When preparing for a recent podcasting episode I happened to come across a folder created during Armstrong Metalfest. This was sometime during day one I made my way back to camp and copied over a bunch of AMF live videos to make room on my phone for more. Which actually never happened. Anyways, below is a collection of songs
The Vth Circle live video
I don’t know much about The Vth Circle but I did enjoy their set at AMF. I contacted the band to let them know I had this footage which they were very appreciative of and told me the song is actually called The Storm and Rotter. Two songs back to back. So bam. Two for the prize of zero!
They also have a ton of material on their Bandcamp. The vocal style is very a very evil style of raspy growls while the music is full on melodic death metal. That’s quite different from what normally comes out of this part of the world for metal. It easily has this Scandinavian styled sound not too different from the likes of say early Soilwork or Dark Tranquillity.
Liberatia live video
Thrashy death metal. Fast and intense stuff which reminds me a little of Dead Asylum or West of Hell (though different but sometimes similar style of vocals). I spent some time with these releases as well and quite enjoyed what I heard.
This video was already provided in a recent blog post I did about their cross Canada tour that is currently happening. So just to repost something (hey, I can do that from time to time) here is Widow’s Peak “Pillars of Failure”. Matt has a great intro to the song explaining what it is about:
“This song is about getting trapped inside your own fucking head. And building up an empire for anyone who ever fucking told you you couldn’t do what you wanted to do. … If anyone ever told you you couldn’t do something. If anyone ever told you you weren’t fucking good enough. Now’s the time fucking shine.”
I really like these dudes. They are good understanding people who provide a very positive message with their music. Did I ever mention their tech death is crazy good? I highly recommend people to give their Graceless EP a chance and get out there to see them play on their cross Canada tour!
This guys slap so hard! They recently played in Kelowna and I got a shit ton of footage for these dudes. We got together to do a written interview recently and one of these days I’ll get together with them to record a podcast episode. That is when the stars align.
These dudes also have a fantastic style of tech death that is quite literally out of this world. Being Warhammer 4K inspired. Check out their Bandcamp and our YouTube channel for more kick ass metal.
I had the day off of work (this doesn’t happen often) and went up mid afternoon. In the car that I have it doesn’t even feel like driving so the 2 hour road trip isn’t a problem at all. It was a real pleasure meeting up with both bands at the Blue Grotto which in itself is a neat venue to visit.
After the bands (Anomalism and Widow’s Peak) rolled in from their Nelson, BC show they quickly unloaded their gear before having a little parking lot BBQ.
The day after (Friday) Widow’s Peak and Anomalism made their way to Kelowna to play at The Post along with Death Machine and Exterminatus. The latter playing their first show ever in Kelowna. I ended my day at 8:00pm after a 12 hour shift and ripped from work to the metal show. Naturally I did stop at home first to throw on my Anomalism shirt.
Burn It All (Kamloops, BC) – metal
I had never heard of Burn It All before. Saw their name on the poster for Kamloops. From there I found my way to their Facebook page where they have some jam sessions. Honestly I don’t quite remember what the music was like at the time I watched their videos. So this quickly turned into one of those sets where I don’t know what to expect.
Burn It All has this style similar to Evanescence. The songs sound structured like rock songs with Amber singing in a sort of style similar to Amy Lee but almost gives me a more doom or traditional heavy metal style. There were a lot of riffs that sounded like a Kittie crossover. Kinda like a nu-metal/heavy metal style.
This ended up being a really great set by a new band hailing from Kamloops. I got the opportunity to catch up a little with Burn It All after I had arrived in Kamloops and they were really great people. They informed they that they were involved somehow with a podcast that comes out of Kamloops. I’ll have to dig a bit deeper and find out more about that one.
They had a long set which I found out later was only about half the songs they’ve written. I also caught up with Travis later who says they are recording their first release too. It’ll be great to listen to and get a chance to record a podcast with them when the material is ready.
Check them out on Facebook for some jam session material.
When you gotta go you gotta go
Unfortunately I didn’t have much time to spend at the show in Kamloops and I had to leave shortly after Burn It All’s set. This meant I had to completely miss Nomad’s set which totally bummed me out as I really feel like they slap hard and put on a wicked good set.
I did get a chance to say hi to Dylan and Bretton. Dylan, of course, made it out the next day to the Kelowna show so it was nice to catch up with him for a short while there. I was quite tired after the trip to Kamloops and then work but I highly enjoyed myself and would easily do this back to back shows again!
Death Machine (Kelowna, BC) – Okanagan death metal
I arrived 2 songs into their set so I jumped right in and recorded some footage of these boys. They really appreciate the exposure and it will continue to come my friends!
Death Machine is one busy band. They’ve been touring, writing and (hopefully) recording a lot this year. If you have been coming out to the shows you’d easily be able to tell that they’ve gotten tighter since the spring.
Dylan had to take a break from the band due to work and Tanner Benedict as per this Facebook post:
Tanner is 14 years old and destroying it in a death metal band! This young man is extremely talented and has such a bright future. I really hope we get to see more of him in Death Machine and any other bands he happens to be creative with.
