PAGAN with Crave Death, Blind Girls & Masochist. Crowbar, Brisbane Saturday 18 August, 2018 At 8pm on a Saturday …
With the Queensland Music Award finalists announced for 2018, we thought we should breakdown the nominees in the categories of Heavy and Rock.
The QMAs began in 2011 and aims to recognise the best in music, venues and people that create the vibrant and exciting music scene in Queensland. The heavier side of the music spectrum has consistently been well represented with names like Violent Soho, The Amity Affliction and DZ Deathrays bagging several awards over the years. With some very stellar music being released in the Sunshine State over the past year these categories have some stiff competition. While they are all winners in some regard (and really, how do you judge art?) there will on the night be a definitive winner. Let’s have a look at the bands and releases that have made the final cut.
Silence The Sun – A Thousand Suns
This track A Thousand Suns, despite not even being released yet has bagged a nomination. Silence The Sun have been busy over the last year recording their debut album which will be released later this year. With guitarist Ben breaking his wrist last year it’s been a slow process but the two singles Faceless and Fault Line have been well received and point towards exiting times for the band. A Thousand Suns is a fast-paced track that has big riffs and great splashy cymbals. There is clever interplay between the bass and drums that drives the song forward and keeps you hooked into the song. The chorus comes crashing in with a breakdown which I can only imagine will create huge singalongs. It is reminiscent of artists like Dead Letter Circus and it’s a great sign for the album ahead if this track is getting a nomination.
Caligula’s Horse – Will’s Song (Let The Colours Run)
Caligula’s Horse are no strangers to these awards after previously winning Best Heavy Song in 2016 with their track Marigold. The band have been doing big things overseas and it is great that such a powerful progressive metal band hails from Brisbane. Will’s Song (Let The Colours Run) has all the elements that you’d expect form Caligula’s Horse. It features lots of time changes, big guitar solos and really tight drumming. The guitar arrangements and changing time signatures is well done but has enough consistency and direction that you never feel lost within the song. The track off their latest album In Contact, comes in at just under 5 minutes and with their upcoming tour of Australia in August, it will be a big crowd favourite.
Machine Age – Chivalry Is Dead
Machine Age is a wildly exciting project from Adrian Mauro that has evolved over the last few years. Mauro originally from Cairns was recording for a lot of different bands and was a regular around the scene but after an injury began remixing his own original demos. He very much experiments with sound using different gadgets to accompany a voice that can be both sharp with authority and soothingly melodic. The way Chivalry Is Dead balances these experimental electronic sounds and distorted guitars within this heavy dense track, is something different that is really working for him. It has big waves of intense sound that fills your ears before snapping back to that steady rhythm. All the while Mauro coaxes you through this journey with soothing vocals until the next wall of sound. With another track released last year Fighting, with drummer Dylan Stewart providing his outstanding drumming abilities on it Machine Age are about to carve their way into big things.
The Brave – Ethereal
The Brave have been around almost 5 years and with that amount of experience and material under their belt they have really mastered their sound. Signing with independent powerhouse UNFD two years ago was a big moment for this band and has seen them go from strength to strength. Ethereal released in 2017 shows big things are on the way for The Brave after their 2016 beloved album Epoch. The track opens with big heavy riffs that get your head banging immediately. The synths quietly guide you towards the slow opening words of vocalist Nathan Toussaint as he whispers “can you feel the darkness”. This coaxing is upended when the chorus kicks in and grabs you by the shirt with Toussaint’s growling of “we are ethereal” echoing over a swirling of twin guitars, heavy bass and punching drums. Ethereal sounds to me of a band confidently hitting their stride and is another heavy weapon in their arsenal of tracks.
WAAX – Wild & Weak
WAAX are one of the most exciting bands coming out of Brisbane. They are raw, loud and instantly energise a crowd. Wild & Weak like it says in the song is a ‘shake of a fist’. It provokes a visceral and primal response to scream, jump and down and bang your head. The verses are like a rallying cry that builds with the marching drum beat towards a chorus that is honest, passionate and so contagious to scream along. The song builds its way towards Maz’s guttural screams as you can feel the wildness and emotional connection to the lyrics. With new music just weeks away and an Australian tour booked for this year they are about to kick down the door and scream their way into Australia’s hearts.
Landings – Everybody Wants
Landings are a relatively new band that have been kicking around the scene since 2015. They have released a couple of tracks and been playing regular gigs and support slots all over the country. Their track Everybody Wants is indie rock at its core and these gentlemen have embodied this fun into a tight and concise 4 minute track. The guitars are upbeat, the vocals bright and the snare has a particular pop that you can feel in your chest. There is a real dance party vibe to this track and the introduction of the synths has brought a lot to the soundscape of the track. Everybody Wants is a damn lot of fun and the type of track that would suit a Friday night house party.
Jeremy Neale – Dancin’ & Romancin’
Ah, Jeremy Neale. I have often described Jeremy Neale as the Prince of Brisbane because of the numerous projects that he is involved in around Brisbane. Dancin’ & Romancin’ is an archetypal Jeremy Neale track. It is a track that is pure unrestrained fun with lively guitars, fun synths and Jeremy’s signature cool guy delivery. His debut album Getting The Team Back Together took a while (as we mentioned he is a busy man) but it was from front to back a ridiculously enjoyable album. Jeremy has previously won two QMAs one in 2012 with Winter Was The Time and while that was a killer track his new work is more mature sounding and also finely produced. The track nominated is off the charts for fun levels and is an indie rock track for everyone.
DZ Deathrays – Total Meltdown
DZ Deathrays are essentially veterans of this category and are a powerhouse of loud thrash rock. They have won several QMAs over the years and are a part of the hard rock revival in Brisbane that has been brewing for the last several years. From the moment the drums kick in to start the song it takes off and it is familiar in all the right ways. There are a lot of great moments in Total Meltdown from Shane Parsons’ classic drawl overlaying the distorted guitars and Simon Ridley’s sticks aggressively smashing that snare drum which really makes itself known. It’s a song that picks you up and throws you about and, in that moment where it breaks, all you want to do is catch that next wave and get thrown about some more. There is a reason that DZ Deathrays are one of the most important bands in hard rock today and Total Meltdown is a prime example why.
There you have it folks! All the tracks nominated are great and represent the fact that Queensland has a very strong and vibrant loud music scene. We highly recommend that you check out each of these tracks because you’re bound to find something you love. Make sure to check out the Queensland Music Awards on the 14th of May at the Royal International Convention Centre.