Review: Brooke Bijl
Ark National Tour
Brisbane Show, The Tivoli
In Hearts Wake, Crossfaith, Polaris, While She Sleeps
IF HIM are considered to be 'love metal' then In Hearts Wake could rightfully be seen as approaching some sort of 'peace metal' or 'happy metal', because this band only creates positive vibes when they hit the stage.
With one of the most polite, friendly and super passionate audiences around, it was all good vibes and smiles at The Tivoli in Brisbane.
Strangely, sing alongs to John Farnham, Queen and System of A Down during intermission only added to the jubilant festival vibe.
But make no mistake, as upbeat as the vibe was, In Hearts Wake are a ferocious and uncompromising band that get the circle pits, head banging and general teeth gritting energy happening.
This focused and aspirational band look to perfect their shows with each tour.
The line from the door stretched all the way down to the corner in Fortitude Valley and it signalled a good start to the night to see so many people there.
Opening were 'While She Sleeps' an English metalcore band from Sheffield and they immediately set the bar high for the evening.
Catchy down tuned riffs that crunched down hard as well as a commanding stage presence led by vocalist Lawrence Taylor meant the gig got off to an impressive start.
With their new album 'You Are We' to draw on there was a definitive heaviness to the set, but with tracks like 'Brainwashed' and 'Hurricane', the sweat was already dripping from young punters eager to engage with the band.
The songs were catchy, the clean vocals immediately indicated the metalcore genre, but on the most part it was heavy, brutal, and fast paced.
Following them were Polaris.
This Australian band from Sydney were relishing the opportunity to try and outplay the big names on the tour and they clearly came to give it their all.
Frontman Jamie Hails exploded on stage headbanging his way up and down, back and forward, defying reason that he was able to get lyrics out with so much movement.
Lead guitarist Ryan Siew was impressive with his tight licks and 'Meshuggah' like breakdowns, as well as some interesting ambient overlays, while the bass thundered underneath.
With their new song Consume, and three eps "The Guilt and the Grief", "Summit" and "Dichotomy", there was definitely a sense the band could have gone longer.
They were extremely tight, demanded attention, and held the audience from start to finish, and that was all before Jamie Hails decided to leap from the balcony onto the audience to wrap up the set.
Some in the crowd had come just to watch Crossfaith - the mighty Japanese band that have created their own version of genre defining electro-metalcore and are well known for highly energetic performances.
While System X and Xeno started well, especially with a flag waving episode as they walked on stage, the energy kicked up a whole new level when they hit Monolith, arguably the most well known song.
This extremely hard working, talented and focused band have toured round the world with personality filled explosive sets and one couldn't ask for a tighter performance.
Tatsuya Amano added real flare to his drumming as he flicked the sticks in the air only to catch them and continue playing, while Hiroki Ikegawa was hard to miss with his huge blue hair and striking body paint.
The set ended on Countdown to Hell which was every bit as energetic as the music video, but it came to an end too soon and calls for an encore expressed the audiences desire for more.
The short set really showed a need for a headline tour for this band which toured with Bring Me The Horizon previously to Australia.
And then it was time for the main Act- In Hearts Wake.
First of all this is definitely there biggest and most elaborate headline show in Australia.
A large black screen was dropped in an explosive pyrotechnic moment to reveal a full Ark backdrop and an elaborate lighting setup that cascaded across the stage with yellows, greens and blues.
The Ark barrels on the side of stage and sailing rope hanging from the mikes were a thoughtful touch and the band were clearly enjoying the refined and powerful stage set up as well as their confidence with the set - new songs included.
It was their final show of the tour and clearly they had refined every element and were just enjoying the energy.
As always there were smiles aplenty on stage and in the audience and sing alongs to the most popular of the setlist.
The band tore through Passage, Nomad, and Healer, with blow-up stingrays, dolphins and whales tying into the theme of water conservation.
The band were clearly in control and it was nice to see Warcry come up against old favourites like Breakaway, Earthwalker and Skydance.
It would have been nice to see Overthrow included in the set at some point but the selection had a good chunk of the new album.
Kyle Erich handled the increased singing responsibilities evident on the new album which is no easy task considering it all requires pitch perfect voicing.
But frontman Jake commanded the audience's interest and focus better than ever.
The confidence and enthusiasm was coming off him in waves and ultimately signalled the triumphant end to the Australian tour.
It couldn't have got much better but sailing out on the crowd on an inflatable boat with a flag proved to be one of the highlights of the set.
The encore saw Arrow and Refuge close the Australian leg of the Ark tour which now see the band head overseas.