Wolves in the Throne Room, Nommo Ogo, Neck of the Woods at The Venue – July 13th 2014

The Venue – July 13, 2014

Wolves in the Throne Room (WITTR), a Washington black metal duo, released Celestite, an experimental synthesizer album on July 8th and followed with a North American tour. Nommo Ogo, a California psychedelic electronic band and Vancouver’s own Neck of the Woods (NOTW) were also on the bill.

NOTW is a band that showcases many different styles of metal and it is obvious why the were Wacken Metal Battle Canada finalists. Progressive bass rhythms accompanied the double kick and wailing guitar while Jeff Radomsky, a hardcore vocalist, spent most of his time pacing around the audience screaming. “Two Smokes” ended the five-song set and was set ablaze by two guitars and slowly grooved into a fast melodic double kick crusher.

Nommo Ogo walked on stage hidden behind beekeeping hats and their electronic equipment. They created an ambient experience full of crashing high pitch noises among low deep rhythms. Their most recent album, The Sea of Night is aptly named as this music seems to be best suited for staring off into the abyss.

WITTR did not play any songs off their newest album and instead stuck to their black metal. Distortion rang out and it was loud as they played their first song, “Thuja Magus Imperium.” The only light came from lit candles as the stage was dark. The band did not say a word to the audience for the almost hour-and-half set, except for the screeching growls of the singer. Heads were drooped for the popular “Vastness and Sorrow” and Venue filled with atmospheric black metal that Wolves in the Throne Room innately create.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to The Skinny Magazine for publishing this review and thanks also to Beatroute for providing the opportunity to review the show.

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Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Aeon, Tribulation at Commodore Ballroom – February 11th 2015

VANCOUVER — Cannibal Corpse performed on a Wednesday night at the Commodore Ballroom and brought Behemoth as their co-headliner.

But first, Sweden’s Tribulation started the night off right with a mixture of old and new metal. It was kind of like a rock and roll/death metal/progressive mix and I dug it. The band played songs from their most recent album, The Formulas of Death.

Aeon, also from Sweden, was the second band up onstage, and they gave their dose of death metal to the crowd but not before a lengthy sound check. Aeon’s vocalist, Tommy Dahlstrom, jerked his mic off throughout the set between his depthless growls.

There are many bands that one wants to see throughout their lifetime and for me, Behemoth was one of them. Excitement grew within the crowd as the stage was outfitted with occult stage props. Vocalist Adam “Nergal” Darski graced the stage with two torches on fire and the band performed “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”. Halfway through Behemoth’s set a surprise guest helped Zbigniew “Inferno” Prominski on the drums, and the two of them were getting their groove on. The Commodore Ballroom stunk of testosterone, body odour, weed and beer and then Behemoth played their popular “Ov Fire and Void” and the place went a little hazy. It was lovely.

Finally, Cannibal Corpse brought their standard dose of aggressive growls and death metal. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s because I got thrown on my ass in the pit, or maybe it’s because my taste in metal has evolved but I wasn’t digging Cannibal this time around. They played their popular songs to the crowd’s delight and I sat back and watched the young folk have their time in the pit.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for the opportunity to review this show.

Black metal progenitors Mayhem are the bearers of Satan’s flame

VANCOUVER — Mayhem, the infamous Norwegian black metal band, was formed in Oslo in 1984 by guitarist Oystein Aarseth (“Euronymous”), bassist Jorn Stubberud (“Necrobutcher”), and drummer Kjetil Manheim. Suicides, homicides, and the burning of churches – yes it’s all related quite heavily to Mayhem and will forever be. Although littered with controversy over the years about band members being neo-Nazis, misanthropic and anti-Christian, Mayhem has continued making music, which has been characterized by the band’s revolving door of musicians. The possibility of the music standing for itself was always a question the metal community took to heart. Many a conversation and heated arguments have been had over the years. Regardless, Mayhem has continued on, with the current line up consisting of Necrobutcher, drummer Hellhammer, vocalist Attila Csihar, and guitarists Ghul and Teloch.

