We Are All West of Hell

West of Hell Tour

West of Hell rolled through town Wednesday night while on the tail end of their The Infidels Tour Canada 2019 with support acts Expain From Vancouvber and Nomad hailing from North Okanagan.

As you can see in the image below they started out in Red Deer, Alberta, went across Canada to Quebec and back to the island. Making a pit stop in their home town of Vancouver for a show before crossing to the island for a final stop in Victoria.

Setting up the podcast rig

We had a different set up this time on the other side of Muninn’s where we had a round table to sit at and record the podcast. We had Asher Media Relations set us up with an interview with West of Hell (even if Terence was friends with most of the band anyways). Which is totally fine. I wouldn’t say it is a headache contacting bands and keeping track of interviews but it definitely is no easy task!

There won’t be many details here regarding the recording of the podcast. That will be saved for a future blog entry when we post the interview (next week? Possibly!). What I will say is that it was a real blast and we had quite a few people drop in to chat with us. Whispers of guests from Odinfist and Dracula Black and Armstrong Metal Fest

Now is a good time to say that, yes, Metal as Medicine will be at Armstrong Metal Fest this year! I’m a little ashamed to say it but it will be my FIRST time there. Being as I had been so into the Euro extreme scene most my life I never took any notice to any of the bands playing at AMF aside from maybe Neck of the Woods, 3 Inches of Blood, and the odd big name like Suffocation and Kataklysm. It is safe to say I’m regularly listening to and highly enjoying many of the bands on the bill this year. We will also be setting up our podcasting rig to get as many bands as possible sitting down with us to talk the festival, the band and whatever else comes to mind.

Nomad (North Okanagan, BC) – groove metal

Nomad north okanagan metal band at muninn's post in kelowna

Nomad was up first at 8:00pm. I had never listened to them before and quite frankly I am unsure if they are on Bandcamp or anywhere else. For the life of me I just couldn’t find them anywhere but on Facebook. Actually there isn’t much at all that I know about this band.

Nomad north okanagan metal band at muninn's post in kelowna

Nomad sounded fairly tight as far as I could tell without hearing studio recordings. The vocals were very good and I was impressed for being in a live setting. A mixture of rough clean vocals with growls and screeches. It kind of felt like while the vocalist was top notch the guitarists and bassist seemed to be looking at their instruments quite a bit. That’s alright for being sure they are hitting the notes but there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of interaction with the crowd.

Now this is just from my recollection of the night. I very well could be dead wrong. This is definitely a band I would love to see play again live a couple times. It looks like they are playing Armstrong Metal Fest. So we’ll get a chance to see them there again if not some time sooner!

The track Choke (as seen below) stood out for me. With the clean tone guitar intro with clean vocals then breaking into more heavier sections. It was a long one too clocking in at over 8 mins. So what or who do they sound like? It could be said they sound similar to Neck of the Woods’ self-titled album. Where it is like, okay maybe a form of death metal or deathcore but not quite there. So it ends up with this type of unique metal sound.

Nomad YouTube Playlist
Nomad Facebook

Expain (Vancouver, BC) – melodic death metal

Second up was Expain which seems as though this wasn’t their first, second or maybe even third romp in Kelowna. Seasoned vets for The Post it seems. Either way they put on a fantastic show. Throwing down some serious melodic death metal in, again, a unique style that I am finding hard to match in another band.

expain vancouver metal band playing in kelowna

I was speaking with Terence earlier in the night about how a lot of these Vancouver bands have this groove style that is very reminisce of such bands as SYL, Zimmer’s Hole and other seasoned Vancouver acts that had that groove machine sound to it. Not that this is in the same vein as Truentor Technical Damage. Both those bands have that style more prominent in their sound.

What nice guys! They even went and wished Taylor McDonald (drummer of Death Machine) a happy birthday! The metal scene is this tight nit family that once you connect with fellow metalheads you’re in for life. Even if they hang out daily or once and awhile once you’re part of the metal family that’s it. It truly is one of the most exciting part of the scene.

expain in kelowna

Maybe one day someone could explain “tiny horns” to me? The phrase was tossed around by vocalist Sean Ip a few times during their set. It is some kind of meme that seemed to be popular for a bit at The Post. No matter it looked hilarious!

