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Protokult – Bovine Sex Club – Toronto Live Review

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Protokult – Bovine Sex Club – Toronto Live Review

Protokult 2014 by Navneet Johal

Protokult at Bovine Sex Club by Navneet Johal, Master Metal Kingdom

Who: Protokult
From: Toronto, ON
When: Saturday, July 26th, 2014
Where: Bovine Sex Club

Total Score: 7/10

I arrived around 9:45pm at the Bovine Sex Club for Protokult’s show on Saturday July 26th, midway through Tsargrad’s set. After they’d finished their first Viking inspired song, I began wishing I’d arrived earlier so I could have caught the beginning. Their music wears its heart on its sleeve, power metal with lyrics about warlock kings and lusty wenches. On stage the band wears Viking costumes that look like they were made from the flayed pelts of stuffed animals. Fortunately, Teddy didn’t die in vain, Thor himself would enjoy these metal ballads, and if you don’t maybe you should stop taking yourself so seriously. They are really fun to watch live almost as fun as a night on, and their cover of the Game of Thrones theme is probably the best you’ll hear this month — definitely worth checking out.

Tsargrad 2014 by Navneet Johal

Tsargrad at Bovine Sex Club by Navneet Johal, Master Metal Kingdom

Next up was Karkaos, a melodic six-piece from Montreal. The band was comprised of dual guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, and a front-woman who moved effortlessly from guttural growls to wailing melodies. Solid musicianship on their part was regrettably overshadowed by continued technical difficulties that served to ruin the heavy atmosphere the band was creating. In quieter moments feedback would pierce through and sustain itself for a couple seconds. This plagued the first three songs or so. Near the end of the set the front-woman’s microphone cut out and the show had to be stopped while it was changed; the guitarist and bassist did a stirring rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as the technical difficulties were sorted.

Karkoas 2014 by Navneet Johal

Karkoas at Bovine Sex Club by Navneet Johal, Master Metal Kingdom

Karkaos was followed by Primalfrost. The word ‘epic’ has found itself overused in the modern vocabulary, but if there ever were a band that deserved that beleaguered adjective it would be Primalfrost. With two years under their belts as well as one EP, and a debut full length LP, Prosperous Visions, released in February of this year, they are definitely a band to watch. As far as live performance goes, they are more focused on banging out killer fast riffs as technically perfect as possible with brief symphonic piano interludes, so there isn’t much in the way of theatrics. They played songs off the new LP, including “An End To Tyranny” and “Silencing The Empire”, both of which are well worth the eight minutes or so of your life if you want to get heavy.

Primalfrost 2014 by Navneet Johal

Primalfrost at Bovine Sex Club by Navneet Johal, Master Metal Kingdom

Finally Protokult took the stage. The night had been billed as an ‘Epic Metal Party of Beer, Babes and Metal’, and it certainly was. Among the audience were several “beer maidens” who looked as if they had just raided a local renaissance faire for their costumes. The backup singer was similarly attired. Outfitted in long white gowns and corsets, these devoted fans brought the band various spirits and beers throughout the show.

If medieval fashion statements were not enough of a hint, Protokult play pagan inspired folk metal. Which folk culture, you ask? Several. German and Russian could be readily heard in the audience, and the band’s bio adds Czech, Polish and Irish to the list. Welcome to the melting pot. Protokult’s greatest strength is taking all of these diverse musical and cultural influences and boiling them down to something everyone can relate to: drinking songs. Alcohol anthems would certainly seem to be the central theme of the band’s upcoming release, No Beer In Heaven.

The music itself was quite enjoyable, probably more so after extreme imbibing. The band creates a fun atmosphere, utilizing different instruments and chants. Never has the recorder been incorporated so well into heavy metal. When Protokult ended their show with their new single, “Get Me A Beer!”, the guitarist stopped playing so he could crowd surf ever closer to the Bovine’s low ceiling and the aforementioned beer maidens got up on stage and poured beer into the open mouths of the lucky audience members in the front row. Setting new standards for fan appreciation, Protokult went so far as to sing happy birthday to one audience member.

Any band that can inspire its fans to invest in medieval clothing and pour beer on people has to be doing something right. And the moral is: Protokult is a good band with good fans, and you should always stand in the front at their shows.

Photos by: Navneet Johal (Master Metal Kingdom)
Written by: Oren Wry