There are so many changes in the pipeline for me, on a personal level. One of the biggest being the break up of a love of fifteen years. It’s time for Pyromesh to call it a day. Without any pretentious thoughts and only feelings of sincerity, I’d like to pay homage to those who have made this band what it is.
But first of all, please come and give Pyromesh the send-off it deserves at Amplifier Capitol on Friday July 4. We are going out on a BIG HIGH, supporting one of Australia’s most iconic metal bands, Sydonia. Thanks to Vin Trikeriotis, we are looking forward to sharing the stage with Tempest Rising and This Other Eden for the first and last time! It would mean a lot to me personally if one and all could make it to this show. I will no doubt be reduced to a blubbering mess by the end of the set, so that in itself will be a sight to see.
Massive love and respect to those who have stuck with us over the years. The sentiments spoken by Rhett Ashby and others last night, really struck a chord with me.
I have undying love, admiration, and respect for Alex Lassetter the lionheart; the engine that kept giving and giving throughout this band’s fifteen year existence. Alex, without your unwavering faith, dedication, determination, drive and talent, this band would never have enjoyed the success it did in its existence. I am proud of everything we have achieved together and I look forward to continuing our musical endeavours, even if King Onion is a tongue-in-cheek cover band! I love you, man.
Ashley Doodkorte, “the man”. I get a lump in my throat thinking about the buckets of sweat and blood that you gave this band. Everything from generating a corporate identity and CD artwork, right through to your percussive talents; I love you and I thank my cousin Rhys for befriending you during those primary school days and later helping to recruit you to the Pyromesh cause!
Clint Lawrence for being the craziness and larrikinism you would expect from the lads at a sporting club. It might not be apparent, but you have been a strong influence on the way I see the world. Thanks for being a faithful and loyal servant in times of dire need, I know Alex will certainly vouch for this as you were a pillar of strength during times of politics and drama; I love you.
Joel Gardner is a gentle giant and quiet achiever who I have also grown to love as a Pyro-brother. Joel is one of the most selfless individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and I am proud to have served with Joel in this Pyro-artillery. I just hope Carlton wins a flag before Brisbane does, but I’d say those chances are a bit slim.
Tim Stelter is a man who I hold in the highest esteem. Not just from a personal perspective, but in the sense of professionalism, discipline and technical excellence. You stepped into this band as a temporary member, and you’re still slamming skins 5 years down the line. This underlines what a man of fine character you are. I love you and I will miss your wit and humour in the jam room. But I won’t miss your farts.
Props to Mike Ioppolo, Alex Stoiche and Craig Swadling for the formative years. Wayne Panomarenko for his help on the keys. Eternal gratitude to Kris Falconer, the feral metal hippy and El Bennett for filling periods of an intermittent six year absence while I was pursuing professional interests. El, your lyrical genius still astounds me to this day. In the process of learning Omnia songs, I unearthed outpourings of emotion and artistry that I could only wish to ever achieve; you have an amazing way with words, and should be immensely proud of your contribution to Pyromesh. Omnia is a masterpiece and in my opinion, your five year stint in Pyromesh was the best thing that ever happened to this band and enabled it to reach the apex of its success.
Thanks to Aidan Barton and Stuart James for your sound engineering and production services. We are forever indebted to you both for allowing us to create our own little pieces of metallic history.
Thanks to Amy, Mum, Dad and Matthew for standing by me and being an amazing support, especially when I needed to vent about the negative aspects of the music industry.
Thanks to anyone and everyone who supported us through the purchase of merchandise or coming to our shows. Thanks to the bands we’ve had the honour of sharing the stage with. Thanks to the booking agents, venue managers, bar staff, sound and lighting engineers who made this journey so much easier than it could have been.
Last of all, thanks to you for taking the time to read this epic status update. I’m not the type of person who takes friendship for granted, and I also like to be heard.
I do my utmost to conduct myself as a friendly, approachable, well-mannered and well behaved member of society.
But what is it about a sporting contest that brings out the raging feral in me?
After last night’s bitterly disappointing five point loss to those Essendon pricks, I am still as angry as I was when the final siren sounded.
Now that I can see the situation a bit more clearly, the Blues have a massive complacency issue. They get to that 5-goals-up mark and play the “ah, she’ll be right” card. Or when they go into games as favorites, only to not pay their opponents any respect. This lack of respect results in Carlton playing with an arrogance and lack of intensity, almost as if reputation alone is enough to win a game of footy.
A decent team would put the foot on the throat and be relentless with their pursuit of a percentage boosting thrashing.
After all, there is no finish line in footy, sure the siren sounds on the day, but the team with the hunger to push harder, week after week eventually ends up with a premiership, which leads me into my next thought…
I believe the dark days of 2002-2007 still haunt Carlton. The senior players who are still around from that era accept mediocrity as par for the course.
The new influences, new players and a fresh talent pool need to set a new, uncompromising winning culture and precedence for the rest of the club to adhere to. One man can only do so much, but it’s time for Carlton’s so-called leadership group to step up to the plate, because Chris Judd is on borrowed time.
I love my club and want to see the success that the likes of Geelong and Brisbane experienced during their periods of dominance. Geelong’s hasn’t finished, they could still be lifting a cup come the conclusion of the 2013 premiership season.
Like any other Carlton supporter, I’m sick of waiting. 1995 was 18 years ago and the clock is ticking. In my opinion, 16 premiership cups mean sweet bugger all because only 3 of those cups have been won since the VFL moved into NSW in 1982. That was over 30 years ago and the past means nothing, only the future will bring the happiness and fulfillment of success. That living in the past mindset does Carlton no favours.
It is time to create a new culture to take this club forward. With Malthouse at the helm, a new board and president on the horizon, the gradual dilution / retirement of those players from the dark days combined with pure grit and determination will earn Carlton their next premiership.
Only then will the raging feral in me be satisfied.
Come on Carlton! We are the masters of our own destiny. STAND UP AND BE COUNTED!
Disclaimer: This blog article is the opinion of Andy Jones only, it does not reflect the opinions of Pyromesh as a band or any individual band members, apart from Andy Jones.
After focusing on my Web Development and Project Management career for 8 years, the time had come to vent.
Itchy feet (or vocal cords) and through pure luck, the opportunity was presented to me, to resume singing duties for the almighty Perth Metal juggernaught;
This blog article is written in third person from here down.
The band has been around for 14 years. Sadly for the band, things haven’t always gone according to plan. The original lofty goals, envisaged during the formative years between 1999 – 2001 only came to fruition in 2007, with the launch of debut album, ‘Omnia’. The debut album was well received by the Australian metal community, and created a momentum powerful enough to make waves on international shores.
The 3 arduous years associated with composing a successful follow up to the respected ‘Omnia’ LP was the most testing time for the five-piece metal act.
2008 – 2010 eroded away the typically steely mental resolve of Pyromesh. Just when the band was ready to take the next step after peaking when featured on the ‘Two Fists One Heart’ motion picture score, lineup shuffles sucked the momentum out of the project. A similar scenario regarding lineup shuffles previously plagued the band circa 2004-2006, but as they say, everything happens for a reason.
2011 saw the regrouping of the elements required to once again generate impact. In early 2012 the tracking for the second LP was finally completed. The 8 track LP is scheduled for release in 2013 with the finishing touches being carried out to the mix. Mastering is scheduled for March 2013 and the album promises to be the most dynamic Pyromesh release to date.