Seriously, these guys are so so good to watch live. All the members are very into it. Interacting with the crowd, great facial expressions and a shit ton of energy. Yeah, I say this every time, if you get the chance to see them live do yourself a favor and see them!

Expain YouTube Playlist
Expain Bandcamp

West of Hell (Vancouver, BC) – thrash metal

The West of Hell tour stops here. Naturally. With West of Hell. Lead by Chris “The Heathen” Valagao of Zimmer’s Hole and SYL fame and with a new album hot off the press these guys RIPPED. There is no doubting it they put on a fantastic must-see show.

west of hell tour in kelowna

As the West of Hell tour stops in Kelowna they brought the flames and fire with them. Whether grinding away at thrashy power metal songs or literally grinding the mic stand these guys put on a great show.

west of hell tour in kelowna

Thrashing their way through old and new songs alike it really was impossible to tell that these guys were on the last legs of a long tour. Unfortunately I didn’t stay till the end of the show as my nursing duties called in the AM. But still what I did see was nothing short of sheer awesomeness.

This is a band that is well loved across the global metal scene even if they’ve been around only a short time and have only two albums under their belts. It helps that these are just awesome dudes that have great personalities that translate so well in the music and stage presence.

west of hell tour podcast in kelowna

This was a fantastic experience sitting down hearing stories of being on the road as well as sharing some great laughs. This episode should be up next week some time so please have a listen when it is available!

West of Hell YouTube Playlist
West of Hell Bandcamp

A Night of Heavy Metal

w.m.d heavy metal kelowna
W.M.D. (When Minds Develop)

Last night Muninn’s Post was invaded by a night of heavy metal. There was everything from speed to thrash to hard rock to heavy and power metal.

Terence sound checking the Metal as Medicine podcast set up

Things began rolling at the usual time of 5pm. Gear setup, greetings to everyone. It was Good Friday so things were slow at that time. Only a couple patrons were there with Tyrone and a few others setting up equipment for the night. Terence was there with me to talk with a couple of the bands. We had a request from four of the five bands for interviews and we managed to get through two of them. It would have been a great opportunity to interview every band particularly when four of them are from out of town. But we did what we could.

W.M.D. talking about heavy metal on the Metal as Medicine podcast

The interviews were definitely longer than what I was able to do in Kamloops with T&A Productions and Shatterless and last week with Dead Asylum and Eden Echo at Muninn’s Post. As this project progresses on things will become easier and more streamlined.

poster of ArkenFire show in Kelowna on April 19

Five acts! It truly was a night of ripping speed/power and thrash metal. True to form and traditions. Just by the poster it was difficult to predict what the line up would be and by looking at the template I created a week or so ago I could tell now that I was way off. It didn’t matter. Every band kicked more than enough ass and definitely entertained!!

ArkenFire (Kelowna, BC) – epic power metal

Guitarist Randy of ArkenFire performing at Muninn's Post on April 19, 2019

ArkenFire tears it up with their epic brand of power metal. Seriously. They played a mixture of old and new songs as well as a cover of Breaking the Law by Judas Priest. That one ended up being sung by not only Jacob but a number of fans as well. So I also learned that their song Night Sister is about Star Wars in which now I must go and read the lyrics and see exactly what it covers. Maybe Luke and Leia’s relationship? Wow, now looking at that Reddit post I found that’s some really interesting speculation about their relationship. That’s my first guess just from the title. Also that Against All Odds is about Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. I’d say most likely the later than former.

Jacob of ArkenFire performing at Muninn's Post in Kelowna.

They’ve played a number of recent shows in Kelowna so I have seen them play a lot. They definitely deserve to be performing on a bigger stage. Actually all these bands do!

