GIG REVIEW: Killswitch Engage, Chronolyth & Fallujah Live At Eatons Hill Hotel, Brisbane, Australia
It has been 15 years since Killswitch Engage released their seminal album Alive or Just Breathing and what better way to celebrate that achievement by touring and performing that album in full. Well that’s exactly what Brisbane was treated to as Australia’s second stop of a national tour for the band and it was good to see the metal faithful queue for over a kilometer to the venue on a night where half the city was queuing over the other side of town to go and see Adele.
Opening the night were local favourites Chronolyth who had recently announced an indefinite hiatus but reappeared for this show. I must admit that if this show was a one-off for these lads because of this opportunity, then it would be a crying shame because I don’t think I have ever seen a crowd go so ridiculously mental for a support band before. I’ve seen Chronolyth before countless times on smaller stages and I don’t know if it was the atmosphere, the larger stage or if they just had a renewed fight, but the band performed a show 100 times better than any of those I had seen from them before. The guitars were clear, the drums and bass were loud, and the crowd engagement was terrific – so much so that it had a wall of death that rivaled the size of a Lamb of God one that I had seen a few years earlier at the same venue. Probably my only criticism for these guys would be that at times the vocals seemed a little forced, but I’m going to attribute that to having been out of the game for a while, and if you hadn’t seen them before then you probably wouldn’t have known otherwise.
First timers to Australia Fallujah followed and brought their heavy atmospheric mix to the stage. When initially announced I thought that this was quite an abstract pairing, but thankfully it worked quite well in the scheme of the evening audibly. I say audibly because that’s about the only thing I can critique Fallujah on due to the lighting set up, but hear me out for a minute. When the band began, there were spotlights directed on stage to illuminate the band but shortly after their first song finished frontman Alex Hofmann asked for them to be turned off. Normally this wouldn’t pose much of an issue but with a band that has such atmospheric music they tend to adopt pretty cool light shows. Unfortunately for those of us in the crowd, with the spotlights down all we could really make out (including from the second row from the barrier) were silhouettes sprinkled in between the different colored strobe lighting. Normally I think that this would be downright epic in smaller venues, but I feel it slightly detracted from the bands overall performance. All of that being said, the room was about 100 degrees so I don’t blame him for doing it. Musically the band was everything that I had anticipated they would be – flowing melodies setting the perfect platform for Hofmann to come over the top with his crushing vocals. The blast beats from the drums sounded phenomenal in the venue and by this time I was starting to realize that this venue sounds like a drummers paradise. The band didn’t move around a lot, which was probably a good thing with the lights out as the silhouettes cut some pretty imposing figured, but the band didn’t really need to because their music did all the work for them. It was around the end of their set that the temperature began to hit sauna levels in the venue, but luckily the end of their set spelt a little reprieve as the crowd dispersed a bit.
Finally Killswitch Engage took to the stage and from the moment that the band walked out there was an instantaneous surge from the crowd. Sparing no time for niceties the band dived straight into ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ kicking off their set.
Now this being the album that elevated a genre from something that was relatively unknown into the metal mainstream there was always going to be a lot of energy from the crowd, and it was good to see it being reciprocated by the band too. Visually the stripped back stage gave the band the ability to move all the way around the stage, and they abused that fact very liberally throughout the show. Musically they went off without a hitch and while I would have liked to have heard the guitars slightly higher in the mix, I was pretty happy with what the crowd got.
I do want to highlight a few things that absolutely blew my mind away from Killswitch. Firstly the engagement from the band towards the crowd was second to none and I haven’t seen a band actively sing with their fans or engage them any better than I saw from Killswitch. Whether it be frontman Jesse Leach, jumping down onto the barrier to sing with fans, guitarists Adam D, or Joel Stroezel leaning forward to sing with the guys in the front row, and bassist Mike D’Antonio holding his bass neck out for everyone to touch, it was really second to none. Secondly, the band put on a brilliant performance in conditions which could be considered as less than ideal, and by that I mean that it was hot enough in the venue that by the time the band had hit “Fixation on the Darkness” that Adam D suitably looked like he had just jumped out of a swimming pool. It was that hot that the band had venue staff bringing bottles of water up on stage so they could hand them out to the crowd, but even in such situations the band persevered and managed to put on a performance of their album that was flawless in execution.
Completing their ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ album midway through the show, they then went on to perform tracks off their more recent offerings, which seemed to garner some more positive reactions from some of the more recent fans. Hitting tracks like “In Due Time”, and “Hate By Design” afforded some suitable crowd singalong, but it was the obligatory closer “The End Of Heartache” that absolutely set the crowd alight. After a small intermission off stage the band then returned for an encore in “Rose of Sharyn”, with each of the emphasizing the words ‘It won’t be long, we’ll meet again’ as they sang along with the crowd signalling their final farewell for the night.
Killswitch Engage absolutely destroyed Brisbane, there’s no other way to word it. If this was the last show on earth that I got to watch then I’d be suitably happy, because there won’t ever be an experience that rivals that energy ever again.
Also check out our Photo Gallery of the gig here.