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DEAD OF WINTER // A Guide To The Heavy With The Metal Maiden

We all know the deal with Dead Of Winter, the horror-themed music fest that features bands spanning the alternative realms.

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It’s where punk, rock, metal and all their sub-genres come together to party at one of the biggest days on the Brisbane calendar and it’s now so big that it spans two venues and hosts bands from all across Australia and abroad. 

So with all that goodness, looking at the timetable and figuring out your day can be a massive headache, possibly even bigger than the bangover and/or hangover you will have on Sunday. Here is a list of the heaviest of the heavies at this years festival, to help guide you through the day and ensure you’re organised for maximum pit time where you can just mosh out to the most brutal bands to grace the stages this year. To be honest, as you might be spending a bit of time moving between The Jubilee and The Tivoli on Saturday, it might be a good idea to skip leg day and work on that cardio in the lead-up to Dead of Winter 2019. Just saying.

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So you’ve arrived early because you don’t want to miss a second of the action? That’s good, because there is plenty to get your day started from the get-go as some killer local bands open up festivities. Like Patient Lounge, who are the first to grace the stage at The Tivoli. These guys are a pretty perfect choice to ease you into the day with catchy tunes that are enough heavy to get the pit moving. They are followed by the Byron Bay maniacs From Crisis To Collapse with their brand of extreme heavy metal. They are a band on the rise and gain new fans wherever they go, so if you’re ready to take it up a notch, then this is where you want to be. 

If you’ve kicked your day off at The Jubilee however, Hammers are the pick to open proceedings. The heavy rockers open up the Deck Bar stage and bring their bluesy, stoner rock to the punters who get there early. After Hammers, head upstairs to see another rising band in the Brisbane scene, the guys in Void Matter. They’ve not been around for very long, but to land a spot on a festival that is as prestigious as Dead of Winter certainly says something about their chops and if you’re a fan of Polaris or Parkway Drive, then you’re going to want to move it to the Drum Cartel stage to catch Void Matter put on their show. 

By now, you’ve been here for about an hour and you’ve caught your first two bands and you’re having a drink and a quick breather and figuring out the lay of the land. But there’s really no time to waste as there are a heap of rad bands who are continuing the party. If you’re into something a bit more chilled, then a trip back up to The Tivoli is the way to go, for Opus Of A Machine’s prog-rock stylings, or if you’re keen to continue keeping your energy up, then Tai Sui’s metal experimentation is the order of the day, at the Hysteria Stage in the beer garden of The Jubilee. Or maybe you’re checking out the psychedelic metal band Potion on the Deck Stage. Wherever you are, there’s no rest for the wicked during the early afternoon of Dead of Winter.

Things are really starting to heat up though, when at 2:45pm, Sydney-siders Wraith will take the stage at The Tivoli, where they will take no prisoners. They are polar opposites to their predecessors on this stage and with their crazy onstage antics, they are guaranteed to make you exhausted, just from watching them. Check ‘em out if you like live shows with raw, energetic passion. 

Then from here you have two options. Have a breather before Earth Caller hit The Tivoli stage, or take that high from the fury you’ve just witnessed with Wraith, and hurry back down to The Jubilee for Ame Noire and their blackened death metal. 

Now here is where things can start to get a bit dicey. You’re running into people you know, catching up and having a yarn, or you’re a bit unfit or a bit old (kidding) and running about like you did at Big Day Out in the 90s is starting to take its toll, and you realise you start to miss some sets. So this is where it helps to plan the rest of your day for the MUST see bands. When it starts to get really busy and the clashes start to mount up, or your legs are starting to shake at the thought of another trip up Costin Street. 

At the 4pm mark, hang at the Deck Bar at The Jubilee for Depravity, who are all the way over from Perth with their old school heavy thrash and death metal. But if you’re keen to continue with the more energetic crowds, then it’s back to The Tivoli to catch the end of Earth Caller, and have a quick breather before A Night In Texas hit the stage. They are then followed by Outright, who are another, extremely talented hardcore band, fronted by the enigmatic Jelena Goluza. 

