Through Chaos Comes Revolution

Canberra has not seen such tantalising metal delights since the days of Metal For The Brain


Not since the days of Metal for the Brain has Canberra been able to feast on such succulent metal delights, yet out of its ashes has sparked a new era for the Canberra metal scene. On March 3 hundreds shed the commercial coil, don the combat boots and march into the newly established Green Room to bear witness to Australia’s Capital Metalfest….


Chaos Festival punters will see an array of genres performing at the event to ensure the Australian metal fans' tastes are covered from day to night. Canberrans and affiliate metal heads from all states and provinces will have their senses in overdrive with the following acts:

Metal Obsession Stage                                  Barbwire Noose Stage

Sybreed                                                           Alarum

Aeon of Horus                                                 Alpine Fault

Ignite The Ibex                                                Ouroborus

Elysian                                                            Art In Exile  

Anno Domini                                                    A Million Dead Birds Laughing

Mytile Vey Lorth                                              The Automata

Lynchmada                                                      House of Thumbs

Alice Through The Windshield Glass              Norse

The Schoenberg Automaton                            Malignus

                                                       Tranquil Deception

Eternal Rest  
                                                   Ameliah Brown


Promter Assidian Managing Director Ben Fogerty (Fogz) wanted to build on a name that would reverberate through the capital for generations to come “The idea came about whilst in attendance at the last Metal For The Brain in 2006; an historic heavy metal event held right here in Canberra each year, and Knowing it was to be an end of a twenty year era of the metal festival in Canberra. I particularly saw that Chaos would give opportunity to the local bands of Canberra to play with some of the biggest names in the game and get some decent exposure, and I’m talking really talented extreme metal acts that had no other support, including at the time no online support or strong networking outlets”.

Chaos A.C.T. has now been in the public eye for five years and with each event Assidian continuously aims to exceed its predecessor. The purpose of the fest hasn’t changed appreciably over the years yet only gotten stronger; that purpose is to give its line-ups the highest exposure and opportunity Assidian can possibly throw at them “We feel that the 2012 showcase is the first legitimate milestone of the events five year history. With 22 bands over two stages, a high calibre international headliner, with monumental opportunity for band merchandising and in addition advertising and marketing opportunities for the event sponsors, the event is anticipated to see a large number of fans travelling down from a good number of Australian states for a full day event with minimal restrictions on patrons”.

On March 3rd the conservative Woden Trades Club will not only be plastered in profuse amounts of metal bunting, but bear witness to an army of passionate and animated metal militias marching through its doors to bask in the ambience of a fortress of metallic savour. “We’ve personally catered to a lot more communities and entities to ensure they feel a part of this event and with the return of the ‘Green Room’ our host will create the perfect nostalgic atmosphere for CHAOS A.C.T. VI”.

Chaos Festival has an extensive and diverse lineup in store for punters this year. Myself and many other journalists will be in attendance, not as representatives but as fans of Australian Heavy Metal and to pledge our support for this significant project. Before this battle begins Metal As Fuck took the opportunity to chat with several of the bands on this year’s bill to uncover what they are about, what punters can expect this time around, and their opinions on Australia’s Capital Metalfest.

Taking the main stage to begin this twelve hour stint of madness is Canberra based colossus, Punishment. Punishment is a bi-product of pain, a war inspired onslaught brought to life on stage. Punishment’s objective is to engage in and create sharp, technical heavy metal with a groove.  Led by pioneering quads and synchronized by aggressive guitars, hostile bass lines and forceful vocals, the music is honest, extreme and driven by judgement, and the band guarantee the crowds will be headbanging to the march of the drum come Chaos... “We had the opportunity to be a part of the Chaos Festival in previous years and the response was great, it’s good to see Canberrans coming out to support their local scene and getting amongst it”. explains vocalist/bassist JDK. Punishment is currently in the pre-production stages of their fourth release ‘No One Is Innocent’. “The album is aggressive, polished and more technical than ever; the music is a blatant statement that we are all tools of war, no matter how self-righteously we think we are against it.". He goes on: “Punishment represents the horrors of war. In war there is no good, no evil, we are all involved and we portray the brutality of this…. no one is innocent.

