Make Them Suffer / Boris The Blade / The Rose Line / I, Valiance / The Seraphim Veil / Valleys Of Vermont
Make Them Suffer were going to obliterate my already industrial deafened ears with their awesome brand of blackened deathcore and announce to the world that they are the new force of the underground metal sound. Alas, it was never meant to be. As soon as we got into the venue, which took 15 minutes of driving around the outer-suburban wastelands of Pakenham to find, we discovered that Make Them Suffer had cancelled, citing illness within their ranks as the culprit.
To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. To suggest that I could spend the rest of the evening not thinking about the fact that Make Them Suffer were not playing would be a complete and utter lie. So I had to make a choice right there and then. Do I say goodbye to my hard-earned $10 entry fee and take the gang home and wonder what could have been or do I suck it up and put up with a line-up that would never live up to my lofty expectations? In the end I made the choice that any other fan in my shoes would make. I hadn't heard any of the bands on the bill so my unconquerable musical curiosity won.
To begin with, Valleys Of Vermont were half-way through their set by the time we got into the venue, having been thoroughly probed and prodded and humiliated by the on-site security.Admittedly they are a pre-requisite in today's metal scene, but I ask you, are the metal detectors and the "empty out all your pockets or else...." glare really necessary?? I think not. Attempting to lighten the mood with my typical humor, we plunged headlong into the evenings offerings. I'm not really a fan of straight-edge hardcore, which is how I would describe Valleys Of Vermont, but that's about the best I can do. Not very tight and very cliched hardcore does not sit well in my ears. I tried to be as attentive as I could, but the lack of real musicianship and the extremely boring songs made this the longest 15 minutes I've lived through without falling asleep.
Next on the bill was The Seraphim Veil, who were selling their latest EP at the merch table. Nice cover art, sick logo, so I was looking forward to hearing their "technical death metal" sound. As much as I wanted to like them, the terrible sound they were getting from the PA kept assaulting my sensibilities, and every song break I would comment to one of the gang, "they would sound way better if the mixing guy didn't completely destroy their sound." Unfortunately the sound never improved for their entire set, which severely impeded my enjoyment of their music. As they are a young band, I would encourage them on two fronts; get a new sound guy, this idiot is not doing you any favours and is only damaging your career. Secondly, technical death metal is not 5 or 6 complex riffs strung together with abrupt time changes and non-groovy breakdowns. I heard a great deal of awesome ideas but there needs to be a cohesive and fluent transition from one riff to another. Yes this takes time and practice, but if they stick at it, I would suggest The Seraphim Veil could produce some very good technical death metal. Below is my fave track from their set.
I, Valiance absorbed some of the members of Stand Alone when that band disintegrated. I only recently discovered them on my myspace page, and was hoping they had progressed as musicians within that time. To my absolute surprise I, Valiance have managed to carve out a unique sound for themselves. Seeming to blend hardcore with doom elements interspersed with pretty groovy breakdowns, their set was fresh and jumping, a real crowd favorite. The singer's solid stage presence demands attention, and there's plenty of activity from the other band members. Their groove is tight and laid-back, then the breakdown slams you between the eyeballs. I enjoyed their set, but they suffered the same issues that every other support band gets; terrible PA sound, crappy mix but they rose above it all and produce a thoroughly enjoyable show. Catch their next show when you can, or pick up their EP if you can't wait that long.
By now I had gotten over my initial brain freeze at Make Them Suffer not appearing. I had seen The Rose Line only once before, and I had only vague memories of the event. As they were setting up I wanted so bad to like them, to maintain the buzz I got from I,Valiance. As they started their set, I recalled parts of the previous gig that I witnessed all those many months ago. Some hardcore is awesome, and some is just average. The Rose Line are somewhere between awesome and average, never really hitting a peak, but consistently hitting all the right notes for every song. Their style of hardcore is fluent, demanding and engrossing. Each song had at least one moment when I thanked God I was here at this moment to hear that riff played that way. The crossover from Barrows's guttural screams and Mark's clean vocals make each song a unique experience. Having just finished their debut full length album they're not far from that place where every band wants to be, comfortable in their sound with room to grow. Nice one boys.
At this point I can only look forward to the headliners, Boris The Blade. Having plugged them elsewhere in this blog I knew the pace would quadruple and the energy output from the band could run a nuclear power plant for a month. As usual they began with the obligatory intro, then Daniel's menacing form materializes on stage, glowering and spitting in every direction. The guy is an awesome frontman! He prowls the stage, looking right through you with those angry eyes and demanding your attention. Having just found out that Roman Koester (ex The Red Shore) was the latest addition to the Boris family I was absorbed by the furious urgency of Boris's set. The boys never paused in delivering their brutal deathcore attack. Just as I commented to one of the gang "they seem to be playing to beat the clock", they wind up their set, the lights come on and the bouncers firmly steer the punters out the exit doors. I'm left with severe withdrawal symptoms, I haven't had enough of my death metal fix and I need more.
I think I'll share that strange sensation with you as well......