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Words by Sam Wolstenholme

Photography by Carlie Tanithskye | @carlietanithskyephotography


Melbourne metalcore magicians Thornhill seem to have been touring non-stop recently, from sellout shows across Australia, to Good Things Festival, and US tours with the likes of The Plot In You, ERRA and Alpha Wolf. The release of their uniquely cinematic sophomore album ‘Heroine’ last year established the quartet as one of the most innovative, original bands in metalcore and a true class act. Tonight, the best-dressed retro movie stars of metal are set to immerse The Tivoli in dark glamour for the Brisbane leg of their “Prom Queen City” headline Australian tour. It’s the fourth of five dates, each with a set supporting lineup of some of metalcore and melodic hardcore’s finest up-and-comers, including Thornhill’s counterparts in the UK Holding Absence, Thousand Below from the US, and Sydney’s Bloom. There’s a distinct buzz in the room when doors open, even on a school night, as this lineup promises belter melodies and solid moshes from start to finish.

Bloom crash in with the heavies in no uncertain terms, their A Day To Remember meets Parkway Drive brand of gutsy melodic hardcore stirring up a mosh only a couple of tracks into the set. Starting off with only a modest crowd, the room quickly packs out as the five-piece deliver brash yet impassioned emo-tinged bangers such as In Passing, The Service, Sink Into The Soil and a new track Siren Song from their forthcoming album – keep an eye out for that one. Fresh-faced, energetic and defiant, Bloom delivers a snappy and solid set that is strengthened by a fantastic live mix, particularly where guitar tone is concerned, and sure enough, the fight pits break out before too long. Closing out with a particularly compelling track that bathes us in a wall of sound with escalating intensity, the Sydneysiders have set the tone for core breakdowns meets rock anthems tonight.

A dystopian, 1984-esque intro track announces the arrival of Californian post-hardcore outfit Thousand Below, who rip right into a very tight and polished set characterised by the striking contrast between infectiously melodic choruses and dirty, searing breakdowns, echoing Caskets and Ocean Sleeper vibes. The downtuned guitar chugs during heavy sections land like they’re burning a hole in the floor, particularly during mean tracks such as Venenosa. I’m thoroughly impressed with the vocal talents of frontman James Deberg, whose clean vocals, adorned with just the right amount of silky reverb, are as crystal clear, powerful and resonant as his harshes are fierce and feral. Emo dreams are realised in numbers like Silent Season and 171 xo, but things really kick off for The Love You Let Too Close, in which a sizeable circle pit whips up even before the riffs hit. It’s a mesmerising set from Thousand Below tonight.

Cheers erupt from the now abundant crowd for Holding Absence, who barrel on stage after a dark, mysterious intro resounding through the pitch-black room. Instantly, legions of fans are singing along to Like A Shadow, and the mosh dissolves into a frantic jump pit. The rockers lift the mood in the crowd even higher with their clean and bright sound, where explosions of pop-punk excitement take on a darker edge with mean breakdowns and harsh vocals. Suddenly the room seems much too small as punters raise their hands and throw down in the pit. All members of this band demonstrate considerable technical prowess, but props must be given to drummer Ashley Green in particular who blisters his way through complex, intricate fills and kick patterns with unfailing precision. A Crooked Melody offers lush rock vibes reminiscent of Anberlin meets I Prevail as a pleasant departure from the band’s melodic hardcore stylings. The megahit Afterlife inspires a floor-wide circle pit which seethes with electrifying energy, and the band close out their set with a rousing extended outro amidst a sea of crowd phone lights. It’s only the band’s second time in Australia, and they’re so appreciative to be here – here’s hoping they bring their exuberance back here soon.

Finally, it’s time for Thornhill to launch into their varied and captivating headline set, beautifully beset by classy Hollywood lighting as always. Frontman Jacob Charlton marches out with the addition of guitar in hand for opening number Viper Room, and it’s instant rowdiness in the mosh. Charlton’s rich tenor soars throughout the room with the power and emotive flair of musical theatre greats like Anthony Warlow, and his metal Freddie Mercury persona shines through even more strongly in Arkangel, a particularly sensual number. Hits from ‘The Dark Pool’ like Views From The Sun give the band a chance to flex their brutal muscles with crisp grooves and hellish screams, which incite massive circle pits. 

The stately, passionate final chorus of Red Summer paints a velvety soundscape live, and Charlton’s belts here are nothing short of astonishing. But before long, we’re snapped out of our collective hypnosis as Charlton orders us to “dance” for certifiable banger Casanova, and it almost feels as if the room simply cannot contain the sudden explosion of animalistic energy. If by “dance” he intended for the mosh to turn absolutely feral, then he’s succeeded as a huge fight pit opens up with fists punctuating every syllable of that famous outro “now I – don’t – want – to – see – you – burn”. 

There’s a short interlude, and then the band returns with a costume change, and they all look like they’ve wandered straight off the set of West Side Story but for the practiced power stances that remind us of the breakdowns to come. The attention to detail is king in this band – everything is polished and rehearsed down to the smallest detail, yet their delivery is so natural – stagecraft is always a highlight of a Thornhill set. Lily and The Moon is a captivating moment, with thunderous drums and that heart-wrenching chorus sending the pit into a frenzy, and the brutal grooves of Coven hit like a ton of bricks. The mosh morphs into something of a dance pit during Raw, which sounds even more so live – I defy you to find a sexier metal track. But no one is quite prepared for the emotional onslaught of closing number Where We Go When We Die, which is four minutes of perfect, pure chaos. Thornhill have proven, once again, that they are a force to be reckoned with, as they pave a unique road to stardom in the metal world that is glittering with LA lights.



Thanks to Dallas Does PR

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