"The music and ideals are composed for us and us only, so we make it a point to write beyond our capabilities, both physically and mentally we challenge ourselves, so we’ve adapted to the pain of playing Punishment” states founding member and drummer Daemon Fiere. “We are looking forward to offering the music of Punishment to the crowds of Chaos come March 3”. 

Further to add to the capitals favourites are Southern Highlanders Norse. Lead by Treelo Herrington and Robin ‘Frog’ Stone [The Amenta] who have also gone underground preparing for a new release, the outfit strives to deliver overwhelming atmospheres and intense speed when they hit the Barbwire Noose stage at Chaos “Contemporary audiences are often swayed by the ongoing musical trends and fashions of the latest talents in the popular music world; the same can be said about the extreme metal realm. Norse applies to the people who crave something with more aggression, audiences who aren’t afraid to listen to music or lyrics that might alter their comfort”. Frog continues by confirming the opinions of many when describing Norse “For us, Norse is an expression and a release of our collective energies. Without this creative focus in our lives, the mundane repetition of day to day would be a lot harder to bear. That being said, Norse is not in any way a relaxing break from life, or a means of escape. It demands hard work, commitment and the highest standards”. There will be no hesitation from the crowds, to release an abundance of energy during the Norse set as the melodic monster has implemented an alluring assortment of techniques to keep the listener guessing with an intriguing element called ‘human-delay’.

Frog elaborates on how Norse collate ideas for this ambitious monster: “When Treelo and I write for Norse, our goal is to push beyond our comfort zones and really tear every section apart to find the weak points, then build it back up to create something unique. We are highly critical of our own work and make it a point not to get stuck using a lot of metal clichés. Most of the guitar is written by Treelo, while I take those parts and arrange the songs, so it’s a great 50/50 split with the creative process”.

Swiss Industrial Groove Masters Sybreed will proffer to the salivating crowds of Chaos some the most vicious grooves, furious metallic blasts, riff shivery and ice-cold melodies created. Formed in 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland by guitarist Thomas ‘Drop’ Betrisey and vocalist Benjamin Nominet’, Sybreed was created to reflect their mutual tastes for metal and industrial music, with conceptual contents revolving around social misery, everyday alienation and more generally, the decay of the modern way of life. Currently in the studio nearing completion of their third album Ben and Drop donated some time to Metal As Fuck to chat about their 2012 release of God Is An Automaton and their upcoming Australian tour. But not before holding much serious discussions on getting the most out of your alcohol whilst at high altitudes…..

Sides busting with laughter we attempt to refrain from booze news. Ok no more planes, let’s begin. There have been a number of descriptions for the music of Sybreed, such as being filed as death metal, black metal, grindcore, new wave, cyber metal – the list goes on. However Sybreed have forged their own title of death wave,  and explain this concept to us thusly: “In all honesty it started as a joke [laughs]. Drop and I were jamming and realised we needed something sharp, something dark to describe our music. We had battles with this. Our music is futuristic, industrialized and mechanical; it was an original wave as such, one of us blurted out dark wave and although we laughed, it actually made sense. We have been compared to many industrial giants in the past and it was important for us to have our own sound, we gathered our influences and directed it all to what we thought it should be”. Yes, comparisons - Journalist's indolent way of describing a band. Such statements can create expectations; not to mention the difficulty in endeavoring in a genre that is outside the stereotypical European ideal, does this put pressure on the band when writing? “In the early stages we felt a little pressure, however our influences were showing in the music, we love Fear Factory for instance but we never wanted to be Fear Factory. It’s hard, as Europe isn’t saturated with Industrial music as it is say black metal or death metal, so we feel as if we are breaking from a stereotype in a way. Wow, we are so glad you view the same position.”

As you boys are about to head out on tour again, the assortment of lineup changes throughout the bands history – what sort of negative or positive effect has this had on the band? “Sybreed will permanently comprise of Drop and myself, that is certain, there are always new feelings about new members, the fans can always hear the differences between one member and the next, it’s this crazy little gift they have. Prior to our current lineup we really needed the right fit, the members of Sybreed all have with them great talent and passion for industrial music themselves plus having the additional bonus of sharing the same ideologies. We have an impressive lineup to show Australia”.