ArkenFire YouTube Playlist
ArkenFire Bandcamp

W.M.D. (When Minds Develop) (Calgary, AB) – thrash metal

W.M.D, or When Minds Develop, was the first band to contact us for an interview. That was almost immediate when we launched the podcast. These guys were really awesome and I highly enjoyed chatting with them. It is sad to hear about the Calgary metal scene but as we discussed it does go in waves so maybe we are only in a bit of a downturn before things pick back up again.

W.M.D. guitarist standing on amp

The show was fantastic and full of energy! They were climbing on equipment, bonging beers on stage and the bassist even sat on someone’s shoulders while playing. The crowd was really into it. So much that at one point the floor got covered in beer from a dropped cup and everyone started moshing on a slippery floor. Damn that’s scary stuff but thrashers gonna thrash!

Calgary's W.M.D. performing at Muninn's Post in Kelowna

They ended up playing a collection of songs from their first full-length album (available on their Bandcamp!) and some new material too.

W.M.D YouTube Playlist
W.M.D Bandcamp

Time Rift (Portland, OR) – hard rock/heavy metal

This hard rock/heavy metal act put on a really nice set. I really dug their brand of metal/rock. It is always fun watching a three piece entertain a crowd. It felt like most the crowd was taking a break after W.M.D.

Portland's Time Rift rocking at Muninn's Post in Kelowna

This group definitely looked like rockers from Portland, Oregon! The area is well known for its hipster scene. Not that these guys looked like hipsters but it is a very cultured area. Well maybe they are. Truly I do not know. There may be a small movement here in Kelowna but it isn’t as big as the scene down there. Having said that I highly enjoyed their music and would see them again when/if they roll through again.

Time Rift bassist playing and singing at Muninn's Post in Kelowna

Gotta admit there isn’t anything like rocking out to cultured music and Odin!

Time Rift YouTube Playlist
Time Rift Bandcamp

Villain (Toronto, ON) – heavy metal

Toronto Villain playing at Muninn's Post in Kelowna

Wow! Villain sure did have a great get up. Everyone looked amazing. In fact just as amazing as their music. I don’t think I have ever seen such great outfits. It is clear that a lot of work was put into them. It is possible that I am more of an extreme metal fan than glam/heavy. No wait, it isn’t that I am not a fan of glam/heavy. All metal is appealing to me it is just that I listen to more extreme than anything else.

singer of Villain playing at Muninn's Post in Kelowna

As I am climbing up there in years I find it harder and harder to stay till the end of shows. There is something about climbing into bed that is always itching at the back of my mind. Buuuut when metal is this damn good I have no choice but to stay.

Villain is this awesome style of 80’s glam/heavy metal that just shreds like no other. Once they hit the stage and start belting out songs there is no choice but to be mesmerized by their show. It could be that I have never seen a lot of shows like this but these guys just grabbed me and sucked me right in.

Villain YouTube Playlist
Villain Bandcamp

Roadrash (Vancouver, BC) – speed metal

Hot off the release of their new single Accelerator, Roadrash put the pedal to the metal and brought the speed and attitude to Muninn’s post Friday night.

Admittedly I wasn’t going to stick around for the last act but a couple of friends convinced me to stick around to at least see their live show. I am glad I did. They have the sickest performance. So much energy. Looked incredible and shredded the shit out of their music. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos and I feel real bad because they looked excellent on stage. Running around falling on equipment. Surely it was all part of the show, right?

Speed metal is RIGHT!!

Roadrash YouTube Playlist
Roadrash Bandcamp

As always if you enjoy any of these bands please consider going to their shows and buying some merch or at least supporting them on Bandcamp!

Dead Asylum Kicks Off Western Canadian Tour in Kelowna

Death/thrash metal band Dead Asylum kicked off their Western Canadian tour in Kelowna last night. Along with Drop Dead Fred playing their first show in 1.5 years and opening acts Death Machine and Eden Echo.

Death/thrash metal band Dead Asylum kicked off their Western Canadian tour in Kelowna last night. Not only that but local band Drop Dead Fred played (and headlined) their first show in 1.5 years. Opening acts Death Machine and Eden Echo.

