Oh boy! another Friday night I get to spend in my favorite surroundings: the underground metal scene. On tonight’s menu we have a course of slamming death metal served hot in one of my most-frequented venues: the MCP Apache motorcycle club in Fontaine-l’Evêque. I always have a good time there, even when the bands playing aren’t known to me at all. The underground is often an ideal place for discovery and, apart from the headliner, tonight would indeed add a few new bands to my check list. Read on to find out if those discoveries were any good at all.
Guttural Deepthroat (***)
Our French neighbors from Guttural Deepthroat crossed the border to bring us a half hour of slamming death metal as promised on the flyer. What it didn’t mention was that they play with a drum computer. This is somewhat a rare sight and the reason behind it becomes immediately clear when seeing such a band perform: it literally lacks a bit of punch. There’s just something to seeing a drummer perform blast beats at insane speeds and giving a bit of show during groovier parts or when the tempo breaks down. It’s something which you only find in a few metal subgenres and which makes the whole thing much more organically impressive. I found this element was sorely missing in their set.
All things considered their show wasn’t bad at all. Their stage presence is good: both shredder and bassist know how to crabcore while vocalist Omer screams his lungs out in different impressive vocal ranges. Just watch out with that mic cupping. I also can appreciate less talking and more playing, which was the case here. The more songs you can showcase during an opening performance, the better for your band. Guttural Deepthroat was perfect to start the night with.
Untethered from Germany brings you deathcore with a whole lot of breakdowns and only some slam or grind influences, the latter being somewhat scarce. Unless you’re new here, you know I’m skeptical towards the divisive genre that deathcore has become over the last few years. I believe it to be a bit of a dead horse. Just look at the great ones like Carnifex, Whitechapel, Job For A Cowboy or All Shall Perish who either died out or took their sound in a completely different direction a few years ago.
Its underground scene has also suffered a lot. I remember ten years ago when there were no other bands around but the ones playing metalcore and deathcore. And then people gradually grew sick of the breakdown-laden shows, as bands were turning into bland copies of each other. A lack of originality brought the once unique genre to a low point.
I understand however the desire to delve back into the old school material but to go as far as to sit through a forty-minute set, meh. Untethered played well, but the music doesn’t light any fires in me.
Anime Torment (***)
See above. Just kidding of course, although we’re not far from it. Cool that Anime Torment came all the way from Czech Republic play in the humble location that is the MCP Apache club, but again, it doesn’t do much for me. They reminded me of that less-breaky, more melodic deathcore that you could compare to a softer version of All Shall Perish. It’s also a lot less technical (you don’t get the beloved arpeggios of sweeps).
The crowd, I’m afraid, got the same idea and suddenly was reduced to half its original size. If our Czech friends got any wind of it, it didn’t show at all. They were having a blast and played their entire set with a constant energy that managed to impress me well enough. I admit I found their good mood compelling and as a consequence I enjoyed myself greatly.
I was looking forward to finally seeing international slam ensemble Kraanium perform their gore-infused auditory violence in an underground setting. As I’d never seem them before and since I’d enjoyed their last album immensely (‘Slamchosis‘, 2018), my expectations were rather high. Now when the time finally came, I noticed at once that sound conditions weren’t optimal. Indeed, the techie who usually mans the P.A. had to be replaced for the night and, while the replacement didn’t do a bad job considering the venue, the difference was quite apparent.
Strong point here were the shredding department. Man, those slam riffs are as mean as they come. Slow, fast, it doesn’t matter. You’ll feel them throughout your body and will be unable to resist throwing yourself in the pit. Now the weak spot for some reason was the drummer. Don’t get me wrong: the ride bell or zil bell rang sharp, but the blast beats were almost inaudible and the kicks couldn’t keep up the pace. Vocals were kind of so-and-so too since they lacked some power, and weren’t as brutal-sounding as I’d hoped.
I was also promised the crowd would go nuts and wasn’t disappointed. On that respect at least the show ruled and it made up for any moments of boredom I had experienced. At one point one dude stripped down and moshed completely nude. If that’s not a party, then I don’t know what is.
Such is the way it goes with the underground: it’s never perfect and sometimes it’s just plain average. But think about this: if all shows were perfect, there would be no perfect shows. If you don’t attend a mediocre one once in a while, you won’t be able to appreciate the really good ones.