Live Show Review: Immolation — October 25th, 2019
A mere 6 days removed from seeing Beyond Creation (review), I was back at the same venue to see death metal stalwarts Immolation and a supporting cast of 5 other bands I had never heard before. It's been a good year for discovering new bands by attending live shows, so I was looking forward to continuing this trend. I managed to get to the venue right at the opening band started; the show started a bit earlier than I'm accustomed to, at 6:30pm.
For whatever reason, when I have a metal show to attend there is usually some kind of ridiculous bullshit that complicates my trip to the venue. It was nice that this was not one of those times. I managed to arrive just in time for the first band's set, strolling into the venue after some pre-drinking at the house of a friend who lives near the venue. I've become such a fixture at this particular venue that I have a beer waiting for me within a minute of checking my ticket at the door, which was a nice little Achievement Unlocked life moment. My combination of tipping well and drinking too much finally pays off! I think that's how it works...
It took me a bit, but I eventually recognised the first band's name, Gland, from the Aborted show (review) I saw a year-and-a-half ago. They were one of the bands I missed, so it was nice to finally rectify that. Gland were a four-piece death grind band with some hilarious and completely disgusting stage banter between songs. It's always a safe bet that any given grindcore song is about corpse-fucking and / or mutilation, but credit to Gland for assuaging any doubt about this fact. The band's sound was a bass-heavy, mid-tempo single-guitar assault with the usual undecipherable vocals you'd expect for a gindcore project. This band was fun, their songs were concise and had some good riffs and speedy breaks sprinkled in to change things up at just the right moments. Solid opening performance.
Official Bandcamp: glandofficial.bandcamp.com
The second band of the night featured members of 2 others bands I had seen within the last month. The bass player was from Whispers In The Maze and the drummer was from Serene Dark, bands that I saw supporting Amorphis (review) and Beyond Creation respectively. This project, Misshapen, was an interesting mix of death metal with a melodic / progressive edge. The band's set made me think of old school In Flames fronted by a woman. There were only a few instances with clean vocals, in the choruses of "The Swarm" and "Pressure Of Time," and her screams were vicious. I'm fine with or without clean singing, but it's nice to see more women in the local metal scene with a variety of vocal styles. The band had a good 30-minute set and sold me on picking up their latest EP, Transcendence.
Official Bandcamp: misshapen.bandcamp.com
The third local band — and the second to be fronted by a woman — was Fumigation. This group was a fairly straight-forward death metal project, and they ripped through a half-hour set of very brutal, measured material. I wasn't utterly blown away, but I quite enjoyed the set; everyone's playing was tight and the band had a good stage presence. I appreciated the fact they had a song dedicated to talking shit about the Vanier area of town, and they had a good stage presence. The crowd seemed to really like them, and the moshing was starting to heat up. These folks were similar to Gland, just straight-up grimey / grindy death, but with 2 guitars and more intricate material. Even though I wasn't floored by Fumigation, I want to see what their records sound like. A good showing from a local band I expect to see again at some point in the future.
Official Bandcamp: fumigationmetal.bandcamp.com
I thought I recognised the fourth band's name, but after going through my archives it turns out I was thinking of Accursed Dawn. These things happen when you've listened to hundreds of metal bands, I guess. These guys are another Ottawa band, and they served up another set of quality death metal bangers. Like every other band on the bill, Accursed Spawn had some good technical chops, but didn't descend into wankery or showoff unnecessarily. There were a couple of moments where the band was very close to falling out of sync with each other, but disaster was luckily averted. Accursed Spawn whipped the crowd up into a bit of a frenzy — not quite a full-on circle pit but bodies were starting to fly. Despite my lack of familiarity with the band, they seemed like they had been doing this a long time. More no-frills death metal, and no complaints from me; another name for the follow-up list.
Official Bandcamp: accursedspawn.bandcamp.com
The second-last band of the night, and the one with the by far most illegible logo of every one on the bill, was Blood Incantation. Billed as an atmospheric death metal project, they played a brutally technical style of death metal that reminded me a lot of Decrepit Birth, only with a lot more groove and a lot less staccato wall-of-noise attack. The band had a very interesting sound, a mixture of traditional death metal and psychadelic influences; I really liked the angle they approached the genre from. Blood Incantation were really fun, instigating a sort of brutal hypnosis as they churned through a set of groovy, violent tunes. After so many no-frills death metal acts, the slightly unconventional aspects of the band's style really went over well. The band repeatedly plugged their new album, The Hidden History Of The Human Race, which comes out November 22nd. This performance was enough to earn the record a review went it drops. Great live sound.
Official Big Cartel: bloodincantation.bigcartel.com
Lastly, we had legendary New York death metal merchants Immolation. This is a band I've followed, somehwat, ever since they released Close To A World Below back in 2000, although the last record I can recall listening to was 2005's Harnessing Ruin. I reviewed that album as one of the last contributions I made to a site named Global Domination, but I did keep tabs on the band through the various metal news sites I frequent. I've listened a bunch of singles from their various releases and have read reviews of their more recent work. Part of the reason I event bought a ticket to this show was because I needed an excuse to reacquaint myself with the band, the other was reputation Immolation have earned as dependable, high performing band in the studio and on the road.
As the band powered through their set, with material spanning their discography, I was very quickly reminded why I kept this band in mind all these years — they're fucking great! The whole set was an exercise in controlled demolition, waylaying the audience with a wall of grinding, furious guitar and bass, punctuated with some really tasteful drums. The whole band was in top form, but I found myself most impressed with the drumming; I never really noticed it on the records I've heard, but the drums were quite varied and nuanced — far from the expected cacophony of endless blast beats. Immolation played their eponymous track, and a couple of cuts from their latest record, Atonement, which came out 2 years ago. They closed out the set strong, and announced that they have a new album coming out in 2020, which I am now heavily anticipating.
Official Facebook: facebook.com/immolation
The whole show was great; Immolation more than lived up to my expectations of 30-year veterans of the death metal scene. Each of the supporting bands were really fun to listen to, and had quality performances. I've had a great run of live shows with very enjoyable experiences, and the streak remains fully intact. I'm looking forward to diving into the recorded material from every band I heard at this show, and the forthcoming new Immolation record will be getting a review when it drops. In hindsight, I am amazed this show only cost me $20 — this was a ridiculously good value.
Published: October 27th, 2019.