I’ve checked out plenty of concerts for Bucketlist, but I can only count on one hand the number of heavy metal gigs I’ve reviewed. So, on a rare night I attend a metal show, you know it’s going to be a good one! There’s something magical about hearing this music live, instead of in my headphones, that gives me goosebumps.
When I pulled up to Foufounes Electriques for an evening with four hype metal bands, I knew I was in for something special. The bands, all based in the US, share a melodic style of metalcore. It’s basically intense metal and hardcore punk, but with slower bits injected in each song to keep the energy in check and prevent the roof from blowing right off the building.
When the music started at around 7pm on a hot and sticky day, the crowd was already a sweaty mass of humanity. As I grabbed my spot in front of the stage I smelled the familiar odour of stale beer and sweat so typical of a big night at Foufs. A few sleeveless dudes brushed up against me and I felt their cold sweat against my bare arms. I doubt they had showered for some time.
Opening up this packed night of metal mayhem were San Diego’s Thousand Below and Afterlife out of Florida. I immediately thought Thousand Below must be a big deal because of the number of young girls singing along with the melodic bits on “Vein.” Afterlife had lots of unhinged energy and screaming mixed with more restrained atmospheric sounds. For the last track, “Giving Back the Pain,” they released all this energy into a white hot ball of rage. Both bands had a blend of the fast intensity and slower emo bits characteristic of modern metal.
The headliners consisted of two major American metal bands playing one of their albums in its entirety. Going with a full album set not only makes my job easier because I know exactly what songs were on the set list, but they also play tracks that they don’t normally do live.
Phoenix’s The Word Alive came on and blasted through their debut album Deceiver. “The Hounds of Anubis” had tight and intricate guitar from the two guitarists Zack Hansen and Tony Pizzuti, and insanely fast double bass drums by Matt Horn. Like the openers, the high energy generated on stage was restrained by melodic bits for the crowd to sing along. When the last tune “We Know Who You Are” started, the crowd was wound up to a fever pitch as vocalist Telle Smith let loose a guttural scream, followed by more breathtaking drum blasts.
Right before Ohio’s Miss May I played their album Monument, “Easy Lover” came on the sound system. I think they selected this 1990 pop classic to calm people down before the sheer chaos about to begin. Miss May I played terrifyingly dark and fast industrial metal, with vocals of pure evil from Levi Benton on classics like “Answers.” At one point, Benton let rip a scream from hell that must have lasted at least ten seconds. More intricate and complicated guitars followed, reminding me of the best of Iron Maiden’s guitar work.
My heart pounded while the lead singer called for a circle pit. Through the crowd I saw bodies skanking and baseball caps bobbing along to the rhythmic pace of the band. I only hope everyone got out of there alive. Honestly, this band scared the shit out of me, and I loved it.
Written by Rob Coles
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Danielle Kenedy