RITES OF PASSAGE TATTOO FESTIVAL – Day 2. Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton, Melbourne. 08-04-2017.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Matt Allan Photos.

Day two of the annual Rites Of Passage Tattoo Festival held at Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building welcomed punters of all ages through its large doors into a world filled of art and culture.

Lining the entrance were stalls of assorted goods, varying from alternative jewellery to barber knives, hot chilli sauces to the soft amplifications from Cranbourne Music’s Fender and Gretsch guitars, along with various merchandise stands like Killer March and Crawling Death.

Following the sound of buzzing needles around the first line of stalls lead me to find the first tattoo booth along the wall, which was Paul Rapley’s stand. Rapley was hard at work on a rib piece, and the guy receiving it made the overly asked question of “does that hurt?” sound even more rhetorical. Continue reading

NICK OLIVERI, My Left Boot. The Cherry Bar, Melbourne. 29-03-2017.

Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Sally Townsend Photography.

For Australia it’s certainly turned into the year for the Kyuss / QOTSA member tour! Rex Everything with the Dwarves in April / May, Brant Bjork also May, QOTSA just announced they’re playing Splendour at the end of July and of course Mojo Burning bringing out Nick Oliveri!

As well as playing the Mojo Burning Fest in Brisbane, Oliveri has been touring and playing two sets a night. Firstly, his Death Acoustic set, a mix of covers and originals played on his acoustic yet sung like he’s on stage with a fully amplified band; and then a second electric set with a local backing band. For Melbourne it was the always impressive My Left Boot. Continue reading

GEEZER Self-titled Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

At first glance, Geezer made me think of Fu Manchu minus the pop sensibilities a lot of Fu stuff has. A few spins later, and I’m still vaguely reminded of Fu, but there’s a whole cauldron of other sounds bubbling away here as well. But more on that later.

Geezer come from Kingston NY, and formed around an obvious love of Sabbath and all other things imbued with stoner goodness. This trio has a cool take on riff-rock, and the debut LP has plenty of great moments.

They break the ice with ‘Sunday Speed Demon’ and ‘One Leg Up’, foot to the floor rock tunes with gravel rash vocals, a neat rhythm pummel and some savage guitar playing too. Continue reading

BORRACHO ‘Atacama’ Album Review.

Words El Jefe.

Lumbering, fuzzed-out doom with road-rash vocals is something I love. The riff! All those bastard spawn of Sabbath. And I know in my bones that the power-trio Borracho have the same unwavering love for it that I have. Launching from Washington DC, (right next door to Maryland, and we know the level of STONER/DOOM that Maryland has delivered!) Borracho can really deliver on all fronts when it’s time to bring the heavy too. Atacama is the third full length LP they’ve unleashed, and fine evidence that the party ain’t nearly over yet.

‘Descent’ lurches into the blackest of Sabbath’s with a guitar tone that could rattle ya teeth outta ya head, but it’s also a surprisingly tender instrumental. Bells, some lysergic emanations throbbing in the background and easily serves to set the scene for the rest of the album. Continue reading

BLACK RHENO – Let’s Start A Cult EP.

Words Adam Cooper.

Hard working Sydney 3 piece and groove metal exponents, Black Rheno caught my attention of late, by literally being everywhere! They seem to be like Salt and Pepper at the moment, (in everything). So when the opportunity came to review the lads new offering, their Let’s Start A Cult EP, I jumped at the chance.

Firstly the title of this EP is pure gold and warmed the cockles of my heart before the first riff was ruffed. Speaking of riffs… this little number is riddled with ‘em. The sometimes groovy, sometimes thrashy, sometimes punky guitar stylings of Nano, led me to believe that these guys could share the bill with anyone from Clowns to High Tension and back again. My mind even wandered to the late ’80s, early ’90s, a time before time, when the groove of Pantera, Mordred and Prong were frequenting my Corolla’s tape deck. Smashin’ it old school. Continue reading

D.R.I., Battletruk (Reunion gig), TRS, Scalphunter. Amplifier, Perth. 11-02-2017.

Words Dave Mullins.
Photos Kim Anderson – Shoot The Wicked Witch.

Crossover legends Dirty Rotten Imbeciles (D.R.I.) have a career that spans about four decades. Which for folks at home means that they starting playing music about 5 or 6 Star Wars films ago. While the band never really broke into the mainstream, they have had a strong ‘underground’ following throughout their career, and their influence has been felt all across the genres of metal, punk and hardcore. This was D.R.I’s first time in Perth and it was bound to be an interesting night.

