There comes a time in every musician’s career when their current band comes to an end. That end is sometimes in the form of a VH1-worthy, liquor and cocaine-fueled rage explosion resulting in broken relationships and a series of cringe-worthy social media posts. Thankfully, when deciding to call it quits after a respectable seven years, Montreal’s Outlive the Dead (formerly Camalus) made the far more respectable, mutual decision that the band has simply run its course, and that the time had come to give the music a proper send off. Jason Greenberg, Outlive The Dead frontman and fellow Bucketlist writer, graciously asked me to take in the band’s final gig at Foufounes Electriques, where they shared the bill with Canceric, Dark Century, Hollow, and headliner’s Death Lullaby. How could I say no to a man with such a beautiful mustache?
First up were Montreal’s Canceric, a five-piece band who play a satisfying blend of DM and thrash. The songs were frenetic and busy, regularly employing angular timing and tempo shifts that kept the tunes interesting and engaging. Guitarists Julien Provost and Vince Laliberté traded a series of catchy leads between brutal riffage, and bassist J-F Tremblay’s high-register noodling lent the music a welcomed tech/proggy element. When all of the musicians locked in together, things sounded great. However there were several moments when the guitarists seemed completely out of step with drummer Zack Osiris, who was a little shaky with respect to timing and double-bass drum precision, especially early in the set. Things tightened up as the set progressed, particularly during the song “Religious War.” Singer William Pichette possesses a quality death growl that compliments Canceric’s instrumental style, and works well with Provost and Osiris’ backing vocals. I got the sense that this is a relatively young band; I look forward to seeing these guys rip after they’ve got a few more live shows under their belt.
Next on the stage were Outlive The Dead . I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect; armed with only a cursory understanding of vocalist, Jason Greenberg’s taste in music, the band’s name, and Jason’s desire to make me watch every LetLive video on Youtube, I was predicting some contemporary metalcore. Once the band kicked off their first tune, I was pleasantly surprised. Outlive the Dead’s sound, while certainly taking elements from metalcore and post-hardcore, seems far more rooted in the New Wave of American Metal(NWOAHM) but with more focus on groove and big, gnarly guitar leads. To be sure, Outlive the Dead still love the mosh part; tracks like “One In No One” and “Shut Up and Bleed” almost moved me to start two-stepping. Jason’s vocals alternate between a raspy high-register scream and a ball-quaking, low-end growl, with very little middle ground. The musicianship on display across the stage was really something; drummer Chris Analytis’ grooves and fills were complex, furious, and most importantly, tight as fuck. The guitars were equally sharp, and the lead work provided by James Taylor was truly a highlight. I wasn’t nuts about Taylor’s backup vocals, which I felt were tentative and strained. Big kudos to bassist Keith Thompson: he learned the entire set only ten days prior to the gig, which was his first live show ever. Welcome to a life-long addiction, Keith.
The band took some well deserved whiskey shots, then launched into their last couple of songs. Jason is a natural frontman, constantly in motion across the stage and occasionally jumping into the crowd to get things moving. Outlive The Dead played their final tune after thanking supporters and dedicating a song to Trigger Effect (a legendary Montreal punk band whose lead singer tragically passed away last year). While endings are always a bit sad, they provided fans with a quality performance to cap off the last seven years.
After Outlive The Dead’s final goodbyes it was time for Dark Century, a local act that play a heavy, super-groovy blend of Death Metal and NWOAHM which seems equally influenced by both Lamb of God and Dying Fetus. Their musical prowess is striking, including the ease and professionalism they display throughout their live show. Dark Century are a well-oiled machine who’d be right at home at any major North American metal festival. That’s not to say Dark Century appear contrived; this is a group of dudes who are clearly having a ball, and the music they create reflects that joy. Sure, the tunes are heavy and punishing, but Goddamnit, they’re also super fucking fun. The band kicked off with “Kill the Crowd,” a fast-paced, thrash-tinged track with a series of groovy sections that demonstrate the group’s considerable chops. The groove is locked firmly in place by a killer rhythm section comprised of drummer Alexis Serré and bassist Tommy Beliveau. Lead singer Shayne O’Brian adds an additional layer of dynamics to the music with his extensive range. “Time to Bleed,” a track O’Brian dedicated to the ladies, was one of my favorites. Serré’s drumming on this track was impressive, and stylistically similar to Lamb of God’s Chris Adler. Dark Century clearly have their priorities straight; they take the music seriously without taking themselves too seriously. Their authentic enthusiasm makes for a really enjoyable live show.
Next up was Montreal four-piece Hollow, a group whose visual aesthetic turned out to be a bit misleading. Hollow definitely look like a black metal band; their outfits and corpse paint are fucking awesome, and that shit looks like it took a long time to apply. On appearance alone, you’d assume that their musical output would consist of frigid tremolo picking, mind-crushing blast beats, and icy, straight-from-the-crypt vocals coalescing into a contemplation of humankind’s vast insignificance. While Hollow’s music certainly incorporates some of black metal’s signature grimness (lead singer Mott’s vocals are mighty frosty), there’s a lot more going on here. Songs like “Hate” reveal elements of thrash and melodic death metal, including powerful mid-tempo guitar leads overlaid with epic synths. Drummer BlaaC’ groove sections provide great counterpoint to all the breakneck blasting. All in all, a really enjoyable set from a group who completely shattered my preconceived notion of what they would sound like.
Concluding the evening were headliners Death Lullaby, a Montreal technical metalcore act similar to Born of Osiris, and with a large local following. They also produce an incredibly polished live show; their setup included individual light boxes for each guitarist, and a drum setup so massive it would have looked more at home at The Bell Centre than Foufounes Electrique. Drummer Kevy Metal (har har har) tears through slick double bass runs and intricate fill patterns effortlessly, and guitarists Julien Bournival and Yoan Marier-Proulx create crisp tones perfectly suited to this genre. The musicianship is above reproach, but I found myself getting really bored. Death Lullaby’s songs tend to follow a predicable pattern, and the sound is so manicured that it felt like I was watching a well-rehearsed reproduction of a metal show as opposed to the real thing.
If I were to rate this show, I’d give it a solid 7 greasy Jason Greenberg Mustaches out of 10.
Written by Jesse Gainer
Photography by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography