HELM @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne with Bellusira, Ennis Tola, The Design – 19 August 2011 | Live Review

Review by: Billy Geary

[Photo by: Annie Wilson – Amped Photography]
  Having just taken an extended break from the road to record their highly anticipated 3rd album, it had been a long time between drinks for Melbourne based fans of Queensland metal behemoth HELM. However, the band’s Rising Tides Tour marks a transitional period for the quintet, in both good and bad ways (nearing completion of their third album and loosing a couple of members). Despite this, on Friday night, Helm showed they remain a world-class heavy act and with the help of some great supports, they put on a great show.

After yet another show of their incompetence, Melbourne’s favourite train operator Metro decided they only wanted me to catch ” target=”_wina”>The Design’s last song. That song however, was impressive to say the least, giving off a strong melodic vibe with some excellent hooks.

If one were to look up the definition of eclectic in the dictionary, you’d probably see a reference to Ennis Tola. Combining world music and progressive rock and playing it on as many different instruments as possible (think Tool with less pretentiousness and more weird instruments), they are nothing if not original. At then end of their set it was visibly obvious that half the crowd were wondering what had just happened, while the other half were wanting more (I was in the latter group). An excellent set from a very exciting and original band.

As Bellusira made their way on stage, it became immediately clear that Crystal Ignite still remains the best front woman Australia has seen for the past few years. Throwing her self around stage, it was clear that she, and the rest of the band, were stoked with playing at the Hi-Fi for the second time in the space of a month. I do have one gripe with Bellusira in that they aren’t the most original band around the traps. However, this is more than made up for the energy exhumed on stage. Throughout their 45 minute set, the quintet were bang on. The band’s biggest song to date; ‘Closer To Me’ again went down a treat, drawing a rapturous response from the Hi-Fi crowd. With their crossover appeal, Bellusira most definitely have the potential to be one of the bigger bands in Australia and based on their current trajectory, they’re well on the way.

HELM are, without a doubt, one of the best heavy bands in Australia. Combining crushing post metal and powerful vocals with a distinctly Australian flavour, they are definitely deserving of the bigger room that the expanses of the Hi-Fi Bar provides. Their hour-long set contains a mix of tracks from their two albums, as well as a couple of new songs being road tested. Frontman Lucas Stone can only be described as an absolute madman, shifting from monstrous roars to powerful melodic vocals in an instant. ‘Watch It Burn’ and ‘Release The Eagles’ are set highlights, with the former stirring the crowd up quite a bit. The band’s newer tracks featured a more direct approach than their previous efforts, showing more immediacy than their more drawn out epics like ‘Death Valley’ and ‘Salt’ but still retaining the distinct Helm sound. As their set drew to a close, the modest crowd were yelling for more, with Helm having put on an absolute cracker of a show.

While The Hi-Fi Bar was perhaps an ambitious venue choice for the Melbourne leg of Helm’s tour, with the help of a Bellusira hometown crowd the venue is reasonably full. Tonight was yet another confirmation that Helm are one of the most engaging, forward thinking metal bands in Australia. If Friday night was anything to go by, they’re only just now hitting their stride.

Review by: Billy Geary

Upcoming August 2011 Tour Dates
26 August 2011 – Waves, Wollongong – BUY TICKETS HERE
27 August 2011 – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney

* Helm with Bellusira @ The Hi-Fi, Melbourne – 19th August 2011 | Photo Gallery
* HELM – ‘The Rising Tides’ Tour – August 2011 | TOUR DETAILS