The theme of NAIDOC week 2021 is Heal Country and if there’s one thing we know is definitely healing, it’s music - especially metal. To celebrate NAIDOC week and highlight some great emerging bands in the process, we put together a list of 6 up-and-coming heavy acts with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.
Wildheart - Backburner
Wildheart are a Brisbane-based melodic hardcore band who stormed onto the local scene with their hard-hitting messages and music. Fronted by Yugambeh man, Axel Best, Wildheart have slowly yet surely carved themselves a position as a heavy, emotional outfit that demands the attention of punters through their relentless live performances.
They released their latest single Backburner in April. Best says that the song was written after Australia bore witness to the worst bushfires we have ever seen. Backburner is about "the government’s continuous refusal to listen, learn and adopt indigenous techniques that were used for thousands of years to preserve and care for the land." Word on the street is they have new music coming soon!
Gravemind - Phantom Pain
Relentlessly heavy, uncompromisingly honest, Gravemind are a five-piece force to be reckoned with. Their debut album Conduit debuted at #30 on the ARIA Chart and #1 on the AIR charts and has since taken the Australian metal scene by storm. During the #blacklivesmatter movement that became an international phenomenon in 2020, the band took to socials to share a poignant message:
“Take note Australia, the oppression of our indigenous population still runs rampant. There have been 432 deaths of Aboriginal people in police custody since 1991. The American people have set the precedence, now we must ensure our leaders also fear what comes as a result of systemic racism.”
Isolation - Abuse of Power
Forming in 2018, Isolation burst onto the vibrant Brisbane metal & hardcore scene with their progressively sonic 4 track EP War In My Mind. They have a new killer EP that came out just this past week on 2nd July of which Abuse of Power is a single. Also check out the newest song, that holds the same name as the latest EP, This World Grows Cold.
Sketch Method - Panic! At the Costco
Canberra’s Sketch Method have been a fixture of the Australian punk scene for a number of years, touring extensively on the back of a string of singles, a full-length album, and their debut EP. The new single Panic! At The Costco was released last month and the break-neck speed and lyrical precision of the track is a major statement. We also want to give a nod to a tune released last year called, Gladys.
Southeast Desert Metal - Rainmaker
Although they’ve not released new music in a couple of years, Southeast Desert Metal have been keeping very busy indeed. Aside from playing shows, for the last 6 months, they’ve been hard at work on a new documentary Desert Metal Dreaming that premiered last month. at Deckchair Cinema in Darwin. The film synopsis reads, “Chris Wallace is frontman of the loudest band in the desert. Aunty Kathleen Wallace raised him on Dreamtime stories. With Southeast Desert Metal, they're bringing Arrernte culture to the world.”
Southeast Desert Metal will be playing this year’s Blacken Open Air Festival happening from 30 July to 2 August 2021 in the dead centre of Australia. Check out more info and tickets at blackenfestival.com.
Nerve Damage - Always Was/Always Will be
Nerve Damage are a hardcore band from Yugambeh/Bundjalung. Their mission as stated on their Triple j Unearthed profile states: “We decided to create another outlet for all of us to speak up about issues close to home, and do some headbanging along the way.” You can catch them live when they support Amity Affliction on the rescheduled leg of their Everyone Loves You...Once You Leave Them tour in February 2022.
Find out more about NAIDOC week at naidoc.org.au.