Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gods of the Grave (Rickshaw Theatre), Dysrhythmia/Dog Shredder (Iron Road Studios), Oct. 26

This was one of those nights when I just had to go for it. I’d originally planned to attend just the Dysrhythmia show, but that show’s promoters, realizing that there were some competing gigs on East Hastings, moved the set times towards the wee hours.

I had a few hours to kill, so I decided to hit up the Rickshaw Theatre for Nothing Is Heavy’s Gods of the Grave event first. This was another of their local metal bonanzas featuring umpteen of the finest bands in the city. I arrived in time to see The Nautilus lay down a mind-bending set of spazzy, avant-garde metal. I need to keep an eye on this impressive trio; I’m sure they’ll be playing a lot. M16 were next, and had a more traditional thrash approach. This being my first exposure to them, I couldn’t quite figure out what they were going for. The riffs sounded more European than Bay Area. Did I detect a Coroner influence? Surely not. They were tight—with Mike Hannay from Anciients on drums, they couldn’t help but be—and talented players, so it’ll be interesting to hear how their sound develops. Every band was having problems with monitors and stage sound, but Auroch suffered the most of the bands I saw. They were ready to kill with their intricate and atmospheric death metal, but got a little out of sync during their first number, “From Forgotten Worlds.” They managed to cope, however, and the rest of their set decimated as intended. After a bunch of songs from their outstanding new album, they brought out a Mitochondrion dude on vocals for their final song, a wicked cover of Akercocke’s “Enraptured by Evil.” I had time for one more band, and that band was the mighty Galgamex. Hell, I’d make time for Galgamex if I had to. I defy you to find a more manic, punishing band than this East Van Death Metal (that’s what I’m guessing the EV/DM on their banner stands for) quartet. I’ve seen them three or four times now, and I honestly couldn’t tell you how any of their songs go; they’re just too much to take in. Total destruction.

By now it was closing in on 11:00, so I reluctantly turned my back on Archspire and headliners Tyrants Blood and caught a bus down Hastings to Iron Road Studios. There wasn’t much of a crowd there yet, but I’d say 30 or 40 people showed up at the evening’s peak. Hidden Towers were a nice discovery—tight, punchy prog rock played by a crack trio. They reminded me a little of A Ghost to Kill Again, who’ve unfortunately disappeared since I reviewed their debut album. Dog Shredder were just nuts. Since I last saw them at the Rickshaw, this Bellingham trio have become an improvising monster. They took a familiar song like “Battle Toads” and blew it up out of (nearly) all recognition. They also brought their own lighting “rig,” which consisted of two towers of super-bright work lights that illuminated the band from behind. I say this a lot, but I was happy that I was almost completely sober. Another beer and I would have toppled in the face of such sensory overload. After some long changeovers between bands, Dysrhythmia didn’t start playing until 1:35, but god, they were amazing. Compared to their set opening for Cynic a couple years ago, this experience was much more punk rock and personal. Watching them do what they do—i.e. shred their asses off—right up close in this little room was truly flabbergasting. The setlist stuck to the Test of Submission album as far as I could tell—they might even have played the whole thing in order. As the last band I’d see on this evening of ultra-intense music, they pushed beyond all the boundaries for 45 sweat-soaked minutes. It was an exhausting, exhilarating night.

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