If the brutality up at The Tivoli is a little too heavy for you, then head upstairs to the Drum Cartel stage to catch Piston Fist at 4:50pm. They are old-school heavy rockers and metalheads and if you’re keen on that classic sound, then you really should check out Piston Fist

After Piston Fist, it’s a quick trip back downstairs to what some dub the main stage of the Jubilee, the Deck Bar stage, for the fun-core kids from Singapore in Truth Be Known. It’s their first time to Australia. Plus, straight after in the beer garden are the re-born metallers Minus Life, who recently re-formed, and are ready to unleash a few new tunes and some brutal classics. They will pull out all the stops, and possibly their walking frames, before Sumeru take over on the deck stage with some doomy, sludgy, stoner riffs to provide the perfect calm before the storm that will be the last three bands on the Deck Bar stage. 

But before we can get to that, we have to rewind a little. We had Piston Fist clashing slightly with Outright, but if you made it back up to The Tivoli, then you would be rewarded with the heavy riffs coming from Gravemind. The Victorians drop their new album the week after Dead of Winter, so they are going to be wanting to party, and will probably slide a few new numbers into their set. Check them and their live show out if you like things energetic. 

And while Sumeru are laying it on thick with their sludge at The Jubilee, New Zealand’s Beastwars are going to take their high octane brand of metal and attempt to blow the roof off The Tivoli. If you haven’t heard of Beastwars yet, you should crawl out from under your rock and do yourself a favour and see them live. Their raw, emotionally charged show will be one of the best of the day. Guaranteed.

It’s about 7:30pm now, and you’re either in for the long haul, tapped out already, just arriving (really?) or pacing yourself. Whatever your choice may be, there are some fantastic bands to choose from as the night cools down.

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If you’ve continued to swivel between the Deck Bar and Beer Garden at The Jubilee, you’re in for a treat as the metal-horrorcore-dubstep-industrial fiends in Kaosis get everyone’s second wind pumping as they light up the Beer Garden before the utter maniacs in Lo! hit the main deck bar stage. A band that has to be seen to be believed, frontman Sam Dillon is a force to be reckoned with as he writhes and contorts his way around, bellowing vocals that have to be heard to be believed. They are another must-see on the day as their brand of sludgey, hardcore metal is pretty damn good too. 

You might have noticed that one genre of metal that has been overlooked in this guide has been our prog friends. One band you can not overlook however, are the legends from Perth, the mighty Voyager. If you’re planning to head back to The Tivoli for the rock headliners in Cog, then heading back up there early to catch Voyager at 8:30pm is a must-do, and you’ll be in the right place at the right time for the alien deathcore metal kings in Aversions Crown, who love their hometown crowd as much as they love them, so you can expect their set at The Tivoli to be suitably raucous.

But, if you’re planning on hanging at The Jubilee to see out your evening, you will be treated to some hard-hitting thrash and death metal from Adelaide stalwarts Truth Corroded. Their new album Bloodlands has been getting rave reviews and they are quite energetic for a band in their sixties.

It’s getting towards the pointy end of the night and kudos if you have made it this far! There are just two bands left that we need to attempt to sell you on in this guide. Horror-rock metallers in Darkcell, who have also dropped a new album this year and just returned from a tour in the UK. They are a lot of fun to watch live and if you’re a returning Dead of Winter punter, or a Brisbane local, then you should know these fun-loving ghouls very well. 

But, to finish us off for the evening, the heaviest of the heavies. Cog are great … but if they just aren’t heavy enough for you, then the self-professed sloom metal kings Disentomb should be. They will be dropping their new album The Decaying Light the day before Dead of Winter, so fans can expect to be pummeled with plenty of new tunes as well as their classics. Calling it now, this will be the most brutal pit of the festival, so if you like it hard and very heavy, then the Deck Bar stage is where you’re going to want to be.

Go forth and mosh little ones, grab some merch, support your locals and remember, be good to each other in the pit, and out, and don’t be a shit c*nt. Let’s wreck those necks!

Very limited Dead Of Winter tickets are still available here!

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