To become the head of the pack, it takes heart, guts, and determination. Over the last 24 months, Melbourne metalcore juggernauts Alpha Wolf have proven they have all three in abundance. 2020 saw the release of their Sophomore album ‘a quiet place to die’, which was the culmination of every lesson learnt, every hit taken, and every loss felt; and it lead the band to a #6 charting spot on the ARIA charts and nomination for Best Heavy Album at the ARIA awards. ‘a quiet place to die’ is the end result of five individuals who have faced the fire and refuse to flinch, pouring their everything into making something they are truly proud of. Through all the chaos these last few years have been able to throw at the band, they’ve still managed to play multiple headlining runs of sold out shows, secured places on some of the biggest festivals in Australia, and have their eyes securely set on the international scene. Alpha Wolf have shown that nothing this world can throw at them is going to stop them from tearing apart the metalcore scene.
In Hearts Wake
In Hearts Wake
Australia’s In Hearts Wake are a band on an urgent mission. The power and purpose behind their fifth album KALIYUGA is evident in every facet of its making.
Besides their recording and manufacturing process — which the band have totally carbon offset and have planted a tree in India for every physical copy sold — In Hearts Wake break boundaries sonically, by braiding diverse styles together in service to a wide-ranging scope of songs and performances. KALIYUGA is at once a bigger-picture album, but an intimate and autobiographical one too. Combining massive thundering hellfire with personal transparency, infectious hooks with chainsaw riffs and primal rhythms, IHW sharpen and blend the edges between captivating melody and merciless heaviness.
KALIYUGA is geared for inciting widespread positive action and breaking new ground in order to tackle the most pressing crises on the planet today. This is infectious and inspiring conscious heavy music for these times.
Since their formation in Hearts Wake had devoted themselves to intense and relentless touring, looping the globe and Australia repeatedly until 2017, with multiple tours of the US, Europe, and Asia. During this time, the band became an international bright light in the heavy music scene and one of Australia’s leading heavy music acts.
Make Them Suffer
Make Them Suffer
Make Them Suffer formed out of the local metal and hardcore scene in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. The local music scene would serve to develop the band in their formative years before touring nationally and internationally in years to follow. Birthed from symphonic elements, Make Them Suffer embrace classical and modern digital virtual instruments and samples, with nods to the likes of Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Halestorm, Jinjer and Spiritbox driving their adaptation on the metalcore genre. Recently adding new vocalist and keyboardist Alex Reade into the role of “The Fifth Member” for Make Them Suffer, Reade‘s first encounter with the band simultaneously was when she stepped off a flight landing in Brisbane for the production of the group’s Doomswitch video.
Northlane are a chart topping, award-winning metal band from Sydney, Australia. Through fearless evolution and unmatched innovation, Northlane are vanguards of heavy music across the globe. The band’s critically acclaimed sixth record, Obsidian (2022), debuted at #1 on the ARIA Album Chart – their second #1 and fourth Top #3 album overall. They have also won three consecutive ARIA Awards for Best Hard Rock or Heavy Metal Album as well as an AIR Award for Best Independent Heavy Album.
Aussie oddballs Ocean Grove freely fuse rock, metal, grunge, hip-hop & Brit-pop influences, pioneering what can only be described as 𝗢𝗱𝗱𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗹𝗱 𝗠𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗰™️. The eclectic Melbourne-bred trio have released three technicolored LPs, most recently ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ (2020) and ‘Up In The Air Forever’ (2022). A full-hearted mix of big-sky melodies and some of the most unique storytelling ever to come from a three-piece rock band, Ocean Grove’s third LP expands on many of the things that made ‘Flip Phone Fantasy’ such a hit – huge choruses, irresistible riffs and catchy sloganeering lyrics – but now rendered with a new sense of scope and scale. Hazy, nostalgic guitars wrap themselves around swaggering pop savvy, the trio’s ambition evident on every layer, from meticulous song crafting to head-spinning concepts. A record that looks as far forward into an alternate future as it does take heed from the classics of the past, ‘Up In The Air Forever’ traverses from genre to genre, taking in guest appearances from international chart-toppers Dune Rats (Aus) and Lizzo / Travis Barker collaborator Lil Aaron (USA).
After taking out the triple j unearthed high crown in 2020, the Adelaide two-piece have not slowed down – in the last 18 months the self proclaimed “Juice-box punk-pop” girls have taken out #87 in the 2020 H100, #84 in the 2021 H100, released their debut EP ‘Taste Of Me’ and won a record breaking 7 Awards at the 2021 SAM Awards including awards for ‘Best New Artist’, ‘Best Live Performance’ and ‘Best Release’.
Going from strength to strength, Teenage Joans spent 2022 on tour with (now lifelong friends) Ball Park Music, Violent Soho The Chats, Bugs, Sly Withers as well as played arenas around the country supporting Amy Shark before heading on their debut sold out national tour. They were also invited to perform at festivals such as Spin Off, Full Tilt, Summer Sounds, Yours & Owls, NYE On the Hill, Unify, Land Of Plenty & many more to come and were due to support the Foo Fighters nationally on their now-cancelled tour for late 2022.
Standing on the mountain top of a breakout debut album effort, 2021 finds Thornhill travelling at breakneck speed towards global heavy domination. The band – comprising vocalist Jacob Charlton, guitarists Ethan McCann and Matt Van Duppen, bassist Nick Sjogren and drummer Ben Maida – have media, industry and heavy faithfuls pining for another lick of Thornhill.
From their hometown in Melbourne, the five-piece l broke out of the local scene with a pair of EPs in ’13’ (2016) and ‘Butterfly’ (2018) – spawning support slots alongside scene heroes including Northlane, Architects, Parkway Drive, In Hearts Wake, Beartooth, Make Them Suffer and The Plot In You, before their full-length assault, ‘The Dark Pool’ arrived a year later.
