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Words – Sam Wolstenholme

Fresh off the release of their game-changing new album, ‘Secrets of the Future’, Sydney’s hottest prog metal exports Reliqa are embarking on their national headlining album tour, joined by special guest Perth singer-songwriter RinRin.

A considerably heftier hype train follows the quartet up north this time around. They’re stepping up into the big leagues after signing to Nuclear Blast Records and Greyscale Records, not to mention the avalanche of glowing album reviews that continues to cascade down upon them. Brisbane’s metal contingent has already responded to this bubbling excitement by actually purchasing enough presale tickets to warrant a venue upgrade (side note, let’s keep this up Brissy crew, it’s exactly what artists and venues need right now to keep the scene alive!). So tonight, we’re gearing up for an epic, notably female-led lineup of standout Australian heavy talent at The Brightside.

Leading Brisbane hard rock trio Krave are the first to take the stage tonight as local support. As they launch into spirited opener Outta Control, I notice that guitars are completely absent from the mix due to a technical issue. Fortunately this is quickly resolved, then it’s all systems go and we’re back to business with a flurry of windmilled hair, piercing rock belts and searing shreds. There’s already a sizeable crowd for an opening set, and a mosh breaks out almost instantly to the familiarly energetic, thrash-tinged rock anarchy Krave never fails to deliver. They’ve comprised a cracking set for us tonight, dealing out a succession of bangers including Purgatory, Take Your Bow and Alchemy, the latter of which stirs up a full-on fight pit. 

Krave’s performance tonight turns out to be a masterclass in powering through assorted tech issues with the utmost professionalism, as Siana’s bass strap also breaks midway through. However, she continues undaunted, belting out those Lzzy Hale-esque vocals and imparting rock goddess energy as she balances her bass on one raised knee for the remainder of the set. A face-melting new track, Unalive channels a Motorhead edge in places and features a filthy breakdown, and finally the trio wrap up with their recent single Charade. A stellar show from Krave tonight, as is to be expected.

At the tender age of just 21, Perth-based singer-songwriter RinRin demonstrates talent far beyond her years, and tonight it’s on full display as she and her similarly skilled band, deliver a dynamic set that is as genre-bending as the headlining band they are supporting. The first few numbers have me thinking we’re in for Paramore meets BABYMETAL vibes, the fresh, energetic pop-punk bops jolting through the room like an electric shock. Particularly impressive is RinRin shredding on her guitar in tandem with her lead guitarist and bassist, all while belting out crystal-clear vocal melodies. It’s the kind of music you can’t help but shake your hips to, but when RinRin unexpectedly unleashes some ferocious fry screams, the mosh starts to get rowdy. 

After a similarly unexpected but awesome medley cover of  A Thousand Miles, the bangers crash back in with the metalcore edge they’ve now acquired. RinRin has the chance to engage full frontwoman mode during the very relatable WTF, abandoning her guitar to focus on delivering more of those rip-roaring screams. She reveals she’s unwell tonight, but even as a vocalist myself, I honestly couldn’t have picked it. They’ve clearly won over the crowd too as half the mosh assembles to do the Macarena during a new, unreleased track. We have had barrels of fun with RinRin and her boundlessly energetic counterparts tonight.

It’s one thing to listen to and review an album that blows your mind through the technical proficiency demonstrated on it. It’s quite another to witness it live, in the flesh, the evidence that humans are capable of such wizardry. There’s not a single second throughout the entirety of Reliqa’s hour-long headlining set in which they are not rehearsed and polished to perfection, which is all the more impressive given how intricate their music is.

Opening with Cave, the first thing I notice is how the vibrations of the huge bass tone and ridiculously low guitar tuning seep through the floor like an obsidian river, enveloping us in a colossal sphere of deep, rumbling sound. Frontwoman Monique has entered her confidence era; she is mesmerising and untouchable in the way she commands the space and holds our attention. Drums from Benjamin are thunderous during Killstar (The Cold World), which inspires a massive mosh, and the rhythm section grooves hit so hard during Dying Light. Mathcore mayhem ensues during a welcome trip down memory lane to The Bearer of Bad News, then the tuning seems to somehow sink even lower for Keep Yourself Awake, which sets off something of an electro rave jump pit.

Monique’s vocals have never been so powerful as they are in Sariah tonight, and it gives me chills – not least because she remarks that this track is for the ladies in the crowd. Female solidarity, I’m here for it. Moshes reign supreme to the cyberpunk djenty beats of Physical, which showcases the virtuosity of guitarist Brendan and bassist Miles, as well as an incredible drum solo from Benjamin. It’s also very satisfying to shout along to that defiant chorus line, “Fuck what you made me and what you made me do”.

Monique flexes her additional piano chops with a poignant moment on keys for Two Steps Apart, and finally we get our first wall of death of the night during the monstrous breakdown in The Flower. It’s back to futuristic rage raves for Terminal and Upside Down, and in a move that brings unadulterated joy to the hearts of longtime fans (me), the quartet closes out a mammoth set with the banger that originally put them on the map, Mr Magic.

If tonight’s performance was anything to go by, Reliqa are set to become a household name with an innovative sound that cannot be replicated. Tonight we’ve celebrated the strength of women in heavy music and witnessed a star on the rise to greatness.

Thanks to Dallas Does Pr

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