Gig Review: EARTH CALLER + INHIBITOR + ANTICLINE + DWELLER @ The Workers Club, Melbourne - 02/04/21
Headliner: Earth Caller
Support: Inhibitor + Dweller + Anticline
Venue: The Workers Club, Melbourne
Date: April 2nd, 2021
Review by Anthony Melbourne
Tonight may not be the first gig back after the extended break the COVID-19 lockdowns caused, but it’s pretty clear that’s it’s the first for many of the fans in attendance of tonight’s sold out show at The Workers Club. Featuring hometown hero’s and veterans of the scene EARTH CALLER, celebrating the launch of their newest single, ‘Avarice’, joining them this evening are deathcore bruisers INHIBITOR, fresh off the back of their debut performance and newcomers ANTICLINE from Ballarat and DWELLER.
The quiet anticipation is obvious and the excitement in the air is contagious (well, I hope that’s what’s in the air...), it would be all too easy to say that it feels like how it was before a global pandemic asphyxiated the entertainment industry, but its pretty clear that tonight's sold out show, and the numerous sell out gigs across the country is the direct result of that not-so-slow, agonising death of the music industry - the once humble gig that we all took for granted and shrugged off any sense of concern in years passed at the inconceivable notion that it would be ripped from our grasp. But fear not. They’re back, and so are the fans.
Opening the evening are metalcore merchants, DWELLER, relatively new to the live scene with their third show ever due to ‘You-Know-What’, having released their debut EP, ‘White Rabbit’ back in March 2020, giving listeners a lot of time to marinate on their post-metalcore grooves, akin to the likes of Architects, Currents and Wage War yet with a very unique take on the sound with well written songs, heavy tasteful breakdowns, bursting with a youthful exuberance and energy. It was truly great to see the rush of punters into the band room, beginning their set with only a handful of patrons to having a packed room by the end of their second song.
The vocalist’s range shifting from the piercing rasp of his high screams to pitched yells that would make Architects’ own Sam Carter blush, blending into punchy mid range roars is impressive, while all collectively losing their shit while still playing as a tight unit, clearly utilising the extended break from the stage in 2020 to hone their skills in the jam room, guitarist Andy didn’t let a broken guitar string halfway through their set slow them down nor did they let it hinder their great performance.
Up next we have Ballarat’s ANTICLINE, making considerable waves within the scene, with their EP ‘Urgency’ released in August 2020, they have hit the ground running in 2021 jumping on bills left right and centre, as well as lining up some impressive tours - with THORNHILL in April, featuring Melbourne’s BLOOM and with Sydney heavy hitters WRAITH on their ‘The Hive’ East Coast run with Adelaide’s own 23/19 in May.
Their sound is a little hard to describe outside of the typical hardcore/metalcore tropes all too often used by lazy reviewers (sorry, not sorry). With an almost nostalgic feel to their sound, reminiscent of early 2000’s hardcore like early Evergreen Terrace, Poison the Well or The Warriors, spliced with touches of modern metalcore heaviness along the lines of Knocked Loose & Counterparts, yet again with a charm and swagger that’s makes it squarely their own.
Accompanied by dual vocal attack of lead vocalist and guitarist layering pained screams and melodic crooning coupled with bouncing hardcore rhythms leaving the whole crowd nodding their heads in unison. A passionate performance with a distinctly punk rock energy with groove heavy breakdowns littered throughout, every song seething with a sense of urgency. Commanding the audience from start to finish, despite a faulty mic and broken guitar strap - leaving second guitarist to casually play on one knee for their last song like it was nothing. Sure to be a band to keep your eye on.
INHIBITOR are up next - the heaviest band on the bill by far, and with only one performance under their belt since their formation just over a year ago, and still riding high on the release of their debut EP ‘Abhorrence’ released in September 2020, (read my full review of it HERE) with a sound that can be easily described as absolutely relentless pummelling, shaking the foundations with their brand of violent blackened, Technical Deathcore sure to make a solid impression, featuring members of legendary Melbourne acts State of East London, Three Faces West & Her Majesty, now with the welcome addition of a third guitarist, Shawn Van Looy of Melbourne death metal band The Impaler to accentuate the heavy moments allowing lead guitarist Samuel to shine, sweep and do those “diddly diddly” solos we all know and love. These guys are uncompromisingly heavy live, executing every riff and blast beat with the precision and ferocity of a seasoned act, not a band on their second show.
They played a unbelievably tight set, smashing through prime cuts off their EP, barely giving the audience enough time to breathe between songs, while vocalist Jesse commands the space between the stage and the crowd to be filled, making it obvious that the fear of being spin kicked in the face was clearly holding them back. Jesse himself is a force to be reckoned with, his stage presence, keeping his composure, effortlessly shrugging off multiple hilarious heckle attempts made by longtime friend of the band, Sharpy (vocalist of Boris the Blade) to make him smile, but his intensity never wavered. Ending the set with the heaviest breakdown of the evening, with the thickest sub-drops you’ve ever heard. Brilliant.
Tonight’s headliners have been a staple of Melbourne’s thriving metalcore scene for the better part of the decade, releasing their debut ‘Degenerate’ way back in 2015, and sophomore record ‘Crystal Death’ in 2018, as well as 2020’s EP, ‘Crook’, writing some truly memorable and hard hitting singles such as ‘I Am No Good’, ‘Spit’ & ‘Push It’, tonight is a welcome return from these crowd favourites, EARTH CALLER, with their bouncing mosh heavy style of metalcore. A rough start to their set due to faulty cables but despite the technical difficulties they started their set again after their first song and like the pros they are and the crowd were more than forgiving and were more than happy to oblige.
I just want top point out that, for me personally, when it comes to technical mishaps like broken strings, guitar straps or dodgy cables, when these things are out of the control of the band or artist, its barely worth mentioning, I have to say that the numerous aforementioned issues experienced by the bands that played tonight were handled so perfectly, I always admire a band that takes such technical difficulties in their stride and not let it taint the purity of the performance. Laughing it off, or in Earth Caller’s vocalist, Josh Collard’s case, handled it like a true pro, Turning what would normally be an unforgivable act of restarting the set, into some playful banter, and gave the crowd a slight warm-up for the absolute masterclass in mosh heavy metalcore the crowd was about to witness.
Dedicating the newest single, ‘Avarice’ to the recent passing of Ex-I Killed the Prom Queen/Deez Nuts bassist, Sean Kennedy. The new single’s lyrics speak of dealing with the darkness and isolation that comes with depression as well as playing some unreleased material from their upcoming album, due sometime later this year, closing out the night with a bang with crowd pleasing tracks like ‘I Am No Good’ & ‘Spit’. Fans were still chanting for one last song, with an unplanned encore of ‘Wherewithal’ off of ‘Crook’. If tonight was any indication of what the future holds for the Melbourne heavy music scene, 2021 is looking brighter already.