Concert Review – Rotting Christ (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 03/05/2023)

And the city of Toronto became part of a global cult of melodic and ritualistic Black Metal thanks to the undisputed music by the almighty Rotting Christ. 

OPENING ACTS: Gaerea, UADA and Carach Angren

I must confess I was a little worried about what would happen to the GAEREA, UADA, CARACH ANGREN and ROTTING CHRIST concert at Lee’s Palace in Toronto last night, as part of their amazing Under Our Black Cult North American Tour 2023, mainly due to the shitty weather that has been punishing the United States and Canada in the past month or so. If you go to Gaerea’s official Facebook page, you’ll see they had to miss a few concerts in the US due to the nasty weather conditions, and after the heavy snow storm that hit Toronto this Friday I wasn’t sure if the concert was actually going to happen. Fortunately for all of us Torontonians who headed to a sold-out Lee’s Palace last night the weather was perfect for this time of the year (it wasn’t even that cold), and not only the four bands played, but they all kicked some serious ass.

My only complaint is once again related to the time the doors opened, already after 7pm, and the time Portuguese Black Metal entity GAEREA hit the stage, at 7:30pm sharp. This means a lot of people who were still lining up outside of the venue until around 7:40pm missed the first few minutes from Gaerea’s performance. Why can’t the venues open their doors at least one hour prior to the first band, and come up with a faster way to check ID’s and tickets so that fans can enjoy all bands they paid some good money to see? Anyway, Gaerea were phenomenal during their short but powerful concert, playing only songs from their 2022 opus Mirage such as Salve and Laude while their mysterious frontman kept mesmerizing us all with a unique performance that reminded me of a darkened mix of Iggy Pop and Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan. It was a dark, atmospheric and evil performance by the quintet, and I can’t wait to see them return to Toronto in the near future.

Setlist
Intro
Deluge
Salve
Mirage
Urge
Laude
Outro

Band members
*Information not available*

After a very quick break, it was time for American Melodic Black Metal horde UADA to pulverize our damned souls with one of the most atmospheric concerts I’ve seen in a while, playing long, intricate and visceral songs the likes of the title-track from their 2020 opus Djinn, plus The Purging Fire and Cult of a Dying Sun, with the strong smell of incense from the beginning of the show generating a captivating ambience for all fans at the venue. Jake Superchi was insane on vocals and guitar, headbanging manically while also growling like a beast for our total delight, while his band members, particularly drummer Josh Lovejoy, kept the music flowing majestically until the very last second. UADA are already gearing up for their first South American tour this October, which not only  means those guys are becoming bigger and bigger in the metal scene, but also that if you live in one of the South American cities they’re visiting in a few months you can rest assured you’re in for a fantastic treat.

Setlist
The Purging Fire
Djinn
Snakes & Vultures
Cult of a Dying Sun
Black Autumn, White Spring

Band members
Jake Superchi – vocals, guitars
James Sloan – guitars
Nate Verschoor – bass
Josh Lovejoy – drums

The third opening act of the night, Dutch Symphonic Black Metal demons CARACH ANGREN, also brought forth an ass-kicking concert, perhaps not as detailed or melodic as Gaerea or UADA, but full of energy and absolutely phantasmagorical. Blending songs from all of their albums with their latest opus Franckensteina Strataemontanus, from 2020, the duo Seregor (aka Dennis Droomers, who’s by the way in a relationship with the stunning Sandie Gjørtz, the frontwoman for Danish Melodic Death Metal outfit Defacing God) and Ardek (aka Clemens Wijers), with the support of the butcher Bastiaan Boh on the guitars and Gabe Seeber on drums, delivered a very theatrical concert for the crowd in Toronto, inspiring the fans to ignite some circle pits and even a wall of death with their devilish music. The only thing that bothered me a lot was the lack of a bassist while Ardek had two keyboards, but as weird as it might look the band has a lot of chemistry onstage and you end up forgetting about that minor detail right after the first song.

Setlist
Electronic Voice Phenomena
The Ghost of Raynham Hall
The Carriage Wheel Murder
The Necromancer
Bitte Tötet Mich
Operation Compass
Franckensteina Strataemontanus
A Strange Presence Near the Woods
Monster
Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log

Band members
Seregor – vocals, guitars
Ardek – keyboards, piano, orchestrations, backing vocals
Bastiaan Boh – guitars
Gabe Seeber – drums

ROTING CHRIST

It was around 10:20pm when the main attraction of the night, Greek Black Metal institution ROTTING CHRIST, showed Toronto once again why they’re one of the most important names in the history of extreme music, and will always be a reference to any metalhead who’s into the darkest side of metal. It’s beyond impressive how the iconic Mr. Sakis Tolis and his brother Themis Tolis are still so energetic on stage after so many decades on the road, hypnotizing the crowd and making every single one of their concerts simply memorable. In addition, I need to mention bassist Kostas Heliotis and guitarist Kostis Foukarakis also added their share of heaviness and electricity to the show, headbanging nonstop, interacting with the fans, and of course, playing all songs to perfection.

I was finally able to witness the guys playing songs form their awesome 2019 album The Herectics live, those being Fire, God and Fear and The Raven, and both were superb. However, their classics including the opening tune 666, Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy, Elthe Kyrie, In Yumen-Xibalba and Noctis Era were the most electrifying moments of the show as expected, generating intense, unstoppable mosh pits for the delight of everyone who decided to brave the storm that became the main pit. And how not to love Rotting Christ when they worship our buddy Satan by playing on the same night the songs Apage Satana, Societas Satanas, and the majestic Grandis Spiritus Diavolos? That was superb, and the energy flowing between the band and the crowd was insane.

Whenever the mighty Rotting Christ takes the city of Toronto by storm again, I’ll certainly be there. It’s one of those must-see shows by a band that loves what they do and that loves to witness their fans going mental during their live performances. The temperature inside Lee’s Palace was so hot that some people had to wait after the show was over for their shirts to dry from all their sweat before enduring another cold winter night in Toronto, but after all was said and done everything was totally worth it. Sakis is an unstoppable metal beast, the city of Toronto loves him, and hopefully next time he’s in the city with his horde they can play in front of an even bigger crowd. And until that day comes, we should all keep these words deep inside our herectic hearts… NON SERVIAM!

Setlist
666
Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy
Fire, God and Fear
Dub-sag-ta-ke
Apage Satana
Elthe Kyrie
Demonon Vrosis
Societas Satanas
Non Serviam
In Yumen-Xibalba
Grandis Spiritus Diavolos
The Raven

Encore:
Noctis Era

Band members
Sakis Tolis – vocals, guitars
Kostis Foukarakis – guitars, backing vocals
Kostas Heliotis – bass, backing vocals
Themis Tolis – drums

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Concert Review – Walter Froebrich Memorial Show (The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, 01/07/2023)

A beautiful tribute to the life of the Metal Mayor of Toronto and his undisputed passion for heavy music. 