I arrived early with the new podcast gear that I had spent some time during the week setting up. It was very easy to do and basically a plug’n’play with a couple tweaks. A far cry from the set up Terence and I had “working” for the few weeks prior to this show. This turned out to be a very good thing because I had lined up Mike and Samantha from Dead Asylum to join me in an interview. I have to admit there was a bit of nervousness having the equipment all set up outside of my familiar surroundings. In the end it all worked out and I felt really good about how the night went!

Eden Echo

This was the third time now that I have seen this group live and once again they played their hearts out and the crowd really opened up to them. Before the show I sat down with the boys of Eden Echo as well. One interesting tidbit that came up was when I asked the band about how I sort of hear a folk-like influence in the music and Matt brought up that a few members of the band were in Opeth. When he told me that it clicked with me and made a lot of sense. There is influences of Opeth and more of a folk-rock vibe.

Eden Echo playing in Kelowna

It is clear they are getting tighter and gaining more confidence every show.

They played a couple of songs that are not on their new EP “Kingdom of the Shadow“. One of which I managed to capture here:

Eden Echo YouTube playlist

Eden Echo Spotify

Death Machine

A great blend of tech and traditional death metal. Maybe only traditional death metal for the time being. That is until they have more material that they don’t need to play their demo songs anymore. Whenever I run into Spencer or Chandler (rocking an Equipoise shirt last night) and get talking about metal the bands and influences they speak about are much more tech death than straight death. The newer songs are much more technical and have very interesting parts.


Death Machine playing live in Kelowna, BC

Honestly I really enjoy watching Death Machine. Such an intense and menacing performance. Taylor really gets the crowd going and gives it his all behind the drums. It will be a real pleasure watching where this band ends up going and how they get there.

Death Machine YouTube Playlist
Death Machine Bandcamp

Dead Asylum

Hot off their show in Kamloops with Wolfheart and Shatterless Dead Asylum kicked off their 8 date Back to Western Canada tour at Muninn’s Post. Like in Kamloops they put on a really good show here in Kelowna. Each member is interacting with the crowd and have build a stage presence that is engaging and fun to watch.

Vocalist Mike and drummer Samantha sat down with me before the show to discuss the metal scene in British Columbia and what it takes to be a band with members spread across the country. That episode should be coming up real soon.

If Dead Asylum is coming to your area for this tour I recommend seeing them. It’s worth the price to hear some good death/thrash metal performed by a tight and great group of people.

Dead Asylum YouTube Playlist
Dead Asylum Bandcamp

See Dead Asylum on one of their upcoming dates as they tour through BC and Alberta.

Dead Asylum Back to Western Canada tour

Drop Dead Fred

There was a medical emergency that I attended to for part of Drop Dead Fred’s set and for that I feel really bad that I didn’t get any photographs to share on social media for them. Unfortunately as a train health care attendant sometimes situations happen where I need to do my duty for the public.

Yes, everyone was fine. 🙂

I’ve not listened to this band before so this was my first experience with them. Generally I don’t like going in blind to shows and like to have at least an idea of what to expect. Here I felt very adventurous and went in blind. Only this morning to look them up and do some research.

At first their sound was quite death metal but I felt there was enough core influences that they were actually deathcore. The breakdowns that happened in the last few songs eventually did confirm this.

GREAT INTENSITY. I felt these songs were really tight and entertaining. Music I would listen to outside of seeing the show.  Even searching them online I find it difficult to find any real solid information outside from their FB, YouTube and Bandcamp page.

Drop Dead Fred YouTube Playlist

Drop Dead Fred Bandcamp

I’m really looking forward to seeing these guys play again. As anyone following the blog and podcast would know I’m really digging deathcore lately and this is absolutely no different.

I got to meet a few new people last night as well. A couple really into glam and hair metal and as far as I could hear (god damn loud metal!!) they were wanting to come out and support the local scene and bands. That was a really nice conversation and I really hope to meet them again at a future show. I invited them to next week’s ArkenFire show with WMDVillianTime Rift and Roadrash. The whole heavy/speed/power thing might be up their alley.

