Alestorm in Kelowna Friday night blew off the roof with an onslaught of pirate metal in front of a sold out show at Rutland Centennial Hall.
Early morning I showed up to set up on location for our podcast episode. The hall doesn’t have any kind of backstage area so room was limited but sometimes you have to be creative and figure it out.
The band had already showed up by the time I got there which was at 11am. They had to have driven through the night to have arrived from Calgary before that time. When I was inside letting Jesse know I was able to help out there were a few Alestorm crew members walking about and a couple of them seemed very tired. The crew was a much perkier.
We unloaded the drum riser brought down by Nomad from Armstrong. The very one used at Armstrong Metalfest. Then helped out unloading the Alestorm gear which we got into the venue within minutes with all the help.
After some quick running around I picked up Richard for the interview which went rather interestingly. Chris most likely does not remember it taking place.
Mixing traditional death metal with some tech bits and maybe some kinda grind these guys warmed up the trickling in crowd.
Honestly prevails… I didn’t know these band was even a thing! I vaguely remember seeing the band name on the poster and forgot that they were replaying when I was at the show. I feel super bad. Sorry fellas!
I haven’t been able to find a trace of these guys online. No websites, pages or recordings. Maybe we’ll hear more from them. Anyone out there with information drop me a line!
Dylan with those deep vocals. The damn man is a beast on stage. Does he inhale at all? He’ll most likely never tell… though he probably does not. Vocalist Dylan joined us for one of our more fun episodes Armstrong Metalfest Day 1.
The boys of Nomad slapped hard and really brought their A game. It’s too bad people usually don’t start coming in till the bigger bands play because a band like Nomad cannot be over looked. They are damn dedicated too. Showed up early to help set up their stage and manned the merch booth all night selling their sweet swag.
Rav and the gang drove in all the way from Calgary to play support to Alestorm in Kelowna. Snow nor wind stopped these power metallers from gracing us with their various drinking songs.
No time to waste as they literally powered through their set non-stop with infectious choruses and blazing solos. Rav not only sang but took up duty as rhythm guitarist too.
We were offered an interview with Aephanemer but unfortunately they arrived late to the venue and we had to reschedule it to another time (and probably place). When they did arrive we got a chance to talk with them for a few minutes before they had to soundcheck. This was about the right amount of time to welcome them to Kelowna and discuss where they were from, how the tour was and other usual small talk topics.
Their music and set is definitely the talking point. The style of melodeath is very similar to that of Norther, Emperanon and other similar Children of Bodom clones that came about in the late 90’s early 20’s. Now saying that this band is definitely not a clone. They have their own great twist to the genre to make it its own.
On stage they were having so much fun. Bassist Lucie Woaye Hune was smiling the entire set. Watching the crowd and interacting with her facial expressions. Switching places with Martin through the set. Vocalist/guitarist Marion sounded fantastic. Great vocals and riffs all around from this budding band.
Alestorm in Kelowna
OH WOW! The moment we have all been waiting for! Alestorm in Kelowna for the first time ever! It really has been awhile since we had a bigger metal band roll through here. Sure we had Judas Priest back in the summer and Penticton gets a lot of bigger bands like Slayer, Megadeth and most recently Ghost (if you consider them metal that is. Some don’t. I do). Kelowna has been post host to a number of big bands like In Flames, Soilwork, Kalmah, Devin Townsend Project, Devildriver… to name a few. That’s dwindled down to nothing much beyond our exceptional independent bands.
So Alestorm sailed into town and tore the roof down.
Exceptional showmanship by the entire band. Christopher Bowes effortlessly crushed every song vocally and keytarlly. Mate nailed every guitar solo. Elliot and those base drops. We need to talk about those.
Seeing Alestorm like makes me feel like they are much more of a party band these days than they are pirate metal. They have definitely progressed into the folk realm over power metal as of the latest couple albums. These dudes are loose, hilarious, having fun and really just don’t give a fuck!
Whats to come?
We have plenty of behind the stage gears in motion to continue to bring local independent metal from the stages of British Columbia straight to the internet. Show wise, there are a few things lined up in Kelowna before the year (and decade) end.
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:
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!