1999 – 2000: An unnamed project with only guitars, bass and vocals saw the birth of an initial nucleus. Craig Swadling on bass, Al Stoiche on guitar and Andy Jones on vocals. The trio would get together intermittently for loosely constructed jams. That was until Mike Ioppolo was introduced into the fold through a work colleague at Andy’s full time kitchenhand job. Mike was a very accomplished drummer and became a leadership figure for the other band members. Mike decided to commit to the unnamed project and jammed relentlessly with the 3 other boys. Mike’s leadership resonated strongly with the band, but even more so with Andy as Mike was impressed with the raw, yet unpolished talent exuded by Andy.
2000: A drunken night at a mutual friend’s house was fate for Alex Lassetter and Andy Jones. Sharing a good 12 beers, conversations were sparked that lead down the path of musical aspirations. Andy invited Alex to jam with him, Mike, Craig and Al. The chemistry within the fledgling band had been enhanced with Alex’s introduction. Mike and Alex worked extremely well together, given their similar musical influences and outlook on life. Alex and Mike had a good 2 years of musical experience over the rest of the band. Alex assisted greatly with quickly getting the rest of the band’s skills up to speed and still to this day, Alex remains the key instigator, utilising his extraordinary talents to write ‘keeper riffs’ for use in original songs.
The birth of Pyromesh (the band name): The name originated from a train ride to work in August 2000, where Alex locked eyes on the priority seating area near the doorway of the train carriage. Taking a seat away from the priority area, the first 4 letters of the priority seating sign clicked in his mind. ‘PRIO’. Arriving at Warwick Train Station, Alex looked up to see newly constructed mesh on the overhanging bridge. ‘PRIOMESH’ resonated somewhat as a unique and catchy name. Alex bounced the name idea to Andy, who then bounced the name idea to Al. Andy accidentally typed the name ‘PRYOMESH’ to Al on ICQ, with which Al replied with ‘What about PYROMESH?’
Above: The original Pyromesh logo… very 80s metal.
Alex, Al, Craig and Andy had to work very hard on Mike to accept the name. Mike originally thought the band name was too heavy, this made the rest of the band yearn for the name even more and eventually, the name stuck!
2000 continued: A rather shabby original song, and a half baked cover of Fear Factory’s ‘Replica’ at Andy’s 18th birthday party gave the outfit their first taste of gig adrenaline. Despite the fact that the band absolutely sucked, the camaraderie and lessons would hold the boys in good stead. That night, Pyromesh were lucky to share the stage with Xygen, a metal band featuring members who would later form electronica legends Pendulum, Knife Party and ShockOne. The stage also shared with local thrash / death metal band named Frust, who went on to form Combined Death Toll, and last but not least, Australian alternative rock legends Karnivool. It’s safe to say that Karnivool and the members of Xygen have gone on to set the highest of benchmarks in their respective genres of music on the INTERNATIONAL stage.
Above: Pyromesh play at Andy’s joint 18th birthday party (shared with David Boyle – saluting his beverage and embracing Andy)
Much to the band’s disappointment, personal circumstances meant Al Stoiche relinquished his rhythm guitarist role in Pyromesh. After being an integral part of the early jam sessions, this was a particularly bitter pill for Andy to swallow.
Pyromesh regrouped once again and resumed rehearsing as a 4 piece metal act, which in retrospect was quite trendy for nu-metal acts circa 2000.
2001: Emotions ran high as the band started to spread its wings. An alcohol fueled mini-tour out to Northam saw the lads take to the stage for a band competition. It was a taste of success for the Pyromesh lads, building a small cult fan base in the country town while assaulting the Northam airwaves with some originals and covers. Upon returning to Perth, the band knew it was time to take the next step and build stronger song writing skills. Sadly for Mike Ioppolo, his leadership waned and he decided to leave the band.
Above: Craig Swadling, Mike Ioppolo, Alex Lassetter and Andy Jones.
This was a tough time for all involved until Andy’s cousin Rhys put the feelers out to a longtime best friend. Enter Ashley Doodkorte. The somewhat humble and shy 16 year old Ashley encapsulated a creative talent. A talent that was pivotal to the success of Pyromesh in the coming years.
Above: Ashley Doodkorte, Craig Swadling and Alex Lassetter growing out of Andy Jones’s head.
Enthused with Ashley’s introduction to Pyromesh, the lads covered the likes of Sepultura, Slipknot, Fear Factory, Faith No More and Soulfly before constructing a small amount of original songs to compile a 40 minute set of material.
While Pyromesh prided itself on the slowly maturing quality of its original songs, the band became somewhat notorious as a cover band. All ages shows at Wanneroo Civic Centre and Youth HQ resulted in sweat baths of mosh pits with teenage metal heads throwing their hair around in avid support of Pyromesh playing their favourite band’s songs. Naysayers questioned the integrity of a band covering songs to win a following of fans.
On-stage guest appearances from the likes of Will Ferrier (Will Stoker and the Embers) and Danny K (Sparring for Shotgun, Kretin) helped to add character to an entertaining stage show where pretty much anything could happen. The chaos was usually controlled, except when some young bloke from the audience got himself so fired up he deliberately grated his forehead on a monitor speaker grill. At one show, there were even blocks of sweaty, smelly cheese lobbed on stage with stupid words written on them. Some of the most hilarious moments of Pyromesh history were materialised at Youth HQ.
Above: A mulleted Andy Jones screams down a microphone as the moshpit at Leederville Youth Headquarters hits its peak.
Pyromesh attended free music classes held by the North Metro Music Club, headed up by Geraldine and Matt Thomas of Perth Concert Sound fame. The alliances formed during these fledgling times assisted Andy in a professional sense, setting up a website for Warp Factory, an Access31 TV show and then many years later, the Stirling City Centre Alliance, Geraldine’s place of full time employment.
The Development Years
2002: A strong focus on original songwriting meant milestone time for the band. The goal: a recording.
The initial 8 songs; ‘This Wrath’, ‘Dipsomaniac’, ‘Gutter’, ‘Evilbreed’, ‘Psycoma’, ‘Syndrome’, ‘Pressure’ and ‘Undermind’ were the main weapons of the Pyromesh arsenal, as the band went about building an on-stage persona and confidence. Numerous Amplifier, Youth HQ, Hyde Park and Taipan Room shows helped the band establish what tracks would make it onto a recording based on crowd reactions. It was decided that a 5 track EP would be the inaugural release for Pyromesh.
Relentless jamming every Saturday night or afternoon at RnRs was the highlight of the working / study week. This commitment meant that the songs were now tight enough for recording.
Above: Alex and Craig doing a test-drive recording session at SAE.
2003: More notable shows at higher quality venues including The Globe saw Pyromesh standing out as a heavier act in a strong hard rock / nu-metal music scene. A loyalty to Joey Kapiteyn‘s Headshot and Danny K’s Kretin saw Pyromesh enjoy some valuable exposure to heavy rock, alternative and even hardcore / punk crowds. It was clearly identified that the heavy rock / nu-metal sound that Pyromesh were producing provided a unique point of difference to extreme metal and hard rock acts in Perth at the time. Pyromesh were not extreme enough to generate a strong enough following within the extreme metal scene, but given the distorted guitars, slamming drums and guttural vocals, there was a reasonable amount of cross-over into the extreme metal scene.
