||TERROR AUSTRALIS: SOUNDWAVE/SIDEWAVE SPECIAL
Mastodon, Baroness, Gojira, The Roundhouse, Sydney
By Matt Foster
Three of metal's greatest acts came together for a massive night.
The Roundhouse was already considerably full by the time Gojira took to the stage. Their set for tonight was scheduled for a regrettably short 30 minutes, but in that time the band packed in more star crushing gravity than a black hole and re-affirmed why they're one of the greatest metal acts of the 21st Century.
They wasted no time getting the crowd moving by opening with Explosia off their latest effort L'enfant Sauvage and moving straight into the all-time earth shaker Flying Whales. There is a surprising level of dynamics involved in Gojira's music that one might not fully appreciate by simply taking a cursory glance at their music. They can go from crushingly heavy, to massive bounce to hypnotically serene all within the space of one song. Their set was jam packed with classics like Backbone and The Heaviest Matter of the Universe, but all too short. Before we knew it, their closing song Toxic Garbage Island was over and the band was done.
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Next up, Baroness managed to bring some great songs and warm fuzzy feelings to the proceedings. The release of Yellow and Green has done wonders for the band's image, where before they were viewed as another progressively tinged stoner metal band, the new material is imbued with loads of sugary pop sensibility. This is a recipe for smiles and good times, and given the crowd's reaction this night I'd say they agree with me. Starting off with the mellow Green Theme before launching into the one-two punch of Take My Bones Away and March to the Sea, the band had the crowd turn into a writhing mass, jumping up and down and shouting the lyrics at the top of their lungs.
It was great to see John Baizley back on stage again after his accident last year; he looked as though he was having the time of his life on stage and evern jokingly apologised for not coming back sooner, as he was "feeling a bit under the weather". Most of the set tonight was culled from the aforementioned Yellow and Green records with one or two choice cuts from Red and Blue and was a near perfect set list. The crowd absoluetly lapped it up and more than one was left with a stupidly satisfied grin on their face by the time the band's set had finished.
Finally, Mastodon took to the stage. It is the opinion of this writer that Mastodon has never quite been the same live band since they released Crack the Skye. Their harder edge had been dulled in favour of a more progressive reach and they haven't really been able to pull off the older material vocally if not musically since. However, tonight's set was definitely about as good as a post-Skye Mastodon set could go. They got things off to a great start with opening trio Black Tongue, Divinations and Crystal Skull and really managed to get the crowd on side. Bassist/beardy-man Troy Sanders gave a spirited performance, if there's one thing that's improved about Mastodon's performances; it's his presence as a frontman.
We were treated to an extended set to what was played at Soundwave, a good portion of which came from The Hunter. It's understandable that as the band's most recent work they'd want to represent it in a live setting, but after three years some of the lesser songs from that album have worn out their welcome. However, we were also treated to some nice surprises such as the inclusion of Oblivion, Iron Tusk and the criminally underplayed March of the Fire Ants. They closed the evening with the almighty Blood and Thunder and we were left to digest the fact that we had just witnessed three of heavy music's titans in action.
More Terror Australis right here.