VERN’S PUB & DICKENS PUB – JUNE 5, 2014
The official first day of Calgary Metalfest started off at Vern’s with all female duo Perception of Pain. The name was an unfortunate ruse, as the acts simple hard rock edge was lacking. Up next was Calgary-based Mass Control. The three-piece band blurred the line between speed metal and hard punk to create a somewhat one-beat set. It’s decent, if you are into that, but it’s not this reporter’s forte.
Next was evening highlight AfterEarth. This progressive black metal band was a breath of fresh air with some melodic movements that ground into heavy down-tuned double kick patterns, tech oriented guitar syncopation, with excellent black metal vocals to highlight. This was all pieced together seamlessly with tight writing, I recommend you check these guys out when you can!
With the pub becoming full, Lethbridge deathcore group The Avulsion brought their genre with a lot less shirts than should have been onstage. Blastbeats, breakdowns and guttural vocals from this younger band show some serious promise for the future. Netheriel was on next, also bringing a solid death metal set but with a more classic, yet somewhat dry feel.
Time constraints and a bad public transit system unfortunately caused this reporter to miss Naraka, Vicious and Scythia… no matter, another night of metal awaits!
Words by Matt Telgen
The crust is already starting to set in on day two of Calgary Metalfest. After a very metal, and utterly delicious Chinese food buffet courtesy of Mrs. Noctis, known colloquially as Terese Fleming, a squadron of bangers descended upon Dickens. The pub was mostly empty given the early time, but it might have also been the two-vocalist core band onstage. After the Prophet had strong musical elements, but need to subtract a vocalist. The ever-consistent False Flag was up next, billed early despite their headlining capabilities. With their punkified Meshuggah-esque guitar judding, and powerful howling vocals, they got the crowd moving. The only song whose delivery left wanting was their self proclaimed “ballad,” an awkward track with a wavering whammy pedal effect unbefitting of their sound. The only thing to recommend is as such: stay heavy my friends; you’re so good at it.
With that, we departed for Vern’s, where AfterEarth was delivering an blackened set that ended far too short given the late appearance on our behalf. No matter – time to go again. Doberman was about to play at Dickens! One of the undisputed highlights of the evening, this band incites listening schizophrenia. In the past I’ve heard smatterings of grindcore, death metal, hardcore, and several other genres, this time around they reminded me of early 2000 era hardcore à la Converge or very early Ion Dissonance. No matter what comparisons they garner, Doberman is excellent, and deserves all the recognition they can get. The crowd knew it too; they ate it up as vocalist Aaron Mayes nervously paced the stage barking, drummer Kevin Nelson delivered his goofy dum-drum faces, and the guitarists hammered notes home.
Back to Vern’s yet again for the last notes of Netheriel. This was possibly the best set I’ve ever seen from the death metal band, which are frequently inconsistent in a live setting. Old school death metal was belched from the speakers, making me wish I had seen the entirety of the set. The changeover was quick, and Medicine Hat’s Naraka began. Their vocalist and guitarist delivered growls reminiscent of ‘80s Hetfield while the band did their best Metallica, then suddenly it transformed into death metal via double kicks and guttural howls.
Finally, Halifax’s Vicious came onstage, and it was immediately obvious that Calgary’s speed metal contingent should have been in attendance. The East Coast equivalent of Gatekrashör, Vicious was hugely entertaining, contorting their faces ridiculously while their drummer provided vocals. Despite having a last minute member change, resulting in a Calgarian taking up the torch, they sounded excellent.
Overall, it was a great evening for those willing to make a frequent trek between venues. For those who didn’t, faces were longer given the abundance of “core” bands with several word names on the bills. To those people I recommend voting with your feet.
Words and photos by Sarah Kitteringham