I walked into the Biltmore Cabaret for the first time to find a red, deep glow about the venue. I have only really known small venues in Calgary and it was a comforting and hazy place to host Anciients’ kick off Canadian tour.
Destroy All were the first band up and started on time. This 4-piece was not any ordinary metal band, showcasing 3 different vocalists all with their own unique sound. The main vocalist/bassist, Aron, was seemingly a fan of Venom as he was screeching out some killer vocals with their first song Leviathan Rise. Deep and high vocals from the other two guitarists fit well with this all-encompassing range of metal styles. Emerge Now From the Ashes was their second song and was laid down with some progressive drum beats. The end of the set was a crushing song named Long Live the New Flesh and was fun to thrash out to. Destroy All played a short but sweet 25 minute set.
Skull Vultures were second on stage and were hard hitting and beautifully constructed. With sounds that emanated Neurosis and Gorguts, Skull Vultures are an up-and-coming band. Eli’s guitar wailing rang out clear with the first song,Reclaim. The drummer was a fill-in for the show, but proved he was worthy of being there by playing a drum solo for about a minute and a half which ended with the crowd cheering. Only Darkness started with a slow bass line of doom proportions and proceeds into Jason’s guttural war cry and speed which were a welcoming sound amongst the progressive drum beats and the beautifully high-pitched ringing of the guitar. Skull Vultures finished off their set with a song titled No Reason and it was over too quickly, in my opinion. They only played around 25 minutes, but I wish it was longer.
Black Wizard came up on stage and all the hair came too. You could tell it was going to be a stoner-iffic time. This band was LOUD, and I mean feedback loud. I had to leave the pit because, even with my earplugs, my ears were getting fucked by this Clutch-inspired dual-guitar 70’s band. Hair was swinging everywhere! The drummer, Eugene, was exciting to watch, with his ever moving body and head banging. The crowd really got going when Eliminator was played: their only song on their Bandcamp website. Vocalist Adam gave some crushing growls amongst his pure clean vocals and it worked quite well. About 3 songs into the set, Adam had some troubles with his guitar but the band kept playing until he fixed it. The following song began with a dual guitar riff of epic proportions and proceeded into a lovely slow and sludge orientated song. Black Wizard was overall a really good band, but the sound/venue was not working in their favour.
Black curtains were draped around the front of the stage in anticipation of Anciients playing. An ambient sound started coming from the monitors and around 120 people began making their way to the front of the venue. The curtains were drawn back and southern metal riffs rang out with their first song, Raise the Sun. The second song, Overthrone, started fast, but ended slow and people were starting to groove. After the second song it seemed the crowd was in a weed coma as Kenny, the lead guitarist and vocalist, had to spur the crowd asking “How you guys doing?” with the crowd cheering again. The intro to the next song, Faith and Oath, picked up speed and the crowd followed by head banging. The Longest River took us on a 9 minute progressive, stoner-metal journey and no one in the crowd was complaining as bodies were swaying. Anciients ended the show with a new song that began harder and faster than the previous ones, but progressed into a beautiful slow head drooping sludge that covered the crowd. Anciients played just shy of an hour and the band was really thankful everyone came out and supported them on a Tuesday night. Anciients, Black Cobra and Black Wizard are touring Canada right now. Check out Anciients.ca to find out when they will be in your city!
Words and photography by: Serena Navarro
Edited by : Bailey Macabre (Vancouver Metal)