Quo Vadis/Augury/Cradle To Grave
Friday, August 19, 2005
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland
A night of Quebec-based metal is a sure guarantee to be chock full of technical riffs, brutal vocals and top-drawer musicianship and the appearance of Quo Vadis and Augury (with Vancouver locals, Cradle To Grave, opening) was no exception. Augury?s brilliant debut, CONCEALED, was released late last year (earning a 5/5 rating from me) and its dizzying technical death songwriting was another notch in the ever-growing Quebec metal scene. Quo Vadis? third release, DEFIANT IMAGINATION, garnered similar accolades upon its release in 2004, solidifying that band?s place among Quebec?s elder statesmen of metal. Cradle To Grave?s 2004 debut, CTG, followed a strong local buzz with their blend of groovy, chugging thrash metal/hard rock. Despite a late start due to a missing-in-action sound guy, the show was underway shortly after 10:00PM?
A small crowd of about forty people arrived to catch Cradle To Grave?s half hour set of originals and the local faithful knew much of the band?s material. Tracks like ?Just Cause,? ?Nuclear Flowers,? ?Projectile? and ?Crown of Snakes? (dedicated to Venom), as well as a new track (?Shotgun?), combined melody with aggression and stuck pretty close to the album versions. Vocalist Greg Cavanagh (a dead ringer for Death?s Chuck Schuldiner) is able to switch from clean vocals to deathly roars on a dime without fail adding a great dynamic to the band?s songs. Founding member Denis ?Sasquatch? Barthe (formerly of Quebec thrash act, Aggression), along with bassist Eric Green, new guitarist Scott Dennis and new drummer Zeus, round out the band who seem to be aiming high, recently wrapping up a three-week Canadian tour and with a new batch of songs already recorded. The small, Ontario-based indie label, Year of The Sun, released CTG, but with the right promotion and a good U.S. tour, Cradle To Grave could take things to the next level.
Speaking with Augury guitarist, Mathieu Marcotte (thanks for the beer and swag!), before the show, it was revealed that Arianne Fleury had been fired from the band a few weeks earlier. Fleury?s soaring, soprano vocals were an exceptional part of the band?s sound, but in her place on tour was Roxanne Constantin from Quo Vadis, who more than filled the void. This being the band?s first time out west, Marcotte wasn?t sure what to expect but as the band took the stage, 150 people suddenly appeared from out of nowhere and stood awestruck before the technical magic of Augury for 45 minutes. Marcotte and vocalist/guitarist Patrick Loisel sizzled with leads and riffs that were jaw-droppingly precise. Bassist Dominic ?Forrest? Lapointe is a virtuoso (and would later play with Quo Vadis) on his six-stringed instrument and is magnetic to watch. As if there wasn?t enough to take in, drummer Etienne Gallo (ex-Neuraxis) is a fury behind the kit with triggered drums firing at what seemed like a million miles an hour. To say the musicianship in Augury is phenomenal is an understatement. The band is almost TOO GOOD and the fans at the show were going on an on about them, many saying they stole the show from the headliner. Two new songs were played from the band?s upcoming CD in 2006 and with ?Cosmic Migration,? ?Alien Shores,? ?Becoming God,? ?The Lair of Purity,? ?Nocebo? and ?In Russian Dolls Universes? taken from CONCEALED, this show was a stunning introduction to Augury?s music.
The influence of Chuck Schuldiner and Death is immediately recognizable in the music of Quo Vadis. The band?s technical death arrangements meld with unique time changes and slight jazz/prog leanings that have been going strong since 1995?s self-titled E.P./demo, yet this was the band?s first trip to Vancouver. Guitarist and founding member Bart Frydrychowicz is just as much of a ?frontman? as vocalist Stephane Pare, as he continuously roared at the crowd, threw the horns and even helped out on vocals. Augury bassist, Dominic ?Forrest? Lapointe, filled in on live bass (the legendary Steve DiGiorgio played on DEFIANT IMAGINATION) and continued his mind-blowing assault, effortlessly nailing DiGiorgio?s difficult bass lines. With her glow-in-the-dark, fluorescent green dreadlocks, keyboardist/vocalist Roxanne Constantin appears ready for a rave, not a metal concert, but her addition to the band has really helped create a more dynamic musical landscape, as well as unique lyrical possibilities (Constantin is a music student in Montreal and speaks/writes Latin. The choir intro to ?Fate?s Descent? [dedicated to Schuldiner], as well as other orchestral/operatic passages, are credited to her.) Second guitarist William Seghers has been added to the touring line-up of Quo Vadis and considering this tour was still fairly fresh, the band seemed tight and in tune with each other. Drummer Yanic Bercier?s incredible playing was just as impressive as Etienne Gallo?s leaving many in the house, including myself, simply amazed. Seven of the nine tracks from DEFIANT IMAGINATION were played, however, rather than forgetting their past releases, Quo Vadis played nearly half of 2000?s DAY INTO NIGHT, knocked out two from their full-length debut, FOREVER?, and even dusted off ?Vital Signs? from the 1995 self-titled demo. Even though Pare has only been with the band since the recording of DEFIANT IMAGINATION, he handles the older material extremely well and his vocals on ?Absolution (Element of The Ensemble III)? and ?On The Shores of Ithaka? were especially impressive. Likewise, Pare handled the growls of ?Break The Cycle,? ?Silence Calls The Storm? and ?Fate?s Descent? from DEFIANT IMAGINATION perfectly. I am relatively new to Quo Vadis (I only got into them after reading EvilG?s interview with Bercier and Frydrychowicz last year), but seeing them live really hits home just how talented this band is. Quebec?s metal exports are continually pushing boundaries, raising the bar and flat-out leaving their competition in the dust. The crowd at The Brickyard left wow-ed after witnessing Augury and Quo Vadis and with new albums from both bands planned for 2006, that bar will surely be raised even higher.
QUO VADIS SETLIST
Silence Calls The Storm
Absolution (Element of The Ensemble III)
Point of No Return: Mute Requiem
Break The Cycle
Tunnel Effect (Element of The Ensemble IV)
On The Shores of Ithaka
Dead Man?s Diary
Legions of The Betrayed
To The Bitter End
Let It Burn
Inner Capsule (Element of The Ensemble II)
**Thanks to Eric at Galy Records for the press pass.