生 Conform 死 ‘Circa 94’ Mini Tour @ Wrangler Studios, Melbourne

To celebrate the release of their Circa 94 album, 生 Conform 死 kicked off a ‘mini tour’, with dates in Perth and Melbourne featuring The Gloom In The Corner, Worlds Apart, Bitter Taste, The Colour Clear, and I, Valliance. After thoroughly appreciating “Blood Eagle” and Circa 94, I was keen to see the Perth band in action, as well as the other impressive bands on the bill.

The night at Wrangler Studios was opened by melodic metalcore band The Colour Clear.  I got into the raw vocals and the Melbourne five piece’s songs carried some palpably decent emotional weight. The dual vocals worked great and the band felt united. I could see Ambleside fans being into this band.

It was only around halfway through The Colour Clear’s set when I remembered that this was the band’s debut show. I remembered because frontman Lachie Cairns seemed to have some moments of what seemed like insecurity. You can’t really hide when you’re a frontman and it’d be full on, so I felt for the guy. There were also some mid-set conversations (possibly also as part of the newness and insecurity) which were a little distracting. Lachie and The Colour Clear as a whole needn’t have worried at all because they pulled off a great set and everyone around me was enjoying it. I was left wanting to hear more, but with the band so new, we have to wait until they release some music! “Cure” is coming out soon!

Keep an eye on these guys: https://www.facebook.com/thecolourclearaus/

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Perth based 生 Conform 死 played next. I’m all over this band’s sound that ticks boxes of being interesting, creative, as well as goes hard. My affectionate appreciation for old school nu metal as well as current hardcore and a bit of danceable stuff combine in this band’s music. The band have a stellar grab bag of songs from which to choose from for their set, with the freshly released Circa 94 and 2016 released EP Vol I: Cigarette Lullaby. “Arsonist” was the chosen one, opening the set in suitably blistering fashion, before dropping right into the first Circa 94 single “Blood Eagle”. While the audience were definitely into it, a fuller crowd would have had this experience hit even greater peaks.  生 Conform 死 threw their own physical energy into the experience, with vocalist Troy Van Der Meer and bassist Vincent Robinson stalking the pit.

The band gave off a hectic and strong vibe, feeling impressively united as they ripped out “Narrow”, with The Gloom In The Corner’s vocalist Mikey Arthur conveniently on hand to do his vocal feature (and get a pit going). There was nothing lost in the live renditions of the more rap/hip hop centred parts of 生 Conform 死’s music, as well as the hugely heavy tracks, like the very beefy and delicious (and also vegan) “Deicide”.

As the set came to a close, 生 Conform 死 shared with us that Circa 94 is the result of five years of work. It was clear by watching their set just how much passion and energy is behind this band and how all-in they go; by committing to being in Melbourne from Perth, as well as what they gave to their set. “Six Years, Sick Fears” was an incredible last track, and very fun to watch.

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Introduced to The Gloom In The Corner by their mind-blowing track “War” last year, I’d somehow never managed to catch the Melbourne band live. Immersed within an ongoing and unfolding story of characters, and concepts of deception, death, brotherhood, and searching, The Gloom In The Corner’s concept-based nu metal(core) is something unique that I dig for similar reasons as I dig 生 Conform 死’s music. The guys brought hectic energy straight up, and for most of the set I wasn’t sure what to focus on in amongst the vocal acrobatics being performed by Mikey Arthur and the unreal riffage and rapidfire intensity going on in tracks like “Rodent” (from their Homecoming EP). It was all happening so fast, and I was loving it.

As a band on stage, The Gloom In The Corner had this solid assertion about them, like an unspoken and rock solid confidence about their music. There were no question marks of insecurity as the band were confidently and powerfully doing their thing, feeling even more solidly grounded as they shared songs from Fear Me. They’re a perfect show-mate to 生 Conform 死, delivering bouncy moments rapped in fire, as well as darker intensity.

Impressive from the relentless drumming through to insane vocal fronting and intricate guitar focus, this was an amazing set. I found myself frequently speechless watching frontman Mikey Arthur go through this set, ripping out supersonic rap streams of syllables one moment and death growls the next, and then casually performing dance moves on stage. The guy is a powerhouse fronting an already powerful machine and an honest-to-god vocal madman. If this all wasn’t good enough, the cherry on top was having 生 Conform 死’s vocalist join in on “Witch Hunt”. It was all very wow.

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And then She Cries Wolf came out and added additional hype to the already simmering hype. In a nutshell, the Gold Coast band are fucking mental (affectionately). If you look up the word “intensity” in a dictionary, I expect you’ll find a photo of She Cries Wolf’s guitarist Daniel Belic: Wild, theatrical, and all-in with these songs, I couldn’t look away. Whether chemically induced or just pure unbridled passion for the music, this was full-on and spell-binding!

It was intensity to the max from all on the stage though, with She Cries Wolf’s wild-eyed, blast beat, frantic riffed presence. As I took notes of this set, my feeling was that you really had to be there to witness this expression that seemed impossible to maintain, and yet they managed to. Frantic pace, ridiculous endurance and fiery determination were behind the strength in getting She Cries Wolf’s messages across, and I swear I could feel the drum beat vibrations in my face. I mean, just listen to “Cultist” and feel the fuel firing this thing. As well as being open and honest between songs about mental health struggles, the band impressively carry their fire into the live setting.

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Never seeing any of these bands before, I went into the show fairly blindly as to what to expect. By the time I left Wrangler Studios, I felt fully inspired by the way in which these creative people showed those present how it looks when you’re fully invested in something. I could have spent all night watching those She Cries Wolf theatrics, The Gloom In The Corner’s rapid gear-switching vocals, and 生 Conform 死’s bassist Vincent Robinson up in everyone’s faces, with an accompanying never-dull soundtrack.  I left wanting to take some of that energy of full commitment and pour it into my own creativity; where any kind of fear or shame is left aside and the creative expression can just flood through you into something really fucking great. Passionate dives are a rare and important thing that we’re privileged to bear witness to if they come our way. Kudos to those who do it.

[All photos courtesy of Aidan Bedford]

Kel Burch

Creator and caretaker of Depth Mag, Kel uses her superpowers of empathy, word-weaving, and feeling everything deeply, to immerse herself in music before returning to reality to write about her experience with it.

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