Sunday, 25 November 2012

Messe des Morts II live review!

Messe des Morts II review by Metantoine

-Day 1 – Genèse @Katacombes

The crowd was quite fun, me and my comrades estimated the crowd to be 60% men/40 % women, a surprising fact for these two young fellows from Kansas (apparently, they only have sausages fest). The atmosphere was festive and occult and it was a good day to start the fest, this was before the news of Mgla's cancellation though, but oh well, the borders and maybe the lack of preparation of the band itself are the things to blame here. The Katacombes can hold like 300 people or so and it was full. Here's the reviews for the 4 bands.

Verglas : 8:30 – 9:00 - 7 Tonies out of 10

A very cool local black metal duo, only a guitarist/singer and a drummer. I knew the band before the fest, I bought a tape from one of the members on Metal Archives. It's some kind of very lo fi black metal, I wouldn't call them raw especially live, their riffs are quite groovy and you can decipher them quite easily, I'll suggest their demo Satanisme juvénile, it got a black and roll vibe with a little trash attitude. Despite the neckbeard of the guitarist, they're cool and definitely not hipster ! The vocals of this dude were quite diverse, from high pitched screams to low groans, these guys are talented and promising.

Sortilegia : 9:15 – 9:50 - 8 Tonies out of 10

The second band of the evening was a 2 piece from Toronto. The guitarist/singer is a gorgeous blond woman with a lot of skills (she's also in Sylvus, they'll play the fest too). Their brand of atmospheric/ambient black metal is really entrancing especially live. Her vocals were lacking power though, but considering they only have vox during like ¼ of their music, it's not a big deal. They had a table with random occult stuff on it (candles, wine cups, bones, sacrificial dagger). She was wearing a velvet burgundy cape with a hood that she removed after the first song. They were selling an exclusive rehearsal demo during the fest, my friend Iggnsthe bought it, it's quite good. They have an ethereal occult presence reminding me of Darkspace a bit.

Thantifaxath : 10:05 – 10:50 - 7 Tonies out of10

A very promising and well liked band in Montréal, this trio were very well received. They wear black monk robes with hoods but their sound is decidedly modern. They have some cool clean breaks and unorthodox riffs, their vocals are nothing out of the extraordinary, the emphasis of the band is on the riffs and I think we're all expecting a great first full length after the very good but too short EP released by Dark Descent Records. I personally think their set was a bit too long and samey, but it was quite good

Archgoat : 11:05 – 12:05 9 Tonies out of 10
The crowd went fucking crazy for these Finnish black/death veterans, the moshpit (I stay away from these hooligans because I have a low pain tolerance, yes I am a pussy, bla bla). They had bloody corpsepaint mixed with black and white colours, their bestial look only added a welcome satanic and violent presence. They played their riff based black/death music with passion during many violent moshpits, they were asked to do encores twice. Archgoat is pretty amazing and we were lucky to see their first Canadian show ever. They were a very cool replacement for Darkspace !

-Day 2 - Psaume 1 @Théâtre Plaza

It's a very cool old venue, it can hold like 600 (my estimation)people and there's a balcony where you have a good view of the scene, I watched some bands from there. The merch stands were furnished even though there was no Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult merch and I wanted some, oh well, I got Isvind's latest album instead.

Haeres : 5:30 – 5:55 - 6 Tonies out of 10

A competent Québecois black metal band, they have a rich melodic sound with interesting leads/solos, 2 members of Chasse-Galerie (they were at the fest last year) were guests. I liked them, the singer had a good stage presence despite their early set time (not a lot of people were there compared to the end of the show). Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing extraordinary, it was fine, but they're not exactly my kind of black metal.

Scum Sentinel : 6:10 – 6:40 - 6,5 Tonies out of 10

Pretty good band from Montréal, their brand of black'n'roll is quite enjoyable. They have good riffs and good vocals, if they could drop the silly cartoonesque approach of their first album:, I'm sure I could appreciate them a bit more. Their logo is top notch though.

