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We are extremely happy to offer our very first EVERYDAY METAL tee.
Featuring a huge SUPPORT LOCAL HEAVY METAL back print, our shirts are designed in house and printed by the very talented Redwood Press on 100% combed cotton.

Check out our behind the scenes video below and you can get your tee in our online store.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – Australian Tour 2024


Get ready to witness metal history in the making! Killswitch Engage, legends of modern heavy music, are set to bring their intense, soul-shaking live show to Australia this September. 


You can count the number of acts in the last twenty years that have influenced and inspired entire subgenres within the heavy music scene.

Killswitch Engage are at the top of that list.

The three-time Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling heavyweights revitalised a stagnating metal scene in the middle of a stale decade for heavy music with the release of both 2002’s 
Alive of Just Breathing and 2004’s, The End Of Heartache.

Combining soaring, heartfelt vocals with guttural anguished growls set against a powerful mix of groove metal, hardcore and old-school traditional heavy-metal-harmony, Killswitch Engage set a new standard, were heralded as true innovators and spawned a million copycats.

None, however, could match Killswitch Engage for their sheer authenticity and pure musical skill.
Over the next two decades, Killswitch Engage rose to the top and delivered eight studio albums, three live ones and played every festival that exists.

Their Australian fans have been there from the start. The band’s first foray down under was way back in 2004 opening for Soilwork and Anthrax which marked the start of an enduring love affair with their army of fans. An army who have not experienced Killswitch Engage live in Australia for 6 long years. Their last visit in 2018 alongside Parkway Drive and Thy Art Is Murder!

While the band are here in September opening for the one and only Iron Maiden in monstrous arenas, they are also going back to their roots with three very intimate shows in Frankston, the Gold Coast and Newcastle that promise a visceral, sweat-drenched experience. 

Supports for each show include the recently reformed Feed Her To The Sharks for Frankston: Dark, oppressive death metallers, Descent for the Gold Coast and hardcore merchants Dropsaw will play in front of their hometown crowd in Newcastle.

This is your chance to see Killswitch Engage up close and personal, a rare opportunity to witness one of metal’s greatest in an intimate setting. Tickets will fly off the shelves, so don’t hesitate to secure your spot and prepare for a night of top-tier heaviness!

Tuesday, September 3: The Pier, Frankston 
w/ Feed Her to The Sharks

Sunday, September 8: Miami Marketta, Gold Coast 
w/ Descent

Saturday, September 14: King St Band Room, Newcastle 
w/ Dropsaw

Tickets On Sale: Friday, June 21 @ 12.00pm [AEST]


GOOD THINGS FESTIVAL 2024 – Dates announced!


It’s the news you’ve all been waiting for! In December 2024, prepare for the return of Australia’s largest and favourite travelling music festival – yes, Good Things Festival is set to make its way up the East Coast once again later this year.

Returning to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in December 2024, this year’s edition is guaranteed to be one for the ages – and we want YOU to join us and make it our best one yet.

We’re thrilled to reveal our Good Things Festival dates for 2024. Be sure to save the date and get ready for some extremely good things ahead.


2024 DATES:


Can’t wait for December to roll around? Come and re-live some Good Things Festival memories with the official 2023 Aftermovie.

FALL OUT BOY – Good Things Festival 2023 full review & gallery
BRING ME THE HORIZON – Good Things Festival 2022 Full review & gallery
PARKWAY DRIVE – Good Things Festival 2021 full review & gallery

Good Things slayed the East Coast in December 2023, staging the biggest events in our history across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane over the first weekend in December. The Festival showcased 31 of the hottest acts from home and abroad as well, giving one up-and-coming act per festival the opportunity to appear on our stage via the annual band competition. Featuring our headliners Fall Out Boy as well as Limp BizkitDevoI PrevailBullet For My Valentine and many more, 2023’s Good Things Festival is one we absolutely won’t forget in a hurry.