Feb 15, 2003 was a day that Pyromesh divided a crowd of extreme metal fans at the Western Front Metal Awards night. An online poll on http://www.wf.com.au allowed members of the public to vote on who they thought was Perth’s best metal band. As history states, Pyromesh won the coveted Western Front Metal Band of the Year Award in front of Vespers Descent, Voyager and Pathogen. This wasn’t a popular decision with the extreme / ‘true’ metal crowd, because it was the band’s cross-over into the hard rock / nu-metal realm that essentially won the band the title. Having fans within the hard rock / nu-metal scene meant that the band would win every vote from the hard rock / nu-metal crowd. Pyromesh graciously accepted the award, albeit greeted by a few boos, but the consuctive and positive feedback on discussion forums later on that weekend certainly inspired Pyromesh to continue along the path that their musical journey was taking them.
A sold-out show at The Globe (now Capitol) in front of 700+ screaming fans for a Metallica Tribute night was amazingly eventful with Andy meeting his soulmate and now wife, Amy. The gig itself was an absolute cracker, with Pyromesh welcoming Simone Dow (Scourge, Voyager) on stage to play as lead guitarist for the Metallica cover song ‘Sad But True’.
A drunken weekend at the house of Aidan Barton was the start of a 7 week stint at Sovereign Studios. If Andy wasn’t passing out on a futon after 18 beers, or stuffing himself with pizza, he was slam dancing and putting his fists through Aidan’s lounge room chandelier. Still to this day, Aidan is yet to replace the damaged light fitment.
After careful execution, Pyromesh tracked, mixed and assisted with the production of the ‘Malevolence’ EP at Sovereign Studios. The tracks that made the cut were: ‘This Wrath’, ‘Dipsomaniac’, ‘Evilbreed’, ‘Psycoma’ and ‘Self-imposed Exile’ (formerly Undermind). The band launched ‘Malevolence’ to a crowd of 300+ at Craigie Leisure Centre, organised kindly by Geraldine and Matt Thomas of Perth Concert Sound. The all ages show sported a crowd that was double the size of the 18+ launch, which typified the bands popularity with younger audiences, given their nu-metal sound.
The artwork of the jewelcase had been meticulously created by Ashley Doodkorte, basing the overall design concept on the subject of each song on the EP.
‘This Wrath’: The crushing of a person’s soul when being cheated on by someone they once loved.
‘Dipsomaniac’: Andy’s love for booze and getting drunk. Only to wake up to physical and mental hangovers.
‘Evilbreed’: A fantasy story based on hell taking over earth.
‘Psycoma’: A science fiction based story about the government reprogramming the psyche and memories of humans by performing brain altering surgery during induced comas.
‘Self-imposed Exile’: a song about the blurred distinction of reality between what happens online and what happens in real life. Using the Internet as a wall of anonymity for anti-social means as well as turning humans into unsociable hermits.
The visual image and marketing of the band was consistently being challenged and upgraded. Ashley’s design skills had been put to great use with the design of some aesthetically pleasing gig fliers and posters. These made the band look a lot bigger to prospective punters, with decent crowds building and pouring into venues. Ashley’s creative thoughts also generated a set of PYROGLYPHS. The glyphs were based on the pronunciation of spoken English sounds and linguistics. The glyphs were used in artwork, to convey messages internally within the band and used as almost undecipherable code to hang shit on Pyromesh naysayers in online discussion forums. The glyphs were effectively a secret language… almost Masonic. Esoteric. Elitist. Ultimately confusing.
Above: PYROGLYPHS on the Pyromesh ‘Dipsomaniac’ Stubby Holder.
2004: Was a big year and another mighty step forward for the band. The first gig for the year was AA and 18+ support of Australian metal legends Alchemist. The encouragement from Alchemist’s guitarist and vocalist Adam Aguis after Pyromesh’s sets was a real feather in Pyromesh’s cap. There is a lot to be said of the Alchemist lads, manifesting an aura of success and camaraderie for their fellow metal brethren. This recognition from one of Australia’s greatest ever metal bands made Pyromesh feel that they were indeed embarking on the right path with their unique hard rock influenced sound. But the boys still felt like there was something missing from the sound, something that Alchemist sported – double guitars.
An alliance with metal band Diablo, who played at the ‘Malevolence’ EP launch proved to be pivotal to Pyromesh becoming a 5 piece band.
Clint ‘Bardi’ Lawrence had sadly fallen out of favour with his Diablo band mates, certainly nothing of his own doing. A visit to the 2004 Big Day Out to catch Metallica was fate in action. Clint, Alex and Andy crossing paths for a damn good reason. Alex asked Clint to join the lads for a jam.
Above: Craig Swadling, Alex Lassetter, Andy Jones, Ash Doodkorte and Clint Lawrence.
Numerous shows in support of Eastern States metal bands, and some fun nights performing closer to home at baronetwenty in Hillarys, helped build a stronger chemistry on stage than the Pyromesh lads had ever experienced before. Clint was quite the character on stage and still is to this day. At one baronetwenty gig, Alex had a problematic nut on one of his guitars, which resulted in the breaking of multiple strings. Mid-set, Alex asked Clint to hand over his guitar. The set was completed with Alex playing Clint’s guitar, and Clint playing air guitar on his floppy molded guitar case. Arguably the funniest moment in Pyromesh history. The crowd loved it and Clint was welcomed into the Pyromesh family with open arms. Andy’s vocal delay pedal became a tool of amusement, with Clint performing the human didgeridoo (throat singing imitations of the iconic aboriginal instrument) to applauding crowds. The missing element that was realised at the Alchemist show was now safely in place and gelling well within the team not just from a musical perspective, but from a brotherhood perspective too.
A more epic approach to song writing by Alex saw the birth of a new age. Having Clint on rhythm guitars meant Alex could smother songs in layers upon layers of chordy-leady goodness, experiment with more delay effects and more use of his top strings. Solos became a requirement of each song, with Alex starting to blossom as a lead guitarist. Having 2 guitarists also allowed Craig on bass to play more of a support role to Ash as the backbone of the band, instead of mostly following along to Alex’s guitar riffs. Song writing had matured to the point where the band was ready to make the next step: a full length LP. The birth of ‘The Tempest’ (released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Bathed in Flame’), ‘Horizons’ (released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Oblivion’), ‘A Glacial Touch’ (unreleased) and ‘Analysis’ (unreleased) broadened Pyromesh’s repertoire into progressive and more alternative veins. Signs of a vastly maturing band.
However, what was also maturing was Andy’s professional career aspirations. The thought of an upcoming university graduation, anxiety of managing a band, the chore of singing in a band and then the daily grind of working full time was too much for Andy to handle. Vocal duties were handed to the legendary Kris Falconer (Vanadium, Kin) as Andy parted ways with Pyromesh. Andy’s final show in support of Blood Duster at The Whitesands. It was an emotionally charged night for the band, back in June 2004. Andy’s final song with the band (then working title ‘Analysis’) went on to be titled ‘Oceans Fade’ by Kris Falconer, a fitting farewell to a founding member of the band.
A New Era
2005: Admiring progress from afar, Andy assisted the Pyromesh brothers with website updates. Kris’s influence on the band was that of an elder statesman, with a renewed enthusiasm to bring his chargers into the limelight he previously shared with his fellow band mates from Kin. A more ambient sound blended amazingly well with the new vocal style, akin to In Flames – ‘Soundtrack to Your Escape’.
The band hit the ground running, Kris’s lyrical, vocal and spiritual creativity meant that there was a very high demand for more and more original songs. A demo of ‘Black and White Embrace’ (previously ‘Horizons’ and released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Oblivion’) was recorded and loosely released to be featured on a compilation album, but was not overly publicised. A brand new set of songs that captured the true talent of the band was now on display and the fans were loving what they were hearing.
Above: Craig Swadling, Alex Lassetter, Kris Falconer, Ash Doodkorte and Clint Lawrence from a website screenshot.
Alex’s creative juices boiled over to the point of joining a second band as a guitarist. The project titled Terminal featured Jason Senior on vocals, Brendon Doodkorte (Ashley’s brother) on guitars, Sam Allen on bass and Brendon Grubisich (Born on the Bayou) on drums.
By this stage, Pyromesh had a full 10 to 12 track album ready for recording. Ashley commenced the draining task of tracking drums in a sound deadened room at Alex’s house in Kingsley. No air conditioning, no compromise, just sweaty, gritty and relentless drum tracking, enough to break the spirit of even the most mentally strong. Being the big hearted bloke he is, Ashley completed the drum tracking to the beat of a mind numbing click track.
More gigs with the new sound and new focused direction were coming thick and fast, the band advancing through the National Campus Bands heats and through to the finals, to only just fall short of making it through to the WA grand final.
Pyromesh finished 2005 with lofty goals for 2006, an album release looked to be inevitable!
Upping the Ante
2006:666. The number of the beast. One would have thought that a metal band’s success would flourish in a year featuring the Devil’s number. This was not the case. The year of 2006 shook Pyromesh to its very core, almost to the point of extinction. 2006 was ‘The Year of the Phoenix’, but only for a very, very short period.
The enormity of the upcoming songwriting and frontman tasks was a genuine mental hurdle for Kris, who was fighting some personal battles with a very brave front. The writing was on the wall for what was destined to be the toughest, almost back-breaking year for the band to date.
The first of many lineup shuffles in 2006 started with the departure of Craig Swadling from the band. One of the founding members and a spiritual talisman from the early days, Craig’s departure would thrash at the internal chemistry of the band. Pyromesh’s much respected quiet achiever sought exile away from the anxiety of having to grace the stage in front of engrossed onlookers. Craig’s departure put the band into a temporary hiatus as a mini recruiting spree was about to occur with Kris Falconer also announcing his intentions to leave Pyromesh. Kris was no longer in a position to front Pyromesh or any band for that matter. These were tough times.
Alex, Ash and Clint were the remaining Pyromesh members. All frothing at the mouth, eagerly yearning to maintain the momentum of the Pyromesh project. The new wave of US metal / metalcore / post-hardcore was having a profound impact on Australian shores, with US bands taking strong style influences from their European counterparts’ wave of melodic death metal, and effectively ‘one-upping’ them in the process. Metal as a broad genre was at an all time high around the world and Pyromesh damn well knew it.
Bolstering the stocks, Alex recruited one of Perth metal’s all-round talents. Joel Gardner arrived at Pyromesh and brought a more diverse perspective to the band. An accomplished guitarist and drummer, Joel’s path into the band was through bass duties. Joel’s positive influence was not just from a technical angle. His friendly nature, imposing stage presence and Guitar-Hero-character looks saw him fit in and fill some big gaps in the Pyromesh culture and image. Jamming became fun again, the band had found a strong spark, enough to reignite a burning passion to build Pyromesh into what it should be. Instrumental jams with Alex, Joel, Clint and Ash at Joel’s workplace (Sound Solutions) meant that the band had a musical playground at their finger tips. Sound Solutions was a concert / gig hire company with various lighting, PA, recording and musical performance devices in their inventory. Access to the catalogue of hire equipment proved to be of great assistance to the creative process.
With an entire album of drums recorded back in 2005, time was ticking. Alex, Clint and Ash held a loyalty towards Andy that meant he would return to the band and resume vocal duties. It was time to get serious about finalising the debut LP. Andy seamlessly slotted back into the fold, with ‘The Mesh’ playing a heap of live shows to what had become a strong and loyal fan-base. Andy’s return show was at The Newport on a Sunday night in the heat of an extended Aussie summer, with the likes of some alternative heavy weights. A brand new setlist of recycled songs written with Kris Falconer were frequently jammed and played live; the then self-titled ‘Pyromesh’ (released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Apathy’), ‘Omnia’, ‘Sandstorm’ (released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Bathed in Flame’), ‘Year of the Phoenix’ (released as ‘Year of the Phoenix’ on single, then re-released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘One-man Knife Fight’), Angel of Fire (released on ‘Omnia’ as ‘Perceptionless’) and ‘Shades of Grey’ (unreleased).
Above: Clint Lawrence, Alex Lassetter, Andy Jones, Ash Doodkorte and Joel Gardner.
Sick of waiting around, sick of no momentum, sick of lineup shuffles; the decision was made to shoot a video and release a single. Some of Ash Doodkorte’s most creative artwork and video concept ideas were materialised. A hard slog tracking guitars, bass, vocals (and video footage courtesy of Martin Donnelly – Advent Sorrow) resulted in ‘Year of the Phoenix’ and ‘[U]ltra-[V]iolet’ being pressed on a CD along with the ‘Year of the Phoenix’ video (after-effects and production by Martin’s brother Paul Donnelly). The launch at Amplifier Bar was one of 2006’s most heavily attended Amplifier Bar shows with 100+ CD units being sold on the night. The funds almost offsetting the costs of the upcoming ‘Year of the Phoenix’ Tour.
Above: A corpse painted Andy fires the chargers for the ‘Year of the Phoenix’ launch. Heads banging, hair swinging and beer flowing in the moshpit.
Above: A tour poster based on the CD artwork, created by Ashley.
The first taste of the touring lifestyle was tough… 3 shows in 2 days on less than 5 hours sleep. Some sparsely attended shows in Melbourne and Geelong with Synthetic Breed and Deafening Silence were hard to accept after the success of playing to reasonable home crowds for so many years. What pulled the band through was the company of the Deafening Silence crew, some light hearted moments involving a barmaid’s nipple piercings and catching up with some old Perth crew from Head Filled Attraction. Heading over to Adelaide to play in front of Deafening Silence’s home crowd was the reprieve the band needed, making the hard work and travel worth it in the end. An early morning airport pickup by Roland from Clothtape was the touch of a proactive and welcoming host, as the weary Pyromesh band members slouched in Roland’s living room.
Fuelled by Coopers Sparkling Ale to numb the aches of a virus that had swept through the band, the final show of the tour was the sweetest of all. A modest crowd of 150 filled the Prince of Wales Hotel as the likes of Clothtape, Deafening Silence and Diatribe helped rally support for their cross-Nullarbor brethren in Pyromesh. Heads were banging, hair was swinging, beer was flowing and good times were had by all. A much needed sleep back at Stuart‘s from Deafening Silence was on the cards, but first some celebrations including more Coopers and some golden oldies including the Ghostbusters theme song that Stuart had on vinyl.