With regard to The Pulse of Awakening – 2009’s release for Sybreed and reflecting on all material thus far, what is expected from the new LP release of God Is An Automaton? “The new release consists of the darker elements we wrote for ‘Pulse’ we wanted to dig deeper into this configuration of the music and the aspect of the melodies, the songs are balanced, shorter and more experimental in the new release.”

Where do you feel the music has progressed since Sybreed’s unveiling? “Wow where do we start, the music just explodes onto you now, in the beginning it wasn’t as solid, the music always depended on the mood ‘what do I feel like writing today’ [laughs] it was always a collaborative effort between at least three of us at a time, we no longer need that inspiration of other musical acts, we use our own ideas and feed them into the music of Sybreed”.

Preparing for my interview with the boys I had previously read that the members were looking forward to crossing the Australian deserts ‘Mad Max Style’ I advised them of the pros and cons of this mission, the only pro being, crossing in the Interceptor and the cons, everything and anything else. So, the bands first headlining Australian tour with poll position at this year’s Chaos Festival. What are the expectations? “We were planning for the tour for a long time, you know when would be the right time to take the band so very far away to Australia, and in 2011 it was confirmed. We were amazed by how quickly it all came together, everything was organised in 12 months. It was great. We are looking forward to visiting Australia and seeing for ourselves why it has been described as being home to some of the hardest metal heads in the world, we are excited and don’t know what to expect, a good tour is made up by the people you meet so please come have a beer with us at Chaos we won’t know anybody!” Ben finished his comment by exclaiming how badly he wanted an Interceptor...

If a Swiss headliner isn’t enough to tempt you into Chaos, than take another look at the events highly calculated lineup. Fresh off touring with Cavalera Conspiracy, Queensland mammoth Lynchmada grace the stage of Chaos (wahaaaayyyy! - 'Mada-loving Ed.). “It was amazing, to travel the country with the Cavalera brothers was a dream come true for all of us. The crowds were very responsive and I think we really made sure to step it up a notch as a live band. I think these kinds of shows really bring out the best in us as musicians” exclaims Simon Connors [Guitarist]. Effortlessly keeping their finger on the pulse of the Australian scene, Lynchmada appreciate an extremely successful year in 2011 with the release of their third album To The Earth and could not have done it without the support of fans and the commitment from the industry's volunteers.

The band sustains a broad range of styles in their music in order to appeal to the contemporary, traditional and mainstream metal fan, and are confident they will reach and entice the hoards at Chaos “There is no real secret. We are all just fans of music.” continues Connors. “When you have five guys who have a very diverse taste in music then it is always going to come out in the music they create. It’s not something we consciously do when writing new songs, you just let the song breathe and don’t be too closed minded on how a song should sound like. The rest writes itself. We like writing aggressive music, bringing the passion out, and transcribing that to the live show. People connect with our music in different ways and that’s cool. We don’t really have any “messages” “gimmicks” or things that we stand for we just let the listener take what they want from each song."

Lynchmada have a few surprises in store for Chaos punters this year, Deprivation’s Ben Weber will be standing in for Lynchmada vocalist Joel Harris for this extraordinary event “Expect the usual high energy with a Country Redneck twist. Sorry Benny! It will be a must see show I promise you that!”.

In addition to this monster lineup of international, new and extreme - Chaos ACT also holds host to one of Australia’s classics. This national treasure is the memorable 90’s giants Alarum. Alarum in a nut shell represent ‘Australian Metal Fusion’ (an insane mixture of progressive thrash and jazz fusion). With international success through USA, UK, & Europe the band welcome 2012 with their fellow Aussies at Chaos ACT.

The music of Alarum explodes with ample variety for music goers of all ages and styles, with a technical/progressive thrash base. Although the band has been playing this style of music for almost 20 years, it’s a style of metal that allows the band to mix ‘old school’ ideas with innovative methods, and with the technical side of metal more acceptable these days, audiences will appreciate the music of Alarum. Or, as bassist/vocalist Mark Palfreyman explains “There was a fierce focus on our songwriting and having more of a flow in the music while writing.  The elements of Alarum’s sound are still all there and in some ways more developed. We have also introduced some ideas that have not been attempted by us previously”.

The band, fresh off release of their latest album Natural Causes have wowed fans and reviewers around the country with their progression and adaption as a band, who have seen many styles both fall and conquer in the last twenty years. With songs such as Thirsty Camel and Liquorland the band are sure to tap into the Aussie psyche “Let’s just say we had a few drinks over the years while writing/recording the album”.

Alarum state that the most fundamental ingredient to their success over the years has been the dedication and passion to playing their music, to take the good with the bad, all for the love of it. When Alarum was asked on what crowds can expect from their debut at a Chaos Festival they showed no hesitation “The best Alarum show they’ve ever seen!…we’ll be thrashing ourselves and our instruments as much as possible and having a heap of fun in the process”.

Chaos festival is the kick off for Alarum in 2012 with a busy year ahead; it will see the band tour as much as possible, in Australia and internationally promoting the new album Natural Causes. “Hopefully our fans will have as much fun as us in the process”.

Another Melbourne frontrunner this year is the notorious House of Thumbs. The actual House of Thumbs was constructed on a sacred Indian burial ground in the late 1800s. It's had a long line of tenants, but none quite as messy as the Thumbcutter. Armed with an ambitious manifesto the band has been slicing through Australia since 2008 releasing an EP (Strangle Fiction) and a full-length album (Crossing the Rubicon) in that time. Bassist Nick Rackham elucidates -  “Musically, we used to call our style "Carlton Draught Chaos" but after some of the guys switched to light beer on weeknights, we rebranded as chaos metal, because it really does span enough varying genres to be considered chaotic. To use pedestrian adjectives, it's fast, unrelenting and polyrhythmic – death-style grooves delivered at thrash pace with plenty of odd-time signatures thrown in to fuck up your dance routines”.

The attitude behind the music of House of Thumbs is “painfully simple really”. As described by Rackham House of Thumbs uses a horror allegory to drive home a central philosophy of total catharsis, that of achieving "release through release". All art and lyrics tell the story of a man who delights in de-evolving his victims by hacking off the most important of all digits, the one that separates human from beast. At the lyrical level, House of Thumbs is about doing what you want, when you want; at the creative level, it's about having as much fun as possible with some fairly basic human fears, the same fears that convince people that it's a good idea to keep their hands inside the car at all times. “To achieve this musically, we've had to become more chaotic, more technical and heavier than your average metal band... and we've done this with ease”.

The trials and tribulations Australian heavy metal bands face within the ‘so called’ Australian heavy metal Industry are that of sheer difficulty to say the least, however Nick voices his opinion in detail. “It remains the most ignored genre of music in the country. It's not unlike the Tardis in Dr Who: the scene looks really hip and inviting from the outside, but no one's quite sure how many people are actually in there. In fact, the actual size of the scene in Melbourne alone could be a debate that rages into the wee hours. There's very little support from the general public, but that's not the public's fault. Instead, it's the fault of the bands who continue to grossly undervalue what they are offering, preferring to accept gigs under the same shit conditions that were in place 15 years ago. If bands don't value themselves, the public won't either. This lack of forward movement (and a lack of progressive thinking) has always held Australia's metal scene back, which is a shame 'coz while one out of every ten or so bands is killer, meaning 'could probably compete with the internationals', only one out of every hundred is actually noticed overseas. The big up-side here is that Chaos ACT seems to have a little bit of that same feel that resonated through Metal For The Brain's early years, and we're getting very excited about being a part of something that might be viewed with the same sense of nostalgia years from now. It's great to see not only that the bill is almost entirely made up of local acts, but also that the guys behind Chaos ACT haven't been afraid to think bigger, sticking an international on as headliner and putting a price on the door that actually reflects the event's true value. It's of crucial importance to the future of the national scene that promoters get their value proposition right, as it's a chief factor in being taken seriously”.

Chaos ACT has been vastly growing in popularity since its inception, attributable to its passion and veracity for the Australian heavy metal industry, it is locals and fans like you who keep heavy metal in existence. The attention to detail that has been catered for, the calculated lineup; it has all been made available to you in order for you to stretch your legs, feel at home and to have a night out in Canberra where you are not suffocated by the Mooseheads degenerates. However the main aspiration for this project is to offer opportunities for forthcoming bands both locally and throughout the states to gain exposure, if not for you then who? As mainstream media deem it unsuitable for their cotton filled ears.