INTRODUCTION: AM HERE…

If you have no idea who Walter Froebrich was, let’s say he was the Metal Mayor of Toronto, as I’ve seen many people referring to him as. He was in pretty much every metal concert we all attended i the city in the past 20 years, from Heavy Metal to Death and Black Metal, from Thrash Metal to Deathcore and Viking Metal, and so on, always holding a few beers, always raising the horns, always surrounded by friends, and always supporting metal music no matter what. He even had his own motto, “AM HERE.” Sadly, in November 2022 due to lack of proper healthcare by the Toronto authorities Walter passed away at home after several visits to the hospital, and that brought a lot of grief to all metal fans in the city. If he had received a proper service, if he had been through the required scans and so on, he would still be around us. He will be extremely missed by the metal community in all upcoming concerts in Toronto, no doubt about that. I was going to use the common expression “may his soul rest in piece”, but I’m sure Walter himself would prefer a slight adaptation of it, “may his soul rest in metal”.

WALTER FROEBRICH MEMORIAL SHOW

That’s why on January 7 the Toronto scene came together to celebrate Walter’s life and his passion for heavy music at The Rockpile with the Walter Froebrich Memorial Show, an event organized by Steve Hoeg, Drew Masters, Junior Jr LeClerc and Jake Disman, among others, with no more, no less than TWENTY SEVEN bands playing from 1pm until midnight to a sold out venue, while money for Walter’s family was raised through a silent auction and a 50/50 draw. Unfortunately due to personal reasons I could not attend the celebration, but my friend and photographer Keith Ibbitson of Lower Eastside Photography was there to capture some amazing shots of the entire show, and to provide us with a sense of how awesome everything was and how happy Walter must be whenever he is right now with his homage.

In Keith’s own words, “we raised over 17,000 dollars for Walter’s family. It was a sold out show. All the bands were absolutely amazing! Drew Masters was the MC for the evening. The friends Walter made over his concerts outings just blew my mind! Each one is family, the metal community is one big family, they come together for each other like no other.” And as you can see from the photo gallery below, it was indeed a night to remember, a celebration of life and metal, exactly how Walter would have liked it to be. Here are all the fantastic bands that were on the bill, and as many people have said Walter would have certainly taken a selfie with each one of them…

The House of Haunt
Snake River Redemption
Dominant Species
Madam
Anger by Design
GFU
Dawn Vally
Cowboys from Hell (Pantera tribute)
Disciple (Slayer tribute)
King Moonracer
Byrdy
Fury 44
Sons Of Sabbath
Freeloader
Spades GT
MLC
Omnivert
Devil Witch
The Dominion
The Android Meme
Burdizzo
Crème Flesh
Pillars of Eternity (Down tribute)
Red Lowe (circus performer)
Phear
Chainfall
Gen-X (90’s rock cover band)

In the Facebook page to the event you can find a lot more details about the whole thing, see other photos taken by different attendees, other posts and discussions around Walter and the metal community in Toronto, and so on, as well as a very nice summary of the night on the video below. RIP WALTER! AM HERE!

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Concert Review – Amon Amarth (History, Toronto, ON, 12/02/2022)

A beautiful night where all Vikings of Toronto put their backs into the oar and rowed in the name of heavy music together with the one and only Amon Amarth. 

OPENING ACTS: Cattle Decapitation, Obituary and Carcass

The last concert of 2022 (at least for me) couldn’t have been any better, as Toronto had the pleasure of hosting The Great Heathen Tour 2022 at this amazing new venue called History, which was by the way inaugurated in November 2021 and belongs to Toronto’s own rapper Drake, with the bands CATTLE DECAPITATION, OBITUARY, CARCASS and the unstoppable heathen horde AMON AMARTH. The venue is in a nice area of the city, near the beaches, with plenty of parking options and decent places to eat nearby such as The Burger’s Priest, making the whole experience a lot more enjoyable than going to a concert at Rebel, for example.

And everything was so well-organized, from the line to get into the venue to the merch booths, bars and coat check, that between the doors opening at 5:30pm and the first concert I had time to do all that and still had 15-20min left before American Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore outfit CATTLE DECAPITATION hit the stage at 6:30pm sharp with their vicious sonic attack. Still promoting their 2019 album Death Atlas, the band spearheaded by frontman Travis Ryan needed less than a minute to inspire the crowd to create a massive circle pit in the middle of the floor section, and that circle pit went on and on until the very end of their concert (and of the entire night, I might say). Moreover, although their setlist was extremely short, it was solid enough to put a smile on the faces of their diehard fans, with the pulverizing Bring Back the Plague being the icing on the cake of their great performance.

Setlist
Anthropogenic: End Transmission
The Geocide
Vulturous
The Great Dying Pt. II
Finish Them
We Eat Our Young
Time’s Cruel Curtain
Bring Back the Plague

Band members
Travis Ryan – vocals
Josh Elmore – lead guitars
Belisario Dimuzio – rhythm guitars
Olivier Pinard – bass
David McGraw – drums

If you’re familiar with the laws, rules and regulations in Toronto you know that most concerts must finish by 11pm depending on the neighborhood where the venue is located, so you can imagine that with four amazing bands like the ones from last night there weren’t any huge breaks in between bands. That being said, I had time to grab a quick beer before one of the biggest Death Metal institutions of all time, the unstoppable OBITUARY, began their insane performance led by the iconic vocalist John Tardy and the crushing drums by his younger brother Donald Tardy. It was again a short but precise and infernal performance by those American death metallers, blending their old school stuff the likes of I’m in Pain with a brand new song from their upcoming 2023 album Dying of Everything, the demolishing The Wrong Time, and by the reaction of the crowd to each and every song played by Obituary we know they’ll keep moving forward no matter what for many years to come. Needless to say, I can’t wait for Dying of Everything next year.

Setlist
Snortin’ Whiskey (Pat Travers Band song)
Redneck Stomp
Sentence Day
A Lesson in Vengeance
Visions in My Head
Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost cover)
The Wrong Time
I’m in Pain
Don’t Care

Band members
John Tardy – vocals
Kenny Andrews – lead guitars
Trevor Peres – rhythm guitars
Terry Butler – bass
Donald Tardy – drums

Another short break, another beer, and then it was finally time for my first ever face-to-face meeting with England’s own Melodic Death Metal/Death ‘n’ Roll trailblazers CARCASS, one of the very few bands I’ve always been a fan of but that I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing live. Still promoting their fantastic 2021 album Torn Arteries, Jeff Walker, Bill Steer, Tom Draper and Daniel Wilding put on a marvelous show for the delight of all fans at the venue, igniting some sick mosh pits to the sound of Incarnated Solvent Abuse, This Mortal Coil, Genital Grinder, and my favorite Carcass song of all time, Heartwork. Hopefully, Carcass will keep delivering amazing material such as Torn Arteries in the coming years, which means more world tours of course, because Toronto loves Carcass and we’re eager to see them again in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (Intro)
Buried Dreams
Kelly’s Meat Emporium
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
Under the Scalpel Blade
This Mortal Coil
Dance of Ixtab (Psychopomp & Circumstance March No. 1 in B)
Genital Grinder
The Scythe’s Remorseless Swing
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
Heartwork
Carneous Cacoffiny (Outro)

Band members
Jeff Walker – vocals, bass
Bill Steer – guitars, backing vocals
Tom Draper – guitars
Daniel Wilding – drums

AMON AMARTH

At long last, just like what happened with Cannibal Corpse, the unparalleled Swedish Melodic Death Metal horde AMON AMARTH was finally able to return to Canada after three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the wait was beyond worth it as their concert yesterday in Toronto was superb to say the least. Those Swedish Vikings kicked some serious ass from the very first second of the classic Guardians of Asgaard (and yes, they’re starting their shows this tour already with a bang), with frontman Johan Hegg being on fire with his deep roars and a very respectful beard. All songs form their 2022 album The Great Heathen Army sounded fantastic live, in special the title-track The Great Heathen Army, adding an extra taste to their incendiary setlist full of classic songs including Destroyer of the Universe and Shield Wall.

