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Metal Alliance - March 31st 2012 Vancouver

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Conor Fynes View Drop Down
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    Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 3:51pm
Metal Alliance is one of those festivals where metalheads can be treated to a multi-discipline of styles with the metal umbrella. As such, there are also many more bands playing a gig like this than what's considered average for a touring gig. In the case of this year's Metal Alliance, some big names in metal were present, from death metal (Dying Fetus) to groove (Devildriver), to prog (The Faceless) and so forth. The sheer diversity of bands playing this show is something of a double-edged blade; while any metalhead is bound to enjoy at least one or more of the bands here, there will undoubtedly be a band or two there that aren't too enthusiastic about. I found myself in this position admittedly, but I can say with confidence that there's something for just about everyone at this show.

I counted eight bands playing the gig; although Dying Fetus, The Faceless, Devildriver, 3 Inches of Blood and Job For A Cowboy are going to be the names that metalheads across the spectrum will at least recognize. For such a great many bands, the turnover time was decent, but so many changes of set-up does mean there is quite a bit of waiting involved. However, many of these bands impress, and I was even surprised a few times. The Faceless' progressive death leanings made for the gig's highlight, fusing their technicality with some melody and circus-like 'weird' sections to distinguish them apart from the rest. 3 Inches of Blood was the other band on the bill I was already a fan of, and though the mixing made it difficult to make out Cam Pipe's soaring vocals, it was a set filled with energy.

I had seen Job for a Cowboy a couple of times before this, and admittedly, I never found them enjoyable on either occasion. I have personally never been a big fan of anything 'deathcore' oriented, but I found myself pleasantly surprised by their performance this time around. Clearly, Job for a Cowboy have been working on developing their sound over the past few years, and while I would still not say they 'stand above' in extreme metal, their change from a bland deathcore act to tech death is impressive and very noticeable. Dying Fetus is my other pleasant surprise. Although I have always appreciated their technical abilities, their studio work always felt like it was lacking the organic feel and dynamic I seek in death metal of their style. The live setting is where Dying Fetus bring their gusto. The intensity of Dying Fetus is best experienced in a live setting; it emphasizes the aggression of looming intimidation and heaviness that has made the band so recognized in death metal.

In terms of bands I was 'less' enthusiastic about, Devildriver was decent, but generally adhered to their painfully straightforward brand of groove-death metal. Where I may have found myself most put-off was Impending Doom, however. Taking into consideration my aforementioned distaste of deathcore, Impending Doom were certainly not a band I would recommend to like-minded listeners, especially taking into consideration that their lyrics are based in support of fundamentalist Christianity. Although my studio experience with them was limited to a few days of sporadic listening to YouTube videos of theirs before the show itself, their music was based in generic breakdown-centric deathcore, and the generously offensive lyrics seemed to suggest that any non-Christians had an eternity of hell to look forward to when they die. They received a decent crowd reception though, so who am I to judge?

Metal Alliance is definitely a tour that favours the more 'modern' trends in metal, but there is something for all metalheads here. The Faceless were most definitely the highlight of the night, and- like all good shows- I've been forced to reconsider a few of these bands, seeing them in a different light following the show. For a bottom line or conclusion, if someone is a fan of at least two of the bands on the bill already, it should be worth going to, not just for the fact that they can see their preferred acts, but- like me- they may find themselves enjoying some of the other bands more than they thought they would.
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