A headbanger's blog!

Live!: Criticull (w/ Dissentient, Alcoholator, Screamer, Barrow Wight) @ Cafe Dekcuf, 21/07/12

It’s always worth taking part when a small band from across the world makes it’s way to sleepy little Ottawa. It’s also worth participating in any event wherein one of the most fun live acts in our fair city pulls headlining duty. So needless to say, I was pretty excited for this little event.

Unfortunately, thanks in large part to OC Transpo, I was late to the show and only managed to catch the last few songs of opener Barrow Wight‘s set. What I heard was a band working largely within a Venom-esque framework, but pouring in liberal doses of prog rock à la Jethro Tull. An interesting mix to be sure, and one full of potential. One thing the band still lacks is a true stage presence and energy. The members, in large part, just stood around looking at the instruments as if they were a little unsure of their playing. However, it was also evident that they were enjoying themselves, and that is the soil from which charisma springs. (7/10)

Screamer on the other hand, while being no older than yours truly, had the presence and passion of seasoned vets. NWOBHM by way of Sweden (i.e. Iron Maiden by way of Torch), this is total throwback Metal with dead serious intent and execution. Vocalist and Bass guitar player Christoffer Svensson is a talented frontman in the early 80s British mold, his voice reminding this writer of Tygers of Pan Tang‘s Jon Deverill, punctuated by highs reminiscent of Sin After Sin-era Halford.  Drummer Henrik Petersson is no slouche either, doing some very interesting stuff that most drummers don’t even bother with. Instead of just maintaining the beat, he throws in little flourishes and extra hits in tasteful places throughout the tunes. An extra dimension to an already rock solid force. (9/10)

Montreal’s Alcoholator is a full-on Thrash act with the philosophy that the world revolves around two things: Heavy Metal and Booze. Far from a unique approach to be sure (I can think of at least one band that has made an entire career out of the exact same concept) but that doesn’t make Alcoholator any less fun to watch and listen too. All instruments are solid and vocalist Matt Butcher is an adept in the use of that good ‘ol Thrash rasp, and the songwriting shows moments of brilliance. Some of the Thrash breaks actually gave me chills (Re: “Drink Beer… or Die Trying”). They have a long way to go before becoming masters of the mosh, but if they can stay the course and continue improving, Montreal could have yet another really special band in their midst. (7/10)

When Gatineau’s Dissentient appeared, their frontman Phil Campbell stood centre stage wearing a Fear Factory t-shirt, and that was certainly an apt comparison. This is a bruising Death Metal unit lying somewhere between that aformentioned California juggernaut and Montreal Tech-Death legends Gorguts. Standing out like a sore thumb as the heaviest unit of the evening, it was evident that this was a band who not only loves what they do, but know know their way around the respective instruments. The technicality in each members’ playing was incredible, and made moreso by the fact it looked easy. Bass guitarist Stef Stomphe is like a caveman who just discovered fire, flayling away on his instrument like he invented it. Throw in a song length Star Trek reference (specifically infamous TNG-era bad guys The Borg) and you have pretty much the perfect, nerdy, Tech-Death unit. (8.5/10)

Headliners Criticull are one of those bands who’ll never dissappoint. That has a lot to do with the fact that there’s no one else doing exactly what they’re doing. Sure there are reference points: Suicidal Tendencies, Primus, and early Faith No More are obvious influences. But, no one really truly blends Funk, Thrash, Hardcore, and a gonzo sense of humour and manages to keep it heavy and energetic. Yet despite how much they have going on, the songs themselves manage to stand-out and even become memorable, “Sabre the Flavour” and “Who Killed You?” being hilarious highlights. If you’re an open-minded Ottawa music fan, this is a band you need to see. Their is no one like them and, if they chose it, they could take their brand very far. (9/10)

Overall show score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ (8 out of 10)

Photos courtesy of the fantastic Gilles Landreville of GMLPhoto! If you wish to inquire as to his services, you can e-mail him at this address.

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4 responses

  1. A big thank you for your blog article. Much obliged.

    04/08/2012 at 8:14 pm

  2. Really informative blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Fantastic.

    07/08/2012 at 4:13 am

  3. Great, thanks for sharing this blog article.Thanks Again. Really Cool.

    07/08/2012 at 9:02 am

  4. wow, awesome article.Really thank you! Want more.

    07/08/2012 at 2:11 pm

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