Progfest each year brings an eclectic bunch of bands to our shores and while we don’t get a main course, we often get a tasty dessert. Tonight is the UK’s Monuments, with Opus Of A Machine and Dyssidia in tow at Jive. Let’s dig in.

Dyssidia are South Australian prog metal royalty, always pushing and stretching their technical capabilities further. They’ve played with TesseracT, Opeth and Trivium and the quality that has allowed them those spots is evident tonight.

With signature heavy riffs and scattered rhythms on the opening track, the tone of the set is locked in. With prog you’re never too sure whether you’re going into the depths of the soul or tearing through Hell. The vocals from Mitch Brackman change dramatically and dynamically from soft and solemn to a loud roaring. Backed by a extremely tight band, they leave you in a state of confusion as to what to feel emotionally. The answer is admiration.

Brisbane’s Opus Of A Machine feature former Caligula’s Horse guitarist Zac Greensill and they start with a rocking riff before breaking off into a shuttering stop start motion which has heads banging all round.

With a new album out in Stray Fire, the set list has some older numbers sprinkled with newer songs like Strength In Stone and the epic Beacon, which starts slowly before a melodic breakout that goes on a journey from the lowest valleys to the highest peaks and everything in between.

Monuments come into the show with singer Chris Barretto under a cloud. Last night, with his voice gone, Circles frontman Ben Rechter filled in. How would tonight go?

Barretto comes on stage and apologise’s for the voice, stating that’s he bummed but he’s gonna give it a shot for us. In true Rob Schneider fashion someone screams ‘you can do it’ before the crowd rush forward and the band kicks in.

They start with A.W.O.L. and the band is right in the pocket, rocking the audience however Barretto misses a few moments. Two songs in and the suffering singer admits defeat and exits the stage, apologising profusely.

The rest of the set becomes a run through in instrumentals featuring favourites such as Mirror Image and Leviathan. The audience is sympathetic to the situation and take in their stride as a true rock n’ roll moment.

The band for their part, a blur of waving dreadlocks backed by heavy grooves and complex drum patterns, give their all. While there may be no vocals they do manage to get the crowd to get down and jump at the start of Regenerate.

While the crowd head-bang and mosh away to Origin Of Escape, the forlorn singer stands with the crowd drinking a herbal tea. Barretto tried and for that he should be applauded. The band shook the foundations in his absence and the crowd responded with mutual admiration for the unique set of circumstances. It wasn’t the dessert we were hoping for, more of the medication we needed. Get well soon Monuments.

Live Review By Iain McCallum