Here on the windward side of the Cascadian mountains, a deep rumbling can be felt throughout the lower mainland in and around Vancouver, where the region’s metal scene appears to be approaching critical mass: after Modified Ghost Festival this April – an event of unprecedented scope for extreme music in the otherwise quiet city – and given the calibre of local talent, as evident on the Vancouver Metal Compilation released this winter, there is an upwards momentum in effect and death metal warmasters Without Mercy are spearheading the charge into summer festival season with the release of their latest EP, Mouichido.
Judging by their performance for the CD release show at the Rickshaw last Friday, the band is primed for the cross-Canada tour launch in support of Mouichido (translated from Japanese as, “one more time” or “repeat”) and their excitement is infectious: from the impressive opening set of Obsidian and onward with Xul, Dead Asylum, and the utterly bombastic Neck of the Woods, high energy and genuine camaraderie pervaded the event.
Oddly, one of the benefits of the 20th century music industry’s collapse is the sense of community engendered by postmillenial self-reliance – creatives turn to their neighbours for mutual support – and even death metal bands, whose music is broadly perceived as grim and dour, can reap the rewards of cooperative effort, mitigating setbacks and collectively building on one another’s achievements. Obstacles and challenges always provide a catalyst for great creative work but collective effort sustains it. Hats-off to all of the bands on Friday’s lineup and, in a word, mouichido.