I’d seen on the Fubar website that the door time was 7:30 PM. It turns out I was wrong. The door had opened at 6:30, instead. Things happen. I misunderstood the plan. Monuments did not play at all, that night, and I was only able to catch opening band’s Sleepmakeswaves’ last three songs, but they were extremely positive-sounding, heavy instrumentals, played for about fifty persons, and those tunes made me smile. The bassist, Alex Wilson, wore a ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead t-shirt, and the influence on the band’s music was very clear. Their short bio reads “we write love songs about delay pedals” and the ballads they played were beautiful.
I spoke with Wilson after their set and he’d mentioned groups like Mogwai and At The Drive-In as influences. Those may be odd ones to hear mentioned as influences for a band at a metal show, but these fellows play heavy, ambient post-rock: his explanation said a great deal about their emotive stage presence and sound.
I’d asked him if their music was shoegaze, and he replied that it was more like “shoe-rage.” I admire that answer. I’d thought about just staring at my sneakers and shouting for a while, after I’d heard that.
Sleepmakeswaves has been around since 2006, hailing from Sydney, Australia. I’d heard that they do not often tour the States, so I asked the bassist about it and he’d said that “the American metal scene is very self-supporting and hard to break into,” but that he was very glad to be on tour with Entheos and The Contortionist. To their credit, they have eight Australian tours, three European tours, a tour of the United States, an appearance at South By Southwest in addition to much critical recognition and acclaim: this band is extremely hard-working and ambitious. He said that if the band was able to break a sweat and leave it on the stage, then they’d had a good night: they did exactly that.
Official Site: http://www.sleepmakeswaves.com/
Next came Entheos, from the San Francisco Bay Area. This self-described “death fusion” metal band is a conglomerate of members from The Faceless, Animals As Leaders and Animosity, and their pedigree precedes them! The band’s first release, an independently distributed EP called “Primal,” was a number one Bandcamp best seller for many weeks in 2015, garnered great interest from many metal fans and earned them a spot on Artery Records’ roster. Shortly after signing to Artery, they toured with Veil Of Maya and Oceano and played festival dates with The Red Chord and Between The Buried And Me. In November of that year, the band parted ways with founding guitarist Frank Costa while working on a full-length and that man was replaced by Malcolm Pugh (ex-A Loathing Requiem, Inferni and Diskreet).
Entheos is fronted by a petite lady named Chaney Crabb. She has an engaging, enormous and rage-filled vocal style and a stage presence to fit. She paced the stage and, during their songs, was very much in the faces of the people in the front row. I absolutely love when that happens. Unsurprisingly, she was very kind and good to talk to after their performance. She was gracious enough to pose with me in a few pictures. Most of them were terrifically blurry, but I managed to grab another, terrifically blurry picture with her in somewhat better lighting.
Their songs are technical rippers, punctuated by steady d-beats, brief blasts, interesting time signatures, good soloing and excellent cues to thrash. During many of their tunes there was atmospheric accompaniment from an electronic device. Between songs there were several ambient interludes, which I almost always listen to with particular interest and enjoy in live sets, but the songs themselves were absolute bangers! There was no absence of energy or technical proficiency in this set which, to me, is always excellent.
Chaney’s interaction with the crowd was very good and, once, she did exhort us, growling, “Bang your fuckin’ heads!” A good number of us did just that.
My only reservation is that their set was very short! I think Entheos played all of twenty minutes on Fubar’s main stage. Each minute, however, was extremely worthwhile. I’d definitely see them again and, hopefully, they would play a hell of a lot longer.
Artery Records Website for Entheos: http://arteryrecordings.com/artists/entheos/
Lastly, The Contortionist took the stage. There was a good deal of time between their introductory soundscape and their taking the stage to play. I suppose the minutes we spent in deep blackness was to allow them time to prepare and to build anticipation in the crowd, too. It was effective for them. This audience, now one hundred plus in number and mostly very young people, seemed ecstatic when the stage lights went up to illuminate their idols.
Theirs is not a style of metal I’m very familiar with. I don’t go to these kinds of shows and I don’t listen to these kinds of bands on my own time, so it was a surprise to me, seeing the young faces in the crowd and hearing this brand of almost surgically sterile and effervescent-sounding metal. Gone was the sense of dread and menace that often accompanies the sound of many bands I’ve seen at Fubar. They don’t seem to be a very physical or lively lot while playing, either. The singer was content much of the time to stiffly move with his arms at the center of his chest and the other musicians seemed too caught up in their own playing to pay the crowd very much mind. But, in all, they played a fine set that was just perfect for their fans.
Good Fight Records’ site for The Contortionist: www.goodfightmusic.com/artists/thecontortionist.php
Review written by Richard Jaspering on 01 May, 2016 for Death By Metal STL