Finally, here's my review of last night's Hallows Die-headlined metal show at The Canadian Nightclub! Nice to be back there, even if the attendance was lower than was hoped, but given that it is the holiday weekend more or less, that might not have helped in that department. So, what went down last night? The first band up was the only local band of the evening, that being melodic death metal quintet The Bear Hunters, and they sounded very good as I've come to expect from them! They played a slightly abbreviated set from what they usually have in store, but with songs like "Bloodthirst", "Dominate", and "Render This Void" in their set, they delivered from bell to bell! The only real difference I can add for their set was it was the first time I've seen their full lineup live since they opened for Fuck The Facts at The Canadian last month, and Mitch Sirie's guitar volume was definitely louder, so it was a better set overall! Plus, I like that they didn't include the songs that used to include clean vocals, as I wasn't reminded that those songs could use clean singing during their set. With such a reliable death metal band, it's hard to find complaints, and it's a shame the crowd turnout was so low early last night for their performance!
Next up last night was North Bay death metal band Buried Out Back, in their first local appearance, and fans seemed to enjoy their set well, as did I! A newer band compared to the others last night, they delivered a more straightforward take on death metal, but they were very brutal and had a lot of promising original songs, all of which seemed to be titled "The ______". I liked Nathan Shore's aggressive harsh singing, and the whole band seemed to have nice energy and stage presence! Kevin Lachance and Empyrean Plague's Dave Strba unleashed some awesome shredding guitar work, though I would have liked to have heard more guitar solos from them too. Nick Ianiro's bass work was also really impressive, adding to their entertaining set, but compared to the later bands, they need to find more ways to stand out going forward. Good first start though, and I can't wait to see them again hopefully in the area!
Third last night was young Sudbury black metal band Before The Black Gates, and it's definitely good to see them here finally! You'd think they'd have been here before now, but they delivered a solid (and longer than expected) set of death metal-inspired material that fans definitely seemed to enjoy! James Bok has a nice brutal voice, and Jacob Tyler's drum work stood out well, while Tamara Ryan proved up to the challenge on bass throughout their set! I liked some of their lyrical themes too, and B.T.B.G. definitely seemed to enjoy being up on stage, but I will say that James needs to work on his stage presence. He let guitarist Alex Hunter do most of the speaking and crowd banter, and he seemed uncomfortable at times when not singing, but during the song, he's got it nailed down! And, like Buried Out Back, I was hoping to hear more guitar solos, but the guys (and girl) have a brutal thing going, and hopefully we'll see them again locally in the future!
Fourth were Sudbury improv/comedy metal band 85 Pound Poutine, and they delivered a light and humorous (though abbreviated) set of improvised Canadian death metal! They never play the same song twice, so you may be honoured to know that we heard songs with titles like "Bacon Fuck" and "Bath Salts Bukkake" live?! Honestly, a lot of the humour of their set (beyond their amusing on stage attire) may have been lost on some fans for the sole fact that not everyone can decipher death metal growling, but if you could hear some of the lyrics that Gravy Smith (a.k.a. Wolven Ancestry's Mark Howitt) was singing, you'd definitely have been amused! Even besides that, their music suited their aims and was very brutal, but the set ended in slight deja vu, as just like at Wolven Ancestry's set at the Ypres Metal Fest, they were the second last band with a visibly abbreviated set due to time constraints (even resulting in a whole bag of unused props.) I was entertained by 85 Pound Poutine for sure though, and I'm definitely up for seeing them again locally!
And your main event band last night was Toronto death metal standouts Hallows Die, and despite deja vu in the form of another abbreviated set just like at the Ypres Metal Fest, fans were happy to hear more than 2 songs this time around, so things worked out better! Now that I got a glimpse at their fuller set beyond one original and one cover, I was definitely impressed by Ryan Boisvard's brutal vocals and Pat Rogers' blistering guitar riffs and solos on songs like "Fall From Heaven", "A Serpent In Judecca", and "In This Emptiness", and they definitely drummed up the best crowd response of the night to end their set with! They also really seemed to enjoy being back on stage in the Soo, and you'd be hard pressed to find someone there who didn't think they were killer from bell to bell! Though I think we'd all like to see a longer set from them again, Hallows Die delivered well, and I don't think we've seen the last of them in Sault Ontario!
Overall, this was a fun and brutal concerts (despite the time & attendance concerns), and if you missed it, you missed out! I've posted photos from the show onto our Facebook page at this location, so check them out if you wanna, and as for videos, I got The Bear Hunters playing "Bloodthirst", Buried Out Back's song "The Prostitute", Before The Black Gates' song "Am I Dead?", 85 Pound Poutine's set opening tracks "Bath Salts Bukkake" & "Lactating Moose Knuckle", and Hallows Die's new song "A Serpent In Judecca", so check them out below!
That's all for tonight, but I'll hopefully you guys at The Rockstar Bar shortly for Maximum RNR (and maybe an opening band?) Thanks everyone!