Nails / Sumeru / Dark Horse
The Red Rattler, Sydney 23/03/18
Review: David James Young | Photos: Peter Zaluzny (Facebook / Twitter)

With a headliner as loud and intense as tonight's, it's gonna take a lot of horsepower to match up to their fiery assault. You know where this is headed – sorry, Dark Horse; you deserve better than that. On all fronts, while we're on the subject: This lot may honestly be one of the most underrated heavy bands in Australia. The Sydney quartet fire off their precise, belligerent brand of grindcore-tinged thrash with minimal fanfare, drawing in a few intrigued punters away from the bar and into the firing line. After years on the circuit, it's gratifying to see the band get their due in the form of a killer support slot. Ride on, gents.

Sumeru are also no strangers to the local metal scene, although their inclusion on tonight's bill may have come as somewhat of a surprise to some. Their big-swinging, bikie-friendly groove metal doesn't quite gel with the more hardcore punk leanings of the bands sandwiching them. Not that they'd let that stop them, of course – Sumeru have asserted their dominance on bills with everyone from Gay Paris to I Exist and back again. They come out swinging with drop-A tuning and mammoth Keith Moon drum fills and they refuse to let up until they've uncrossed the arms of every cynic and allowed a few heads to start nodding. Live a little – go see Sumeru.

The moment has arrived. What we never thought would ever happen is finally here. After nearly a decade on the scene, Californian metal extremists Nails are finally set to perform on Australian soil. As soon as the dissonant screech of “God's Cold Hands” erupts from the speakers, the very-sold-out Red Rattler does not need a second invitation to get in on the action. A curious mix of throwdown hardcore kids and beer-gutted metal dudes, pockets of the crowd each respond differently. Some get to hardcore dancing straight away, others barrel into a push-pit at the front of the stage. Really, when it comes to a band like Nails, there are no wrong answers. Whether you're windmilling to “You Will Never Be One of Us” or two-stepping to “Life is a Death Sentence,” this is music that demands an active presence and response.

Everything is done and dusted within 35 minutes of Nails arriving on stage – that's 15 Nails songs plus one cover, GBH's “Sick Boy.” There's no encore, there's no milling about, there's no extended intros or jam sessions. It's pure, unadulterated fury from a band that may be the premier purveyors of the stuff right now. Now they've had a taste, one lives in hope that they won't leave it to long before a repeat offence in Australia.