The most memorable moment for all fans at the venue was undoubtedly when the band played their new hit Put Your Back Into the Oar, when halfway through it the whole floor section sat down and began rowing like in a Viking ship. That was amazing, really, really fun, proving Amon Amarth are one of those bands that know exactly how to captivate their audiences and interact with each and every fan in the most exciting way possible. If you’re attending one of their upcoming concerts, don’t forget to join the rowing. Their music is awesome, their stage is getting better and better with each tour, but the rowing is something so unique I think it should be mandatory for anyone who purchases a ticket to participate. I can’t wait for the next time Amon Amarth takes the city of Toronto by storm, and I’ll surely be there to put my back into the oar again! ROW! ROW! ROW!

It’s always great to enjoy a night of heavy music in Toronto, to share a few beers with your friends, and to see several familiar faces in the crowd. However, there was one of those familiar faces missing, and it was THE MOST familiar face of the Toronto metal scene. Our beloved super metal fan Walter Froeberich passed away on November 26 after trying to get help for nearly ten days for a serious abdominal pain, but he was allegedly sent home with just some antibiotics and, sadly, died at home in the end. His closest friends organized a protest in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital today demanding justice for Walter, and I really hope something is done to make sure that type of situation doesn’t ever happen again with anyone else in Toronto. I didn’t formally know Walter, but I’ve shared the pit with him many, many times and I’ll miss him in all future concerts in the city. When Amon Amarth played the excellent Raise Your Horns, I raised my horns for Walter, and I’m sure one day I’ll say hello to him in person when we meet in Valhalla again.

Setlist
Run to the Hills (Iron Maiden song)
Guardians of Asgaard
Raven’s Flight
Deceiver of the Gods
Oden Owns You All
The Pursuit of Vikings
The Great Heathen Army
Get in the Ring
Destroyer of the Universe
Put Your Back Into the Oar
Cry of the Black Birds
The Way of Vikings
First Kill
Shield Wall
Raise Your Horns

Encore:
Twilight of the Thunder God

Band members
Johan Hegg – vocals
Olavi Mikkonen – lead guitar
Johan Söderberg – rhythm guitar
Ted Lundström – bass
Jocke Wallgren – drums

Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse (The Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, 11/06/2022)

And there we had another fantastic night of sheer brutality and blasphemy in Toronto spearheaded by the Corpse. 

OPENING ACTS: Black Anvil, Immolation and Dark Funeral

What a fantastic night of sheer brutality and blasphemy at The Danforth Music Hall yesterday in Toronto! If you’re a diehard fan of Death and Black Metal you must attend one of the concerts of the North American Tour 2022 this fall with the bands BLACK ANVIL, IMMOLATION, DARK FUNERAL and the unstoppable, unparalleled CANNIBAL FUCKIN’ CORPSE, with the sold out night yesterday in Toronto proving how strong extreme music still is even with all the bad music that’s dumped onto us everyday by the “specialized” media. The weather was perfect and the line to get into the venue started to form really early, maybe even before 4pm, showing it was going to be indeed an unforgettable night to all 1,500 fans who were lucky enough to get a ticket.

The first band to hit the stage was New York-based Black/Thrash Metal outfit BLACK ANVIL, but I had to miss the first few minutes of their setlist due to the massive line to buy merch. Unfortunately, the never-ending merch lines seem to be the new norm as that has happened in every single concert I’ve been to after the end of the pandemic, which makes me wonder if the fans are willing to spend a lot of extra money with shirts and other merch fearing that a new pandemic might hit anytime, or that the organizers have no clue what they’re doing and can’t put together a decent way to serve all fans that want to buy some merch. Anyway, back to the music, as soon as I was able to get into the main hall I could enjoy Black Anvil’s straightforward, no shenanigans performance, with their drummer stealing the spotlight with a solid performance. They’ve just released a new album this Friday, entitled Regenesis, which was basically everything they played last night, so if you know nothing about them and are attending one of their concerts opening for Cannibal Corpse you must listen to their new opus. Well, you should listen to it even if you’re not attending any concert, as those guys are great.

Setlist
The Gates of Brass
In Two
The Bet
29
8-Bit Terror
Grant Us His Love
Castrum Doloris

Band members
P.D. – vocals, bass
Sos – guitars
Travis Bacon – guitars
R.G. – drums

After a very short break (and the main reason for that is because all four bands had to finish their concerts by 11pm at the latest due to the neighborhood where the venue is located), it was then time for American Death Metal masters IMMOLATION to crush our souls with their extremely aggressive and technical creations, blending songs from their newest album Acts of God, such as the title-track An Act of God, Shed the Light and the closing song Apostle, with old school stuff including one song from their 1991 debut album Dawn of Possession, the fulminating Burial Ground, which ignited one of the most ravenous mosh pits of their infernal performance. Vocalist and bassist Ross Dolan was on fire throughout their entire set, while his bandmates made sure the electricity kept flowing between the band and the crowd. I’m sure it won’t take long for Immolation to return to Toronto,  and whenever that happens I’m sure I’ll be there to slam into the pit once again to the sound of their visceral music.

Setlist
Abandoned
An Act of God
The Age of No Light
Swarm of Terror
Noose of Thorns
The Distorting Light
Overtures of the Wicked
Burial Ground
Shed the Light
Of Martyrs and Men
When Halos Burn
Apostle

Band members
Ross Dolan – vocals, bass
Robert Vigna – guitars
Alex Bouks – guitars
Steve Shalaty – drums

Of course I was at The Danforth Music Hall last night mainly to see the headliners Cannibal Corpse, but I was also very excited to witness the scorching Black Metal by Sweden’s own DARK FUNERAL for the very first time live, and let me tell you it was indeed a unique experience as the band spearheaded by the talented frontman Heljarmadr delivered endless obscurity and blasphemy to their avid fans. Promoting their awesome new opus We Are The Apocalypse, Dark Funeral fired a great fusion of their early days and more contemporary creations, with songs the likes of Leviathan, The Secrets of the Black Arts and Let the Devil In receiving a huge roar back from the crowd showing all their admiration for the band. It was also funny seeing Heljarmadr asking every single fan at the venue to scream “HAIL SATAN!” together with him, and I can’t imagine what the girls at the bar and the guys from security felt during such inspirational moments. The top moments of their performance for me were the neck-breaking, evil tune My Funeral, and the closing song Where Shadows Forever Reign, turning Toronto into the worldwide Black Metal capital for one night and, therefore, guaranteeing Dark Funeral will return to the city to darken the skies once again with their undisputed Black Metal in the near future.