Death Machine sounded tight af with their groovy intense tech death metal. The songs are insane. How they switch tempos mid section by speeding up the riffs is just insane. Listening to the music just blows me away. Honestly, I think back to all the metal bands I have enjoyed in the past. Hypocrisy, Bloodbath, Opeth (earlier stuff), Arch Enemy. It all amazed me back when I started listening to metal. Especially shit like Penetralia and Arch Enemy’s Wages of Sin. These days some of these bands just blow that shit out of the water.
Support Death Machine
These boys don’t have much material out but give it a chance and help support these awesome guys.
Joining Widow’s Peak on this particular leg of the tour is Anomalism. Hailing from Winnipeg they hit us real hard on their debut EP Parasitic Spawn. Released in January 2019 this tech death EP hits with some devastating riffs, rhythms and the odd melody.
Mike Palmer’s vocals spew out over a mix of tech death and brutal traditional death metal riffs. Some extremely intense and interesting material especially on my personal favorite tracks Cryptosphere and the title track Parasitic Spawn.
Listening to debut material like this just leaves me to wonder how it was even possible to completely enjoy the metal of the 80’s and 90’s. When I go back and listen it just seems so much less entertaining to listen to. This could be a reason why I am always pushing forward to find new material I have never heard before. Metal just keeps getting better!
I had spent some time reading the lyrics and getting to know the kick ass music. It really is this intense tech death(core-ish) music that kicks a lot of ass. There is just enough of an old school vibe to make the songs come across as refreshing without the continuous onslaught of tech death. The lyrics and artwork of the shirts and album come off with that fictional look most deathcore bands have. I’m loving it. As a huge fan of sci-fi or high fantasy this band really appeals to me.
We may have gotten together to record a short podcast in Kamloops but ultimately I ended up missing their set in Kamloops. Fortunately I did not in Kelowna and it was such a great time! The intensity was unmatched by any other three piece I’m yet to see on the stage.
Exterminatus (Vancouver, BC) – Technical death metal
They Exterminatus cause they ain’t us. I recently watched The Interview again.
These boys slap HARD. It was their first show in Kelowna and they put out. The crowd was deeply into it. The pit was going insane with Josh Reaver in there marching around like Jotunn.
The sound of Exterminatus hits hard and is relentless. Even in the instrumental parts like the intro to The Great Attractor is heavy af. Max’s drumming is extremely interesting to listen to and watching this song live is something else. Unlike some tech bands that go hard which each song and don’t quite have that quality that makes it memorable. I can say that Exterminatus has some very unique riffs and fills that make the songs memorable and actually rather easy to pick out of the bunch.
My interest is at an all time peak with these guys so I’m quite excited to see what they put out next after this. At the very least they need to come play Kelowna again. Their Facebook page reads no upcoming gigs. Let’s bring Exterminatus back again!
We were supposed to meet up at AMF and things fell through due to unforeseen mix-ups. So instead of recording a podcast (which we will do eventually!!) we did a written interview to help give the band some promotion.
Exterminatus at AMF
I found some lost footage of Exterminatus perfroming The A.R.C. at AMF. Watch below!
What these boys offer on their debut EP Graceless and in their live show is utterly and disgustingly fantastic. The moment you hit play and Debt Collector kicks in you know you’re in for a slamming time. Matt Yeomans’ vocals are full of range and add a texture to the music that feels unmatched by bands that are at similar stages in their careers.
Chris McCrimmon and Scott Cressman supply the sweeps, technical, and sometimes melodic riffs. With the odd power cord and tremolo picking to help manifest the downright destructive atmosphere.
Graceless is a onslaught of sound from beginning to end that no tech death fan should skip. You hear that! Don’t even consider scrolling past their social media post. Click that shit and enjoy!
Sadly I didn’t get to see Widow’s Peak play at all either Thursday or Friday night. Which is a shame cause I loved their set at AMF and it would have been a pleasure to experience them again.
Widow’s Peak destroys AMF
You know what is awesome? I found some AMF footage and one of the videos just happened to be Widow’s Peak!
Widow’s Peak just happened to destroy the stage at Armstrong Metalfest this summer as well. Like there was no stage left and they had to cancel the rest of the festival after they left it a smoldering crater. Okay so maybe that didn’t happen but it SOUNDED like it did. The dudes were also supposed to meet up for a podcast episode which they DID for a bit but we were so busy in conversation with Thomas from Sentinels that we didn’t get to chat a whole lot about the band.
That’s basically why I went all the way to Kamloops to meet up with these awesome dudes.
Take the chance to come out and see these guys play on one of their dates. Widow’s Peak are currently on their cross-Canada tour and there are so many dates that there is bound to be one close to you!
Also touring with Detherous who were on the podcast earlier this year letting us know about their new album Hacked to Death which should be out on the 16th. They play an old school style of death metal in the vein of Death and Obituary.