Watch the Good Things Festival 2023 Aftermovie:

You won’t be disappointed as Good Things are coming….Sign up via the Good Things Festival website to hear the line up first.

Stay connected with us across all social platforms for all of your Good Things news.



LORNA SHORE – Australian Tour 2025

Cover shot – LORNA SHORE

Australia, the wait is officially over; today, deathcore icons LORNA SHORE announce their first-ever Australian tour in 2025, set to be joined by special guests BODYSNATCHER and TO THE GRAVE.


“Good things happen to those who wait or that Patience is a virtue but enough overused cliches to acknowledge it’s been long overdue that we finally tour the land down under. With all that being said we are excited to announce we are finally touring Australia. We hope to see all of you there.” – Adam De Micco, Lorna Shore

Launching proceedings and bringing the deathcore love to Fremantle on February 14 next year, the tour will also hit Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, before finishing on February 22 in Brisbane.

A band truly like no other, LORNA SHORE have survived and thrived against insurmountable odds over the years. Hailing from New Jersey, the group forged their present lineup and sound in 2020 against the backdrop of a pandemic, a singer change, and cancelled tours. Emerging with staggering new vigour via their 2021 EP …And I Return To Nothingness and their 2022 full length album Pain Remains, the LORNA SHORE rebirth rose like a guttural phoenix in a blazing display of raw emotion, technical prowess, and unforgettable twists and turns that garnered chart and critical success on a global scale.

Solidified with the insatiable vocal stylings of Will Ramos joining the fold, debuting officially on …And I Return To NothingnessLORNA SHORE have since catapulted onto the cover of Britain’s Rock Sound, supported Australian metalcore juggernauts Parkway Drive, snagged viral status on TikTok, generated millions of streams, and ticked off a sold out UK headline run, with their live energy also hammering home the group’s boundless stranglehold on the realms of modern and innovative extreme metal.

Finally set to tick off their first ever Australian tour in 2025, LORNA SHORE will arrive armed with their towering riffs, complex arrangements and visceral bombasity; come and venture To the Hellfire in 2025.


Forming in Melbourne, Florida, BODYSNATCHER deal in all things dark, furious and sonically threatening. Proudly and loudly putting the “core” back in deathcore, BODYSNATCHER have graced stages supporting the likes of Chelsea Grin and Slaughter To Prevail, with the band also in command of multiple albums and EPs, including 2017’s Death of Me, 2020’s This Heavy Void and 2022’s Bleed-Abide.


Australia’s TO THE GRAVE have emerged as “one of Australia’s heaviest exports” (Revolver), with the militant vegan deathcore crew ticking off sold out national headline runs in 2022 and 2023, as well as support slots alongside Cattle Decapitation, Thy Art Is Murder and Carnifex. A band anchored by ambition and conscience, TO THE GRAVE recently released their gripping new album Director’s Cuts in 2023.

Early bird pre-sale tickets on sale: Thursday 13 June @ 10am AEST time
To Gain Early Ticket Access Register Here -> https://bit.ly/25LRSsignup

General tickets on sale: Friday 14 June @ 10am local time
Tickets from 

Destroy All Lines Presents





General tickets on sale: Friday 14 June @ 10am local time
Tickets from destroyalllines.com



In the sixth edition of IN FOCUS, we chat with local legend Rob Cuzens aka LORDROBSATAN.

LORDROBSATANThe Symbiosist shot by @djsedick

1. How many years have you been shooting?

Ive been shooting live shows for around 3 years now.

2. How did you get started in photography?

I’ve always been interested in photography. My old man was pretty good at it growing up; I think it rubbed off on me. When it comes to music photography, I just brought my camera into Singing Bird in Frankston one afternoon and gave it a go. I think it was a clown’s show from memory. It was super challenging, and I’ve been pretty addicted to it ever since.

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3. Favourite band to shoot?

There are so many awesome bands I shoot regularly, but if I had to pick one, I’d say the Melbourne band Goat Shaman. They’re really fun to shoot, an incredible band. They’re crazy good.

