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Breakthrough Productions Presents: Cauldron, Gutwrench, Flying Fortress & Slave Agent

Ben Krawec
February 15, 2011

Photo provided by Cauldron taken by

Oh man did this show ever pick me up. I was worrying that metal was dying, that people who like to mosh were becoming a minority and that the League of Concerned Mothers were winning their unholy crusade (I am convinced that there is a conspiracy in place dedicated to sucking the life out of everything and making the world a more boring place. These are the people responsible for banning firecrackers in Canada, getting American Idol winners airtime, disseminating the culture of apathy and hipsterism that has infected our town, removing merry-go-rounds from playgrounds and banning pitbulls as well as doing other dastardly and evil things. Tipper Gore and Stephen Harper are leading members. You probably know a lady who drives a minivan while listening to the soft rock station and feeds her kids a diet of refined sugar and Disney characters that is a proud member. American Apparel and Converse All Stars are more insidious and subtle efforts by this group). I was finding more and more that even when people bother to show up for a metal show they don't go crazy like they used to and I was starting to feel like trying to instigate a mosh would be a futile effort. Then this show changed that around. This show gave me a reason to feel again, and it felt good.

I had to miss the first set because I had to visit a friend at the hospital and take care of some things for him. If you read all of my reviews you'll notice a pattern emerging wherein extenuating circumstances prevent me from arriving on time. If you're not my mother or my grandmother I then just let you in on something I didn't need you thinking about. This pattern shall not hold, I've just been having a really crazy few weeks. Anyway, I missed Slave Agent but people I talked to assured me that they were great, that they sounded like the 80s were coming back in a really amazing way and that while they're very technically amazing they need some kind of schtick besides recycling the sounds of 80s thrash, because as much as 80s thrash is distilled awesomeness something new's gotta be added to it.

Gutwrench was amazing, just like last time I reviewed them. For those of you who have never had to wear spandex and roll around with a sweaty member of the same sex, a gutwrench is a move in wrestling that is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. To perform a gutwrench you hook your arm around the poor guy's gut from behind, lock your wrists together and try to squeeze his intestines out his mouth while flipping him around on the floor. The band is aptly named. I liked seeing the mosh pit get that fired up that early in the night, I liked seeing audience members clamoring for a chance to bellow the chorus into the microphone, I liked having my ears ***ed by the drummer's double kicking. If you haven't seen them already, go see them. Go see them, go see them, go see them. They play again March 4th with Maximum RNR, Suburban Deathsquad, Sexual Assault and Dam, and if those names are lived up to then that will likely be the best night of your f***ing life.

Flying Fortress also amazed me for slightly different reasons. They're a two person band with the sound of a five piece band. I couldn't believe that they managed to get such a complex, harmonic sound out of only two people and I was extra impressed that the guitarist not only played his own harmony while playing a lead part and singing but he did it while moshing. F**kin' eh. I was also impressed that something good came out of Pembroke. When I hear 'Pembroke' I usually think of fist fights, drunk and pregnant women that get offended when I don't want to have sex with them, stale hot dogs at a dirty bar and douchebag army guys. I hate Pembroke a lot less now that I know Flying Fortress came from there. My only gripe with these guys is that I messed up my shoulder pretty badly while moshing to their stuff. Which I guess is less of a gripe and more of a comment about how bitchin' awesome their music is. Flying Fortress, so good they're bad for your health. If that's not a ringing endorsement I don't know what is.

I'm having a hard time coming up with words to do Cauldron justice. They reminded me of what it felt like when I first listened to Iron Maiden and got that little tingly feeling I get from really f***king good metal. Like a lot of other people I cut my metal teeth on bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and a lot of power metal, I didn't just jump straight into the deep end with the baby-eating music like Cuntscumb and Dissection. Cauldron is a lot like those bands that first hooked me on metal; easier on the ears than a lot of other bands but still heavy, intensely melodic and technical, lively and upbeat, the kind of stuff you headbang to and sing in the car while road tripping with your friends. I haven't seen people at the Mansion House get so excited over anything since the drummer from the Dreadnoughts started crowdsurfing while playing his floor tom. People were crowd surfing, moshing good-heartedly, singing along and generally making me wish that my body weren't falling apart so I could partake for more than a few minutes at a time.

I was a little distressed when it turned out that Live Animal Sex wasn't playing after all, but whatever. It was a good night anyway and I'll see them again another time.

Thank you, Cauldron, Gutwrench, Flying Fortress and Slave Agent for renewing my faith in metalheads. Thank you.

This article was brought to you by a rather large pot of coffee and Benjamin Krawec. Also, the picture for the article was shamelessly ripped off of Cauldron's Myspace, because I can't shoot a photo.

P.S. Tickets for Gutwrench's and Dark Carnival's March 5th show at Mikados are on sale for $10. That's right! For only TEN DOLLARS you get to see Gutwrench AND Dark Carnival rock faces in the same night! AND The Infernal Dawn AND the After Chapter are playing! SWEET JESUS GO TO THIS F***ING SHOW!