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SHE CRIES WOLF w/ Heists, Blood Knuckles, Forsaker and Oldtown
Saturday 1st June, 2019
You know it’s winter in Queensland when the local hardcore show is full of musty hoodies, wharfie beanies and people dressing somewhat closer to what their dormant Tumblr profiles would have you believe eleven months out of the year. Waiting in line at Crowbar for tonight’s She Cries Wolf tour spot, there’s a bloke in front of us with an extremely dandy top-hat getting his ID scanned, and we think that this is exactly the type of cranial adornment that we’d steal off the corpse of a helpless roadside victim in Red Dead Redemption 2. (Yes, we’re still playing it. No, we don’t have a problem; YOU have a problem.)
MORE: FRANK IERO AND THE FUTURE VIOLENTS: Get Yourself Out Of Your Comfort Zone At All Times! REVIEWS: MOTIONLESS IN WHITE: Disguise // THE DAMNED THINGS: High Crimes // FRANK IERO AND THE FUTURE VIOLENTS: Barriers
The line-up this evening is stacked with locals like a $5 PCYC show, and first up are Brisbane quartet Oldtown, peddling a riff-heavy flavour of Southern-inflected metalcore in the vein of vanguard groups like Every Time I Die and He Is Legend. As a performance, it’s a little rough around the edges but the early crowd is into it, headbanging along to raucous cuts like The Swindler. Vocalist Matthew Muscari is clearly having a time, screaming incoherently and ambling over the monitors, while the rest of the band do an admirable job of keeping things chugging along in lock-step. As their set ends on a long feedback-laden outro, guitarist Matt Scott leaves his axe hanging ominously from the roof. Death of the Party indeed.
While we neck a schooner (or seven) in anticipation for the next act, we spy a curious juxtaposition of demographics: a middle-aged gentleman in corporate attire, complete with scarf, who looks like he’s trying to find the TAB by hiding in a dimly lit corner; contrasted with a young guy wearing an ensemble that’s almost entirely Adidas sportswear, barely concealing how completely ‘lit’ he is at 9:00 PM. When Forsaker start up, their intro sounds like the murmuring of broken 56k dial-up modem—all digital blips and burps, cut up and distorted—and then the ignorantly heavy beatdown kicks in and pretty much dominates the rest of their set: a mix of bland and uninspired deathcore/downtempo sounds straight out of 2009. Single Rotten Mind gets a look in, while vocalist Brodie Servin keeps asking for “more movement” and dudes who like Attila and Emmure and chaos pouches seem more than happy to oblige him.
We move to the back of the room near the merch desk for a survey of the crowd, which is getting noticeable thicker as the night progresses. It’s here that we spy a dude rolling out of the toilet with a face contorted in anguish, and we quickly realise that rather than simply being horrendously wasted, he’s actually dislocated his wrist in what we can only assume to be a mosh-related injury. Let this be a reminder to you all: always do your stretches. Next up are Blood Knuckles, who appear to have quite the little ground swell judging by the ratio of merch on backs. The five-piece dish out some relatively inoffensive metalcore tracks, like Cardinal Sin and the title track from last year’s debut EP Voices. There are some cool melodies at work here and the mid-range clean refrains from screamer Nick Farr mostly land. Also, mid-set, we see a bloke with an Architects tattoo on his neck and, as we write this, that makes a lot more sense in retrospect.
Sydney-siders Heists have been travelling the country recently as part of tonight’s tour line-up and it absolutely shows. The quintet are lean, mean and crazy tight, with a bouncy, melodic hardcore vibe that recalls The Ghost Inside, or even a more intense Deez Nuts (more Deez, less Nuts, if you feel us). Vocalist Chris Zagas has a throaty bark that sounds eerily akin to Aussie hardcore stable Ben Coyte, while guitarists Guy Vears and Brandon Merhab trade power chords and meaty chug patterns back and forth. Tracks like Defeated and Disquiet get the crowd pumping, with plenty of movement in the pit and hands thrust in the air for the call-and-response chorus chants.
And then finally, we arrive at the main event. For naughty Brissy boys She Cries Wolf, a sold out headline show in their hometown is certainly a reason to celebrate. When the quartet did a surprise drop of their third album Liar back in February, fans were caught off guard by a brand new crop of alternative metalcore bangers. So, with tonight functioning as the official album launch (albeit a few months late), this is our first taste of hearing these new tracks in a live setting and it’s clear that everyone is ready to get down and dirty. Opener Perjury sets the tone for their set: a plaintive guitar line hovers over an ominous vocal sample, with a brooding mixture of dark and nervous energy. At the midpoint, the band drops in like a hammer as vocalist Luke Harriss screams “Burn!” repeatedly, like a man truly possessed. For lead single Magdalene, guitarist Kyal Franklin leads in with an angular buzz-saw riff against a steady back-beat from drummer Luke Gal, before Harriss carries the band through confrontational lyrics of depression and on-set alcoholism. It’s heavy stuff, both musically and thematically, but the band sound absolutely massive and clearly in their element.
In a move that greatly pleases us and other dedicated fans, the group whirl through the first four tracks off Liar, seamlessly jumping from Magdalene into the quick-fire aggression of Love Trader. At one point, we watch as guitarist Daniel Belic launches himself into the front few rows of punters—disappearing momentarily—only to be thrust upwards on a sea of outstretched hands, punching the roof with his fists and wielding his axe like a dissonant murder weapon the entire time. We’re also stoked to finally hear October 16 in the flesh, with it’s breakneck blend of super-charged, catchy choruses and punk-rock fury sounding a lot like 2000s-era Gallows. Not wanting to disappoint the die-hards, older cuts like Baal and Cultist get a mention, before the band bring out the Liar deep cuts. The off-kilter sludgy intro to Pine hits like wrecking ball, while the mid-point tempo changes in After Death are even more exhilarating to witness on stage than as a purely auditory experience. Closing out with Moments (After Death Pt. II), Harriss brings his narrative of divorce, drugs, doubt and depression to a visceral close, screaming intently over the band’s final notes: “Moments, there’ll be more to come.” And while the new record might be called Liar, if tonight’s roaring display is anything to go off for She Cries Wolf, that’s simply the truth.