Arch Enemy, Trivium, and Machine Head - November 1 & 2, 2007 - Back
Australian Black Crusade Tour
Sydney, AUS - Luna Park - Big Top

I was fortunate enough to attend not one but two memorable shows surrounding the Australian Black Crusade tour. Leading up to the tour I had been speaking quiet a lot with Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) as well as Adam Duce (Machine Head). Being a huge fan of both bands there was o way in hell I was missing these shows. A couple of weeks before the bands hit Australia I had the chance to conduct an interview with Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott. We spoke about the bands latest album, the Carcass reunion and the bands excitement on returning to Australia for the third time. The interview had gone very well and was just a start of better things to come surrounding these shows. Click HERE to read the Full Interview

NIGHT ONE

Overall I was really excited to be seeing Arch Enemy again and couldn't wait to see Machine Head live for the first time! When it came to Trivium, I had already seen them in January as part of the Big Day Out festivals and had walked away hating them. I was hoping that Nov 1, was going to leave me with a whole new outlook on Trivium.

The doors opened at 6:30pm and within ten minutes Arch Enemy had taken to the stage. Knowing this was going to happen I had positioned myself about halfway in the arena to kick back and watch the show. I have to say I was really disappointed with the sound or lack of that was given to Arch Enemy. The lighting was amazing but the sound was all over the place. The band pumped out all the tracks I wanted to hear but the sound was awful. When it came time for Trivium to take the stage, the sound was a little better and the floor became packed out with many of the younger fans obviously there to see Trivium.

I honestly couldn't understand what the big deal was, and really still don't. Yes I do like the band and think they have a few selected great songs, but they are nothing new. They are not a band that amazes me live and well, we all know who they sound like, so no surprises there. I have no doubt that I was in a minority though, as the crowd were going off and loving every minute of there hour-long set.

Night one was drawing to an end and the band we were all there to see were about to take the stage. This was my first Machine Head live experience and I couldn't wait. I had made my way closer to the stage for there set and was ready to go fuckin' crazy with the bands opening song 'Clenching The Fists Of Dissent' . Since Machine Head released 'The Blackening' I have stated too many that 'Clenching The Fists' was one of the greatest opening songs I had ever heard. Live it's even more spectacular. The crowd were chanting Machine Fuckin' Head, the intro music had started, the band took the stage and the raw power, energy and intensity that these guys had has been matched by no one else I have seen this year. The sound was much better for Machine Head as I knew would be the case and the lighting rocked. The night had come to an end and I knew I was going to be back there tomorrow to do it all and more once again.

NIGHT TWO

Here we go again, another night of Mayhemic metal anthems were about to be unleashed on Sydney's craziest fans. Night two for me was always going to be on some level cooler as I had organized to do photos of all three bands. Here is where I'd like to insert my thanx both to the promoter KMW and also Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy) for making sure I was down for photo passes. Another reason the second night was more memorable was thanx to Machine Head's kick ass bassist Adam Duce who had also put me down for a V.I.P. pass. I was supposed to do an interview with Adam but between emails and calls we had somehow crossed times, so unfortunately the interview didn't take place, but we will get that sorted out soon enough.

The doors had opened around the same time as night one, but this time there was a difference. Arch Enemy never took to the stage until just after 7:00 pm. This would be due to the fact that so many people had complained on night one that they had missed them. I will also say that night two, the sound guys got it all right. Arch Enemy's sound was amazing, much clearer, crisp and louder than the previous night. Arch Enemy played a killer set list which included 'My Apocalypse', 'Blood On Your Hands', 'Nemesis', 'Ravenous', 'Dead Eyes See No Future', 'We Will Rise' and 'Revolution Begins'. The general consensus between the members of the audience I had spoken with on both nights, no one could understand why Arch Enemy billed underneath Trivium. This is something I do agree with as I enjoyed Arch Enemy both nights more than Trivium. All I could put it down to was; the amount of albums the bands are selling here in Australia? Who knows!

One thing is for sure. I never get tired of seeing Arch Enemy live on-stage. Even if the band has bad sound one night, there onstage presence wins the crowd over instantly. I will never get tired on seeing Angela Gossow performing. She is an amazing vocalist who gives her all with every performance. It was awesome to see Michael and Chris playing together once again. The duel guitar solos in 'Ravenous' and 'My Apocalypse' were mind-blowing. There is no doubt that Arch Enemy would have won over many first time viewers and fingers crossed we will see them return to Australia again very soon for more headlining shows.