Presenting commanding singles including ‘Nurture’ and ‘Coven’, dynamic soundscapes like ‘Where We Go When We Die’ and gripping themes on humanity, anxiety and loss, ‘The Dark Poo’l was a winning full-length debut effort. Awarded a laundry list of accolades including triple j’s Feature Album and additions countless Best Of The Year lists, the release also saw Thornhill awarded nominations including Best International Breakthrough Artist at the 2020 Heavy Music Awards, and Best Independent Heavy Album/EP at the 2020 AIR Awards.
Possessing a sonic character and resolve few young bands can claim to grasp, Thornhill are set to take the world of modern heavy over once and for all.
Thy Art Is Murder
Thy Art Is Murder
Privatized prisons enforce police states, where nonviolent offenders languish for decades. Pharmaceuticals numb the mind. Social media distracts the spirit. All while the very planet lurches toward an inevitable climate disaster that will extinguish humanity. The Nightmare of Human Organ Harvesting? That’s not a gruesome song title from some forgotten old-school death metal record. It’s a headline from the Wall Street Journal.
Against this backdrop of postmodern dystopia, chaos, and confusion, arrives Human Target, the earth-scorching fifth album from extreme metal titans THY ART IS MURDER.
Australia’s most brutally alarming cultural export since George Miller’s Mad Max franchise makes music that serves as a loud last gasp against the ever-encroaching void. It’s a blazing light of nihilistic despondency before the final darkness. Fusing authentic crushing death metal with blackened fury and flashes of knuckle-dragging stomp, THY ART IS MURDER exorcise the pangs of mortality and the pains of socio-political trauma.
It’s a reinvigoration and redefinition of a thriving subculture that has earned them a place in the Top 50 Most Popular Metal Bands Right Now, According to the Internet, a list compiled by a popular metal blog (based on worldwide page views) that puts THY ART IS MURDER among Metallica, Slipknot, Slayer, Megadeth, Ghost, and Iron Maiden.
THY ART IS MURDER’s thinking-person’s blackened death metal has challenged and inspired audiences around the globe, from top-tier genre festivals like Download, Graspop, Hellfest, and Summer Breeze; to high-profile tours supporting Killswitch Engage, Parkway Drive, and Architects; to multiple headlining and co-headlining shows. In their native country, they’ve charted higher than any other homegrown extreme metal band. They even toured North America with Slayer as part of Rockstar Mayhem.
Guitarist/cofounder Sean Delander, guitarist/lyricist Andy Marsh, singer Chris “CJ” McMahon, and bassist Kevin Butler officially welcome drummer Jesse Beahler (Jungle Rot, Black Crown Initiate, Rings Of Saturn) into the fold with Human Target, who brought a groovy yet technical approach to the proceedings. Marsh and Delander wrote the songs in just a few short weeks, with producer Will Putney once again at the helm.
THY ART IS MURDER continues to rail against the anti-intellectualism and fear of mortality at the heart of some of the worst of public policy. In contrast with their impressive back catalog, no song on Human Target singles out organized religion or the concept of God specifically. The title track is about the practice of organ harvesting in China, where the World Heath Organization found a huge discrepancy in the number of organs volunteered by donors and the number of organs transplanted into the wealthy.
“Make America Hate Again” isn’t intended to alienate any of the leftist band’s more right leaning audience members; it’s an attack against the entire political system, satirizing the expectation that any government will make things “great” for the masses.
“New Gods” is about the role of social media in the mental health epidemic. “Death Squad Anthem” champions the youth who are fed up with the current system. “Atonement” is both a brutal examination concerning the truth of sexual violence, most of which goes unreported, and a literal atonement of sorts for some of the band’s less thoughtful lyrics, around the time of the original lineup’s formation a dozen years ago.
“Welcome Oblivion,” inspired by a line from the late Christopher Hitchens’ Mortality, likens humankind to a “cancer” upon the planet. “Eye for an Eye” subversively ascribes a patient vengeance to the earth, an earth that will survive the “cancer” of humanity. “Voyeurs into Death” attacks the surveillance state and for-profit-prisons. “Chemical Christ” is about the religion of addiction, from pharmaceuticals to “smart” phones.
Australia’s Yours Truly are 2021’s must-watch in the alternative scene. Huge international touring credits, media and radio trailblazing and a burgeoning brood of fans are just some of the successes that back this band, but it’s the knack for punchy songwriting and performance deep in their DNA that makes this four-piece really tick.
From their hometown in Sydney, Yours Truly first broke out with their 2019 EP ‘Afterglow’ and went on to spend the rest of the year gracing stages including Download UK, Riot Fest and Good Things and supporting rock heroes including Sum 41 and State Champs on their international quests. In 2020 the band followed with their full-length ‘Self Care’, which saw the band awarded a laundry list of accolades including triple j’s Feature Album and Tone Deaf’s Record Of The Week, alongside band nominations for Rolling Stone’s Best New Artist and Best International Breakthrough Band at the UK Heavy Awards. If that wasn’t enough, their pulsing, urgent and frustration-filled 2021 single ‘Walk Over My Grave’ arrived to a tidal wave of local and international success.
Possessing a power and poise few young bands can claim to grasp, it’s this vision and resolve that will see Yours Truly take the world over.
Since 2015, UNIFY Gathering has been a staple of the annual heavy music calendar, taking place during 7 of the past 8 years and bringing a diverse roster of local and international acts that celebrate heavy music to Gippsland Victoria.
In 2023, UNIFY will pivot to a series of intimate club shows across five states, with each date featuring a different lineup made up of acts from around the country. All five events will include pop up stores, artist signings and workshops before doors, with the aim to bring as much of UNIFY on the road as is possible.