Joanna Funk

music, gardening and my dog

Adriatic: Brisbane’s Balkan Djent/Hardcore/Metal Band

Loud and brutal at Vinnies Dive

Originally published in The Riff

We turned the corner into Nerang Street in Southport on the Gold Coast when Adriatic lead guitarist Bojan Sambolec messaged me:

I hope you brought earplugs. It’s insanely loud.

We hadn’t. But no matter, Vinnies Dive had free ones at the door.

The band members of Adriatic are from the Balkan states. In the darkness, the intro to their set was a surreal-sounding recording of singer Reni Bojilov, from local Bulgarian group Zhiva Voda.

Then Adriatic lead vocalist Stoyan Stoyanov grabbed the mic and drew people to the stage like nails to a magnet. He leapt in the air. His energy was tangible, and a frisson shot through the room.

Stoyan unleashed their opener ‘Parasite’, his knees bent, mic in his mouth, face in the crowd. He growled:

My despair…
Grabs me by the throat…
Suffocates me…

But it’s not a losing fight.

Turning a blind eye is not an option…
Denying and lying is not an option…
Passively waiting…
Not an option
Hiding in ignorance…
Not an option

Within those dense rhythms and wailing bends, Adriatic challenges what’s fucked up in modern life and they have a positive message to share.

Adriatic band members are co-founders of the SCHEMA Collective, an alliance of musicians and artists in the Queensland underground music and arts scene.

They create inclusive, safe environments, and they care about the mental health of youth.

So Stoyan sang to his loyal young crowd. He sang to them and he sang with them. He invited four people up to join him. They screamed themselves hoarse to ‘Against All Odds’.

Imagine being one of them: up on stage. Being heard. A moment in the sun.

Imagine being one of them: up on stage. Being heard. A moment in the sun.

Heads swayed in a trance to drummer Jesse Nikolic’s throbbing death knell and the audience lost itself to the band’s pulse.

Adriatic lead guitarist Bojan Sambolec. Photo credit Caitlin Halsall

I heard Bojan djent, his muted, distorted 8-string guitar thudding over multiple irregular meters, and Ryan Brown’s deadening bass guitar shuddered. At the front, heads banged in ritualistic escape.

Adriatic played several more songs, including ‘Immerse’, ‘Death’s Funeral’, and their 2017 single ‘Delusion’, before seeing out the night with a fierce build-up, and then cathartic release.

Their fans left Vinnies sated, and we all stepped out into a night cleansed by a recent shower.

This hardcore progressive metal band has a new recording out later this year. Watch this space.

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About Joanna

Joanna is British Australian. Her early career was in financial news in London. That ended in 2008. Joanna moved to Sabah, her parents’ birthplace, where she wrote a blog about musicians, which became a book. Joanna came to Australia in 2012 and started this blog — her second. These days, she writes mostly about music, her garden, and trips to Sabah. Oh, and Wookie the Havanese.

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