Hammers of Misfortune -- Montreal, Quebec -- July 26th, 2012
Venue: Il Motore
Opening band: Xothogua
As for pretty much every show organized by a hipster booking company like Blue Skies Turn Black, this one started late. The first ones to play were locals Xothogua. They played some kind of stoner doom with a female vocalist doing black metal screams. They had good riffs and they created an atmosphere of despair and depravation in most of their songs, but they still need to improve. First, their drummer sucked. She played like a fucking retard or like a cheaply programmed robot; your choice. Second, the bassist had better vocals than the lead singer. Third, at least one riff out of three was uninteresting and often repeated way too much. Fourth, the song structures were pretty juvenile: it sounded like they just wanted to plug their riffs in without any sense of building ambiances up. The only exception to that was the last song they played. It was longer and actually pretty good. They also notably played a cover of that song, but it wasn't that good.
The next band to take the stage was the only one I really knew before the announcement of the tour. The Gates of Slumber fucking crushed everything. They recently had reunited with the drummer that played on the three albums before The Wretch, and his playing was absolutely devastating. Karl Simon's guitar tone went straight for your guts too, but the real highlight was his voice. It was always of the perfect pitch and it was clear while having a kind of rugged, powerful edge. It also fully reflected the emotions put in songs like "Day of Farewell". He definitely is one of the best live vocalists I've heard. He's also a pretty good frontman and he managed to get a decent reaction from the mildly thin crowd. He dedicated "Ice Worm" to Annick Giroux, writer of Hellbent for Cooking and longtime friend of the band, who had just came back from an enormous trip all around the world.
As Karl Simon said at the end of his set, "If you don't stay for Hammers, you're a fucking poser". Though most people in the room didn't really seem to know the progressive metal sextet Hammers of Misfortune, most of them weren't posers so they stayed for them. There actually only were 2 or 3 real fans of the band there (the crowd mainly came to see The Gates of Slumber, myself included - I only started listening to HoM after the tour was announced), which meant that the crowd was pretty tame. This is probably why they played such a short set. However, they still seemed to have fun on stage; they all had astonishingly high amounts of energy for the complexity of the songs they performed. Speaking of complexity... fuck, these guys (and girls) are such amazing musicians! Often, they had at least three different melodies going on and they all blended together magically. The lead guitarist's solos were mind-blowing too. The vocals were also good, but from where I was, I couldn't hear the lead singer's vocals enough. In brief, the Bay Area band gave an outstanding show even if they looked like they were slightly disappointed by the audience.
I don't know the songs that much, but I think I managed to get all the songs from the Hammers of Misfortune set. The Gates of Slumber one is 100% correct, I'm pretty sure.
I got myself a patch from The Gates of Slumber for my future denim vest. It's pretty large and it has the logo with a skull pierced by a spear.
The Gates of Slumber
The Scovrge ov Drvnkenness
Beneath the Eye of Mars
Day of Farewell
Coven of Cain
Trapped in the Web
Hammers of Misfortune
Trot Out the Dead
An Oath Sworn in Hell
A Room and a Riddle
You Should Have Slain Me
8/6 - SubRosa
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