Next on the bill was Trivium and to be honest I was not at all looking forward to seeing them live for a third time. For me all that this performance had going for it was, that I was doing photos for the first three songs to go along with the review, but something changed. The sound was much better and I somewhat actually enjoyed watching them. I really don't want to slam Trivium too much. There is no doubt that they are very good at what they do, and sound great, but I would have preferred to have seen a bunch of other bands in place of them. The crowd on night two was just as crazy as those on night one for Trivium. There is no doubt that Trivium whip the crowd up into a moshing, headbanging frenzy. While I was in the photo pit, there were plenty of injured fans being thrown over the barricades, blood gushing out of there heads, arms and hands. God knows what was going on in that pit hahaha!

Trivium played an hour long set that was definitely for there fans, belting out tunes such as 'Rain', 'The Rising', 'Detonation', 'Becoming The Dragon', 'Anthem (We Are The Fire)' and my personal favorites were 'Pull Harder On The Strings Of The Martyr' and 'A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation'. During the bands set I had made my way backstage to see what was going on, where I caught up with Australia's own Andrew Haug (Contrive) and Machine Head's Adam Duce. We stood side of stage for a few minutes chatting about Trivium and I had asked Adam if it was cool to take some shots from the side of stage, before heading back out to see the rest of Trivium's set. At one point, vocalist Matt Heafy thanked the crowd for all there support and told us that the next Trivium album would be released next year and that it would be a "heavier" album, which was something that delighted all of there chanting fans on the floor at the Big Top. Of all three performances I have witnessed this year from Trivium, there is no doubt that this was the best one! Would I go out of my way to see Trivium again? Probably not! I guess we will have to wait and see what kind of material makes the final cut on the bands next release, but to be honest three times is more than enough in my book.

The mighty Machine Head were once again about to take to the stage but tonight I had to keep my wits about me during those first few songs as I was taking photos. As much as I love that about my job sometimes there are just some songs you have to headbang to, which was the case with all three tracks that Machine Head opened night two with, but I stood my ground and Captured Robb, Adam, Phil and Dave at there best! As soon as the three songs were over I immediately went backstage where I caught up with Sharlee D'Angelo (Arch Enemy) we spoke for a few minutes and I told him how much I loved the bands set and hoped they would do some headline shows here again soon. Everyone was backstage to watch Machine Head tearing the stage to shreds. From the side of the stage I had captured some amazing crowd shots and a killer shot of Phil as you can see below. I was more than pleased with my effort and went back out to the front to watch the band performing killer tracks such as 'Aesthetics Of Hate', 'Halo', 'Old', and 'Descend The Shades Of Night'.

There is no doubt in my mind that Machine Head are one of the greatest bands I have witnessed live this year, if not ever. Adam is killer live, his Bass sound is thumping and he gives his all when his up on that stage. Providing the backbeat for the band, Dave is nothing short of phenomenal to watch live. Dave is a very energetic drummer who will blow you away live. The mighty Phil Demmel on guitar is somewhat mesmerizing to watch perform. His wild-man persona really comes out on that stage. As for Machine Head front-man Robb Flynn, words can't describe how amazing he is live. Vocally one of the best performances I have ever heard. Robb is everything a front-man should be, energetic, insane, aggressive and most importantly real!

Over the course of the two nights I lost count on how many times Robb and the boys stood there just amazed at the sheer roars from the crowd. The many chants from the Dimebag chant to Machine fuckin' Head over and over again, the band looked generally emotional. I can't think of another show that has bought out so much emotion in a band. Robb and gang thanked the crowd a number of times and expressed there love for Australia. Machine Head are one band every one needs to witness live at least once. The day after the second Sydney show I even considered flying to Brisbane to see them again. They are everything you can expect and more live.

In all the Black Crusade Australian tour was a massive success and the bands billed played to sold-out audiences all over Australia. If Machine Head decide to bring the Black Crusade back to Australia again next year, I can guarantee that I will be attending again to see them and I advise you all to do the same. A massive thanks once again to KMW, Angela Gossow, Andrew Haug, and Adam Duce for everything. You all rock!

Rating:
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Reviewed By: Cameron Edney