This was the night for thrash metal! Each band was from Montreal, but they all had something different to bring to the table.
Up first was Venomenon who played a killer set. I feel like their music has gotten more instrumental than it used to be, but they’re still my favourite Montreal thrash band. There was already a good crowd turnout by the time they started playing, and it increased throughout the entire show. I’ve seen them many times before and I think this was one of the better shows they’ve played. Maybe it was because of the sound guy, or maybe it was because overall they have genuinely improved, but either way they sounded amazing. They’ve definitely come a long way since I first saw them years ago, considering that they have opened for bands like Anvil and Suicidal Tendencies, and have played shows outside of Montreal including various cities in Ontario.
Next to take the stage was Kill of Rights, also from Montreal. The band, formed by Dead Brain Cells guitarist Eddie Shahini (who talks about the motivation behind the new group in an interview with Bucketlist), is quickly becoming a Montreal favourite. Their music is a blend of thrash, hardcore, and heavy metal, and they had a really tight sound, as if playing together was their calling. The vocalist wore a “V for Vendetta” mask during one of the songs, which I found both hilarious and interesting. This band was really entertaining due to their high energy, and I’m glad I had the chance to see them perform.
The third act was Mutank whom I’ve also seen before, but I remember not enjoying their set the previous times because for some reason, I was never really into their music. This time, however, was different. It was easy to tell that they had improved a lot musiclly because I found myself truly enjoying their performance. I wasn’t the only one, considering how rowdy the crowd started to become. They had a slightly different lineup than last time, and it seems to me that the new members in the band are a change for the better. Their former guitarist Steven Breen was brought on stage for the song “Minions,” and the crowd went even more nuts. I’m curious to see what they’ll be like the next time I see them play, whenever that may be.
And finally, headliners Dead Brain Cells (DBC) took the stage. At this point the venue was so packed I could barely move. Founded in 1986, DBC has had a serious following in Montreal and beyond for three decades, which explains the age difference in audience members. Although band members are still active in other projects, DBC rarely play shows these days, so it was a great opportunity to catch them live. It kind of felt like watching Kill of Rights over again (since some of the members are the same in both bands), but DBC’s music was a little bit more strange; they used more guitar distortion, and had a more distinct classic metal influence, yet they still had a thrash vibe. Their set was excellent and the huge crowd loved it.
There have only been a very few times where I’ve seen Katacombes as packed as it was. Each band played their best, despite the fact that Kill of Rights was basically the same as DBC, and guitarists in the other bands kept losing their straps (hey, it happens!), they all still put on a killer show.
Written and Photographed by Shannon Fong
*edited by Kate Erickson