Live Review + Photos: The Thrash, Blast and Grind Festival @ Manning Bar 11/02/2017

On a ridiculously hot day, only those determined to see some awesome bands would dare to venture outdoors. This day was no exception, with record heat scorching Sydney, many true fans descended upon the Manning Bar for Thrash Blast & Grind Fest featuring the likes of legends Psycroptic, King Parrot and Revocation as a triple headliner. I was excited to be seeing Psycroptic for the first time ina long while, and had heard good things about Revocation so I made the trip into the city to sweat my ass off and enjoy some good tunes.

Sydney locals Daemon Pyre opened the night with their blend of melodic death metal as punters slowly crawled in from the pit of hell that was the Sydney heat. Daemon Pyre carried their set with true finesse and a great stage presence to a small entourage of keen headbangers at the barrier. I’ve been seeing these guys on more shows lately, if you have the chance go check them out. Newer Sydney band Black Rheno followed, and as a three-piece with just a guitarist, vocalist, and drummer, the sound was very solid! The guitarist playing through a bass amp as well as a guitar amp at the same time, which helped add that lower end that is usually missing when I’ve seen other bands without a bassist on stage. These guys were full of energy, and towards the second half of their set the vocalist seemed to spend more time in the audience riling up punters than on stage. There were some aspects of the vocals that I wasn’t so keen on, but for a newer band these guys were solid.

Melbournians Whoretopsy were up next, playing nine of their brutal death/grind songs from all over their discography. They Opened with the blast beat fest that is “Natures Pocket” to get the crowd going. “He Wouldn’t Hurt a Fly” was a highlight of their set, with some awesome diminished chords mixed in with the faster tremolo riffing. Despite the fact that I’m not a huge fan of bands that utilise the typical breakdown in just about every song, these guys were enjoyable to watch.

Boston tech-death band Revocation were up next. I hadn’t listened to them before, and though I had heard good things about these guys I was not sure what to expect. Going in with that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised by this band. They opened with “Arbiters of the Apocalypse” from their latest album Great is Our Sin, which is probably the perfect introduction to the band. It’s solid metal, with a mixture of old school Metallica style vocals among the more modern death metal style, and some very clean melodic solos which, up until now, I was starting to think were a lost art. Next up they played “Bound By Desire” from their 2012 EP Teratogenesis, which is a much faster song than the opener, opening straight up with blast beats and double kick galore. Continuing with “Only the Spineless Survive” and “Communion” from their 2016 release Great is our Sin and ending with “Scorched Earth Policy”, “Madness Opus” and “Witch Trials” from their 2014 full-length Deathless. These guys were absolutely flawless live, and definitely worth checking out in another city on this tour if you have the chance. I’m looking forward to their return to Australia.

Back in Australia, fresh from their relaxing cruise upon 70,000 Tons of Metal, Tasmanian legends Psycroptic hit the stage next. There’s probably not a lot I can say about these guys that hasn’t been said before. They played ridiculously solidly as they always seem to do, and played a decent set of songs from all through their career including a surprise performance of “Lacertine Forest” from their Scepter of the Ancients album. Personal highlights for me were “Carriers of the Plague” from the album The Inherited Repression and “(Ob)servant”, from the album of the same title. Joe Haleys guitar playing was impeccable as always, and seeing his custom Ormsby in action is always a sight worth seeing. The continued the night with performances of “Echoes to Come”, and “Cold” off of their self titled album. Seeing Psycroptic perform is always a treat, those riffs are second to none and just watching them play is incredible. Special credit to Dave Haley for being able to keep up with Joe.

King Parrot closed off the night, and if I wasn’t shooting with a weather resistant camera I would have been in a lot of trouble as entire bottles of water were being emptied onto the crowd from the start of the set til the end. Thankfully, unlike the first time I saw them, this water didn’t have ice in it. Instantly the stage was trashed as they opened their set with a mad fury. They played a bunch of songs from across their discography including “Psychotherapy and Valium” from EP The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash, “Home Is Where The Gutter Is” and “Dead Set” from the album Dead Set, as well as “Shit on a Liver” and “Silly Ol’ Mate” from the Bite Your Head Off album. The crowd went wild with their antics with crowd surfing getting on stage and being yelled at to jump into the crowd by the band. As much as their music doesn’t quite appeal to me, they are very entertaining to watch and I recommend checking them out at some point if they’re near you.