Category Archives: Billy Geary

Album Review: Karnivool – Asymmetry

Review: Billy Geary
When Sound Awake was released in 2009, Karnivool began to receive acclaim on an international scale, with the record’s more expansive sound resonating with fans of progressive music worldwide. It was a huge step forward for the band when compared to their debut, signalling their establishment as one of Australia’s most innovative bands. Appropriately titled, Asymmetry sees the band change tack again – moving towards a sound of dissonance and adventure, while still retaining the melody of their past releases.
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Live Review: Soundwave Festival, Melbourne – 1st March 2013

Review by Billy Geary
Soundwave. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Where, for two weeks rock fans across the country come out of the woodwork to celebrate all things heavy, following one of Australia’s biggest travelling music festivals around the country. Due to it being the festival’s 10-year anniversary, the line up for this edition was as big as it gets, featuring giants of many different genres of heavy music. Add to this a monumental amount of ticket sales and the usual assortment of controversies in the festival’s lead up and the result is an absolute behemoth of a day.
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Live Review: Periphery and Crossfaith @ The Espy, Melbourne – 25 February 2013

Review by Billy Geary
Photo by Stuart Blythe
The last time Periphery played in Melbourne, back in 2011, they sold out the Hi-Fi Bar weeks in advance, highlighting just how popular the band is in the land down under. It appeared a similar occurrence was on the cards for their Soundwave sideshow held at the famous Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda. Well before doors had even opened, the line of fans waiting to enter the venue had snaked through the front bar and outside along The Esplanade quite away. As such, the early indication was that Periphery’s love affair with Australia and the local fans was by no means over.
Continue reading Live Review: Periphery and Crossfaith @ The Espy, Melbourne – 25 February 2013

Live Review: 65daysofstatic + sleepmakeswaves @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne – 4 January 2013

Review by Billy Geary
As is the case with many bands that are somewhat lesser known, despite being critically acclaimed and possessing a stellar live sound, British four piece 65daysofstatic have taken quite a while to finally make it down under. After over ten years together, the band, with the help of the increasingly impressive Birds Robe record label, it was finally Australia’s turn to experience the quartet in the flesh.

Fresh from a huge 2012, including an ARIA award nomination, Sydney’s sleepmakeswaves were tasked with the role of main support for the entire tour. The quartet has, over the last few years, grown their fan base quite significantly and it showed in the sheer volume of the crowd’s cheers on Friday night as the band wandered on stage. The highlights of the set were opener ‘To You They Are Birds…’ and ‘We Sing The Body Electric,’ displaying exactly why they are considered one of Australia’s best young bands. To the delight of many, the band also showcased a couple of new tracks in ‘Avalanches’ and ‘Freshmaker.’ The former was particularly impressive, being slighter faster paced compared to most sleepmakeswaves tracks whilst still retaining their original sound.
Continue reading Live Review: 65daysofstatic + sleepmakeswaves @ The Corner Hotel, Melbourne – 4 January 2013

CD Review: Twelve Foot Ninja – “Silent Machine”

Review by Billy Geary
Just about every time you think music is becoming stale, over-saturated or downright boring, there’s always a band ready and waiting to put your faith back in music. Twelve Foot Ninja are one of those bands. Forming in 2007, Twelve Foot Ninja quickly rose to prominence, releasing two EPs packed with genre bending moments of reggae, metal, funk, dub and hardcore, sometimes within the same song. Their debut album, Silent Machine shows the same tendency, with added heaviness and polish.

After the first few verses of opener ‘Coming For You,’ for those new to the band one thing is immediately obvious, Twelve Foot Ninja aren’t afraid to mix contrasting genres mid-song. In fact, they thrive on it. ‘Coming For You’ is vintage Twelve Foot Ninja, blending reggae and metal, with a smattering of electronics evoking thoughts of Mr Bungle and Tomahawk. Throughout the record, the comparisons with various Mike Patton projects will inevitably continue, however to pigeonhole Silent Machine in such a way would be unfair to the band.
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Live Review: The Smashing Pumpkins @ Hisense Arena, Melbourne – 2nd August 2012

Review by Billy Geary
With the annual Splendour in the Grass festival letting loose in Bryon Bay, the sideshow circus around the country was in full swing. Co-headlining Splendour was the infamous Smashing Pumpkins, lead by vocalist/guitarist Billy Corgan with a new album in tow. In the lead up to Thursday night at Hisense Arena, there had been much speculation regarding the Pumpkins’ set. Corgan had previously stated that the band’s new album Oceania was to be played in full, aided by a ‘ground breaking’ spherical projection. The most striking thing upon entering the venue was how empty it seemed, with almost the entire top-level empty, as well as large chunks of the floor.

