Review and photos by Mike Bax
Praise the music gods for routing this tour through Kitchener! I was thinking exactly this thought as I watched two security guards prop themselves against the edge of the Dallas Night Club stage in a reverse push-up position, their legs butted up against the support rails of the security barrier holding back the maniacal crowd of thrashing Carcass fans from the stage. The guards shared nervous looks a few times as the security rail tried to move forward towards the stage, the weight of the crowd beating against it being too much for it to stay in place without the assistance of the security guys.
iPhone photo – feet on the security rail
This evening promised a triple-bill of high decibel levels and utterly delivered over the course of three varied sets of extreme music. Richmond, Virginia five piece Inter Arma took the stage at 8pm – building up a wonderful dirge of layered sludgy guitaring as vocalist Mike Paparo bent himself backwards so far at times his head appeared to be almost level with his waist as he shrieked out the lyrics to their material. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Inter Arma, their curious 2016 release Paradise Gallows containing so many elements of hard rock and metal that it is an almost unclassifiable album. Paparo, along with band mates T.J. Childers, Steven Russell, Trey Dalton and Joe Kerkes certainly gave it their all for the 30 minutes they performed tonight, a few of the folks in the room acknowledging that they were duly impressed once the band left the stage. The relentless ’An Archer in the Emptiness’, the lead song on Paradise Gallows knocked my socks off this evening – sounding so awesomely relentless delivered live.
I was in the room this evening for Deafheaven, a San Francisco, California band often cited as mixing elements of post-rock, shoegaze and doom metal in a truly unique and engaging fashion. With three albums under their belt now, Deafheaven continues to make waves in the metal community, boasting one of the most divided opinions on their material and viability within the genre. George Clarke’s vocals are delivered at an ultra high-pitched screech, it makes one wonder how long his vocal chords can sustain the pummeling he’s giving them on such a regular basis.
The majority of Deafheaven’s material consists of lengthy songs that often boast moments of beautiful instrumentation smashed against pummeling drums and intricate guitaring. To this end, the band played for an hour and only performed five songs, three tracks from New Bermuda, ‘Dream House’ from Sunbather and ‘Unrequited’ from Roads To Judah. Deafheaven sounded great, filling the venue with their beautiful doom, the majority of the crowd nodding their heads along in time to their material.
iPhone photo – sadly clearer than ALL of my shots from the dimly lit photo pit. Meh.
Liverpool grindcore pioneers Carcass took the Dallas Night Club stage at shortly after 10pm and belted out over an hour of heavy material touching on their recent releases back to songs from the 1980s and 1990s. Jeff Walker joked about some of their material being so old it was made before people in the room were born, back when some of the older patrons still had hair. Walker along with Bill Steer, Daniel Wilding and Ben Ash more than delivered the goods with a tightly performed and tight sounding presentation of their material to a frenzied room full of fans of extreme music.
Even if the music wasn’t completely your thing, it was hard to deny the level of passion for the bands on this evening. George Clarke and Shiv Mehra could be seen at the edge of the crowd at the left of the stage watching Inter Arma perform, signing the occasional autograph for fans keen enough to pick up who they were. The Inter Arma and Deafheaven guys could be seen in the crowd watching Carcass perform, smiling the same fan-boy smiles as the Carcass patrons in the room, happy to be there watching a veteran metal band do its thing.
Inter Arma setlist:*
The Long Road Home
An Archer in the Emptiness
Brought to the Water
Cadaver Pouch Conveyor System
316L Grade Surgical Steel
Captive Bolt Pistol
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
No Love Lost
Pyosisified (Rotten to the Gore)
Exhume to Consume
Reek of Putrefaction
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Ruptured in Purulence / Heartwork
*(This is what I caught – let me know what I’ve missed if you see I’ve omitted a song or two)