Panzerfaust : 6:55 – 7:30 -7 Tonies out of 10

A veteran act from Ontario, Panzerfaust were quite enjoyable as well. I liked the singer a lot, a tall dude named Goliath (duh, makes sense), their riffs were solid, a competent if not generic band. Not much to add there.

Isvind : 7:45 – 8:25 – 9,5 Tonies out of 10

One of my favorite black metal band right now, I was expecting good things from their set and I wasn't disappointed. Very groovy old school Norwegian black metal is always a good thing and the fact that the leader of the band is named Goblin and that he has the looks of one only helps. They played a good mix of songs from both of their excellent albums and the crowd seemed to have been pleased by Isvind. They were my favorite band of the evening alongside Seth.

In retrospect, they were my highlight of the fest ! Goblin <3

Goblin from Isvind, a badass short dude!

Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult : 8:40 – 9:25 – 9 bloody Tonies out of 10

This was fucking bloody, I enjoyed DNC a lot, especially Yvonne's charistmatic playing and her long princess blond hair, she's the Rapunzel of German black metal ! I think I prefer them in studio though, in my opinion, their live show didn't have enough mid paced stuff, but yeah, it was very very enjoyable and they were by far the most spectacular band of the day with their blood spitting and their cool corpsepaint. Despite some technical issues, their set was pretty good and wicked, too bad they didn't have any merch, I like their logo a lot and I wanted a patch: (

Seth : 9:40 – 10:25 – 9,5 Antoine out of 10

Well known French black metallers Seth were the co headliners for this evening and they were really amazing. I decided to approach the stage and I took some pictures of the guys. They were really professional and their stage presence was enormous. They played 2 or 3 songs from their classic album « Les blessures de l'âme » and considering it's one of my favorite French metal albums, this was very cool. They played a new song as well, I can't say I enjoyed it that much compared to their other stuff. The songs from L'Excellence were really well done too especially Die Weihe. I personally prefer the new vocalist compared to the one on this album even though I've never seen the former live. This was a very cool first time for them in Québec and North America !

Revenge : 10:40 – 11:40 - 6 Tonies out of 10
Learn the same solo and play it 20 times. that's what Revenge is doing ! Some cool riffs, cool basslines and cool drums but meh, Revenge is quite overrated in my opinion. Fuck these lead parts are obnoxious, even Kerry king would be more inventive than their guitarist. The crowd was pleased and that's what important ! I'm not a fan and I was obviously going for the other bands !

They should get Avenger from Czech Republic next year instead ! They're the cool kind of black/death metal

-Day 3 – Psaume 2 @Théâtre Plaza

Doors/Portes : 5:00
Sarcomancy : 5:30 – 5:55 - 5,5 Tonies out of 10

Some American Immortal mid era worship. Well done, but they're still looking to master the style and actually writing good riffs., maybe that's why they don't even have a demo yet. Nothing wrong with them, but they're not standing out.

Mortuas : 6:10 – 6:35 - 8 Tonies out of 10

A pleasant surprise, this Québécois trio from Sept-Îles was pretty good. A cool brand of traditional black with nice & well done leads from the singer/guitarist and a cool present bass. They have a lot of potential, my friend bought their split, I'll listen to this with attention.

 A live song from their set (credit goes to my friend Joshua McMullen)

Sylvus : 6:50 – 7:20 -  8,5 Tonies out of 10

I was expecting cool things from this Toronto band and they managed to exceed expectations, they kicked ass so much. They have Anastasia from Sortilegia playing guitar alonside the very talented Darcy who's also handling the vocals. They had that modern black sound without being unorthodox and experimental, they're basically the future of non-Québec Canadian black metal. So good !

Get their stuff for free on their bandcamp:

Neige Éternelle : 7:35 – 8:10 - 8,5 Tonies out of 10

Amazing band ! I was very glad when I knew they were gonna play the fest ! Their style of Québécois patriotic but misanthropic Norwegian styled black metal was very cool live. Their demo is really cool and sadly out of print (I got pins though!), you can read my review of it here  :
The singer has a really cool attitude, the singer was really hateful, he was pissing off everyone and was screaming « FUCK YOURSELF> in French between the songs. They were drinking beer like true Québecois lumberjacks and they even had flannel shirts to match this cruel but cult job.

