Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch
On Saturday night at 7pm, we arrived at The Croxton Bandroom in Melbourne’s Northside to check out the sold-out show featuring California’s Cattle Decapitation and Fallujah from the Bay Area. A slew of metal fans packed out the venue in a surprisingly wide spectrum of ages. This tour had attracted all kinds of metal heads which made for a reactive crowd who showed genuine appreciation for the feast the metal gods had given us that evening.
For the Melbourne leg of the tour we were entertained by supports Body Prison. Huge energy straight up from this 4 piece local deathcore band, including impressive growls from vocalist Daniel Macdonald and delightful crowd involvement from the bassist Nicholas VanVidler who shouted ‘wake your crusty bones up’ before he leapt into the pit himself to mosh with the already fired up fans. This fresh take on Australian deathcore was a great start to the evening and got us all in the mood to groove. Support local heavy metal and be sure to check out Body Prison.
Fallujah was up next, they positioned themselves on the stage, a slow intro sounded on the backing track, the drummer lifted his horns and it began. This set was surprisingly epic filled with ferocious and heavy drumming, groovy and technical guitars from the bands now only longtime member Scott Carstairs and a surprising vocal range from Kyle Schaefer. The performance was bookmarked by tracks from their latest album release in 2022, ‘Empyrean’. The opening track was ‘The Bitter Taste of Clarity’ and they ended with ‘Artifacts’, a personal favourite of Schaefer’s, probably due to the booming cleans where he could showcase his vocal range. Also from ‘Empyrean’ were tracks ‘Radiant Ascension’ with it’s super progressive breakdown, ‘Into the Eventide’ and ‘Mindless Omnipotent Master’ which received a whole lot of fist-pumping from the crowd. In the mix was also ‘The Void Alone’ featuring some retro guitar riffs and the epic ’Amber Gaze’ from the 2016 album release ‘Dreamless’.
On to the main course, a colossal serving of Cattle Decapitation! The room was already teeming with electric energy from the last two performances, we were good to go. Ominous sounds and disembodied growls resonated from the speakers. A haze of smoke twisted in white beams of light. Dark figures entered the platform while high beams phased in and out. They launched into the first track ‘Terrasitic Adaptation’ from ‘Terrasite’ which was released earlier this year. ‘Terrasite’ would be the hero album for this tour as they also performed ‘We Eat Our Young’, ‘Scourge of the Offspring’ and ‘The Storm Upstairs’. Each song was introduced by Travis Ryan screaming the track name in his mic with a spine-tingling shriek, but he also made sure to yell, ’Melbourne, you fucking cunts!’ at every opportunity he got.
This was an impressive performance by all the members, but I was particularly impressed by the dedication of frontman Ryan. His vocals never wavered and his performance was perfectly grotesque with intermittent sounds of animalistic snarls and gagging with blood curdling wails spliced in between the vocals. By the fourth track ‘Dead Set on Suicide’ from the 2012 album release ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ he was cocking his head back and spitting in an upward trajectory at which point a giant cockroach entered from the side lines and onto the stage. The costumed man climbed onto the heads and shoulders of the fans in the mosh pit and while being propped up high in the air on all fours headbanged and crowd surfed back to the stage. From their seventh studio album ‘Death Atlas’ they continued with ‘Bring Back the Plague’ and ‘Finish Them’. All of a sudden, the stage lights failed and the fans instinctively shone their phone lights toward Cattle Decap, lighting them up to keep the darkness as bay. The spotlights boomed on again and the crowd cheered, meanwhile, Cattle Decapitation had played through not skipping a beat. Ironically it was at this point they introduced the next song ‘A Photic Doom’ (also from Terrasite) which as Cattle frontman exclaimed while snickering ‘is about destroying the light’. He engaged the sea of legions in front of him ‘How are you guys doing? Are you tired? Is it time to go to bed?’ He shrieked again, ‘Is is time to go to bed or what?!’ The crowd cheered as the next track ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ went out to the pit. After they played ‘Vulturous’ from ‘Death Atlas’ which involved a lot of headbanging from the fans, they had one more song, ‘Pacific Grim’ from ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ released in 2015. The bandroom was loud with cheers and pleads for one more song, Nick from Body Prison, with his camera in hand, appeared on stage to whip the crowd into a further frenzy to coax Cattle back on stage which of course they complied with. ‘You guys are the best, thank you! We’ll do another one for you if that’s all right’, the crowd cheered, ‘This one goes out to our homie Nick from Body Prism’. The night ended with the encore, ’Kingdom of Tyrants’.
EVERYDAY METAL – SUPPORT LOCAL HEAVY M