Ev has synesthesia, and they incorporate their sensory experiences into music reviews. Synesthesia is a condition in which the brain links a person’s senses together in a rare manner, prompting unusual sensory responses to stimuli. People with synesthesia, for example, might see a certain color in response to a certain letter of the alphabet. Those who experience synesthesia â€śhear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes” in a remarkably consistent fashion.


To kick start the night, Hate, a death metal band from Poland, took to the Mavericks‘ stage and ripped into heavy melodic riffs, throwing in pinch harmonics and intense slides. Aggressive blast beats bombarded your ears and the cymbals came crashing onto you. The guitar and bass were overdriven and yet sounded smooth. The playing was quick – every note on time, either chugging or crashing into one another. The tremolo picking was rapid and it seemed bizarre that a human could move that quickly but they managed.

The vocals tore through the air with a deep rasp and came out as exhaled alto toned screams. They were borderline metalcore, which, admittedly is not quite my thing, but remained with their black metal roots. The lyrics hinted at death, existentialism, and life beyond the veil.

Poland’s death metal band Hate terrorizing Mavericks in Ottawa, ON. Photo by Ev Osmanovic

The headbanging was timed with the crashing of the ride cymbals, as parts of the crowd was following the lead of the guitarists who were whipping their hair around pinwheel style, others remained more reserved. Hate, however, was just warming everyone up for the rest of the night.

They painted the soundscape with greens and yellows as a result of their chaotic sound. The air became engulfed by the dark green vocals which would fluctuate to a deep navy blue. There is no doubt that the band throws themselves into their performance, corpse paint and all.

Keep an eye out for their upcoming release on Metalblade Records “Auric Gates of Veles”. The album is set to release on the 14th June.

Incantation brought their old school metal style to Mavericks in Ottawa, ON. Photo by Ev Osmanovic.

Incantation, a death metal band that’s been around since ’89, took Mavericks’ stage with ferocious energy and put on the exact show you would expect. Electrifying and magnetic in every way, they created a dark soundscape drenched in reds, which seemed to fuel the crowd. Also masters of tremolo picking, it set off the quick movements and the headbanging came in time with the crashing of the drums. The slow riffs got fists-in-the-air reactions.

The breakdowns provided more aggressive and slowly timed headbanging but blew the crowd out of the water – especially during their final song of the night, “Impending Diabolical Conquest.”

The rough vocals blended into the slew of chords and quickly picked riffs with the raw force of the growls. They rolled out into the air, having gained force the longer they went on. The guitar and bass progressions fluctuated from steady to chaotic and quick, interrupted by a pinch harmonic to bring it back down or to intensify. Incantation’s crowd was tame in comparison to Dark Funeral and Belphegor, but that does not mean that they did not put on one ripper of a show.

You can listen to their reissue of Upon the Throne of Apocalypse on Bandcamp or catch them while they’re still touring!

Dark funeral haunting the Mavericks’ stage in Ottawa, ON. Photo by Ev Osmanovic

Next, Dark Funeral, a black metal band from Stockholm, Sweden, took to the dimly lit stage. They started with the lights low and built up to a well lit set – well lit enough as far as Maverick’s goes at least. The crowd lost their minds and went from headbanging and fist pumping to moshing within the span of a few songs.

The breakdowns were more melodic and the vocals shrieked out into the open, lingering in the air. They featured heavy use of double stroke kicks and the use of the high hat was seemingly a staple that paired with the shallow sound of the snare. The drums pounded out with ferocity

The band focused on sodomy, satanism, and heavy anti-christian themes. At one point they brought out a small cross flipped upside-down with Jesus nailed to it. The vocalist, Heljarmadr, also pulled out a whip and would flick it towards the crowd which drove them absolutely wild. On the other hand, I was riddled with a sense of unease .

If this sounds up your alley, give their discography a spin. The bands most recent release is from 2016, Where the Shadows Forever Reign.

Belphegor, from Salzburg, Austria, headlined the show. Unfortunately, my camera died part way through Dark Funeral, and so painting a picture will have to do.

The band brought forth the aggression of death metal which would then teeter into black metal. The vocals ranged from growls to shrieks, and the double peddle drums pounded into your chest. The chugging of the guitar and bass in combination with the drumming got bodies jerking. The anger and domination of the ferocity started a chaotic mosh pit.

The crowd threw themselves in without regard for anything else, the vocalist encouraging the pit. Both the band and the crowd went hard. Towards the midway point of the set, the showgoers really opened up the pit. People were barrelling into one another with reckless abandon and total disregard for the space of others or potential injury.

Belphegor put on a very dramatic set, animal bones adorning the mic stands and corpse paint smeared carefully across their faces. The solos flowed through a wide range of notes and traveled across the fretboard. The guitar work transitioned smoothly from using melodies to sheer aggression.

If any of these bands strike your fancy and you manage to catch them on their Devastation of the Nation tour and are not afraid of getting roughed up, go see these bands. Aside from keeping one eye on the crowd and another down my viewfinder, I can’t say I regret going. Have a look at my gallery below for additional photos.