4. Favourite venue to shoot and why?

Sadly, I used to love the Bendigo Hotel. I shot a lot of shows there; it was always a challenge.


5. What setup do you take with you to shoot gigs? (camera bodies, lenses, straps, bag ect.)

I’m rocking two Canon R6’s at the moment. One is a regular R6 that loves to overheat. The other one is the Mark II. I nearly always take a 24-70, 15-35 wide, and a 70-200. I know the telephoto is a bit overkill, especially for the size of the majority of the venues I get to shoot at, but I love to frame drummers pretty close.

I also tend to take too many prism lenses and a speedlite if I’m feeling extra cheeky and want to drag the shutter or if the lighting guy needs a firmware update.


6. What software do you use to edit your photos?

 Lightroom & Photoshop.

7. How would you describe your editing style?

I think it constantly changes. I’m still learning and experimenting. Currently, I really like muting my colors.


8. What photographers do you draw inspiration from?

 There are so many awesome photographers, especially in Melbourne. Andrew Baso at Electrum Photography, BM, Odin Imaging, Andy Brom, Crimson Dawn, Peter Coulson, Tony Roberts, to name a few. I’m constantly finding inspiration; love your photography too! ❤️

9. If you could shoot any band in the future, who would it be?

Would love to shoot Tool one day! That would be a dream. Oh and heilung would be pretty epic. 🤞


10. Concerts can get pretty rowdy, whats your best gig story?

 I recently shot a show at a venue in Tokyo called Earthdom, and it was wild. The show started off with three musicians, and by the end of it, there were four vocalists, a lady dangling off the roof with a rope, an interpretive dancer, a saxophone player, multiple guitarists. It was absolute chaos and noise. It was very Japan..


11. Whats your favourite camera to use when you are not shooting gigs and why?

 I am in deep, deep love with my Ricoh GR3x. It’s incredible. I love to dabble in a bit of street photography. It’s made for it—so discreet and compact but incredibly powerful. I think it’s a 40mm prime equivalent.

12. You recently went a trip to Japan where you did a heap of street photography and covered some local venues, what were the highlights?

Probably Earthdom for shows. That venue is nuts. I love Shinjuku, Tokyo; that place is insane at night, especially in the rain. Can’t wait to head back there for more adventures one day. Hanging to see photos from your trip over there too.


13. Other than photography you have a bunch of creative projects, tell us a little about it and what you have coming up?

I have a prog band called Transience that I sing for; we’ve been quietly chipping away at our sophomore album for quite a few years now. The instrumentation is pretty much done, and I recently started tracking vocals with Chris Lilac from Windwaker.

I also have a metal band called The Symbiosist, which we started in the early 2000s. We recently got the band together for a bit of fun; we have no solid plans, but I’m sure we will get around to writing some new material one day.

Additionally, I have my own tracks that I release as lordrobsatan every now and then. I’ll be releasing one called “History Repeating” on the 28th of June. It’s a bit of a metal banger.

Huge thanks to Rob for taking the time to chat with us, you can check out more of his work via the links below:




KARNIVOOL – Live at the Pier Frankston

Words & Photos – Ben Gunzburg

It’s few and far between Australian Karnivool gigs these days and with these three Melbourne shows selling out in a flash, it’s clear their return has been hotly anticipated.

Nabbing the coveted national support slot, Adelaide’s Sleep Talk wasted no time in hitting the crowd with all they had. With the venue already chock full, the Frankston crowd has come out in spades to bear witness to a barrage of crunchy guitars, melodic leads, pounding bass, thunderous drums, and some of the heavy and intense vocals I’ve witnessed live in a long while. Vocalist Jacob Clement’s expressions are a simultaneous mix of pain and joy, which perfectly sums up this doomy hardcore crossover troupe.

Sleep Talk is a stark contrast from the headliner to follow, but by all means, it is a compatible and welcome crossover of subgenres to keep things interesting and open up some eyes and hearts. It’s great to see a band and promoter taking a chance and keeping things more unexpected and interesting. Long live the mixed bill!

