Thursday, August 14, 2014

Archspire Concert Review!!

After some delayed video and photo uploads, it's finally time for our review of Tuesday night's Archspire concert at The Oddfellows Hall! Not a great turnout, sad to say, but the crowd was lively for the later bands, and it was just nice for me to get out to any show after missing out on July shows entirely! The joys of personal commitments, I suppose. Remember, Tuesday's concert took place without Thunder Bay's Grindcorchestra or locals AlgomA for unannounced reasons, with remaining local bands promoted into their timeslots, and new openers added in their place. Now, here's what you need to know on each band!

Opening the show was former Strange Coyotes bassist James Watterworth in (I think) his first public solo concert set of the year, and it was nice to see the Delusionair himself back on stage! A later addition to the lineup, James' set comprised solely of bass originals with no guitar or guest performers, though he uniquely brought out his saxophone early on for some simultaneous action on both instruments, which was fun to see! While a far musical cry from the death metal to follow, James got a good reception from early fans on originals like "DNA DNU" and "Best You Can", and while his bass playing was as skilled and progressive as ever, his singing voice seemed strained and not as rangy as we've been used to, with little of his falsetto or yelling vocals. It was great to see a new set from James after so long, and hopefully he pops up on the local stage again soon!

The other replacement band was the reunited Brutaly Fatal, so who and what should you know concerning their return? Well, they definitely meant Brutaly Fatal, not The Revolution (who used that name in their early months), as this was an apparent reunion of the original version, with singer/guitarist Austin McCrae returning to his death metal roots last night, rather than their softer punk turn as Re-Born. As well, he's definitely reconciled with Blood Shed Productions owner Tyler "Ringsnaps" Gibson, who returned to his old drum position with Brutaly Fatal last night, and it's good to see the bridge rebuilt between them! Austin remarked that the band is a "zombie" during the show thanks to their numerous revivals, but did the old sound return? Sort of, but Austin played guitar rather than bass, and his growling was surprisingly limited to Rotopsy-esque grunts (aside from a rejected Revolution original that they played.) I think that if Austin's going to keep Brutaly Fatal going as a band, he should revisit his older solo sound and use his growling abilities more.

He and Tyler sounded good together, but Austin still needs major work still on his stage presence, as his crowd rapport and between-song breaks still seemed aloof and tentative. Nice to see the band back (even with the missing "L" still from their name), and we'll let you know if Brutaly Fatal launch a new online page, and if they have more shows!

Third on the bill was an announced split set between the aforementioned Tyler Gibson's two other current live bands, those being his solo goregrind project Crucify the Whore and his similar duo band Rotopsy (who were a late addition in their own right.)  If you're familiar with past C.T.W. and Rotopsy sets, you'll know exactly what you got with both acts on Tuesday, with Tyler brutalizing fans with solo grind originals like "Bunk, Shake, and Headache", and he and Rotopsy singer Dylan Taylor keeping the vibes going on originals like "Mold Induced Hypersensitivity", showcasing a bouncy energy! Things improved for some fans when Bear Hunters drummer Johnny Belanger jumped in as their impromptu guest drummer later in Rotopsy's extended set, which occured due to The Bear Hunters' own start time delay, and Johnny added some life that the drum machine can't! Fans of the goregrind action definitely took to Tyler's bands, and I'm sure we'll hear more from them in short order!

Local death metal favourites The Bear Hunters graced the stage next, albeit in their quartet form again after Josh Stephney's one-off return last month, and while the missing guitar was noticeable, they still put out a very brutal set! Playing 7 newer-skewing originals including "Casualties of War", "The Omen", and "Transcend Judgement", the guys also gave us a double dose of Amon Amarth covers, including the usual "Guardians of Asgaard" and the surprise return of "The Pursuit of Vikings"! Nice to hear them play that again, it's been too long! Though I don't think the guys had quite the energy from some other recent gigs, they were musically on form, and sounded clear and crisp! Nik Deubel's growling was just as intense and controlled as ever, and Mitch Sirie shone on guitar as usual, but again, there is some rhythm missing without Josh. Solid set all the same, and hopefully we see more of The Bear Hunters soon!

In a surprise late-notice addition, local/St. Catharine's grindcore trio Shit Liver made just their second public local concert appearance since moving from the area on Tuesday night, and they were up to their usual brutality! Riding off of their successful set on Sunday at the private Das Bunkerfest, their fast paced set packed in tons of originals like "Hate Shit Sooer", "It's Not My Problem", and the newer composition "Matt Got Beat Up By Cops", and I think the guys helped push some of their new merchandise thanks to their explosive sound! If you're familiar with Shit Liver, you'll have seen the usual three pronged growling attack from Josh, Mike, and Matt, and they left it all on stage with a brutal purpose, visibly seeming happy to be playing in the Soo again, and fingers crossed they'll be back home for another crusty and grimy set of death metal before you know it (also, it was nice to see their amusing cover of The 4 Non-Blondes' "What's Going On" back too!)

Headlining last night's show were Vancouver technical death metal quintet Archspire, who have been teased and hyped for a while in advance of this show, and did they deliver? Yes! Despite a delayed set from what was originally announced, Archspire's progressive brutality definitely incited some moshing and eager responses from fans, and their intense stage presence and skill were not lost on anyone! One of their most distinctive elements is the rapid fire growling style of frontman Oliver Rae Aleron, and we got a solid glimpse at that as he spit out verbal venom on each song, including cuts from their new album "The Lucid Collective", with other members in tow! Awesome riffs and solos abounded from Dean Lamb and Tobi Morelli too, and they put their extra guitar strings to good use! I regrettably couldn't stay for the whole set, but Archspire definitely left a huge impression from what I saw, and it's be great to see them come back!

Overall, this was a very entertaining concert, and everyone brought the metal for an exciting night of all ages action! For reference, I have no clue if this will end up being the last concert from Heavy North Entertainment, but it's a great way to go out if it was! Photos and videos from the show can be seen at this link and at our Facebook page, and for videos, here's James Watterworth playing "Colourful", Brutaly Fatal playing "Belly of the Beast", Crucify the Whore playing their short originals "Rectified Rectal Tragedy", "Batch Cones", and "Orthostatic Hypotension", Rotopsy playing "Shovel Packin'" & "Let Us Rot", The Bear Hunters playing "I Fear No God", Shit Liver playing "Liverated", and Archspire playing "Scream Feeding"!

That's all for now, but stay tuned for this weekend's hard rock concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

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