On a wonderfully warm Thursday night, I found myself at one of my favourite bars in Montreal, Katacombs. I mean, really, who doesn’t like a bar that has a giant pillar of skulls in the middle of it?
The first band to hit the stage was Montreal’s own DEATHNAP. They’re a three-piece, consisting of a singer, drummer, and a guitarist. The opening slide down of the guitar (down-tuned with the ‘e’ string further dropped like when you’re tuned to drop ‘d’) pulverized the place with it’s crushing sound. The tone and ferociousness from P.A Lapointe was consistent throughout the night by him constantly hammering away on the lowered ‘e’ string like a demonic Lindsey Buckingham ala “Big Love.” It was nice to see that sometimes you can forgo the bass and still produce something that rattles the bones.
Their songs ran the gauntlet that most hardcore bands do. Sometimes they were fast and raw, while other times they hit you with a crusty, slow dripping pile-driver. I saw a pregnant girl in the audience and wondered how she didn’t drop the kid right there from the sheer force of the vibrations. My only beef with them was that there wasn’t too much difference in the chord structure of their songs; it’s a problem with playing in drop ‘d’ because it tends to strip away the versatility. Still though, if you wanna explode your eardrums, you should check ‘em out.
“Baby, nothing’s stopping you,” singer Brendan Mainville shouted into the mic before Mountain Dust launched into their first song of the night, “Evil Deeds.” This band was something else. First and foremost, they were a great warm-up act for the headliner. I don’t think there was a stationary head or dry pair of undies by the time they finished their first song. They rolled through seven powerfully written, kaleidoscope envisioning songs. I, along with everyone else I talked to afterwards, loved the way Pat Bennett kept high kicking while hammering away at his organ. His slide guitar chops were quite good too; he out Troy Van Leeuwen-d the real Van Leeuwen.
Out of their seven songs, three will be featured on their up-and-coming EP. My favourite of those newbies was “Old Chills.” It was a toned down groovy tune that didn’t miss a drop of the band’s energy because of bassist Hal Jaques. His presence and style were contagious. While the rest of the band played well, I found his contributions were the smartest. Nothing he did was out of place or feel. A tip of the hat to him. I only had one little beef with the band and that was with Mainville on guitar, or rather his guitar. At one point the ‘b’ and high ‘e’ strings slipped slightly outta tune and were not corrected. During the full frontal fuzz of the band, it was unnoticeable, however, when he did the intro for “Turn You In” by himself, it was noticeable. They were still a great band, and one I urge you to catch when they open for All Them Witches on the 10th of November in Montreal.
And then there was Bat Sabbath. What can be said about this band? For those not in the know, it’s the members of Cancer Bats performing their favourite Black Sabbath tunes under a different name. Now that that’s outta the way, let’s get down to brass tacks. They were heavy. They were loud. And, of course, singer Liam Cormier strutted around the stage all night in a shirt held together by two buttons and sporting one badass cape.
I was very impressed with their take on the old classics as they take it a step further than most cover acts. Instead of just playing the tunes as is, each song was dripping in superb guano from “Fairies Wear Boots” to “Paranoid.” While Sabbath may have been the pioneers of heavy metal, these cats dug in and made their home in it. Nowhere else was it more evident than watching a sweat encrusted Mike Peters pound away on drum fills and beats that would leave Bill Ward batty. I swear Peters has a knack for when to snack on a beat, and when to make a meal out of it. The crowd ate that shit up too.
To any East Coast friends that wanna get their Bat Sabbath fix in, you’re in luck. They’re playing at the Seahorse Tavern on the 20th of October. Get your tickets now. For the rest of you, the Bat Sabbath Spotify playlist on the Cancer Bats home page will have to suffice. It’s brutal and beastly. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
Written by Aaron Deck
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Lia Davis