Centuries of Decay, winners of last year’s Wacken Battle of the Bands Canada, join us during their stop in Kelowna. Just what does playing such a large festival feel like and how does it compare to others? We get down to it with the band. Sitting in for his third episode is Lasse from Finland!
Centuries of Decay
This impressive group of guys gives us the low down on what it’s like to embark on their first real tour and visit to Western Canada. They’ve never done it! Hell AFAIK they’ve only played shows in their home area (Toronto, Ontario) and a handful at that. Centuries of Decay sure don’t look the beginnings of a career on stage. In fact the band looks well established and puts on a solid professional performance.
Wacken Open Air (Wacken, Germany) is one of the largest European festival since 1990. I’ve never attended Wacken nor had have I tried or organize a trip. It’s something I hadn’t considered for a few reasons. It can be very expensive to get there from Western Canada. To go literally to the other side of the world. Wouldn’t it be easier to bring something like that to here instead?
Armstrong Metalfest 2019
We have something very similar in our own backyard! Armstrong Metalfest tries to replicate the experience of a European outdoor festival right here in Beautiful British Columbia. I’ve been covering AMF as best as I can with a pre-show podcast episode along with not just one but two experiencing the festival drop-in episodes.
The whole reason for mentioning AMF is that Centuries of Decay played the festival this year. So even more Westerners got to experience the fantastic show that these dudes put on. I ran into them when I first arrived too and got to shake hands and say hello with the guys. They truly are amazing people and if you get a chance to say hello please take it!
The Round Table
Oh god the round table!
I got a nice shot above of the round table we have been using for our recordings. It has been working out very well and I am so grateful of Muninn’s Post for allowing us to record somanyepisodeshere.
Lasse left back for Finland the day after this recording (July 7th) and will be dearly missed by myself, my wife and the many people he met during his time in Canada. Cheers Lasse!
Support Centuries of Decay
Please take some time to support Centuries of Decay.
Headcrusher, hailing from Colombia and later Texas, made their last stop on their tour a crushing one here in Kelowna. Warming up the crowd (and like they needed it after AMF!) was local start-up band Pharm and The Unending.
Pharm (Kelowna, BC) – hard rock/metal
These young talented dudes slapped out a set to warm up Muninn’s Friday night. The crowd definitely didn’t need warming up. The place was buzzing with energy following last weekend’s Armstrong Metalfest (podcast episode 1 and episode 2). I had seen the band name show up a number of times in my FB feed but hadn’t had a chance to see them live yet. My understanding was that this was their second ever live show? Someone can correct me on that if I got it wrong!
Their fusion of proggy rock/metal is a refreshing sound that really got everyone into the show. It was super exciting to see. There were a lot of people at Muninn’s Post from the get go and it seemed like the majority was really digging the set they threw down.
The band was really into it too. I got a chance to meet up with Matt before and after their set and he seemed like a really motivated guy really into what he was doing. On stage, damn the guy wouldn’t stop moving! He was really loving it up there and put on a really good show. The whole band did not just him alone!
The Unending (Kelowna, BC) – extreme metal
These guys are sick! Seriously. They’ve played a half dozen times this year and my work schedule has allowed me to only attend two shows. The first show was back when I was still testing stuff out for this blog and Friday. Since then they seemed to have grown in popularity. There were a lot of people present and highly enjoying the show.
The Unending t-shirt was available at the merch table (which now I’m realizing I should’ve taken a picture of it). Whether they sold out or not I don’t know buuuut there sure were a lot of fans wearing the shirts by the end of the night!
Tyler and the boys’ songs are fucking killer. This groovy melodic death metal fusion shit just slaps and the band has only gotten tighter as the year has progressed. The first time I saw them I recorded almost the entire set and put it up on my personal YouTube channel. Wow, now that I look back at it I have a whole bunch of videos there. One day I will get some time to move them over to MaM.
Unfortunately The Unending doesn’t have any recorded material so I cannot share a stream here. Check out their Facebook page, follow them to find out when their next shows are and please try to make it out. It’s a blast when these guys play and you need to come out and throw down with them!
Headcrusher (Columbia and Austin, Texas) – deathcore
The last show on their tour. Coming all the way from Columbia and Texas. These guys ripped hard!
So before the show I had booked a podcast interview with them and as an international act it would have been a great episode to record. So many questions and (I am sure) stories to tell about what it is like being an international band. These members are from all over the place.
