Darkcell “Paranormal” single launch, The Flaming Galah, 29/5/21

Krave

I first saw these folks at Jimna Rocks and couldn’t believe the sound that they got from their 3 members. There was a depth and intensity that belied their setup. I have lived with their music daily in the intervening period. My great fear was that my memory of them and their music was that of rose coloured glasses.

I need not have worried. From the very outset it was evident that they were all that I remembered. “Walk of Atonement” stabbed me in the heart with its soaring vocals and exquisite guitar work.

The interplay of the guitarists was evident all through the set. They enjoy playing together and fed off each other’s shenanigans.

Siana‘a voice was just brilliant. She growled with best of them, but then rolled out an impressive vocal range of crystal clarity. This added to her already significant stage presence, from the way that she bantered with the crowd, added snippets to the story about each song and used facial expressions to enrich her performance.

The guitar riffing and solos had the metal weight of the Exxon Valdez. I was transfixed by Ryan’s left hand. It was like one of the alien face hugging fuckers from “Aliens”. It was a masterclass of skill and style, with Ryan having all the moves.

Sam’s drumming had particular weight. He thundered with the best of them, but also knew how to use subtlety when that was required. In the lead up to this gig, Sam had experienced nose bleeds. In the last song I saw him slump into the drum kit, but he powered on, drawing on his determination to deliver. Legend.

On stage Krave was a nest of unbridled enthusiasm. There was an obvious interconnectedness between them, as well as a deal of comfort – the LIKE playing together. A great example of this was the way that they teased us into the opening of “Out of Control”. The fun was infectious – but with no vaccine needed and without the blood clots. They also performed “Anxiety”, a song that will be released soon. The theme to this song is, “Get fucked anxiety – don’t let it get the best of you, do what you want.”

These were songs about empowerment and standing up for yourself, but running away if you needed to. There was not a dull moment or a weak section in this set.

I have said it before – I feel the hands of destiny on this band – and I still stand by that.

Torizon

I felt like I was at a banquet at some fancy restaurant. My palate had been soaked in metal and I was hungry for more.

If you looked in the dictionary (remember those?) under “iron fist in a velvet glove” you’d find a picture of these folks. Mish has a voice that is melodic metal at its best – powerful, cultured and dynamic. She also had a comfortable confidence – which belied her nerves before the show. This just served to prove that these folks care about what they serve up. She also displayed that she has mastered the art of subtlety, reigning things in when the moment called for restrained power.

In the last few months these folks have done a Penrith Panthers – taken hard work, passion, belief and some staffing changes to develop a team of the highest order.

There was an easy power in their music, the type that touches your soul. The percussion had a rare dynamic behind it, the combination of elements surprising me many times. I spoke to Aaron about this after their set. He said that sometimes it’s necessary to trust in your intuition, closing off the parts in your brain that get in the way. This makes sense – his work felt exactly like that.

Some killer guitar solos only whetted my appetite for many tasty treats to come from these folks. On that note, I caught myself closing my eyes, lost in the melody and interplay of the guitars. The Torizon experience is a rare beast.

I really appreciated the variety of tempos and signatures of their songs – these folks have the wonderful ability to excel at whatever they turn their attention towards and are not afraid to experiment with sound. There were themes of strength and overcoming struggle, to rise above whatever was dragging you down. 

Torizon delivered another stellar performance.

DisKust

Next on this culinary journey was the quarter pounder of metal. “Quarter” because it did a draw and quarter on us (in the dark ages, a naughty person had their had their arms and legs tied to 4 horses, who ran away from each other, ripping the person apart) and “pounder” because it pounded the Hell out of us.

From the outset, with their ominous backing track and their backs turned to the audience, we knew that we were about to get smashed – in the nicest possible way.

This is another band that has gone through a metamorphosis of late – a hiatus and a lineup change or two has meant that they have turned from the caterpillar to the angry fucking butterfly – always beautiful, but occasionally brutal.

I was taken aback by their sound. I’ve seen them a few times, but tonight they were in rare form. These magnificent mammals have done quite a few shows lately from arsehole to breakfast time – well, Cairns to Canberra – and this showed in their sound and stagecraft. Their sound has deepened significantly and their stage personas have become much more defined.

CJ’s percussion was phenomenal. Rumour had it that he’s descended from Tasmanian Devils. My beautiful wife pointed out the guitarists – her classical training had her bonding with their intense musicality. Lance showed how a bass should be played – with swank and swagger and an attitude to match. 

Bo’s vocals and his ability to reach down into the souls of the audience have become signatures to his prodigious talent. He is the consummate MC – Metal Commander. Many times I was mesmerised by the way that he switched from melodic to tough as fuck. I also saw him breathless from his exertions and from the depth of his passion – he is a rare front man.

I wept during “Honestly”… That song…

The crowd was rapturous. As an experience, this was transcendent. DisKust’s journey of late should serve as a lesson to us all about what teamwork, belief and hard work can achieve.

Darkcell

They weren’t very good. I was profoundly disappointed.

As if…

Seeing Darkcell is religious experience. It’s been a lllllllooooonnnnggggg time between Darkcell gigs and even longer since we could dance to the mischief. The crowd were there to party and they did it, unreservedly, because: Darkcell.

From very early on I was intrigued. Their sound was different to what I have experienced at previous gigs. Their was a raw element to it that felt more authentic – not that it was inauthentic in the past – it’s just that this enabled us to more clearly hear the raw, raucous quality of their phenomenal work.

These songs have served as the soundtracks to our recent lives. I found myself dancing like no one was watching, even though lots of people were enjoying my silliness.

They pounded with alacrity, going from strength to strength. It was awesome to have Rit in the lineup – his bass bravado has deceptive weight – when he’s not there it’s blatantly obvious. Add into the mix his mischief on stage and connection to the crowd and he is the complete package.

Matt played like a dervish, wringing ridiculous tone and power from his guitar. Unsurprisingly, his connection with the crowd was also significant. He engaged with folks as he played and this further anchored folks to this band.

I spend a good deal of time watching Jay drum, as we had a great spot upstairs. It was like watching digital tv at 6x fast forward. Everything moved with perfect precision, but at superhuman speed. At one point my beautiful wife’s wine glass skittered across the table and fell on the floor. Either Jay thumps, or he is telekinetic…

Jesse’s voice, like previously mentioned, had a slightly different flavour. His closing of “Burn the Witches” was spellbinding in its inflection and emotional power. He treated us to a performance of raw emotion, utilising his wonderful range and power. As expected, he was gracious and humble, but whipped the crowd up like a master puppeteer. 

It was the first time we had experienced their latest release, “Paranormal”. Jesse introduced it as a love song… which is not accurate… but we did LOVE the live version of it.

It was everything that I had come to expect from and love about this band.

Generally

This was my first trip to the Flaming Galah. As a venue, the sound was good and there was more room that I was expecting. The upstairs area gives a great alternate view of the bands.

I was amazed at the interplay between the members of the bands. The respect that they had for each other was obvious and the interchanges between them was warm and good natured, as well as often being cheeky. They all spoke highly of each other. There was support and a genuine care and concern for each other. The members of the bands hung around and were there for the fans, greeting folks in a honest and patient way. Many times they were moshing, shoulder to shoulder with the punters.

I have read through the above a few times and don’t think that I have accurately captured the quality and fun of this experience. The crowd were happy, the music was unbelievable and the way that the band members connected with folks was rare.

This is one that I’ll be talking it about for decades.

Greg Noble.

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