Coffee, toast, PEANUT BUTTER, go! I’m awake, and alive. Despite the crushing brutality I heard, felt, and moshed to last night, I’m here with my notes and will try my very best to convey the sense of power on display last night at the Petit Campus. At times, reviewing shows can be tricky: as I held my phone in hand, thumbing down details while jumping near the mosh pit, somebody flew out of nowhere and my phone went flying, disappearing too far away for my inebriated brain to find. A dude saw what happened and somehow found my black phone on the ground in near total darkness, picked it up, and handed it back to me in less than five terrifying seconds. If you’re that guy: thanks man, the next beer’s on me.
Jason Greenberg: you sick son of a bitch. He writes with us here at Bucketlist, and he performed with the opening band called Signals Over Skies. An ambient intro quickly gave way to a burst of energy taking us through progressive mixing of thrash metal and metal core. Drummer Alex Perron was solid as a bunker, while guitarists Marie-Michèle Tremblay and Louis-Philipe Montoya shredded the shit out of their strings. Mr. Greenberg became a scream, bent into thirds as he screeched and growled from the pit of his gut, putting on a hell of a show and keeping the crowd engaged between songs with his humble yet cocky demeanor. Interestingly, it seems Jason may not be a permanent member of Signals Over Skies, mentioning that he is simply filling in until the band finds a frontman. Indeed, he could be seen flipping through pages of a notepad during the songs, occasionally glancing down to read lyrics that I wish I could have understood. That’s the thing with metal: it’s extremely intricate, fast, hard-hitting music that is very hard to record and mix. This is also true in a live setting, when all the musicians are going balls to the roof, slamming their instruments as hard and fast as they can. Sadly, it was hard at times to hear all the notes shredded by the guitarists, and I found the bass could also have used a bit more clarity (though I definitely felt it shake my core for most of their songs). It was a short set that delivered some sick breakdowns, and gave me the chance to ignite the mosh pit.
Demise Of The Crown was the next band, and you could tell frontman Darren Beadman was having a good time, welcoming the crowd and looking excited to play. They began their set with a pre-recorded clip of orchestral sounds, which heightened the suspense which lead to “Sparks Fly,” a groovy song that showcased tight breakdowns and a catchy outro hook. At times, it was a vulgar display of power; sonic destruction mixed with big riffs that got everyone’s head banging and raising their fists to the air. If you like windmills, this would have been your moment. The whole band played with intensity and dished out a ton of music, something I’ve always respected about metal – it’s far from boring. Bassist Dany Toxic looked like a member of Motley Crüe, and teased “Killing In The Name” before calling out the next song “We Are Invincible,” which got guitarist Simon Says unleashing a barrage of shred from his Ibanez. Both guitarists traded solos and the whole band was very animated on stage, putting on a great show for all to mosh to.
The third band that night was Shape The Above, and they began their set with a relatively quiet jazz-infused intro. What followed though, was brutality defined. This band’s music pulled me away from my phone, and kept me moshing for most of their set. They had good musical ideas, and frontman William Arseneau delivered cool vocal melodies that floated above the band’s progressive, thrash-metal offering. When he sang or screamed, you knew he was feeling it. Bassist Jonathan Robertson riffed the fuck out, and the guitarists could be seen playing intricate patterns, though I wish I could have heard them more in the mix for their solos. Sadly, at times I could see no soundman at the mixing console during Shape The Above’s set, and that pisses me off. To me, the sound person is the hidden member of any band; they’re the one that tilts the mix a certain way so that parts that need to stand out stand the fuck out. They should be engaged with the music and following the cues from band members so they can be clearly heard. How can you do that if you’re not at your desk? Some may say it’s no big deal, but with so much time and effort put into their music, I’d say this band deserves something better from any venue. They gave it their all and played interesting, brutal metal.
I had heard of the headliner before last night’s show, and had hung out with their somewhat locally famous drummer once at my place. I had seen a clip or two of LE FOU drumming, and even from a shitty-sounding cellphone recording, I could tell he’s damn good. Pronostic is a four-piece band that sounds like a fusion of The Faceless, Cannibal Corpse, and The Black Dahlia Murder. What impressed me the most with their set was the fact that guitarists Alexandre Lauzon and Charles Pilotte screamed and growled while playing insanely complex riffs. Bassist Mathiew “La Vie” Laurence BECAME the music, immersed in the grooves and obviously enjoying the heck out of LE FOU’s drumming. At times the crowd would mosh, at times we would simply watch this band and their tight virtuosic playing. When the band called for a circle pit, the crowd delivered, letting out steam as a bra got tossed onto the stage. It eventually made its way onto the drummer’s bare chest, worn as he slammed brutally fast and precise patterns on his kit, which was one of the greatest things I’ve seen at a metal show this year. I’m listening to Pronostic’s record on their Bandcamp page as I write this, and I highly recommend you check it out. An obligatory drum solo was also part of their set and it’s here I must stop writing. If you ever have a chance to see these guys live, I’d say that’s luck you shouldn’t shy away from.
Written by Dave Tone
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson