The heady and casual vibes of Wrangler Studios bandroom were hype inducing on top of the stacked line-up that we were about to see. I took advantage of the fact that this was an all ages gig to bring my daughter to this Sunday afternoon moshfest. Charlotte digs Thornhill and some of the milder The Gloom In The Corner tracks that she’s heard me play, so she came along with me to her first local gig.
The show kicked off with opener Vatic which I’m relatively unfamiliar with. It was a ripping start, nonetheless, which very swiftly landed into thick breakdowns and searing melodic threads. Vocalist Matt Payne oozed confidence and Vatic’s stage presence was strong. I later spoke to Matt outside the venue and was stunned to hear that this was their SECOND gig ever. They definitely didn’t carry themselves like newbies; working well as a unit with all elements interlinked.
Vocals from the bassist added a depth of striving to this combination of core-rattling heaviness and spellbinding spoken word. It was all very ‘way wow’ according to the notes I tapped into my phone while in the crowd, finding myself impressed with the full emotional expression, and the bass grooves. It was also a cool opportunity for Thornhill’s vocalist Jacob Charlton to join in with the band for his feature on “Elegy”. We saw drummer Dylan Houston launch into a slick build-up before blast-centric chaos ripped through us. It was a huge finish to an impressive set. Listen to Vatic!
Before The Gloom In The Corner even started, tensions were high, with crowd members ready to mosh. I probably should have heeded that as a warning that my kid was about to get crushed when the set kicked off. Positioned a bit more safely, I could soak up Gloom’s hectic sharing the beloved Homecoming in its entirety. The Melbourne band’s thickness of sound (and stage real estate) was fuller than ever, courtesy of the addition of bassist Paul Musolino.
Though there was a metallic hum throughout the set that kind of grated on me, and vocalist Mikey Arthur’s microphone had a bit of a moment, none of this mattered at all due to the blessing on this day that was “War”. A firm favourite of mine (understatement), it was a pleasure to hear this PTSD-inspired track from Homecoming in a live setting! Expressed slightly more experimentally than the recorded version (firmly imprinted upon my brain), “War” is a stunning showcase of the full experience of The Gloom In The Corner; progressively unravelling storytelling bolstered by wistful melodics or fiery aggression.
In between “War” and “Thirteen Six (Paramour)”, we got to hear upcoming track “Villain”. The new track continues the conceptual band’s story, and has an official release date just around the corner. Fiercely all-in through their high energy set with an all-in and high energy crowd too, The Gloom In The Corner ended on a high with the short, sweet, fat, and angry “Witch Hunt”.[At this point, my ten year old’s impression was “There’s a lot of swears”. 😅]
Diamond Construct were another band I hadn’t spent too much time with yet, even though the band have been around since 2014. Their set on Sunday served as a definite wake up call to how much of a fool I’d been for sleeping on them. Though I was tucked up the back of the bandroom on a couch with my daughter at this point, I felt fully immersed in what the Sydney band were bringing with solidarity, strength, and intensity.
The drumming was one of the stand out features during the set. I swear those blast beats shook the entire room at one point. Though Diamond Construct easily brought massiveness of sound, they were equally capable in more subdued and intimate moments, unveiling dreamy melodic soundscapes in amongst a landscape of punchy hyped up breakdowns. I loved the guitar complexity behind a dreamy/ethereal vocal expedition. I also appreciated the vocal skill of Kynan Groundwater across that whole dynamic, as well as his ease in working the crowd and energising the room. There’s new music on the way from this band and we are already keen for that!
I last caught Thornhill at Corner Hotel for the Make Them Suffer show with Silent Planet. The cosy intimacy of Wrangler Studios was a very cool opportunity for the punters that were present; already up front and scoping out the best position from which to help Jacob Charlton out via mic grabs. Set opener “Limbo” made for an instantly massive start, and though everyone says it the high vibes really did continue from start to finish. Time went by in a flash.
Rolling on into “Parasite”, it was impossible not to move along with what the Melbourne quintet were creating. A lot of my time absorbing this set was spent dancing, and other mates at the show came out drenched in sweat from getting stuck into the mosh. With some extra growls seeming to be thrown in, Jacob’s vocals were sounding great. As were the whole of the band, and I felt immersed within their huge, polished sound.
A stand-out song for me of the set was “Lavender”; an intense runaway train of a song that Thornhill had to furiously try and keep up with, with merely the bridge as a sweet catch-up point before ripping into it again. I am not entirely sure how Ethan McCann combines this kind of guitar complexity with backing vocals. Matt from Vatic jumped in on the vocal feature at the end of the track, giving Jacob an excuse to join the crowd.
As the set went on, we got to hear the thunderous drums and searching vocals of “Temperer”, the tumbling and hectic pace of “Sunflower” (has it always been this fast?), leading to the manic peak of “Reptile” as the set’s wild conclusion. Thornhill know how to put on a show and get better every time I see them.
Charlotte’s review: “Thornhill were really great live, and [Wrangler’s resident dog] Oslow was so cute.”
All photos courtesy of Ethan ‘Lightbender’ Zahorodnyj.