Monday, May 14, 2012

West Of Hell/Tribune Concert Review!!

Hey guys, it's time for my review of last night's West of Hell & Tribune concert at The Canadian Nightclub, featuring two major local band returns after year+ absences! What went down, and what'd I think? Read on below!

First up last night was local hard rock quartet Borderline Divine (formerly Stillbroke) in their first concert in over 2 years, so how'd they sound? Essentially, they were like Stillbroke with a huge injection of heaviness and intensity, and I honestly liked the Borderline Divine sound more than 2009-era Stillbroke on first listen! Their set had mostly originals, including new songs like "Ride of Your Life", "Lie To Me", "Burn The World", and "Vampire In The Night", as well as two Stillbroke-era holdovers ("Push Me" & "No Reason") that fit well with their current sound, and some covers of Audioslave & Static-X tracks! The new lineup appears to have solid chemistry, and I like how Jesse Frigault's voice has developed, especially in terms of throwing in some death metal-esque growls here and there! Justin Polutanovich fits in well on bass, and though Sam DeDominicis has traded his long hair & guitar for a goatee & drums since I last saw him live, he's definitely qualified behind the kit! My only real quibble was that, on most of the new originals, Mitch Sirie's guitar solos sounded extremely similar, and he should shake them up a bit. Other than that, this was a clear success for Borderline Divine's first show of this new era, and as long as we're not waiting 2 years for their next show, this should be the start of something big!

Oddly second last night was Vancouver metal quintet Tribune (pronounced "try-bune"), but earlier in the night or not, they delivered some solid brutality in their second local appearance! Last night, I sort of got the vibe that this is how Changing Waves may sound if they get to the point where they're releasing albums and touring, and that's certainly not a negative statement. Going in, the studio tracks I'd heard of Tribune's were solid, but I'm glad to say that singer Bryan Baker's clean vocals weren't as high pitched or nasally as they sounded in studio. He mixed up harsh screaming and growling with lots of melodic singing, and it worked to their advantage! Terry Anderson & Sean Culley's guitar work was nice and technical throughout their set, which saw Tribune play songs like "Man on the Outside", "The Succubus", and "The Warrior Mentality" for their local fans. I enjoyed their mix of genres, and they shown a lot of diversity in their originals, plus some good enthusiasm to be back in town, and I'm glad I finally got to see them live after missing their last stop here last fall! Good stuff all around!

Third was the second long awaited return of the night, that being for local death metal band State of Misery, but how'd they sound after a year's absence? Honestly, their set was lacking, but given their extended break, I won't be too harsh. I will say that it was good to see their original lineup back together, and their individual talents definitely haven't diminished! Their set was surprisingly covers-heavy, featuring Lamb of God, Pantera, Black Dahlia Murder, and As I Lay Dying songs, but I missed hearing more of their original material from last year! Where was "Don't Break The Silence" or "Pray For Me", for example? Some of their covers sounded a bit off, with a couple timing issues, and when they did "Walk" to cap their set, there seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm, and that's not the way to end things. Steve Rhodes' growling was on form, but the guys' stage presences last night were stiffer than I remember as well. Again, this was their first show since last April, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Individually, they shown their talents well, with Kevin D'Orazio a welcome sight on bass again, and Ray Cowan's guitar work was solid as expected, but if State of Misery are back for good, they need to work on their chemistry and bring more originals back into their set. Their promise from last spring can still be extended upon, and hopefully they can get back into full gear!

Last up last night was Vancouver metal quartet West of Hell, and they completely stole the show with one hell of an entertaining set! Much of that is thanks to frontman Chris "The Heathen" Valagao, who had a great and funny stage presence that saw him mix a great thrash/classic vocal range with some fun onstage antics, like wearing a Roman centurion-style helmet during "To War", using the smoke machine like a spray gun, and using what looked like an angle grinder on a steel pipe to create some awesome sparks! Those frills helped add to original songs like "Faceless", "Unworthy", and "Water of Sorcery", and the whole band were on fire last night! Amidst the smoke, Sean Parkinson & Jordy Knute's twin guitar attack was blistering, and Andrew Hulme's drumming was excellent as well, but the whole band were an excellent blend of talented metal artists! Easily one of the most fun out of town headlining bands I've seen here in quite a while, they shown newer metal genres that old school speed and thrash metal is still king, and I don't think too many fans disagreed with that last night! I hope West of Hell come back to town soon, cause they deserve a bigger crowd and perhaps even a longer set!

Overall, this was a very cool (and newsworthy) concert that Dismembertainment deserves props for bringing to The Canadian! A bigger crowd would have helped, but the fans in rolling chairs up front was a fun sight during State of Misery's set! I did get photos last night, so click here to see them or visit our Facebook page! This also includes a new "Tag Yourself!" photo finally, so if you're among the crowd on the photo, feel free to tag yourselves! And yes, here's videos, those being of Borderline Divine playing their song "Push Me", Tribune's original "The Shadow", State of Misery's cover of Lamb of God's "11th Hour", and West of Hell's new album's title track "Spiral Empire"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for a new news post tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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