Once upon a time, Ballarat was something of a dream city for those sporting long hair, studded cuffs and skull tattoos.
During the 1990s, bands such as homegrown deathgrind group Damaged performed at sell-out concerts at venues like the Bridge Mall Inn. Other local bands like War had massive followings. “Ballarat metal” was a term of reference.
But as the new millennium rolled around, the heavy metal heart of Ballarat faded. Hairdos were chopped, black t-shirts were retired, and the new breed of young music fans lost interest.
Fast-forward to 2016, and a group of local dedicated heavy metal bands are putting their all into putting Ballarat back on the hardcore map.
Liam Frost-Camilleri, known in the local scene as “Frosty”, has been helping organise mini metal festivals and encouraging the return of heavy metal.
Frosty sings and plays lead guitar in Fall and Resist, a metal group with screaming “death metal” vocals reminiscent of 90s groups like Napalm Death and Cradle of Filth.
“Metal heads tend to be your plumbers, teachers – they’re in their mid 30s and 40s and still remember and come (along to gigs) and feel like they’re part of something,” Frosty said.
“There is some keen interest among youth, but not as much as there could be.
“Metal is an acquired taste; it’s a bit like wine like that.”
He said most local metal bands tended to play “genre” music with screaming vocals rather than classic heavy metal or hard rock.
He said while the singing style was harsh, it had its place.
“It’s very unique. I don’t think it gets as much recognition as it should,” Frosty said.
“It’s a very unique sounds, it’s a very aggressive sound and it works very well with the metal.”
He said about a dozen heavy metal bands were currently active in Ballarat.
He also said plans were in place for this year’s Too Metal for Meredith concert, an annual heavy metal onslaught that offered an alternative music event to the popular Meredith Music Festival.
Frosty’s four-piece band Fall and Resist will launch its EP on November 4 at Karova Lounge, supported by Annihilist, Feast of Crows, ANKL and Lethal Sound Division. Details at karovalounge.com