However, as the first few chords of ‘Quasar’ were played it became obvious for those who were there, that it would be a great show. Midway through Oceania, the more casual Smashing Pumpkins fans were getting impatient, with constant calls to play their old stuff. This only inspired the band to work harder, with Corgan visibly loving the opportunity to showcase the new record. Tracks like ‘The Chimera’ and ‘Pinwheels’ worked extremely well, with the former drawing the first large cheer for the night. Mention must be made of the image projection onto the giant sphere above the band as they played Oceania, it was a welcome addition that really gave an extra dimension to the songs that most weren’t too familiar with.
Continue reading Live Review: The Smashing Pumpkins @ Hisense Arena, Melbourne – 2nd August 2012

Live Review: The Tea Party @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne with Georgia Fair – 14th July 2012

Review by Billy Geary
The Tea PartyOn the 13th of April last year, The Tea Party announced that they had reformed after a six-year break. A tour of their native country in Canada quickly followed and, as such, it was only a matter of time before the Reunion Tour made it to Australia. Saturday night at The Hi-Fi was the second show of the tour, the first being at Melbourne’s Palais the night before.

Lone support band Georgia Fair peddled their inoffensive indie/folk rock to a largely disinterested crowd. The pair soldiered on through their lively half hour set, eventually winning over a few early comers, despite the stark contrast in sound with the headliners. Newer track ‘Blind’ in particular managed to turn more than a few heads, however Saturday night was all about The Tea Party.
Continue reading Live Review: The Tea Party @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne with Georgia Fair – 14th July 2012

Album Review | Breaking Orbit – The Time Traveller

Review by Billy Geary
Sydney four piece Breaking Orbit’s debut album The Time Traveller has been a long time coming, with a name change and some member shuffles preceding its release. The wait was certainly worth it, though. The Time Traveller has blown anything done by any other Australian progressively minded band out of the water, save for maybe Karnivool’s Sound Awake and Cog’s The New Normal. However, Breaking Orbit do things slightly differently, placing a heavy emphasis on the tribal and percussive elements in their sound. The result is a debut album of monolithic proportions.

The familiar amalgamation of heavy alternative and progressive genres is certainly apparent, however hints at tribal music and some dabbling in electronic samples ensure The Time Traveller stands out as a record in a vastly oversaturated scene. Opening track ‘Echoes’ is a slow burner with thudding bass guitar, soaring vocals and a distinct touch of post rock influence, immediately showing the band’s diversity. This trend continues throughout the record, with each track offering a different side of Breaking Orbit to the listener. Instrumental track ‘Machiguenga’ is the perfect example of this, featuring an array of tribal percussive instruments and flute passages.
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Live Review | The Ocean @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne with Sydonia, Lo! – 26 May 2012

Review by Billy Geary
The OceanThe Ocean are one of the more interesting bands of the past few decades. The brainchild of guitarist Robin Staps, The Ocean has, over the years, morphed into one of the most forward thinking and innovative metal bands in the world. Their show at Melbourne’s Hi-Fi bar on Saturday night was the second last leg of their maiden tour of Australia, and what a night it was.

Upon descending the steps below Swanston Street, Sydney’s Lo! and their brand of chaotic hardcore was reverberating around the room and up the staircase. First impressions were good, with the quartet proving dynamic on the Hi-Fi’s stage. Front man Jamie-Leigh Smith screamed his way around the room, both on stage and off it and gradually won over an oddly surly audience over as their set progressed. Coming across as a mixture of Converge and Mastodon, the sludgy riffs from Carl Whitbread sounded huge over the PA, really driving the band’s sound into the punters present. At the conclusion of their set, it was more than obvious why they were hand picked by The Ocean to support the entire tour.
Continue reading Live Review | The Ocean @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne with Sydonia, Lo! – 26 May 2012

Live Review: Dead Letter Circus + Fair to Midland + Twelve Foot Ninja @ Ferntree Gully Hotel – 17 May 2012

Review by Billy Geary
Trekking all the way out to Ferntree Gully for a gig is always an interesting experience and Thursday night was no different, with a line up boasting some of Australia’s and America’s best alternative rock bands. With Brisbane natives Dead Letter Circus having been on tour with Texan five piece Fair to Midland in the States for the past few months, it was time to bring the party (and Fair to Midland) back home for their own national tour.

Local staples Twelve Foot Ninja have been given the support slot for the entire tour, and clearly loving the experience. Opening with ‘War,’ one of the band’s heavier numbers, the audience was instantly engaged. The most impressive thing about Twelve Foot Ninja is their ability to move between genres with the flick of a switch, this trait exemplified through ‘FEAR’ and ‘Manufacture of Consent,’ both featuring plenty of heaviness with a dash of reggae and dub influences. Similarly, new track ‘Shuriken’ will be one to look out for on their forthcoming album showcasing vocalist Nick’s outstanding vocals and a smattering of samples. Twelve Foot Ninja’s set came to an end via a powerful rendition of ‘Clarion,’ reminding punters exactly why they’re known as one of the tightest live acts in Melbourne.
Continue reading Live Review: Dead Letter Circus + Fair to Midland + Twelve Foot Ninja @ Ferntree Gully Hotel – 17 May 2012

Live Review: Evanescence @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne with Blaqk Audio & The Khyber Belt – 24th March 2012

Review By Billy Geary
The lead up to the release of Evanescence’s self titled album (their first in 5 years) was, put lightly, a tumultuous one. With rumours of break ups and the like, plenty wondered if we’d seen the last of them. Not to be killed off though, Evanescence finally made it back to Australia and on Saturday night, put on an excellent showcase of their vast catalogue of hits.

