As soon as the first support band hit the stage of The Espy’s Gershwin Room on the auspicious date of Friday 13th, it was obvious this was going to be a night of magnificent metal. The lead singer of Eye of the Enemy was sporting a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, surrounded by bandmates similarly displaying homage to Meshugga, Opeth and Elm Street. These guys not only have a fixed place in the contemporary metal scene but also know where their roots lie.

It was like that for all of the bands, in particular the headliners, Segression – raw, brutal and “true” metal. The only downside was the horrible sound engineering of the second band, Contrived. This threw them a little and made their few errors all the more noticeable, but for a 3 piece they had a big sound. 3rd up, Dreadnaught were unstoppable in their relentless assault of the senses, getting an ever-increasing crowd pumped and ready for the headliners.

But something was wrong. Even after Segression hit the stage, the only males present throughout the whole night to have “true-metal” long hair were the band members. St. Kilda, and in particular The Espy, has become a hot-spot for indie music such as Vasco Era et. al. so perhaps the venue was simply filled with its usual clientele, unused to pounding double kicks, insanely heavy riffs, and “metal hair”. Furthermore, the number of “devils horns” displayed during the gig could be counted on one hand. This was a metal gig at an indie pub.

It could be a sign that Segression, once one of the hottest and heaviest Australian metal acts around, are now dinosaurs without any real following – but short hair and sensible indie attire aside, everyone was absolutely loving the music. Despite not being around for several years, Segression, with the support of the preceding acts, absolutely smashed the place, leaving behind an impression of awe and bewilderment on the faces of gig-goers who could quite well be seeing truly good metal for the first time, and more importantly, will probably begin to pay more attention to the genre.

Having had their entire body embraced by the swirl of shredding guitars, the churning of power chords, daemonic guttural growls, and the pounding of bass that only truly good metal can bring, perhaps gigs like this are just the boot up the arse Melbourne needs to kick off the 10’s with a bang.

–       Angus Maiden