Cvltfest 2024 – Brisbane [Live Review and Interviews]

Review and photography: JD Garrahy 

Festivals are always something we get excited for. No matter what your musical tastes may be, a festival helps you discover new bands, socialize with friends (and possibly make new ones) and bang your fucking head to your favourites. Festivals have it all and this year’s Cvltfest is no different. It’s no easy task to review something of this size, but I’m going to try like hell to do so right now.

Alpha Wolf created this festival to not only bring their fans together, but to introduce the masses to some killer bands from not only our great country but other bands from around the world. This year, we were hungry as fuck, and damn did we eat well.

Opening a festival is no easy feat, but when you have a band like Vilify kicking things off, you know that opening slot is in good hands. With so much brilliance in the instrumentals of this band, it takes a special kind of vocalist to compliment it. Scream Queen Amy McIntosh has this in the bag. With skills to rival even the most seasoned metal vocalist, her guttural roars tear through the Eatons Hill Hotel Ballroom and leave the punters longing for a full length, headline set. Patience my fellow musical aficionados, I’m sure we will get our chance soon.

Due to other duties at the festival, I sadly missed out on seeing Crave Death. But, if the conversations I overheard on my return are anything to go by, I missed one hell of a set. Next time they play near me, I will NOT miss them. (Sorry for missing your set guys, it won’t happen again)

Diamond Construct have a massive Brisbane fanbase and there’s a damn good reason. They fucking shred! Launching straight into their signature brutal sound, the fans lap it up and smash their heads in unison to every riff and blasting beat that’s offered. Incredible work from the New South Welshmen. Can’t wait to see them again real soon.

TEN56. Ho….leeeee……fuuuuuuck!!! The French came to destroy Eatons Hill and destroy they did. Frontman Aaron, formerly of Betraying The Martyrs, has so much stage presence that is equalled with one hell of a roar. Every bit of this band is amazing, the fret work that Luka displays is awe-inspiring. The percussive skin bashing that Arnaud demonstrates hits you straight in the stomach and leaves you asking for more. I had no idea who these guys were before this festival, but damned if i’m not a fan now.

Who’s seen Paledusk before? I know I have, and I have waited eagerly to see them once more. The energy that these guys have on stage is amazing. Melting everyone’s eardrums with such ease, their stage presence is secondary to their instrumental and vocal skills. Guitarist Daisuke Ehara performing spin kicks while still maintaining intricate riff work is something to behold in its own, but you match that with vocalist Kaito’s unique voice, and you have the perfect recipe for a band that shows why they can command a crowd with ease.

Emmure takes the stage, and the crowd is ready to tear this shit apart, it just so happens, that’s exactly what the band came here to do. Vocalist Frankie Palmeri has the audience in the palm of his hand from the very first song, and this does not dull once during their set. It’s not often you get to see a guitarist be so playful with the crowd, but Joshua Travis does exactly that. He knows his job, knows it well and is a visual delight to not only witness, but also to photograph. I was anticipating this show to be epic, and it did not disappoint. Fucking amazing.

5 long years have passed since we saw Crossfaith on our shores and it feels way too long to wait for such a stellar band. Earlier in the week, they dropped a new track ‘Zero’ and it’s an absolute powerhouse of a track. Tonight, they came to get loose and show the Brisbane fanbase exactly why they’re the Japanese synth-metal kings. As Kenta flies the Crossfaith flag centre stage, new guitarist Daiki catapults straight into the opening riff of ‘Catastrophe’. If there is a band that equals Paledusks on stage energy, it’s Crossfaith.

The audience gets exactly what they came for, and from the looks of the shirts around the pit, it’s obvious that there’s a solid fanbase in Brisbane alone. From the energetic percussive beats that Tatsuya feeds to the crowd to the synth/dubstep epicness that Terufumi displays, Crossfaith came to party and look damn good while doing so. Kazuki is absolutely shredding tonight and when they kick into Freedom (with a great overlay of Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds part through the song) it’s clear to see exactly why he is a master of his craft. While this was my first time shooting this band, I really hope it won’t be the last. Please come back soon guys, i don’t want to wait another 5 years to see you once more.

The main event is here and without this band, none of this amazing day would have been possible. The boys from Tassie came to fuck shit up and yeah, they did exactly that. From the first chord out of Sabian’s rig, we know what is about to ensue and we’ve never been more ready. As Lachie tells the crowd halfway through ‘Creep’, “if you’ve been holding off on crowd surfing, now is your time to get into it!”, chaos reigns and the barrier security guards certainly have their work cut out for them. With what i witnessed, i counted 12 people come over the barrier in that last half of the song and it didn’t let up through the rest of the set.

Peppering their set with old and new songs, the punters are well catered for with new music off their upcoming album ‘Half Living Things’ getting its live setting debut. When you hear a new track for the first time, it sets something off in you that makes you dig as deep as possible to give the band back the energy that they are putting out to the crowd. We pull every fibre of our being to thrash in unison and its not long before we are treated to ‘Sucks 2 Suck’ and ‘Haunter’ of the new album. So, fucking good to see these guys kicking goals and making such amazing metal for the world.

As the end of the set approaches, ‘60CM Of Steel’ sets the crowd into overdrive. Reaching to the back of the venue, everyone is fully invested into getting their Alpha Wolf fix before they jet off overseas once more. As set closer ‘Akudama’ rings through Eatons Hill, hearing “Watch the bodies drop!” sung in unison by the crowd sends shivers up this reviewer’s spine. I love the solidarity in Australian metal and the Alpha Wolf guys just dominate every inch of it. These guys have their sights set on greatness, and they deserve every bit of it with such focus and thirst for it. Bring on the season of the Alpha Wolf!

As we depart Eatons Hill with merch in hand and memories aplenty, the chatter amongst the punters is identical from person to person. They came to have an epic time, and they are leaving with their collective minds blown off the face of this planet. Our metal hearts and minds are full, and now, the thoughts go to how exactly the Alpha boys are going to top this at the next Cvltfest. I for one am damn excited to see what the future holds not only for this festival, but the band in general. Thank you Cvltfest, you were everything I wanted and more.