Setlist
Unchain My Soul
Hail Murder
Leviathan
My Funeral
The Secrets of the Black Arts
Open the Gates
When I’m Gone
Nail Them to the Cross
Let the Devil In
Where Shadows Forever Reign

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Adra Melek – bass
Jalomaah – drums

CANNIBAL CORPSE

And finally there they were, three years after their hammering performance at The Opera House back in 2019 (which was by the way my last concert before the world went to shit with the pandemic), Buffalo, New York’s one and only Death Metal institution CANNIBAL CORPSE took the city of Toronto by storm once again with their rage, speed, heaviness, precision and groove, driving the entire floor section mental and, consequently, igniting a massive circle pit that lasted for their entire performance. Frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (armed with his monstrous neck and his beyond cool T-shirt “Respect the Neck”), guitarists Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan, the bass phenom Alex Webster, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz were in absolute sync from start to finish, turning up the eat at the venue to the point you would sweat even if you were not moving at all.

What I love about Cannibal Corpse is that their setlists are always a journey through all of their phases, mixing classics the likes of Unleashing the Bloodthirsty and Stripped, Raped and Strangled with newer stuff such as Kill or Become and Inhumane Harvest, this one form their most recent album Violence Unimagined. Corpsegrinder had the crowd in his bloody hands instantly, delivering not only a savage vocal performance but also interacting in a very fun way with all fans, either by throwing bottles of water to them or by challenging everyone to try to beat him in a headbanging duel during I Cum Blood (and of course, we all failed miserably as Corpsegrinder himself predicted). Another fun moment with Corpsegrinder was before Fucked With a Knife, when he dedicated it to all women and instead of hearing guys cheering that, he actually listened to A LOT of women screaming at the venue. He commented on that by saying there are usually only 20 women in their concerts, which is already a lot in his opinion, and when he asked the ladies to scream again they were even louder. Well, after such nice moment, the circle pit kept moving ferociously to Fucked With a Knife, as expected.

Every single time I write anything about Cannnibal Corpse I need to say how much I admire Mr. Alex Webster and his wicked bass lines, and yesterday in Toronto he proved once again why he’s the best bass player of the entire Death Metal universe. That man is a beast on bass, and the best part is that you can actually listen to each and every note coming from his bass clearly. And while Mr. Webster was demolishing our ears with his bass during masterpieces the likes of Devoured by Vermin, A Skull Full of Maggots and Hammer Smashed Face, the rowdy crowd in Toronto kept having a very good time inside the circle pit in the name of first-class metal music. It’s so nice to be a fan of a band like Cannibal Corpse, as not only all of their albums are amazing, but their live performances are a thing of beauty. There should be a law for the band to play here at least once a month, but as that’s not possible I’m happy if they kept releasing ass-kicking albums and keep coming back to Toronto every couple of years. LONG LIVE THE CORPSE!

Setlist
Scourge of Iron
The Time to Kill Is Now
Inhumane Harvest
Code of the Slashers
Fucked With a Knife
The Wretched Spawn
Gutted
Kill or Become
I Cum Blood
Evisceration Plague
Death Walking Terror
Condemnation Contagion
Necrogenic Resurrection
Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
Devoured by Vermin
A Skull Full of Maggots
Stripped, Raped and Strangled
Hammer Smashed Face

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Rob Barrett – lead and rhythm guitar
Erik Rutan – lead guitar
Alex Webster – bass guitar
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

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Concert Review – Trivium (Rebel, Toronto, ON, 10/25/2022)

The awesome night where Trivium switched from being an Orlando band to a Toronto band. 

OPENING ACT: Khemmis, Whitechapel and Between The Buried And Me

My last concert of such intense month of October couldn’t have been any better, as the city of Toronto hosted a fantastic night of modern-day metal with the Deadmen And Dragons Tour at Rebel, with the bands KHEMMIS, WHITECHAPEL, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and the al-freakin’-mighty TRIVIUM proving that heavy music is still alive and kicking as opposed to what several “experts” say about it. It was a very comfortable night temperature-wise and the venue is awesome for concerts like that, with the only problem being as always their parking lot, which made several fans wait for over one hour to be able to get out of it as soon as the concert was over. Well, it is what it is, so let’s focus on the music which is what really matters in the end.

The first band to hit the stage at around 6:55pm was Denver, Colorado-based Doom Metal act KHEMMIS, which also opened for Mastodon and Opeth a few months ago, still promoting their 2021 album Deceivers. Their setlist might have been short but it was very cohesive and electrifying, inspiring an already big crowd to slam into the pit to their doomed and heavy creations. It was my second time seeing Khemmis, this time from the very beginning, and not only I must say I was impressed with their energy throughout their entire set last night, but I also think everyone at the venue felt the same chemistry with the band. If that’s not an invitation for Khemmy to keep coming back to Toronto, I don’t know what would be.

Setlist
Avernal Gate
Three Gates
Sigil
Isolation
A Conversation with Death

Band members
Ben – vocals, guitars
Phil – vocals, guitars
David Small – bass
Zach – drums

After a quick bathroom/beer break, Knoxville, Tennessee’s own Deathcore outfit WHITECHAPEL began their sonic attack for the delight of several diehard fans of the band at Rebel, and it was indeed a ferocious performance by frontman Phil Bozeman and his horde. From the opening tune I Will Find You, from their 2021 album Kin, to the closing moments of Doom Woods, Whitechapel drove the fans insane into the pit, with the whole band sounding on absolute fire specially during newer songs the likes of Lost Boy and A Bloodsoaked Symphony. Excellent performance by a band that I’ve never been into that much, but that I will surely give a few more listens in more detail in the near future.

Setlist
I Will Find You
Anticure
Lost Boy
Orphan
This Is Exile
A Bloodsoaked Symphony
Doom Woods

Band members
Phil Bozeman – vocals
Ben Savage – lead guitars
Alex Wade – guitars
Zach Householder – guitars
Gabe Crisp – bass
Ernie Iniguez – drums

The most “meh” moment for me of the entire night was the performance by Raleigh, North Carolina-based Progressive Metal band BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, which despite being very technical and precise in what they do, their setlist sounded a bit confusing and tiresome. The songs Revolution in Limbo and Never Seen/Future Shock, from their latest album Colors II, were played to perfection, but at least for me they lack that spark or special element that would make them truly entertaining live. There were a lot of BTBAM fans at the venue enjoying the show, though, maybe due to a different type of connection they have with the band, but as I said several people at the venue didn’t enjoy the band as much as they had fun with Whitechapel.

