GIG REVIEW: Ulcerate, Zhrine & Phobocosm Live at Reggies, Chicago
On a Sunday evening in Chicago people are usually getting ready for the new work week, but a privileged few were at Reggies Rock club to witness one of the best metal tour of 2016. I was excited to see Chicago native Vukari as they opened up the evening with no lights and burning incense, marking this as more of a ritual than a musical performance. Rich Stancato’s heavily effected tremolo-picked melodies complimented Marek’s fierce rhythmic chords as he writhed and howled on the dark stage. Drummer Mike Destefano didn’t miss a single hit and performed with great precision. Spencer Morris was the perfect anchor for the melodic section on bass guitar, filling the sonic space underneath the turmoil. Vukari’s time came to an end with the frenzy of notes becoming more obscure and chaotic, ending with a final crash out and the drone of the strings still ringing loudly and wildly. It ended abruptly with a flip of a switch, and then there was silence before the crowd ranged with cheers and ovation.
When Phobocosm from Montreal Canada came on stage it was very interesting to see them set up, the band was very heavy and massive they definitely laid down some serious heavy tones. I am not very familiar with them but I enjoyed their performance. I definitely need to check them out more and would like to give them another chance and see them perform more!
Next up was Iceland’s Zhrine originally known as “Gone Postal” seeing the crowd come more upfront and together as Zhrine set up the reaction of the crowd, everyone else there was extremely excited to see the band perform! They started off the set very slow and low, and within minutes of them instrumentally jamming out it got heavy and loud! They performed the entire Unortheta album. Guitar/Vocalist Þorbjörn had such impressive character on stage with guttural, aggressive vocals ripping through the mic that gave a chilling sensation.I can say I am lucky I got to watch such an impressive band. Their music is very dynamic, some parts so glooming and beautiful before an explosion when they would go back into distortion and vocals. The performance was captivating, drawing the crowd in with every new progression. Porbjorn used a bow on his electric guitar to get the most haunting sounds I have ever heard, and Ævar bassist was using an electric upright bass which added a very unique aesthetic to the group, although he was switching back and forth throughout the set.I hope they come back to Chicago again!
The night was coming to an end but not before the mighty Ulcerate performed! It was my first time catching this ferocious band live. Their entire performance,from the top to the end was pure intensity incarnate. Jamie is well known for his incredibly complex drum parts and compositional writing style (meaning that every hit and stroke is intentional and written to flow with the music seamlessly). His technique was raw and precise, landing the hits of every blast beat with great power and driving the whole band through the entire set! He made his complex playing look absolutely effortless without breaking a sweat. The sound of the stringed instruments from Paul and Michael was incredibly dense, ranging from dissonant and vile to disharmonious and nefarious at best. Ulcerate is a shining example of evolution in technical death metal, moving away from computerized drums and bedroom guitar to compelling compositions and truly accomplished musicianship.
Reggies consistently books the best of the best when it comes to metal tours, from all across the spectrum of extreme music. I was very pleased by the end of the night, I have not been that blown away by a group of bands, such as these, in a very long time.