Words By: Michael Winsall
This Friday gone saw Reaper’s Riddle release their first studio album, ‘The End is Nigh’, at Amplifier Bar in Perth, flanked with other local outfits Kimura and Tempest Rising.
It has been many years since I both went to a metal gig, and went to amplifier bar, both things I don’t have much experience in doing whilst sober. Luckily (for the former, at least), I still remember the basic etiquette of a show – don’t be a dick, don’t stand in front of the stage unless you plan on dancing aggressively, and so on. Not trusting my weakened abilities to keep up in the pit, and out of worry for my hair as it was the first time I had actually done my Mohawk in nigh on six months, I made the tactical decision to spend most of the night at the side of the stage, cider in hand, only about a meter away from the smoking area should the need arise.
I will say from the outset that metal genres and sub-genres are nested fractally – there is no bottom. As such, I will not be attempting to categorise these bands for fear of enraging devout metalheads. Instead, I will only mention other bands that their sound is reminiscent of.
First band up was Kimura, a 5 piece band that made it clear from the first song that this would be a hard drive. And they maintained this brutality throughout the set, pumping through song after song, playing songs that sounded (amongst other things) like Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Sepultura and Slayer. These guys do not fuck around. Shortly after this, Tempest Rising took to the stage, wasting no time putting out a set that (to me) sounded much more like Trivium, Lamb of God, and KoRn. From the get go, these guys kept the tempo Kimura set before them, and ran with it.
Finally, Reaper’s Riddle took the stage, a band that commands that those who are in the bar must pay attention to them. They played some older tracks, they played some new ones of the album, they rotated through some old band members. They kept it moving – and I mean that literally, it’s hard to keep track where individual band members were on stage. They were like a musical version of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principal (That would be scientist Heisenberg, not fictional suburban middle class chemistry teacher-cum-drug dealer) in that you could know where they were going, but not exactly where they were.
The 5+ of them have serious chops, screaming absolutely mental licks off their guitarists, or the drummer pounding out precise beats faster than my eye could see. In fact, Lead guitarist Kristen Sanfead is exactly what my guitar teacher promised me I could be when I was 12 years old. Sadly, he was a liar and I have the hand eye coordination of a chimpanzee on Quaaludes, so this dream never came to fruition. At one point Drummer Andrew Burt was kicked out from behind the kit so another special guest could play a few songs. Which was fine, as he took up point doing backup vocals behind lead singer Clayton Mitchell, who spent the set taking you on a trip through your dark psyche and barking lyrics at you as he went.
All the bands that performed that night were of a crazy high calibre – one that’s rarely seen within Australia, let alone Perth. Be sure to pick up the album from Reaper’s Riddle, available via the band directly as they are (amazingly) independent/unsigned. And if you see any of these three bands are playing about town, do yourself a favour and go down to see them.