Mgla : 8:25 – 9:10 CANCELLED !

Well, it's a shame they weren't able to visit our cool city and play their very awesome brand of melodic black metal, but Sepulchral Productions said that they'll try to make them come in early 2013 and that the people with Messe des Morts tickets will have a better deal on the ticket price, so hold on to them ! Maybe we'll get Darkspace too, who knows !

Black Witchery : 9:25 – 10:10 - 9 Tonies out of 10

BESTIAL AS FUCK ! Man, these guys were the shit, the bass tone was really in your face, crushing your teeth. These fast paced black/metal songs were all glorious, simple, occult and satanic. I enjoyed them a lot but yeah, 40 mins or so is enouuuuuuugh for these guys, man, they're heavy. Their songs are perhaps  all similar but they really have this occult edge that pseudo satanic bands like Watain are working really hard to get!

Ragnarok : 10:25 – 11:30
I had to miss this, I was pretty dead and my friend had an emergency, oh well. It was a perfect fest despite the 2 cancellations. If you like black metal, there was no reasons to miss this festival and hopefully the fest will be as good next year.

Merci Sepulchral, good job ! See y'all next year !

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Fall of the Idols - Solemn Verses 90% / Believe in the new apostles of doom

"Welcome to the realm of rivalry. Where being became estranged from the ravenous time"

The third album from one of Finland's hidden jewel is a true testament to despair. Hannu Weckman (drums, some guitars) died during the recording of the album which took a long 3 years to achieve. His memory will live on through the songs and his doom will be yours to hear. Fall of the Idols plays a traditional kind of doom metal but with a very weird approach, it's truly unique without losing any references to the style's background. It's strange, while it tries to disregard the conventions, you can always find them, buried under the talented songwriting. Solemn Verses is deep and profound, prepare to kneel in an ocean of sorrow.

Solemn Verses is an ambitious album, it's very effusive, it's almost too emotional. It's poetic verses intertwined with mournful melodies. As innovative as Cathedral and as deep as Albert Witchfinder's darkest memories, The vocal approach is quite enjoyable, Jyrki Hakomäki's delivery is perfect, sometimes he sounds like a charismatic front man à la Jim Morrison but way more drunk and depressed. But at the same time, he's charming and romantic. His cleaner vocals are bewitching, an ideal companion to the crushing atmospheric riffs and he's also pretty great when he's handling the rougher and crazier vocals found on the heavier moments. His range is great and it shines on the fourth track called "Hymn". While the band is quite varied, it doesn't have annoying distinct sections, it's a well conceived melting pot and everything is tasty. If Patrick Walker (40 Watt Sun and Warning) would stop crying, he could probably release something as profound and gushing as this album. I think that's the third time I trash Walker, I should simply write a review and try to get over it !

The funeral doom aura of Finland has an influence in their sound. Some parts on the longest track of the album "Cycle of the Fallen" have clear mournful elements and a valid proof that doom doesn't need harsh vocals to be darker than the darkest black. While they don't use keys like Skepticism or Shape of Despair, their three guitars attack is very particular and gives the band a rich and full sound compared to the traditional one guitar identity. Don't be fooled, we're still in trad doom territory but there's an unquestionable will to transcend the classifications. The songs are all above 8 minutes but the album stays interesting throughout its duration, there's even some acoustic guitar on the third track and it fits the overall vibe of their music.

This album grows on you, there's so many details to find each time you hear it. It lacks nothing. Good warm production ? Yep. Great riffs & interesting leads ? Yep. Awesome abstract and poetic lyrics ? Yep. One of the best record of the year ? Yes,, definitely.

It's an album where you contemplate the cold murky waters. You're tempted to jump, but you decide to stay alive, comfortable in your fur coat coated with the blood of deers.

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