Thursday, 24 October 2013

Metal Evilution 10th Anniversery: DARKER HALF, TABERAH, METAL,METREYA @ The Bald Faced Stag

The music industry is a pretty harsh beast. Whether you are on stage or behind it, selling arenas or playing keggers, you are going to be making a lot of sacrifices and putting in a lot of work.

Every music scene and movement has a number of forces working to keep it going, and a history of Sydney's - and perhaps broadly Australia's - metal scene over the last decade would not be complete without recognising the hard work Dave Balfour of Metal Evilution has put in.

Make no mistake, Sydney is currently spoilt by a number of hard working promoters who all do their part to keep the local scene alive. However, tonight's accolades are to recognise one of the most metal dudes around, and 10 years of making melodic metal a hallmark of Australia.

Being first on a bill is a necessity that can really prove the worth of a band - it surely isn't an easy slot to play, given that much of the crowd won't have turned up yet, and those there need to be warmed up. So I always have a lot of respect for bands who can really kick the night of with a bang. In the case of METREYA that's an understatement. "Kicked the night off with a nuclear strike from orbit" might be a bit more apt.

Commanding the stage with the presence of a military commander, singer Michael Demov lay down crushing vocals, and crafted imagery of impossible devastation and war over a mind-numbingly tight band.

METREYA devoured the crowd as they stomped through their set of high-powered, super-charged thrash that rolled on like a war machine.

Following the quintet was the only band in Sydney who make false-slaying part of their mission statement. I've seen METAL a number of times, and the band gets better with every set. The leather-clad four piece bring the crowd and the steel together, showcasing some of the best tracks from their debut album, Proving Our Mettle. You can't fault a bunch of dudes who can write this many songs about metal.

There's no pretension, pomp or weak attempts at satire here. This is just a straight-up and honest tribute to all things heavy - even metal-man Dave Balfour joined them on stage. From my understanding the band is getting some buzz overseas, which is greatly deserved. The band have stated they'll be relatively quiet for the next six months, and I'm already itching to see their return.

Tasmania's rock n' roll outlaws TABERAH returned to Sydney, where their brand of balls-out heavy metal is always welcome. Playing tracks from the new album such as Burning In The Moonlight and Dying Wish - a resurrected track from the old days - the boys do their thing and love every moment of it, and the crowd does, too.

TABERAH's fan base in Sydney is hard to ignore, and the hardworking band managed to pull a great crowd of punters singing along to every word. Come back soon, please!

Headlining the evening was DARKER HALF - the first show I saw of these guys was at The Stag in 2008 (if my memory is still working correctly), and Balfour was there helping the young quartet of power/prog metal make their mark. One line-up change and two albums later, the band are playing at full force, pounding through a set of both old and new numbers.

DARKER HALF's new tracks demonstrate a steadfast hold to the vision that helped propel them to becoming cult icons in the scene, while also illustrating their progression towards a stronger and tighter outfit. Galloping on (and occasionally off) the stage, the band manage to close the night in fine form.

...But wait, there's more!

DARKER HALF and TABERAH members return to the stage with Balfour to knock-out some JUDAS PRIEST and MOTÖRHEAD covers, with a number of punters taking the stage, too (Yeah, sorry about that, guys...). Killed by Death sounded more ferocious than perhaps even Lemmy himself would be capable of.

But it's more than just a bunch of fun metal covers - the unity of the bands and crowd shows exactly what Metal Evilution has been all about these last ten years, and that is creating a strong community of headbangers keen to go nuts and have a good time, with blisteringly loud, neck-snapping music.

The Metal Evilution journey is far from over, and I suspect the legacy of what Dave has helped create will resonate in the scene for years to come.

TABERAH have just released their second album, Necromancer, and Absolute Power caught up with the boys before the show to discuss the journey so far, what's ahead, and to celebrate Balfour's work.

Absolute Power: Tonight's the Metal Evilution 10th Anniversary. You guys were originally brought out by Metropolis to do the MOTÖRHEAD supports, but you guys have since then done a fair few Metal Evilution gigs. So, what do you think of Dave's set-up and the Metal Evilution thing?

Jonathon: It is a thing, isn't it? I don’t know how to describe it. The bands that have been on it are all friends and everyone knows Balfour as just a genuine, cool dude. He is a promoter, but he isn't like any other promoter.

Myles: His heart is in it.

Jonathon: Yeah, his heart is definitely in it and it shows – his shows aren't the biggest, but they are the best, quality over quantity. And it is a shame he doesn't get bigger shows because he deserves it. I think if the masses saw the sort of shows he puts on, it could be completely different. His heart is in it and he is a genuine pleasure to work with and always has been. Metal Evilution is just this thing that everyone know is cool, bands want to play thee shows because they know it is going to be a tip-top night. We love it!

He really helped us get up here, we had all the shows planned, but we had no idea what we were doing. Balfour came along after he heard about us and checked us out and helped us out just getting a start and not many people do that anymore, they want you to be established and come to them, but Balfour came looking for us when we needed it.

*Interview edited for clarity and length.


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