Underground death metal pioneers Of Feather and Bone and Tomb Mold have undertaken a 14-date North American tour that was announced a couple of months ago. The two groups managed to successfully make their way from Texas up through the Western coast of the United States and eventually across towards the East, playing dates in Boston and New York. The two final dates of the tour were held here at home in Canada on June 25th in Montreal and the 26th in Toronto. The collection of dates represents one of the biggest sets of shows in succession for the two small groups.
The tour was held to support both groups’ sophomore full-lengths. Of Feather and Bone’s Bestial Hymns of Perversion was released a few months ago on March 23rd and Tomb Mold’s Manor of Infinite Forms came out on June 8th. I recently reviewed Tomb Mold’s newest release here if you want to read about my opinions of the record. I will however say that my review was fairly positive which reveals how excited I was for the Montreal date of this tour.
The venue was in the back room of a small bar. The location already had a fairly atmospheric and ominous vibe to it, as the interior design looked to be of medieval inspiration and the lighting was intimately dim. I really love smaller shows like this one the most because of this exact reason. I find that the more commercial metal gets the more it inherently strays away from the intentions of the music and the artists involved. While I love my fair share of bigger bands like Slayer and Metallica, their concerts are always filled with large rowdy crowds which surround you indefinitely while you stand for the next four hours waiting for opening bands to pass and large-scale stage requirements be checked off. I’m here in this dimly lit bar to see a band named after fungal growths found within burial chambers, and I want the atmosphere to match that.
I walked in to the back room which ended up fitting roughly 150 people inside comfortably. Even though I was only ten minutes early before the music was scheduled to start, there was only ten-or-so fans there (the room eventually filled to max capacity a bit later). I immediately recognized Tomb Mold bassist Derrick Vella standing behind the merch table talking to a fan. After their conversation I immediately came up and introduced myself. Derrick was extremely warm and welcoming and greeted me with a handshake. We talked for a few minutes about Tomb Mold merch, as they were unfortunately completely sold out from the other dates, except for a few medium-sized shirts. Although I was bummed not to be able to purchase a shirt from them (I did buy one from Of Feather and Bone, however), I was happy to see that their merchandise had been selling well – the band deserves so much more credit than they get.
Even though the music was spectacular, that was probably the highlight of the night for me. It was my first time talking to what I would call a celebrity as per my definition and it meant a lot to me that he was very respectful and welcoming to my conversation. I didn’t want to fanboy too much so I kept the conversation on the short side as more people were entering the room, but in hindsight I should have probably told him how much I enjoyed their most recent release.
This leads back to my reasoning behind my preference for smaller venues versus larger ones. While seeing Slayer play in an arena for 20,000 people is spectacular and all, nothing beats meeting someone you immensely respect and appreciate just like in the short tale above.
A local band from Quebec called Oath. Div. 666 opened for the two aforementioned groups. Even though the band has been active for over 8 years now, they only have a demo and an EP to their name. Nonetheless, their material translated very well live and they successfully managed to warm up the crowd regardless. They play a very brooding and sinister vibe of death metal that, although is probably a little more primitive than Tomb Mold or Of Feather and Bone’s music, really fit in with rest of the night.
I always appreciate when bands with bigger followings give local groups the opportunity to play in front of bigger audiences. It doesn’t hurt anyone to let a smaller group like Oath. Div. 666 play for 30 minutes. Everybody gets more metal and smaller bands get more exposure. Everybody wins.
Tomb Mold promptly took the stage following a 20-minute intermission to set up the group’s drum kit and other gear. While they played a relatively short set, they played a great selection of songs in my opinion. Prominent tracks were “Vernal Grace” from their first record with “Abysswalker” and “Two Worlds Become One” from their most recent release.
For those unaware, Tomb Mold’s vocalist also plays drums for the group, which is a pretty rare occurrence. The situation sprouts from the group’s formation, as Max Klebanoff and Derrick Vella started the band as a pet project a couple of years ago, so they had to share the band’s musical output between the two. Anyways, the absence of a dominant vocalist frontman’s presence lent really well to the group’s more intrusive and compact music. While the vocalist/drummer stayed in the back, the three guitarists took the front stage which put an increased importance for the pure music as a whole, rather than focusing on the vocal output of a signer with the music serving as a secondary addition.
My only qualm with the group’s set was the order of the tracks they played (this is me being very nitpicky of course). They announced that they were about to play “Two Worlds Become One” which is the all-encompassing album-closer from their most recent record. I absolutely adore this track because it is a very massive and emotion-provoking piece of music that perfectly closes the record. They played this track which was amazing to hear live, then they end their set with an additional track from one of their earlier demos. The massive album closer would have been a phenomenal conclusion to their set!
With my very minute issue aside, the group killed it. Derrick has an excellent stage presence for a guitarist and he seemed like he was having a blast on stage. I am so glad I got the opportunity to see Tomb Mold live as they are probably in my top five favourite groups as of writing this article.
The problem I now have is to decide who’s set I enjoyed more, as Of Feather and Bone delivered a hell of a punch as well. While I came for Tomb Mold, I knew of the other band as they have been picking up in popularity as of recent, but I haven’t had the chance to consume any of their material yet.
The trio played a lot of songs from their newest release and it was immediately evident that their material translated really well live. The group did an excellent job of delivering an evil atmosphere along with their performance which coupled well with their music. They had a smoke machine that slowly filled the room during their first song which really added to the vibe. Bassist and vocalist Alvino Salcedo stood with his massive stature in front of the microphone belching vocals as a thick cloud of smoke slowly drifted towards the top of the room, slowly engulfing his body. The image definitely remains embedded within my mind as it was pretty surreal to see in person during their show. Here’s a picture a got:
Drummer Preston Weippert was also another highlight for their performance, as he has a good presence on stage and was really on-point with his performance. The dude just looked like he was having a great time will doing his job in an efficient and proper manner.
Of Feather and Bone did an excellent job as well, and as mentioned above; I can’t really pick whose part of the show I enjoyed the most. That’s a good problem to have I guess!
I joined a few other fans and shook hands with Preston and guitarist Dave Grant after the show and briefly let them know how much I enjoyed their performance. Their portion of the show sold me enough that I bought one of their band shirts. Alvino was manning the merch table and welcomed me with a smile and a handshake.
I may sound like I’m talking too much about my small interactions with the bands, but it was just such an awesome experience. Its funny how the people who make some of the most abrasive music out there can be the nicest people. A lot of bigger names have their macho and intimidating stage personality that unfortunately carries with them during their daily lives. Its really nice to see how down-to-Earth some of these guys are during their fan interactions. I gained a lot of respect for both bands that night.
A final shot of Of Feather and Bone playing:
Both Tomb Mold and Of Feather and Bone released phenomenal albums this year which deserve a listen if you already haven’t. While the tour is over as of the posting of this article, Tomb Mold will be playing at Quebec Deathfest in October and also at Maryland Deathfest later on in 2019. Of Feather and Bone is also a great live band, so check both of them out if they are playing near you. This show was one of the best ones I’ve been to by far. Don’t sleep on these phenomenal bands.