Hexis, Trauma Model, Jisei, and Blackthrone Ascension
I’ll admit: I love hardcore music, but until now, I haven’t really gone to see it live. No real reason why. Maybe I was worried I’d mosh wrong and get embarrassed. Ultimately, my night went great, and I left The Astoria hotel pub with relatively light bruising. I did fall down some stairs at the Skytrain station later that night and hurt my ankle, but I won’t let that detract from the fact that this was a very good show.
Fraser Valley band Blackthrone Ascension started the night strong, making use of two guitars and symphonic sampling to give their deathcore a loud, yet melodic sound. As a (Fraser) valley girl and symphonic metal enjoyer myself, I enjoyed their loud, melodic approach to metal a lot. During their set a fellow audience member punched me in the breast, which was my first lesson that, in fact, moshing at hardcore shows is quite a bit different than at punk shows.
Jisei are fucking awesome. Describing themselves on Facebook as “Anti-jerk Grindcore”, this was chaos in its purest, most passionate form. The band was composed of Alexis on guitar and Leda, who yelled and violently stomped around the stage in a way that I’ve never truly seen a human being move in before. Lyrically, the band points its unadulterated anger towards oppressive forces, as cheekily demonstrated with a song called “Dear Joanne” dedicated to J. K. Rowling. As one Tik Tok they sampled before a song says, “Fuck fourth of July” indeed.
Trauma Model, from Kingston, ON, somehow managed to up the violence of the last two bands. I wasn’t even really in the mosh pit (equally out of fear and sleepiness) and I still ended up with a bruised rib. Overall, their approach to metal was more rhythmic and traditional, but I certainly enjoyed it regardless.
Hexis, a Denmark band on their first North American show of an insane 103-show tour, was the last to perform. They swapped the red lighting of the first three bands for a purple strobe light, which I thought worked to an enormous effect: If you spent the first three acts bleeding out, then with Hexis, you’ve died and you’re dead now. I was captivated - bewitched, even - by the hard-hitting sound of a band that showed no sign of exhaustion from the over 1000 live shows they’ve apparently performed to date. Some of their songs were unfortunately marred by technical issues with a speaker crackling, but that got fixed quickly and the rest of the set went off smoothly.
To my fellow Lower Mainland residents, keep your eye out for upcoming Jisei shows, as they are not to be missed. For anybody anywhere else, keep your eye out for Hexis, as no matter where you are, they are almost certainly coming to your city.
Photo of Trauma Model performing, with credit to IDFK Design & Photography.