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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Concert Review – The Bay Strikes Back Tour (London Music Hall, London, ON, 10/01/2022)

And the Bay struck back in the city of London, Ontario for the delight of all Thrash Metal lovers slamming into the pit on a completely sold-out night.

INTRO: The Bay Strikes Back Tour 2022

Featuring Bay Area Thrash Metal icons DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS and TESTAMENT, the fantastic party labeled The Bay Strikes Back Tour 2022 actually started back in Europe in February 2020, but only lasted for two months due to all COVID-19 restrictions at that time. However, in 2022 the three bands got back in action with the first leg of a North American tour in April and May, another European leg in the summer, and now a second North American leg this fall, including the sold out, majestic thrashing night on October 1 at the London Music Hall in London, Ontario, here in Canada. The place was jam packed from the very first second the doors opened at 6pm, and that was the landscape until Testament closed the night already past 11pm, requiring a lot of stamina, headbanging and moshing from the fans lucky enough to get a ticket for such unique night of pure Thrash Metal.

DEATH ANGEL

Precisely at 6:50pm, and with the merch lines still being huge (which caused several fans to miss part of the concert), San Francisco, California’s own Thrash Metal squad DEATH ANGEL kicked off the night on a high note, blending old school tunes the likes of Mistress of Pain and Voracious Souls with newest hits such as The Moth and Humanicide, from their latest effort Humanicide, released in 2019. Mark Osegueda was on fire throughout the entire concert, showcasing an amazing vocal performance while his bandmates made sure there was plenty of heaviness and speed for the fans at the London Music Hall to get into the circle pits. It was really cool to see bassist Damien Sisson sporting a Toronto Raptors jersey, and of course seeing how much Canadians love Death Angel. Right after they finished playing the closing tune, the excellent Thrown to the Wolves, it became obvious that their setlist was way too short, but I’m sure the band will be back for a full-bodied, ass-kicking performance sooner than we can say “Thrash Metal”.

Setlist
The Ultra-Violence / Mistress of Pain
Voracious Souls
Seemingly Endless Time
The Dream Calls for Blood
Caster of Shame
The Moth
Humanicide
Thrown to the Wolves

Band members
Mark Osegueda – vocals
Rob Cavestany – guitar
Ted Aguilar – guitar
Damien Sisson – bass
Will Carroll – drums

EXODUS

After a quick bathroom/beer/merch break, all fans at the venue got in their desired positions for the fulminating Thrash Metal attack by the one and only EXODUS, and it was indeed a killer lesson in violence. Steve “Zetro” Souza, Gary Holt, Lee Altus, Jack Gibson and Tom Hunting felt at home in London, crushing everything and everyone that crossed their path during their high-octane, heavy-as-hell performance, and consequently putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue. Promoting their sensational 2021 opus Persona Non Grata, the band delivered endless adrenaline in a setlist that beautifully mixed new songs like The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) and The Years of Death and Dying with old school thrashing classics including A Lesson in Violence, Blacklist and Bonded by Blood. Zetro and Gary were insane on stage the whole time, while their fans were simply slamming into the pit like there’s no tomorrow. Close to the end of the show, before they played the electrifying The Toxic Waltz, Zetro thanked everyone at the venue for an amazing sold-out night and thanked security for the excellent job done in keeping everyone safe during the concerts, while a Canadian flag with the Exodus logo was shining bright behind the drums, and Gary made a tear of pure joy fall from everyone’s faces when he played a snippet from Slayer’s undisputed classic “Raining Blood”. We need Slayer back. Anyway, as usual they ended the concert with Strike of the Beast, or maybe I should say STRIKE OF THE FUCKIN’ BEAST, with a promise Exodus will soon return to Canadian lands for another lesson in violence.

