May 4, 2010 Ottawa, ON, Ritual Nightclub
Review and pics by Shawn Jam Hill
After an unusually mild April here in Ottawa, Canada came to a close, an insipid blackened chill blanketed the early daze of May. Could it be an unseasonable thermodynamic change brought upon by some of heavy metal’s elite galloping into town astride their warhorses, chasing victory while brandishing swords/pointy guitars of doom, death and destruction? It was not a coincidence that the malevolent weather ushered in the heaviest beatdown of the nascent Spring tour season: Canada’s Greatest Heavy Metal Band, the pride of Vancouver, 3 Inches Of Blood not only took the stage, screaming for vengeance in a denim-clad cavalcade of guitar-wielding awesomeness but their loyal henchmen, Louisiana’s Goatwhore came along for a ride across the melting tundra to peel back the faces of the faithful.
This was a good night for heaviosity.
Openers Immersed dished out a growly set of downtuned blasting replete with a shirtless frontman, competent shredding and coordinated hair flaying lunges that never seemed forced, just heavy on the bass bombs. Next up, The Pride Of Kemptville, Darkness Rites, let rip a gloriously shred-tastic set of old faves and new bangers from the band’s excellent new disc The Accuser. Barefoot frontman/death metal hippie Mike Mcfadden is a great vokiller who commands the stage as though he is the Captain and the venue is a Flying Dutchman howling o’er a sea of flames. “Set The Torches” set the stage for some serious moshing as guit-box gurus Greg Wood and Evan Massey traded off serious riffology while “World Of Shit (W.O.S.)” saw the boys reaching for the brass ring as the frenzied cacophony, though muddy from the back of the club, cut through razor sharp right up front. If you aren’t up front for the metallic goodness, you miss out.
Sadly, vokiller Mcfadden announced it was his last hurrah with the boys but I was informed Darkness Rites have someone waiting in the wings, gorging themselves on angel’s blood and Labatt 50, ready to take the reins. Hopefully they keep the beast alive because this is a killer band intent on getting ‘er done, old-school.
“This is our first time in Ottawa,” howled Goatwhore’s Ben Falgoust, “and you guys are fucking sick!” upon razing eardrums with a mind-blowing aural assault courtesy of six-slinger Sammy Duet, beatbox maniac Zack Simmons and an extreme hairdo champion crushing the 4-strings who may (or may not) have been bassman James Harvey. Having been delayed at “Your Fucking Border” (Falgoust), the band only arrives minutes before their scheduled start time. Did they flinch? Did they worry? Did they soundcheck? Hell no, this is extreme metal, people, and it always gets done!
Plugging into a backline with Marshalls stacked like corpses, Goatwhore immediately threw themselves into a blinding set of black n’ roll replete with soaring guitar wankery, inhuman drumming and Falgoust’s stage presence, a long arm casting a shadow over the spellbound crowd. “In Legions, I Am Wars Of Wrath” came across as a hair-swinging, horns-hoisting anthem to all that is metal while “Alchemy Of The Black Sun Cult” got the air-drumming ratcheted up to near molten levels in this mostly male crowd of ardent Hessians. Falgoust’s nimble monitor calisthenics made sure the gauntlet-clad frontman was preaching to the converted from a dark and doomy pulpit as the faithful prostrated themselves accordingly. Closing banger “Apocalyptic Havoc”, all crazee solo gymnastics punctuated by Falgoust’s signature guttural ‘OOOGH’ genuflecting cemented my opinion of the evening thus far: There is some seriously heaviosity afoot.
Last time I saw 3 Inches Of Blood grace the National Capital, they hit Zaphod’s, a bland room generally populated by the university crowd looking to hook up, get skreedled and hopefully not puke in their ‘new friend’s’ bed. The turnout was high but the vibe was wan though the band’s (truncated) set was of the usual excellence. Ritual is a fancy niteclub [intentional sic] where the beer is not Labatt 50 (I had to resort to Black Label for the first time since 1995), the venue is chic and the floor area is alcohol-free due to the all-ages nature of the beast. Did 3IoB let any of these restrictions bring them down?
Opening with “Battles & Brotherhood” was a good idea as Cam Pipes and Co. leaned into the frenetic material with aplomb. Guit-box warrior Justin Hagsberg’s Flying V very nearly came undone as solo after ripping solo spewed forth while SG wielding maniac Shane Clark, resplendent in a coveted Nihilist T, worked the mid-range into a froth. Stick-slammer Ash Pearson is the ace in the hole for this band’s brand of uncompromising NWOBHM worship as he reduced his kit down to frill picks with every lashing of his kick drum. “Night Marauders” amped up a Priest-worthy screed that was epically endearing while “Demon’s Blade”(from the band’s righteous Fire Up The Blades ) brought vokill histrionics into new dimensions of sound.
Effortlessly jamming new tracks with older material proved to be a real winner for 3IoB- they even busted out “Ride Darkhorse, Ride” and “Destroy The Orcs” to a rousing response without even coming up for air. The band cannot be touched where continuity is involved as they defiled the masses with jam after blistering jam. “Let’s see those fists!” extolled Pipes as the crowd duly offered up their hams, “Fucking right you metal maniacs!” What year was this, 1984?!? Well, may has well have been once “Trial Of Champions”, all burly six-string lazers and squealed vox careened into “Silent Killer”, something of a story song about a gun for hire. Throw in the super-crusty “Call Of The Hammer” and the absolute classique “Wykydtron” (from Advance And Vanquish) with a dash of “Deadly Sinners” and you’ve got yourself the perfect recipe for a metallic burrito brimming with blood, sweat and a decided lack of cheese. This is Canada’s heavy metal legacy being set in fire and stone as forged by Canada’s premium metallic export, 3IoB.
I could go watch this insanity every night but my liver might get angry.
3 Inches of Blood photos….