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Another Soundwave sidewave in a week that’s been chock full of them, this one was a little
late to the party. As a result of the late announcement, the Metro was only at half capacity. No doubt many punters had already blown their budgets and time for their gig count this week. After witnessing Anthrax & Slayer on Monday, Tomahawk Tuesday, Orange Goblin & Kyuss Lives! on Wednesday, this reviewer was certainly struggling to keep up with an overdose of heavy music.
The Sword and Dragonforce were an unlikely combination, but looking at their vastly technical music, not that far apart. The main difference is of course that The Sword have a more groove-heavy stoner/Sabbath/Melvins sound, which is loud as fuck, whereas Dragonforce are a clear-cut speed thrash power metal act, who are also loud as fuck.
The Sword gave us a supercharged set of heavy metal thunder. Like all the greats these guys
worship riffs and dish them up like a 12-course banquet. Bloody delicious. Frontman/guitarist John Cronise mercilessly assaulted his fretboard, and guitarist Kyle Shutt was even more brutal, as the two swapped leads and made it clear that they were intent on squeezing as much as possible into their allocated 45 minutes. Bryan Richie on bass appeared to be in his own world, standing far to the corner of the stage, and just grooving out with drummer Jimmy Vela. The only downside of this jaw-dropping gig was its length – a longer headlining slot surely awaits them on a future tour.
As a stark contrast, Dragonforce come out running like a bunch of nutters and didn’t stop for the next hour – they were all running out on the stage, pulling off all the cheesy rock poses and clearly having a ball. It was certainly infectious. The small but very vocal crowd were all singing/dancing/head banging – generally having a shitload of fun. New frontman Marc Hudson was outstanding, and has an impressive range. But of course the real star of the show was the guitar work of co-founders Herman Li and Sam Totman. The sheer speed and skill at which they played was phenomenal as they belted out Dragonforce ditties Heroes of Our Time, Operation Ground & Pound, and Cry Thunder. Wrapping up the set with a suitably epic Valley of the Damned, Dragonforce returned quickly enough for an encore, the stone-cold classic Through the Fire and Flames.
The Sword and Dragonforce stood and delivered on a night to celebrate loud and fast guitars. On a huge week of Sydney sidewaves, it was a fine capper. Much kudos to the Soundwave boss and entire team for their work in making Soundwave the success it has become. Despite the small hassles, it is mostly an overwhelming success.