First up was Melbourne’s own The Khyber Belt, the lucky local band that was selected to open every show of the tour. For a band barely a year into gigging, it’s fair to say they’ve risen quickly within the Australian scene. Vocalist Forbes McKail was his usual energetic self, bounding around the huge stage. Closing their quick set with ‘We The People,’ taken off their debut EP
Continue reading Live Review: Evanescence @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne with Blaqk Audio & The Khyber Belt – 24th March 2012

Soundwave @ Melbourne Showgrounds – 2nd March 2012 | Festival Review

Review by Billy Geary

As the black clad army of fans bustled through the gates at the Melbourne Showgrounds, there was a genuine excitement in the air for what was the largest Soundwave ever in terms of the sheer number of bands on the bill. Not only had Soundwave delivered an exceptional number of bands, they’d also brought back a plethora of old favourites, as well as numerous outstanding up and comers. It was going to be very hard to not have a good time with what was on offer.

Upon arrival, we made a beeline straight for Stage 7 to see American art rock band dredg. Their set on Friday only furthered the reputation they’ve been getting on the Soundwave circuit as one of the must see bands, despite them being slightly different musically to the majority of bands on the bill. ‘Bug Eyes,’ ‘Ode to the Sun’ and ‘Pariah’ all got an airing, but as with their sideshow, it was the incredible ‘The Canyon Behind Her’ that drew the greatest response from the sparse crowd gathered. Vocalist Gavin Hayes was sublime throughout, his tranquil vocals intertwining with Mark Engles’ jangly guitar captivating the crowd for their short set.
Continue reading Soundwave @ Melbourne Showgrounds – 2nd March 2012 | Festival Review

Live Review: Slipknot & Trivum @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Review by Billy Geary

The short walk from Richmond Station to Rod Laver Arena saw a sea of fans heading to the arena, suggesting we were in for a near full house. However, upon arrival, it was slightly disappointing to find much of the upper sections of the arena possessing empty seats covered by curtains.

Opening up proceedings were Florida natives Trivium, given an entire hour to warm up punters before the main act. There was an obvious portion of the crowd that were every bit as big a fans of Trivium as they were of Slipknot, with plenty up close singing and screaming along word for word. As a band that has been around for quite a while now, it has been great to see Trivium develop into a really tight live act. Front man Matt Heafy was brilliant throughout, encouraging circle pits and roaming the stage, ensuring every single section of Rod Laver Arena was engaged with the music. As Trivium finish off their set, it it obvious that their brand of metalcore has quite successfully warmed up the hordes of already rabid fans.
Continue reading Live Review: Slipknot & Trivum @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Live Review | Devin Townsend Project, Meshuggah and Dredg @ The Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 29 February 2012

REVIEW by Billy Geary
As Melbourne’s Soundwave week continued into Wednesday night, it was time to head to the beautiful Forum Theatre for a taste of some of the most original music the massive line up had to offer.

As somewhat the black sheep of Wednesday night’s line-up, art rock band dredg more than held their own against the heavier headliners. After a few false starts in recent years, this was their first venture to Australia and quickly won over the predominantly metal focused crowd. Opening with two of their most well known songs in ‘Ode to the Sun’ and ‘Bug Eyes’ was a smart move, as the band commanded attention from the start. ‘Bug Eyes’ in particular got a great response, its chorus sounding majestic within the confines of The Forum.
Continue reading Live Review | Devin Townsend Project, Meshuggah and Dredg @ The Forum Theatre, Melbourne – 29 February 2012

Interview: Mårten Hagström – MESHUGGAH

Interview: Billy Geary
We caught up with MESHUGGAH guitarist Mårten Hagström just ahead of the bands arrival in Australia for Soundwave 2012

LMM: Soundwave 2012 will be the second time you’ve toured with the festival, what made you want to come back and do it again?

MESHUGGAH : Australia has been a real good experience for us so it was a no brainer actually. The perfect way to get away from the Swedish winter.
LMM: Your new album will be coming out around the same time you’re playing at Soundwave. Do you plan to include any of the new songs in your set?

>MESHUGGAH: Don’t know yet. We are still debating that issue.
LMM: What are you most looking forward to about doing Soundwave 2012?
Continue reading Interview: Mårten Hagström – MESHUGGAH