Setlist
Sun of Nothing
Revolution in Limbo
Extremophile Elite
Never Seen/Future Shock
The Future Is Behind Us

Band members
Tommy Giles Rogers – lead vocals, keyboards
Paul Waggoner – lead guitar, backing vocals, additional lead vocals
Dustie Waring – rhythm guitar, additional lead guitar
Dan Briggs – bass, keyboards
Blake Richardson – drums, backing vocals, additional lead vocals

TRIVIUM

Finally, at around 9:50pm, the lights went out and the DJ played Iron Maiden’s hit Run to the Hills through the speakers, inspiring everyone at Rebel to sing its iconic lyrics as a cool warmup for Orlando, Florida’s own Heavy Metal institution TRIVIUM. It was a nice moment for me personally as I had just seen Iron Maiden live in Newark last Friday, so that “bridge” from one band to another sounded really awesome to my ears. Then after the intro IX, Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent began kicking some serious ass with the excellent What the Dead Men Say, winning the hearts of everyone at the venue instantly.

In case you might be asking yourself why the tour is called Deadmen And Dragons Tour, that’s because when What The Dead Men Say was released back in 2020 we were in the middle of the pandemic, so there wasn’t a proper tour to promote that album before they released in 2021 the brilliant In the Court of the Dragon. That being said, their setlist was a fusion of both albums with a few old school hits the likes of Like Light to the Flies and To the Rats, resulting in a much better and obviously longer setlist than the one they played in Toronto opening for Lamb of God and Megadeth back in May.

Matt was really, really excited with the amount of people that went to see them last night and of course with the warm reception they had, reminding us all about their early days when no one knew what Trivium were in Canada. He kept saying in between songs he’s amazed with what the band and their Torontonian fans have built together, saying the crowd was so rowdy and vibrant to the point Trivium could switch from being an Orlando band to a Toronto band. I have no idea how loud their fans were in Calgary and other Canadian cities, nor how loud they’ll be tonight in Montreal, but yesterday was indeed a very special night for the band based on all mosh pits, screams and horns raised while they played pulverizing songs such as Amongst the Shadows & the Stones, In the Court of the Dragon and A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation, which by the way wasn’t played in most (or any) of their dates this tour.

By the way, Matt asked the band to stop playing In the Court of the Dragon right in the middle of it due to two stupid idiots that were about to start a fight in the circle pit. He asked them to split and stop with the fighting just like what he tells his four year-old twins, which was a funny moment that I’m sure no one at the venue will ever forget, in special those two idiots. Another thing that I find impressive is that their fans love their newest songs just as much as their old ones, with The Heart From Your Hate being one of the most special moments of the night alongside Shogun and In Waves. So now as promised, Matt, as Trivium “became” a Toronto band we want to see you guys playing ten or more concerts only in Ontario on the next tour, alright? We will be waiting for you with open arms, no doubt about that.

Setlist
Run to the Hills
IX
What the Dead Men Say
Into the Mouth of Hell We March
The Sin and the Sentence
Like Light to the Flies
Amongst the Shadows & the Stones
Chaos Reigns
The Shadow of the Abattoir
X
In the Court of the Dragon
To the Rats
The Heart From Your Hate
Shogun
A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
Capsizing The Sea
In Waves

Band members
Matt Heafy – lead vocals, guitar
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, backing vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, backing vocals
Alex Bent – drums, percussion

Concert Review – Iron Maiden (Prudential Center, Newark, NJ, 10/21/2022)

Another night of pure Iron Maiden madness hit the nice city of Newark as the band approaches the end of their fantastic 2022 tour.  

INTRO: Liberty and Prosperity… but no FTTB!

What wild, wild two weeks (or maybe I should say the entire month of October) of pure fuckin’ metal! After winning the renowned (and sometimes controversial) First to the Barrier in all three Canadian dates this year, I didn’t get it for the Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022 concert at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey last Friday, which motto is by the way “Liberty and Prosperity”, but to be fair I think the experience of meeting my fellow IMFC blood brothers and sisters before the gig was even more engaging and fun. The place chosen for our meetup was Bello’s Pub & Grill, located a short walking distance from the venue, and I loved meeting some new friends there while enjoying a beer, talking about Iron Maiden and metal in general, and so on. Furthermore, knowing that some people lined up for the FTTB at 6am and still got number 30 made me even happier for not winning it this time and being able to go to the meetup. And once again I made it to the flags picture! How cool is that?

OPENING ACT: Within Temptation

After our nice IMFC meetup, the crew headed to the Prudential Center for a look at the merch, some beers and some relaxing moments before Iron Maiden hit the stage once again with their fulminating Heavy Metal. The opening act was as expected Dutch Symphonic Metal/Alternative Rock band WITHIN TEMPTATION, who not only made a couple of changes to their setlist compared to their Canadian dates, but the stunning Sharon den Adel finally ditched that “dark princess” attire with a very tight corset for a more rockin’ style, wearing leather pants and jacket, and I think she looked a lot more relaxed and dynamic on stage by wearing that. Their concert was again short and sweet, with the song Raise Your Banner being once again one of the top moments of their performance. I’m not sure how much the Iron Maiden fans from New Jersey enjoyed Within Temptation as their reaction wasn’t as rowdy as in Ottawa, but it was a decent show in the end.

Setlist
The Reckoning
Paradise (What About Us?)
In the Middle of the Night
What Have You Done
Supernova
Don’t Pray for Me
Raise Your Banner
Mother Earth

Band members
Sharon den Adel – vocals
Robert Westerholt – guitars
Ruud Jolie – guitars
Stefan Helleblad – guitars
Jeroen van Veen – bass
Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards
Mike Coolen – drums

IRON MAIDEN

My last concert of the current Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022 couldn’t have been more special, as I was reunited with one of my best friends to see the almighty IRON MAIDEN for the first time together since 2013, and of course the band didn’t disappoint at all. Everyone at the venue had an amazing moment from the first seconds of the opener Senjutsu with its Samurai Eddie to the closing moments of Aces High, with classics such as Revelations and Hallowed Be Thy Name driving the fans absolutely crazy. Bruce was simply phenomenal on vocals throughout the entire show, as well as of course the rest of the band armed with their sonic weapons, making New Jersey lose its breath on another night of pure awesomeness.

Anything I say about the band’s guitar triumvirate won’t represent exactly how in sync, incendiary and precise they are, but in New Jersey our beloved Adrian kicked some serious ass with his axe, with his intro to The Writing on the Wall being a thing of beauty once again. And Steve and Nicko, holy shit, I thought the roof of the Prudential Center was going to fall due to the insane heaviness flowing from their respective bass and drums. I wish I could attend another concert before their last one in Tampa, Florida this Thursday October 27, but that’s not a problem at all. There’s a new tour coming up in 2023, so who knows? It’s just a matter of planning a decent trip to Europe or wait for the probable announcement of the North American leg soon.

