Dismember @ HiFi Bar & Ballroom, Melbourne (18/07/2008)

The HiFi Bar & Ballroom was graced by a swarm of metalheads sporting Dismember, Iron Maiden and shirts of various other metal bands. Many arrived early and with high expectations to catch Earth and they weren’t disappointed. The music was engaging, and more stepped onto the floor to join the headbanging. It was difficult to hear the keyboards through all the noise except for the occasional synth, but the guitars, bass and drums made up for all of it.

Fuck… I’m Dead were up next. The words “Assuck” on the bass greeted the audience as the band took the stage. In contrast to Earth, everyone in this band had short hair, or none at all. The humour of frontman Jay Jones made up for the lack of headbanging though. In between the songs, Jay went on a rant about World Youth Day and the Pope, and some obscenities were shared, stirring the crowd up. The songs they did were stunning. However, just as it seemed like it was getting into the heat of things, each song would end. But then again, seeing as how intense the death/thrash/grind metal drumming was, it was no surprise.

After Fuck… I’m Dead finished their set, the stage crew started setting up Dismember’s various props. Cloths with Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and MotíƒÆ’킶rhead’s album covers covered the amplifiers and a large backdrop with their logo on it was put up. Also an addition to the props was a duck doll with its belly taped up in the shape of an upside down cross. Matti KíƒÆ’키rki introduced the mascot to the crowd midway through the set. What’s more metal than a duck doll which can wiggle its head and has a tune emitting from its bum?

The drummer Thomas Daun made it all seem so easy even though his hands were a blur for most of the set. Even though this was death metal, the band didn’t make it seem like it. Yes, there was the usual guitars-and-bass-in-a-row-headbanging, but the band also seemed rather playful. Martin Persson, one of the two guitarists, would stick his tongue out in after dishing out a ripping solo with a dash of tapping every now and then, seeming as if he’d done something mischievous. Matti was running around left, right, centre to shake hands with the crowd, and Tobias Cristiansson was teasing the front line with his bass and his whipping long hair.

Not only was the band amusing to watch, the music was mindblowing as well. The sound was below average for the first couple of songs, but thankfully the guitars were turned up and the crunching solos could be heard. The variety of songs they played was astonishing. They had the deeper end of the death metal spectrum, with strong guitars and bass and pumping growls and screams. And then, there were ones with breathtaking basslines and beautiful melodies. The last song before the encore Dreaming in Red really struck a chord. Their setlist not only included songs from their latest album Dismember, but also pieces from their first album Like An Ever Flowing Stream.

There’s such a difference between the crowd for a local gig and an international gig. The audience was so supportive of the band and it was visible that everyone was enjoying themselves. A fight almost broke out between two punters, but was broken up when the both of them got pulled apart. The crowd went on cheering unfazed, and there were a couple of times when members of the audience climbed up on stage and jump-surfed back onto the feeble few rows of the mosh. Even though the mosh pit was only about half to three-quarters full, the moshers were headbanging and going insane to the music.