Curse The Gods Of Summer | Talk & Live Review
It’s good to talk, or so we’re told.
It’s also good to see new events pop up within the Irish metal scene, which can sometimes seem a bit lacking in extra curricular activities.
This year’s ‘Curse The Gods Of Summer’ all day fest in Dublin attempted to remedy that, with organiser Crunch gamely putting on a couple of panel discussions before the music started proper.
First up, a panel composed to try and eke out the mysteries of the metal industry – how to get signed, what labels want, what they pay, all those sorts of things. The sorts of things only signed bands know, and which the uninitiated never get to hear.
After sitting through many of these things over the years, it’s always been clear to me that the success or failure of them depends on how much the panelists actually kHnow, rather than what they’re up there languidly speculating about. Facts, rather than opinion, are the making of them.
In that regard we were spoiled with the first panel, featuring an actual living breathing metal industry insider (Conor from Plastic Head) and Gama Bomb singer Philly Byrne, who after five years on Earache can speak with real clarity about the ins and outs of it all.
The table was rounded out with Darragh from Invictus / Into The Void and Drainland’s Jamie Grimes, whose experience with Southern Lord said much about the ephemeral nature of this ‘being signed’ lark.
Philly’s insights were the most useful.
Rather than complaining about the new 360 and 270 degree deals being foisted on bands by grubby labels – ie where they take cuts of your live and merch income, as well as records – simply find a way round it, he offered. Make an alternative arrangement with a shirt producer, meaning the label cant tread on that aspect.
The same with publishing.
Note who did what in your songs, set that up with a publisher and do it before the label gets near you. Protect your band by putting things in place before the label can get them.
From Conor’s point of view, receiving a deluge of poorly duplicated demos to Plastic Head every week meant he had much to say about the do’s and dont’s in that regard. The same with the amount a band is expected to do themselves – from recording advances (in other words a loan) and touring support (in other words a loan) and how not to get too stung.
Both were the kind of experienced advice you don’t usually get to hear, from people who know their shit.
Next up, the turn of a panel considering the current state of metal in Ireland. Well, that was always going to be more heat than light.
Chaired by Alex from Mental Deficiency, it replaced Conor and Philly with Jonathan Keane who’s written for ‘Drop D’ adding long time metal DJ Ray McGowan from Phantom FM.
I’m not sure I got anything out of this chat at all, to be honest, bar some interesting notes form Ray and his experiences moving on the station. There were interesting comparisons between the metal and punk scenes here, grass being greener on other sides, same old twenty people active in the scene, no churn bringing in new folk, etc.
Two very strong points did come out of it though. Firstly from chair Alex, who suggested that if metallers here dressed with as much dark cool as they do in Finland, more girls would be interested, more gigs would be attended and more people would take the scene seriously. He is of course correct, but was laughed down a bit.
Secondly, a punter from the floor described his experiences running a metal club in South Africa – where he realised that shit PAs, dirty bogs and crap bars were useless as a gig magnet. He upgraded all of them and attendances soared. He said we needed the same agenda, and in my view he’s completely correct.
Aside from this, I’m not sure how valuable this second section was: you can judge for yourself with the vid below, kindly shot by Arkadi.
However it’s a start, and it was an entertaining and provocative couple of hours. What was good about it was the sense that a bit more talking between everyone doing things can only ever be a benefit.
These things are all, all, all about how much the contributors know and are willing to share, and that’s got to be the target if this is to happen again.
And so to the music – which I must apologise for bailing on most of.
I gather that new band Aeternum Vale feature members of Corrupted and A Distant Sun, and that’s no surprise on hearing them. Their melodic blackened metal is more or less the same as A Distant Sun, but it just isn’t engaging enough to matter anymore.
It reminds of Hecate Enthroned more than anything – which is to say, not bad, but consigned to a part of metal history that must surely have had its day by now.
A hundred thousand bands have done what Aeternum Vale are currently doing, even if the likes of Winterfylleth are trying to make it popular again.
Add to this the rather preposterous vision of the lead singer swirling dramatically in his greatcoat in the heat of the Pint stage, flanked by the rest of the band who basically don’t look at all bothered to be there.
Yes, the drums were good, but the music is just too tired to matter at this stage. It’s a bit of a shame, because A Distant Sun’s last effort was really getting somewhere. Perhaps AV will sound better on cd – but it wasn’t inspiring on stage, sadly.
I only caught the end of young thrashers Animator, but they’re tight as anything. Fast thrash, great snappy drumming and with an odd guitar tone that reminded of Voivoid, if they keep developing at this fast rate they’ll be making music as good as Gama Bomb.
That’s if the spent retro thrash fixation allows them to, of course. Covering Tankard to finish was close to genius as well, so I’ll be looking forward to catching them again. Solid all round.
Zhora were as utterly awesome as they are on record. Thumping round the stage like a group of angry shrubs, their hairy, hoary Neurosis / Crisis / Cynic mix is just sublime.
‘Feet Nailed To The Ground’ thundered out the speakers, and the thickness of their sound meant it levelled the place.
They’re tight, inventive and confident about what they’re doing. Add to that, movement. The band are all over the stage, bounding around as the music heaves. Superb to watch, and confirming them as one of Ireland’s better metallic prospects for the coming year.
Didn’t catch the rest between blether and bailing early, but such are the vagaries of driving to an all day show.
- Earl Grey ::: 24/07/12