Bloody Panda @ Smiling Buddha, Toronto, ON, August 13, 2009

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Review and photos by Adam Wills

Silence. Not a typical reaction to a live performance.

As New York’s Bloody Panda concluded their final note, and began to pack up, the small crowd, who had gathered for their awe-inspiring performance, wasn’t sure how to react to the intensity that was just laid out before them. So instead of applause, cheering, or even conversation, the room filled with an eerie silence that couldn’t have been more fitting.

The previous 45+ minutes were filled with one of the most intense displays of doom I had ever seen. Opening with beautifully soothing vocals from the petite front-woman Yoshiko Ohara, they soon made way to hair-raising screams, and blood-curdling growls. Coupled with Gerry Mak’s droning Tuvan throat singing, the duo produces some of the most intriguing and terrifying vocals in the genre.

Playing tracks off their latest album Summon (Profound Lore), including the twenty-plus minute behemoth “Miserere,” the hooded sextet (including Krallice drummer Lev Weinstein) layered droning guitars over a thick layer of ambience, only to be outdone by the occasional frantic riffing and blistering drums.

Although the band takes pride in their visual performance, their appearance would be nothing without the music that they produce. Dark, brooding, and even horrific at times, Bloody Panda is a band that any fan of experimental doom should see live, and see how it is supposed to be done.

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.