Pyromesh: ‘Year of the Phoenix’ Tour
The dark side of the tour were misconceptions on Andy’s behalf. Twisted thoughts that plagued his usual positive, can-do attitude. Emotions ran high and tolerance was at an all time low. Andy questioned the motives of being in a band, what was the point of having to be around so many people with differing values, attitudes and opinions? It wouldn’t have been so much of an issue if the majority of the values, attitudes and opinions weren’t so self-gratifying, superficial and narrow-minded. The constant over-analysis in his head, weighing up the idea of being a chameleon, changing values, attitudes and opinions in order to win the support of others did not sit well. The thought of metaphoric semen dripping down his chin was enough for Andy to quit the band and focus his energies in a world where getting ahead financially meant more than anything. In hindsight, Andy would have not given so much value to the narrow-minded values, attitudes and opinions given the wisdom and calm he would learn in the coming years.
A return show back in Perth to an admiring crowd followed closely by an overnight resignation from Andy left Pyromesh in the lurch. After generating enough momentum to push towards an emphatic debut LP launch, the wheels had fallen off the bandwagon. The brotherhood felt betrayed to the point where the band almost flicked the kill switch. Days, weeks and months went by of monotonous, painful rehearsal before a shining light of youthful optimism pulled Pyromesh from the depths of despair and back into full-throttle; harder, faster and more determined than ever before. Enter, the immensely influential and talented Ael Bennett. Upon his introduction to Pyromesh through Arkarion’s Chris Head, Ael made his presence felt, almost completely re-writing the vocals for all 8 ‘Omnia’ LP tracks ready for recording in 2007. Ael would not only bring a cathartic rage and passion to the band, but also bring the musical talents of another all-rounder having a strong repertoire with various instruments and previous musical endeavours.
Above: Alex Lassetter, Ael Bennett, Clint Lawrence, Joel Gardner and Ashley Doodkorte.
Pyromesh finished 2006 with a wet sail. On the horizon was a prosperous new year. 2007 promised to bring some exciting times.
The Coming of Age
2007: Finally, after the bright lights and late nights involved with finalising a dynamic mix and solid master, August 31, 2007 was the day Pyromesh would launch their debut LP ‘Omnia’. The second largest crowd to a Pyromesh show, second only to the Metallica tribute show of 2003, witnessed all 8 tracks unveiled in a blistering display of carnage and beautiful melodic intuition.
Above: Ael stands back and admires a packed Amplifier room.
Although having weathered several line-up shuffles since their formation (As far back as late 2001), and having only emerged with two modestly successful releases within that time (2003’s five track E.P. Malevolence and 2006’s stop-gap three track single Year Of The Phoenix), Perth (Western Australia) based act Pyromesh have finally overcome the challenges of the past to complete work on their debut full-length effort. Comprised of eight tracks, Omnia is the culmination of two years hard work from the five-piece act (Who comprise of vocalist Ael Bennett, guitarists Alex Lassetter and Clint Lawrence, bassist Joel Gardner and drummer Ashley Doodkorte), and their hard work has certainly paid off.
The opening track Apathy immediately proves that Pyromesh are anything but your standard progressive/alternative metal outfit, with co-producer Stuart James’ unobtrusive string arrangements helping add some weight to the riff structures. The use of keyboards lends an air of drama to the heavier moments in the song too, giving Pyromesh a sound that is very much progressive sounding, yet undeniably aggressive and metallic in equal measure. The first three minutes of follow-up track Bathed In Flame sees the band in full-on aggressive mode with Bennett in particular leading the pack with his diverse screaming efforts. But it’s around the halfway mark that the song heads in a completely different direction when it gives way for some great Nile-like Middle Eastern influences. The title track Omnia once again reveals a different side of the band’s collective sound, with Bennett showcasing his clean vocals alongside his proven scream abilities, with the keyboards/samples dotted throughout giving the song a slight industrialised feel.
Living up to their names, Hellbent, Jezebel and One-Man Knife Fight see the band deliver a few punishing no-nonsense progressive tinged blackened/modern thrash metal tunes, whereas the lengthier pair of Perceptionless and Oblivion, see the band stretch themselves in a musical sense, with the progressive influences within the band’s sound coming to the fore.
It may have taken Pyromesh a long time to finally get things off the ground, but with the end result being Omnia, there’s no denying that the time spent has well and truly worked in the band’s favour.
The album was also launched at a private house party at Alex’s residence, where the charismatic Ael stepped up to speak to an intimate audience. Beaming with pride, Ael introduced the album, paying homage to previous band members and praising his existing band mates for the opportunity of a lifetime to sing for one of Perth’s most revered metal bands. The camaraderie in the air that night was unlike any moment in Pyromesh history. The sense of accomplishment was written all over the boys’ faces, more-so Alex’s, whose years of soul searching and grinding away head-first against the grain had finally paid off.
The combination of:
Incredible artwork from Ash;
Dark, cathartic and apathetic lyrics from Ael;
An incredibly brutal yet melodic composition of music from Alex, Clint, Joel and Stuart James as producer and sound designer;
… was all condensed within a digipak to rival that of any international release. The album would get strong airplay on Triple J’s Full Metal Racket (from start to finish upon launch, then consistently each week for a good 6 months), and also on local radio stations throughout Australia. The local radio station list was a very comprehensive list originally researched and compiled by Andy back in the day for airplay of the ‘Malevolence’ EP.
‘Omnia’ would go on to be highly acclaimed within Australia and Internationally in metal and hard rock communities, receiving strong praise from first time listeners and those who had heard the band’s previous efforts. ‘Omnia’ was a real step up and a declaration from the band that Pyromesh was a strong force to be reckoned with.
An upbeat morale that was exuded through many live performances to close out 2007 and an untapped flow of creativity emanated from Alex as he quickly looked to follow up ‘Omnia’ with a flourish of new songs being prepared for future release.
A Sombre Tone Meets Monk Discipline
2008: Gigs were few and far between, and very little news had been surfacing from the PyroCamp. Despite the silence, there was a lot happening behind the scenes. A new album was well and truly underway as a collaborative approach to songwriting was yet again adopted.
Experimenting with a heavier vocal, Ael put growls and a nice touch of melody to a new track titled ‘Mr Shadow’. Taking on a more death metal approach, ‘Mr Shadow’ was recorded at Kingdom Studios. Clint captured some action of the recording, which whet the appetite of an ever increasing fan base impressed with the new-found proactive approach of a band that was previously very slow with releasing new music.
‘Mr Shadow’ was launched at Rocket Room on the 5th of September, 2008 to a modest crowd of 150+ supported by Dogs of War and Soul Escape. In follow up, on 13th of September at Leederville Headquarters Pyromesh supported the launch of Chaos Divine’s new album, Avalon.
However, that all too familiar feeling of lineup uncertainties crept back into the fold at Pyromesh. The two shows above were performed with a very sombre tone. Ashley Doodkorte parted company with the mighty ‘mesh after seven years of beating skins, breaking sticks and sweating buckets. Ashley’s departure would leave a gaping hole in the Pyromesh ranks. Ashley’s contribution to Pyromesh was not just music and awesome graphic design, Ash was the common sense, the pragmatic approach, the one who was able to remove emotion from a situation and keep his head when all others were losing their composure. Ash was the glue that held the band together during the early days, keeping things on the straight and narrow as best he could. Ash, still is to this day, held in the highest of esteem by all Pyromesh members and his peers alike.
