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/

666 Sunday: Sinned, Unleash the Archers, Death Toll Rising, Antecede – September 25, 2011

666 Sunday 2011

666 Sunday 2011

So here we had three death metal bands and one power melodeath band–interesting lineup, I must say! As long as it is all metal, it is all good to me. Antecede initiated the show with their death metal that retained its classic heavy metal roots–I could hear it in their riffing. After that we had Albertans Death Toll Rising–I bought their t-shirt that reads “eat shit and die” on the back. Other merch I bought was a CD/shirt combination package from Sinned, and a patch from Unleash the Archers. I thoroughly enjoyed Death Toll Rising’s fast brutal sound and was surprised that their drum set was still in one piece after abuse from Bryan Newbury, though if I remember correctly, I think their high-hat came apart at one point.

Unleash the Archers provided us with contrast this evening–they even admitted themselves while onstage, “We’re pussy metal!” With their strong power metal main vocalist Britney and occasional guttural vocals by their guitarists Brayden and Grant, they have the versatility to play with almost any metal band and are marked with being melodic, heavy, and catchy all at the same time. This was a better performance than the one they did at Funky’s prior to this–both the sound was better and Britney’s vocals were stronger. Finally we had Sinned close off 666 Sunday with their mind melting technical death metal. I probably lost a few brain cells after attending that show, but I still had enough left to recall headbanging like crazy to some mad death metal with a touch of grind.

AUG.20, 2011 SHOW

Infernal Majesty

INFERNAL MAJESTY w/ "CORPSEGRINDER" Fisher / TYRANTS BLOOD / SINNED Aug.20

Sinned and Tyrants Blood were great openers.  Sinned has some technical death metal sound to them.  Tryants Blood has death and thrash sound.  But the problem I had at this show was that the guitars were not loud enough, especially the leads.  It made it hard to hear things properly.  But I still really dug both bands.  I’d say that Tyrants Blood and Infernal Majesty both had remarkable stage presence, thanks to frontman Brian Langley.   I consider him a friend of mine–good guy.  Check out his other band, Cradle to Grave.  Fucking awesome.  Anyway, Sinned has a versatile guttural vocalist David London who is able to go from squeals to low growls in the same phrase…and they have an amazingly fast lead guitarist Dennis.  All the bands this night had solidly powerful drumming, and that is what half made up for the lack of hearing the lead guitar…really, I have heard the sound better in other shows at the Rickshaw.  But my request would be to have a better soundcheck and gear once-over maybe.  I’d say that inviting George Fisher as a starring guest was a smart idea because  I could see how excited a lot of the fans got when he was up there.  He also gave a unique interpretation of the Infernal Majesty songs in his distinct Corpsegrinder voice.  The fact that he was on the bill was enough to pique a the curiosity of many, and it was definitely a creative choice to have him there.  Too bad that his mic was malfunctioning for some of the set, making it difficult to  hear him at times.