About Mad Metal Mage

Hey, my name is Linda Lockwood, a.k.a. Mage, one of the co-founders of VanMetal. I've been helping with maintaining, organizing, and pursuing this project since February 2011. Since moving from Nanaimo to Vancouver in 2009, I have learned and discovered quite a lot about Vancouver metal. As a metalhead and dedicated local, I continue to support and appreciate Vancouver metal at its finest. Through VanMetal, I hope to encourage others to support Vancouver metal too.

[REVIEW & VIDEO] Tyrants Blood / Xenocide / Naraka / Excruciating Pain @ The Rickshaw, Friday, July 6, 2012

For a Friday night there was not as many people at the Rickshaw as I had expected, but that could have been due to the possibility that many people are away from home during the summer. Nonetheless it was still Continue reading

ARCHSPIRE, AUROCH, GROSS MISCONDUCT & EXCRUCIATING PAIN – 4th Annual Brutalfest Saturday May 12th @ The Astoria

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, Continue reading

Negura Bunget, Eclipse Eternal, din Brad, Desecrate Scripture @ The Rickshaw Theatre – Saturday, May 5, 2012

For a Saturday evening I was very surprised to see a low turnout of attendees to this show, especially considering that the ticket price was $17 to $18 including taxes and services charges, depending on where you bought them.  Not only that Continue reading

First Two 2012 Shows Reviewed (Wolves in the Throne Room, Iced Earth, Symphony X)

Thanks for your patience as we get our shit together.  Lots of new things happening with VanMetal…

We have a video interview with Vancouver technical death metal band Xenocide that is going to hit YouTube in a matter of days.  Check them out at www.facebook.com/Xenocide .  They have some new things cooking such as filming their music video later this month and a CD release, so follow them on Facebook if you haven’t already.

I myself have had to work crazy night shifts at my day job…perhaps I should start calling it a night job now as it interferes with me attending shows!  I was fortunate enough to catch local death metallers Sinned when they played at Funky’s in January.  They play again later this February–check our our www.vanmetal.ca/events calendar for more details or the Facebook event URL at https://www.facebook.com/events/225671800857562/ .

One of the first touring shows I attended this year was Washington state’s WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM with support form local bands DRUDEN and AHNA (Sun Jan 15 @ Venue).  I was pleased to see the combination of black metal bands Wolves in the Throne Room and Druden; both bands successfully combined the black metal rawness of shrieked vocals, blast beats, tremolo guitars along with the atmospheric and ambience of keyboards (possibly backing tracks in some cases).  I know that Wolves in the Throne Room are mainly just two guys (Aaron and Nathan Weaver), and they have stage/guest musicians for their performances, so it is understandable that they likely used backing tracks for the bass lines.  Still I would have preferred seeing and hearing a real bassist perform for them.   One thing I must say about this particular show was that the band Ahna was rather noisy and unmusical sounding to me.  The band consisted of a drummer and bassist who both took turns on vocal duties.  Perhaps there is a market for this noisy type of music, but this is not my cup of tea–I prefer more variety in my music with at least some melodic and rhythmic variety.

And finally…I was fortunate to get a vacation day (or vacation night?) booked to see SYMPHONY X / ICED EARTH / WARBRINGER on February 14.  Warbringer, although not as noticeable and flashy as the co-headliners, was able to get the audience warmed up with their 80s-inspired thrash.  John Kevill is a commanding frontman.  I know that other metal fans I’ve talked to have criticized Warbringer for constantly being the openers and seldom being the headliners, but I give Warbringer a load of respect for doing what they love playing music–and I hope that they do eventually headline one day.  Both Iced Earth and Symphony X played new and old well-known songs from their repertoires.  I caught myself singing along not only to the old songs but also the new songs from Iced Earth’s new album Dystopia.  I was really impressed with Stu Blocks vocal performance on all of Iced Earth’s songs.  Vancouver should be proud to have such a powerful and versatile vocalist singing for one of the most successful touring metal bands.  His vocal range stretches wide, and he is able to do screams and gutturals too.  I am sure we will miss him from his old band Into Eternity, but what has been lost has been gained in Iced Earth.  Funny how both band’s initials are IE!  Symphony X displayed their musical chops in their power-prog heavy metal–all musicians were technically proficient.  I especially took notice on their bassist Mike LePond who played interesting melodic bass lines.

One comment I had from friends who attended the Iced Earth / Symphony X / Warbringer show is that the drum kit for Warbringer was placed in front of Iced Earth’s drum kit during Warbringer’s set.  This often happens to the openers in a lot of other shows too.  I am curious as to why they don’t just tear down and rebuild the next band’s drum kit as needed–does it really add that much time?

Stay tuned for more to come, and continue supporting Vancouver metal. \m/

Obscura / Abysmal Dawn / Last Chance To Reason / Auroch @ The Rickshaw, November 16, 2011

This mid-week show ignited with our local Auroch. Their complementing dual guitars consisted of both guitarists taking on rhythm and lead roles at different times. I admired the smooth sweeping, but it was hard to hear some of the guitar solos. It was easy to hear the drums though. Seeing Auroch play with a bassist this time made for a fuller sound than the times I saw them without a bassist. Oddly enough, sometimes the guitar riffs got buried in the mix. Sebastian’s upper range guttural vocals sounded like they could have originated from a demonic bird. His low growls also conveyed energy.  There was noticeable feedback in Auroch’s second song. I also heard GSM interference from a cell phone. Should we turn our cell phones off at shows?

