Gig Review: Crow Black Sky Album Launch

On the 13th of December, Cape Town progressive metal band Crow Black Sky launched their debut album, Pantheion. Scott Miller and Adrian Pettit descended upon ROAR in Observatory and came back with the following report.

The day began like any other during the vegetative festive season, at 4:00 in the afternoon of course. Stirring from our traditionally lethargic lager, Adrian and I set forth at 4:30ish for the eagerly anticipated launch of Crow Black Sky’s debut full-length, Pantheion.

A very well advertised show, the launch had decent attendance and was almost as extensive as Whiplash barring a few bells and whistles. The initial youth was equal to the older crowd in numbers but not for long as they had to leave by 8:00. The sound was the usual for ROAR, that being excessively loud, however, still distinct to allow for individual instrument to be audible.

Much to our dismay (not really), we missed the first three outfits. However, the not-anywhere-near-deafening shrills of Red Carpet Murder’s vocalist managed to deter us from entering ROAR just yet; however, that might be a little harsh as the uninspiring riffs that were clearly “meticulously crafted” were also partly to blame.

The Impalement Theory caused a stir in the community due to preconceived notions of the band’s image and proposed genre of “brutal grindcore”, as seen on their Facebook page. I was almost persuaded that this band would bring something fresh to the stagnating scene, however my mood descended into a sordid one after swiftly realising that they were neither “brutal” nor “grindcore”. In fact, I’m of the belief that the pretentious statement was made to lure fans of grindcore, and brutal death metal to a show that was nothing but a fallacy. Considering their image and scene-wear we should’ve known that they would not live up to their promise and delivered what was expected: deathcore in its most generic form.

We were excited for the next band, Imperium of Man. Touted as technical death metal, this five piece marvel didn’t disappoint in their technicality, but I personally found their songs to be a little disjointed and convoluted. Their vocalist, however, put on a stunning performance which I found to be reminiscent of Derek “Demon Carcass” Rydquist of The Faceless. Very guttural growls and soaring screeches were indeed the order of the day! Their new drummer proved himself to be a highly-fitting addition to the band and demonstrated immense control, precision and a vast scope of technical, yet apt, percussive arrangements.

After a 45 minute lapse and speedy removal of the kiddies, the over 18 show began with the reputable thrashers, Infanteria taking to the stage.

Infanteria are a seasoned 5-piece outfit and failed to disappoint, releasing their own concoction of old school thrash upon the baying fans! They’re always a welcome crowd-pleaser, efficient in providing the audience with a frenetic and energetic display which caused the turning of many heads before they too joined in in the wild spasm of collective and ferocious head-banging.

Having witnessed Reverse The Sands at gigs prior to this, we decided to once more retire to the downstairs area for a gulp of fresh air and a swig of beer. We would like to mention that by this point ROAR had become a proverbial sauna and continued to cook the occupants. Unfortunately when this venue is full (especially during warmer nights) it becomes unbearably hot, humid and overloaded with carbon dioxide. Perhaps a new set of air-conditioners or extractor fans are in order but that’s for another discussion.

Next up; the main attraction and very motive for our attendance, Crow Black Sky, who instantly bellowed forth with their own seamless blend of black, death and progressive metal thunder. Irrespective of their influences their core direction is very much black metal with an experimental twist. It doesn’t take a genius to be able to comprehend that the chief composer, Gideon Lamprecht, knows precisely what he’s doing as every song was distinctly well-crafted. Even while effortlessly releasing truly complex riffage, every band member was consistent in sustaining their powerful stage presence.

Crow Black Sky
Despite having fallen sick earlier in the week, Crow Black Sky‘s vocalist, Ryan Higgo, was not fettered by his illness and delivered a monolithic performance which seemed to envelop the already bewitched crowd in a shroud of further entrancement. The vocal performance was by no means monotonous however, with the dark and tense atmosphere spawned by Ryan’s growls giving way to Gideon’s delicate and foreboding clean vocals. All three guitarists performed exceptionally well and complemented each other’s playing with tact and skill; and the rhythm section of the band is equally notable in their efficiency and relentless stamina, manned by Stephen Spinas and Lawrence Jaeger respectively. An utterly awe-inspiring spectacle, even more so considering that the band has had a relatively short run thus far, which certainly inspires one to attend their gigs in the future and monitor their progression.

All in all, it was an entertaining show, with the highlight being Crow Black Sky‘s performance, which was surprisingly stellar considering we were unsure as to whether it would live up to the snippets of material they released before the show. We still enjoyed the variation on display and the crucible of genres the gig had to offer; it was interesting, to say the least.