As I Lay Dying

support In Name And Blood + Cry Murder
author PP date 15/05/06 venue Corner Hotel, Melbourne, AUS

The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne is hands down the best and by far the coolest venue I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. The room has no conceivable shape, and consists of 18 different shady corners to say the least. The best part about the venue is that it has two stages in the same room. The support bands play on the small, ultra-intimate stage which can barely fit all of the band members on it, while the main act plays on the bigger, security-barrier protected stage, though it neither can brag about being a big stage. The atmosphere is dark, the DJ is playing Darkest Hour and the drinks are cheap at the bar – what more could you ask from a venue? The two-stage setup also allows the changeover time to be reduced to a bare 15-minutes between the last support and the main act, as no equipment transfer is necessary.

Cry Murder is a relatively new hardcore act hailing from the Adelaide scene. They entered the stage far before their scheduled appearance to do their own sound check over the PA system toward the mixing tables, allowing the audience to follow the process closely, causing some amusement when the mixer-guy responded to every tone from the stage by stating 'unreal' each time. It wasn't long before the band finally entered the stage and broke into their mix of melodic hardcore and brutal hardcore, and to many people's surprise one of their guitarists was in fact female; a rare sight in the hardcore scene, causing her to look misplaced on the scene while her band mates were destroying through the songs by taking every squaremeter of the stage into their advantage (she is a good guitarist though!). Their vocalist Mat Hede gave everything he had in himself to the crowd, despite the microphone problems during the first two songs (the microphone wasn't working, and it's quite comical seeing the man screaming with no sound coming out). The crowd had to constantly engage into lifting the amps back up to the stage, as Mat stormed back and forth on the stage knocking them down one after another not because he intended to, but because he just couldn't help it as he was delivering his brutal screams with thrice the passion than most hardcore bands. Overall, a very acceptable performance for such a young and new band as Cry Murder.

6

In Name And Blood have been busy lately. Just two weeks ago they were the main support for Darkest Hour and now they're playing before As I Lay Dying. They are the hottest hardcore band in Australia at the moment, which was also evident from as many as eight press-photographers surrounding them while on stage (As I Lay Dying only had two!). Tonight, their display was much more intense and passionate than a few weeks ago, with not only amps falling off, but also the guitarist occasionally tripping off the stage and falling down to the floor (for a minute or two the band actually played with only one guitar as he was being helped up by the closest crowd members). The miniature-scale side-stage allowed more intimacy between the band and the crowd than the one two weeks ago, and it forced their stage show to be much more compact, but at the same time more intesified, faster and delirious. The numerous impacts between the band members and the occasional falls on stage gave me chills and caused me to stand in astonishment over how they still were able to hit each note spot on. The lead guitarist was all over the place, running around the minuscule stage back and forth, jumping up and down and shredding his riffs through with perfect precison. You would see him leaning against the crowd on the far-left, only to see him lean against the bassist's back at the next moment. Their vocalist Craig decided to show off his unbeliavable screaming skills during "A Song For The Fallen" by letting go of the microphone completely, and using only his sheer throat-power to scream out the vocals on top of the instruments. Now anyone who has been to a concert before knows how difficult this is, and the volume he was able to release was kind of scary. I hope I won't meet him in a dark alley anytime at least. Their overall act impressed me so much tonight that I'll be sure to go see them on a headlining tour if they'll play near me. Great stuff guys!

8

After "Sound The Surrender" by Darkest Hour over the DJ system and a short 15 minute break (another advantage of having two stages, no set up time needed!), it was time for As I Lay Dying to enter the stage. Tim's (vocals) presence can be effectively described with one word: domination. His huge figure and merciless screams made anyone afraid of their lives at the front few rows, but that's exactly the image you should be emitting if you're called As I Lay Dying. For the big surprise of the crowd, the opening song was their best and most popular song to date, "Confined". I must admit I was stunned and couldn't believe my ears when the quality and volume of the 700-strong crowd singing the clean vocals of the chorus "how quickly I forget that this is meaningless" exceeded the 5,000 people singing the lyrics to Coheed And Cambria's "In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth:3" at the Give It A Name festival about a year back. This was hands down the best crowd-singing I've heard in my life, and the effect could clearly be seen on the band. They were giving everything they had tonight, with Craig storming across the stage without losing any breath and still able to keep his screams/growls as brutal as they've always been, and in fact, I'm willing to argue they were even more brutal than on the record. Other highlights included "Meaning In Tragedy" and of course "The Darkest Nights", both of which saw sheer insanity within the crowd regardless of the pillars in the middle of the floor.

The band also engaged in some older material all the way back from "Beneath The Encasing Of Ashes"-era. The much slower, more epic tracks were mindblowing live and showcased the unbeliavable variety of this band. Usually your hardcore bands are all about the fast songs with ten breakdowns, possibly a few clean vocals and stage-destruction live, but not As I Lay Dying. They mastered the slower song (could've been "Behind Me Lies Another Fallen", though not sure at all so don't hang me if I'm wrong) in such a beautiful way, while still keeping the absolute annihilation present at the same time. That's what I call creating a perfect balance, boys. During most of the songs, the guitarists and bassist kept jumping back and forth on stage, with the usual 'beating-down-the-guitar' act that all hardcore bands love doing, as it emphasizes the ruthless breakdowns and vicious soundscapes perfectly. Craig was able to avoid the all-too-cliché run against the barrier - scream at the fans - move many hardcore vocalist take advantage of, but instead prevailed as much more genuine and honest when he was giving high-fives and shaking hands with the fans at the front few rows. The band finished off the gig with "Forever" as expected after they started off with "Confined", with no encores necessary. And that's really what As I Lay Dying is all about: they come on stage, top themselves each night, and don't give out a bunch of random bullshit. That's why an encore would've only felt wrong on the best show I've seen since I saw The Fall Of Troy & Fear Before The March Of Flames in November.

Related:

"Shadows Are Security" review

"A Long March: The Early Recordings" review

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