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It’s now Karnivool‘s time to shine, as they gradually emerge through some moody lights and fog, like mythical prog rock creatures.

Kicking things into gear is 2021’s lone single, All It Takes, and the absolutely packed Pier Bandroom is already firmly in the palm of the band’s hand. Singer Ian Kenny takes full advantage of this, commanding his lyrics being screamed back at him in unison during C.O.T.E. and clearly feeding off the energy and sending it right back out there.

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The band mix things up well in the setlist, sure to bust out some expected favourites such as Themata, Simple Boy, Roquefort and New Day, while throwing in some of their more proggy material like Goliath, Mauseum (a personal favourite, so I’m chuffed), and Deadman, the latter often making it hard to hear Ian over the crowd’s overjoyed singing throughout this epic journey of a song (this one and Roquefort definitely win the set).

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New, as yet unreleased songs Aozora and Animation even make appearances, receiving warm welcomes and giving us all hope that a new album may possibly surface at some point before the sun implodes on itself.

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Karnivool have proved time and time again their ability for innovation, experimentalism, while maintaining catchy hooks all at once, and this show is yet another perfect example. Not only that, but their live musicianship is top rate. Powerful, emotive and pitch perfect vocals ebb and flow, backed by super tight and ferocious drumming, foreboding baselines that could melt ice, and an absolutely hypnotic guitar pairing, bringing all the weird and wonderful sounds to life.

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It’s clear how much Karnivool are cherished by the Australian heavy rock scene and this crowd certainly feel the love right back.

Thanks to the Pier Bandroom crew for having us and a special thanks to Amy at Deathproof for arranging media access.


ALIENIST – Love//Hate Australian Tour

Cover shot – ALIENIST

Wollongong metalcore band Alienist and UNFD present The Love//Hate Tour; Alienist‘s first tour since signing with international record label UNFD and releasing their debut EP Love/Hate.

Kicking off on July 19 in Melbourne, The Love//Hate Tour will head to Canberra, Newcastle, Wamberal, Ulladulla, Wollongong, Sydney and Brisbane, before closing out on August 18 on the Gold Coast, joined by special guests ATLVS and Synge.

“We can’t wait to show Australia the new Alienist, we want to make this a night you won’t forget!”
– Damon Renes, Alienist

Alienist have swiftly stormed the heavy scene in a remarkably short space of time, chalking up triple j airplay, being featured in major publications such as Kerrang, Knotfest and Revolver, and playing alongside bands such as Northlane, Windwaker, Gravemind and Paledusk and an appearance at UNIFY Off The Record.

Flexing an explosive amalgamation of rage and serenity on their recent EP Love/Hatereleased on March 1 via UNFD, is an exciting debut collection of songs from the Wollongong five-piece. Whether battling with religious ideals alongside commanding execution (Godless), facing the crumbling world around with a flurry of distortion (Distorted Reflections), detailing a breakdown of love set to turgid guitars and torrential beats (Absent), seeking hope and purpose in creativity (Hypnotise), or serving up a biting commentary on a toxic relationship (Prisoner Of You), Love/Hate is simultaneously confronting and cathartic, with Alienist firmly at the helm of a journey that feels instantly personal yet universal.

Showcasing the newest music from their discography alongside some older favourites in a live set built from the ground up, prepare to witness Alienist in a whole new light this July and August.

Joining Alienist, Melbourne heavy hitters ATLVS will be primed to bring an aggressive and heavy live set. With several Australian tours already under their belt, the band have also played alongside bands such as ERRA, We Came As Romans and Kingdom Of Giants and most recently released their mini EP Shadow Dancer in late 2023.

To round out the trio of bands for The Love//Hate Tour is the 2023 Good Things Band Competition winners from Sydney: Synge. Previously performing alongside the likes of Ocean Sleeper, Windwaker and Volumes, Synge will arrive armed with their most recent single Laniakea and plenty of their trademark insatiable energy.

