Conditions were perfect. It was Friday night, I had a fist full of angst, and I’d just started a two week vacation. Conditions were perfect, so time to get busy baby, because its business time. Alright, Flight of the Conchords references aside, this past Friday the 2nd of December was the return of Montreal-based deathcore fan favourite Ion Dissonance at Bar Le Ritz PBD after several years’ hiatus, and this right here is how it all went down.
This entire night was filled with local talent from top to bottom. Opening up the foray was Sever The Voices, a five-piece “Progcore” act leaning much more toward the darker end of metalcore. This was very much a fun set to start any night out with (put these guys with the Chili Peppers or something, I’m sure it would be hilarious). However, to my fucked up ears, it definitely sounded like the board could have used some tweaking. The string section sounded rather weak while the drums overpowered the room, which was my only real criticism towards their compositions, as each song was absolutely drowning in crash cymbal barrages for each breakdown moment (which, as you can imagine, there were plenty of). Moving closer to the stage provided a slight remedy towards the lack of strings, however for a small spot like le Ritz, this is definitely not something a grumpy cunt like myself settles for. The vocal section was definitely interesting and vibrant, though the infrequent involvements from guitarist David Belhumeur could probably have been left out for the sake of simplicity. Nit picking and cuntery aside, this was a truly an interesting act to behold that shows a ton of potential for future glory.
Following up was the sadistic gloom of Quebec city grindcore act known only as APES. Not to be confused with their Australian easy-listening counterpart, these cats brought the fucking angry like it was an ear rape career fair. What the fuck kind of criticism can you offer a band that literally walks on stage, makes you defecate for thirty minutes straight, and walks off like it’s just a day in the park? None! The answer is none; this was just wild as shit, and even the overall sound of the room decided to fall in line. The notable mention of the set (ya know, above the constant bludgeoning of grind) was the sickening contrast in vocal sections between frontman and backup singers. (A suggestion guys: maybe indicate who the fuck you are on your respective sites?) Get your head checked before and after catching this act just so you can make the comparison.
Rounding out our opening acts is the absolute baseball bat to the back of the head that we all know as Montreal death metal quintet Depths of Hatred. The absolute peak of perfect for sound quality this evening was made during this set as DOH went on to beat you to death in a fashion that I can only describe as both sinister and sexual (just fucking because). Frontman Dominic D.D. most notably ripped pitches that sounded nothing short of a witch’s evil queef. This act truly embodies the unsung quality of death metal that has been found in Montreal through the years, and carries the torch for generations to come piss to on. If Depths of Hatred are playing and you’re in the room, say a Hail Mary and get yourself a liquor to soften the blow.
Last and surprisingly least was the aforementioned returned of the revered Ion Dissonance. As one of the original Montreal deathcore family members alongside acts like Despised Icon and Plasmarifle, these dudes have staked their claim in all things heavy, progressive, and heavy. Veterans of their class if you will, which of course leads to a certain level of expectation. As a whole, ID definitely didn’t show signs of aging. My only qualm is a simple and personal one: I bloody fucking hate wireless microphones. “Oh but Jason, they’re so cool and slick and I can go anywhere with them!” Go fuck yourself, they’re flimsy, expensive, and no matter how much you put into them, they’re still unreliable. On three separate occasions during ID’s set, vocalist Kevin McCaughey was found screaming his guts out without a sound being heard. Wires are safe and comforting. I can put up with a lack of lighting or even messy sound quality at times, but visibly seeing vocal issues is a pet peeve I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.
Written by Jason Greenberg
Photography by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson