Just because you’re a fan of heavy music doesn’t mean you have to spend your summer holidays checking out burned down churches in Norway and Sweden. I mean, yeah, it’s cool: but when you’re so cool that you have to keep a hot water bottle stuffed down your trousers to prevent frostbite in an area that you really don’t want any kind of bites on, it’s a different story. Happily, the metal music scene in the Land Down Under is thriving: so pack the factor 50 suncream and jump on those flights to Oz, pronto.
Australia is a vast, vast country: you’ll find yourself choosing between flights to Sydney or Melbourne, and may even want to visit Perth. Unless you have unlimited time and money, this can be difficult. Of course each of Australia’s cities has its own metal scene: like the rest of the world popular music is dominated by R&B and emo, so you’ll need to know what to look out for before you go.
Australia’s largest city boasts some of the most innovative metal bands, and it’s well worth trying to catch them playing live in their home town. Technical death metal band Ouroboros, melodic metal Datura Curse, and black/symphonic metal Anno Domini are all currently touring.
The annual Soundwave festival is the perfect destination for a metal based holiday, and it tours in Sydney each February. The 2012 line-up included Slipknot, System of a Down and Meshuggah; of course there’s a few emo stalwarts thrown in for good measure but don’t let that ruin your time. Grab a plastic pint of beer and get moshing.
On a Saturday night, the Venom club is the destination for metalheads across Sydney. There are a couple of other metal venues, like SFX and Die Maschine. If you fancy a shopping spree Utopia Records is the perfect place to pick up a t-shirt, poster, patches and vinyl or for some new togs head down to Le Cabinet Des Curiosities, run by the bassist of local band Nazxul.
The Soundwave Festival also visits Melbourne after Sydney. If you’d prefer to visit Australia in March, when the weather is slightly cooler (February is mid-summer for Australians) then Melbourne may be a better choice: particularly since it’s in the South of the country, where the weather is cooler anyway.
Recently the University of Melbourne released research that states heavy metal music causes depression: we think they were just listening to poor examples. If they’d listened to some of their local metal bands, particularly BerserkerfoX, 4Arm and dropbunny, I reckon they would have come to a different conclusion.
For metallers who fancy hitting the clubs, Melbourne has a lot more to offer than Sydney. The Cherry Bar on AC/DC avenue is a favourite venue for rock stars; thankfully an offer from Noel Gallagher to buy the bar was rejected. DV8 is a good choice for a Saturday night, and The Night Owl bar (previously the Green Room) is a great place to catch some live music.
Okay it may not be a big city, but bear with us. Fremantle is an essential pilgrimage for any metalhead, as it’s where AC/DC frontman Bon Scott and his family lived after moving to Australia from Kirriemuir in Scotland. Take a photo by the statue of the famous frontman and pay your respects at his grave. Fremantle Prison is a pretty cool place to visit, too; especially if you take a torchlight tour.
Or you could just stick to Northern Europe. Just remember to wrap up warm.