Words by Aaron Gietman
Photography by Ivan Scheffer
If you had told me two years ago that ambitious death metal supergroup Sinsaenum would grace our Aussie shores in the near future, I’d have told you you were dreaming. Fast forward to a few short months ago; when my Overdrive family told me Sinsaenum would be here by the end of 2018, I thought I was dreaming. Then again I never thought I’d be at the very first Killer Be Killed show ever, so after several years of witnessing massive heavy metal shows I figured I’d just go with the flow, all while keeping my pent up excitement in check. Until now, of course, I can finally tell the world what a Sinsaenum show looks like first hand.
In case you’ve never heard of them before, or just need a refresher, Sinsaenum is made up of past and present members of some pretty big names in metal, including Chimaira, Mayhem, Seth, Loudblast, and perhaps most notably featuring Frédéric Leclercq of DragonForce and Joey Jordison (formerly of Slipknot, Murderdolls, Scar The Martyr and currently Vimic).
Unfortunately, co-lead vocalist and Mayhem front man Attila Csihar was not a part of the tour (aside from one or two select dates in Europe) and was thus absent from this show, as was expected New Zealand support act Bulletbelt. Furthermore, Max Watt’s didn’t fill half the potential capacity for such a highly anticipated show.
Nevertheless, the gig pushed on with an intimate crowd and two local supports Requiem and Scaphis opening the night. First up was the all-out blackened thrash assault from Ballarat’s Requiem. For as long as I’ve known about them this was actually my first time experiencing Requiem, however after witnessing their stage presence and hearing the new album ‘And the Earth Grew Dark’, they’ve now gained a loyal new fan. Their melodic rhythms combined with just the right amount of aggression for thrash set the pace as the perfect warm up for the evening.
I couldn’t think of any other band more deserving for a Sinsaenum support slot than Melbourne’s Scaphis. Built on the foundations of a supergroup, much like Sinsaenum, Scaphis are quickly growing into one of the most formidable death metal bands in Australia following the release of their debut album ‘Rituals of Torture and Death’ in 2017. Their first ritual built the crowd’s suspense with Death March before exploding onstage with For the Sun. With other album bangers following suit, including Buried Alive, Death Provides, and Belly of the Beast, Scaphis didn’t miss a beat with fill-in drummer Adam Chapman from Hybrid Nightmares, and vocalist Spyke looked very much alive and in her natural habitat on the Max Watt’s stage. I’ve know her personally for a long time and it’s good to finally see her where she belongs.
The plus side of being in such a small crowd at Max Watt’s meant easily mingling with mates and fellow metalheads in between sets, providing a very intimate and casual atmosphere. When Sinsaenum finally took the stage I imagined the crowd would have developed and/or carried on the energy provided by Scaphis and Requiem. It took quite a while into their set for this to happen, however…
Despite the initially lackluster response from the crowd, Sinsaenum persevered with the full force of their extreme music, wasting no time to introduce the set with Repulsion For Humanity. Right from the beginning, Joey Jordison took full control behind the drum kit as vocalist Sean Zatorsky exerted his powerful stage presence; much like Nathan Explosion, he doesn’t have to move around very much to make his point. In Attila’s absence Sean carries the vocal duties in stride with guitarists Stéphane Buriez and Frédéric Leclercq backing him up effectively. Sacred Martyr doesn’t lose any of its bite even when performed live without album guest Lauren Hart.
As their set continued, the crowd began to make itself known. The collective “CRUSH!” chant from the chorus of Final Resolve made “Hulk Smash!” sound like Droopy Dog in comparison. Their cover of the Melvins‘ Hooch was also well-received by the audience, aside from one punter who wanted Slayer‘s Raining Blood instead. (“You wish!”, Sean replied.)
Sinsaenum also brought out some tracks from debut album ‘Echoes of the Tortured’, including the prominent single Splendor and Agony which perfectly summarises Sinsaenum’s sound with sadistic lyrics and aggressive leads. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Fred can f*cking shred. Also present was debut single Army of Chaos, another well-received callout to Sinsaenum’s army of chaos who were well and truly awake at this point.
After mixing up their set with their extensive tracklist from their two-year tenure, Sinsaenum ended the night with their swan song My Swan Song. Despite the small crowd Sinsaenum’s performance showed that they believe quality prevails over quantity within their loyal fan base and I’m confident the numbers will multiply when they next hit our shores.