Despite the sad goodbyes to a loyal servant of the band, the flames kept on burning with the arrival of the highly revered Tim Stelter (Dogs of War, Weapons, Dyscord, Iconoclast). Tim filled Ash’s role like a duck taking to water. Another all-rounder had made their way into the Pyromesh ranks, Tim being an accomplished guitarist, bass player and vocalist as well as a technically precise drummer. Tim brought the discipline of a monk to the band with his calculated approach to percussion and songwriting. His vision of a better world free of political oppression, economic exploitation, and social degradation resonated with Ael, who took on a newly influenced approach to lyric writing. Tim’s experiences with the highly respected Dyscord held him in good stead as a very experienced band member from a touring and songwriting perspective. The professionalism exuded by Tim ensured that objectives were accomplished and that the Pyromesh project would not skip a beat. Progress towards the completion of a follow up to the ‘Omnia’ LP would be achieved.
Above: Tim Stelter, exuding professionalism and technical precision.
A year of steady progression was capped off with Clint’s links to the Australian film industry ensuring that Perceptionless would be featured on the score of the motion picture ‘Two Fists One Heart’. Clint was working behind the scenes on the movie, so it only made sense he be rewarded by having a song featured within the movie itself. ‘Perceptionless’ can be heard when one of the boxers exits the dressing room and enters the boxing ring.
Pyromesh closed 2008 in heavy metal style on New Years Eve, rocking out at The Charles Hotel with the likes of Psychonaut, Sins Of The Father, Lacrymae, Noctis and Hyte.
Going Through the Motions
2009: A slow moving year, largely dedicated to perfecting song writing for the upcoming album release. Pyromesh had pretty much fallen off the gigging scene, with song writing and tracking soaking up the majority of the time. Ultimately, the band lay low and perfected their approach to the upcoming ‘World Breaker’ album.
However, an excerpt from a gig write up by J.C Walker is below (featured on fasterlouder.com.au):
Pyromesh have been gigging for almost a decade now, and though they’re no longer as thin as the prodigies they had to follow, their accessible crowd rapport and professionalism are welcome compensations. It can start with something as simple as knowing whose show it is (unlike openers Prana Fire whose frontman mistakenly referred to “our gig”) and giving props to your fellow bands, which is what they did, igniting a round of applause for each of them. Musically, Pyromesh is a known quantity. Most of Perth’s metal fans know what they do, which usually involves a hefty dose of double-kick drums, shouting and agile riffing. They did it well here, and could’ve taught Arturo Chaos a lesson or two, had the latter not absconded soon after packing up. Their throat artiste Ael Bennett is the consummate metal frontman. He operates with the mad ringcraft of pro wrestler on a rampage. He also communicates with the punters, rather than just his own dark side. Some vocalists isolate themselves even though they’re standing front and centre. They have the growl, the moves and the menace, but don’t look you in the eye or feel comfortable between songs. Bennett matches the intensity with an openness and ease.
2010: Momentum had stalled, 2010 was largely expected to be the year of release for ‘World Breaker’. As it was, effort was being put into perfecting vocals and miscellaneous finishing touches on what was destined to be a more dynamic and melodic yet equally as brutal follow up to ‘Omnia’.
A few gigs were bright moments in an otherwise uneventful year. Morale had fallen away because of the lack of progress. Leadership had waned within the ranks, and Pyromesh had pretty much become an afterthought in the lives of all 5 band members. New hobbies had come into play to fill the void left by the lack of overall interest in the Pyromesh project. When jams did occur, not all band members were present, which defeated the purpose of being in a band and a team oriented environment.
Loyalties Questioned and then Answered
2011: Tracking was done and the mixing was almost finished for ‘World Breaker’. However, Ael Bennett made his intentions known to the rest of the band that he would be parting company after the launch of ‘World Breaker’. One of Australian metal’s most talented frontmen was prepared to walk away after giving so much of himself to a project that he originally felt so very privileged and honoured to be a part of. What had changed? From the outside looking in, Ael was the face of Pyromesh that everyone had grown to know and love since the departure of Andy back in 2006. The once in a lifetime opportunity had worn thin despite Ael co-writing guitar parts and contributing various structural and musical ideas to the overall songwriting process for ‘World Breaker’.
Alex made the most black and white call in the history of the band, questioning Ael’s commitment by forcing Ael to make a decision on whether he was in or out of the Pyromesh project. Ael chose to walk away, a brave choice that would ultimately mean that Ael could concentrate on focusing his talent on a solo project titled ‘Creature’. This also meant that Pyromesh could press the reset button and assess where ‘World Breaker’ was heading as an album and where the band was also heading collectively.
A fateful phone call on an April afternoon was an action that would once again re-align 2 of the original Pyromesh elements. It’s still unclear to this day if any other band members were consulted by Alex when making this decision, but Alex wanted Andy back in the band so badly. Andy was on the verge of approaching Sight Transcend to ask if he could fill Ed Divine’s shoes when Alex threw Andy the opportunity to resume singing duties for the almighty Pyromesh machine. Alex’s decision was based on kinaesthetics more than anything else. The decision to reintroduce someone who cared so deeply about the band meant more than bringing in someone who was perhaps more skilled than Andy. Alex feared that an external influence would bring an ego to the table that would have less respect for the 4 arduous years put into ‘World Breaker’ and Pyromesh as an institution over the last decade.
Above: The current lineup of Andy Jones, Alex Lassetter, Tim Stelter, Clint Lawrence and Joel Gardner.
Still to this day, Alex remains the ‘coach’ of the band, assessing and manipulating the performance of his band mates to achieve maximum output.
Between April and July, the band got 5 songs up to speed and resurrected Year of the Phoenix for Andy’s return show at The Railway Hotel on July 23rd. The reception from some 120 punters was a tick in the box and justification of Alex’s decision to continue the Pyromesh project with a new vocalist.
Preparation commenced to get ‘World Breaker’ finalised, except the album’s working title of ‘World Breaker’ no longer sat with the band so the title was scrapped. The hard work done by Ael to write lyrics and various vocal arrangements was just too solid for Andy to ditch without a care. An underlying level of respect between Ael and Andy meant that Andy would inherit parts of songs that he felt were too good to re-write. However, the plan was to delete Ael’s vocals from the album ProTools session and have Andy record his versions, mixed with elements of Ael’s creativity. Credit will be given where it is due.
Above: Ael and Andy rub shoulders at Soundwave way back in 2009.
2012: January 2012 was an exciting time, with Pyromesh supporting Perth’s progressive instrumental gods – Prescient – with the launch of their debut EP ‘The Polynomial Framework’.
Above: The ultimate frontline!
The rest of 2012 would see some momentum regenerated with punters getting excited about the launch of the upcoming album, working title now ‘Biologic’.
A few gigs here and there to fairly modest crowds and a strong focus on finalising tracking and tweaking for ‘Biologic’ was the main priority.
