These days it’s not unusual to see a metal or hardcore bill with multiple bands playing throughout the night. Not only does it offer value for money to fans but it also gives lesser-known acts the chance to play before larger crowds. What is unusual though is when the first band on the bill is the absolute highlight.
England’s Conjurer have been making a lot of noise, figuratively and literally, recently. After Trivium’s Matt Heafy named them his “new favourite band” and Kerrang! magazine called their album, Mire, “Metal debut of the year” they have been gaining fans throughout their homeland and beyond, but tonight marks their first visit to Montreal.
Although the venue is only just beginning to fill up when they take to the stage at 6:30pm the band play like their lives depend on it as the crushing riffs of album opener Choke immediately prove this is the real deal. During Hollow, vocalist Dan Nightingale screams the lyrics acapella away from his microphone before returning with a full-on assault moments later as his bandmates bring the immenseness of Conjurer’s sound alongside him.
Those lucky enough to catch their set roar their approval and there’s soon a healthy line at the band’s merch stand. Let’s hope they return soon to play a longer set to a fuller room.
California’s Skeletal Remains are up next and deliver a solid set of heads down death metal that keeps the energy up. Devouring Mortality kicks things off, perfectly balancing thrashing riffs and blast beats before they slow things down a bit and borrow a little from the sludgy roots of early death metal in the best way possible.
This is a no-frills sound and never strays too far from the classic-yet-pulverizing sound of early death metal. They may not be bringing anything revolutionary to the genre but they do what they do really well and get a good reception from the growing crowd.
Unlike the other bands on the bill tonight, Psycroptic choose to play in almost complete darkness but what they lack in visuals, they more than make up for in technical ability.
Kicking off with the opener of their most recent album, We Were The Keepers demonstrates the musicianship and intricate songwriting that the band have become known for. It can occasionally lack the visceral attack of other metal bands but as a collective, they do not miss a beat and lead vocalist Jason Keyser (from the band Origin) was giving it everything humanly possible upfront.
- We Were the Keepers
- Frozen Gaze
- As the Kingdom Drowns
The bright lights return for Quebec favourites Voivod. This is a band who have been around since the early 80s (I first saw them in London in 1986) and know how to have fun when they’re on stage, especially when they’re in front of their fellow Quebecers. At times though, they do look like they’re going through the motions and can lack the intensity that makes for a truly memorable metal performance.
Overreaction from their classic Killing Technology album is a personal favourite from tonight’s set and, as they close with their signature song Voivod, everyone here seems to have enjoyed the set.
- The Unknown Knows
- Psychic Vacuum
- Obsolete Beings
- The Prow
- Into My Hypercube
- The End of Dormancy Overreaction
Headliners Revocation are a much-loved band and are welcomed like returning heroes by tonight’s crowd. They bravely choose to play their most recent release, The Outer Ones, in its entirety, with the only earlier song being 2009’s Dismantle the Dictator climaxing their set.
Dan Gargiulo and David Davidson combine effortlessly over the course of the set, deploying dual riffs that ooze groove and hooks in absolute abundance with the latter equally impressive with his prolific soloing and guttural blasts. Equally, Brett Bamberger more than impresses with his skill on the bass and Ash Pearson‘s blistering display on the drums was emphatic, to say the least.
Playing the Outer Ones album in sequence leaves little room for surprise and means a lot of fan favourites are passed over this time but Revocation give a performance of glistening quality. Blood Atonement is a particular standout, with its chugging riff and Davidson’s throaty roar. Heads bang in unison throughout the venue before Fathomless Catacombs gets the pit moving again.
Tonight, Revocation prove themselves worthy headliners and showcase how their sound has developed with this latest album. It’s an impressive performance that leaves everyone satisfied from a varied but solid evening of extreme metal.
- Of Unworldly Origin
- That Which Consumes All Things
- Blood Atonement
- Fathomless Catacombs
- The Outer Ones
- Ex Nihilo
- A Starless Darkness
- Dismantle the Dictator
Review and photos – Steve GerrardShare this :