Wordless Invocation Fest with Nuclearhammer, Adversarial, Dire Omen The Pawn Shop, Edmonton AB, June 28

Wordless Invocation Fest with Nuclearhammer, Adversarial, Dire Omen The Pawn Shop, Edmonton AB, June 28
Photo: Sarah Kitteringham
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It was a humid, inconsistently drizzly evening in Edmonton when the Calgary contingent touched down for the second annual Wordless Invocation Festival. Anticipation was high, with some trepidation: a smattering of oppressively heavy bands from across the country was set to perform, some associated with ideologies that could attract an unpleasant crowd. Thankfully, everyone was on their best behavior, and the only aftermath of the gig was horrendous bangovers and multiple destroyed hearing registers.

Calgary/Vancouver act Ominosity began the evening, despite being capable of headlining it. Their members are based in cities over 1000 kilometres apart thanks to school/life, so their last performance was over a year earlier, at Calgary's inaugural Fuck Off Life Festival. No matter, their devastating death metal drenched set was excellent: their polyrhythmic blasts evoked Portal and were so tight they left some of the crowd wondering if they were triggered (they weren't), their guttural howls could have come from a young Corpsegrinder and their guitar riffing was solid and devoid of effects. Sadly, the sound was poorly mixed and it was hard to discern certain elements; this problem plagued the entirety of the show.

Edmonton's Wroth followed, but were poorly placed. Their brand of blackened thrash was decent, but the dull vocals and somewhat excessive showmanship exhibited by certain members were off-putting given the nature of the music in the festival, not to mention they were strongly affected by the poor sound.

Dark Descent trio Dire Omen were better suited. Helmed by guitarist and vocalist Rolando Rodas (who had booked the festival and was celebrating his birthday), the trio was excellent. Bassist Connor Thompson was captivating, spending the set utilizing slap palm techniques and pickless fingering whilst windmill headbanging.

Toronto's Adversarial performed during the evening's coveted time slot, though they should have headlined. It was their first set in over a year, as they've been busy preparing for a full-length and splits. Their atmospheric blackened death metal was repressive in its malevolent heaviness. The bad sound mixing was particularly noticeable during the trio's set; the guitar was almost impossible to pick out, the howling, reverb-soaked vocals were too loud. Drummer "E.K." was a metronomic mad man, a gorilla behind the kit whose ceaseless blasting and jackhammer snare hits were simply severe. Although their set was about ten minutes too long, it would have served as a fitting end to a superb evening.

The night was capped off by Nuclear War Now! signee Nuclearhammer, who seemed unprepared for the set. The crowd had thinned out, and lengthy gaps occurred between songs, though when the band was on-point they truly shined. The prolific quartet shares a bassist with Adversarial, and their vocals were similarly drenched in reverb. Indeed, given that this was the fifth band that played some sort of black/death metal, it became difficult to differentiate. Still, please Beelzebub: ensure there is a third rendition of this festival.