w/ Dawn Heist, Recoil and Buried In Verona
Ever since their 1998 self titled, debut album release, Swedish thrash/metalcore quintet The Haunted, has drawn greater admiration from their Australian fans. Touring in support of their hugely anticipated and already chart-topping album Unseen, the band’s appearance at the relatively intimate Manning Bar drew an evidently zealous and fervent crowd.
But despite the unmitigated enthusiasm, it was a poor start to the show – with support band Dawn Heist opening with music that I found to be little more than monotonous metalcore regurgitation. Despite opening with a suspenseful electronic track, my interest was short lived, dying at the first strum of the guitar. Following the trends of their many metalcore predecessors, Dawn Heist were more banausic than inspiring. Each song merged mundanely into the next and showed no real difference from its counterparts.
Despite proving they were significantly more diverse than their counterparts, second support act, Recoil often fell into the same trap – overdone monotonous riffs and most horrid vocal performances. Breaking from convention on a few occasions, through use of instrumental pieces and fast guitar solos, their performance was commendable but unoriginal. Despite some technical flamboyance that echoed a tech-death feel similar to Necrophagist and a progressive heaviness of Metallica, there was no song that proved to be greatly unique.
And then there was Buried in Verona – the last support act of the night. This is a band that deserves nothing more than a brutal and unforgiving death by review. Even the visual image of the band was hugely offensive to the dedicated heavy metal aficionados that have admired this style of music for years. Revealing singlets, tight shorts, thongs, trendy baseball caps and oversized sunglasses were distastefully glorified. It was a profound attack on the senses and one I could only withstand for two songs. Poisoned with chug-chug riffs, and vocals that are so unbearably prosaic the support acts proved to be most disappointing.
Hidden behind dark, thick curtains that allowed only a glimmer of light to protrude underneath, The Haunted were waiting. Slightly shaken by the earlier performances of the night, I was concerned that the band would follow the same path of homogeneity – but I was wonderfully mistaken.
Opening with an electronic soundtrack, the band stood motionless on the stage, their bodies silhouetted by the glowing blue light in the background. But the tranquility ended as quickly as it began as the band powered into ‘Never Better’ from their latest release. It was an explosive entrance reciprocated by their fanatical audience in the mosh-pit. Taking no time to rest, the band powered through three songs with an energy that was as visually entertaining as it was musically.
Finally stopping to address the audience, vocalist Peter Dolving stood under the red light, the brightness bouncing off two striking tattoos on his arms. After introducing the band, he joked with the audience, making fun of their sometimes inaudible and slurred speech after a few too many beers. Continuing with the performance, the band then produced one of the best performances of the night with the fast and progressive ‘Trespass’.
With an echoing effect behind his vocals, Dolving’s guttural growl bounced off the walls, producing a strongly vivid sense of power, but while their fusion of styles such as thrash, melodic death, progressive and metalcore was uniquely interesting, The Haunted often fell into mind-numbing repetition – a horrid reminder of the bands before them.
An impressive guitar solo was followed by a predictable riff, while the vocals were also a little hit-and-miss at times. Yet, despite going through varying stages of interest, something always recaptured my attention, particularly during ‘Motionless’, ‘In Vein’ and ‘Hate Song’, where catchy riffs transcended into melodic bursts reminiscent of their Swedish counterparts Dark Tranquility.
As their set drew to a close, the band thanked the audience and abruptly left the stage. Wasting no time with predictable encore-reappearances, The Haunted quickly returned to provide a deliciously heavy finale to their show, with the hugely popular ‘No Compromise’ and ‘The Guilt Trip’. Ending with deafening roars from the audience the band graciously saluted the crowd with the traditional devil-horn gesture and descended off stage – a perfect end to what was originally a disappointing start to the night.
- Never Better
- The Drowning
- Catch 22
- In Vein
- The Premonition @ Tape
- The Flood
- The Medication
- Moronic Colossus
- No Ghost
- Hate Song
- The Fallout
- Dark Intentions
- Bury Your Dead
- No Compromise
- The Guilt Trip