It’s always amazing introducing people to new metal music or metal in general. There is truly so much to gain from it.

If you enjoy the bands consider coming out to the shows and if you cannot support them on their Bandcamp!!



Wolfheart, Dead Asylum and Shatterless in Kamloops, BC

During their tour with Children of Bodom and Swallow the Sun, Wolfheart scheduled this one off show in Kamloops, BC with Vancouver death/thrash act Dead Asylum and Kamloops’ own Shatterless.

I originally wanted to take the 4-5 hour trip down to Vancouver to see the Children of Bodom tour. This is something I have normally done throughout the years. Last time they were in town I went down to see them play their 20th anniversary tour. But having seen them so many times (7 I believe now) and Swallow the Sun as well. I had decided to sacrifice seeing Wolfheart live and NOT go down for the show.

This was before I had heard the new CoB album Hexed in its glory. Now I am kicking myself for deciding not to go. Well almost.

When I found out Wolfheart was to play a headlining show in Kamloops with two local acts I had to jump all over it. Especially for only $10!!! And in a city I haven’t seen a gig at before. This was a chance to also make some connections in the local scene.

I worked the night shift the night before the show. So I was forced to sleep the morning of the show and drive up to Kamloops in the afternoon. As I do with all gigs I attend (granted it’s available) I checked out past setlists on Setlist.fm and made a couple of Spotify playlists of Wolfheart and Dead Asylum‘s most recent sets. These were basic guesses considering I wasn’t sure how long a setlist Wolfheart would play and the Dead Asylum setlist I found was 1.5 years old.

I had one ear in through my nightshift playing the Wolfheart playlist. The drive to Kamloops was spent listening to a mix of Wolfheart and Dead Asylum. I hadn’t had time to seek out and listen to Shatterless which I felt bad about as I am always wanting to listen to fresh new music.

I arrived an hour before the doors opened so that managed to give me some time to seek out Taylor Pottle and the Shatterless members after their soundcheck. I had the opportunity to sit down with Taylor for an interview and then with Justin Bentley in an alleyway behind the Blue Grotto as well.

Not only does Taylor put on shows in Kamloops with T&A Productions but he also does vocals with the Okanagan-based symphonic black/power metal act Gladius Sky.

Shatterless

Shatterless kicked it off at 8pm with a three song set which they plowed through very quickly with the 20 mins they had. I am now listening to their album on Spotify and, yes, they’d definitely need longer than 20 mins taken the length of their songs.

They put on a really good performance. Progressive heavy rock with some metal influences. I found Justin’s vocal range from clean melodic to death growls/screams to be very well performed along with (other) Justin’s drumming sounding very tight. It was a pleasant surprise to hear how well they were live.

You can listen to their album Galactic Sorcery on Spotify and contact the band on their Facebook page to support them by purchasing it.

Dead Asylum

I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Mike and Samantha before their show. They were very nice people who really looked forward to coming to Kelowna for their gig and an opportunity to sit down on the podcast.

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Mike turned out to be extremely comfortable on stage and interactive with the crowd. His intensity along with the shredding of Jay and Roger enhanced the music beyond how it sounded in the studio. Samantha may not have been playing her own drumset but that didn’t stop her from sounding tight and keeping the songs driving forward.

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I’m really looking forward to their Kelowna show that is coming up.

You can purchse Dead Asylum’s music from their Bandcamp page.

Wolfheart

I’ve always felt Tuomas Saukkonen was one of those artists that changed his projects when he either received a new source of inspiration or felt his own writing and playing skills had reached a new level.

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His previous projects had always been part of my rotation. Not heavily rotated but I always checkout out his newest releases and have had a very soft spot for his style of melodic death metal. It is a very Finnish style with long melodies that have a very melancholy overtone to them.

While I was living in Kouvola, Finland I had met a fellow named Mikko Heikkilä who, at that time, was playing in the gothic metal band Sinamore and Tuomas’ then project Black Sun Aeon.

