Live review By Kyle Harcott; Photography by Siamak Amini
Some confusion this night led to my late arrival and early exit. First off, the venue. Garbage Mountain is one of those ‘ask around for the address’ kind of deals which, once I asked around, led me to a nondescript commercial building in the industrial section of Vancouver’s downtown eastside. More a jamspace than a venue per sé, it’s home base for several of Vancouver’s most promising hardcore and metal bands and of late has become a popular spot for underground shows.
Second, Lake of Blood and Vestiges were held up at the border, and didn’t arrive at the venue until much later than I’d expected. So I hung around outside, not exactly sure where the hell I was supposed to go to get into the show (seriously, when I say nondescript, I mean nondescript). Finally I figured out which door was the entrance and made my way inside, only to find I had totally missed the debut of opening locals Nightfucker. While we watched as Tempest got set up, Lake of Blood and Vestiges pulled up, so I had a chance for a quick meet & greet with the Lake of Blood guys. I’d been playing their latest record, As Time and Tide Erodes Stone, nonstop in the weeks leading up to the show, and was stoked to get a chance to hear their punishing take on black metal live up close and personal.
First, though, Vancouver’s Tempest took the stage and, as this was my first time hearing them, I had no idea what to expect. They proceeded to tear me a new one, though, with their brand of crusty ripping hardcore, also tinged through with hints of post-metal. Waves of thundering guitar like a tsunami of sound reverberated throughout the tiny cinderblock structure of Garbage Mountain – fuck nuance, this was music as bludgeon. Tempest’s cathartic wall of noise forced its way through me and lodged itself firmly into the sweating walls. Most memorable and immediate was their song “Passages”, which with its stop-go intro, was a complete showstopper. These guys are Vancouver’s next hardcore band to watch, for sure.
Lake of Blood were next up, and more than worth the wait. Their unrelenting black metal was absolutely jaw-dropping in the live setting – drummer Xsithis is show unto himself, playing necksnap blastbeats with equal amounts precision and force. The band played some older material as well as a couple of as-yet-unreleased songs, but I don’t recall hearing either of the epic tracks from the current album in their hour-long set. Lake of Blood’s performance was entirely mesmerizing: guitarists Nordic and Samael, and bassist Krajavic appear to weave themselves into trances through the set. And singer Haagr is a man possessed, tearing his throat out baying at the sky. The music is full of nuance and subtlety at times too, and I hear definite hints of Xasthur in what Lake of Blood does, at least atmospherically. As their punishing set wound down, everybody in the room was suitably impressed by Lake of Blood, and I look forward to seeing them again when they tour their next record, due to be recorded later this year.
Alas, an early Sunday morning engagement meant I had to bail after Lake of Blood’s set, and could not stay for either Vestiges or Haggatha’s sets. But I also knew Lake of Blood would be a tough act to follow. After a hasty thanks and good night/safe travels to Lake of Blood, I left Garbage Mountain assured I had witnessed something very special.