And before I go, I wanted to mention one weird and dangerous incident that happened during the gig according to some members of the IMFC. As I was a little further back I didn’t see anything, but several people mentioned that there was a guy in the floor section carrying a handgun that became visible while he was crowdsurfing. I know it’s the United States and people love guns from the bottom of their hearts there, carrying guns anywhere they go, but having one during a concert with over 15,000 people was very immature and irresponsible of him. Maybe he wasn’t going to shoot anyone, but what if someone caught his gun and decided to do so? And how did he manage to go through security with a handgun while several fans, including myself, had to take even their belts off to be allowed into the venue? Is a belt more dangerous than a gun? Anyway, fortunately nothing bad happened and we all had a great time enjoying Iron Maiden in 2022, and now it’s time to get ready for The Future Past Tour in 2023!

Setlist
Transylvania
Doctor Doctor
Senjutsu
Stratego
The Writing on the Wall
Revelations
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills

Encore 2:
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

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Concert Review – Accept (The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 10/16/2022)

How can a band play without their lead singer and still sound awesome? That’s exactly what the mighty Accept delivered to the city of Toronto on one of the weirdest concerts the city has ever seen.

OPENING ACTS: Jugular, Rustik, Korrosive and Narcotic Wasteland

As I had just returned from Ottawa after seeing Iron Maiden kick some ass again, I had the “mission” to gather all the energy left in me after almost five hours on the road to head to Toronto to see the one and only German Heavy Metal institution ACCEPT deliver the purest form of Heavy Metal you can think of during their Too Mean To Die Tour 2022, and because of that I was extremely late to The Phoenix Concert Theatre and missed ALL opening acts, those being Barrie, Ontario’s Heavy/Thrash Metal band JUGULAR, Toronto, Ontario’s Hard Rock squad RUSTIK, Toronto, Ontario’s Thrash Metal horde KORROSIVE, and South Carolina’s own Death Metal outfit NARCOTIC WASTELAND. I’m really sorry, guys, but my body was asking for some rest, otherwise I would have simply passed out during one of the opening shows. Those bands are amazing, though, and if you enjoy exploring the underground I would highly recommend you go after their music, in special Narcotic Wasteland if you’re a diehard admirer of old school Death Metal.

ACCEPT

It was 9:30pm on a nice and not-so-cold night in Toronto when the mighty ACCEPT hit the stage at The Phoenix Concert Theatre, but it wasn’t their regular concert where the lights would go out and the entire band would start kicking ass with the song “Zombie Apocalypse”, from their 2021 opus Too Mean To Die. What we got was all bands members except Mark Tornillo walking to the stage with the lights still on, with Mr. Wolf Hoffmann grabbing the microphone and saying “as you can see we’re one man down”, explaining Mark had some very serious vocal issues, being prohibited to sing just 20 minutes before the concert otherwise his doctor said he could lose his voice forever. Wolf then asked if we were still OK to have a concert even without their lead singer, saying they would share the vocal duties among themselves and also ask for our help to sing along with them. Well, we were all there eager for some Accept, so what happened next was one of the weirdest and most unique live concerts ever.

Imagine five extremely talented and hardworking musicians playing first-class metal music from the bottom of their (metal) hearts, trying to sing their songs as best as they could, with no frontman to lead the crew. Is that a recipe for a massive failure? Maybe for another band, but not for Accept, who were absurdly professional and gave all they had to entertain their Torontonian fans. It was a much shorter setlist than their usual one, with all songs form their latest album being removed from their performance (probably because none of the band members could sing those), but at least we were smashed by an avalanche of classic the likes of Restless and Wild, Fast as a Shark, Metal Heart, Teutonic Terror, and of course, Balls to the Wall. Wolf was fantastic, brilliant, charismatic and perfect from start to finish, with his guitar screaming Heavy Metal and invading our minds and souls majestically. However, the man of the night for me was drummer Christopher Williams, who not only hammered his drums in great fashion the entire night, but he was the one responsible for most of the vocal parts, making his job even harder but at the same time more fun to watch. Mr. Christopher Williams, you’re a true metal beast! Thank you!

When the show was over after around only one hour there was of course a sense of frustration among some of their fans at the venue, but at the same time a lot of respect and admiration for the band for delivering a really good show even after the disastrous news shortly before their time to hit the stage. Of course I would have loved to see Mark Tornillo roaring in our faces on stage, but health always comes before any type of entertainment. I wish Mr. Tornillo a fast recovery, and may he come back screaming in the name of Heavy Metal faster than a shark. And did I mention there were plenty of mosh pits during Accept’s eccentric performance? That only shows how much those guys were professional and incendiary, inspiring some of the fans at the venue to crush their skulls into the pit even without a lead singer on stage asking them to do so. Hopefully the band will make up for such weird night on a not-so-distant future, returning to Toronto with a bigger, faster, heavier and more infernal set, but for now all I can say is that I’m proud to be an Accept fan, a band that will never surrender and always keep on fighting in the name of Heavy Metal.

Setlist
Restless and Wild
Hung, Drawn and Quartered
Midnight Mover
Demon’s Night / Starlight / Losers and Winners / Flash Rockin’ Man
Fast as a Shark
Metal Heart
Teutonic Terror
Pandemic
Balls to the Wall

Band members
Mark Tornillo – lead vocals*
Wolf Hoffmann – guitar
Uwe Lulis – guitar
Philip Shouse – guitar
Martin Motnik – bass
Christopher Williams – drums

*Vocalist Mark Tornillo was absent due to illness. Bassist Martin Motnik and drummer Christopher Williams shared lead vocal duties.

Concert Review – Iron Maiden (Canadian Tire Centre, Kanata, ON, 10/15/2022)

One of the wildest crowds ever turned the charming Ottawa into a cauldron of pure Iron Maiden madness on an unforgettable Saturday night.

INTRO: Third time (at the FTTB) is a charm… or maybe not!

There I was yesterday in Ottawa for another night of pure Iron Maiden madness, but let’s say my third and last experience with the First to the Barrier offered by the Iron Maiden Fan Club was a mix of joy and disappointment due to the total lack of organization and the freakin’ cold winds blowing the whole time we were waiting in line for the slowest security on earth to give us our wristbands, check our names and so on. We got in only at around 5:59pm, less than a minute before the doors opened for the fans who had regular floor tickets, and as most of those fans simply rushed to the barrier, several (if not most) of the FTTB winners were only able to get to the third, fourth, fifth row, or even further back. Well, it is what it is, and at least I was able to be in the flag picture at the end of the concert and have a really cool meetup with other IMFC members the night before. If only the IMFC management allowed us members to organize the FTTB like we organize our meetups, things would have been a lot different on Saturday.

