Demon Hunter / Extol / The Agony Scene / The Breathing Process
El Torreon, Kansas City, MO
June 29, 2003
|Review by: Tyree|
Just got out of the
Extol/Demon Hunter concert. Man, I needed this. This is how
you turn a weekend around. It's been too long since I've seen a live show. If
you're interested in reading a review of blistering, rip-your-teeth out metal as
seen on stage, then click here.
The concert was held at a filthy little dive in downtown Kansas City called the El Torreon. I've been to shows in some rank little squats before but this one was definitely the nadir. Anyway, let me start off by saying that what I've always loved, and continue to love about Xian (that means Christian in slang,) shows is that you pay so little and get so stinking much. Tonight I spent a total of thirty bucks plus $10 price of admission and walked out having seen FIVE bands and with three cd's plus a demo disk. Talk about a haul! How these bands even afford to put gas in their vans I don't even know.
Now for the music. The first band was an act from Connecticut (if I heard them right,) going under the moniker of The Breathing Process. You could tell they were very young and very new. Very raw. They looked like your standard-issue high school punk band but were trying to play In Flames style winter metal with none of In Flames' proficiency. Then there was their hyperkinetic onstage flailing which reached the point of self-parody. I kept waiting for the singer to take a headstock to the back of the skull. If they're still around in two years, (or haven't killed each other in an onstage accident), they'll have the makings of a good band. As it was, they were just nice warm up material to limber the muscles in your neck, heh heh. I'll give The Breathing Process a 6 for the music, a 2 for presentation.
Next up was a local band of young teenaged fellers whose name I didn't catch. They wore goofy foam-front trucker ballcaps and retro slacker clothes that probably came from stuff their dads quit wearing in the 70's. Musically they were all over the place to the point of distraction. We'd go from jangly emo to screaming deathcore to goofy MxPx/Green Day riffs all in one song and it just came out a big mess. I'll give them bonus points for effort, but I was glad when they left the stage. 1 for presentation, 3 for the music.
Needless to say, by this time this here old headbanger was gnashing his teeth for things to improve and they did slightly when The Agony Scene took the stage. Much tighter musically than their predecessors and they were much more comfortable onstage. They took control and they kept it. Sound was sort of generic, although not in a displeasing way. If I closed my eyes I could pretend I was listening to Kreator. 5 for presentation, 5 for the music.
After a teasingly long sound check [in Norwegian...fyrgny gberning thrath fyngny bork bork bork - ed] it was finally time for the band I came to see: EXTOL!!! I'd had the privilege of seeing these brutes from Norway at Cornerstone 2000 and they are the ONLY show from there I can still remember as clear as if it were yesterday. I knew I wouldn't be disappointed and I was right. Material consisted mostly of songs from their new album, Synergy with a few off their debut. Only one song from my favorite album, Undeceived made the set, much to my disappointment, but they more than made up for it. The new material really cooks live, as tight as anything from their earlier technical masterpieces. It's also faster, giving a chance for all members to show off their pyrotechnic skills. All of the band members have gotten better at what they do, from the well-harmonized clean vocals to the insane double bass drumming. Extol is so tight musically you could bounce quarters off of them. Big props to 'em for speaking the message of Christ before the final song. I normally am put off by bands who preach from the stage, but what the lead singer said in closing was both tasteful and heartfelt, a fine punctuation mark for a helluva show.
If I had any problems, it's the fact that they just weren't done justice by the El Torreon's tiny stage. Extol is a band who just *needs* a full 40'X40' outdoor stage to deliver their full effect. They're one of many bands who deserve so much more than to play tiny clubs. Also, a minor quibble was the fact that 3 of the 5 band members have cut off their waist-length hair. I know hair doesn't matter, but watching the five of them drop to low stance for a synchronized airplane-spin headbang would always take me back to the good old days of metal where both stage and audience was just a sea of whirling hair. Oh well. Overall a 10 musically, 8 for presentation.
Demon Hunter took the stage at 10 p.m. and played the longest set, clocking it at just under an hour. Extol deserved the headlining slot just from sheer number of albums they have out, but hey, that's the weirdness of live touring for ya. I must admit, it took me the first two songs to warm up to Demon Hunter, partly because the lead singer sports the same bald head and goofy looking beard as every posturing moron you find fronting those oh-so-popular nu-metal bands. But by the third song, Demon Hunter hit their stride and I was a preachin' and teachin' convert to the cause. I'm serious, these guys are just a musical orgasm on stage. Their live show is like being raped from behind by an angry cyborg with an off-the-chart libido and a ton of staying power. Demon Hunter may not be as dark or melodic as I normally like, but if you want a band who'll hit you like a Mack truck and leave you thirsty for more that you can rock out, bang your head and have fun too, then Demon Hunter is a band to add to your cd collection and see live if ever possible. Furthermore, their cd was only $10 whereas I've never seen it sold for less than sixteen. Add that to a great raport with the audience, (though not as jovial as Extol's,) and I'll say these seem like a hella nice bunch of guys. 10 for music. 10 for presentation.
So that was it, a night of metal in Kansas City. Look for me at the next one (I'm the guy dancing like a jackass and flashing duel devil signs with his glasses in one hand.) See you there. BWAAR!
The Agony Scene
The Breathing Process