Rise The Wicked – Biddy Mulligans: February 24, 2024 (Concert Review)

Rise The Wicked and NewZerror put the pedal to the metal at Biddy Mulligans in Hamilton. The 13th Floor’s Aaron Christiansen was on the scene.

Saturday night in the Tron, the 13th-floor reviewer finds themselves at Hamilton’s finest—Biddy Mulligans, currently mingling with a diverse crowd of enthusiastic metal fans. Adorned in the essential Slayer, Pantera, and Metallica t-shirts, a notable number of fans have also embraced the latest merchandise from tonight’s metal drawcards, NewZerror and Rise the Wicked.

As we wait for the bands to set up in Biddy’s back bar, the front of house stage hosts a rather underwhelming performance by a cover band delivering a lackluster rendition of Reef’s “Place Your Hands,” prompting a swift departure to Biddy’s Back Bar in anticipation of a more electrifying experience.


The first act to take the stage in tonight’s anticipated one-two punch of heavy metal is NewZerror, a band recently recognized at the Taite Music Awards for their debut album, NewZerrorBehind the Mask. NewZerror, formed by Rixter and partner Dee in 2021, they describe their sound as melodic industrial metal. The duo, responsible for writing and performing the album’s music, enlisted Duane Sutherland on bass, and the mysterious Slendrman on lead guitar, to complete the live lineup.

With Biddy’s back bar rapidly filling, the band takes to the stage. Dee Ellis makes a dramatic entrance, wielding a police baton and cap, dressed in black and adorned in buckles and chains, Dee immediately captivating the audience with “Alibi.” The performance is marked by the band’s heavy industrial sound, Rixter’s driving drumming, and ominous presence sporting a mask behind a souped-up drum kit reminiscent of a scene from Mad Max. The song is enriched by Dee’s theatrical vocals, building to a crescendo as she threatens the audience, baton swinging, “Face us, come on and face us, we won’t take this anymore!”


Other highlights include the use of haunting synth from Dee’s keyboard in songs “Live Again” and the title track “NewZerror,” which effectively slows the pace, drawing in the listener and creating an immersive atmosphere. “Live Again’s” lyrics touch on the loss of a close friend, and the lyrics and performance reach a fever pitch as Dee sings, “The time is now, fight to breathe—tomorrow, live again.”

NewZerror holds the energy up throughout their 12-song set. Dee effortlessly delivers on a couple of covers from Evanescence and Dio, all the while deftly avoiding the crisscrossing of the guitarist and bassist as they prowl back and forth across the stage, tearing it up.

Rise The Wicked

Next up is the night’s lead act, Rise the Wicked, emerging from the ashes of 8 Steps to Rise The WickedMadness, conceived by founding members Andrew Stites and Peter Hughes. Their collaboration has yielded an array of complex metal riffs marked by both depth and precision. The lineup expanded with the addition of Terry Cairns, who not only crafts the lyrics but also leads with his vocal prowess, alongside Ewan Dawson on bass and Jonty Quinn on drums. Last year marked the release of their debut album, Oblivion, which has been meticulously refined through their live performances. With rumors circulating that Jonty has acquired a new drum kit, it looks like it’s time to take it out of the box and see what it’s capable of.

The set kicks off with the disturbing sound of an air siren, blitzing the crowd. Dueling guitars thrum in unison to tonight’s opener, “Trampled.”

Andrew’s guitar ushers in “Darkness of Black,” followed by the rest of the band, complementing the somber and emotionally charged lyrics: “Nothing will be, remains to be seen, no turning back, the darkness of black.”

Jonty’s new drum kit propels us into the album’s title track, with meaty guitar licks driving the anger in Terry’s lyrics. He belts out, “Year after year, you’re driving me insane, STATE OF OBLIVION!!” The song escalates with dueling guitar solos, climaxing with Terry’s repeated screams of “OBLIVION, OBLIVION, OBLIVION!!!”

Rise The Wicked

The new song “Get on it” is performed next and is a crowd-pleaser. Terry seems to be taking a more relaxed approach to the lyrics, imbuing it with a sense of humor throughout.

The band slows it down with the melancholic “Small City.” We see a more sensitive side to the band as Terry sings, “Like a whispering wave on a silent sea, haze in the distant moonlight, fade tonight, you’re riding free.”

Next, the band covers Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” a song that deeply resonates with both the band and the crowd. Peter and Andrew’s guitars lead the solos, but it’s Ewan’s bass guitar that anchors the song, setting the tone throughout. By the end, there’s more than a few audience members with dust in their eyes, with the audience showing enthusiastic appreciation and aroha for the band.

Rise The WickedThe band speeds things up with a fast and urgent rendition of “Rush.” Terry’s growling vocals command attention as he belts out, “The weight of expectations is high, not from anyone else but myself… I now know what it is, to feel this Rush,” challenging both himself and the audience for tonight’s performance.

The second cover of the night is Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years,” with Andrew capturing the opening riff perfectly. The crowd loves it, joining in with the chorus and applause as the song concludes.

Rise the Wicked closes the set with one of their newer tracks, “Stealing Death,” a solid thrash-inspired metal song that gets everyone moving and stirs up the pit. One of the highlights is how the song builds to a peak then abruptly slows down as Terry emphasizes the chorus, “Take it away, stealing death,” before cackling like death itself and ending the song on a high note. The band gives everything they’ve got before abruptly cutting off in unison, leaving the crowd stunned before delivering the band an enthusiastic ovation.

The crowd yells for an encore, and after numerous suggestions of what should be played, Rise the Wicked oblige with a second playing of their newest song, “Get on it.” But being Hamilton, there’s always one punter left disappointed when a call to hear “Wagon Wheel” goes unanswered.

Aaron Christiansen

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