Esoteric Warfare, Mayhem’s fifth studio album, was released, with hesitated excitement, in June of 2014 – almost seven years after their last album, Ordo Ad Chao. Teloch, the current rhythm guitarist of almost four years, made some time to answer questions via email.

Teloch explains that the lyrical theme of Esoteric Warfare is about “mind control, secret nazi societies, cold war and flying saucers… Attila (the vocalist and song writer) is really into stuff like this, where as I am not a believer of all these conspiracy theories.”

Attila Csihar, vocalist of Mayhem for over ten years (replacing previous vocalist “Dead” after he committed suicide) and vocalist for the infamous album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, has recorded some of the most eerie and ghoulish ululations produced by a living entity for their new record. Seriously, it’s beautifully horid.

“We are into the more fucked up things in life…instead of flowers and machines for the kitchen,” Teloch explains about creating Esoteric Warfare. “It started with me making a vocal guide for Attila and we built the lyrics and vocal performances around that. He is a dream to work with and is always open to try new things.”

When asked about the musical aspect of the album Teloch confesses that it’s mostly straightforward Mayhem material for the first four songs “but the rest of the album is more experimental… I tried introducing some new elements.” For example the song “Milab” was written “as a very soft song, but it still has that creepy Frankenstein feeling to it that I like,” Teloch explains.

The inspiration for such demonic sounds from the album comes from a Canadian source. “Actually I was trying to make a Voivod-inspired song, but more evil,” Teloch confesses. “I get inspired by everything… a noise from a car parked outside my window… simple things like weird sounds that surround me in my daily life.”

Teloch responded to some controversial questions about Mayhem’s past and the contributions of Dead and Euronymous by simply stating, “This is Mayhem, so the intensity is quite rough sometimes when discussing things. I didn’t know the Euro or Dead, so I don’t speak about them. I hear some of the guys that knew them talk sometimes about them yes, of course. They were a big part of this band’s history… but then again I’m more interested in the future then the past.”

Mayhem just might be around for another 30 years if Teloch has his way, “but it’s not getting easier with this kind of extreme metal. Maybe its time to slow down a little bit for the next couple albums so that we can have some slow songs to play when we hit 70 or 80 years old,” jokes Teloch.

So, perhaps we can expect some slower songs from the next Mayhem album, but for now it’s all about the crude, obscured and maniacal metal.

By Serena Navarro

Mayhem perform at the Rickshaw Theatre January 26.

Thanks to Beatroute for publishing this article.

New Venom album – From the Very Depths

Spinefarm Records

From the Very Depths is the 14th album by legendary extreme metal progenitors Venom. Following in the vein of 2011’s Fallen Angels, Cronos’s bass is present but the guitars take over most of the record. From the Very Depths is riddled with power chords, making the teenage metal fan in us all swoon. Loud, heavy and fast is on the menu for most of the record with only a couple songs slowing down.

“Temptation” delivers the speed metal the band adopted in later years (post Abaddon and Mantas) and the chorus is so catchy you might find yourself dancing around the kitchen to it. “Long Haired Punks” features fist pumping, crowd chanting lyrics that’ll make their fans thrash around, arms raised to the sky. Moving on, “Evil Law” evokes the delivery of the infamous line “Evil, In League with Satan” from Venom’s second full-length, 1982’s Black Metal, as Cronos growls “Evil” with his characteristically snarky smirk and high pitched tone. All told,From the Very Depths delivers what one wants from Venom: it’s dirty, wild, and rude.

