so empty. By the time I grabbed a drink from the band room bar, the entire place was packed like sardines, very sweaty, smelly ones, and I was standing at the door of the venue watching from the doorway, until managing to elbow my way through to a good vantage point, clambering up onto one of the old dishevelled couches like a heavy metal mountain goat desperately reaching for higher ground.

As expected, everyone went nuts when the band announced the standout tracks from 2005 album Miasma, there were plenty of people waiting for Statutory Ape and classic What A Horrible Night For A Curse. Trevor makes a few comments around the topic of social justice, before exclaiming “Wow, we’re so political now. Fuck you all, more new shit” and the group finally began playing more tracks from 2017’s “Nightbringers” album to the insatiable crowd. The energy in the room was contagious and even the security staff, with the task of getting the crowd surfers off the stage, did it with a smile, occasionally throwing up the horns or smacking one repeat offenders ass jokingly as he threw them back over the barrier and into the crowd, and half the bar staff were taking pictures with not a single customer stopping to even bother getting a beer between the chaos of each track, which was probably good considering.

 

This was the point where the bass playing really got a chance to shine, a small intro solo and a brief moment of calm between the blasts, was a display of bassist Max‘s proficiency, in some parts unfortunately buried under some of the heaviest guitar parts, but not unseen, and the overall guitar and bass tones that night sounded stellar. A much more frenzied and less clinical, but no less heavy and on point delivery than that of Aborted, Black Dahlia definitely suit the smaller venues in comparison to the open air stage of Soundwave, the last time I managed to catch them live.

A flurry of hair and flailing arms later, Trevor stopped to catch his breath, remarking “It’s like a rainforest in my pants right now”, which pretty much sums up what it was like for everyone at this point. Things were about to settle down, but only slightly, and not for very long. The minute the crowd heard the words “This is from an album that’s blue man, totally fucking blue” everyone seemed to get a second wind, the band feeding off the screams and even more crowd surfers jumping up on stage with the band, smiles all round. Going out as intensely as you’d expect from them, there was a destructive pit until the very end of the show, a few hopefuls loitering around for an encore that never happened, but most leaving the venue on a high, and rightly so, as this has been one of the best line-ups to come through this year.

There are still two remaining shows of the tour, with Sydney hitting it off tonight then Canberra, both with incredibly worthy supports Anno Domini and Disentomb. Not a single city has had lackluster supports either, another thing that became apparent from the get go when Zeolite was announced, and then the local supports followed, which I think played a huge part in the sell out shows across the country. Tour of the year, easy.

ABORTED + THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER
Thursday, 27th September
The Factory, Sydney with supports Zeolite and Anno Domini
Tickets: Eventbrite or via Anno Domini, which also includes free copy of their album!