Following a hiatus that stretched on for well past a decade, ’90s cult metal legends, Superheist have made an impactful return to the Australian metal scene. 2016’s release, Ghosts of the Social Dead, and the band’s killer live shows are reminding us why Superheist will be sticking around. Touring with them are fellow cult ’90s group Dreadnaught, along with Frankenbok, and new kid on the block Rival Fire. Even more exciting is that every band delivers whole-heartedly on the promise of their namesakes, providing a delightfully relentless night of giant riffs and a lot of headbanging.
Melbourne based four-piece Rival Fire kicked off the night. Perhaps a wise choice as the opening act; they featured less of a heavy metal sound than expected at a Superheist show, leaning more towards a hard rock feel. This didn’t stop the band from packing quite the punch, however. A strong sense of fun mixed with some impressive musicianship—particularly between the rock-solid rhythm section—made for a short but sweet opening set, allowing the audience a bridge for the heavy chaos that was to come.
Dreadnaught followed, and immediately hammered the audience with a mighty cannonball of sound, appropriately setting the mood for the rest of the night. Aussie metalheads know what to expect of these guys by now, and they delivered. The band’s trademark double-kick, super chug, hardcore mosh material covered most of their stage time. But the band wisely peppered their set list with some of their more open, groove oriented pieces. The audience were given breathing room, providing proper context for the next wallop to be even more impactful.
Frankenbok were next in line; very rarely did the high tempos, machine-gun riffing, or rapid-sire drumming let up throughout the band’s entire set. Such relentlessness could have been a lesser band’s undoing. Frankenbok however, were able to get away with it through sheer conviction and precision. This was entertainingly contrasted by their between-songs banter and interactions with the crowd. Frontman Daniel White even made his way into the crowd, singing next to his grinning fans. These moments of levity kept the constantly crushing music from becoming overbearing
When main event Superheist finally took to the stage, a special kind of late ’90s intensity drenched the crowd in a nostalgic headbanging delight. Although much of the current lineup is made up of fresh faces, you would never have guessed. The band plays together as though they have been a part of the same lineup from the start. Current frontman Ezekial Ox, in particular, takes to the material with admirable gusto, his personality shining through while also faithfully delivering the band’s trademark nu metal sound. It wasn’t just old material on display, however; new tracks such as ‘Raise Hell’ and ‘Hands Up High’ show off a definite musical evolution for the band, without sacrificing an ounce of that wonderful grit.
After such a lengthy hiatus, Superheist needed to make their return a triumphant one to ensure it would stick. If this show is anything to go by, it certainly seems as though these guys are back to stay, and the Aussie heavy scene is all the better for it. Rival Fire, Dreadnaught, and Frankenbok did an excellent job of moving the show along, but it was Superheist that ran away with the night in the end. If you’re a fan of the home-grown heavy, you owe it to yourself to check out this all-star cult lineup.
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