Gig Reviews

Machine Head, Chimaira, Shadows Fall, Times Of Grace – UNSW, Sydney 29/02/2012

Now this was a show I could really sink my teeth into. I had seen Machine Head once before a number of years ago and they had left a seriously lasting impression. Paired up with some of the biggest and meanest names in Metal to date – Times Of Grace, Shadows Fall and Chimaira, this was a great night and a massive gathering for the metalhead family of Sydney

Kicking off the epic bill was Times Of Grace. Having interviewed these lads earlier in the day, it was awesome to see the personalities of Adam D on Guitar and Jesse Leach on vocals shine through in their performance. This is a band full of cats that live and breathe music, with each member involved in other projects – it was almost like watching four bands at once. They smashed through the tunes off their debut album Hymns Of A Broken Man; it was as exciting as metal gets watching this super group perform.

Shadows Fall were up next. These guys left a serious indent on my teenage years, though sadly none of the classics I remembered made the cut for their set list. In no way, shape or form was this a letdown. Though I was standing at the sound desk, I was still well in the danger zone for being hit by frontman Brian Fairs massive dreadlocks. Still I Rise was a huge success with the crowd. Guitarist and clean vocalist Matt Bachand had many opportunities to shine; boy can that dude sing! These guys kept the pace up, playing songs which were borderline trash metal and putting Jon Donais in the spotlight with many, many absolutely shredding solos. Fire From The Sky summed up the set nicely, which was, all in all, a stylish but totally fucking metal set.

Chimaria are a band I’ve had on my iTunes for years now but never really given the proper attention to. This set, however, blew my mind and they have now found themselves on regular rotation. Frontman Mark Hunter is just about the toughest guy I’ve ever seen. Fusing groove metal, metalcore, industrial metal, deathcore and Nu metal, they had a lot to fit into the show, but it was done masterfully. Pure Hatreed went nuts live as did I Hate Everything.

Machine Head is a band that just can’t be paralleled. They have such a unique sound and with 15 years worth of albums to select songs from, their live show is always mixed up. Frontman Robert Flynn is nothing short of a magician and the band that accompanies him on stage are by no means in his shadow. I Am Hell is one of the greatest songs ever written and to see it live is just awe-inspiring. Halo and Aesthetics of Hate represented The Blackening album awesomely, though no sign of A Farewell To Arms, but how can I complain? The set was very personal, something not so common with metal bands, with Flynn not only engaging in banter but also exposing his personal side, discussing his family, his battle with depression and his deep fears before unleashing with Darkness Within. Not only that, but it was almost, including the encore, a 2-hour set…It could be argued that 2 hours of Machine Head isn’t enough, but I’m happy to settle for 120 minutes of the greatest show I have personally ever seen.

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