This tour will be full of breakdowns, singalongs and mayhem. You don’t want to miss it.

Tickets on sale now from https://linktr.ee/LoveHateTour


UNFD Presents




* ATLVS not appearing

BLACK RHENO – ‘Who The Fuck Is Black Rheno?’ Tour

Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch

Saturday was a bullshitly hard day for me, I was cold, tired, sore and definitely not in the mood to go out. But as soon as I nestled myself into the dank band room of The Last Chance bar in Melbourne’s city, adorned with peeling wallpaper, sticky carpet, and a bunch of crazy crap on the walls, I felt oddly at home.

The Balls eased us into an evening of rock and groove-infused metal like an old man into a nice warm bath. The trio played tracks like Heavy and Fire with a fan from the crowd exclaiming with gusto ‘Ow my balls!’ before they launched into their new track Colliding Machines.


The audience gave Nephalem applause as they stepped up on stage, ‘I assume you’re clapping because my dick looks so good in these jeans!’ Jested Nephalem’s frontman. The cheeky banter continued all throughout the tracks Shit and Death, Mud Button, James Hird, and Dickspit. 


Next up was NOTHING which turned out to be really something. They called out to the patrons that had dispersed between sets, ‘ATTENTION FRONT BAR, surely old gentleman playing loud music. Report to the front of stage!’, the crowd excitedly gathered for what was to be very satisfying progressive metal which included the tracks Dirge and Subterfuge.


The high jinks continued in the ‘Who The Fuck is Black Rheno Tour’ with the boys from Sydney, Black Rheno (and yes, I know who the fuck they are). This was an energetic set with antics for days which included the tracks Battle Ready released in 2021 and a carefree cover of Liam Lynch’s United States of Whatever. The night left me beaming and thoroughly entertained. We will all have to wait in anticipation for the new album Black Rheno are set to release later this year.

Black Rheno’s ‘Who The Fuck Is Black Rheno?’ tour continues, stopping next in Queensland, do yourself a favour and go check out these bloody legends! tickets available at – Blackrheno.com


Sat 18/5 Melbourne @ The Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar – Nothingmetalmelb+ Nephalem + The Balls

Fri 24/5 Gold Coast @ Mo’s Desert Clubhouse – The Black Swamp + Two Faced + TILL YA DEAD + Consequence

Sat 25/5 Brisbane @ Tomcat – F.U.C. + PistonFist + Snake Mountain + Odius

Sunday 26/5 Nambour @ Bad Habit Records and Collectables – Gudgeon +Skirmisher + Flesh Torrent


CONJURER & BOTCH – Live at Max Watts Melbourne

Photos – Ben Gunzburg
Words – Richard Grimm

This week’s offering to Melbourne’s heavy music scene was a strong contender for gig of the year. Botch embarked on their first Australian Tour after their recent reformation, which happened to coincide with a tour by UK experimental doom metal act Conjurer. The two bands joined forces in Melbourne for a one-off belter of a show. Entering the venue, I was pleased to see a good number of friends and acquaintances scattered through the audience. Always a good sign before a show.

Chatting to some strangers and friends alike, the sentiment seemed to be that very few people in the room knew who Conjurer were. But those who did could barely contain their excitement, and for good reason as it would soon be revealed. Eerie soundscapes blanketed the air and a striking amber light display dominated the aesthetic as the four sauce-men of the impending riffocalypse embraced the stage to a few cheers of a just over half filled room. A clean guitar riff by Brady Deeprose opens their set starter “It Dwells” for just long enough to set a haunting mood before we hear a big snare hit from Noah See and the heavy riffs begin. Front and center stood bassist Conor Marshall who is coming for Corpsegrinder to take away his “Windmill King” title. Every member was giving their all to a crowd who honestly took a while to show them much love in return. As the set continued, their songs would flow between ugly, heavy riffing into serene and gentle arrangements and the crowd would grow in appreciation. The second song of the set (Choke) was sinister from the opening note, with each member’s instrumentation slowly adding lumber for the house of doom that they combined to construct. Only to disintegrate into some of the heaviest riffs you’ll likely hear, the distortion from those growling guitars creating a sonic friction that seemed to vendetta the venues foundations. By now the UK lads had managed to get the audience (which had filled out considerably by now) to headbang with their whole chest.

