Friday, November 18, 2011

Atlas of Metal: Australia

This is the eighth installment in the Atlas of Metal series. Three of the previous countries have larger populations than Australia--Argentina, Algeria, and Afghanistan. But odds are, you probably couldn't name any metal bands from those countries without looking them up. Not so for Australia, which has a long-standing relationship with the genre going all the way back to the arguably metal AC/DC, formed in 1973.

Metal Archives lists a whopping 1,481 metal bands in Australia. That's only about 200 more than Argentina, but Argentina has almost twice as many people. That means that Australia is twice as metal by volume. (And hey, they are a major exporter of iron ore.)

Since the scene in Australia doesn't really need to be discovered, per se, I thought I'd just share a few of my favorites. I personally don't care for AC/DC and haven't listened to them since high school, but there's plenty more where that came from.

Portal is my favorite band of the country. They are definitely not for everyone. Please don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds like it was composed by a pissed-off autistic genius. It has somewhat of an obscure ritualistic quality to it, it's not concerned with making friends, and it has a brilliant sort of hidden logic behind it all.

Stargazer is a band which shares members with Portal. They are also unusual and extreme, but much more accessible.

An important scene within Australian metal is the so-called "war metal" scene. Deströyer 666 is one of the most prominent practitioners of the style, which is usually a raw and ugly blend of black, thrash, and/or death metal with ridiculously over-the-top violent/blasphemous lyrics.

Psycroptic is a technical death metal band out of Tasmania. Unlike other bands in the genre, they don't sound sterile. In other words, it's like death metal that happens to be technical, instead of technical death metal (if that makes any sense).

Also in the death metal vein is The Berzerker, who performed an obvious but rarely-attempted fusion of styles. Specifically, they played industrial death metal. The programmed drums can be a turn-off, but it is interesting.

Finally, Alchemist play some avant-garde progressive metal that's catchy and unusual, a tough feat.

So what are your favorite Australian bands?


  1. Australia certainly has a fantastic black metal scene. Have you heard of Austere?

  2. I haven't heard of them. May have to check it out.

  3. Oh man, there is also the almighty doom of Mournful Congregation (20 Buck Spin).

    And the dark and murky death metal of Impetuous Ritual (Profound Lore). They share two members with Portal, but I like them more because they are less sporadic and experimental.

  4. Well you are well aware of my favorite bands from the country.

  5. I've done my best to cover the Australian metal scene from afar over the past few years. I did a round table interview/scene report for Invisible Oranges w/ several aussie bands ( and I've also individually interview members of Stargazer, Cauldron Black Ram, Vomitor, Assaulter, Denouncement Pyre and Hotel Wrecking City Traders. As far as other favorites, I'd add Nocturnal Graves, Portal, Impetuous Ritual, Bestial Warlust, Fuck I'm Dead, The Day Everything Became Nothing, Mournful Congregation, Disembowelment... Australia is crawling w/ great bands past and present...

  6. depth coverage. Some truly ground-breaking information. I feel like I have a much fuller understanding of the Australian scene and how it's number of bands listed on Metal Archives compares to the number of Argentinian bands listed on Metal Archives! Well done lad!!

  7. You ought to turn the sarcasm knob down just a tad.