Into Eternity / Crackwhore / Soulscar / Antiquus: Live In Vancouver April 16th, 2005

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Into Eternity/Crackwhore/Soulscar/Antiquus
Saturday, April 16th, 2005
The Brickyard
Vancouver, BC  Canada

***Live Review & All Photos By Lord of The Wasteland

Progressive death, gore-grind, melodic death and epic power metal?this was quite the dynamic lineup this Saturday night at The Brickyard in Vancouver.  Local gore-grind mongers Crackwhore was hosting their CD release party for INNER PIECE and upstart epic power mavens Antiquus (featuring ex-Fireign guitarist Trevor Leonard) and the melodic death tunings of Soulscar paved the way for Regina, Saskatchewan?s unhealthy prog-death five-piece, Into Eternity.  The Brickyard was packed, the heat was stifling and the humidity was jungle-like but fans were about to witness quite a show as every band gave it their all.

Antiquus? new CD, RAMAYANA, was released the week of the show and the band?s traditional power metal sound is swathed in epic storytelling.  Vocalist Jesse White looks like he fell right out of an Anvil video circa 1983 with frizzy hair, sleeveless denim jacket and leather boots to complement his fantasy-filled lyrics.  The dueling guitar rhythms of Geoff Way and BC-via-Newfoundland transplant Trevor Leonard help to weave the tales of European history, Indian mythology and futuristic themes told on the tracks from RAMAYANA, while bassist Scott Unger?s aggressive background vocals work well with White?s soaring leads.  This band is still extremely new with only a handful of live gigs under their bullet belts and the awkwardness showed a few times but overall, Antiquus played a solid 40-minute set of tracks from RAMAYANA as well as a few new ones the band is working on that will continue on the RAMAYANA saga.

Empire Rising
The Changeling
Tanlin Bridge
Ramayana Part 3 – The Hunt
O Captain, My Captain (New Track)
Elutheria (New Track)
Still-Untitled (New Track)

Following Antiquus was fellow Vancouver-ites, Soulscar.  Last year?s VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT is still fresh on everyone?s minds and as a live act, Soulscar is a real treat.  Their melodic death assault is totally against what they look like but Andrew Staehling?s harsh growl and rhythms, when coupled with Stas Mikheev?s leads, are right out of the playbook of the Gothenburg greats.  Igor Cheifot?s drumming is really something to behold, too, as he is a blur of arms and sweat.  The crowd really got wound up with Soulscar?s 40-minute set drawn from 2002?s CHARACTER ASSASSINATION, the new CD as well as a few tracks being worked on for their third release.  Kadabr from local death/grind favorites Muspellheim (featuring Cheifot and Mister Nasty from Crackwhore) even joined the band on stage for a Cryptopsy cover!

Fatalist Mantra
To The Pain
It Takes A Wolf
Epik (New Song)
Hell Bitch
Anal Rhino
Character Assassination

Up next was Crackwhore, a tongue-in-cheek gore-grind band, whose new CD, INNER PIECE, was getting the marquee treatment.  Offal?s vocals are standard fare for this genre but his between song banter kept everyone in stitches.  Violator?s riffs are unreal and surprisingly technical given the ugly subject matter and loose presentation of the band.  The rhythm section of Mister Nasty and Bitch Slapper (gotta love those names!!) keep up the aggressive pace of the tracks, some ending nearly as soon as they began.  The fans in attendance were there to get rowdy and with tracks like ?Meat Is Meat? delivering punishing groove underneath chaotic mayhem, there was lots for the moshers to dance to.  Although the original order was varied, Crackwhore played INNER PIECE in its entirety within a tidy half hour.  While not for everyone, this is a great band and INNER PIECE is a solid CD.  Check ?em out!

The Right To An Attorney
Murder In The First
Trespassers Will Be Shot
Meat Is Meat
Feeding The Pigs
Humiliated and Dead
Beaver Cleaver
Razor Blade Apple
Beware of Dog
Ripped For Her Pleasure
From Torture To Climax

It was a bloody miracle that Into Eternity was even playing.  Most of the band contracted a bug while touring the U.S. with Amorphis a few weeks earlier and things got so bad, they left the tour and cancelled all upcoming dates.  Just a week before the Vancouver date, the band was healthy enough to get back on the road for a few Canadian shows despite Tim Roth?s still-ailing throat.  The brilliant BURIED IN OBLIVION was released in February 2004 and in the fourteen months since, major changes have occurred within the band.  In fact, the drummer, bassist and vocalist who played on that release have all jumped ship!  This would sink many bands instantly however Into Eternity soldiered on.  Replacing Chris Krall on vocals is none other than local boy Stu Block from Vancouver power thrashers Omega Crom.  Block?s range is quite impressive as he is fully capable of switching from soaring falsetto, to rumbling death roars and back to clean melodies without fail.  Mom and Dad Block were on hand to witness Junior?s new gig and Block?s spastic, over-the-top mannerisms (endless mugging and licking Rob Doherty?s guitar stock, for example) must have left them asking which one dropped him on his head as a baby.  Block is an amazingly charismatic frontman who was sorely limited by the confines of the tiny Brickyard stage but with Into Eternity gracing Vancouver two more times this summer at a larger venue, it will be interesting to see what he can do with some more breathing space.  Block has only been fronting the band for three months and it appears that he fits like a glove so things can only get better.  The impressive guitar duo of Roth and Doherty sizzled through tracks like the technically-driven ?Splintered Visions? and the crunch of ?Embraced By Desolation.?   Whether it be death metal riffing or prog-tinged wankery, these two can do it all, including pulling double duty on vocals with Block.  Everything is working against Into Eternity (the Canadian stigma, lineup changes) but the big tour offers?Hate Eternal and Stratovarius?keep rolling in.  Based on their impressive live show and obvious talent, Into Eternity should be huge in the next year or so. 

Splintered Visions
Embraced By Desolation
Elysium Dream
Point of Uncertainty
Distant Pale Future
3 Dimensional Aperture
Beginning of The End
Selling God

A bit of this, a bit of that.  With so many different genres of metal on display at this show, there really was something for everyone and from what I could see, no one left disappointed.  The very fact that Into Eternity managed to pull themselves up by the studded wristbands and even play the show was a miracle unto itself, not to mention how tight the new lineup is.  With Canadian talent like this sharing a stage, all four bands should be proud to be flying the flag of heavy metal high and proud!

***Thanks to Annemarie at Goddess Productions & Heather at Century Media for the ticket and photo approval.

Into Eternity ? Official Site
Crackwhore ? Official Site
Soulscar ? Official Site
Antiquus – Official Site