Friday, March 11, 2011

Woods Of Ypres Concert Review!!

So, did you miss last night's concert? Well, here's my review of it! A nice heavy night of music was enjoyed by all at The Roosevelt Hotel last night, and here's everything you should know!

Firstly, I do wanna say that with the old Rosie logo painted over behind the stage, the concert environment is actually enhanced, which was nice! Opening last night were local death metal band State of Misery, in their first ever live concert appearance with new bassist Devon Overman! He handled things well on bass, he seemed to know their songs well, though he didn't really mix it up on stage too much, mostly staying on the far left of the stage. With Devon's addition, this was also Kevin Dorazio's first show with the band as their rhythm guitarist, and I think his rhythm playing filled out their sound more than we'd previously seen, and kudos for the Dean ML guitar, always a nice sight! As a band, they were back in high form like we've previously seen, knocking their originals out of the park with their trademark death metal devastation, including a new song named "Devils Never Cry" and more of their memorable originals and covers! Steve Rhodes' brutal vocals started well but by the end of the set, his voice seemed to wear out to the point where he spoke parts of some verses. I also think their cover choices need work ("Eleventh Hour" sounded off in particular) but they had a successful night overall, and a good introduction to their new 5 piece lineup! Look out for State of Misery again soon!

After they left the stage, The Bear Hunters took control for a set of melodic death metal! In terms of originals, there was no real surprises from when we last saw them, but we got some solid tracks like "Collapse The Sun", "Overthrown", and "Casualties Of War" to generate some moshpits! The only new songs they unveiled were covers later in the set, including Megadeth's "Symphony of Destruction" and Trivium's "Down From The Sky". The Trivium cover was well done, but the way they played "Symphony of Destruction" didn't mesh with their sound. I think they could look at Arch Enemy's cover for inspiration, as that's a good way to play that song in a death metal style. Promoter Rich Moreland joined in for a cover of "Master of Puppets" to round the set out as well, and that was another highlight! The band sounded pretty good for the most part, with brutal singing from Nik Deubel and great guitar work from Mitch Sirie especially, but they have sounded better. Why? Because I could barely hear Mike Vincent's guitar playing. I don't know what happened with his tuning, but his riffs were too low and his solos were almost inaudible, which did make a few of their songs suffer a bit. Good set though, and it does show the promise and talent The Bear Hunters have going forward, even if there's some curious hatred for Yogi Bear. And yes, they did play "Squirrel Boy"!

Finally, of course, was Woods of Ypres' grand local return after a year and a half, but first, let me say that I have no photos of their set. Good reason why not though, as David Gold asked me to film their set on one of the band's own camcorders, presumably for future YouTube uploading of either individual songs or on a tour vlog. Sounds good to me, and I was glad to do it, though the camcorder's battery did die during their last song. To make up for it, I got almost the whole thing on my camera to ensure it was recorded (I sent it to David as well), though there was an odd stretch when I was running two cameras at once trying to make sure they were at good angles (which explains why there's points with a visible camcorder screen and views of nothing on the video I took.) So if it doesn't look as "good" as some of my other videos early on, that's why, and hopefully photos of Woods' set from last night turn up!

Now, to Woods of Ypres' set, and I have to say, it was great seeing the band back on a local stage! They've put in a lot of work to get where they are, and the future's never looked brighter! Last night, Woods of Ypres' setlist was dedicated mostly to songs from "Woods IV: The Green Album", making a very doomy night of metal, including songs like "By The Time You Read This (I Will Already Be Dead)", "Don't Open The Wounds/Skywide Armspread", and "Wet Leather", all of which showed their musical evolution well! Of course, with these slower doomier songs, you'd assume things wouldn't be as heavy, but lots of moshpits got going, and the fans responded very kindly to Woods of Ypres! David Gold almost looked like Fidel Castro with his on-stage attire (that's not a criticism), and he was in top form on guitar and vocals, channeling his low register singing with a lot of emotion, though I find his vocals were slightly quieter than they should have been. His new black guitar with "EAR" and "ACHE" on each side was a nice touch too! Joel Violette proved to be more than up to the task of the lead guitar spot, though I'd like to hear more solos from him going forward. I miss Bryan Belleau, but Joel fits in very well! Shane Madden's bass work was heavy and fit well throughout the set, and his backing vocals were a nice touch, while his brother Evan's drumming kept the pace well all night long!

I was a bit surprised by the low amount of songs from Woods I-III from last night, with only 4 from those CDs on the setlist (3 from "Against The Seasons" and, naturally, "Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground".) It'd have been cool to have heard songs like "The Northern Cold", "The Will To Give", and "Distractions of Living Alone", but I get that they're pushing the "Woods IV" rerelease heavily, and it deserves it! I also found the lack of their new single "I Was Buried (In Mount Pleasant Cemetery)" to be odd, but the songs they did play were all great! They had an awesome set, and I'm glad to see David and company back in our burial ground! I can't wait for their return in May!

Great concert, and you can see my photos from the openers' sets at this location or at the SMS' Facebook page. And yes, I have videos, so here's State of Misery playing "Pray For Me", The Bear Hunters' original "Overthrown", and Woods of Ypres playing "A Meeting Place & Time"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for some more news likely tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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