Right before Scalphunter took to the stage I overheard a punter mention that it had been forever since they’d seen Scalphunter open for another band. But, holy fuck, do they know how to open – with an explosion of screaming and blaring guitars. Even though he barely takes a moment to breathe between each song, frontman Steve Knoth somehow manages to keep things at an insane level of intensity. Seriously, the guy has some fucking stamina. But the same could be said for any member of the band. The crowd was a little small, given how early in the night it was, but it didn’t stop Knoth from stirring up the audience, walking through the crowd and taunting them to show even just a little more energy. They played a short set compared to what fans might have been used to, but it was pitch-perfect and punk-as-fuck and a perfect way to start off a big night. Continue reading

2016 TOP 10 RELEASES! Desert Highways staff + special guests from Orange Goblin, Monolord, Pagan / Little Lamb & The Rosemary’s!!

Words Anthony Moore.

There were some amazing releases that come out in 2016, and as with every year, I start out with the best of intentions keeping a list of my favourites as they hit, only to let it fall by the wayside by about March. Yeah I know, it doesn’t last long! So undoubtedly I will forgot lots of great releases from 2016. There’s been the talked about releases like Metallica’s Hardwired… To Self Destruct (which for me has been quite a disappointment, some moments of clarity and power but as whole, it wasn’t the driving force I was hoping for), then there’s been some that have come out of left field that have really thrown me for six and impressed me quite a lot, like Electric Magus Olympus Noms, which is Raul Sanchez (Magic Dirt, River Of Snakes, Midnight Woolf) latest offering through Wild Animals Records. Like with John Frusciante’s solo albums, some sound quite unique and very different to his work with Red Hot Chili Peppers (which is an awesome thing these days!) yet his style and soul still comes through in various ways. Electric Magus is like this for Sanchez compared to his ‘usual’ guitar driven work. It’s totally different yet still somehow connects with me for the same reasons.

I still listen to loads of releases from all around the world, but more and more as time goes on I find myself mainly listening to local bands. Possibly for a few reasons, I like to support local muso’s and friends, it’s possible to see them more live which in turn gets us more stoked on listening back to a band later, and maybe most importantly, there are just so many fuckin incredible bands in Melbourne and throughout Australia that there’s not enough time to sometimes reach out further. Continue reading

COSMIC PSYCHOS, Power, Batpiss, Organ Donor. Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne. 27-01-2017.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Suzanne Phoenix – Photos Punctuate My Life.

Comprising an ecstatic Melbournian line-up for the evening, Organ Donor kicked off the first of three massive nights in celebration of The Bendigo Hotel’s 7th Birthday Bash. The three-piece unleashed their defiant hardcore rhythms throughout the filling band room, setting the pace for the evening’s line up to follow.

Batpiss are next in line, who hit the stage with a loud presence; distorted vocals mix through their coarse layers of spiralling guitar licks and dooming drums. Bringing the boozy crowd to the front of the room are the deepening grooves of their set list that turns into rounds of applause as they slur The Bendi a happy birthday. The venue doesn’t look big enough for the amount of punters who have managed to find enough space to stand. This makes it hard to believe that it’s become big enough to provide the space for the swelling pit of jumping heads that’s on the rise, though they’re making it work as they jump wildly about throughout the Batpiss show. Continue reading

REFUSED, Sick Of It All, High Tension. Prince Bandroom, Melbourne. 25-01-2017.

Words Mikaelie A. Evans.
Photos Adam Russ – Right Eye Media Australia.

Trembling inside the darkened walls are the rumbling amplifiers that ricochet Melbourne’s High Tension once they’ve taken to the stage. Front woman Karina Utomo growls into the heavily beaten drum patterns, sometimes bellowing high pitched screams into the mic. The guitar riffs raise tensions of their own, fiercely backed by the heavy bass lines. At times singing, but mostly screaming, the crowds conversation turns to muffled pauses of awe as Utomo owns their set, ensuring that the evenings line up is going to be memorable.

Sick Of It All bring the NYCH ruckus onto the stage with them as they power straight into their set with such high energy and intensity that the crowd takes a moment to ease into their anthems. With a bit of warning, they play “The first song we ever wrote”, ‘My Life’, and unplugged ears cop an absolute beating. Front man Lou Koller gives more of a considerate warning: “Don’t get scared, cause it ain’t pretty.” Each of them are obviously in their elements as they run an engaging muck on stage, engrossing punters into the brewing pit with ‘Black Venom’, Koller eagerly tells us to “Get down to this shit!” Continue reading

THE ANSWER ‘Solas’ Album Review.

Words Mark Ireland.

The album Solas by The Answer is the pinnacle of a tumultuous time for the band. They’d just finished a huge tour of the US and the lead singer Cormac Neeson was in a creative slump, he’d been pushed to the limit, so much so he didn’t think he was able to produce another album.

As well as the creative problems, his wife had just given birth to a boy who had been born prematurely, so this album is a deeply personal journey not only for the band but the audience as well.

The opening track and title song ‘Solas’ has an incredible build, you can imagine the band playing on top of a mountain with no one else around, the swirling echo’s of guitar  entwine the listener into a serpentine state.  Then it drops like a parachute jumper with no chute pure velocity, it is a fantastic opening track. Continue reading