Reviews – Live

KEVI METAL’S RIMSHOTS V. 2 #4: MARYLAND DEATHFEST 2010 EDITION

Here’s the scene: Hellbound’s old man posse – myself, photographer/CD pillager Albert and our fearless leader Sean – have found ourselves in a Motel 6 in suburban Baltimore, our digs for the duration of our time at the Maryland Deathfest. That this joint looks like a cross between 1970s IKEA and the set of the first Alien movie, is of no bearing or consequence, but I it was bizarre and needed to be mentioned. One morning, Albert emerged sporting a long sleeve shirt of the old Sounds of Death magazine. SOD was known for a few things, the most conspicuous was editor David Horn’s enthusiastic reviews in which album were rated on a “skull scale” out of ten, with the most raging of records scoring a brutal “10 fucking skulls out of 10.”

So, without further distraction, here’s what I thought of the bands I saw at MDF, reviewed in classic SOD style.

Maryland Deathfest 2010 Recap Part 1

The great thing about fests like MDF is that the metal is simply overflowing. The bad thing about fests like MDF is that the metal is simply overflowing. If it’s sitting down to catch your breath, or grabbing a drink or a bite to eat, there are plenty of reasons causing one to miss one or too many killer bands.

Hypocrisy/ Scar Symmetry/ Blackguard @ The Wreckroom, Toronto ON, May 29 2010

It was shortly after 8:00 pm when Hypocrisy made their significant entrance; the excitement in the room was palpable when they strode onto the stage, lit vaguely by dim blue light and partially obscured by theatrical smoke. I can only describe their set as an all-out assault. While the sun might have still been impudently shining outside of the Wreckroom, inside the audience was completely consumed by Hypocrisy’s blistering intensity.

Natalie Zed reviews the May 29th Toronto performance by Hypocrisy, Scar Symmetry and Blackguard. Live photos by Adam Wills

Slough Feg/ Funeral Circle @ Red Room, Vancouver BC, May 29 2010

The inveterate Slough Feg are one of those bands that pulls it off so well live that they’re able to sound identical to what they do on tape, which I found pretty impressive considering how ornate their songs can get. Personally, I was there to hear songs from their latest, Ape Uprising!, and they did not disappoint, throwing the excellent “Simian Manifesto” into their set early on. But as they’re touring for their 20th anniversary, the band threw loads of gems into their set. It was great to hear older tracks like “Tiger! Tiger!”, “The Final Gambit” and “Hiberno-Latin Invasion” live. And seeing Mike Scalzi and Angelo Tringali work their guitar magic, playing off each other is especially jaw-dropping – they recall the classic Gorham/Robertson harmony work in Thin Lizzy.

Portal/ Krallice/ Bloody Panda @ Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY May 24, 2010

The energy that Portal projected, both in their music and their sheer physical presence, was overwhelming. Every gesture that The Curator made was impossibly intense. I spent the entire set staring wildly up at the band, certain that any moment something Very Bad was going to happen. They’re masters at wielding this carefully managed sense of dread. Portal is aptly named; when they were on stage, reality felt somehow thinner than it was before.

Natalie Zed reviews the May 24th performance by Portal, Krallice and Bloody Panda at Buffalo, NY’s Mohawk Place. Concert photography by Adam Wills.