2013: Positive energies attract positive outcomes. Tim, Alex, Joel, Clint and Andy launched Biologic to a crowd of 300 at Amplifier Bar, an effort that was technically 7 years in the making, given that ‘The Nepotist’ was originally written by Alex back in 2006!
‘A Call to Arms’
To date, the album has been well received, especially by the folks at Spaceship News:
With the rise of extreme metal, bands shifted their focus towards unusual structures and tonalities, technical virtuosity and the never-ending search for even more extreeeeeme and brutal heaviness. It’s a shame, because many of the acts that inspired modern metal were as melodic as they were heavy. Groups like Tool, Pantera and Strapping Young Lad could craft a hook that got stuck in your head and still find space in the song for earth-cracking brutality. For old-school metal fans lamenting the marginalization of older metal aesthetics, PYROMESH are one of the last bastions of heavy songcraft, employing heaviness as one of many elements in their sound, rather than the be all and end all. With Biologic, their first studio record in six years, Pyromesh have forged one of the tightest local releases in recent memory: forty minutes of polished, wall-of-sound metal, built on a solid foundation of well-crafted riffs and melodies.
The songs on Biologic are rich and detailed, with a refreshingly midrange-y guitar tone that is, thankfully, neither djent nor -core. Rapid double kick runs and palm muted power chord riffs recall the days when Metallica could be called “heavy” in mixed company without the obligatory snorts of derision, while vocalist Andy Jones shows his versatility with clean vocals, death growls and the kind of vicious scream that makes Devin Townsend so horrifying. Tracks like opener ‘Ethereal‘ swing with an alt-metal flavour, with a sludgy verse breaking into an open, half time refrain, while ‘A Call To Arms‘ and ‘The Nepotist‘ move with the kind of immediacy reminiscent of old school thrash heroes like Slayer.
Complimenting the twin guitar assault from Alex Lasseter and Clint Lawrence, the group weave synth pads in and out of the record, creating ambiences over which they can lay their thick, punishing guitar riffs. Applying synthesisers to heavy metal requires the utmost subtlety while still justifying their place in the record. Pyromesh have found that perfect balance, letting the fattest guitar riffs dominate the sonic landscape for the most part, while bringing in synthesiser backing and light, airy melodies to add openness to chorus or lead breaks. This touch, normally so cliche in the world of heavy music, gives the record a sense of variety and helps the band sound heavy without resorting to ridiculous de-tuning or the dreaded b-b-b-breakdown.
Biologic is a cleanly produced record, with a balanced focus on the melodies and dynamics, rather than making the heaviest record possible. In their wisdom, the band have reserved the bone-crushing heaviness for their live shows and letting the record emphasise their skills as songwriters. Make no mistake; it’s pretty hard to get more than three songs into Biologic without cranking the volume and starting a one man mosh pit next to the stereo, but if you can find it in yourself to sit patiently and absorb all eight tracks, the discerning metal listener will find a lot to like here; a detailed and dynamic record showing that metal, as a genre, has far more to offer than simple, pummelling brutality.
The remainder of 2013 is likely to feature further achievements for the band as they push towards the writing of a third album.
Dear poor neglected WordPress blog, what did I learn from 2011? That this 29 year old has become a slave to rest, exercise and a high fibre diet!
I understand that 2012 will be a big year of weddings, honeymoons, births of babies, resumptions of career aspirations, strength, achievements, progression and launches. I’m not talking about just me, I’m talking about us all! I hope you all keep your milestones coming. These are the chapters of life that shape you as a person and build the happiness and life that you want to live. 🙂
I might front up with a gung-ho exterior, but at the end of the day, I’m just as vulnerable and insecure as anyone else. I have my weaknesses and these are what make me the silly geezer that I am. Each year I enjoy learning new lessons and engaging new experiences. I enjoy growing as a person and sharing the journey with my dog, friends and family.
2011 taught me that all I really want in life is for my acquaintances, friends and family to succeed and prosper. 2011 taught me that taking life seriously is nowhere near as much fun as living in the moment! Laughing is the best tonic and I have the band boys, family and friends to thank for the hilarity that breaks up my strenuous professional life. I’m lucky to have such awesome mates! I always have and always will love you guys and I never take friendship, camaraderie and support for granted. Please keep being the inspiring, nurturing, down-to-earth and friendly people that you are. You keep me grounded, level headed and entertained with your conquests, vanquishes, failures and laughs. Thank you soooooo much!
What I understood from 2011 and years previous, is that we are NOT here to simply look good in front of others. We are here for betterment, friendship, support and mutual understanding. In order to be happy, you must surround yourselves with positive influences and people with the same values and beliefs. People who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable side instead of putting on a front, and at the same time, know how to be positive, supportive and genuine in the face of adversity.
May 2012 be a year of success and remember, keep your eyes on the big picture, don’t sweat the small stuff! Always think positive and see the bright side, no matter the circumstances. 2011 opened my eyes to a world that is shaped by positive thought, I hope 2012 is the same for you and I.
I recently had a FaceBook argument with a friend of mine who updated their status with the following. My friend’s name has been abbreviate to ‘BD’ for privacy reasons and for the benefit of this blog post. Be warned, the spelling and grammar are rather average:
“BD has come to the conclusion that AFL is one of the most lamest sports in the world ! , After watching plenty of games i still cant see where the skill is in the sport. You run with a ball and people try to tackle ya ! , a goal is usually scored every 2-3 minutes and for some strange reason, you get 6 points ? why ! You’…d think a behind 1 point and a goal 2 points ! I now know why we are the only country to play it !”
He then followed it up with the following remarks:
Third party comment: “and when u kick the ball it hits the ground and bounces back in the opposite direction :s why not just have a round ball?”
BD: “agreed **** ! none of the sport make sense to me !”
Third party comment: “me either, and they all look like fags in there short shorts”
BD: “**** , a round ball would make too much sense ! let them be.. im sure one day they will figure it out ! AFL is just a bunch of greased up men running threw creape paper …and trying to grab hold of eachother hmm sounds pretty gay to me”
Many other responses containing ignorant opinions were added, until this gem was posted by another third party: “Soccer, or football, is a far inferior sport to Australian Rules Football. The skills required to play AFL far outway the skills required to play Soccer. Not only does the game use a round ball but the pitch is smaller, the length of the game is shorter and it is a non contact sport. Yes, a lot of people love Soccer, but if you seriously want to talk about skills and athleticism then you can not even compare the two. AFL players run in excess of 20km per game, sprinting for long periods of that. They also have to have the strength to tackle like rugby players. Then there is the task of kicking and handpassing an oval shaped ball to players that are over 50m away, and hitting them on the chest in the process. I’d like to see any Soccer player keep up with an AFL player and then do what they can with the ball. A sport that uses a round ball and requires more skill than Soccer is Gaelic Football. Come on guys, there is nothing a Soccer player could do that an AFL player or Gaelic player couldn’t. I’m sorry but your argument is so flawed”
BD: “*****, i agree with you to some extent about the strength of a player and applaud you for sticking up for the sport in which you follow and like, instead of telling me to f-off like others would. Although strength is not really a necessity in soccer, their is no need to have big muscles or handball an oval shaped ball 50mtrs in soccer, therefore i don’t think this is, in my opinion a ” fair comparison ” although you have answered the question about skill involved in AFL ! I have no skill in AFL and i can still kick a football 50 or so meters, so the skill that’s required isn’t really that great !
