Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Anciients/Havok Concert Review!!

It's now time for our review of last night's Anciients/Havok concert at The Canadian Nightclub, but be sure to check out lots of fallout from Friday night's Heart concert in the post below this one! The attendance last night wasn't great, and likely not at the level that promoters were hoping, but the Tuesday scheduling and ticket prices may have factored into some fans' attendance or lack thereof. The fans that did come out had a visibly great time though! It was also weird seeing ribbons cordoning off some paths in the bar area, but I wasn't sure of the purpose. Now, let's talk about all 5 bands!

Opening last night's show was local doom/punk trio The Revolution (formerly the second Brutaly Fatal) in their first show under their new name, and while there's a lot of work to do, they have a unique blend of styles that will appeal to metal and more melodic rock fans! Mostly playing originals (though ending with Weezer & Kiss covers), Austin McCrae's clean vocals continue to develop nicely, Rainey Vincent's bass work was pretty good, and Brandan Glew was equally up to task on drums! Where they fell short was in stage presence and crowd engagement, as the guys barely interacted with the crowd and did very few introductions, and compared to their Swampstravaganza set, things seemed more aloof. As well, Austin strummed the same chord on his guitar repeatedly between song breaks, which seemed to throw off fans who didn't know if the song had ended, and I think it contributed to a lower crowd response during their set. It's all growing pains though, and hopefully The Revolution can build on this in time for their next live set!

The first of four out of town bands last night was psychedelic/doom metal quartet Black Wizard, who rolled through a rollicking set of 1970s-inspired metal that any The Sword or Black Sabbath fan would instantly take to! Though not harbouring the all-out aggression of some of the day's later bands, the melodic and classic sound definitely took many in attendance by surprise, especially with some of the bluesy touches! Frontman Adam Grant had a nice command of the stage with his excelelntly matched vocals and guitar skill, and both he and Kenny Cook are solid compliments on the six string! Eugene Parkomenko also was a standout on drums, and while I will say that they'd probably have gotten a better reaction if they were at a local show with bands closer to their sound, Black Wizard definitely left their mark, and hopefully they'll roll back through the Soo in the future!

The middle band was Charlotte, North Carolina death metal quintet Wretched in their second local concert appearance, and while the crowd wasn't as large as the 3 Inches of Blood show two years ago, Wretched definitely did something right, as they got the first moshpit of the evening, and didn't play any differently compared to the crowd level! Like in 2012, singer Adam Cody was a sparkplug, completely owning the stage with his aggressive growling vocals and intense stage presence, and the instrumental members held up their end of the bargain too! Steven Funderburk & Joel Moore provided some of the best guitar solo moments of the night, and Andrew Grevey's bass playing was skilled and well ranged as well! Wretched played this show just like they would any other, and their intense death/thrash hybrid would be more than welcomed back to town again!

Co-headlining last night's concert were Denver, Colorado thrash quartet Havok, and they may well have stole the show with their blistering old school speed metal onslaught! Fans of the recent thrash metal renaissance will have been right at home with Havok's proficient set, which seemed to go by way too fast as they played tracks from their numerous releases, including select cuts from their new album "Unnatural Selection". Keeping on-stage banter to a minimum (aside from a rant about karate kicking in the moshpit), Havok were on fire from bell to bell, and though I could barely hear David Sanchez's vocals up front, he and the guys completely overcame that, with Pete Webber's drumming particularly impressing throughout the night, and the guitar work melted many a face! I just wish Havok had more guitar solos, but overall, they had quite the impressive set, and it's proof that the Soo needs more thrash bands!

And finally, your headliners last night were Vancouver progressive metal quartet Anciients, and they definitely made up for their exit from last year's Skeletonwitch tour with a technically impressive set of melodic metal! I will say right now that they might be the most similar band to Woods of Ypres that we've seen in the Soo in quite a while (yes, that's a compliment), with frontman Kenny Cook (also a guitarist in Black Wizard) demonstrating a darker and more complex angle of his musical talents on songs like "Raise The Sun" and "Giants". Shorter set than you might expect given the length of some songs, but the creative time signatures and doomy yet melodic sound (plus the skilled guitar work of Kenny and Chris Dyck) kept things rolling well! The balance of dark rhythm and harsh passages was a nice appealing fit, but in retrospect, their set was somewhat of an anticlimax coming after Havok, as many fans had their peak reactions and energy for them, but that owes to their stylistic differences only. Great set, and hopefully Anciients come back here down the road!

Overall, this was a great concert and full of something for the taste of every metalhead in attendance, but I just wish the attendance was better. I will note as well that SooToday and Local2 were on hand filming and getting photos of the bands, so might we see a review/photo album and Tuned episode in the coming days? Stay tuned when/if we do! Our photos from the show can now be seen at this link or via our Facebook page, and as for videos, here's The Revolution playing "Murder For Sport", Black Wizard playing "Eliminator", Wretched playing "Morsel", Havok playing "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death", and Anciients playing "Faith & Oath"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our first of the weekend concert previews tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

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