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Wrapping up a heavy metal holiday

Tales from the Make Them Suffer tour bus.

If you’re just joining us and haven’t read last week’s column - this is the third and final instalment of my heavy metal holiday that’s taken me all over the United States over the last few weeks. I've been privileged enough to witness unique performances from the likes of ISIS and Deafheaven, among many others, before I was meant to head back home to Melbourne. However once Perth metalcore band Make Them Suffer offered me a seat in their tour van from Texas back to Los Angeles via Las Vegas and more, I couldn’t say no and had to extend the trip. Simply put, it was super cool to travel across the USA with my friends while they opened up for a couple of all-time greats in The Acacia Strain and After The Burial, who were both performing seminal albums in full to celebrate having both reached a decade of existence. Make no mistake - the five shows I got to see across this small snippet of a seven-week run were, generally speaking, incredible, modestly massive, and exciting (save for perhaps a sleepy Tuesday evening in Alabama). Being able to jump in and out of a gruelling tour while it’s running fully greased up, but not yet burned out, definitely felt like a privilege - a sweet spot that could only be fully understood by those who have lived it.

Yet what I feel more compelled to write about right now is not so much the shows themselves, or the wild levels of partying, or the super fun yet gritty highway adventures, but more so the overall perspective this little additional leg of my journey added to my entire view of a life in music. To have come over to the USA, visit cities I’d never before seen, and have as fulfilling and enjoyable and welcoming time as I did, has crystallised as something truly special. If life is a constant expansion of connections, memories and friendships, this trip assured me, unlike anything that has ever come before, that what goes around comes around. What we get to experience as dedicated pursuers of the heavy metal and hardcore lifestyles, or at least just musical road dogs, is surely unique in the universe.

Life is full of setbacks and downers, and for me personally, many moments where I considered how much easier it might be if I left it all behind and found something else. Yet that is not an option - for my passion is pure and unavoidable. I’ve spent my life supporting people of my kind, from creating full-blown career opportunities to just giving people a floor to crash on while touring. The web widens. The payoff increases over time and effort, and the spiritual connection to everything I’ve ever done, and everything that lays ahead, and the strength of friendships old and new, is truly priceless. If you believe in this with pure intentions, it might just believe in you, and in those moments where the times are so good that the struggle of the journey is but a fortifying memory, what we do is worth it. The best may be yet to come.