Live Review: Demon Hunter + I, The Breather + For All Eternity + Caulfield + Absolution @ Manning Bar, Sydney – 28 March 2013

Words and Pics: Ben Hosking
Tonight’s show at the Manning Bar proved to be a great event for fans of the deathcore and metalcore persuasions. Not only that, but with three local bands supporting the two US-based attractions, it was a great showcase of Sydney talent, too.

Five-piece deathcore outfit Absolution kicked off proceedings to a fairly empty room, no doubt thanks to the early start. Despite a wobbly start with a mismatch of grandiose intro music and overly casual on-stage entrance, the band launched into a brutal set containing some truly bludgeoning breakdowns.

Caulfield upped the ante with a tight set of blistering metalcore of the two-singer variety. Tonight proved to be a veritable smorgasbord of talented drummers and Caulfield’s sticksman belted the crap out of his kit. But the band’s livewire bassist was undoubtedly the highlight; seemingly incapable of standing still for even a moment and putting on a great show. With plenty of big melodic choruses, they have no problem generating some movement in the small crowd.

Interestingly, US-based Christian metalcore band I, The Breather are up next, playing before the last of the Sydney supports. Singer Shawn Spann tells the audience they’ve had 30mins sleep in two days and it can be seen in his face as they churn through an energetic set and he refuses to sit still. Touring their latest album ‘Truth and Purpose’, the aggressive five-piece ripped through a set containing plenty of catchy metal hymns that got the enthusiastic and growing audience all riled up without getting preachy about things.

The same couldn’t be said for Sydney band For All Eternity. There’s no doubting the band play a cohesive and catchy brand of twin-vocalist metalcore, fronted by a big man with a big voice. However, that big voice came across all too often in a way that had this heathen reviewer thinking he was in church. Despite that, they pummel the rabid crowd with plenty of big bass booms and lift them up with anthemic choruses, leaving plenty of smiles on faces.

Naturally we knew what we were getting ourselves into when signing up to review the mighty Demon Hunter. The Seattle, Washington Christian metal band has spent the last 11 years punishing punters’ eardrums with their own brand of modern metal, but this is their first voyage to our shores.

To be frank, we’d been listening to Demon Hunter’s music for a good six years or more without even realising they were a Christian band, such is their apparent stance on preachiness and tonight’s show is a reflection on that, with nary a single pulpit-style discourse to be heard at any point in their set (Indeed, the whole band gave the crowd the devil horns at the beginning of the set, which was a little confusing). Instead, an onslaught of tunes from across their catalogue whips the enthusiastic crowd into a neck-snapping, fist-pumping frenzy of biblical proportions with barely a break between songs to catch breath.

As with the rest of tonight’s bands, Demon Hunter suffer from a sub-par mix that’s a little vocal and drum heavy, but the band give a performance that easily makes up for their lack of having been here before, rocking out like a bunch of Sons of Anarchy bikers with instruments in their hands. Considering tickets were a mere $40, tonight proved to be heavenly value for money and hopefully it won’t take Demon Hunter another 11 years to return.

** Photos: Demon Hunter + I, The Breather + For All Eternity + Caulfield + Absolution @ Manning Bar, Sydney – 28 March 2013
** More articles and photo galleries by Ben Hosking…

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