If you combine TCSoL-era Rivers of Nihil with Gojira‘s The Way of All Flesh, you’d have a pretty accurate representation of what Sanzu is. The band have nailed the perfect balance between paying homage to their obvious musical influences while also maintaining a large element of individuality in terms of their approach to songwriting and creativity. Sanzu’s aggressive riffing style picks up where Gojira left off (think Yama’s Messengers or All the Tears), replacing the more repetitive elements of the composition with angular, cacophonic 8-string-slams, so that there is always an unexpected, musical slap in the face waiting around the corner. Hailing from Perth, Australia, the group recently completed a slew of shows across the country, with an impressive list of supporting acts in each city, including Gods of Eden and Iconic Vivisect. Hope Drone were given headlining duties for the Brisbane date, with local death metal acts Eternal Rest and Expulsed filling out the bill, making for a thrilling night of heavy music.
Having never heard of locals Expulsed before, I was thoroughly impressed by the many subtle intricacies within each member’s parts. I often find that if a heavy band has an obvious selling point; a vocalist with a monstrous range or a guitarist that is some otherworldly musical prodigy, the other instruments exist somewhat in their shadow, becoming the weakest links in the chain. This could not have been further from the truth with Expulsed. Between songs the bassist created ominous, eery soundscapes with an extensive pedal board, an unexpected element of their set, however it fit seamlessly, reminding me of what a a ship sounds like being crushed at the bottom of the ocean.
Eternal Rest took the stage after a short Intermission, with the addition of a new bassist, it was nice to see the group playing tighter than ever. Lots of movement on stage made their set quite enjoyable to photograph, my only wish is that the venues’s lighting was a little brighter. an excess of blue and purple light made capturing the band’s energy in an accurate light (no pun intended) was a bit difficult, though that hindered not the groups’ ability to put on a consistently solid performance, time after time.
Before Sanzu started I took a moment to review the images I had taken up until that point. I am characteristically guilty of taking too many photos when covering events such as this, however the night was only half way through and I had already snapped over 900 pictures. “Rip in peace, future me” ran through my mind, before hurrying back to the stage. Before I left for the show, I briefly familiarized myself with Sanzu’s latest release, ‘Heavy Over the Home’, thoroughly enjoying many aspects of the record. It was such a delight to see that translate so well in a live setting; from the live mix to the band’s razor-sharp accuracy, every element of the show worked congruently to paint a uniquely menacing aural environment.
No strangers to atmosphere, Hope Drone delivered yet another stellar performance, displaying their latest release, Cloak of Ash, with unwavering ferocity. Feeling exhausted by this point, having worked prior to the show, I fought stifled yawns and aching muscles through what was otherwise an incredibly enjoyable show. It was nice to have a little more room to work with as opposed to their previous shows, where I’ve been crammed into a corner (such is music photography), this time having access to all sides of the stage. While not a hugely energetic live band by some definitions, the group’s collective musicianship is an obvious trait that captivates and consumes the listener, making it difficult to do anything but give them your absolute attention while on stage. Thanks to Sanzu for having me along to cover this event – check out the photos below!
Photos may not be reproduced or used in any manner outside of the above posting without express permission of the photographer and/or Heavy Blog is Heavy.