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REVIEW: AT THE GATES, WITH THE HAUNTED, WITCHERY, LACERATION MANTRA

Review by Jordan Sibberas; The Triffid, Brisbane, 25th of May 2019

Brisbane’s Laceration Mantra had a hard task this evening; to warm a room full of fans of chilly Scandinavian death metal up. They successfully achieved this and put on a killer opening set in the process. Their scathing riffs and groove brought the punters in from the garden bar, and the night was officially under way.

First up of the “Triple Bill Kill” bands was Witchery, who laid waste to the crowd with their strange but effective blend of thrash metal, early 90s death metal, and corpse paint and theatrics. Channelling possibly the most occult vibes of the night, they peaked with a stirring rendition of True North that had possibly the most enthusiastic mosh pit I’ve seen that early in a gig night.

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Following up Witchery was hard hitting metal bruisers The Haunted. The Haunted came out with a much more informal, in your face kind of aggression than Witchery but were no less effective at smashing their trademark sound into the wall behind the mixing board. Frontman Marco Aro had the crowd in his palm, and just when he appeared to have the room at fever pitch, he expressed his gratitude for the fans, and proclaimed us “much better than Canberra!”. And that was it; the energy in the Triffid went nuts.

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And then it was time for the masters to show us how it was done. Gothenburg’s own fathers of melodic Death Metal, At The Gates. Unfortunately, bassist Jonas Bjorler was absentee from this tour, to meet family commitments, however in his boots was The Haunted Guitarist/Multi-instrumentalist/YouTube guitar wizard Ola Englund. At The Gates’ set slid from strength to strength, mixing in old classics like Slaughter of the Soul, Cold, and Blinded By Fear in with new songs from To Drink From The Night Itself, and At War With Reality. It was a veritable feast for those who love the Gothenburg sound.

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Props goes as well to the sound wizards at the Triffid; all the bands, but especially At The Gates, sounded incredible. Guitarists Martin Larsson and Jonas Stalhammer cut beautifully through the mix, drenching us all in waves of their incendiary dual guitar work. As with all the frontmen tonight, Tomas Lindberg also brought something new again to the stage. His infectious energy and passion for the craft shone through, leaving no one with any doubts as to why this band is considered a classic.

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