Unfortunately the Okanagan Tattoo Show (an early sponsor) was taking place on the weekend and our equipment was being utilized else where. I do promise to have these guys back on the show no matter if they come to BC or I need to hunt them down else where on Earth!
Damn did these guys slam hard. They gave it all for their last show and sounded just as tight as their album material that I had been listening to on Bandcamp.
What’s really amazing is that we can get theseout of townbands coming through Kelowna. But wait, not only that. Also that lots of people come out to support and have a great time! I was really excited to see Headcrusher and was definitely not disappointed one bit.
Armstrong Metalfest 2019 has come and gone for another year AND IT WAS AMAZING! Shamefully this was my first time out to AMF. I had considered it in the past especially with bands like Cattle Decapitation, Suffocation, Kataklysm, Archspire, and Cryptopsy on the pill in past years.
Actually holy fuck. Looking at that short list of bands along with the amazing local acts we have… what have I been thinking all this time?! Being caught up in the European scene (In the 90’s and 00’s that is arguably where the best metal was) I had been to Tuska festival three times and others in Finland. The bands I had spent my time listening to didn’t make their way to the Okanagan so there wasn’t much interest for me to attend.
Now though equipped with my dialed-in blogging skills and attempt to bring the Okanagan scene to a wider audience I just knew I had to see AMF for myself.
The first day
Friday morning I arrived without trouble getting to the band camp area and scoping out an area to set up my equipment for podcasting with some of the bands I had lined up to meet with throughout the weekend. After identifying a prime location with access to electricity (where would we be without that?!) I took to the general camp area to find anyone I might know.
Unsurprisingly I had discovered mostly everyone to be hungover from the night before. See Thursday is generally a huge party for the people who arrive early to setup, prepare, drink, or whatever reason they have for showing up early. You most likely don’t need one.
After getting familiar with my surroundings, finding my dude Matt Depper of Apollyon and saying hi to all the familiar and friendly faces I made my way back to the arena.
Things go a little sour
See, I had my media pass with me and was told I would have access to the backstage and camp area. This wasn’t a problem the fist go around when I staked out the area at 1000 but an hour or so later and it’s a huge deal. Now having said that I should have already set up my shit when I first got there but being ten in the morning I didn’t want to have my stuff out in the open all day long while I am cruising around visiting and seeing the bands play.
The second time I try to get to the band camp area to claim my place this jacked security guard wasn’t allowing it. No media. I explain that it has already been approved and that I kinda need to setup my podcasting equipment for my interviews I had lined up. That didn’t matter. This guy wasn’t budging.
I tried again from the side of the stage inside Hassen Arena. No go. No media. That wouldn’t have worked anyways because I needed my car back there and security wouldn’t allow it.
So I decided, fuck it. We are setting up the podcast in the general camp and we will capture what it is like to be at the festival from a peasant standpoint. Because you know? Fuck internet radio, fuck trying to spread our amazing community and fuck media.
Oh yeah, bands are playing too
Armstrong Metalfest 2019 is truly about the bands and showcasing what they can do and offer. It gives a chance for metalheads to come together and experience the amazing talent we have here.
Conniver was up first followed and was one I had never listened to before but was informed to check out. With that I was damn glad that I did. They surprised me with their djent Meshuggah like sound. Still of its own and not a rip off. Damn it was fine and now at the time of writing this I really wish I got some footage of them. From Kamloops! Insane. I didn’t even know about this. It’s always a great surprise to find something like this.
Liberatia from Courtenay, BC slapped hard with their thrashy melodeath sound. It was a great pleasure to see these guys on stage and meet up with them later on.
AFAIR Conniver began late and set back the times by about 20-30 mins. Eventually they did catch up.
After this I spent some time outside in the camp area where I recorded the first of two podcast episodes related to Armstrong Metalfest 2019. There were tons of great guests on both episodes and they turned out much better than I had expected. It really captured the atmosphere of being at a metal festival.
So we did. It was not what I expected but it was fun as hell and I had a great time there. The first day podcast is available to listen here.
Tech death metal just because
Two bands I had been looking forward to seeing took stage one after the other. Exterminatus and Widow’s Peak. Both destroy on their recorded material but did they ever show us what they got on stage!
