Words Will Oakeshott.
The rarity of all ages shows nowadays added a necessary acknowledgement to this monumental event; particular compliments should be directed toward HQ complex for allowing the youth entry to witness their favourite acts. The matter of contention however with this graceful allowance was the outrageous starting time; for this writer alone upon entry I was only able to see the final song of Melbourne’s sextet Storm The Sky which was fortunately their most recently released single Only One. Arguably the band’s strongest song from their debut album Permanance, a slight departure from their melodic metalcore formula which actually revolves more around a heavier progressive alternative rock, it’s the emotional demeanor communicated by the track that is most captivating. Concluding with only clean vocalist Will Jarratt sprawled across the stage floor singing “Could You Really Lose Me, Cause I Could Really Use Me Now” in excellent rhythm with drummer Alex Trail, it was immensely compelling.
Upon discovering at this point that there was still a line-up to enter the venue meant two outcomes had occurred. The impressive result being that this show was without doubt on it’s way to selling out and with the first international guests now taking to the stage, they were greeted with an audience size that even took them by surprise. It’s astounding the ascension Ohio’s hardcore metal punks have undergone in such a short three year existence and this adoration was justified by the eager ninja mosh adolescence who began their passionate moves before the quintet had even started. Embracing an intimate setup more similar to a 100 capacity venue than the near 1,000 HQ was practically holding, Beartooth, namely manic front-man (and mastermind) Caleb Shomo launched into the faces of the eager with opening track Relapsing. It is clear Mr. Shomo has become the damaged voice of a tainted youth, he puts his honest and disturbing past out there in his lyrics and wears his heart on his sleeve; it’s genuine and courageous but somewhat excessive. Still the therapeutic element is more than apparent. It wasn’t entirely Caleb’s show, Storm The Sky joined them on the stage twice, once during Dead where piggy back’s were deemed necessary and then again during The Lines with Will Jarratt as a guest vocalist / crowd surfer with Mr. Shomo. For this scribe however, I don’t quite understand they hype, Beartooth at times during choruses sound like a Fall Out Boy cover band, other times early day Atreyu or even Haste The Day, simply it isn’t original. I Have A Problem was the best track delivered with a Norma Jean inspired breakdown followed by Body Bag which was the right choice to close the set. But for myself, this isn’t anything new nor that fascinating; Beartooth does however completely annihilate the horrid former band of Caleb, that electro-crab-std-core band Attack Attack!.
Michigan former melodic metalcore six-piece We Came As Romans are an outfit I had deliberately ignored after hearing their sophomore record Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be, the unbridled energy of their debut album To Plant A Seed had begun to fade, although that full-length was predictable, it’s edgier intensity caught the ears of the world. The first song executed by five of the members at first was that band of the earlier days. Heavy, exciting, breakdown-riddled energy punched the crowd senseless; the song was Tracing Back Roots and it was enthralling until the presence of clean vocalist Kyle Pavone; then began the decline. I cannot deny that Kyle is certainly talented, his voice is unique, melodic and distinguished; but his role in WCAR is completely unnecessary and transforms the band for the worse. In all honesty he would be better suited undertaking a musical direction similar to the early days of Justin Timberlake, not an outfit which HAD breakdowns. Fade Away was degraded by a synthetic backing track, new song The World I Used To Know didn’t show much promise for the WCAR to return to their metallic past, Present, Future And Past had enough spark to capture more interest; but the lowest point to emerge from the performance was the band’s cover of Taylor Swift’s I Knew You Were Trouble; I would have actually preferred Ms. Swift to be onstage instead. Ironically the Romans’ closed with Hope, which is all I have for them. To be frank though, I am just one person and an uncountable amount of fellow observers near me were in complete amazement; I’ll stick to abandonment.
The night needed redemption here and thankfully came in the ten collective and safe hands of Byron Bay’s In Hearts Wake; their live version of single Skydancer from recently released third album of the same title was simply outstanding. Vocalist Jake Taylor was monstrous in his voice and presence, never missing a note or losing Adelaide’s undivided attention. Badlands, Survival, Sacred all followed to the delight of the entire HQ complex, but the momentum stopped for the best interlude possibly ever utilised. It’s no secret the environmental awareness IHW embrace whole-heartedly not only with their lyrical themes but even their charity work (album sales donated to reforestation and indigenous communities); so what intermission fit so perfectly? How about Circle Of Life from “The Lion King”? Yes, it happened and yes it was exceptional. No stopping now, the motion of the show carried on as if In Hearts Wake were an ocean continually pummelling the coastline that was Adelaide: Insomnia, Healer, Wildflower (a very out of place ballad), The Unknown, Cottonmouth, Divine and Breakaway trounced the willing attendees warranting IHW to without doubt becoming a premiere headline heavy act following the footsteps of The Amity Affliction, I Killed The Prom Queen and fellow Byron Bay brothers Parkway Drive. IHW are forever grateful to their fans, so the encore to thank them came in the form of the track Earthwalker and everyone present did “feel alive”.
Three albums under the belt, two in two years recorded in one session and a collection of passports with more stamps than the average pilot, In Hearts Wake certainly have the determination to make the world their playground and oyster, Earthwalkers? Soon it will be EarthEnthrallers.