Last Chance to Reason was up next, and I somehow detected deathcore in their sound, probably due to their use of breakdowns. Bob’s clean vocals sounded as though they would be more suited to pop rock than to metal. Their lack of grit and their soft style caused them to feel out of place while the rest of the band was playing heavy riffs. There were some moments of guttural vocals though, and the guitars were quite audible for the most part. After a couple of songs in, one of the guitars suddenly had no audio. As the guitarist tried fixing his sound, the rest of the band went into some jam that lasted about 30 seconds or so. It sounded like they were playing some sort of funk rock. I think the drums sounded triggered. I could see a machine, but that may have been for the synthesizer. Overall, the electronic sound in the music was too much for my taste. I prefer a less computerized sound. And I have a feeling that the band may have been using samples and/or backing tracks because I could not see a keyboardist…then again, I may not have been tall enough to see one.!

The third band, Abysmal Dawn, consisted of death metal with deep guttural vocals and a drummer I found rhythmically interesting. The playing did not sound triggered to me. Their guitars played good rhythmic riffs, and the bass line’s notes were audible. The guitar solos had good variety as they did not always play super fast all the time. Sometimes they would hold out long notes with vibrato, and sometimes melodic lines were present in the lead guitar.

Finally, Obscura set the stage, and their songs displayed a both fast and slow tempos. Unfortunately, sometimes the vocals were hard to hear. And even though their music has a progressive and technical approach, Obscura’s melodic lead guitar as well as catchy riffs and motifs were still present. One notable song this evening was “Incarnated,” one of my favorites off their Cosmogenesis album. I could really hear the prog/death influence from Death in Obscura’s music. I recall hearing them make a joke about the new Morbid Angel album. Obscura’s drummer was good at incorporating complex rhythms, lending very well to the band’s progressive vibe.

126) Archspire Interview

Interview with Archspire in November 2011, their last local show before they embarked on the Decimation of Europe tour. We apologize for the poor lighting in this video; we tried to correct it using both brightness and gamma correction, but due to some video conversion issues, it ended up pixelated after the final export, so we left the natural dark lightning. Thanks for your understanding.

 

Napalm Death / Golers / Zuckuss / Gross Misconduct @ The Rickshaw – Thursday, October 27, 2011

How fucking lucky I was to get half the day off from work to be able to attend this! And recently, I read in the Vancouver Sun that the Rickshaw has had improvements made to it, and that one of these was a better sound system. I immediately noticed the white sound panels in both the upper left and right corners above the stage.

We opened with Gross Misconduct. Crazy drummer John Kurucz assaulted the kit with complex rhythmic beats and fills. David London, frontman, belted out a mixture of thrash and death metal vocals. Check out his other band Sinned for a more brutal death/grind vocal approach. Jesse Brint, as usual, shredded on his Jackson axe, demonstrating his agility on the fretboard by playing melodically based lead work complete with tapping, artificial harmonics, and blistering runs. Gross Misconduct has a strong focus on song development, in particular with their use of fast blast beat tempos alternating with slow half-time sections, even clean guitars, as well as their strong sense of guitar harmonies. At times, I had trouble hearing David’s guitar leads; they were buried in the mix. I look forward to Gross Misconduct’s second CD release show on November 11 at the media Club.

Next we had Zuckuss, local death/grindcore act. Boss Jass drummed ridiculously fast, and no it was NOT triggered, at least I don’t think. Someone who is a drummer please clarify with me, or maybe I will ask Jass himself! Their bassist played some fast moving bass lines too. More lead guitar would have been appreciated, but that is not usually something that is necessary for grind anyway. I had trouble hearing the main vocals at times. I think the setup might have been having sound problems again.

The third band was Golers, local blend of thrash/punk/hardcore; this is a band that could fit in easily at either a punk show or a metal show. Charlie is able to pull off the high punk/hardcore vocals just as well as his lower thrash/death vocals. I like how the other band members occasionally did backup vocals, adding further emphasis. We interviewed Golers back in April, and they mentioned that they really enjoy crossover/thrash and “inbreeding” different types of metal.

Headliners Napalm Death took the stage, and man was I stoked to see them for my first time! There was a really bad audio glitch though–the bass frequencies were WAY too loud, in both the drums and the bass. This made it difficult to hear the guitars, and even the bass line was too boomy to hear its notes. None of the other bands on the bill had this much of a problem with their bass. Napalm Death’s bass was so loud and boomy that I actually had to move back, even though I normally prefer to be as close to the stage as possible. Barney’s vocals were sometimes hard to hear too. Despite the sound problems, Napalm Death still put on a decent show and played a mixture of old and new songs, and they even played stuff off their first two albums. I really hope they come back to Vancouver soon, hopefully with better sound.