I met up with the boys of Widow’s Peak on Sunday. Actually one of them was in on the day 1 podcast and I don’t think I even realized it. We had drawn a small crowd of people and it’s quite hard to jump into a scene and learn who everyone is let alone get a ton of them in one group!
Both bands were absolutely fitting back to back. The stage intensity and blasting sound made for a great experience and it’s like the two acts go hand in hand.
I didn’t get a chance to podcast with Exterminatus but they were kind enough to do a written interview with me which can be read here.
Power Metal Rangers
ArkenFire always puts on a sweet set. They are about the only power metal band in the area so that gives them a lot of room to do pretty much what they like. I’ll always say about because you never know what will spring up out of the bowels of a region. There could be more power metal out there that I just haven’t found yet!
These guys rock. Totally dedicated to metal and bringing that much needed super nerdy aspect it. Believe me, us metalheads are huge nerds too. Frodo Baggins would totally be a metalhead. Funny enough every time I see these guys play I always end up recording the same damn song.
I think two and almost three times I have recorded their new song Night Sister. So FINALLY I got some different footage of them. I made sure to get a couple songs this time though the other will be kept for later!
Bang your head Armstrong
Ahh yes, Apollyon. Kelowna’s blackened death metal act with stellar atmosphere and banging tracks. These guys are working hard on bringing fresh new material even if their album False Light was released not even a year ago. The album is a banger and has stellar atmosphere and brings together elements and ideas from a range of influences.
They’re slowly bringing more new songs to the stage including this new one called Night Maker.
This one feels like a natural progression from the material on their debut album. Very atmospheric riffs (especially that intro) but super intense too. Much similar to their other new track Wretched Grandiose.
BTW Matt is one crazy ass motherfucker.
Evening of Goblins
Terence joined me some time around 5-6pm and I do believe during the Apollyon set. See, during a festival things become a blur as you meet new people, have beers, get sun, watch bands. Time doesn’t exist at a festival.
He wanted to see Nekrogoblikon because, much like others may have been, he was surprised they were on the bill and willing to come up and do this show. It was definitely a great set! The crowd was large, the music was intense but very melodic, and the night ended on a very high note.
A few songs into the set and after a few videos I decided to take Mjolnir with me into the pit. Survival was a must and that it was. Not without a few bumps, no bruising and always lifting people up as they lose balance and fall.
This is a staple in the metal community. We love to get rowdy and mosh in the put but never do we attempt to put any person into risk of harm. If someone falls over we put out a helping hand and lift them back up, make sure they are okay and continue moshing.
Day 2: Hangovers and Farmer’s Market
I couldn’t stay the night on Saturday. I did have to work at 0630. What a damper to the festival mood. So I laid low on this day, got to connect with a lot of new people I hadn’t had the chance to yet.
Yes, I had a bit of a hangover. No it didn’t kill me nor last as long as I thought it would. Breakfast at The Brown Derby Cafe was cheap and actually really good. So good that I went back for lunch with some friends! It really must be the busiest weekend of the year for them. The staff were super friendly and loved the fact that we were in town. It is commonly known that the small town of Armstrong has embraced the metal festival and love that it draws so many unique and amazing people to the area.
On the way back to the festival grounds I took a stroll through the farmer’s market that was open at the time. There was some great folk music being played by song young people. Which sounded amazing and I am kicking myself now for not taking any footage. I was, in fact, on a mission for fresh coffee. Which I found though I still don’t know if it was local. It probably was. Or at least I believe it was!
The people of the market offered fresh fruit and vegetables along with arts and crafts made by locals. There was a great mix of metalheads roaming the market along with the locals who come out and pick up their local produce.
Beer Helmet March
at 1000 the annual Beer Helmet March took place. Basically hungover metalheads either construct a helmet from beer cases (or just simply wear an empty beer case on their heads) and march through camp and the farmer’s market.
The entire time through the market people took photos, clapped and cheered the metalheads on. It’s really an amazing scene to watch play out. We are truly the friendliest people in the world!
This video I put together follows the beer helmet march to Hassen Arena where the top three helmets were selected for prizes. Top prize was tickets to next year’s festival and the winner of the Vinny Cup. Of course that went to the fire breathing helmet which unfortunately broke part way through the march.
No stage just friends
Wow, I must say I kinda dropped the ball here. More time was spent by me out in the camp grounds meeting new people and bands instead of actually watching the performances. Aside from the fact that I should have been getting footage for the bands there is nothing wrong with being outside with friends and band members!
