New Clear Vision, Darkcell and Combichrist at The Brightside, Brisbane, 03/10/2019

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In the 1980s a small company on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland had the temerity to take an Alfa Romeo GTV body shell, graft in a thumping Aussie V8, meld in some go-fast bits and handling upgrades and then finish off the package with improvements to the style of the overall package. The Giocattolo was born.

The result was a fusion of Australian and international components that was fast, aggressive and oozed effortless style. A bit like what happened last night.

Last night was also a new experience for me, as Sophie (one of our daughters) came with me. This was the first time that we have gone to a metal gig together as adults.

New Clear Vision (NCV)

Being the opening act for any gig has to be a challenge. The crowd is small, the rhythm of the evening hasn’t been established and the impact of liquid refreshment isn’t yet tangible.

Like NCV gave a shit…

They cracked proceedings open with the backing of a news report, warning of an imminent nuclear catastrophe across Australia. NCV flooded onto the stage wearing Hazmat suits. This was no protection for us from their infectious brand of metal.

Their rollicking sound soon had the punters engaged, with the staccato rhythms and solid guitar work creating a killer atmosphere. They occasionally used samples to enrich their sound, with it being a brand of metal that was dense and intense.

This up and coming band is a tight as Hell – their hard work off the stage is obvious in their silent communication between each other. The changes in tempo and flow of the songs ensured audience engagement and their stage presence was authentic. Brad Bromfield’s vocals were dynamic are strong, shifting between menacing growls and intense singing that conveyed his message with disarming clarity.

NCV write sounds about personal struggle and social comment – one of the most powerful being the impact of domestic violence.

Their playing and vocals stood up for the duration of their set and they stood tall and were counted.

Sophie’s comment? “If the nuclear holocaust sounds this awesome, then nuclear war doesn’t sound so terrifying.”


Darkcell

The masters of stage presence brought their A Game from the very outset. Darkcell have a cogent brand of metal – songs of religious and social comment, but mostly, of unity between people, that it’s ok to be different, because you’ll find kindred spirits at their gigs.

The fullness of their sound was first rate and the crowd’s engagement surged, with the people in the palm of Jesse Dracman’s capable hands. His voice can reverberate through the souls of those present, or be smooth as silk, but there’s always an iron fist in there…
Darkcell‘ s performance was all about swagger and attitude, with credibility to back it up. The transitions between and within tracks were crisp and every song was a masterclass of metal. Each member of the band has diverse musical interests and this was apparent in their playing – they are technically clever. This shone through in the effortless and high quality nature of their playing.

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This was all about connection with people – that we’re all just freaks, but that’s not a disease.

What came to mind was a term that I am going to coin – “metal creep”. NCV kicked the gig off, then Darkcell was the next phase of metal creep – creeping things forward.

Sophie’s comment? “My God! They are so talented!”

Combichrist

From the outset, they meant business. Metal creep was well and truly in evidence. They had two drum kits, one guitar. All attitude.

The crowd were immediately engaged. Andy LaPlegua prowled the stage, like a hungry predator. His voice was robust and took no prisoners. The drummers were percussion perfectionists and having two drummers meant that this was a different and intriguing take on metal.

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Their music had a pulsating energy, resulting in a sea of nods amongst the crowd. Many of the tempos were insanely clever – like a racing heart. It was the rhythm of life, an often primitive rhythm that reached us on a primal level… many of the moments were mesmerising.

All of the band members had an infectious enthusiasm – it was obvious that they love what they do. This was high octane metal that reached us on every level. It featured rollicking reverberation that resonated, then an intensity that grabbed you by the shoulders – and head butted you.

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Again, the music was about personal struggle and social comment. There was something in the songs that affected people on a number of levels.

Sophie’s comment in response to Andy’s lyrics? “‘Do you hear me? Do you feel me?’ Yes, we fucking do!”

If you didn’t leave happy, then I would have no idea what you were after. This was metal with a message, of unity and acceptance, that passion isn’t dead, but most of all, that the bands appreciated the crowd. The flow from band to band to band lifted proceedings incrementally – perfectly paced – metal creep in action. We were a part of something special.

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All of that makes the gig sound like a Giocattolo. Take some local components, add international elements, smash them, meld them and mould them together and create a Freakenstein of an evening.

It was a Hell of a ride…

10/10: the best gig I’ve attended.

Words and photos by Greg Noble.

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