On the beautiful night of Wednesday, July 23rd, the equally beautiful city of Montreal was once again blessed by the ever-loved Khemmis, accompanied by the ultimately gracious CLOAK and Discrvst. Fans of doom and stoner metal rejoiced at this lineup and were even graced with a few peeps of black metal qualities.
There are shows of many types, most of which have a crowd showing up in gradual numbers, mostly awaiting the main band. Sometimes there are shows that have genuine fans of specific bands coming to support their favourites, even if their favourite is the first opener and a relatively underground band. These are the coolest because you get the best mingling opportunities, and the best opportunities to find people who will most likely stay for the other bands and be happy to hear something new. Praise be to nice and non-snobby fans of doom metal. Honestly.
Discrvst hit the stage, with a decent crowd around, and proceeded to lay on some sweet black metal feels with their super doomy sludge sound. I was already excited to see, but their live performance blew me away more than I thought it would. Vocalist Phil absolutely blew the room away with a perfect scream/growl technique that I could not take my eyes off, making me wonder how it is humanly possible to have mind-bending and wonderfully beautiful sounds come from a human body. Their set was seriously mesmerising and made the room feel like an alien planet of total distortion perfection. Great stage presence, and all-around wonderful musicians to have seen live.
Next was CLOAK, of super black metal appearance, what with witchy banners and red lights, but unfortunately no cloaks…The efforts for a good delivery and good entertainment were obvious. Lots of catchy riffs and hooks here and there made the crowd pay close attention but somehow calmness remained. I didn’t feel disappointed in their set but was rather filled with the appreciation of their theatrical value and somehow wished it was even more theatrically intense. This seems to be their strong point and it is clear that the black metal scene would like to see more of them doused in props and theatrics.
Almost to the end of the evening, with a shaking presence, Khemmis appeared on stage. Goosebumps-worthy applause as loud as the bands roared for them, and they went on to open the room into a stoner’s paradise. Gloriously beautiful guitar harmonies and voices that could belong in a choir blessed the stage. If you’ve never seen Khemmis, (like I had,) you don’t know how impressively accurate to recording they sound live. It’s almost unreal, and commands immense respect from fans.
Let’s not forget that the boys from Khemmis are actually such great people and whether you can feel it or not, it definitely translates to the music that is played. Marvellous guitar solos and illustrious musicianship are things that these guys get right, every time. Steeping in emotion and undivided attention, the audience couldn’t shake their gaze from the band, and after a few kind words and birthday dedications to their good friend and our founder the Lizard Queen, spectators’ applause was so massive and positive that I couldn’t help myself from smiling, and everyone else was smiling too. Yes, all of this on a regular Wednesday night. We are pretty damn lucky.
Written by Talia Plante
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Mike Milito