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Speaking of using their whole chest. During their performance of Hollow, guitarist/vocalist Dan Nightingale treated the crowd to an impressive performance where he ditched his mic and screamed a verse that could be heard in the back of the room over the miced drums. I think it was after that I really noticed the crowd had been won over. The apex of Conjurer’s set for me was their performance of Those years, condemned. The music was incredibly well arranged. The drums and bass worked together to create a level of rhythm section cohesion I haven’t witnessed since the last time I saw Opeth. Shoutout to Noah for being able to play with dynamics even while blast beating. Amazing performance, heavy as lead, sinister as whatever your grandparents have to say after a few too many whiskeys, ethereal as the recent aurora australis. I highly encourage you to attend their next gig. Now for the headline of this dual act bill.

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Prior to walking out, Botch had the crowd warmed up with some Latin grooves over the speakers and the resident disco ball illuminating the room with red light. The grooves dissipated and were replaced by reversed guitars. We were ready.

The crowd didn’t really mosh all that much for Conjurer and I think Botch took that personally. Because they had that pit ignited immediately. Botch are everything you could want in a mathcore performance. From the very outset the music was intense, chaotic and intricate with a lightshow synced to every pulse, stab and chug. To our friends in the great white north opened the set with visceral fervour. Vocalist Dave Verellen, rocking a mighty moustache, managed to exist for about 30 seconds before he was on the barrier. Then he was in the crowd. Then he was on top of the crowd. Brian Cook managed his bass duties with ease while also blasting out some great backing vocals.

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Mondrian was a liar was when the pit really started going off. I loved the juxtaposition between the moments of fun bass grooves with poly-metered guitar skanks on top and the chaos of all their riff jank. When the song finished, Dave commented on a sign held up on the venue wall. “Are you guys moshing at your own risk?” he says. The crowd cheers in approval with one voice being heard above the others “keep mosh alive”. I whole heartedly agree with this man in the crowd. “Moshing is worth the risk” states Dave and the band whips into their next song. Within the first 3 bars, an attendee gets their face smashed in the pit and blood drips all over the floor. I took a moment to make sure he was okay but true to form of the heavy music community, he gave 0 fucks. Because Botch, myself and this man agree: moshing is worth the risk. Not to be outdone, about halfway through the set was the first attempt I’ve seen of a stage dive at Max Watts. Unfortunately, it failed, and the would-be stage diver was flung back into the audience by security to the jeers of an increasingly boisterous crowd.

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Throughout the set we were treated to energy that outpaces a lot of bands half the American quartet’s age. Dave was an engaging vocalist and had great banter between songs. At one point the crowd yelled “We love you Botch!”, which prompted him to instigate a heckle off from the audience.  Bassist Brian Cook had some monster tones all night and his backing vocals were fantastic too. Tim Latona missed exactly zero beats all night as well as showcasing his impressive keyboard skills on a few songs. Lets not forget Dave Knudson, who not only played with energy and precision but also got experimental. In one song (I didn’t catch which one sorry readers) he effectively played the delay pedal as an instrument. Chopping and stretching his riffs mid song to make sounds a lesser band would likely put into their backing tracks.

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Botch’s performance was a showcase of what truly creative and passionate musicians look like. Every song was played with enthusiasm, the musicianship was a step above the norm and, the banter between songs had laughs across the crowd regularly. I said it at the beginning and I’ll say it again, this show is a high contender for gig of the year so far!

Thanks to the Max Watts Crew for having us and Greg from United Front for arranging media access.


VULODYNIA – Australian Tour 2024

Cover shot – VULVODYNIA

South African brutal death metal/deathcore unit Vulvodynia rises through the embers of a tumultuous period of internal violence with a triumphant new pinnacle of brutality – Entabeni – coming July 5 via Unique Leader Records. Following last year’s dramatic ousting of their original vocalist, guitarist Lwandile Prusent has stepped up to deliver a hellish performance for the band’s shockingly elevated fifth full-length album. Entering into this new era with renewed vigour, the band will return to Australia this September as part of a relentless momentum that is taking them all around the globe once more.


Joining them on all dates will be Melbourne deathcore goths Mélancolia, who released their debut record Hiss Through Rotten Teeth on Nuclear Blast Records in 2023, and Perth metalcore boys Pincer+, riding off the back of their Hunting God Tapes EP series via Greyscale Records. A spectacularly unique trio of brutality not to be missed.




w/ Mélancolia, Pincer+

Wednesday 25th September – The Brightside, Brisbane

Thursday 26th September – King Street Warehouse, Newcastle

Friday 27th September – The Lansdowne, Sydney

Saturday 28th September – Stay Gold, Melbourne

Sunday 29th September – Crown and Anchor, Adelaide

ON SALE NOW: https://www.destroyalllines.com/tours/vulvodynia


CASKETS – Reflections Tour Melbourne 2024

Photos – Ben Gunzburg
Words – Richard Grimm

This Sunday past I had the opportunity to spend some time away from my usual unwashed heathen crowd and visit my musical cousins over in the post-hardcore scene to celebrate Caskets first headline tour in Australia. Generally speaking, I gravitate toward heavier sounds but it’s always fun to see what’s cooking on other genre’s stoves. So I pulled on some layers to deal with Melbourne’s cold and pulled up to the iconic Billboard to see a lineup of bands who I know nothing about.

Arriving at the venue I had pretty high hopes for a good evening because Melbourne had arrived early. A long ass line trailed down the block and the venue was near capacity by the time the first band hit the stage. The lights drop and the backing screen lights up with the first band’s logo and the night begins. 

Opening the show are local reps Bad/Love, and man am I embarrassed that they were Melbourne’s offering to this lineup. Their first song starts and the mix is stellar, the lights are fantastic and, the songwriting is great too. Drummer Luke Weber’s playing was tighter than my jeans circa 2007 (don’t look that up). I was too far back to see whether it was a hybridized or triggered kit but the sound out the front had a heavily processed sound that I think really added to performance.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Rick, you said you were embarrassed but are laying down all this praise. What’s the deal?”. Two words: backing tracks. I understand using backing tracks to elevate the performance, but you still need to perform. Every time singer Landon Kirk put his mouth near the mic I’d hear a 3 or 4-part harmony over the speakers, and even a lot of the time when he didn’t. Now if this happened once, I could overlook it. But it was often. It was most songs. What makes it even worse is that it happened with the guitar too! One guitar playing and I’m hearing 2 or 3 guitar lines.  If I wanted to hear a pre-recorded version of the song I’d buy the record or hit up Spotify. What really aggravated me about this, is toward the end of the set they played a song with barely any backing tracks and I could actually hear Landon’s voice, as well as some harmonies by guitarist and bassist Lachlan and Martin, and they were great! The lads have the ability to perform but chose not to.   I think part of the reason this made me so mad is that the songwriting was quality. Bad/Love has a solid kind of metalcore meets nu-metal sound that I think works well. At least their backing tracks had did. Except Luke, that dude crushed it the whole set. If you’re reading this Bad/Love, stop cosplaying as musicians and start actually being them.

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Seething, I stand by the barrier not sure whether it’s worth staying out for this show, maybe I’m out of my depth. Maybe there’s too much of a cultural difference between my normal crowd and this place. Lucky for me Brisbane-based group Stepson were ready to save me. They hit the stage with some classic garage energy and the fact that they were light on backing tracks and heavy on their instruments made me tear up with relief. Pretty ironic that they call themselves Stepson because they were the ones dishing out the slippage.

