Black rain clouds gathered in the distant sky on Saturday, trying but failing to dampen the spirits of the equally dark coloured crowd clamouring outside Fortitude Music Hall for In Hearts Wake’s ‘Decade of Divination’ tour. A throwback for some, a new experience for others who never saw it performed, onlookers were treated a front to back rendition of the Byron Bay heavyweights 2012 debut album ‘Divination’, a ten-year celebration of undoubtedly one of the most definitive and influential post-hardcore albums to come out of Australia. Accompanied by a fantastic slew of support acts both local and international, Diamond Construct, The Gloom in the Corner, and Stray From the Path all gave immense performances, enhancing what was already a show to remember.
Flying out the gates early, Diamond Construct, broke the ice in truly visceral fashion. The last couple of years have seen these guys come into their own, with their 2020 EP ‘DCX2’, latest single Hit it Back and accompanying music videos showcasing the incorporation of EDM and rap elements into their already ground-shattering hardcore style. Vocalist Kynan Groundwater pumps the room up like a pro, as an already ¾ full Music Hall starts heaving in momentum. A diverse vocal performance displaying rap, clean vox and gutturals simultaneously, alongside the violent dissonance of djent guitar tones and DJ SFX pikes the palate of every nu-metal lover. The performance of a new song was an indication of what I hope turns out to be a new release from DC soon, as the self-styled Trap Metal lords are well on their way to carving out a larger niche for themselves amongst the ever-growing metal/rap fanbase.
December last year saw the beginning of the revival of Australia’s metal scene, with Good Things Festival being the first major gathering of local and international metal bands since covid. With it, came my first opportunity to see The Gloom in the Corner, leaving me taken aback by what one of the most unique performances I’ve seen in a long time. Hailing from Melbourne, their particular brand of conceptualised theatrical metalcore has gained much attention recently after the release of their latest chapter ‘Trinity’. A sonic foray into musical depravity, the album artfully depicts a bloodstained instrumental canvas dripping with themes of abject violence, catastrophic betrayal and unfettered hatred as it narrates the canonical journeys of characters you’ll have to get to know by listening to their previous catalogue. Last night the harrowing tale came to life before my very eyes with vocalist Mikey Arthur dictating the descent into the rabbit hole with incomparable ability. His vocal delivery is insane, with phenomenal melodious cleans and gut-wrenching lows being a breathtaking narrative medium. Alongside the instrumental brutality and backup vocals from the rest of the band, they played with energetic precision and left the whole room lusting for more.
By this point in the night, the entirety of Fortitude Valley Mall was just about taken up by coloured hair, black garb, and raucous chatter, much to the displeasure of the normal Valley-goers. The Fortitude was almost entirely packed out by this point, and anticipation for what came next was more than audible. No doubt encouraged by the fact Brisbane hasn’t seen them for over three years, the place came alive as the New York rapcore act Stray From the Path took to the stage.
Vicious riffs and unrelenting grooves fronted with vocalist Drew Dijorio’s lethal vocals always constitute a rampant performance, with hits like Needful Things and Fortune Teller driving the crowd into an inordinate frenzy. The polished wooden floor was covered in a sufficient amount of alcohol at this point to make the mosh pit somewhat of a hazard zone, though that didn’t stop circle pit after circle pit forming and falling to the turbulent beat. Drummer Craig Reynolds displayed his rhythmic affluence with indescribable ferocity in Guillotine much to the pleasure of anyone who could stay still enough to watch it. As always, Dijorio makes comment on the political morals Stray From the Path stand for, condemning all who are intolerant of the many walks of life that often find themselves at Stray from the Path shows, and defining once more why the community spirit that exists within the fanbase of this genre of music is so strong.
And so the lights dim, the Tarot Cards come out, and the main event begins. Their first show back in Brisbane since the Kaliyuga tour, In Hearts Wake come on to an earthquake reaction and launch into Neverland (The star) with their usual fervour. Fans old and new are cast into the fray as the moshpit consumes half the room and mayhem unfolds in true fashion. Despite being unduly dressed head to toe in the iconic stag costume, vocalist Jake Taylor commands the audience into a wildly nostalgic delirium of post hardcore brutality. As they continue to power through songs off ‘Divination’ the whole of Brisbane is reminded as to why In Hearts Wake have held the title they have for so long, with their debut album of 10 years holding up to the standard they still write and play with today. Inertia was a hit, with bassist and clean vocalist Kyle Erich stepping up to the mark and delivering a fantastic vocal rendition of the track, as every voice in the room rose to sing along in harmonium. To control live atmosphere with such accuracy and power is definitely one of the greatest aspects of IHW, earned through time spent onstage, and is always a pleasure to watch.
I think by the end of the night I counted 5 walls of death with an immeasurable number of circle pits, if I’d judge the quality of last night’s performance by anything it would be that. By the end of their ‘Divination’ playthrough, the crowd was definitely weary, yet still they cried out for more. IHW obliged, with their first encore, the audience vitality was restored and we were treated to a few recent hits such as Hellbringer and Earthwalker. The unbridled instrumental ability of drummer Conor Ward shone through in those more recent releases such as Refuge, and the crowd violently expressed their undying gratitude.
In what Jake Taylor told us was the biggest headline show that IHW has played in Brisbane to date, it was amazing to see the support that they have undoubtedly earned over the last 10 years. With their incredible instrumental ability, passion for heavy music and incorporating of strong politically/environmentally conscious concepts in their art, In Hearts Wake will undoubtedly remain one of the top Australian hardcore artists for a long time to come. The entire night was a riveting expose of unfathomably good performances, from each and every band. Good luck to Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle, hope you guys are ready for what’s coming.
Thanks to Dallas Does PR