For example, we were recording a second podcast episode to help capture the essence of the festival and low and behold we were dropped in by Sentinels‘ guitarist Thomas Cardone. Yes, the band from New Jersey. They were just chilling at the tent when we came back and after setting up the podcast equipment and talking for a bit Thomas just jumped in and joined.
It was a great experience having him jump in and discuss local beer, metal and hockey. You never know where a podcast is ever going to go! Widow’s Peak found us as well and jumped in to talk a little about the band and festival. Thanks to both groups for joining us! We are hard working to spread our amazing community and every little bit helps!
Missing some of the bands
It really hurts my whole heart to have missed some of the bands I really wanted to see on the second day. Arctos, Truent, Roadrash, Apprentice, Sentinels, Gross Misconduct, Origin, and Odinfist. They all played sets either around the podcasting time or after I had left. So much love to all those bands they are amazing and one day they’ll all be on the podcast!
Betraying the Martyrs were to play Armstrong Metalfest 2019 but unfortunately their bus caught fire and were forced to cancel their tour. It’s such as tragic event. The band has a GoFundMe running to help replace their equipment. They lost practically everything. So please consider donating some money to help them out! Every little bit helps.
Roundup and final thoughts
Not having a background in any kind of production (besides what I dabble with at home) or putting on a live experience that leaves me with very little knowledge as to what happens in the background. As a lifelong fan of metal it was a great time watching the bands even if there was the odd hiccup.
The sound seemed to get better as the night went on and even if there was a little trouble here and there nothing took away from the spirit of the metal festival.
The festival grounds were fantastic. The people amazing, set up was great and easy to navigate and the events going on were a lot of fun. Metal as Medicine will definitely be back next year and hopefully with a bigger and better setup to help broadcast the event through podcasting and more!
Support the artists
There were many bands present (both performing and not) and they need our support! Please consider coming out to the shows and purchasing merchandise as well as their releases. Take pics and videos, share it on social media and lets help get these bands more exposure!
Hit play, read the interview below and afterwards please consider supporting the band by buying the music or merch!
We were to meet at AMF to podcast but due to unforeseen circumstances that didn’t come to be. I did see your set though and it was as intense as your recorded material. Can you describe the experience on stage and what it is like to play at a festival such as AMF? Have you played it before?
First off, thanks man. No, we have never played AMF before. In fact, this is technically our first time playing outside of the lower mainland. For us, this was hand’s down the best stage we’ve ever played on, and the energetic crowd at AMF made it more exciting for us to be on stage. The whole festival was a pleasure to not only be a part of but attend as fans ourselves.
Being a fairly new band (with Laniakea under your belt) and being a extreme tech death band in Vancouver, how you do find the scene to be? Are there any struggles you’ve faced?
Actually, we have two albums out now. Our first album Veni Vidi Vici came out in 2013, with a different line up. The Vancouver metal scene has been getting stronger lately, both in terms of bands and individual musicianship. This has been exciting for us as it pushes us to continue improving on our abilities. We’ve faced many struggles over the years. For example, our first album was completely wiped out after recording and had to be re recorded. LANIAKEA… was almost all redone at some point, two or three times.
Metal as Medicine has had many guests on the podcast discuss the lack of venues to play at (medium sized) how do you see that in the lower mainland? Do you feel the scene could benefit from a variety of venues?
Some venues have closed down over the past few years, the ones that remain are still active and local promoters are doing a great job of putting on shows. Larger venues would make Vancouver more attractive for bigger festivals and tours. Typically the only way to play the larger venues now is to open for larger touring bands. Of course having a more diverse selection of venues would be beneficial.
About the music
Speaking of Laniakea, can you touch a little on how the writing and recording process went? How was the experience in the studio? Who did you record with?
To keep it short, LANIAKEA was originally written around 2011. We have since reworked, recorded, then re recorded a couple of times until the 2018 iteration was released. The majority of the songs and lyrics, excluding bass and drums, were written by Tabreez. Although structured by him, everyone had input and influence on this album. Recording LANIAKEA was a long and donair filled process. There were many ups and downs; though more downs than ups. In the end, this experience has made us closer band mates and better musicians. The final version was recorded and mixed at Beat Lab Studios (aka Max’s Grandmother’s basement). The album was entirely produced, engineered, and mixed by Max. In fact, this was Max’s first official mix and album release.
