Tyrannicide rallies the crowd in Vancouver
At Funky Winker Bean’s on Saturday, January 5
Judging by the almost empty Funky Winker Bean’s last Saturday night, the city’s underground metal scene must’ve skipped the locals-only show to nurse still-pounding New Year’s hangovers. The bar itself, meanwhile, looked like it hadn’t quite adjusted its calendars—a Santa stocking, for instance, hung from a decorative skeleton with care. For that matter, a poster advertising the venue’s Evil Bastard Karaoke Experience featuring a googly-eyed jack-o’-lantern was likely left over from Halloween. Regardless of the anachronisms and the tiny turnout, the couple of dozen people in attendance—bands and bar staff included—were willing to rise to the occasion and bang their way through one of the first shows of 2013.
Despite Mournir vocalist-guitarist Nikolas Golar screeching about a battle where “only one remains”, the jovial, leather-gauntlet-sporting musician tried his best to rally everyone behind his crew’s adventuresome melodic death metal. “To the Sea” was an epic journey that jumped from shanty rhythms to fanciful synth-work segues by keyboard player Scott F. Thompson. While an aging hesher hairball did manage to perform his best Cousin It wiggle to the tune, no one else saluted the squad with neck-wrecking antics.
“If you want to head-bang, now’s the time,” Golar suggested before the band headed into “Immortal Soil”. Regrettably, he couldn’t cut loose either, since his curly locks were tamed by a ponytail. He’d later cop to trying to rip out his hair tie the whole set, but he finally freed his raven tresses and displayed some fluid fretwork during Mournir’s closing imperial death march.
Stylistically, Losses’ quick-shifting noise rock seemed a world apart from the previous act, at least according to the band’s bassist Dylan Olson. Seemingly self-conscious about his trio’s appearance, he played with his back to the crowd, and screamed into a mike pointed off-stage.
“This is kind of a weird show for us to play,” he explained uncomfortably in a tone equally, though not necessarily intentionally, apologetic and patronizing. “Glad you’re standing up. Glad you’re not being poor sports.” While the group’s endlessly polyrhythmic posthardcore approach made it difficult to latch on to a groove, a four-person push pit managed to erupt mid-set—fittingly, it expired within 15 seconds of slamming.
Unlike Mournir’s Golar, Tyrannicide frontman Alex Friis wasted no time whipping his mighty mane during the band’s vicious opening blast. The imposing, barrel-chested singer stormed across the stage in sock feet, alternating between ear-piercing shrieks and garburator grunts while the rest of the well-oiled Surrey quartet delivered a menacing amalgam of old-school thrash and contemporary technical death metal.
Full-speed-ahead assault “Idiocracy” found Friis showcasing his diabolic diaphragm control as he perched a foot atop Funky’s casket-size monitors and unfurled grotesque, half-minute-long gargles. Six-stringers Kyle D’Aoust and Jordan Peters’s descending-note dementedness on “Hypoxia Eutrophication”, meanwhile, conjured Arise-era Sepultura, before the song switched to a crushing mosh beat.
Tyrannicide dedicated part of its set to the Idle No More movement but sent out its finale, “Absolute Freedom in Frail Hands”, to its own departing drummer, Ryan Idris, who will be focusing on fellow locals the Almighty Excruciating Pain from here on out. The Surrey skinsman capped his career with Tyrannicide by wailing away so furiously on a double-kick explosion that he broke his pedal, and held it above his head post-set. Hopefully, Excruciating Pain is ready to foot the bill for the repair.