Soccer or football is to me indeed way more skillful which is why goals are scored less , lines of defense are broken down in order to have a shot at goal, which is guarded by a very trained goal keeper ! Trying to breakdown a line of defense and score a goal with the “offside” rule is very hard ! and teams have to be trained and work together a lot more that just running with the ball and having a shot at goal like a see so much in AFL.
As far as the time of the game .. well the players endurance in soccer is 2 x 45mins rather than 4x20mins an AFL players get !
This is not about who is the fittest player or how strong they are in order to tackle down players because soccer is a non-contact sport !
Sorry dude i don’t think my argument is flawed but its just a matter of choice !”
Then I chucked in my 2 cents. My response is below:
“Hey BD, you’ve got my sports brain thinking, and I’m sick at home coughing up snot on a Saturday night, so here’s an essay for you! I have played both Soccer and Aussie Rules Football at competitive levels and can summarise my thoughts in what’s below…
Each sport requires unique skills. The skills are based on the objective that needs to be achieved. A Cricketer requires lightning fast reflexes to take a catch, compared to a Tennis player who requires exceptional agility to run from the baseline, to the net, and then back again whilst ensuring their shot passes over the net and lands within the boundaries of the court.
BD, you pretty much contradicted yourself by questioning the skill involved in Aussie Rules and then agreeing with Alex that an oval ball doesn’t bounce consistently. If this is indeed the case then surely you’d need better foot skills for a ball that behaves inconsistently? Or am I reading into this too much?
As for your Aussie Rules skills… there are elite AFL players who struggle to kick the ball 50 metres. So if you’re able to accurately kick a 50 metre punt as you previously stated, then I want you playing on the wing at Carlton. The hand and foot skills required to accurately drop and then kick the ball with absolute precision are incomparable to any sport. The room for error is almost non-existent, much like a Golf swing. As for running flat out and bouncing the ball every 15 steps, this requires exceptional co-ordination and composure including an innate ability to withstand the effect that adrenaline places on these co-ordination and composure levels. These skills and abilities are comparable only to Gaelic Football, which is easier than Aussie Rules given the use of a round ball!
How can the frequency of goal scoring in Soccer make the game more skilful than Aussie Rules? The bottom line is that the 2 sports are incomparable in this regard. Soccer is primarily defensive while Aussie Rules is primarily offensive which explains the frequency of goal scoring. You did note that the games are incomparable in this regard so good on you.
As for the popularity of Aussie Rules, I’d be a surprised if a game that dates back to the reign of King Edward had less support than a sport that is around 170 years old. After all, Aussie Rules was only ever invented to maintain fitness levels of Cricketers during winter. Aussie Rules has cult appeal at this point in time, but is rapidly expanding into new areas of Australia, NZ, South Africa, Asia, USA, Polynesia to name just a few.
As for the image of Aussie Rules, I see more injuries in any level of the game (from C grade amateur local club right through to professional AFL) compared to Soccer. The intestinal and testicular fortitude (courage) of an Aussie Rules player is comparable only to Grid Iron and Rugby players… the tackling involved in all three sports is comparable, but Grid Iron and Rugby players wear padding, Aussie Rules players do not. The only other sportsmen I can think of who can brag higher levels of courage would be motor sportsmen and extreme sportsmen. Compare this to Soccer players who fake injury to slow a game down when playing a tough opposition.
The clothing worn by Aussie Rules players is nothing more than functional, allowing players to exert and utilise their bodies to full potential. A sleeveless Guernsey allows 360 degree movement of the arms from the shoulder joint, while small shorts allow a player to lift his knees in order to run like a sprinter. If the sight of bare triceps and quadriceps has ‘homosexual’ appeal, then I’d recommend the uncomfortable individual questions their sexual orientation. Not that there’s anything wrong with being homosexual. However, if you’re going to throw the term ‘homosexual’ around, I’d be directing the term at the prima donnas on a Soccer field who throw themselves on the floor and whine over a tackle that never happened… after all, it’s a non-contact sport, right? The only Aussie Rules player who does this is Hayden Ballantyne from the Fremantle Dockers. Credit should be granted to Fremantle who fined Ballantyne for acting with such petulance. Pretending to be injured or acting out an injury undermines integrity, you can’t dispute that.
The offside rule in Soccer is pathetically basic and it absolutely baffles me why the managers of these elite sporting clubs can’t get their offensive tactics setup correctly. It’s simple, stay behind the ball in your opponent’s half if you’re not out-manned. How does the implementation of this rule make Soccer more skilful than Aussie Rules? No skill, complications or machinations required, just a simple acknowledgement of and adherence to the rules of the game.
As for the time of the 2 games, you’re correct about Soccer (except you missed the typical 5-10 minutes of ‘injury’ time). As for Aussie rules, you forgot to include time-on which is added to the time of each quarter. Time-on is made up of the time taken to run the ball from the crowd behind the goals and back to the centre circle for the ball-up, a boundary throw-in, an injury, sending a player off for the blood rule, the time taken to award a 50-metre penalty or to reset play for a mark, free kick or behind, so a quarter ranges from 25 minutes up to 33 minutes. So on average a game of Aussie Rules will last over 120 minutes. If a game of Aussie Rules did only last 80 minutes it would mean that no goals or points were kicked, the ball never went out of bounds, there were no injuries, no players sent off for the blood rule, no 50 metre penalties or free kicks issued, and no marks taken. This is literally impossible, hence a quarter lasting between 25 to 33 minutes. Aussie Rules is much more draining than 2 x 45 minute halves of what is mainly a defensive game that requires what I estimate to be around 60% less aerobic activity.
At the end of the day, you’re bang on the money, it’s a matter of personal choice. To me, Aussie Rules has a level of passion and integrity unmatched by any other sporting code. Had I spent more time living in Dulwich, London as a supporter of the Crystal Palace Eagles, I’d probably be singing a different tune…”
Third Party response: “Gotta disagree with you on the Offside rule, Ando! 🙂 It’s basics are pretty simple, but the intricacies of the rule get a little confusing. I think it’s also much more difficult to adhere to in practice than in theory. If you’re a striker and the ball is flicked your way, obviously you’re aiming for a clear shot on goal. To stay behind the defenders just when the ball is kick and then push through to get in front of the rest of the defense requires a great deal of tactical skill and precision timing especially when the other team is playing with an offside trap strategy.”
Me: “Hey ***, this is where the line blurs. To me, skill and tactics are separate pieces of the puzzle. A skill involves physical competence (such as ball handling) while a tactic involves adherence to a non-physical mental concept (such as promoting collaborative team ethics). However, adherence to a TACTIC requires leadership SKILLS and inherent attributes such as discipline… This is where the line blurs and the two entities merge, yet I believe they are still two separate entities.
A classic example of this is Jarrad Waite at Carlton. The man has sublime skills as an AFL player but his adherence to tactics is woeful. He disobeys basic team culture and is constantly sitting on the sidelines through suspension. You could apply this in the same fashion to a Soccer player who constantly brings the team down by being offside when goals are scored. Opposition tactics can be circumvented through the application of counter-tactics, no matter the intricacies. Am I making sense?”
What do YOU think? I’d like to hear your feedback.