I saw Vore for the first time shortly after the band had come together. It was back in 1994 or 1995, if I'm not mistaken. This was before the Death Mistress, whom I've spoken about in earlier posts, exposed me to dark wave/industrial and dark music in general. The group played at an outdoor metal festival in the parking lot of a Wiccan store just off Dickson Street owned by a guy named Shadow Dragon. Not one with much regard for rules, Shadow Dragon organized his music extravaganza without getting a permit from the city. It wasn't surprising then that at some point the police came and shut down the whole affair. Still, Vore played before the forced shutdown and that memorable occasion was my first exposure to them. It wouldn't be my last.
At the time, I wasn't a big fan of metal. Sure, I loved the older rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and some of the other so-called precursors of modern metal. I even enjoyed some of the Black Sabbath I'd been exposed to. All in all however, I was and very much still am an affectionado of melodic music and I didn't yet have an appreciation for death metal's complexity and unique tonal qualities. As a result, I got into metal backwoods. Here's what I mean:
The first real metal band that I went absolutely crazy over was Type O Negative. The music on their Bloody Kisses and October Rust albums is pure genius, in my opinion. Still, that group's sound was commonly described as Gothic Metal--and with good reason! Type O was the first and perhaps, only metal band ever to win acceptance into Goth subculture. What thrilled me about the group was the spooky and melodic aspects to its music. The Gothic designation of Type O however, put the group into a category that differed from the metal I had been hearing. That was discovery number one; there are different types of metal.
My next and most important immersion into metal occurred upon my discovery of the Symphonic sub genre. To this day, I marvel at how quickly and completely I was won over to it. After all, it's hard-rocking music, undeniably metal, which has strong symphonic and classical elements. Although grunts and growls are sometimes present, so are clean vocals, many of which are performed by strong and even operatic female vocalists such as Tarja Turunen, Simone Simmons and Floor Jansen. I quickly came to appreciate the balance offered by these groups between the growls, so signature of metal, and the angelic vocals performed by these ladies. The thing is, each made me appreciate the other and I soon found myself delving in to other sub genres such as doom and melodic Death/Doom. Wait a minute! Did I just say death/doom? I think I did; and as I grew more passionate about that type of music I, at some point, realized that I'd come full circle. I now very much appreciate that which Death Metal has to offer; and over the past few years, I have enjoyed attending local metal events; some of which, Vore performed at.
Saturday night I attended the Vore 20th Anniversary Show at George's Majestic Lounge. From the first chord, the group's performance was superb. Within moments the band's thunderous brand of doom-laden death metal had the whole house hopping, head banging and moshing. One part of the performance I really enjoyed was when the Devil appeared on stage and began prancing around, invoking the audience into who knows what. The way his antics meshed with Vore's music was amazing. Talk about a cool mascot!
The group's current lineup consists of Jeremy Partin on bass, Remy
Cameron on drums and guitarist/vocalist/grunter extraordinaire Paige
Townsley. The three performed the first set by playing material from their latest album entitled Gravehammer and other more recent entries. At the conclusion of that set, Page announced that bassist Jeremy Partin would be sitting out the rest of the show in order that two former members, guitarist/vocalist John Voelker and bassist Glenn Wheeler could take their old positions with the group. "Buy him a beer," Townsley suggested before introducing the former band members.
The second half of the concert was extraordinary because the four musicians had been practicing some of the older stuff for a while, specifically to give fans a treat for this 20th anniversary event. And a treat it was as Townsley and Voelker continued to go back and forth on grunts and vocals. Fans reacted so enthusiastically to the guitar and vocal trade offs that as one friend remarked, "things got pretty brutal in the mosh pit toward the end."
In addition to Vore, four other groups performed Saturday night. These included Auric, Macrocosm, Charnal and Apnea. While I didn't catch all of those performing, I caught some of Apnea's performance and thought they were totally awesome.
In conclusion then, all I can say is that The Vore 20th Anniversary Show was truly epic. It's really good to know that the group is Fayetteville based. So then, please allow me to offer a toast to the next 20 years.
Here's the Official Vore website.