As the sun rose outside, darkness fell on The Back Room stage.
There weren’t many good reasons to be awake this early on a Saturday morning, but Shredfest II was a damn good one. The promise was clear: 30 metal bands across 15 hours. And, with coffee and beer in hand, it really felt like we were preparing to battle one massive metal behemoth.
Shredfest has come a long way since its debut in 2015. Conjured up by the wizard, Mike 'Mousey' Whitburn, as a celebration of 100 Metal of Honor shows, last year's inaugural event, headlined by Sydney's powerhouse Darker Half, started the hard-hitting, hard-shredding tradition in style.
Today's instalment (27 August) showcased metal across a multitude of genres with bands from Brisbane and interstate. And with metalheads pouring in like Pokémon to a lure, the madness began. The quality and range of the musicianship seen today was superb, with too many highlights to list.
Every band stepped up to the metal call. From the female power of Brisbane's Seraphic, debuting a new rhythm guitarist, to local thrash-kings Kaustic Attack. The line-up boasted acts like hard hitting Lavidius, Deraign, and Daemon Pyre. Memorable acts included Darklore who delivered with their unique, epic blend of black/ death/ fantasy taking us to realms of fire and ice with haunting vocals backed by chilling keys. A band to watch with their album in the works.
Valhalore serenaded us with epic choruses, akin to the drinking hymns of many a viking horde. Dirty Brew showed us how to rock out with just the right amount of hustle. Caetera brought a heavy wall of deafening metal, shaking up the early afternoon crowd in impeccable style. Interstate headliners Darker Half and Taberah delivered shows of the finest metal calibre.
Prior to Shredfest, I would ponder if dragons were indeed better than jetpacks, but Dragonsmead set the record straight. Mousey joined the crew with a set of cheerful, fist-raising drinking anthems, leaving me wondering why we ever stopped wearing potato sacks. The day wrapped up early on Sunday morning with Palliative Care.
From humble beginnings, Shredfest has become a celebration of the musical talent we have on our doorstep. At the end of the night, with ringing in my ears, Shredfest has hit me like a big, warm slap in the face. I'll be the first in line next year for more abuse at the hands of metal masters.