NOVEMBER 15th 2016

Review by Metal Mom
Photos by Char Tupper

It’s a Tuesday, pouring rain and traffic problems everywhere, but still made it in time for doors. The event was originally scheduled for The Vogue Theatre, but for whatever reason, got pushed over to the VENUE, sadly a much smaller. It was a shame, each of these bands I think would have been seen and enjoyed in a bigger stage environment. That being said, big or small, you go where the metal takes you.

THE AGONIST hits the stage first, sadly the crowd wasn’t all there for them, literally. The doors opened at a little past 7, and show started 7:30, which meant a lot of people were still outside waiting to get in. That’s a shame, I had two people at the end of their set ask if they had played yet, and I had to tell them yes, they were not impressed, because both said that was the only band they came to see.  The Agonist is a band I have never had the pleasure of watching before. I can tell you I was glad I was in the venue when they went on. A Canadian band out of Montreal, they exceeded at what they do, even with the somewhat recent vocalist change back in 2014. This extreme metal band had a great beat to their music, giving the fans a great headbanging night. I personally loved the vocals, I do enjoy clean and down deep growls combined. An exceptional performance by all.

Next is ARKONA, now this band I haven’t seen in a while, and it was nice to once again catch their set. They are pure Slavic Pagan/Folk metal with traditional melodies and instrumentation, and I forgot just how good they are live. Have you ever just enjoyed the music so much, and want to dance, well this is it. Arkona are from Moscow, and they have made they style all their own. I usually don’t like it when bands sing in their own native tongue (only because I can’t sing along), but I didn’t mind one bit. I enjoyed every single moment, what a phenomenal performance. Whatever you do, do not confuse or put them into the same category as Korpiklaani or Finntroll, they are distinctly different, and give so much more. Their set, exceptional.

FLESHGOD APOCOLYPSE, I will tell you right now, this is the band that I came to see. I have seen them a few times, even seeing them three times on one previous tour. Yes, that is how good they are, they’re not to be missed. These Italian symphonic metallers have got a distinct sound, with a hint of classical music. They have it nailed to perfection, there is no mistaking the talent here, on stage they are extraordinary, especially when you consider they have the talent of Veronica Bordacchini, a soprano singer to add magic to their songs. Don’t let the death metal fool you, they are so much more, they bring a lot to their performances, it is so refreshing. Each song is different, doesn’t all blend together, making it one long song, each gives us much more. I also especially liked their guitars/bass, which are custom made and the type of color was choose by them to let the guitar look like an ancient instrument. Sadly, you don’t get the whole show when it is such a small stage, the mic stands are in the way, too crowded to really experience each of those members doing what they do best. Don’t get me wrong, set was phenomenal,  I just would have liked a bigger stage to see the full effect of their energy and skills. Did I enjoy it, oh for sure, you can’t help but enjoy Fleshgod Apocolypse, in fact, they could have played all night, and I would have been there. Don’t miss them on this tour, you will kick yourself.

Headliners are next, a band I haven’t seen before. I know, I know, they have cancelled two shows previously, but it has nothing to do with this one. EPICA, a first for me tonight, never heard them before this show, and to me they seem like a blend of symphonic, progressive, gothic, with a whole lot more to their style. Vocals are operatic because of Simone, and Mark has the death growls, which surprisingly fits nicely together. I did enjoy Epica, because they had more of a high energy, flowing style to them, upbeat. The floor was packed for them, everyone enjoying, always a good sign.  I think who I really enjoyed watching on stage was the keyboardist, his equipment moved around, swirled to the front/back and just anyway he wanted it to go, but he was having a blast up there, maybe even enjoying it more than me. Great to see band members have some fun, and not being so serious, but still getting their music out there. Will I see them again if they come back to Vancouver, most definitely, and you should too.

Remaining tour dates:
Nov 18  Social Hall SF  San Francisco, CA 
Nov 19  The Regent Theater  Los Angeles, CA 
Nov 20  Vinyl at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas  Las Vegas, NV
Nov 21  Metro Music Hall  Salt Lake City, UT 
Nov 22  Summit Music Hall  Denver, CO 
Nov 23  Granada Theater Lawrence, KS
Nov 25  Gas Monkey Live!  Dallas, TX 
Nov 26  Empire Control Room & Garage  Austin, TX 
Nov 27  Siberia New Orleans, LA 
Nov 28  State Theater St. Petersburg, FL
Nov 29  Masquerade Atlanta, GA  
Nov 30  Kings  Raleigh, NC 
Dec 01  Baltimore Soundstage  Baltimore, MD
Dec 02  Webster Hall New York, NY
Dec 03  Palladium  Worcester, MA

The only thing that could have made this experience better was if the bands came out to their merch table to just say hello or shake hands. (The Agonist did). Just makes for a better experience.