simonb3

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The Hobart Metal Scene

Like most of you know or can guess I'm from Australia. Like some of you would, I'm from Hobart, the largest town in that little island off the south of Australia. That island, Tasmania, is famous for David Boon, Psycroptic and incest, and has a population of about half a million. But of course, you'd be more interested in whether the state's got a lively, thriving metal scene or not.

The life or lack thereof of the metal scene... ehhn. It's a hard thing to give a really solid answer to, but I will anyway because what kind of amateur journalist would I be if I didn't?  We've produced some really good bands, no doubt about that, but it seems like unless someone in the band is really good friends with either an already 'big' band or some other scene figure, they can't get off the ground. They might get gigs but they won't get people along to them. Last time I remember a band lasting more than a few shows and making a decent impression was Taberah, and they formed back in about 2005 (and have managed just two demos and a live EP in that time, but that's less due to the scene and more due to them bein' lazy).

As for the people and whether/why they're involved, well, while there's some variety in the kind of people who like metal in Hobart, there's a lot less in the people actually involved in the 'scene' (and not perpetually stuck on the periphery of it). It's basically two types: the fanboy kids and the cunts. The former tend to be about 16 to 22 in age, pick up on a few local bands (naturally, being Tasmania's most succesful international musical export across all genres, Psycroptic are a natural choice, but Taberah tend to attract almost all of them, particularly the worst ones) and slavishly support them, singing their praises ad nauseum to both people who are already into those bands and people who couldn't give a fuck and have told the kid so several times already. Then you have the grumpy cunts, mostly between the ages of 19 and 40. Okay, a few of them aren't that grumpy or cunty but they do fuck all to challenge the status quo of insular bullshit so they may as well be. It wasn't always so, but by now pretty much everyone in a local band (Psycro hardly counting as a local band anymore) fits into this category. A good number of them are bitchy pricks who'll do their best to sink a band who they don't like for whatever reason (decent production on their first demo, a band member wearing a band shirt from a discount store and the band having professional-looking photos on their myspace have all been reasons ACTUALLY GIVEN IRL by these people for their irrational hatred). Predictably they tend to be elitist pricks of the worst variety who'll take pride in never having listened to a band they're paying out.

These - particularly the latter category - are the people killing Hobart's metal scene, and the reason I haven't been to a show by a local metal band in almost three years. This is going to change soon, because I recently picked up a spot writing for (the fully awesome) Australian-based online metal zine Metal As Fuck and since I'm now their man on the ground in Tasmania I need to do concert reviews - expect an updated Trip Report after I go to my first gig as a writer on the 9th (admittedly neither of the bands playing are local so I won't get the full impact but I'll try and see what I can about whether either of these groups of bastards have grown up).

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To tell the truth, I was rather perplexed when I noticed this album in the handful of CDs our Glorious Editor sent me to review. I was familiar with Circa Survive, and they sure as hell weren't metal. There are a huge number of bands in punk and hardcore who have strong links with and influences from metal, but Circa Survive ain't one of them. But what the hell, right?
I understand that a lot of people like prog metal, or at least the idea of prog metal. But at least two thirds of them are quick to follow that up with "but not that soulless wanky Dream Theater crap where they can play really well but can't write songs". And despite that being an inaccurate assessment of the band, I can understand why so many people hate them and everything they stand for. With that in mind, how shit would an album which is just "everything they stand for" be?
Once-cool melodic thrashers Annihilator are releasing a new album (their best in years, naturally) with a title and hype machine indicating a "back-to-basics" approach and a sense of definitiveness, and a gimmick running through each of the songs. Wait a minute, weren't we hearing these exact words in 2007?

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10 years 18 weeks ago