Soundwave 2012 – photos and reviews


BrisbaneIn a time that is seeing a large number Australian festivals struggle, Soundwave has excelled in all aspects. Weather aside, this year’s Brisbane edition was far and away the best festival of the summer and if the size and attitude of the crowd are any indication, this will be the case for some time.

SydneyRight across Sydney on an overcast yet warm Sunday morning. Hair was being teased and cemented into place. Make-up was painstakingly and meticulously applied. Thigh-high leather platform boots polished then zipped. Confused parents wondered why their children were up before midday? Sydney’s Metal army were now ready for the annual battle of Homebush… Soundwave festival had arrived.

MelbourneSometimes there’s an underlying assumption that something will always go wrong at a festival: the weather will deteriorate, the beer will run out, there’ll be too much downtime, Alterbridge will inspire mass suicide. But when considering this year’s Soundwave, there’s a real inclination to suggest that everything went right – perhaps in time we’ll remember 2012 as the year that great weather met impeccable organisation and one of the most impressive, dynamic line-ups to ever land on Australian shores. High praise, indeed (and deservedly so).

Slipknot, Trivium

They may strike fear into the hearts of church goers and mothers groups with their scary imagery and disturbing lyrics, but five minutes in to their show and it’s easy to see that rather than death and destruction, Slipknot, are all about fun and games.

System of a Down

The last time System of a Down toured Australia was in 2005. Seven years is a long time and time has not been kind to the band and their material. At first, they generally appeared interested in what they were doing, which made one think that their reformation wasn’t entirely about money. But for most of the night the band, especially the rhythm section, laboured through their parts.

Lamb of God, The Black Dahlia Murder, In Flames

The last chance to dance came with Lamb of God’s trademark closer Black Label – Randy counting in as the entire floor collided in a maelstrom of sweaty bodies, the result of a good ol’ fashioned wall of death. The perfect end to a positively spiffing good night.

Marilyn Manson

It appears that the 1 hour set from Manson is not to be as entertaining and theatrical as first thought. With the star of show quite heavily intoxicated and stumbling around stage, occasionally launching into a rant, it was easy to see the disappointment from many fans.


To get an idea of the current state of metal you’d be hard pressed to find a better club gig than this. Featuring three bands each representing a different strand of intelligent, hard and heavy guitar music the evening above all showed that there are many divergent threads to a genre that has without a doubt the most devotional of fans.

A masterclass of Mastodon staples, with their technical brilliance shining through.

Zakk Wylde

Epic is a word used too commonly now days, but this solo was beyond that; he had the whole Forum’s attention whilst he shredded his axe like only he could. No one was keeping track of the time but the solo would have been at least a good 10 minutes and even members of Hellyeah appeared side of stage with huge smiles and nods of approval.

Devin Townsend, Meshuggh

Meshuggah’s set exceeded anybodies high expectations of them, the sound of the somewhat small venue along with the exquisite performance made their set almost unmatchable.

Unwritten Law

Thursday, Saves The Day, Circa Survive

Thursday have left their mark on the hardcore and alternative rock scene that will be remembered for many, many years to come. The gig was a fitting farewell for a band who had given so much, and kept giving until the very end. They will be sorely missed.

Steel Panther, Alter Bridge

A Day To Remember, The Used, You Me At Six

Although ADTR could easily play the serious persona, they choose not too, mimicking a frat house style and using whatever’s at their disposal for flight – albeit confetti, beach balls, toilet paper or bass guitars.

Angels and Airwaves

In a heartbeat the hysteria the sing-along evoked was all over as Angels and Airwaves departed the stage, leaving fans in various states of frenzy. Anyone wondering whether they could capture the ambitious nature of their recordings live was left in no doubt.

Bad Religion, Strung Out, Street Dogs


Four Year Strong, I Am the Avalanche, Fireworks, Conditions

Coming to this Sidewave, I was expecting nasal American-twanged vocals over light guitars, but what we get is more of a melodic hardcore show. There is a real difference between these live songs to their recorded counterparts.


Reinventing Your Exit stimulated a completely new energy within the room; the audience seemed honoured to be hearing a song so rarely performed and reacted accordingly, fist pumping, crowd surfing and screaming along to every line. It felt as though a new sense of community had been created and Underoath, a band that considered Australia their ‘home away from home’ had been accepted into it.

The Pretty Reckless

The gig only had only been running about 45 minutes when the band wrapped it up; this was a bit of a let down, but in saying that majority of the audience did have school the next day anyway.

Seeing a band, many would argue, should be about the music; while that may be true it is so much more immersive when you can tell that the band isn’t playing just another gig, or that playing music has become routine for them. Perhaps the strongest argument for their musical skill was their cover of the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, a song that Momsen managed to make seductive and sexy.

The Cab, River City Extension

Machine Head

The undeniable ferocity and ingenious complexity of Machine Head’s music is as much of a joy to experience in a live setting as it is on record.

Above all it seems clear that more than twenty years of relentless touring across the world has truly cemented Machine Head’s reputation as one of modern metal’s most talented acts, a reputation earnt through these consistent phenomenal performances.

Cobra Starship

Tonight the crowd that headed to The Forum were able to get up close and personal to some of their favourite bands; it also gave the bands room to make the large venue feel intimate, allowing them to take time out of their sets to joke around and share stories with the crowd. From beginning to end the show felt like an experience shared amongst friends, instead of the separation usually felt between band and crowd.

There can be no doubt that each of the bands featured on this amazing night disserve applause for putting on a performance fit for a big crowd when all they got was a small one.

Cathedral, Paridise Lost, Turisas

The Sisters Of Mercy

Enter Shikari, Your Demise, LetLive

The sound was flawless throughout the night, with the live and sampled sections sitting perfectly together. The band’s sound and lighting technicians should just about be counted as members of the band, because at times the show seemed to be more about what they were doing than anything else.

Kids in Glass Houses, Lostprophets




Hatebreed work flawlessly as a well-oiled machine, engines firing and wheels screeching as they push hard on the pedal to give a gutsy and power-packed performance.