SEPTEMBER 25th 2013
Review By: Anka
Photos By: Peter Ruttan

Friday the 13th could have been an ordinary day or even a bad day, like some expected, but the live events unfolding that night at different venues across Vancouver might have helped change the reputation of the “evil” day. Superstitions aside, a great package of bands, both touring and local, took the stage of the Rickshaw Theater and delivered a set of amazing performances.

I regrettably missed the first band Warlock Enforced, whom luckily I had seen just a couple of weeks before, I know it might sound like a deliberate choice now but I assure you this is a band I’d love to see again and you should see it too! The other good part is that seeing the rest of the bands on the bill made up for this.
The second band to take the stage was Lord Dying from Portland. I liked their stage presence but the real ear-opener was their heavy sound with bold riffs and a loud sludgy tone. Touring in support of their highly praised debut “Summon the Faithless”, they did a great job at the Rickshaw, actually you couldn’t tell they’re just releasing a debut album, the feel was that of a band that’s been around for a while.

Breaks and changeovers were kept short to accommodate the 5-band lineup. The third band was actually my personal highlight of the night. Ramming Speed from Boston was maybe the most different band in the entire lineup, thanks to a more thrash/grind sound and no sludge or stoner element. It was like a punch in the face – fast, furious riffs, with surprising melodic guitar solos (reminded me of the classic heavy metal as I know it).  In many aspects, they are a sort of “old meets new” at a mad pace. All over, an insane performance, with an energetic stage presence – something actually fun to watch.

Black Wizard is already one of the top local favorites here, there is no doubt. Their presence in this lineup was thrilling to say the least. After the intense opening acts, their relatively tamed pace settled down the spirits at the Rickshaw but the crowd, more numerous by now, was instantly sucked into the band’s stoner whirlwind. It was a powerful performance, at times carried by lovely grooves, with wailing guitar leads and intense, gritty vocals. Still, even at this pace, Black Wizard rocked the crowd without a need for speed, reaffirming their reputation of a must-see band.

Headliner Valient Thorr had the grounds laid out for them, so all they had to do was to arrive and conquer. What I liked about this show is how the headlining band seemed to incorporate a little bit of all the sounds and influences of the opening bands. There was fluency but also diversity in a live show that actually stood out among others that weekend. Valient Thorr are a special bunch of guys: not only do they look pretty impressive (and alike?), their performance gets quite intense as well. After the epic intro, we got a share of hard-rock at a stomping rate. The crowd got into this pretty easily, It’s actually hard to resist those beats and the rock’n’roll groove - especially after a few well-deserved beers at the end of the week. Altogether it was an entertaining set and, without a doubt, a great end to the entire evening, here’s hoping we’ll get such perfect lineups more often.