By Serena Navarro

Listen to From the Very Depths on YouTube: Grinding Teeth

My favourite and slowest song on the album, Smoke

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Want bizarre, jarring, grind/death psychotic tales?! Cretin – Stranger

Relapse Records

Cretin’s sophomore album is eight long years in the making. It has been well worth the wait.Stranger has numerous musical changes and pummels the soul with crushing buzz-saw guitars, double kick spurts and punkish rhythms. This is grind that worships Repulsion, which comes as no surprise given guitarist Marissa Martinez’s stint in the band and musical history.

Lyrically, Stranger has some strange lyrics. “Mary is Coming” is a guttural screamed tale about a lady who wants to give birth to a Mary (of the Judeo-Christian Bible variety) who actually inserts a doll in her vagina “but it got stuck in there.” The lady ends up in jail.

On “How to Wreck Your Life in Three Days,” Martinez howls a psychotic tale about a boy who “fixes” a crazy three days of mayhem by setting fires to everything, up to and including himself. Ending with an eerie guitar solo that resembles an ambulance siren while blast beats leave the listener gut wrenched, it sums up this bizarre, jarring grind/death album astutely.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Pallbearer -2010 Demo released on vinyl

20 Buck Spin

Heavy metal vinyl collectors rejoice! Pallbearer, an American doom metal band from Little Rock, Arkansas, just released their 2010 Demo on vinyl for the first time via 20 Buck Spin. It features an early rendition of “Devoid of Redemption” and “The Legend” both of which appear on their 2012 breakout Sorrow and Extinction. Alongside those tracks is a cover of the infamous “Gloomy Sunday” written by Hungarian composer Rezső Seress in 1933.

Beautifully packaged, the cover art for the demo was done by longtime collaborator, Animetalphysical, while Mike Lawrence, whose striking black and white artwork is marked by strong lines depicting death and nature themes, did the B-side etching. At first listen, the demo is more emotional and guttural than the tracks heard on Sorrow…, an invigorating change. The guitars are loud, deep and distorted. Brett Campbell’s voice is fresh and soaring. That said there are subtle differences between the demo and polished songs of Sorrow and Extinction such as the missing echo of lyrics in “Devoid of Redemption,” which detract from the song. In a great addition, there are shouting vocals on the demo. Finishing up, Pallbearer does a marvelous job of infusing even more sorrow and pain into “Gloomy Sunday,” the song also known as the “Hungarian Suicide Song.” All told, the release does doom metal aficionados justice.

By Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for providing the album to review.

Deafheaven, Sumac, Balance at Rickshaw Theatre – December 4th 2014

VANCOUVER — Thursday night started off with beers at Buick 6, a bar down the street from the Rickshaw Theatre. My friends and I were waiting with excitement to hear Sumac and Deafheaven take over the Rickshaw Theatre. Balance, a band from Vancouver, took the stage a little after 9 p.m. and got the crowd going with a hardcore sound.

Sumac is a supergroup with Aaron Turner (Old Man Gloom & Isis), Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists) and Brian Cook (Russian Circles). Sumac was a treat to watch and Aaron moves and shakes with excitement with every scream and guitar riff. Sumac officially played their first-ever live show and graced our ears with gradual progressive riffs that lead into sludgy crevices but kept the listener afloat with high pitch guitars. It was lovely.

Deafheaven (George Clarke and Kerry McCoy) came up on stage and started setting up their guitars and mics themselves. They then left the stage for a more ambient entrance with dimmed lights. They played songs from Roads to Judah (2011) and their most recent full length, Sunbather(2013).

Heavy metal music is a staple in my diet and Deafheaven walks that metal line well. Their live show was entertaining mostly because frontman Clarke convulses with the passion and love of his music. There is no doubt in my mind that music is his life. McCoy played the guitar with little movement or excitement in his face, a major contrast to George.

The crowd busted over with excitement when George announced they were to play their single, “From the Kettle Onto the Coil.” This fast black metal-laced song with crushing drums, vocals and beautiful guitars ended the night on a high note.

Photo and review by Serena Navarro

Thanks to Beatroute for the opportunity to review this show.