Free Gig with Mind Assault & Friends Review

I first heard about the planning of this show well in advance, courtesy of a multitude of whispers and an aggressive form of advertising. This show was essentially a 21st birthday party for Sharné Allies, and who’d refuse with the likes of Mind Assault and Suiderbees being finalised on the bill. This show bared a magnificent premise; free entrance and the chance to witness local metal acts steeped in infamy.

The Thunder Gods
The Thunder Gods were the first band to ascend upon the stage; soon to be dripping with alcohol and an array of bodily fluids. Their name is quite blatantly an allusion to Amon Amarth (The Thunder Gods being an Amon Amarth cover band,) and I was instantly assured with the initial barrage of sound that they’d be fastidious with their many odes to arguably the most reputable Nordic metal band. While I’m certainly no Amon Amarth fanboy, from what I could infer they are certainly credible owing to their passionate, inspiring and tight performance, notions which could potentially lead me to rediscover the material they so gleefully play. Irrespective of my apparent lack of regard for Amon Amarth, I do have a keen understanding of the tone exhibited on recent albums and The Thunder Gods‘ sound was reminiscent of that. It’s an immense and viscous, sinus-throbbing mid-range sound with mid to low range vocals, not quite death growls but very close. Every member contributed to the band’s stage performance which certainly complemented the already impressive aural experience which can be easily noted in the behaviour of the crowd they’d amassed; heaving, sweat-ridden bodies in collective recitation of the lyrics of their immediate “Gods” with an almost ritualised sensibility.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed The Thunder Gods and I hope to see them play again. What was also surprising was that the turnout was far larger than I had expected, and ROAR was stacked to the rafters with metal devotees by the time The Thunder Gods were ready. This was probably due to the sharp advertising and the intensive hype of Sharné’s birthday. This was a refreshing change from the recent dull attendance at ROAR gigs.

Next up came the crowd pleaser and ultimately the star of the show, Mind Assault. They never fail to impress, with ripping melodic riffs and epic old-school breakdowns and they can’t fail with the years of accumulated experience and their collectively palpable, inimitable metal persona. Although, I’m not the biggest fan of melodic metal, Mind Assault have, upon every performance, succeeded in winning me over once more. They’re just one of those great bands who keep a consistently high level of quality about their music and performances. They played an array of vicious new songs, all of which were frenetic and fast, inclusive of many awesome solos from their lead guitarist. It’s ironic, however, as I have a very linear scope of understanding with regards to the Afrikaans language, yet they still manage to thrill and captivate me with the immeasurably intense, aurally destructive and miasmic atmosphere they effortlessly deliver onstage.

The final group to appear was none other than Suiderbees. A symphonic death outfit, which is showing lots of growth in the scene. I’ve only seen them once or twice before but this time they seemed tighter than their previous performances. I’ve unfortunately missed many of their previous shows and their talents were obvious at this gig. They have a truly epic feel to their music; every now and then, reminding me of early Abigail Williams, but of course Suiderbees features much more deliciously low death growls. The keyboardist adds to their “epicness” and they occasionally pull out some very black metal pieces which is whole-heartedly welcomed, having some wondrously evil riffs sprinkled with melody here and there, it was quite enjoyable. Technically, they’re up there with the best of them, drilling out some great technical-death riffs as well. The vocalist was decent but needs more energy on stage. Despite their minuscule shortcomings, Suiderbees is still a force to be reckoned with and are definitely a band I’d watch again.

I’d also like to mention that whoever worked on the sound engineering that night did a great job, the sound wasn’t washed out and too loud like it usually is at ROAR; I didn’t even have to use my ear plugs. Overall, the night was pretty damn awesome and I hope more shows at ROAR are this well received by all the metalheads out there.

Beware the Bees