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The first song out the gate was high energy with vocalist Brock Conry gliding across the stage, pulling shapes and initiating pit calls in true punk tradition. Their second track “discover lonely” gave me early-era Escape the Fate vibes and it absolutely tickled me when Brock called for a wall of death and the rest of the boys launched into a breakdown so dirty you could swear they rolled their instruments in the yarra before the show. I legitimately cried it was so good.
Throughout Stepson’s set, we were treated to all the hallmarks of a great post-hardcore act: honest songwriting, high energy, and effortless crowd engagement. The group gave off an easy swagger on stage that I believe comes from a place of confidence both in each other as bandmates and honest expression in their songwriting. A particular highlight for me was their track “This is How It Feels” which I think managed to strike a refined balance of being emotionally vulnerable and heavy at the same time. Stepson were the highlight of the evening for me and I highly recommend you check them out, especially in concert.

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Sitting in a much better mood thanks to Stepson I eagerly awaited the American act The Home Team for their first-ever performance in Melbourne.
These blokes are much too light to really be metal, or post-hardcore even. I heard someone refer to them as heavy pop after the show and I think that’s a very apt attribution. Catchy and very danceable grooves were thrown out from the second their sneakers hit the stage. Brian Butcher has a great set of pipes and it was a joy to watch him vocally flex up and down the place. Ryne Olson dropped a buttery bass line on their track Drag that showcased his ability to summon the party from sesh-o-sphere and channel it through the instrument. Now let me take a moment to talk about guitarist John Baran. This bloke is a treasure of a performer. My man comes out on stage in shortcut, patch-covered overalls and a guitar strap covered in outrageous-sized spikes and spends 100% of the show either airborne, high kicking or spinning around like a Beyblade. He was the physical manifestation of “I’m just in a silly goofy mood” without ever missing a note. Please John, never do anything terrible for me to have to stop loving you.
The Home Team confused the audience all night because we couldn’t decide if we wanted to boogie or mosh and it was excellent. Hopefully, they’ll be back for a headline tour sooner rather than later.

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Now for the headline act!
Caskets opened the set with their song Drowned in Emotion with a very polished performance from the outset. Pushing and pulling the crowd with their song’s peaks and valleys and pulling sing-along moments from the very beginning till the last chord. Their performance was engaging throughout with too many notable moments to mention. A few of my favorites being: guitarist Craig Robinson jumping the stage barrier to get into the pit only to be crowd-surfed back to the stage at the end of the song and; singer Matt Flood taking a fans phone to grab a little stage video for them and then later also getting into the audience.

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Watching Caskets perform was a great moment of reflection for me. We all have that thing about music that we enjoy, and are generally pulled to one genre or another because of it. For some people it’s virtuosic musicianship, for others it’s stuff they can sing along to, others might be particularly keen on one mood being evoked. Generally speaking, I’m mostly engaged by honest songwriting and virtuosic performance. Most reviews I write, including earlier in this one, I’ll praise on those merits. However, for Caskets I don’t think that was their appeal. Now don’t get me wrong, Matt Flood has a great voice and the band’s songwriting definitely sounds honest. But I think the real appeal of Caskets is their ability to use their music to initiate community. You know how sometimes you make new friends purely because your friend has a friend who is just around a lot? Caskets somehow manage to use their performance to be that conduit that makes you more friendly to the people around you. It’s a hard thing to describe musically, but it’s what they do. By the end of their performance, the venue no longer felt like a venue, it felt like we were at someone’s house party and we just had some real sick cunt mates who wanted to make us smile. Everyone in Caskets seemed to make an effort in their performance to make the crowd feel like we were on a journey with them, not just observers and I think that’s a very unique skill. Overall very solid performance. Fans of groups like In Hearts Wake and Parkway Drive would probably get a lot more out of these guys musically than I did but I think almost any open-minded individual would have a good time at one of their shows.

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Thanks to the 170 Russell Street Crew for having us and a special thanks to Ophelia of Big Mouth PR for arranging media access.