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reportaža

22. 11. 2014  Reportaža: Gorguts Colored Sands Tour 2014   (13. 11. 2014, King’ Arms Tavern Auckland Nova Zelandija)
What Ulcerate are doing in the world of extreme metal now, Gorguts was doing almost 20 years ago.

Reportažo je zapisal nekdanji sodelavec fanzina Picajzl, webzina Paranoid, kitarist benda Dickless Tracy in nasploh zelo kul tip z imenom Jean-Sebastien Imbeau. Ki živi na Novi Zelandiji. Zato je pisal v angleščini. 

This is the first time Gorguts had ever come to New Zealand, and also the first time I had the opportunity to see Ulcerate live. Despite living in the same city as the band, they have only played one other show here in the last 5 years that I am aware of.

This was a world-class billing by extreme metal standards and may have been the best show I have ever seen in my life.

Early Access VIP

Being one of the first 35 people to buy tickets gave us access to the merch table and the opportunity to meet Luc Lemay, the frontman/songwriter/guitar wizard of Quebec City metal legends Gorguts. I bought a Gorguts tour shirt along with an Ulcerate CD and got in line for the meet and greet. This gave me the opportunity to use my rusty Quebec French and talk with Luc about how the tour is going so far and the other Quebecois he met in Japan, together with getting my show poster signed. He was genuinely really happy to be meeting everyone who had come to the show, with a huge smile on his face the whole time and engaging in long conversations when given the opportunity.

Carnal

Carnal is a well-established local band with some international touring experience. They play what I think would be best described brutal technical death/grind with a nod towards goregrind and pornogrind – pretty much the thickest, slickest guitar sound you can achieve, relentless technical chug riffing, heaps of blasts, pig vocals, blastology, the lot. They are exactly the type of band I think of when I read Matt Harvey’s thoughts on Extremity Retained – highly competent musicianship playing a generic version of the genre. I can appreciate the level of effort and training that goes into performing such music, but it’s not something I really look for in a band. If you do enjoy super brutal, unrelenting tech death that makes you want to stomp around like a yeti, check them out at http://carnal.bandcamp.com/

Dawn of Azazel

DoA are arguably the highest profile New Zealand extreme metal band of the last 10 years, having put a lot of effort into breaking out of NZ’s isolation and touring internationally in the United States, Europe, Australia and other nearby Oceanic countries. They have been on a bit of a break in the last few years, juggling with personal careers and obligations, line-up changes, and the changing international touring environment. However it seems they are starting to rev up the engine again slowly, with a new album recorded since December 2013 and ready to release at the opportune time (I haven’t heard the record yet but have heard a lot of positive feedback from those two have, many of which were somewhat critical of 2009’s Relentless).

Musically, unlike Carnal, DoA are difficult to easily categorize. They are definitely an extreme metal band by all indicators, but hard to pin down within those boundaries. The Encyclopedia Metallum website compares them to Angelcorpse, which I guess is about as close a comparison as you can make, but still doesn’t give you an accurate picture. In any case, I think they are band with a strong individual sound and worth multiple listens.

They always put on a chaotic, high-energy performance - propelled forward by their imposingly tall frontman and general NZ metal legend Rigel Walshe - and exude the professionalism and execution of a band with worldwide touring experience. Their set list was comprised primarily of songs from the new album, with a few older songs from Sedition and Law of the Strong to get the crowd rocking. The songs all sound really sweet, with a lot of the weird riffing and rhythms that I love in their music.

 

 

Ulcerate

This may have been the single greatest musical performance I have ever seen in my life.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you see it. This performance was that for me. Ulcerate is the soundtrack to the current zeitgeist of the western world – an era of spiritual ambiguity and paradoxical frictions between hyper individualism vs. the endless (but ultimately meaningless and generic) choices of hyper consumerism, the economic forces of multiculturalism vs. the political forces of nationalism, the unapologetic materialism vs. the frustration and despair at realization that this way of living is slowly destroying our physical + social environment and thus our very means of material survival….
It is like the sound of the nihilism one cannot help but feel when confronted with the mass of scientific knowledge we have gained in the last 50 years clashing with the frustrations you feel from having grown up in society being told that we are special and unique, if we go to school and study/work hard towards our goals we’ll find meaningful work and be happy and materially satisfied, our lives has special objective meaning, etc. etc.

Basically, the soundtrack to Fight Club.

Musically, I think the band is classified as death metal because they can’t really be classed as anything else, largely because of the vocal style, the instrumentation and the sheer volume and distortion of the sound. One of the NZ metal scene historians described them as ‘atmospheric post-death’, which is as accurate as you’re probably ever going to get within the metal frame of reference. They do not in any way follow the basic conventions of rock/metal music, if anything it follows the conventions of bebop jazz: the bass (+ bass drum) is the primary driving and rhythm instrument, where the rest of the drumming is primarily textual and the guitar binds between the two, leads the verb of a sentence with too many adjectives and adverbs.

One thing that visually stands out is that the band play with only colored backlighting, no frontal lights of any kind. Basically you are watching faceless, hairless, featureless shadows on stage, swaying and contorting themselves to this strange music. The musicians themselves are irrelevant to the experience, yet also seem to be struggling to be seen and connect with the crowd through this dark veil. I was a little annoyed by this at the start of the set, but soon understood how this use of lighting was part of the package.

Mind = blown. No wonder Luc Lemay of Gorguts is such a huge fan. This is the sound of extreme metal music in 15 years’ time.

Gorguts

What Ulcerate are doing in the world of extreme metal now, Gorguts was doing almost 20 years ago. Luc Lemay and colleagues have always been years ahead of their death metal contemporaries in terms of riff construction, song composition and general musical excellence. Considered Dead and Erosion of Sanity are still very unique albums in the world of early, thrashier death metal due to strong classical songwriting influences and unique melodic styling. Then Gorguts blew the roof off death metal with Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate, completely redefining what death metal can do and the very essence of the death metal riff and rhythms.

Gorguts put on one of the best performances I have seen (perhaps second only to Ulcerate ). Extremely tight musicianship, great sound, great set list, great stage presence….. I simply cannot fault Gorguts anywhere. It was awe-inspiring to witness a band like this, reformed by Luc entirely out of love of music and live performance. The twinkle he gets in his eye hearing the audience applaud after every song with just like the one I saw in Nergal’s eye when he exclaimed at the last Behemoth show I attended about how great it was to be alive so they could be here to play a show with us.

The set list began with the first 4 songs from Colored Sands, followed by selections from Obscura (The Carnal State, Obscura, Nostalgia) and From Wisdom to Hate (title track, Inverted). The encore was Orphans of Sickness from Erosion. Another highly, highly recommend live act.

 

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