Gig Review: 'The Final Surgery' - Whoretopsy + Hollow World + Splatterpuss + Annihilist + Am
Support Acts: Hollow World + Splatterpuss + Annihilist + Ame Noire
Venue: The Bendigo Hotel
Date: 22nd September 2017
Photography by Hayley Scott
Thanks to Amoeba Quake Events, metalheads of Melbourne have gathered once again at Collingwood’s The Bendigo Hotel; a venue that has become somewhat of a second home to locals. Friday night’s return celebrated Whoretopsy’s tour stretch in support of their album release Never Tear Us Apart. The Melbourne death metal slammers are due to hit the studios once again to conjure up their next record, which will be eagerly awaited into the New Year by their committed fan base. In light of this, the band brought with them an army of special guests for a night of brutality that was The Final Surgery.
Kicking off the night punters were introduced to a new breed of melancholic death metal by the name of Ame Noire. The five-piece formed late last year to bare their ‘black soul’ with a fusion of death, black and melodic metal. The band took to the stage at 7:45pm with absolute ferocity; wasting no opportunity to leave their mark on the minds of the crowd with their debut performance. There was a hearty crowd nice and early on in the night, and those who were present could be seen reacting with intrigue and enthusiasm as the band violently swept the stage with an assault of contrasting deep djent, whirring melodic riffs and pounding drum blasts wrapped up with Alex Hills' sinister serving of growls, screams and convulsing bodily movements. Their set concluded on a highlight with a performance of their debut single ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’; no doubt leaving the lyric “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” ingrained in the minds of all who were there to witness it in the flesh. Needless to say, Ame Noire are a band to keep a keen eye on!
Next up the explosive five-piece new-wave melodeath concoction Annihilist stormed the stage at 8:30pm. They played tracks from their Debut Ep ‘Vol.1’ to a crowd of eager fans that they’ve rightfully gained for themselves since the release in 2015. Sporting a shirt with the comical phrase “TAKE A SHIT YOU’LL FEEL BETTER” vocalist Harry Pendock commanded attention effortlessly with his known theatrical stage presence and impactful expressive mannerisms. Enthused punters violently headbanged at the stage front, gaining direct interactions with Pendock through moments of the set; showing a clear back and forth of energy exchange between stage and crowd. Guitarist’s Miki Simankevicius and Josh Voce filled the atmosphere with skillful rhythmic grooves and soaring riffs further complemented by Toby Peterson-Stewart’s technical bass sweeping. During their final track “Ember” punters broke out in fist pumping, then went on to clap along to a slowed section of melodic guitar. Pendock repeatedly showed love for the crowd, praising that they had been “fucking incredible”.
9:15pm brought brutal death metallers Splatterpuss to the stage and the pit was rife with energetic fans thrusting themselves across the floor in a chaotic frenzy of moshing and slam dancing throughout their set. Fans could also be seen thrusting their fists toward the stage as they belted out lyrics alongside vocalist Matt Turkington’s deep toned growls. Their set opened with a track playing of “Paper Planes” by M.I.A which members of the crowd had fun with; making hand gun gestures along with the words. “Realms of Petulance” had people giggling during a section where another sound clip was played from a scene of the tv series ‘Lano and Woodley’ where Lano is laughing at the thought of Woodley getting himself a girlfriend. The track then burst into a breakdown, which was met with a rowdy crowd reception. There was a momentary interruption to the set due to the kick pedal breaking, but order was quickly restored. The title track and first single for the bands upcoming album due for release later this year “Labyrinths of Dark Energy” also made an appearance in the set. It also included a peculiar sound clip of a dialogue describing an octopus “getting intimate with a vagina”. “Delusional Dissonance” from their self-titled EP also made an appearance, much to the delight of fans. At one point Turkington took a moment to explain to the crowd that they are from all over Australia rather than having one city as home base, and that this meant rehearsals would only happen before playing a show. Without having been informed of this, you wouldn’t have guessed it since their showmanship is tight despite the challenge.
By the time it hit 10:00pm the packed crowd of fans were fired up at the ready for favourites Hollow Word to emblaze the stage as they have become known for doing. Vocalist Ben Roberts immersed himself in crowd interaction from beginning to end; standing on the foldback speakers and at points clinging to the ceiling as he melted the faces of crowd members by screaming directly into them. Roberts also repeatedly dove into the crowd throughout points of the set to surf between the pit and stage. The already charged crowd were further encouraged in their mayhem with requests such as “I want to see people up here onstage”, which caused repeated rushing forth to the stage and bodies piling over the foldbacks from the force. Chaotic headbanging, windmilling and circle pits were in no shortage as fans sang along to the lyrics. The set opened with “Defiling Paradise” from the debut album Exanimate; which the tracks “Patient Zero”, “Systematic Refinement”, “Wildfire” and “Exanimate” also went on to make up the larger portion of the set list. The other portion was made up of the tracks “Silence”, “Misery” (which was performed as a birthday dedication), and “Valley of the Ghelgath” (which conclude the set on a high) from ‘The Wrath Kept Within’ EP. Guitarists Michael Truscott and Theo Goslett alongside bassist Josh Hynes also worked the stage and crowd alike with their interactivity; juggling their technical prowess and concentration with gestures and facial expressions at the crowd. They also at different points would stand back-to-back with one another in a dual-like manner as they played.
Topping off the night from 11:00pm with an impressive and generous 70 minute set we had none other than comical brutes Whoretopsy. The death metal slammers encompass skill, talent, and a charismatic ability to entertain all in equal measures. There’s something refreshing about a band being able to simultaneously have people laughing, aggressively moshing and screaming along to lyrics with feeling. Their vocalist, Zac Bergholtz, performs like a theatrical storyteller that also doesn’t take himself too seriously; and is also no stranger to having a boogie. He has impactful expressive eyes, and gestures in appropriation to the lyrics like a violent mime. He engages his fans with ease; inviting individual members of the crowd to scream into the microphone in duet with himself, carefully cupping the back of their head as they did so due to the erratic movement amongst the crowd. Circle pits were rife as bodies throttled across the floor in all directions. Their massive set included an array of tracks across their catalogue of works including ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ (2012), ‘They Did Unspeakable Things’ (2012), ‘While You Were Sleeping’ (2014) and ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ (2016). Throughout the set Zac joked that there were “so many more” songs to go, and that “it doesn’t end!” ; seemingly making fun of his own exhaustion. The amount of energy and effort he and the band as a whole exerted into the performance was impressive and something to be commended. “Fiddler In The Roof” was a highlight of the set, with the track being note as Bergholtz's favourite. “Hiss Your Eggs Out” noted as having not been played before, was another highlight.
Get a load of the mammoth setlist! :
Prelude To A Fist
Thirty Shades of White
He Wouldn’t Hurt A Fly
White Men Can’t Blimp
Hair, Fat and Baby Wipes
Never Tear Us Apart
High School Sweethearts
Bashed and Fucked
Fiddler In The Roof
My Strange Addiction
While You Were Sleeping
In Loving Memory
Hiss Your Eggs Out
The Terrible Thirty Two’s
The event shaped up to be an intense night of moshing that left punters grinning. If you were there it’s a solid bet to say that you probably took some pain home with you; the glorious pain of a job well done.
All photography by Hayley Scott.