it's a zombie slam!


PAIN @ The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney NSW Australia 26/05/2018 written by Brendan Lewis

May 26, 2018.

All life here on earth has vanished, or at least, intelligent life. The earth has been taken over by zombie-like creatures called ‘Pain-heads’ that are truly a pain in the ass and are designed to piss you off, driven by a lust for life in heavy-metal. These creatures’ Swedish leader PAIN, are coming home…. to Sydney, for the first time, to take over the lands and its people, with their latest heavy-metal weapon of mass Bieber-pop destruction, ‘Coming Home’.

We are not afraid to die rocking out tonight, we will not be nailed to the ground by pop music circling around us, we and heavy-metal, will rise! For this is the end of the line, this is the final crusade…

A storm brews overhead, as an eerie intro circles and brings with it a thunderous thump, marching us towards the assault of the set. The band bring fire to the fight in the first three songs, with the energy starting big and only creeping up in velocity as the charge progresses. The band all rock out fiercely, with their zombie followers in the crowd following command, with fists raised in heavy-metal obedience. The sound is terrifyingly loud to the point that if there were any brains left in the venue tonight, they’re being melted by the insane volume (even with heavy-duty live music ear plugs in), but shockingly, it’s perfectly clear! The sound mixer at this venue really knows his s*** when it comes to heavy-metal, as all sounds are brutal, sharp, mighty and godly, especially lead singer Peter’s glorious vocals. In the second song of this stampede, the bands commanding drummer takes charge with a fiery blast of rapid drumming, to initiate this even-more up-beat song. Peter follows close behind, with his vocals being softer in the songs’ verses, as if toying with his prey, before ripping into it with full force in the high-screams in the chorus sending shockwaves throughout the venue, as fists pump and wild hair flies all around from the band and their followers. A string intro beckons the third slaughter, the band join forces with one another, rocking out in sync with their hair flying in time to the steady beat, to project maximum energy into the crowd. The energy is well received, as the bands’ loyal zombies attempt to mimic the bands on-stage energy, made even more prominent with the creepy circus vibe with machine-gun rapid fire of the drums in the songs’ bridge, plus the band resurrecting everyone’s full attention and devotion, by instigating a clap along to the beat.

For the rest of the show the band summon some killer guitar and bass riffs that play differing roles as lead hook, all-out wild solo’s and simply assistive riffs to other lead focus sounds. Earth-shattering beats, that I swear are worthy of raising the dead and making them rock out/dance, and like its guitar/bass comrads, plays differing lead/supporting roles, whilst maintaining the onslaught of the songs’ thunderous beats of various speeds and velocities, carrying the other sounds with it. Ah yes, let’s not forget the leader of the doomed, the king of the damned, the glorious, merciful, the commanding vocals of Peter. Peter shows us mercy in some lighter more melodic un-distorted vocals, then rips that innocence to shreds with powerful, zombie-balls-out, in-your-face (yes, carried from the previous remark) intense roars that should leave Peter with no more throat let alone voice the next day. All this incredible sound, is continuously maintained at superb volumes yet sustaining perfect clarity (no wonder this venue is known to play host to metal-dominated bands). Our leaders on stage re-group in intervals, go over the plan of attack with us and rev us all up with humour and stories which all of these details, makes the crowd go insane, I mean, insane! (and I thought I was going wild in rock glory) To the point that one guy who’s going a little too insane nearly becomes an actual dead zombie, or at least bare the misshapen face of a zombie, as he throws all common decency and respect for others in the crowd out the window and feels he has the right to push me and my friend out of the way so he can rock out at the front, and nearly wore the imprint of several chunky rings in his face. Still, hearing my personal favourites from the band like the softer more in-depth ‘Coming Home’, the “bust a thumping move” party anthem ‘Zombie Slam’, and the bands’ incredible cover of ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which doesn’t seem to include the dramatic-aura emphasising strings/synth layer, but otherwise is a perfect blend of sounds makes up for the nearly misshapen face behind me.

This is it, the crowd are all-but turned to the zombie force, the battlefield ahead lay bare, now is the final frontier! The band thank us once more for following them in their metal-cause of the past 20 years, and the iconic 8-bit sounding electronic intro with eerie alien invasion-like sounds commence, ‘Shut Your Mouth’. You recall how I said previously the crowd went insane, I mean, insane? Well, scratch that, THIS is insane! Luckily however, we’re all on the same page this time, as we all jump with true metal might to the beat, and pump our fist with fury. The sound and the bands’ on-stage energy is truly ace, which is quite an achievement that they haven’t fallen over one another while they rock out, seeing as this isn’t a very big stage. On top of that, just to fire us all up one last time, Peter holds the microphone out to the crowd to amplify us all shouting/screaming/singing (whatever you want to call it) along, which raises the attentive energy around me dramatically! And with one last massive blast of musical energy from all on stage in a furious rock out, the war is over…

May 27, 2018.

The creatures came, they fought and we braved the storm, but in the end, the bands’ performance was too powerful, the way they banded together just made one another that much stronger and more powerful as performers. The show was fierce and there was no chance for rest, although some parts were more intense than others, but that just kept the bands’ followers in check with their leaders. The sound was brutal, destructive, yet pure, in all my years facing these events I’ve never braved a sound so mighty, so loud even with my ear plugs in, yet so clear and precise.

If you are reading this now, that means they have me, I have become a Pain-head…