Live Music Review
When: March 31, 2017
Where: Starlite Room
For the first time in Edmonton’s metal history, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun have graced one of our stages, and for the not-enough time Viathyn have done so as well. For those that do not know the bands, Amorphis and Swallow the Sun are both Finnish bands while Viathyn come from Calgary. Amorphis are a melodic death/hard rock amalgamation that was born in the death and doom scene. Swallow the Sun are a doom band with melodic tendencies. Viathyn are a progressive power metal band that have essentially come out of retirement for only two shows, which were the Edmonton and Calgary dates for this Amorphis tour.
The night got a bit of an early start and I think I missed the first song and some of the second, or just part of the first song from Viathyn. It was great to finally see this band live, as they are a band I’ve known and enjoyed since their first album The Peregrine Way. It’s been a very long time since the release of that album (2010), and it’s follow-up Cynosure (2014), so I honestly could not tell you what songs they played because it’s been so long since I’ve listened to those albums; probably 2015 was the last time I listened to them.
The energy this quartet brings to a stage is palpable, which is why it’s sad that they are still essentially on hiatus. The quality of the songs themselves is incredible, with tons of shredding solos and amazing vocals. They are definitely for fans of Opeth, Leprous, newer Arcturus, and, well, Amorphis.
Swallow the Sun were my personal favourite for the night, before the show, and stayed that way after. What can I say, they are a doom band after all! The dynamics of this band are unreal, taking you from the deepest darkness to the brightest lights, and back down again, filling you with so many emotions. Musically, vocally, everything about this band is emotive and perfectly doom. If you’re a fan of Novembers Doom, Novembre, My Dying Bride, or October Tide, and you haven’t checked out Swallow the Sun, you should do so as soon as you can.
Amorphis, oh Amorphis. This was a band not born from the death/doom scene from the 90’s, but one of the bands that gave birth to it! And they were going to be playing, for the first time, in Edmonton. I was really excited. But I was also worried. They have, after all, gone less of a doom direction on their newest albums, going for a more straight forward melodic death sound like Dark Tranquillity or mid-era In Flames. How would this iconic Finnish band play in a city they’ve never been in before? They did indeed play songs from their newer melodic death focused albums, and played them fucking amazingly; “Sacrifice” being one such example. The thing that kind of jarred me was that they seem to have rearranged their old and classic material, which was played sparingly, into sounding more like their modern releases. This is exactly what I was worried would happen, and quite frankly, I’m disappointed. I was hoping Amorphis would play a mixture of their catalogue, but without having to homogenize their old material to fit with their new material. I will say that this is the only sour note in my opinion. The performance that Amorphis gave was beyond excellent, and the Starlite Room carried their sound perfectly. I stood in several locations during the set to take photos, and everywhere I moved the band was perfectly balanced, from front to back, and the band themselves were playing their asses off to make sure that this was a night to remember for everyone involved. Now if only my photos had turned out.
In all, March 31, 2017 was an excellent night, the first night of an excellent weekend for me.
This entry was posted in Live Music Review, Review and tagged Amorphis, Arcturus, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Leprous, My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom, Novembre, October Tide, Opeth, Swallow the Sun, Viathyn.
When: August 17, 2016
Oh man. It’s taken me awhile to get to type this up, but I really had to get these thoughts onto screen. This was a big night for me, a show that was more of a collection of bands that I really like in one room.
First up on the stage was a band that needs no introduction in Edmonton. One of the fastest rising bands this city has is Tales of the Tomb, a death metal band obsessed with serial killers. The Snowtown murders, Pickton and his farm, and 9/11 are just some of the topics that they tackle. This set was one of the best I’ve seen from them, and I’ve seen them a lot! Just this year alone I think I’ve seen them seven times or so. Not a band to miss in a live setting, and that’s agreed upon even by Rob from Necronomicon, who thanked Tales and said they were one of the best opening bands he’s had for the tour.
Second up was Miami, Florida’s Abiotic, who broke up shortly after this tour. This was my second time seeing them live, the first being with a different singer as they toured with Dying Fetus. This set was better than the last time, but there was some problems at the beginning of the set that caught my ear and almost made me dismiss them. The sound was just… quiet. There was nothing there. During the second song, however, the sound tech found where he wanted the band and everything went from somewhat flat to a wonderfully dynamic and fucking loud volume. Seriously excellent shredders on all instruments, but Travis Bartosek on vocals stole the show for me. If you’re one of those people who film with your cell phones though, I warn you: he’ll take it out of your hand and do some filming for you, giving you a phone video you won’t soon delete. It’s unfortunate that they split because I honestly could tell there was an amazing future ahead for this band if they did one more album. It’s the curse of being underrated and not quite getting the big push they should have gotten.
Third up was Vesperia, from Ontario. They all have a small-town attitude but hail from the big city of Toronto, so it’s always a treat to see these guys on a stage. Imagine Amon Amarth but from Canada, and you’re kind of in the right territory. Not so much a Viking metal sound, but a death metal with symphonic elements and a huge feel. They are truly an epic band to behold. The vocalist, Morgan Rider, has such an expressive voice with a large range. Sometimes they even get clean in the vocals, and this is where Vesperia shine for me. As I said, Morgan has a large range, and his cleans are the stuff legends are made of. It would never surprise me if they got picked up by Napalm or Nuclear Blast. In fact, it would surprise me if they didn’t. For those that might be thinking the name is familiar, it is probably because they won the Wacken Metal Battles in Canada, and played at Wacken as a result, winning the world-wide Battles.
Finally, the band that everyone came to see, the legendary Necronomicon took the stage. This is a band that has perplexed the death metal world since their Morbid Ritual demo in 1992. They sounded like Behemoth do now, back when Behemoth were still worshiping Norwegian black metal. Symphonic death metal, with black metal influences and overtones, this power trio is a true force to reckon with on a stage and on record. And since 1988, when Rob the Witch founded the band, they have been completely underrated because no one knew what the fuck they were watching and listening to. Yes, this is death metal. Yes, there’s pretty sounding and ominous keyboards in it. Yes, there’s songs with 100% black metal lyrics in them. No, this doesn’t really make sense, but fuck making sense, man! Sit back and enjoy just how huge these three dudes sound and look on a stage. Rob stole the stage from Brixx, he took it, he made it his and he owned it. Simply put, this band is one of Canada’s best, and we seem to take them for granted on our soil. The fans in the USA and Europe seem to understand them a little bit more, perhaps, because that is where their biggest successes are. But ultimately, they are just three dudes from Quebec making the noise they want to make. And goddamn they are good at it. If you missed out on this tour, you missed out big.
NOTE: This live review was originally published on September 15, 2016. Republished on March 23, 2017 after being reformatted for this version of the Crown of Viserys website.
This entry was posted in Live Music Review, Review and tagged Abiotic, American, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Blackened Death Metal, Canadian, Death Metal, Dying Fetus, Metal Blade Records, Necronomicon, Okkultis in Canada Tour 2016, Progressive Death Metal, Season of Mist, Tales of the Tomb, Vesperia, Wacken Metal Battles.
On top of the video above, there are a couple things I’d like to say that didn’t really come to mind when filming, primarily about the band Filth. Despite enjoying their music, and most of their stage show, I have come to really hate it when bands turn their backs to the crowd. It’s one thing when they start the show or even a song turned, bring the lights up, and start the riffs, but to be fully in the show, during mid-song, it bugs the hell out of me. And that’s the only thing I can think of that I didn’t like about Filth. I can’t wait to see them come through Edmonton again, and hopefully be able to chat and drink mead with their singer Dustin again.