REVIEW: At The Gates + The Haunted + Witchery + Laceration Mantra | The Triffid- Brisbane | 25.04.19
It’s rare in Australia that we get to see a triple bill of high caliber bands unless it is a festival or arena show but tonight we are treated to three of Sweden’s most brutal and best and in one of my favourite venues The Triffid. Despite there being another major touring act playing the other side of the valley, the Triple Bill Kill show has enough draw power to pack the room even for an early start. Scoring the opening slot, Brisbane death metal legends Laceration Mantra are no stranger to sharing the stage with international acts and can definitely hold their own. The Laceration boys don’t play that often so it was great to see them again and this time on a bigger stage and through a massive PA which gave their tunes a much heavier feel.
Witchery hit the stage with blistering speed. For their first ever show in Brisbane the band get a very welcomed response and by the enthusiasm of the crowd it’s evident that their visit is long over due. Songs like Netherworld Emperor and True North get the pit moving and sound a lot heavier live. ‘This next song is about a dead guy....Nosferatu!’ Growls towering frontman Angus Norder who’s charisma and stage persona keeps you entertained for the duration of their set. The band put on a killer performance and the thing that separates these guys from other black metal influenced bands is the groove and massive riffs carefully crafted by mastermind Patrik Jensen. Ending with The Reaper, it would be fair to say that this won’t be the last time we see Witchery in Australia and next time should be there own headline tour.
Opening with Brute Force from Strength in Numbers, The Haunted are just straight up crushing. As soon as they hit the stage the energy of the room lifts to intense levels and everyone surges to the front to get closer to their heroes. Vocalist Marco Aro is a powerful frontman who is intimidating but also takes moments throughout the show to appreciate his fans and interact with them, having the time of his life doing it there are definitely moments you can’t wipe the smile off his face and it’s infectious. Sadly due to a family emergency Bass player Jonas Björler (also At The Gates) was unable to make the trip down under so in his place Victor Brandt and Martin Larsson jump in to help out on bass duties, which is pretty cool to see and backs up the members being quoted in recent interviews that they see the bands as more of a family that are there for each other when they need. Both Ola Englund and Patrik Jensen are astonishing guitarists to witness live and you can tell who their faithful shredding followers are in the room by the reaction to the solos or every time they get a moment in the spotlight. After a solid set of old and new the band wrap up to a very satisfied and sweaty crowd.
At the gates are an incredibly important band to a lot of people including myself. They helped pave the way for countless groups and I truly believe that modern metal wouldn’t be the same without them. Last time I saw ATG was when they played The Brightside a few years ago and as much as I like that venue I don’t think it did the band justice like The Triffid, which is built for this kind of gig. Kicking off with the title track from their latest album To Drink From the Night Itself, It’s hard not to lose your shit from the get go and the band just smash out a set that keeps you moving throughout and is a solid blend between old and new material. It’s the true classics though like Slaughter of the Soul, Cold and Under a Serpent Sun that really ramp things up. There is also something really fucking cool about hearing a packed room all screaming along with Thomas Lindberg and belting out ‘Do It!!’ Simultaneously during Slaughter of the Soul, I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like at a European festival. Musically when you hear a setlist like this it really makes you realise how much of an impact they have had on bands over the years, but there really is only one At The Gates and their signature guitar tone is unmistakable and has a way of stirring up youthful memories of putting on albums like Slaughter of the Soul for the first time which for me is quite moving and I'm sure I'm not alone here. While bass guitar for a bulk of the set are pre recorded samples due to Jonas Björler’s understandable absence, the band are joined on stage by Ola Englund and Victor Brandt to cover bass duties on a few tracks which sends the fans crazy. The band briefly leave the stage and return for their encore of Blinded By Fear and The Night Eternal which gives the crowd one last boost of energy before they all collapse from going so hard in the pit. Tonight’s show was a special experience and proves that metal families like these three legendary bands stick together and won’t be going away anytime soon. Incredible, inspiring and brutal as fuck, this gig was worth more than the ticket price for the memories alone.