Does the band have any primary writers or is it a collaborative effort by everyone?
To date, Tabreez has written the majority of the material. Exterminatus was initially a side project for him when he played in Xenocide. Of course, we still consider the band a collaborative effort as everyone has input in the evolution of the material, new and old.
How did the band come about the name Exterminatus? What kind of message is the band trying to convey with the image and atmosphere of the music?
The name comes from Warhammer 40k lore, it refers to the destruction of an entire planet’s biosphere. Both releases are concept albums and there isn’t any underlying message to our music. The music is self representative and we just try and write good death metal.
What does the band have planned for new material? A new release coming perhaps? If so, how far along is writing? How is it going?
We are working on a new full length album, there are no plans for release as of yet. The new album, similar to LANIAKEA, has been in writing for a long time circa 2012. It’s roughly 3/4 written and the concept for the album is mostly in place.
Any memorable stories from playing shows or touring?
During the recording of Armstrong Metalfest podcast day 2 we are joined by Thomas Cardone of Sentinels, Widow’s Peak, Greggins Greg of Myopia Condition and fellow metalheads in round two of capturing the atmosphere and essence of Armstrong Metalfest.
WARNING: There is explicit content during this episode. Explicit language, discussion of cannabis, prostitution and sexual material. The opinions of metalheads on this Armstrong Metalfest podcast do not reflect the opinions of Metal as Medicine.
We spend more time discussing the camp area and pointers on how to properly camp at AMF. Scoping out the perfect camp location. There are a lot of different types of people that get together to party and have a good time. This gave me a chance to discuss more about what a festival looks like from an outsider’s point of view. Thomas comes from New Jersey and had never been to this part of Canada (or Canada all together) before. He has some really interesting takes on it.
Unfortunately I did not get photos of Tit Mountain but just believe us when we say it does exist.
Take responsibility while having a good time in the Okanagan. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen and stay in the shade.
Canadian beer and Viking horns
Ragnar the Trader makes his way to Armstrong Metalfest to sell his goods. Devan explains what Ragnar offers and his own experience using the products. AMF streamline drinking! Check out Ragnar’s awesome products at the Etsy store. They have lots of great Viking jewelry and accessories.
Thomas Cardone crashed the podcast unexpectedly. The members of Sentinels were chilling at the camp so it wasn’t completely unexpected. They had just arrived at the festival while on their tour with Betraying the Martyrs and were welcomed with open arms to the camp and podcast.
We do not condone the consuming of moose piss outside of festival grounds. Please drink with caution.
It turned out that Thomas quite enjoyed the Molson Canadian. We spent some time joking around about it and discussing some of the more local craft beers in the area. We sure hope the band got a chance to check out some of the great local breweries!
And Mead Too!
Meadow Vista was another one that he tasted. It came out of no where but I do believe it was supplied by Nathan, Jen and Devan. Devan explains about the honey wines offered by Meadow Vista.
Sad News: The van burned to the ground
This is no laughing matter. As much as we try to make the podcast and metal experience as fun as possible for people seriousness does get in the way once and awhile.
The band currently has a GoFundMe up that is just short of their goal. Please take some time to donate even $5 to the band. Even if it isn’t your style of metal there are a lot of fans out there and it is the band’s livelihood that was completely lost.
Some of these photos are devastating to look at. This isn’t something that any of us would wish upon even our worst of enemies.
We hope the band recovers all their equipment and merchandise! Good luck my dudes!
Yes Canada has legalized cannabis. This happened last October. Phoenix Tears is one of the first oils available for treatment. We are discussing legalization of cannabis, it’s use in medical care and cancer treatment. Please do your own research and discuss the use of medical cannabis with your health care professional before usage.
If you suffer from any mental disorders please consult mental health professionals before using cannabis for treatment. While it is beneficial for treating depression and PTSD
Found by Widow’s Peak
Scott Cressman, Chris McCrimmon, and Pat Paulson of Widow’s Peak showed up for a little discussion. They didn’t stick around for long but we will have them on the show next time. They put on a sick set that did have some tech issues. But all in all it was a sick set bro.
Greggins Glen is in the house
Greggins Glenn of The Myopia Condition comes and describes his new band Dead Lifted.