Arch Enemy / Infernal Majesty / Sinned / Soulscar Live In Vancouver – October 15, 2007

Spread the metal:

Scrape Records 10th Anniversary Bash
feat. Arch Enemy / Infernal Majesty / Sinned / Soulscar
Monday, October 15, 2007
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC  Canada


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

When I first moved to Vancouver in 1998, I went looking for music stores beyond the usual retail chains to satisfy my metal palate.  Hitting the local Yellow Pages (remember, this was a decade ago and that big book with all the addresses and phone numbers hadn’t been outdated by, etc. yet!), I searched for “Compact Discs” and a small, unassuming photo ad jumped out at me immediately:


The clouds parted, the angels sang and I realized that I may have finally found my Mecca.  Even though I lived a good half-hour’s drive from Scrape Records’ location at 17 West Broadway, I wasted no time in racing to what would quickly become a source for many (I can’t stress the word MANY enough) wallet-emptying binges over the following years.  Having started a family, buying a house and moving out to the suburbs in recent years, my visits to Scrape have lessened due to geographical limitations but my annual Boxing Day pilgrimage is still something I save up for and look forward to each and every year. 

So when it was announced that in celebration of Scrape Records’ tenth anniversary, Arch Enemy and Infernal Majesty along with local acts Sinned and Soulscar would be hosting a bash in honour of Scrape owner JJ Caithcart and his contributions to local metalheads, it was sure to be a night of epic proportions.

Unfortunately I had to miss the set of local melodic death metallers, Soulscar, as it overlapped with the Unearth/Darkest Hour show I was covering on the same night.  I did arrive in plenty of time, though, to catch Sinned for the first time live.  The local band’s mix of Suffocation- and Morbid Angel-inspired death metal rips along powered by Steve Shaw’s devastating blastbeats and the blistering, technical riffing of guitarists Dennis Leong and Ernad Kajevic.  New vocalist Dave London (also in Gross Misconduct) does a fine job of executing the growls and grunts of the band’s former vocalist, as well.  Sinned’s seven-song setlist—printed on what appeared to be Hustler centrefolds—showcased three new songs from their latest demo: “The Beasts and He,” “Wretched Flesh” and “Her Black Wings.”   While “Force Fed Fist” remains the band’s high point, “The Beasts and He” is a lurching slab of old-school brutal death metal and Leong’s fiery solo on “Her Black Wings” make the narrowing gap between 2004’s ENVY and the new album even more exciting. 

Force Fed Fist
The Beasts and He
Laid To Waste
6 Not 4
Wretched Flesh
Her Black Wings

Infernal Majesty’s reign as the kings of Vancouver’s underground metal scene is undisputed.  The thrash legends play a gig here every few months to keep themselves sharp and their fans on their toes with a new song or two added to the setlist nearly every time.  The long-awaited SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION still sits in limbo as the band searches for a label but of the eight songs planned for the album, I have personally heard at least half of them live before and it will be well worth the wait once this beast finally gets out.  Decked out, as always, in full leather and spikes, the members of Infernal Majesty made the most of their half-hour set with each release getting attention and even a new song—“4 x 6”—getting played.  Kicking off with “None Shall Defy,” Brian Langley continues to settle into the vocalist position once held by Chris Bailey.  Langley sounds very little like Bailey and it takes a some getting used to hearing “Overlord,” “Where Is Your God” and, of course, “None Shall Defy” without Bailey’s raspy shrieks.  Still, as Langley roars out the immortal “Satan…master…lead us…into Helllllllllllllllllll!” from “None Shall Defy,” the heavy metal continuum is immediately back on course.  Steve Terror and Kenny Hallman led the way with a rampaging version of “Overlord” powered by their twin leads and “Nation of Assassins” from SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION continues to make its way into the band’s line of soon-to-be-classic tunes.  Out now is the DEMON GOD E.P. which features four songs from SYSTEMATICAL EXTERMINATION (and two covers of IM classics with Cannibal Corpse and Zimmer’s Hole members making guest appaearances) that can be purchased at the band’s live shows or from their website.

None Shall Defy
Pestilential Eternity
4×6 (**New Song**)
Where Is Your God
Nation of Assassins

Landing Arch Enemy to headline this gig was a major coup.  The show was shaky at first as rumors swirled that it was actually cancelled at one point but eventually went on as planned, though, one day later.  Arch Enemy played ferociously as always but their one-hour set was just way too short.  There is no reason that a band with twelve years and seven full-length albums under their belt should limit its fans to a one-hour set.  Even stranger was the fact that five of the thirteen songs were taken from WAGES OF SIN, an album that came out six years ago!  To say there were glaring omissions is an understatement.  Only two songs from the just-released RISE OF THE TYRANT and nothing at all from BURNING BRIDGES or STIGMATA?  For those that think WAGES OF SIN is the crowning glory of Arch Enemy’s career, this show was undoubtedly riveting.  In fairness, the chosen songs were fantastic across the board but there is no reason Arch Enemy should not be playing 75- to 90-minute sets as headliners at this stage of their career.

Now that my rant is over, having guitarist Christopher Amott back in the band was immediately felt.  While Fredrick Akessson filled Amott’s shoes well, there is something about seeing Michael and Christopher Amott shredding away side-by-side on stage that just seems so…“right.”  As the brothers tore it up on “Dead Eyes See No Future” and the brilliant new song, “Blood On Your Hands,” the up-close view I got via the photo pit was shiver-inducing, not to mention the glorious encore of “Snow Bound” and “Fields of Desolation.”  Likewise, the little lady with the gargantuan voice, Angela Gossow, continues to defy all that is natural for the female throat.  Her unrepentant growls and screams have to be heard to be believed and away from the studio trickery and Pro-Tooled facades, she can really belt out the metal.  Ungodly sounds emerged from her mouth during the WAGES OF SIN trinity of “Ravenous,” “Dead Bury Their Dead” and “Burning Angel” that are awe-inspiring not just for their delivery but for the fact Gossow makes it appear so easy.  Having seen Arch Enemy live four times previously, this stands out as one of their best shows.  Essentially a “greatest hits” set, the short duration was made up for with the quality of material.  The sold-out crowd certainly made Arch Enemy realize that coming to Vancouver was well worth the effort!

Blood On Your Hands
Enemy Within
Dead Eyes See No Future
My Apocalypse
I Am Legend/Out For Blood
Revolution Begins
Dead Bury Their Dead
Burning Angel
Snow Bound
We Will Rise
Fields of Desolation

Befitting of his treatment and devotion to all things heavy, JJ’s faithful disciples paid their respects in droves and got a night of killer metal in return.  Scrape Records’ hold on Vancouver’s metal consumer has remained steady for ten years and with the relocation to a larger building just four blocks west at 323 East Broadway in January 2008, the service and events that we have come to expect from JJ and his staff will undoubtedly flourish in their new digs. 

***Thanks to Jessica at Live Nation for the press pass.

Scrape Records—Official Site
Arch Enemy—Official Site
Infernal Majesty—Official Site
Sinned—Official Site
Soulscar—Official Site