OPENING ACT: Within Temptation

The FTTB fiasco wasn’t a huge problem in the end as we got really good spots for the last Canadian date of the Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022 at the Canadian Tire Centre, which despite being sold as Ottawa it’s in fact located in Kanata, around 25km from Ottawa’s city centre. It’s a nice venue, but in the middle of nowhere, and if you don’t want to pay the high prices for food and beverages inside it I would say the best “restaurant” in the area is a convenience store located at the only gas station nearby. Anyway, at exactly 7:30pm the Dutch metallers from WITHIN TEMPTATION hit the stage with their solid fusion of Symphonic Metal and Alternative Rock, this time replacing the song Faster with a much better one called Entertain You, and they did entertain the crowd a lot, giving everyone a very good taste of the hurricane that was about to happen with Iron Maiden. Sharon was so thrilled with the warm reception the band got from the rowdy Canadian audience she sometimes got lost in her words, which was cute to witness. Great job, Sharon and boys! See you in Newark!

Setlist
The Reckoning
Paradise (What About Us?)
In the Middle of the Night
Stand My Ground
Entertain You
Supernova
Don’t Pray for Me
Raise Your Banner
Mother Earth

Band members
Sharon den Adel – vocals
Robert Westerholt – guitars
Ruud Jolie – guitars
Stefan Helleblad – guitars
Jeroen van Veen – bass
Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards
Mike Coolen – drums

IRON MAIDEN

Just like a Heavy Metal ritual, precisely at 8:50pm the lights went down, the speakers played the beyond classic intro Doctor Doctor, and there they were, the unparalleled, undisputed metal giants IRON MAIDEN for another insane concert for the delight of all fans at a sold out Canadian Tire Centre, and from the very first notes of Senjutsu it was clear that wasn’t going to be a slow and relaxed night. If you think about it, not only it was a Saturday night, the best day for anyone to see a concert, but Ottawa is geographically perfect for fans from Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, all surrounding towns and cities, other Canadian provinces, and several US cities, not to mention all fans travelling from other parts of the world such as Germany and England, and all fans were on absolute fire from start to finish, firing up the band with each scream, fist raised and mosh pit. And yes, there were several mosh pits. At an Iron Maiden concert. It was that chaotic.

I personally thought Bruce was a bit rushed in the first part of the gig, being disconnected from his bandmates in songs like Stratego and The Writing on the Wall, but nothing that could make the concert less enjoyable, of course. The concert was relatively calm until they played the classic Revelations, and that’s when the first mosh pits started if you could believe that, growing in intensity and reaching some insane levels of speed and violence in songs like Fear of the Dark and Iron Maiden. I was just waiting for a Scooby-Doo plot twist when Bruce would take off his mask and review himself as Tom Araya, saying Slayer was back in action and playing “Angel of Death” right after Aces High was over, but again, it was “just” Iron Maiden on stage, proving even a band that’s not as heavy like Iron Maiden can make our blood boil to the point we must slam into the pit so awesome they are. It was indeed a unique experience, and apart from Rock in Rio III in 2001 (for obvious reasons, as we’re talking about 150,000 people back then), Saturday night’s concert in Ottawa was the band’s most intense one I’ve ever been to.

The man of the night for me was undoubtedly Dave Murray. Although he doesn’t move as much around the stage as Bruce, Steve or Janick, he was absolutely fuckin’ flawless with his riffs and solos throughout the entire concert, as if all the energy emanating from such wild crowd was inspiring him to play better and better. That’s the beauty of seeing an iconic band like Iron Maiden different times during the same tour, as there are always those nuances that make each concert different from the others. Another example is that Bruce spoke a few sentences in French with the crowd. Some people might be wondering why he did that if we were in Ottawa, but as mentioned the city of Montreal and many other cities on the Quebec side are so close to Ottawa I would say maybe half of the venue was comprised of French-speaking fans, and Bruce acknowledging that shows how much they (still) care about their loyal fanbase. So it’s “goodbye” or “au revoir”, Canada! And we’ll meet again in Newark on Friday!

Setlist
Transylvania
Doctor Doctor
Senjutsu
Stratego
The Writing on the Wall
Revelations
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills

Encore 2:
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

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Concert Review – Iron Maiden (FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, ON, 10/12/2022)

A “Hamilton virgin”? No problem, Bruce. We know how to take good care of you.

INTRO: First to the Barrier, here we go again… or maybe not!

Due to work-related duties, I was unable to join my fellow brothers and sisters from the Iron Maiden Fan Club for the First to the Barrier yesterday at the FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a very good time enjoying my second night in a row of pure awesomeness with the Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022. As a matter of fact, the venue was so small and cozy that even if you arrived five minutes before Iron Maiden started their concert, you would still be able to grab a very good spot and witness everything happening on stage, and I still had time to be on the flag photo of the night with my fellow members of the IMFC, meeting a few new faces, and so on. This Saturday I’ll be in Ottawa and will certainly do the FTTB, but for now let’s focus on another amazing night of metal music in Hamilton.

OPENING ACT: Within Temptation

I was so late to the concert last night that I missed pretty much the entire concert by WITHIN TEMPTATION, plus the fact that I spent the first 20 minutes at the venue checking the merch and grabbing a beer. However, everything I said about the band’s performance from the Toronto show is also valid for Hamilton, with Sharon den Adel leading her henchmen throughout their solid setlist and, therefore, properly warming up the fans at the venue for another flawless performance by the one and only Iron Maiden. I saw a few people complaining about Within Temptation, saying they’re boring and shouldn’t be opening for Iron Maiden during this part of the Legacy of the Beast World Tour, but that’s most probably because Symphonic Metal is not as appreciated in the US and Canada as it is in Europe, for example, and when the type of music being played is not your cup of tea not even the best band in the genre can entertain you, don’t you agree? Anyway, there are still two more dates for me to see Within Temptation on stage this tour, so I’ll try to make the most out of it and support those Dutch metallers as much as I can.

Setlist
The Reckoning
Paradise (What About Us?)
Faster
In the Middle of the Night
Stand My Ground
Supernova
Don’t Pray for Me
Raise Your Banner
Mother Earth

Band members
Sharon den Adel – vocals
Robert Westerholt – guitars
Ruud Jolie – guitars
Stefan Helleblad – guitars
Jeroen van Veen – bass
Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards
Mike Coolen – drums

IRON MAIDEN

By now you might know already that if there’s one thing that IRON MAIDEN love to do, that is starting their concerts precisely at 8:50pm, and it couldn’t have been any different in Hamilton, of course. As I was a little further back than the barrier I was able to see the full stage last night, paying attention to each detail (while obviously screaming all songs together with the band), and what really caught my attention this time is the “massive” break between the three songs from Senjutsu and the Legacy of the Beast ones. Also, not sure if anyone has noticed it yet, apart from those two very distinct acts we can also notice in the Legacy of the Beast one how the band begins in a slower, darker and more melodic mode and starts speeding up with each upcoming song, culminating with the breathtaking Aces High. Those guys always think of every detail, providing their fans with a unique experience even when the setlist is absolutely the same during an entire tour.

Bruce was having a lot of fun playing with the band in Hamilton for the first time ever, calling himself a “Hamilton virgin” while also explaining he has already been in the city for his “An Evening with Bruce Dickinson” spoken tour, and complementing by saying the rest of the band had already played in Hamilton but in 1998 (with Blaze Bayley on vocals during the Virtual XI tour). Also, during Blood Brothers as usual Bruce began pointing out different flags from all over the world, focusing on two fans from Puerto Rico and Bangladesh which were let’s say a surprise to him, as in his opinion those places are too far from Canada. Well, maybe he hasn’t realized yet that Canada, in special the province of Ontario, is beyond multicultural, with people from pretty much every country in the world living here. I’m pretty sure those two guys didn’t travel all the way from Bangladesh and Puerto Rico to the show, but letting Bruce think about that was all the fun, right?

Musically speaking, the band was tight and electrifying as usual, with Adrian and Dave kicking some serious ass with their beautiful solos while Steve was in his natural beast mode running around the stage and jumping up and down nonstop. Depending on the night, and of course on the fans, some songs get more incendiary than others, and last night that was the case with Sign of the Cross, Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, The Clansman and Run to the Hills, proving that although their concerts on the same tour might look the exact same things, they’re never the same. Add to that the fact the venue was smaller than the Scotiabank Arena (and it was fun seeing Bruce checking if the fans at the highest seated sections were alive by asking them to move their arms and scream), and there we had a very intimate and flammable night with Eddie and the boys. Moreover, I still had some time after all was said and done to chat with a couple of buddies from the IMFC, who will obviously be in Ottawa this Saturday. Or do you think that one or two Iron Maiden concerts in one tour is enough?

Setlist
Transylvania
Doctor Doctor
Senjutsu
Stratego
The Writing on the Wall
Revelations
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills

Encore 2:
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

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Concert Review – Iron Maiden (Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON, 10/11/2022)

Finally, after over three long years, the city of Toronto was able to scream for the one and only Iron Maiden again in a perfect night of beautiful Heavy Metal.

INTRO: Scream for me, IMFC!

Before I start talking about the concert itself last night, I must say it’s awesome to be part of a family like the Iron Maiden Fan Club, also known as IMFC. As Bruce likes to say, we’re all blood brothers, and on Monday night at The Loose Moose it was really fun meeting some of the IMFC members that were going to the concert the next day in Toronto, enjoy a few pints together, talk about the current tour and the upcoming The Future Past Tour 2023, and so on. I know it’s not easy to invest some good money into the IMFC these days due to everything that’s going on with the world, but if you’re lucky enough to have some spare budget it’s definitely worth it. I can’t wait to meet some of my IMFC buddies tonight in Hamilton, because as I said, there’s nothing like the Iron Maiden family, right?

OPENING ACT: Within Temptation

One of the most fun perks of the IMFC is undoubtedly the First to the Barrier, or the FTTB, and this year I must say I was extremely lucky getting the FTTB for all three Ontario dates, those being Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa, and of course I was more than excited for it in Toronto because if you’re familiar with the Legacy of the Beast World Tour 2022 setlist, you know you’re in for a treat, getting to a very decent spot on the right side of the barrier. And Maidenmaniacs from all over the world started packing the Scotiabank Arena up early, allowing Netherlands-based Symphonic Metal/Alternative Rock act WITHIN TEMPTATION to play to an already big crowd, and we could see on the faces of all band members how happy they were because of that.

Promoting their latest EP Don’t Pray for Me, the band spearheaded by the charming vocalist Sharon den Adel played a short and sweet setlist including one of my favorite songs from their career, the exciting Paradise (What About Us?), and after each and every song the reaction from the fans at the venue was really heartwarming to the band. Right before playing the song Raise Your Banner, Sharon dedicated the song to Ukraine, raising an Ukrainian flag and waving it during the entire song, another moment that generated several claps and screams from the fans acknowledging not only how good the band is, but also that they’re on the right side of this stupid war. And after all was said and done, the band said farewell to their Torontonian fans, promising to be back soon to the city with more of their classy music.

Setlist
The Reckoning
Paradise (What About Us?)
Faster
In the Middle of the Night
Stand My Ground
Supernova
Don’t Pray for Me
Raise Your Banner
Mother Earth

Band members
Sharon den Adel – vocals
Robert Westerholt – guitars
Ruud Jolie – guitars
Stefan Helleblad – guitars
Jeroen van Veen – bass
Martijn Spierenburg – keyboards
Mike Coolen – drums

IRON MAIDEN

Precisely at 8:50pm, the speakers began playing UFO’s classic Doctor Doctor as a “warning” to anyone who wasn’t on their seats or still outside buying beer or merch that the party was about to start. Actually, there was an even earlier warning when they played a video of the Legacy of the Beast game with Transylvania as the soundtrack on the big screens a few minutes before that, but you know, there’s always time to grab another beer before the show. And what a show! The unstoppable British Heavy Metal machine IRON MAIDEN was on absolute fire from the very first second, captivating their crazy fans with the three songs from Senjutsu they’re playing on this tour, those being the title-track Senjutsu, Stratego and my favorite of all three live, The Writing on the Wall, with Bruce inspiring everyone at the venue to sing it along with him, before kicking us hard in the head with an avalanche of classics, including of course Revelations, Flight of Icarus and Hallowed Be Thy Name, making up for the long wait of over three years for the band to return to Toronto.

It feels like every single time the band comes to Canada they love to point out how diverse the audience is, with people from all over the world like Brazil, Mexico and Peru, as mentioned by Bruce before playing the beautiful Blood Brothers, visiting the city for another night of Iron Maiden magic. The entire band was flawless and I heard several old school fans saying that was one of the best Iron Maiden concerts they’ve seen in the past few decades, and based on the crowd’s reaction to Sign of the Cross, The Trooper, The Clansman and Run to the Hills, I have to admit that was indeed a night to remember. Furthermore, what can I say about the performance by Mr. Janick Gers? The man was out of control (in a good way, of course), feeling like he was not just playing the guitar but also giving us an aerobics lesson, playing and throwing his axe around in all possible and imaginable ways.

I must confess that when I first saw they were closing the concert with Aces High I was a little worried if Bruce was going to be able to sing it after such intense performance, but of course to the surprise of zero people he nailed it as usual, ending the night in such an electrifying note it was hard to believe the concert was over when the speakers started playing Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. One funny thing Bruce mentioned during the show was the fact that he was very, very happy to be playing indoors and not at the Budweiser Stage (as per their latest concerts in Toronto), which I don’t fully agree because the Budweiser Stage is a lot cooler than the Scotiabank Arena. Well, to be honest, I don’t really care where they play as long as they keep coming back to Toronto, and please excuse me for such short and not-very-detailed review as I’m heading now to the FTTB in Hamilton. Oh yeah, the show must go on. UP THE IRONS!

Setlist
Transylvania
Doctor Doctor
Senjutsu
Stratego
The Writing on the Wall
Revelations
Blood Brothers
Sign of the Cross
Flight of Icarus
Fear of the Dark
Hallowed Be Thy Name
The Number of the Beast
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Trooper
The Clansman
Run to the Hills

Encore 2:
Churchill’s Speech
Aces High
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

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