Words – Clare A
Photos – Mitch
Last night I descended the stairs of Max Watts in Melbourne’s city centre to experience the very, long awaited EYEHATEGOD tour. Fans of the band have been patiently waiting to see these old school pioneers from New Orleans, ever since their last two Australian tours were canceled due to complications. ‘We are really fucking glad to be back here…. It took us a minute though’ frontman Mike Williams quipped during the set. Joining them on their tour through Japan, Australia and New Zealand were the Sydney based stoner sludge band Black Rheno and for the local support, were newcomers Burn the Hostages. It was so fitting for EHG to have shared the stage with two fresh bands from Australia who have clearly been inspired by their genre bending doomy metal.
Burn the Hostages, an ugly sludge / hardcore / doom / punk band from Melbourne, started to perform and without any coaxing, the early comers spilled out into the pit to bang along with the bands slow and sludgy intro song. Their classic four-piece set up had some nice and heavy drums and thunking twangy guitar sounds appropriately coupled with screaming vocals. Burn the Hostages speeded things up a bit with the next couple of tracks but still had some epically moody breakdowns. Frontman Rohan gave a shout out dedicating the last two songs to Religious Observance, another sludge / noise / metal band from Melbourne, who were cheering them on from the front row.
Over the speakers we heard the cringeworthy but hilarious ‘bad recorder’ rendition of the Titanic theme song My Heart Will Go On, when Black Rheno barreled onto the stage and kicked off their set. Formed in 2015, this spirited threesome was grindy, groovy, sludgy and 100% made for live performances. These guys were such larrikins and they filled the venue with boisterous energy. Nano on guitar (and pedals) stomped around with wide set heavy treads, Dougy’s dreadlocks flew around him like a possessed halo while he drummed and vocalist Milla wiggled his hips, got some sweet air and even disappeared into the crowd to force his screams and body slams onto unsuspecting but willing audience members. Black Rheno played some tracks off their newly released album Noise Smasher which I will now definitely be checking out!
Suddenly, almost out of nowhere the venue packed out and EHG stepped onto a stage flooded with blue light. Guitarist Brian Patton and bassist Gary Mader stood with their backs to the audience and created endless whining feedback. The blue light faded into red and drummer Aaron Hill started to wade through a slow and sludgy drum intro. Through a sea of raised horns and raised glasses, I watched frontman Mike Williams raise his mic stand above his head. This stretched on for what seemed like an eternity, a feeling of anticipation pulsated through the air as the crowd waited for the intro to break into EHG’s doomy, fuzzed out metal. The pit was finally released from their suspended animation and the fans head banged and thrashed along all night with a band that basically defined sludge as a metal genre back in the 80’s. This was a phenomenal set, I’m so ecstatic that I got to experience it with a crowd that genuinely appreciated it.
Special Thanks to SWD presents