Out of the Outback and into the Metalverse

Jack Marr — bass, Bilyara Bates — lead vocals/guitar, Tom Jovanavic — guitar, and covered by his bandmates Ash Meadows — drums. In their final rehearsal before their show at Churches of Steel Festival in Adelaide today. PICTURE: OTIS FILLEY

Broken Hill power, thrash, four-piece band, Firestorm are playing their fourth live show at Churches of Steel Festival today in Adelaide. The all-original Outback heavy metal band say that they are thrilled to be playing alongside some of their favourite bands from Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

Drummer Ash Meadows said that big things have been happening for the band, but due to recent COVID restrictions, the band has had to cancel shows at several high-profile festivals across New South Wales and Queensland.

“Churches of Steel is a great opportunity for us being out here in Broken Hill. We are pretty isolated.”

“It’s surreal to me because they are bands that I love and listen to a lot. I even have a tattoo of one band, Hidden Intent, and am booked in for a second while we are in Adelaide.”

Firestorm will be playing an all-original set of songs spanning themes of Science Fiction Love, traversing depression tunnels, and time travelling Journeys worthy of a Peter Jackson script.

Band frontman Bilyara Bates said that metal music and the aesthetics that go along with the genre appeal to him as something outside of everyday life.

“It’s a fiction, just like video games, fantasy books or horror films.

“A few people who attended our last gig at The Central Footy Club said we thought metalheads were kind of dangerous and crazy, but everyone is actually nerds and big teddy bears. “

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He said that many people who wouldn’t normally go to a metal gig were surprised; “they were saying this is really fun and it’s a safe environment.”

Mr Meadows, who runs his own promotion company Lead Heavy Promotions, said he would like to see more venues step forward to host, promote, and support live original music in Broken Hill.

“The central footy club has been amazing in supporting everything we want to do with the metal nights, but there are avenues and opportunities for other local venues to actually make money on a night they are not already busy.” He said.

“The last gig that we organised, there were 120 people on the attending list. Many local original musicians in town already have an inbuilt fanbase.”

Mr Meadows said that growing up in Broken Hill, there was a vibrant and lively music scene that had large support from local venues and City Council.

Since he moved back to Broken Hill from Perth a few years ago, he has felt that the local music scene has become “almost non-existent”. He said.

“We’ve got a lot of great talent locally, writing their own songs, everything from reggae to metal, people in Menindee, Wilcannia, Mutawintji and Broken Hill.

“I just want to support local original music. there is a lot of support for cover bands because that is what every band wants on the weekend.”

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Mr Bates said that the local council support that was in place when he was in high school helped create a very cooperative environment that allowed safe gigs to take place and a lot of music to flourish.

“There were roles for all young people, anything from running our own shows to organising skateboarding competitions, music events, selling drinks, or putting wristbands on attendees.”

“There were at least eight functional bands under the age of 18 writing their own material.”

“I could go to a gig on the weekend when I was twelve and watch people in my high school play a gig.” He said.

“That helped me see that these people live in my town, they are a human just like me, so it made me feel that it was achievable.”

Mr Meadows said that he is working towards running quarterly shows and an annual festival.

He encourages any artists writing original songs that want to record but don’t have the means, to get in touch.

[email protected]

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