Melbourne metalheads were treated to an enormous evening of neck-breaking thrash last night at the first Australian date of Sepultura’s worldwide Machine Messiah tour. Joined by local four-piece Harlott and American thrash legends Death Angel, the punters at 170 Russell no doubt left the show that night feeling like they got one hell of a bang for their buck.
Harlott set the wheels in motion with a half-hour set that prompted the odd mop of flailing hair throughout the venue. The group’s sound meshed together naturally, while still allowing room to showcase each member’s individual technical prowess—including Andy Hudson’s screeching vocals that were reminiscent of Slayer’s Tom Araya.
Evidently inspired by the quintessential Bay Area thrash sound, Harlott was the perfect opener for San Francisco metal giants Death Angel. The five-piece was largely active back in the ’80s and has since undergone some lineup changes, but that hasn’t affected their onstage energy whatsoever—the band’s presence was absolutely electrifying.
Mark Oseguada’s mighty voice commandeered the entire venue for the group’s 45-minute set, both in banter with the audience and during songs. He bellowed, screamed and growled, at one point shouting, “just a friendly fuckin’ reminder: we’re at a metal show. Do you realise there’s fuckin’ security here and it’s like they have the night off?”
His humorous demands were met with some chuckles throughout the audience and a slight increase in movement, although most of the punters appeared to be older fans who were content with keeping away from the mosh. Despite the lack of reciprocation, the group put on a formidable show. Their energy didn’t waver once despite the reserved response to their attempts at rousing the crowd.
At the close of Death Angel’s set, the amount of punters in the venue had noticeably increased. The atmosphere was buzzing as the crowd eagerly awaited the entrance of the famed Brazilian metal icons. Finally, the stage lights turned red and an eerie-sounding organ track filled the venue. One by one, each member of Sepultura took their place onstage, and the organ cut to silence.
As soon as the band launched into their first song, it was as though the crowd had come to life. Offering up tracks like ‘Phantom Self’, ‘Territory’ and ‘Against’, Sepultura delivered a high-powered tight performance that left punters unable to stand still. The four-piece navigated the shifting time signatures of ‘Desperate Cry’ flawlessly, a testament to their technical skills.
A notable moment of the set was when guitarist Andreas Kisser took to the microphone and shared that the band is celebrating vocalist Derrick Green’s 20th year in the band. Green undoubtedly had big shoes to fill when replacing previous singer Max Cavalera but seeing the man perform live served as a reminder that he took to the role perfectly. The vocalist’s range is immense and powerful, adapting from a demonic growl to a throaty scream with ease.
The group balanced the perfect amount of Machine Messiah tracks with older classics, keeping fans satisfied throughout the hour-and-a-half-long set. The show ended on a mind-blowing note, wrapping up with explosive renditions of ‘Arise’, ‘Ratamahatta’ and finally, ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. It’s safe to say, everyone filed out of the venue looking pretty awestruck.
Although the Machine Messiah tour has been taking place for well over a year now, the performance in no way felt rigid or tired. It was as exhilarating as it was immense—a phenomenal show from a phenomenal band who proved that after all these years, they’ve definitely still got it.
Wednesday, 16 May 2018 – ADELAIDE, The Gov
Thursday, 17 May 2018 – BYRON BAY, The Northern
Friday, 18 May 2018 – BRISBANE, Eatons Hill Hotel
Saturday 19 May 2018 – SYDNEY, Metro Theatre
Sunday 20 May 2018 – PERTH, Capitol
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