Friday night and the stage is set; the third of four shows in a row for me this week, but I am still standing strong.
Quebec death metal legends Gorguts have long been a favourite of mine, and I have seen them live three times previously. This time will be something special though, as they are touring for their incredible new EP, Pleiades Dust. – but first there are three other bands, and each presents their own take and their own unique sound on metal. So, onward we go!
The show opens with Anciients, a band now with two critically acclaimed albums on a Season of Mist record deal under their belt, including the recently-released Voice Of The Void. Anciients will always be a local band to me; I saw them many times before their sudden success – however they no longer perform at the level of local band; they’re well and truly deserving of the success they’ve achieved, and it more than shows tonight.
Their set is excellent, combining heavy riffs, technical precision, and a lot of power, with songs from both 2013’s breakthrough Heart of Oak as well as Voice of the Void. It’s clear that Vancouver loves Anciients and are happy to be seeing local boys doing so well for themselves. A scintillating set, heavy and technical like early Mastodon, yet bearing their own unique identity. Anciients are a band that should by rights become one of metal’s biggest names.
Following act Brain Tentacles are not an easy listen. Akin to perhaps Shining (Nor) without the guitars and keyboards, leaving just drums, bass, saxophone, and occasional vocals with which to craft their strange avant-garde depths.
The relatively catchy “Fruitcake” is somewhat accessible, but are contrasted with songs like the ominous, powerful “Cosmic Warrior’s Girth Curse”, which strays far far away from convention. Others like “The Sadist” grate on the senses, yet remain remarkably appealing.
Brain Tentacles set is quite stunning; despite the fact that it’s hard to get into a groove, as their music doesn’t always lend itself to a steady rhythm, it is brilliant on a technical level. They build a grating, sense-flaying atmosphere out of Ornette Coleman’s ghost and John Zorn’s manic grin, channelling both in equal measure.
Los Angeles’ Intronaut are well known for putting on a great show. I last caught them on their 2014 tour, when they were pulling double duty for Cloudkicker on that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They were great then, and are great now, proving themselves worthy supporting such a sublime headliner.
Their brand of metal fits well, especially with Anciients opening, and their talent is plain to see. Their jazzier sections are really cool, contrasting well with the heavier material, and they have a solid stage presence too.
That said, they are the band I am least familiar with here. I never really got into them that much as a studio band. Nevertheless, there’s a healthy moshpit, which gets intense and mellow in equal measures, proving that they’re ultimately an enjoyable band, and one I perhaps wish I was more familiar with. Maybe next time!
Holy fuck. There really isn’t a band like Gorguts. Their landmark album, 1998’s Obscura, took everyone by surprise, and by the time the band had released 2013’s Colored Sands, it became clear that Gorguts were operating at a level beyond human comprehension. To say they changed the game would be an understatement; they’re playing an entirely new one.
Live, Gorguts pull off their utterly monstrous riffing with almost casual nonchalance. The sheer ferocity of songs like “Le Toit du Monde” or “Ocean of Wisdom” is delivered humbly and with clear appreciation for the audience that allows the band to keep doing what they’re doing. And of course, the big attraction of the set is the performance of their new EP, Pleiades Dust, in entirety; a single 33-minute long track that twists, winds, wanders, and finally comes crashing to an epic climax. Seeing this song performed live in entirety is going to be a highlight in the lives of every attendee of the show for a long time.
The crowd roils and sways with each discordant note, roaring approval time and time again. Eventually, we find our way to the closing song, “Orphans of Sickness”, and Luc Lemay thanks us, and then the band is done. We are all left panting, heaving, and wanting more. Gorguts are an incredible band live, delivering every note with power and ferocity, and capping an evening of utmost quality from all.
All photos by Visions in Pixels