Destroyer 666, Bane of Isildur, Hellbringer, Bastardizer @ Max Watts, Sydney, 5/11/2016

A great night of metal is unfortunately hampered by technical issues...

The wolves return! After an extended absence from Australian shores, the prospect of a Destroyer666 homecoming tour was an exciting one and made it one of the hottest dates on the Australian extreme metal calendar this year. A slew of great local acts in support made the bill rock solid. So the atmosphere was jubilant heading into Max Watt’s in Moore Park when doors opened.

Up first were Sydney locals and underground fiends Bastardizer. Their sleazy mix of black metal, thrash and rock made them the perfect choice to open proceedings. Their regular appearances on the live circuit have helped forge them into an extremely tight unit, always bringing the fire on stage. Songs like Bathory and Lust and Enforcers of Evil always go down a treat.

Unfortunately, their set was the first in which all those who followed were dragged down due to the lack of quality sound. I’ve never been particularly fond of the sound at Max Watt’s, but tonight’s show would suffer a range of technical issues that would plague every single band. I’ll only briefly touch on the issues each band faced, otherwise the entire review would be sound issue complaints which isn’t really fair to the bands who performed so well. For Bastardizer specifically, their issues were with the bass either cutting out completely or drowning out the other instruments.

Hellbringer are a band that really loves Slayer. Specifically, they are a band that really loves the Slayer album Hell Awaits. This works just fine because Hell Awaits is the most underrated Slayer album and I need more of it in my life. Seeing Hellbringer live is the closest some of us youngin’s are going to get to watching Slayer in ’85 and they do a damn good job of recreating that spirit. With a bunch of cuts from their latest album Awakened From The Abyss, the band tore things up. Their sound issue was mostly the snare drum cutting out.

Bane of Isildur was up next and added a touch of fantasy to the night. Their Tolkien inspired lyrics and war-paint combined with their more melodic take on black metal made them the odd one out of this evening, but it was a change of pace that was welcome. Their tracks from 2010 album Black Wings and the e.p …and the Earth Becomes Aflame were performed with a warriors grit and energy. Again, the bass seemed to be the main problem with the sound...

Destroyer 666 took to the stage to a chorus of howling wolves, a perfect introduction to this close-knit band of outlaws and doubly so thanks to first track Rise of the Predator. Things instantly whipped up into a frenzy and enigmatic frontman/band figurehead KK Warslut was presiding over it all with pride. There was much leather-clad mayhem to be had with tracks from their latest work Wildfire, fitting in perfectly with the more old-school material. Newer tracks like Hounds at ya Back and Traitor got featured alongside crowd favourites like Sons of Perdition and Lone Wolf Winter. We even got treated to a deep cut in the form of Satanic Speed Metal and a tribute to Lemmy nearly a year on from his passing with a cover of Iron Fist.

Their set really encapsulated the high points of the band’s career as well as proved that the new boys backing up KK are a solid lineup, complementing the different aspects of Destroyer’s sound perfectly. The sound issue mainly revolved around KK’s guitar, but thankfully didn’t impede the flow of the show too much. As a group of musician’s who thrive on chaos as much as they do; perhaps this was a fitting night to match their wild spirit. Besides, no technical issue in the world could mask Destroyer 666’s skill. Hail!