So, I got the venue a little before doors opened with my buddies. Got in and noticed there was a rail for this show. Don't really know why, I guess they expected the crowd to get rowdy, which was dumb. The crowd at Red Fang and especially Death Grips were much rowdier and there was no barricade. Whatever though, we got rail and and waited for the show to start.
First up were Ancient VVisdom. They've been getting a good amount of flack, and honestly it's well deserved. First of all, let's talk about instrumentation. When I checked out a few of their songs, all I really heard was singing, electric and acoustic guitar. So live they had a bassist and drummer, which makes sense, but neither really added anything to the sound. The bass was really bland, plus the bassist was having technical difficulties, which extended the set. As for the drumming, it was really boring just kind of really basic tribal drumming on the floor tom with occasional cymbal crashes. Guy had a snare but only used it on the last song, when it could of really helped in other songs. The actual songs were really boring hard rock camp fire songs. Also, the singer tried way to hard to sound like it was a really emotional experience and the lyrics were baby's first metal lyrics. Usually it doesn't matter, but the rest of the instrumentation was so boring I actually gave lyrics my attention. These guys were not my thing at all and I don't think any other dudes really dug 'em.
Inbetween Ancient VVisdom and Royal Thunder, me and my pal Ben were talking, when Mother came on the PA. This shouldn't have been a really significant thing, but I pointed out the song, then we decided to sing it, even though the only lyrics we knew was Mother, and a couple words in the chorus. So we just sang "Mother, dunna duna dun dun duna.... Mother........MOTHER, etc" getting progressively louder with each mother. People were getting a kick out of it and people started singing along, and it was funny because they knew the lyrics better than we did. Mlny of Royal Thunder actually looked under the screen to give us a nod and thumbs up! Super chill. That was super fun. After a wait, Royal Thunder came one, and the show really started.
Royal Thunder were so much fun! They were just a three piece live, I don't know what happened with the other guitarist. They coulda used another guitar to sound a little fuller, but they were great anyways. The drummer and guitarist were awesome and Mlny had great bass tone and her voice is wonderful! They started with the last song on the album, which I though was odd, but as it progressed on the song got more energetic, the crowd was obviously really digging it. The rest of the set consisted of more awesome songs from their Relapse debut, CVI. Tons of really heavy riffs, bluesy leads, and just awesome grooves and again, Mlny's singing is something else. Truly amazing. They got a really good crowd reaction too, even a little pit action near the end of the set. If you have a chance to see Royal Thunder, do it.
Black Water Vision
Shake and Shift
Up next were the almighty Pallbearer. HOLY CRAP THESE GUYS WERE AMAZING. Talk about raw emotion and all that jazz. Like other people have mentioned, if you're close to the stage, it's almost impossible to hear the vocals, as they get drowned out buy the instrumentation, but I could the vocalist during mic check, and he's got an awesome voice, plus when the vocals managed to bleed into the mix during the set, it was great! Aside from that little bummer, Pallbearer put on a life changing set. Their music translates really well live. The guitars and bass had absolutely crushing tones, especially the bass. I was right in front of the bass amp, and it was absolutely marvelous. The drummer was really awesome too. The guys on stage were absolutely into it. Something funny too was at the end of the set, during the new song, the guitarist that doesn't sing had a little solo section and I guess he messed up on something but recovered really quick, and the bass player kinda looked at him like "the fuck dude?" then smirked to himself and had a chuckle. Speaking of the new song, it is absolutely crushing and the groove the hit at the end was
. Very excited to hear a studio version of that. All in all, Pallbearer put on one of the loudest, heaviest, rawest performances I've witnessed. It was just an amazing feeling.
1. Devoid of Redemption
3. The Legend
4. New song
Last, and certainly not least, were Enslaved. Due to their extensive discography, I was only familiar with tracks off their last 3-4 records or so, but it was still absolutely great. These guys had a lot of energy and great stage presence through the almost 2 hour set. In between songs they'd always thank the crowd and have some really funny stage banter. While actually playing the songs, they sounded absolutely perfect and played through it all like better. The guitarists are fucking great, drummer is a beast, the keyboardist's voice sounds perfect live and Grutle was awesome on bass and his blackened vocals are top notch! The newer material sounded really awesome and the older stuff was great too! The guys are probably one of the best examples of a professional band I've seen in a while. They play perfectly, sound great, interact with the crowd, and are entertaining to watch. One of the best lives bands I've seen in a while. If you like progressive black metal, you need to see these guys. They put on a stellar set.
3. The Watcher
4. Thoughts Like Hammers
5. Ethica Odini
6. Roots of the Mountain
8. Convoys to Nothingness
9. As Fire Swept Clean the Earth
10. Allfather Odin
12. Immigrant Song
After the show was over, I went to every merch booth and bought a shirt from the three awesome bands on the tour. Also got a bitchin' button from Royal Thunder. Talked to dudes from Royal Thunder and the guitarist from Pallbearer and told 'em how much I loved what they were doing and they were all really nice and appreciative of the support. After I got some water I also saw the Cormorant dudes and chatted it up with them. From the sounds of it we'll have new Cormorant material some time in 2013. No word on a replacement bassist/vocalist, but I'm sure we'll all find out at the same time.
Anyhow, this concert proved to be one of the coolest shows I've gone to in a while, and will probably be the coolest show I go to all year. If you have a chance to catch this tour, do it. You're only doing yourself a favor.
Ancient VVisdom: 4/10
Royal Thunder: 8.5/10