So Make Them Suffer is one of my top three favourite bands in the world (the other two spots being occupied by The Chariot and Biffy Clyro). Their headlining tour had reached its final night in my own hometown and I was beyond excited.
First up were locals Glorified. Unfortunately, because I’m a complete goober and read the times on the ticket wrong, I arrived as they finished their last song. I literally walked in and heard them say “Thank you all so much.” Awkward turtle, indeed. Judging from the rousing reception they received, they must have played well.
Aaaaaaaaaaaanyway, next up were locals Graves. They played an intriguing blend of southern rock and straight-up hardcore, and by intriguing I mean a direct ripoff of The Acacia Strain. Still, it could’ve been worse, and they played with energy, conviction and they got a deserved reception from the black-shirted masses.
After Graves were fellow Sydney-siders Elegist. These guys have been getting supports left, right and centre for a while now, and they’ve improved out of sight since I first saw them at a scout hall in mid-2012. Their frontman stalked the stage like a ghoul, his guttural roars almost too heavy for the metallic hardcore they were playing. Still, they killed it and the punters on the floor saw the first decent pit action of the day.
After Elegist headed off, the main draws started coming out. First of the big three tonight were Brisbane’s Aversions Crown. Arguably the heaviest band in Australia right now (‘arguably’ because I’m pretty sure both Thy Art Is Murder and tonight’s headliners would probably have some very strong words to the contrary), they didn’t start slowly. Rather, they kicked proceedings off with blast beats and some of the best harsh vocals of any band in the world. The pit exploded in a sea of ninja-wannabes and the floor literally shook as houso kids raised on a diet of McDonald’s and devon sandwiches threw down with reckless abandon.
Straight after Aversions Crown were Northern Sydney-based Stories. Think Northlane‘s spacier (and frankly, better) moments, then make entire songs based around those with lyrical concepts exploring seers, life after death and other existential questions and you’ve pretty much hit the nail on the head. People went ape shit, yelling along to every word, and their diminutive frontman was clearly taken aback by the response they received. The simple fact is that they could have easily filled this room by themselves, and I expect to see s shit tonne more of them very soon, especially considering they’re managed by Northlane guitarist Josh Smith (thanks, Google!).
Finally, the time had come for the headliners, Make Them Suffer. It was my third time seeing them, and both times previous, they had their set cut substantially for one reason or another, so I was excited to see them play a full 45 minutes. Of course, with my luck, they did no such thing. Every other band had gone over time so much that they started when they were supposed to end, and had to cut their set down to 30 minutes. Still, when they open with “Weeping Wastelands”, you just sit down and bang your head, son.
Playing a set that comprised songs exclusively off their debut Neverbloom album (“Weeping Wastelands” did also admittedly feature on the Lord of Woe EP, but who cares?), they absolutely killed it. Sean Harmanis has one of the best voices in the business, while guitarist Nick McLernon overcame some early technical issues to throw down like the maniac that he is.
Flawlessly tight, they were the picture of perfection in a room known for poor sound quality. They played with the dominant confidence of a headliner and completely justified their position on the bill. Finishing off with their opus, “Widower”, they were forced to forgo an encore due to restrictive noise legislation (which seems weird, considering the venue is next to a train line, but whatever) and I was left to rue what might have been. One day, I’ll see them play a full set. Unfortunately, it was not today.
Make Them Suffer Setlist