First I must apologize for writing this review over a month later. Many things have come up, and as a result, our projects have been put on hold.
The 4th annual Brutalfest was held at the Astoria, which is located in the Vancouver downtown eastside. The outside of the venue can be sketchy at times due to people asking for money and other services and favors, but once inside, the stage is visible, and there is a lot of room to sit or stand.
Excruciating Pain was the first band, and I walked in when they were playing their song “Idol Worship.” They also played “Manatee” which features a memorable bass solo. They also played some new songs that I haven’t heard before. This was also my first time seeing their new vocalist Dan who has the same range of high pitched screams as their previous vocalist Spencer. I could be wrong, but it sounded like Dan was British.
Next up was Gross Misconduct. Just like Excruciating Pain, Gross Misconduct has a strong sense of melody as well as varied bass lines. Their drummer John can play both insanely and precisely fast. That evening I also heard melodic lead guitar solos and some breaks in the bass. The kick drum and possibly other instruments with low bass frequencies were sometimes causing the bass to not be heard; this was likely due to the sound setup at the venue.
Auroch was next, and luckily I could hear them a lot better than the last time I saw them, which as at the Rickshaw. There were still some minor sound issues at Brutalfest, such as the vocals being buried by all the other instruments, and sometimes the lead guitar was inaudible. On the plus side, the riffs overall sounded a lot tighter and more audible than they did at their previous performance. I was disappointed that there was no bassist at their Brutalfest performance because I could picture a technical bass line driving their songs and adding more low end depth to them.
Finally we had headliners Archspire. All members demonstrated their technical proficiency in their playing, but I was especially impressed with the bass tapping executed by Jaron. Archspire got the crowd so pumped that all the moshing prevented me from taking as many notes and pictures as I would like for them, but I see that as a good thing. Archspire’s strength in the technical death metal field in Vancouver was pushed to the next level in 2011 when they toured Europe with the ranks of Decapitated, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Cyanide Serenity (see our last interview with Archspire at http://www.vanmetal.ca/2011/12/12/126-archspire-interview/ ).