Saturday, January 28, 2012

Battle of the Bands - Jan 21st @ The Zoo

There was an excellent turn-out at the Zoo, that became a swarm of support for Winnipeg's local talent: Abhorrupt, Grand Master, Laika and Tyrants Demise.  The battle was for the prize of opening up for Metal Alliance, which features Devildriver and Dying Fetus. Excellent! The results were decided by the voting public, so if you didn't vote, then you're succumbing to what the political fat cats want! Which is voter apathy in their favour! SO VOTE- Even if it's just for a metal band.  All this for only $7! Could Winnipeg be any better for metal? Why, certainly, but we aren't doing bad.

The first band to hit the stage was Abhorupt, which had some decent band dynamics, and their short-haired front-man was consistent enough in his vocal style. What really struck me, was when he had to continually look at lyrics for a song, and would go to the edge of the stage and peer down at it during the song, and then get back into singing it, or gargling it or... growling it. Whatever. It wasn't bad, just rather amusing. "It's death metal, man." One shortcoming however, was that they would get into a tasty riff, and then cut it short instead of going with it. So the potential is definitely there, they just need to re-hash their song writing and riff sculpting process. Otherwise, it was a pleasure seeing and hearing them play.

Then, of course... there was Grand Master.... How much more can I love this trio? They're just the nicest dudes, and the vets of this gig. Playing an onslaught of about fourty-five minutes, non-stop, and competing with the rest of the bill, which is a lot more death metal. They really tailored their sound to fit this bill, and did it effectively with harsher vocals and even more energy than the last time I saw them. The bottom line is, Grand Master know exactly what they're doing, and even if the crowd wasn't their regular crowd, everyone still had a wicked time being in the presence of their raw talent. I may be slightly biased when it comes to Grand Master, but they are really something else when it comes to seeing these guys live. While taking pictures, I went right up to the corner of the drum platform, right in front of one of the cymbals which of course Matt hit. And I felt the gust of the impact, which was exhilarating, and I could tell Matt was worried the cymbal would hit me. Thank goodness for my excellent depth perception!

Laika came on, and I could finally form my own opinion on a band that I had only heard about. They had the unique feature of a keyboardist, who, despite not always having a musical bit, brought lots of energy on the stage and air-guitared and moved around. I've seen some pretty stiff band members who were ALWAYS playing a musical piece, but just lacked the enthusiasm to make it fun. Laika was mediocre in terms of sound production for this show, because their rhythm guitarist, with a stack I'd never seen called Framus, was WAY too loud, and had a shitty over-gated tone that really ruined their sound. Over all a very charismatic band, with just that unfortunate feature of bad sound. Their bassist commanded a good deal of attention for just being brutal and funny to see, and their lead guitarist had some excellent licks. Their drummer was pretty fun to take pictures of, and over all, I sort of enjoyed their set. Rhythm guitarist just needs to TURN IT DOWN, PLEASE.

Emerging from the mist, to blast your fucking ears until after 1 am were the might Tyrants Demise, which took the prize, rightfully. They were definitely the biggest draw, and it was clear from the beginning that they would win, simply by having superior death metal magic. It comes as no surprise that they tore up the place and lashed the crowd with some heavy sounds, and of course, the energy was always high. Tyrants Demise have an excellent tone, and you can't not enjoy seeing their visceral strengths on stage. This was a death metal concert, and they played the best death metal. They eat up the stage, tear up the night and make any metal fan bob and weave, and occasionally make people want to run into each other.

Twas a good night
I would just like to thank all the bands for allowing me to take pictures of them through their entire sets, because it could be very distracting. A special thanks to Cory for allowing me to take my band photography to the next level and letting these four bands loose all in one night! Looking forward to seeing Tyrants Demise open for Metal Alliance. The best of the best are available here--->


  1. Not to be a dick, Liz, but the sound wasn't Laika's fault and Kristian wasn't reading any lyrics.

    1. I was right by the stage and I WATCHED him read lyrics and then go and vocalize. I picked up the sheet afterwards, and sure enough, they were lyrics. And yes, Laika's rhythm guitarist could have turned down and fixed his tone.

    2. We share leads. We don't have set lead/rhythm guitarists in our band. I'm actually terrible at rhythm LOL, I take care of the more technical leadwork in the band wherever it is and have pretty even distribution of leadwork between the both of us.

      I was actually super quiet(I've played much, much louder) and properly dialed in, I was just dialed in loud at the board. Have you ever been in a studio environment? Guitars by themselves sound generally horrible, but work in the overall mix. When all you hear is me, well, its going to sound bad! I don't use a noise gate at all actually. What you most likely heard was a brash of mids which you would get standing 5 feet away while directly in line with a cone. This is all in the sound guy, and I can tell you horror stories of being on tour with bad sound guys.

    3. That is rather terrible that it wasn't even up to you to sound proper. I have gone to the sound guy at the board near the back to tell him to adjust things before. I will have to see you guys again, perhaps at a different venue with more adapted sound people. Sorry to pin you as the rhythm, it's interesting to know you share the roles equally! Thanks for letting me know about this, and I hope to see you guys play again soon.

    4. I'm actually super anal about our sound in the jam space and try to get us to sound as best as we can before we go on live. If a band sounds bad beforehand the soundguy can only really polish a turd. I actually picked up a wireless that is regarded as one of the best on the market so i can go on the floor and eq our amps to the room. I had gear issues so I had to run corded so I couldn't do that, but I know we were properly dialed in before hand. It's only really small tweaks after the jamspace.

      There are always factors that can negatively affect a bands sound. Improper mic placement, being in a rush and not eqing to the room, sound guy is lazy/doesn't know how to eq metal, guitarists not dialing in mids which is super common. Contrary to many guitarists thinking, that scooped tone isn't good for anything outside the bedroom. I've yet to see a local band that sounds 100% perfect, you can only really get that if you have a sound guy/guitar tech that tags along and knows your bands sound. Which is impractical for us and I would like to say all local bands. We don't have the luxury of spending the afternoon before a show sound checking :P

      We play at the Park Theater at the end of March and you're more than welcome to come out! This video was filmed there. This was the Kataklysm show. A much better room that is tailored to what we should sound like.

      On another note, while I love the venue and its atmosphere we generally refuse shows at CFR because that venue is actually dividing by zero for our bands sound. The room echo was so bad I was playing to our drummers offbeat without even realizing it. Live sound is fun, when you get into it you realize why people charge what they charge for studio recording and being in charge of the sound board. It's a lifetime of learning and I've only tapped into it.

      Check out that article.

  2. Replies
    1. Oh and I was using lyrics for One by One as place-holder because we as a band pretty much only had it half-ready for performance (helped me not fuck up first, haha). Other sheets of paper on the ground were previous bands on different dates set lists.

  3. It was still pretty awesome, in my opinion. I just thought it was amusing to see you stand at the front of the stage reading it off.