As I mentioned in my first ever post for this blog, there are four foreign-headlined shows to look forward to this September. FOUR FOREIGN-HEADLINED SHOWS IN A MONTH, probably the most I’ve ever been to out of almost three years of attending various shows. The very first one for this month has officially been ticked off as I arrived at Selda-Dos at around 10pm to catch the Manila leg of death metal band Funerus’ “The Black Death Over Asia Tour”. Had to endure almost four hours of travel time though from my place in Bulacan because lol, rainy Saturday night with some PUVs apparently too chicken to soak their engines in puddles of rainwater (note: not even floodwater for chrissakes!). Point being, it took me more than an hour of waiting in line to board a shuttle van in Bulacan, around 30 minutes travel to SM North EDSA, then another more than an hour of waiting for a jeep bound for NIA-NPC to arrive, and finally some 15 minutes before I finally reached my destination for the night. But then again, the entire show started at around 10:30pm so I might as well be thankful enough that I arrived just in time at the venue (because arriving reaaaallllllly early for any gig is a very lonely feeling; I know that for a fact because it had happened to me on a few occasions, always not fun at all). Also played some catch-up with a few friends from the underground metal scene whom I haven’t seen for quite a number of months already.
First band who performed was Black Goat. All I know about them is that they’re a black metal band (because Black Goat, duh) led by vocalist Anatuaria Hel who most guys in the crowd consider as a total stunner onstage, her beauty accentuated in part by her bullet belt and patch-riddled denim vest. Though putting her looks aside, Anatuaria’s shrieks were rather flawless, especially considering how she’s relatively new to fronting a black metal band at that (Myrkur must be having a run for her money right now, lels). Plus points as well for that last song of theirs with that dissonant guitar tone that somewhat reminded me of Blut Aus Nord. Here’s to hoping Black Goat would ultimately explore the more dissonant kind of black metal as there aren’t that many local bands pulling their best attempt at emulating Vindsval’s sound.
Second band who performed was Ataul. I admit to not knowing anything about them at all but I was pleasantly quite surprised that there is a local band doing the kind of death-doom that I found to be more or less at par with some of the stuff being released by Profound Lore Records, 20 Buck Spin and Relapse Records, to name but a few underground metal record labels with death-doom artists in their respective rosters. Ataul’s overall sound very much felt like there were five persons in that band despite actually having only three members (bass/vocals, guitar and drums) but their own take on death-doom is a very welcome development and a mark apart from all your usual thrash, death, death/thrash and brutal death metal bands that are already a dime a dozen in the local underground metal scene. The vocal timbre of Ataul’s frontman also kinda reminded me of Mike IX Williams for some reason if Eyehategod became a death-doom band instead of a NOLA sludge one. I found it rather weird though that anyone would actually be moshing really hard to some slow doom sections of Ataul songs as a friend who was at the front fell on her hip bone after someone pushed her and the two guys on her left. Needless to say, my friend got really pissed off with that fella. So whoever you are who caused my friend to fall on her hip bone which was quite painful: not cool at all bruh, not cool.
Third and fourth bands who performed were Legion and Tenebrion. Having never heard anything about Legion before as well, I tried my very best appreciating them but somewhat ended up getting distracted by their lead guitarist’s beefcake, straight-from-the-gym built (DO U EVEN LIFT BRO?!) – though that may be because orthodox death metal bands can be a bit tricky to like at first listen, even more so if it’s the first time you’ve seen them perform in a live setting and there’s that nagging feeling that you might have heard that almost same kind of sound being done by a lot of bands (all probably named Legion as well? it’s that rather common a metal band name tbh) from abroad before instead of actually putting something new to the table that would draw me into their music – kinda like how a lot of hardcore bands sound to me like they are all cut from the same assembly line. Same goes for black metal band Tenebrion even with THE Paul Magat of Kabaong ni Kamatayan pounding the skins for them. But then again, my first impression of a certain local hardcore band wasn’t exactly that good either though seeing them perform several times eventually made me change my opinion about them. So who knows if I might actually find something memorable about Legion and Tenebrion’s music in the foreseeable future…
The immediate opener for Funerus was none other than THE ALMIGHTY Pathogen. Having seen Pathogen twice at this point, it’s safe to say that their brand of death/thrash metal still sounds very fresh to my ears, most probably because there still aren’t that many local metal bands doing the whole death/thrash thing despite the year being 2015 and all. Pathogen did a rather long yet solidly consistent set comprised of around 6 to 8 songs, nice warmup to what was to cap the night off.
Ancient Warlord did not show up that night for whatever reason, so it was Funerus’ turn to tear the house (or should it be prison cell-themed restobar?) down. That despite a few setbacks like how Funerus’ flight to the country got a bit delayed due to air traffic (and here I thought vehicular traffic only occurred on land) as well as how only death metal couple John and Jill McEntee were there as their two session members weren’t able to make it to Manila also for whatever reason so they had to pull Paul Magat in to do drums and take a really quick, 15-minute rehearsal presumably in the studio upstairs that same night. Which was why Funerus – or as was the case last night, Mr. and Mrs. McEntee with Paul Magat – started a bit later than their scheduled set time and was able to perform only three songs that Jill had to apologize for their very short set (Mrs. McEntee was also walking with a cane btw and had to be assisted by some staff last night; probably got herself into some freak accident or something though that thankfully didn’t show in her performance at all). It proved to be no biggie though as John and Jill’s presence onstage as the core members of Funerus was more than enough to get the crowd moshing along and making the most out of the night. Despite initially getting a bit worried as I forgot to put my permanent marker in my bag in a rush to get to the venue right on time and frustrated as I tried to borrow someone’s marker unsuccessfully (pro tip: always leave a marker in your bag as you never know when you might need it), good thing the McEntees were provided with their own markers by organizer Hell Kommander of Cebu Hellbangers’ Club (who seems like a really cheerful fella and a fun one to hang out with is my impression of the guy) right after the show so I had my “Reduced to Sludge” CD and “The Black Death” 7” (two copies of that slab of wax actually, one’s mine and the other for a friend who wasn’t able to make due to some familial obligations) signed in no time at all, yay! … So yeah, the joke’s ultimately on that fella who didn’t lend me his marker… lolololol, ha ha fucking ha!
And this is how my neck is feeling right now after banging my head really hard during the entire show proper:
Not complaining at all though as it’s all part and parcel of being into metal anyway.
On a more serious note, it’s nice to know that even the underground metal scene is also limiting the number of bands lined up to do a single night’s show that isn’t billed as a music festival to less than 10 as it’s basically a win-win situation and a more worthwhile experience for everyone from the organizers to the bands as well as the audience. Now that should be the norm; anyone who puts more than 10 bands as lineup for an ordinary show is doomed to fail, that much is sure.
Also hoping for Incantation to also do a Southeast Asian tour anytime soon, but in the meantime, here’s their most recent most album “Dirges of Elysium” which was thankfully officially uploaded to YouTube by Listenable Records in its glorious entirety:
Next on my bucket list of shows to attend to this September: Birds in FUCKING Row FUCKING Live in FUCKING Manila this FUCKING Thursday, SHIT!! … Please excuse my French (pun actually intended as Birds in Row are, well, French).