It’s often difficult to write reviews for gigs where there are bands that are perhaps not up to par with the rest of the lineup, but fortunately this one is going to be easy for me.
The crew was there around 3.30pm, had a nice little chat with people from the Thai black metal band Dei Tetra and subsequently headed down for a round of coffee and BAK CHOR MEE! (Which they found pretty good!)
At 6:30pm, doors were finally open and the first band was up, after a 1 hour delay. But it was all worth it as opener Hallow were all prepared to rock the house. Playing a style of hard rock/heavy metal, they were just a taste of what was to come after them. I particular liked how the vocalist utilized a harmonizer to create harmonizing for his vocals at certain parts of the song, though it provided somewhat of a comical relief when he forgot to turn it off when talking to the crowd (which definitely wasn’t a bad thing!). One thing that I noticed though was how much gain there was on the guitarist’s tone while on rhythm and it made their songs pretty hard to follow (since I’m pretty much a guitar person), though the solos were extremely clear and addictive!
Evil Singing Pandas were up after Hallow, featuring gig organizer Remy. ESP got me especially curious after the first few songs that I heard from them, their Year of the Metal Tiger MCD (which is unfortunately not for sale according to Remy, for the physical edition). They played music in the vein of old school rock and heavy metal, including a cover from Led Zeppelin. I loved how Remy moved to the music he was playing, displaying his enthusiasm and his passion throughout his set. The drummer also showed his versatility through fusing Bossanova beats into one of the songs. They ended their set with another (instrumental) cover from viking/death metal band, Mithotyn. To the blank faces when Remy announced that it was going to be a cover from Mithotyn, Remy says, “well, screw you very much!”
Right after ESP, G.O.D. was up. Having been in existence for around 5 years, G.O.D. definitely had the charisma to pull off a good show. This was when the first signs of life among the crowd became apparent, with people starting to move to the front of the stage as the band was setting up. With the first note struck, heads started banging and hair started flying all over the place. Have to say that I was impressed with vocalist and guitarist Calvin’s vocals, who’s growls and shrieks stayed very constant throughout the set.
At the end of G.O.D.’s set, we spied a silver man going up on stage, who turned out to be axe-wielder for Deus ex Machina, Ryan. With Mithun not in Singapore, they had a session vocalist to stand in. Ryan’s stage (or off-stage?) antics certainly raised many eyebrows (or perhaps I just haven’t been to enough DEM gigs). Halfway through the set, he asked the audience in front of him to “siam”, leaving us to wonder what was going on. He then proceeded to jump into the audience and pretty much stayed there for most of the set. Though his constantly unpredictably swinging headstock certainly posed a threat to the audiences’ faces, the crowd certainly enjoyed what they saw.
Finally, Thai black metal band Dei Tetra took the stage. I have to say the band looks totally different on-stage with their corpse paint and off-stage. Emperor Viperon and King Aboroth had blood constantly spewing out of their mouths throughout their set, while vocalist Countess Asithara charms the audience with her shrieky vocals and headbanging, and her reminder for the crowd that “if your heads are still on your shoulders, I want you to all headbang till they are not on your shoulders anymore!” Perhaps the highest point of their set was their cover of One by One, when King Aboroth and Countess Asithara switched roles, him taking over vocals and her taking over bass (which definitely reminded me of ChthoniC’s Doris!). It was overheard that this song is a special one, just for the crowd at Singapore!
Rudra took the stage next. Starting with the crowd favourite, Aryaputra, was definitely a right choice as the instant the first note was struck, heads once again started banging. They played a selection of songs throughout their discography, including an as-of-yet titled track from their upcoming album, Brahmavidya: Immortal I. When it was drawing to a close frontman Kathir asked the soundman if they had time for more than 1 last song. The exchange was hilarious and provided much entertainment to the crowd:
Kathir: “Soundman, how many songs do we have left to play?”
Soundman shows a single finger, showing that they only had time for 1 last song.
Kathir to soundman: “Are you sure we only have 1 song left?”
Soundman nods his head.
Kathir to soundman: “Can we negotiate?”
Soundman shakes his head.
Kathir bargains anyway, asking for 3 more songs with the soundman initially insisting that they could play 2 songs at max, but finally gave in for them to play 3 last songs. The highlight was probably the last track, where Kathir gave the crowd a choice between The Pathless Path to the Knowable Unknown or Aham Brahmasmi (to which the crowd picked Pathless Path, of course!).
Lastly, we had death metal band Absence of the Sacred take the stage. Initially it was a shitty turnout since it was already getting late and the crowds went out after Rudra’s set. But when they launched into their first song, Era of the Apostate, crowds started pouring in from the outside. Let’s face it, their set wasn’t exactly excellent though the musicians on stage were definitely good. Somehow frontman Mike almost always faces technical problems for the gigs that I attend (the last time it was at the Soundcrusher gig at House of Rock). Towards the end of their second song and halfway through their third song, his guitar suddenly went off. However, the crowd response was extremely supportive, headbanging and throwing horns throughout to show their support. I have to say though, I preferred it when the vocals on the track which he had to only do vocals when the guitar was down. They played 2 new songs and also threw in a cover which the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall this gig has been a pleasant experience, one of the better ones at a nice and decent pub venue. Special thanks to Dei Tetra who were extremely nice people and for the nice chat and complimentary autographed copies of the El Fuego EP to the crew.
©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui