M for Montreal is a three day festival that showcases some of Montreal’s best metal bands to date. The evening began with a 5 à 7, and drink sales were going to Movember fundraising on behalf of H.M.M.A.C. to the Canadian Cancer Society for Prostate Cancer Research. As sound check and stage prep ran a little later than expected, Eric and I found a nice spot upstairs with a good view of the stage. During the wait, the producer of the event, Pedro Barbosa, kindly introduced himself to us and offered us some Moosehead beers.
Fallstaf, the first band to hit the stage, is a Brass-Metal band which includes the trombone. As the band prepped the stage, I became very intrigued; five handsome guys, who clearly know how to dress, their trombone player wearing a black mask with white eye contacts. Their sound reminded me of a mix between small elements of Morphine, along with Godsmack. Iann’s voice sounded quite raspy, almost like he was struggling a little bit. His voice sounded a lot like Sully Erna of Godsmack with some aspects of James Hetfield of Metallica. Matt was pretty tight on his drums but I felt the band lacked chemistry; each member seemed to be doing their own thing, causing a few moments of off beats and a less than exciting performance. Later on, Iann came up to me and literally had no voice. He explained that he was in the middle of a bad cold which would explain the voice struggle on stage. I think I’d definitely like to see these guys again, on a bigger stage. I love their ideas and I am still intrigued to hear more.
Mad Parish was up next. Josh McConnell was sporting some tie dye tight pants, big hair, a bandana, a jean vest and a sleeveless tshirt underneath; the classic heavy metal star-look. A six-piece band from Montreal with three guitarists there is no way this could have gone down badly. As the band started, there were some serious microphone sound issues, and Josh looked a little frustrated. It went on and off throughout the set. His voice was impeccable. He could hold a note for – what seems to be – forever. Bobby is a killer drummer, and the guitarists Bob, Yan, and Aason were a sick combination of loud riffs and spectacular solos. These guys have fun on stage, rocking out with some synced headbanging moves, and dancing all around. Considering Katacombe’s stage is quite small, they still managed to keep things lively and entertaining. These guys brought back true Heavy Metal to the stage with their Maiden/ Judas Priest-ish sound. The band mentioned a new record coming out. Stay tuned.
Groovy thrash metal is what Venomenon brought to us next. A three-piece band straight out of N.D.G., these young dudes are clearly influenced by bands like Black Sabbath and Anthrax. PTG had crazy Keith Moon styles while he played his drums. His wacky facial expressions, head bobs, and body movements showed how much fun he was having as he played. Jordan wailed all over the stage as his guitar strap kept falling off of him, his big curly hair covering his face most of the time as he sang in the mic. I loved the instrumental they played towards the end of the set, as it began with some soft guitar melodies that eventually turned into something strong and loud. I felt as though I was brought back in time to the 90s when bands like this played small venues and would eventually turn into something big. Bassist Scott Stephens sported an old school 70s look and really had his bass solos down. Each piece was appreciated and heard well, forming a beautiful band.
Last, but not least, Unbeing; a metal/jazzy instrumental band. The last time I checked out an instrumental metal band was Intervals back in July, so I was excited to hear what these guys could bring. The band feels that having a vocalist would prevent them from being able to fully exploit their creativity and would have to downplay things a little to bring out a vocalist. That being said, I truly dug these guys and think they made a good decision. They have a large musical talent and great chemistry on stage. The technicality they possess was just about perfect and I adored the synth touch. With looks of concentration on their faces the entire time, they mastered great sound. Each member had the opportunity to shine, as Sherif hit his solos perfectly while Anthony backed him up with beautiful riffs. Jean-Phillipe’s kicks were precise and Alex’s bass pieced the band together well.
Overall, a great night of raw Montreal Metal, celebrating a good cause, and sadly mourning Montreal’s Nick Babeu of Trigger Effect who recently passed away. We raised a beer in his honour as we continued to celebrate his life, and Montreal’s incredible talent.