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Words by Sam Wolstenholme

Newcastle’s hardcore heavyweights Vilify are having a very good year so far, going from strength to strength as they melted our faces with a crushing set at Cvltfest in February, and now releasing their ferocious new EP ‘Fever Dream’ along with a national tour. With Canberra-based pop-infused metalcore trio St Sinner also in tow, tonight Vilify are kicking off their multi-date domination of metro and regional stages across Australia, with local supports Zuko and Acid Cherry to join in the rampage for the Brisbane show. It’s a school night at local favourite semi-goth haunt Black Bear Lodge, and something tells me the subdued little bar is about to get thoroughly torn up with the massive breakdowns and fight pits to come.

Grunge-punk chaos sorceresses Acid Cherry are first up, and it’s clear that they already have a dedicated (and rowdy) following, judging by the raucous applause that breaks out after their first number. Their sound is a pleasing mix of Letters to Cleo and Nirvana with a tinge of Korn, and it just hits in a very satisfying way with a warm guitar and bass tone and gutsy cleans and screams from frontwoman Brooke. Brooke advises us that her inspiration for forming this band was when some loser in a previous band told her that “chicks can’t play heavy music”. It’s laughable that opinions like this even exist in 2024, but witnessing Brooke’s rebellious energy, fiery stage presence and infernal screams, I think we can safely say it’s that guy’s loss. A cover of Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff goes off, and the unexpected hardcore moments in recent singles Prisoner and Nosebleed add some bite that gets people moving. Yeah the girls.

Next up is Zuko, who launch straight into hardcore aggression and instantly, a frenzied fight pit erupts and all hell breaks loose. Suddenly the room seems claustrophobic as the quintet barrel through chunky riff after chunky riff and huge screams – think Knocked Loose and Alpha Wolf vibes. They’re crushingly heavy and command the small space we’re in with the unhinged rage of their sound and the raw energy of their performance, particularly from frontman Jesse. Venom delivers fantastically fierce grooves and furious drums that has everyone two-stepping away. These guys are masters at creating a warlike atmosphere with brutal breakdowns that get the blood up. Their closing number is a flurry of fists, kicks and chugs – everything you’d hope a hardcore throwdown would be. There’s a reason Zuko are one of my personal favourite Brisbane bands. Every time I’ve seen them live, they’ve blown me away. These guys are destined for big things, undoubtedly.

Dark synth emanates from the stage as St Sinner build the tension that quickly dissolves into metalcore breakdowns. They deliver a huge sound for only three members, with vocal melodies and synths contrasting with occasional deathcore chugs – think Emmure meets Northlane. Egged on by their bulletproof vest-clad frontman (who is presumably taking extra precautions for chaotic fight pits), punters rush back into the mosh and throw fists to the stylishly dirty metalcore beats. Everyone sings along enthusiastically to a cover of Bring Me The Horizon’s Shadow Moses, and vocally, it’s clear that Oli Sykes is a strong influence for their frontman. Some unexpected blast beats generate the first circle pit of the night – no mean feat for a band our local crowd isn’t familiar with. Overall, it’s a tight and uncompromising performance from St Sinner tonight.

It’s time for our headliners, and though Vilify launch into their set with the blistering energy they’ve become known for, a technical issue with Amy’s mic threatens to derail the set. After much perseverance from the industrious sound tech, and much hilarious no-bullshit banter from Amy, the tech issues are resolved, and now things really kick off. The quartet deliver a colossal sound tonight and bring down the house with their hardcore chaos that ranges from agitated Rage Against The Machine vibes all the way to Justice For the Damned-esque brutality. Light Bringer and Split Tongue are electrifying – scorching screams from Amy, deliciously crisp drums from Kieran Jackson, filthy chugs from Deni Hourihan and queen Lizi Blanco is a beast shredding on that bass. 

Tonight Vilify are playing every track from ‘Fever Dream’, along with a few other choice bangers, and the energy of the set does not let up for one moment. They build the ferocity with every track like a storm that is slowly gathering force. Angry, groovy riffs fuel the fight pits that rage continuously throughout the set, with a few circle pits whipped up for good measure. I am consistently impressed with how committed Vilify are in their live performances – collectively, they are a true powerhouse. And judging by the batshit crazy reaction from the crowd, I am not alone in that opinion. Mark my words, Vilify will be crushing the big leagues before long.

Catch Vilify on tour – tickets available here.

Thanks to BigMouth PR

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