SLAYFEST @ Amplifier Capitol gets 8/10

Slayfest 2019
@ Amplifier Capitol
Saturday, March 23, 2019


These days, it’s not so common to see a line going around the corner for a show before doors open unless it’s a younger crowd but Saturday night certainly bucked the trend as a line of black started at Capitol and disappeared around the corner.

It’s also not common to see a lot of people there to see the support acts. Far too often, they are playing to an almost empty room with only die-hard fans of the headliners and those few that simply love their music so it was refreshing to see a crowded room in Amplifier for the first band of the night, Blackwitch.

Blackwitch was the perfect opening band. Hard, fast, fun and just the right amount of heavy to prepare everyone for the night of metal ahead.

What some people may not have been prepared for however, was Battlesword Steelmaster – a self-confessed ‘codpiece slaughtering power metal’ band. They came out dressed in Viking regalia and proverbially melted the faces off those watching with skillful mastery of their axes, dominating the Capitol stage.

The outside stage at Amps held the punk bands and Freak Vibe was the first to grace the stage. If you haven’t seen Freak Vibe before, then do yourself a favour and go check them out. They are everything you could want from a punk band.

Potion brought the doom metal to the Amps stage and, incidentally, was the only band of the night to have a woman. They were talented and, if you like your music dark and heavy, this is the band for you.


Pathogen were next up on the Capitol stage. These guys really brought the energy and the synchronized headbanging, with hair flying everywhere. They are seasoned professionals and it really is a shame it was a one-off show. If you missed out, then you really did miss out.


Bayview Suspect brought the melodic metal to the outside stage and again, it was good to see how many people were standing there watching them and getting into their music.

Loose Unit

For those into their desert rock, Loose Unit is the band for you. They brought the rock to the Amps stage which tied in nicely with the other acts. Hopefully, this isn’t their last show again for awhile.

King Parrot

King Parrot arrived to a crowded room. There’s not much that can be said about these guys that hasn’t been said before. After all, a band that opens their set with the Come & Get It theme song from Peter Russell Clarke is clearly winning at life.

Another band that brings the energy is Beerfridge. You really should have seen these guys play by now and if not, then get out there and go and see them. They always put on a brilliant performance and they are always so happy on stage which is good to see.

Black Rheno brought the heavy to Slayfest with their sludge metal and really dialled the levels up to eleven. Another quality band from Perth, Ratking owned the outside stage as they jumped around everywhere (and on the bar/amps on either side). Unfortunately though, most people only caught half of their set as people rushed over to Capitol to secure their spots for the headline act.

Phil Ansemo & The Illegals

Phil Anselmo & The Illegals came on to an absolutely packed out house in Capitol. It was almost impossible to move around during their set unless you managed to work your way upstairs. The band started first and the audience erupted into loud cheers as Anselmo walked out.

The first half of their set was filled with Anselmo’s solo work with the Illegals. He acknowledged that most people weren’t there to see that but was grateful that the audience loved it. “Are you young enough to never have seen Pantera?” Anselmo asked everyone. “I wanna see you motherfuckers go berserk!”

They played Mouth For War, Becoming, I’m Broken, Walk, Fucking Hostile and New Level. For those of us there who had seen Pantera with Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, there was that bit of fear that the Illegals wouldn’t be able to hold a torch to their performances but we needn’t have worried.


There were so many of us who had grown up with Pantera and their songs still hold great importance. Seeing the man himself sing them again was truly something else. This part of the set was tinged with sadness, happiness, ecstasy and just pure joy as we got to see and hear these songs once more. Even now, just thinking back to Saturday night; to that night back in 1996 is enough to give one goosebumps. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe and overwhelming when we think about what has been lost.

With all the controversy surrounding Anselmo right now, we wondered if anything would be mentioned. The only thing he said was “I want you to take care of each other, love each other, I mean it man,” and it came across as being genuine and full of feeling.


Unfortunately for Dethlahem and Palm, only the hard core fans saw them as the rest of us stayed for the entire set of Phil Anselmo. Psychonaut was the last band to take the stage and they were the perfect finish to what was an excellent night of music.

With most festivals, there are the bands that you haven’t heard of (or maybe you have but just haven’t seen them) and there are always the bands that you just don’t like. However, the latter wasn’t the case on Saturday night. Every single band was a class act and you simply could not complain about the music.

Rat King

Having said that, there were a few points that need to be mentioned. Firstly – where were the female bands? Surely there are more girls in metal than just one single person? This is a conversation that really needs to be had in great length. More equality over every, single genre of music.

And whilst this reviewer didn’t witness any bad behaviour throughout the night, it wasn’t until after that people started talking about the way the security guards were treating patrons. There was also an unprovoked fight started by one woman against another woman who had not been doing anything wrong and instead of helping, security threw all parties out. What happened to protecting people in situations like this?

Ladies – we should be looking AFTER each other and NOT attacking each other. Again, this is another long conversation that needs to be had. Amplifier Capitol has been around for a long time now and with recent controversies over uniforms, people and bands are going to stop giving them support unless something drastic changes. Amps was such a great place back in the day and over the years has lost its way. Please have a long, hard look at yourselves and work out what needs to be fixed before it’s too late.


Photos by Damien Crocker

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