Words/Photography By: Raven Benwait
The great season of fall is here, but we are not just preparing for Halloween, yet also the musical talent to arrive at our Toronto music venues. To end off the weekend, Cattle Decapitation arrived at Hard Luck Bar with King Parrot, Black Crown Initiate and Dark Sermon. September 27 was filthy, dark, violent, metal night to remember.
The first band I saw was Black Crown Initiate who brought their dim, mysterious vibe to the stage. Through the night, they played songs from their albums The Wreckage of Stars and Songs of the Crippled Bull, both of which are filled with darkness. Black Crown Initiate is said to be “the sound of a sentient being at war with itself and everything else; an entity holding on for dear life as its inner and outer world dies.”
James Dorton was putting on a great live show during this set, with his constant windmills and sweat from his hair whipping out at us. In response, all the long-haired dudes were happily wind-milling back. One of the highlights of the set was bassist Nick Shaw. His style is a groovy Metal feeling, almost like the bass of the Toronto band Intervals. Shaw definitely rocked that 6-stringer with his constant solos and jumpy rhythms, which added a nice original touch to the band. Being openers, I found that they did a great job with starting the dark fall-metal feel to the night.
Next up was King Parrot who the crowd grew enormously for. Seeing King Parrot previous times, I was quite excited because they are one of those Metal bands you need to see. As always, the Australians started off with cracking jokes. The audio conductor was having issues throughout the night which upset the crowd, but bassist Slatts Slattz was cracking jokes to keep the crowd entertained.
King Parrot opened up with “Stench,” followed by “Butcher.” Instantly, people were pushing and began a serious mosh-pit. For those in the front row including myself, there was no room for safety. We only just had the speakers on the front of the stage as support from falling on our faces. I won’t complain though because after all, it is a hardcore Punk, Grindcore, Metal band… how could the crowd stay calm during this? I’ve also got to mention, the band got a case full of water bottles and opened each one at a time, spraying the crowd with them. King Parrot used about 15-20 bottles I’d say.
They also played “Sick,” “Gutter” and “Probe.” I found that King Parrot’s best live songs were from Bite Your Head Off, a 2012 album. Vocalist Matthew Young knows how to put on a live show. He is one of those hyper singers who will do everything he can to get the crowd involved. The guy jumped off stage and ran around the venue, danced with a girl in the mosh-pit, jumped on tables, got into guys faces, jumped right to my camera lens and ran back onto stage. Definitely some good entertainment along with the music!
King Parrot closed their wild set with “Silly Ol’ Mate,” which is straight from Australia. The band members yelled at the crowd “ol’ mate,” over and over. These guys not just musically talented, but are also comedians. It was definitely a good choice of band openers by Inertia Entertainment.
Last but not least it was time for the headliners we had all been waiting for… Cattle Decapitation! The venue became so packed, especially in the front where I was standing, where you couldn’t even breathe. Cattle Decapitation went on this tour following the release of their new album The Anthropocene Extinction, which I purchased on the weekend. I highly recommend you all listen to the August 7 release as it is filled with brutality and originality. They opened with one of the best hits from this album, “Manufactured Extinct.” Instantly, we all began to get crushed in the front. People were pushing, crowd surfing, stage-diving and punching one other. There was no mercy. Some more great ones performed by Cattle Decapitation included “The Prophets of Loss,” “Your Disposal,” “Mammals in Babylon,” “Forced Gender Reassignment” and “Pacific Grim.”
I call the craziest song of the entire night to be “A Living Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat” which is the first tune I ever heard by them. This is quite a vicious yet catchy tune. People were screaming un-singable lyrics, jumping around, moshing and falling from the stage. Cattle Decapitation fans are hardcore fans.
Vocalist Travis Ryan was very interesting to watch. As he was singing, his face was dripping of drool and sweat, but I don’t blame him, with those intense, high-pitched, screams and singing. He has a lot to show for his vocal range and he did that night.
As a music journalist, I’ve attended countless shows. Quite a few of these shows have taken place at Hard Luck Bar, which is the wildest venue I’ve gone to. This show was by far the extreme, violent and filthy one I have attended. It beats the Rings of Saturn show which I thought was one of the stormiest of shows. This one deserves a place in the book of most brutal Metal shows in Toronto, as it was definitely a night to remember.