Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fuck The Facts/Empyrean Plague Concert Review!!

Finally, we have our review of Sunday Night's Empyrean Plague concert on the site for you guys, so you guys can hear what went down at The Oddfellows Hall for this well anticipated all ages show! The turnout was decent and better than at Dank Fest, especially late, though compared to the last Fuck The Facts shows in the Soo, attendance was down, which could partly be blamed on being on a Sunday night. Now, to the bands!

Opening this show was the new/old metal project named This Is Your Band On Drugs (replacing The Strange Coyotes), so what should you know on them? They feature Strange Coyotes frontman Chase Wigmore on guitar and vocals alongside singer Nick Burns with programmed drums, and their sound reminded me of a hybrid of Rotopsy and Chase's older solo/band material. Chase's creativity & energy were a constant (again, he looked almost possessed at points), and Nick has growling ability, but something seemed rushed and improvised about their set, and I'd be curious to see if they expand their sound further. Interesting stuff though, and it was nice to see Crucify The Whore's Tyler Gibson and The Bear Hunters' Johnny Belanger join in for guest spots during their set! No word yet on if This Is Your Band On Drugs will essentially replace The Strange Coyotes or not, but stay tuned for more info on them this week!

Next up was the aforementioned Crucify The Whore for another Oddfellows Hall set of solo goregrind brutality! If you've seen C.T.W. live, there wasn't much variance from the norm, but devoted fans of Blood Shed Productions got the first mosh pits of the day going for Tyler "Ringsnaps" Gibson's set, which included familiar existing originals like "People These Days" and "Bunk, Shake, and Headache", untitled new songs, a guest spot from Tyler's Rotopsy bandmate Dylan Taylor, and even a surprise cover of a boss theme from Super Mario 64! It did seem unfortunate that he had to call in fans and friends from outside for certain songs, but there's growing pains for any young musician regardless of genre. Musically, Tyler's guitar skill got some nice showcasing via some solid solos, but compared to Dank Fest, there were some more technical issues and more of an informal feel.  Solid work though, and stay tuned for news concerning the next C.T.W. demo!

Third was the first live set from local death metal quartet The Bear Hunters in 3 months, and despite the relatively long break between shows for them, they didn't have any rust to show for it! Their 8 song set was mostly devoted to newer originals like "The Void" and "I Fear No God", though classics like "Collapse The Sun" and their cover of Amon Amarth's "Guardians of Asgaard" were there for longtime fans, and shockingly, they didn't end 'er with "Render" (This Void) for a change. The ending of that song drags on far longer than necessary, so I wasn't too hurt by that! Talent-wise, everyone was on form, with Nik Deubel's growling as brutal as ever, and Mitch Sirie showcasing his guitar riffs and solos strongly as usual, but fans didn't seem as into the set as I'd assume they would be. Every show's different, but I enjoyed the brutality here, and don't miss them at The Oddfellows Hall again on Saturday at the 4th Sewer Swampstravaganza!

Fourth on the bill was scheduled to be the Soo debut of local/London death metal band Saints & Serpents, but they did not perform at the event. While a reason hasn't been announced, keep in mind that the band has not updated their Facebook page since February, and at last word, still had a drummer vacancy (plus, Steve & Andrew have been very busy with D3athcharg3r lately.) You think they'd have told promoters about not being able to play, but hopefully things are alright in their camp, and we'll let you guys know if we hear anything! Due to the late notice, they were not replaced on the bill, so the show ended an hour earlier than projected.

After 8 months away from the local stage (and their relocation to St. Catharine's), local death metal/crust punk trio Shit Liver finally came back to the Soo on Sunday night for a brutal and fast paced set of originals in what effectively served as the release show for their long awaited debut CD! Their set featured 12 of the 15 songs from said album, along with 5 newer and non-CD tracks like "Matt Got Beat Up By Cops", "Hitting The Fan", and the brand new "Sir-Osis" (which they were still writing on Sunday), and fans definitely ate up every minute of their return, inciting the best mosh pits yet of the night! Despite the wait for their homecoming, they had no rust due to a steady run of Southern Ontario gigs in the interim, and the intense growling and screaming from all 3 members, plus Matt Baic's steady drumming and Josh Penno's hard hitting guitar riffs kept fans going throughout! Hard to believe how they've grown, but their livers are still shitty, but hopefully we'll see them back in town at some point this summer, and thanks again for the CD!

Co-headlining on Sunday was North Bay black metal quartet Empyrean Plague in their first local stop since the Ypres Metal Fest two years ago, and they definitely had a stronger showing due partly to the longer set and happier circumstances! Oddly preferring to play with the house lights on, the band put their own melodic and brutal spin on black metal, and in all honesty, the visual look and presence of the band reminded me of Gates of Winter at points (I may be alone on that though.) Empyrean Plague's set was a mixture of new material from their upcoming album and classic originals like "We Are The North", and while their music was great and true to the Northern Ontario black metal sound, I could barely hear Mike Burge & Kyle Tayler's vocals for most of their set. It'd have been nice to get more moshing, but their talents are top notch, with bassist Kye Bell particularly impressing, and hopefully we'll get to see the guys back up here soon!

And of course, your headliners were Ottawa/Gatineau grindcore standouts (and Juno nominees) Fuck The Facts in their first local stop in 2 years, and they definitely put an awesome capper to the evening with their unpredictable and psychotic brand of metal! Like their last few local dates, I again think that their set went by too fast, partly thanks to their generally short songs, but the 12 songs and intro that we did get definitely got a great reception and some awesome moshing going! Mixing established songs like "Kelowna" and "Everyone Is Robbing The Dead" with French language songs like "Vent Du Nord" & "Jour De Souffrance" from last year's "Amer" EP, their set was relentless, unique, and very heavy, with Mel Mongeon and Marc Bourgon showing their brutal vocals well throughout, and Topon Das and Johnny Ibay keeping things crushing on guitar throughout! Fuck The Facts have a very big local following, and hopefully it grows further and helps get them back here sooner than 2 years!

Overall, this was another great concert, and kudos to Tyler St. Amour and Heavy North Entertainment for putting it on! I just wish the attendance was more consistent. Also, our best wishes go out to Bear Hunters drummer Johnny Belanger (cool mask!) after being hospitalized post-show due to a cellulitis infection. Hopefully this won't affect the Jack Spades EP release show, and get better soon! I got plenty of photos at the show, so check them out at this link or at the SMS' Facebook page (which also has this "Tag Yourself!" crowd shot), and I did get videos too! Embedded below, here's This Is Your Band On Drugs playing their song "Black Metal Is Too Hard" (followed by another original, title unknown), Crucify The Whore playing their sister songs "Batch Cones" & "Orthostatic Hypotension", The Bear Hunters playing "Transcend Judgment", Shit Liver playing their songs "Livin' In Shit" & "It's Not My Problem", Empyrean Plague playing their new original "Ethereal Forger", and Fuck The Facts playing their song "95"!

That's all for now, but stay tuned either tonight or tomorrow for a new news post! Thanks everyone!

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