During this time (this was 2009-10) I was also part of an amateur photography club in Kuusankoski called Versus. We had one photoshoot take place with a band. Now with this part my memory is a little fuzzy. I cannot remember if it was Sinamore or Tuomas’ project Before the Dawn. Some research into the bands shows that Mikko was never in Before the Dawn.

Also my trusted list of gigs I’ve been to shows that I attended Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon on May 14th, 2010 at the Donnington Rock Club in Kouvola. I also saw Sinamore and Black Sun Aeon play at the Dark River Festival in 2010. So I have some history seeing Tuomas and related projects perform live.

This show was quite dark. The lights lit up the backdrop with almost nothing in the front so it made for a dark setting. It fit very well for the music but as for my footage maybe not so.

I had been listening to my Wolfheart playlist which was a full set that they had almost matched. I recall hearing Aeon of Cold, Strength and Valour, Zero Gravity, I and Ghost of Karelia. It didn’t seem to be a complete set. Maybe 45 minutes. But damn did the band put their all into it. The only things I could think of which dampered the show slightly were the keyboards and acoustic guitars were all pre-recorded.

Wolfheart playlist (4 songs)

I also met up with Mikko Kotimäki and Juho Räihä from Swallow the Sun who were just hanging out at The Blue Grotto enjoying the night off. Juho is from Kouvola so I got to spend some time reminiscing on the old times of living in Finland.

swallow the sun in kamloops
Swallow the Sun hanging out in Kamloops

Throughout the night I got to meet a few new people. One person in particular was a man from Revelstoke who visits Kamloops often for work. He does his best to plan his worktrips around live music events due to him being a musician himself. Metal isn’t really his go to for music but he loves coming out to metal shows because of the sheer talent these musicians have. I do remember his stating he played bass(?) in a band of his own but I do not recall him telling me the name of it. That’s too bad because it would have been nice to hear his band too!

ArkenFire, Tzimani, and Indecipherable Noise at Muninn’s Post

ArkenFire and Tzimani entertain Kelowna Friday night.

Power and heavy metal takes over Muninn’s Post! ArkenFire headlined a show Friday night at the local Feast Hall along with Tzimani hailing from San Diego and progressive instrumental metal act Indecipherable Noise from Peachland, BC.

Indecipherable Noise

Instrumental progressive metal project of local talent Jevon Carignan (guitar), Dylan Gutierrez (guitar), Vaughn Janes (bass), and Mitchell Corbach (drums). They play a style influenced by Animals as Leaders and Rush. A great way to warm up the crowd and get people on their feet before the main acts took stage. I quite enjoyed it and they seemed to have some really nice ideas there.

Indecipherable Noise on Bandcamp

Tzimani

This two piece hailing from San Diego shredded their way through their set. Straight up heavy metal brothers rocking their way across North America. Eddie can really play the guitar. Each song they played were full of mean riffs and ripping solos.

tzimani in kelowna

Their self-titled EP came out a year ago so still being somewhat fresh they played most songs off it. I’m not aware if they were playing any new material. Their songs have catchy choruses and great solos. There isn’t much more to ask for from a heavy metal band!

Tzimani on Bandcamp

ArkenFire

I only had time to stick around for the first three songs. Morning shift beckoned. Raid Winds and Night Sister were the first two songs played. I do not recall the third. The band sounded just as good as at Wacken Battle of the Bands. These guys are on fire every time they play. It is a real treat to watch them on stage and they definitely deserve a larger one at that. There is a soft spot in my heart for heavy/power metal and have been for years.

arkenfire at muninn's post

ArkenFire on Bandcamp

There were lots of familiar faces among the crowd and a couple new ones. I brought out my good friend Justin who really enjoyed the music, met some new people and had an overall great night. He’s a huge fan of all genres of music and always a fan of metal but just doesn’t come to shows very often. That’s about to change! It always makes me feel good to see both familiar and new faces. The fan base here is a dedicated bunch of people who all contribute to the scene in their own interesting and unique ways.