Too often metal can be all about heaviness and brutality, depressing lyrics and cookie monster growls. The Evelyn Hotel was not filled with this kind of metal. Instead, the night was filled with beer fuelled ballads, vodka inspired verses and anthems about ale as the Brisbane band Lagerstein took to the stage. Alongside them were the face melting Espionage, the power metal stylings of Horizon’s Edge and Keggin, who shared Lagerstein’s love for libations. Lagerstein’s pirate themed folk metal drew in a colourful crowd of like-minded fans, many taking the opportunity to adorn themselves with eye patches, cutlasses and even a parrot.
First up was Keggin, who brought a refreshing change to the metal frenzies soon to come. Their music is carefree punk rock, with simple lyrics that made each song easy to sing along to. The band’s love for all things alcoholic was quickly revealed, with each of their songs being about some form of beverage. Song titles were all influenced by this passion, with gems like “Indiana Jones and the temple of Goon” and “Fruity Lexia Makes You Sexier”.
Espionage stepped out onto the stage next and blew it into the stratosphere with their shredding guitars and soaring vocals. The group felt like a blast from the past, inspired by 1980’s speed metal Denis Sudzuka’s solos were downright enthralling, with an incredible amount of technical expertise mixed and hooks had the audience headbanging away. Andrew Morris’s vocals fit the tone perfectly, delivering a traditional blast of power metal into the eardrums of an eager audience. Espionage exceeded all expectations and is definitely a band to watch.
Following with some power metal of their own was Horizon’s Edge. The six-part performance was full of infectious energy delivering powerful riffs to the fledgeling mosh pit in front of them. Campbell Hill’s keyboard was, in particular, a standout, swapping to a more portable version to roam the stage. Fans were also treated to an explosive farewell drum solo from Dean Lewer– his last performance with Horizon’s Edge. While the band performed remained solid throughout the night, vocalist Kat Sproule had a rocky start. Her singing didn’t seem to gel with the band when going for some lower notes, but she managed to regain her stride halfway through the performance.
With the crowd well and truly warmed up, Lagerstein took to the stage behind a ship’s steering wheel. The crew of the SS Plunderberg commandeered the stage with their upbeat style of folk metal and crisp vocals that had fans singing along to every word. Beginning appropriately with “Raise Your Steins”, the audience was moshing away by the first heavy riff.
There were plenty of surprises in store for the crowd that night as the band took a short break between every few songs to change it up. The Evelyn was divided in two as Port and Starboard watched guitarists Neil Rummy Rackers and The Majestic Beast face off to see who could down a beer from a shoe the fastest. Occasionally a band member would be lost in the sea of fans while the band played mournfully about the possibility he was lost at sea or worse- sober! The waves were parted by the magnificent Captain Gregarr, who orchestrated a brutal wall of death. The energy in the room just kept building up, as the band crowdsurfed and clambered around the room.
The band was in perfect harmony with one another, each showing off their skills as both musicians and performers. Mother Junkst’s violin helped give each song an authentic feel, making the band feel like it belonged on the deck of a pirate ship, while Ol’ mate Dazzle’s drums helped set the frantic pace. The band had recently parted ways with Phil “The Immobilizer” Philp, whose absence was replaced by Chronolyth bassist Alex Nisiriou. While Nisiriou a great addition to the band’s sound, it is still sad to see the “baritone with a belly full of booze” go.
One very special moment is when the crew left the stage to sit down on the now beer soaked floor with the rest of the crowd. They began to sing their shanty, “Dring ‘Til We Die”, swapping their instruments for acoustics. The intimate moment was a refreshing break from the non-stop moshing, which quickly broke out once again when the band returned.
The encore performance was so spectacularly within the theme, the eager crowd screamed for more piracy in their lives. The band was more than happy to help, returning with a couple extra songs and finishing with each member of the band treated to a turn with the beerbong.
Lagerstein offers an experience that every fan of the genre should experience at least once. Their over the top antics mixed with brilliant folk metal and never ceasing energy is a sight to behold.