Wrapping up another week
This was an intense week of metal in the Okanagan giving us yet another reason to be a metalhead. It’s a great time to be in the scene and it’s a real pleasure coming out and meeting everyone every week and covering this amazing scene.
There are a few more shows scheduled over the next few months:
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!
Vancouver metal bands Truent and Technical Damage played Muninn’s Post on Saturday night (March 16, 2019) with supporting acts The Unending and Eden Echo. As far as I knew this was still one of Eden Echo’s first live shows. They have maybe a half dozen under their belt. This was also The Unending’s first show in a long time with a new lineup too.
I also had the pleasure of meeting a number of new people whom I struck up conversation with. One woman coming from Vernon to see the shows at the Post due to the lack of metal culture in Vernon. As we touched on in our dialogue Vernon does have the odd metal show and the blackened death metal band Xul hails from there as well. It is not a lost cause! Also, as she told me, it is worth driving the 45 or so minutes to Kelowna for a show. She also has a relative in a black metal band called SVNEATR which is coming to town this year. I’ll be contacting them for an interview. I listened to their album and really dig their old school style of black metal.
There was one man I met who had said that he had been going to metal concerts in Kelowna since the 80’s. The other night when Enterprise Earth and Aethere were in town was the first time he was turned away at the door because the show was sold out. This show is the second sold out this week. It is starting to feel like metal is really on the verge of becoming something bigger in this area.
Eden Echo presented their songs very well. The style felt a little like a slight mix of Jari’s Ensiferum meets his first Wintersun album. Very creative with tons of different vocal styles and musical influences. These guys have a great opportunity to tighten their sound and continue creating awesome music!
Wow, I was very impressed with The Unending. I had the pleasure of talking with Tyler a couple evenings before. He will be on the podcast in the future to discuss this band along with his metal history. This was their first show in, if memory serves me correct, five years and Tyler has been writing music for 9-10. These songs sounded very tight, interesting and very hard hitting. All the members had a fantastic onstage presence and were 100% into the show.
The Unending was a pleasure to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing them again. I had a difficult time describing the style so I will just let the videos do that for me.
Technical Damage has this machine like sound to their tone, riffs and licks. It sounds unique to my ears and wasn’t something I could really get into at first. I had listened to their Bandcamp songs enough that I purchased their newest release and continued to listen to it for some time. Eventually it grew on me and I quite enjoy it now. They put on a great set. Lots of intensity and I highly enjoyed it.
These guys put on a hell of a show. Great stage presence and very tight sounding. Unfortunately the singer and guitarist Johnny Roodenrys had an injured hand so not only was he unable to play guitar but also had to cut the set short. He still put on a fantastic show despite his injury. The entire band did.
I purchased their EP off Bandcamp after they so graciously asked me to for listening to it too much. I felt they had the potential to put on a great show with their style mixing (which sounds to my ears like) Lamb of God, early SYL and System of a Down. They absolutely did not disappoint.
Spokane Deathcore band Enterprise Earth was playing at Muninn’s Post last night along with supporting acts Aethere, Vultures from Victoria and local hardcore band Ugly playing their first live gig.
I had never been to a deathcore gig before and I thought there would be no better time to start than today with a sold out show at Muninn’s Post. In fact I haven’t really listened to deathcore in general. So I took the opportunity to listen to the bands all afternoon before going to the gig. Aethere struck me as more technical and death influenced than core so it was a lot easier for me to get into and I quite enjoy their newest album Open My Wounds. So seeing them live was going to be interesting to see how they performed their songs.
Ugly was the opening act. A local hardcore band playing their first live gig in support of their new release VILE. I’m kicking myself for not have gotten pictures or video. They put on a good show, sounded very tight and had me second guessing if Vultures were actually playing. The topless singer wearing a balaclava was a great touch and was very fitting to the lyrics. I’d definitely watch them perform again!
Vultures also put on a good show. It was entertaining to watch them from the back. Everyone was quite into it and the music sounded good. Hardcore is something also I haven’t really gotten into though I definitely see the appeal.
Aethere put on a great show and the crowd was really into it! Lots of moshing and crowdsurfing. It was really awesome to see how supportive the fans were with the crowdsurfing. Deciding between songs who’s going to be hoisted up and then everyone doing their part in carrying the crowdsurfer away from the stage. It looked like a lot of fun and really helps bring the people together to help one another out.
Aethere – Ash of Existence:
Aethere – Open My Wounds:
Enterprise Earth seemed to put on a really good show as well. I was very conflicted by these guys. Their albums sounded very deathcore without much death metal influence (unlike Aethere). Because of that it didn’t really sit well with me. I was waiting to see them live to see if their live performance changed my opinion. Sadly it didn’t really. I will have to give this band another chance to try and get into deathcore.
From what I have heard of the genre so far I understand the fushion of core/punk and death metal. It is an interesting blend that produces some styles that are very different from traditional metal genres.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the show Saturday night at Muninn’s Post. Local acts Eden Echo and The Unending supporting Truent and Technical Damage from Vancouver.