Setlist
The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)
A Lesson in Violence
Blood In, Blood Out
The Years of Death and Dying
Deathamphetamine
Blacklist
Piranha
Prescribing Horror
Bonded by Blood
The Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

Band members
Steve “Zetro” Souza – vocals
Gary Holt – lead and rhythm guitars
Lee Altus – lead and rhythm guitars
Jack Gibson – bass
Tom Hunting – drums, percussion

TESTAMENT

It took a little longer for Oakland, California-based Thrash Metal titans TESTAMENT to hit the stage at the London Music Hall, more specifically at 9:30pm, but I must say the wait was totally worth it as Chuck Billy and his crew masterfully blasted our hearts and souls with their very technical, infernal and thrilling Thrash Metal. It didn’t matter if they played newer songs like Rise Up, The Pale King and WWIII, or thrashing classics the likes of Practice What You Preach and First Strike Is Deadly, the crowd went mental into the circle pit, inspiring the whole band to play even faster and heavier than usual. The new songs from their 2020 album Titans Of Creation sounded fantastic live, but it was the old school stuff that set endless fire to the pit. I have to say that D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate), Electric Crown and The Formation of Damnation might be three of the finest Thrash Metal anthems of all time, and if you add to that the sensational way Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick slashed their axes, the rumbling bass by Steve Di Giorgio, and of course the unparalleled drums by Mr. Dave Lombardo, who received perhaps the most heartwarming ovation from the crowd from all bands, there you have the cream of thrash served on a plate of pure gold to their Canadian fans. Chuck Billy was having an amazing time, being extremely happy with the reaction of the crowd before Native Blood when he mentioned the importance of the day before the show, September 30, to all indigenous people due to the National Truth and Reconciliation Day in Canada, and pretending he was “brewing” pure Thrash Metal in the giant “casserole” known as the floor section while fans were in a devastating mode during Into the Pit, among a few nice stories he told in between songs. Everyone left the London Music Hall extremely satisfied with the whole night, in special with the ass-kicking performance by Testament, and it won’t take long for them to return to Canada to blast our ears once again as long as we always practice what we preach.

Setlist
Rise Up
The New Order
The Pale King
Children of the Next Level
Practice What You Preach
WWIII
D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)
Native Blood
Night of the Witch
Electric Crown
The Formation of Damnation
First Strike Is Deadly
Into the Pit
Alone in the Dark

Band members
Chuck Billy – vocals
Eric Peterson – guitar
Alex Skolnick – guitar
Steve Di Giorgio – bass
Dave Lombardo – drums

Concert Review – Scorpions (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 08/27/2022)

And the city of Montreal still believes in the Rock N’ Roll played by the most important band in the history of Germany.

OPENING ACT: Thundermother

One week after the stunning Rammstein concert in Montreal, and after several hikes through trails and mountains in different parks in Quebec, I was back to Montreal for an explosion of classic Rock N’ Roll at the Bell Centre thanks to the Rock Believer World Tour 2022 by the one and only German Hard Rock institution SCORPIONS, supported by the electrifying Swedish girls from THUNDERMOTHER. Unfortunately, due to an infection that afftecs Mr. David Coverdale’s ability to perform, there will be no Whitesnake in any of the North American dates, which was also the case in Montreal, reducing the whole night to three hours of music instead of maybe four and a half, and that’s my only complaint about the whole concert as they could have given Thundermother another 20 or 30 minutes to play.

Anyway, the crowd had only one hour form the opening of the doors at 6pm until the unstoppable girls from THUNDERMOTHER took Montreal by storm with their breathtaking Rock N’ Roll, presenting songs from their entire career while focusing as expected on their latest albums Heat Wave, from 2020, and their newborn beast Black and Gold, which will be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose Show sooner than you can say “Rock N’ Roll”. Frontwoman Guernica Mancini, guitarist Filippa Nässil, drummer Emlee Johansson, and newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren, who has recently replaced Majsan Lindberg on bass, put on a tremendous show that will surely help to grow their fanbase in Canadian lands, delivering nonstop fire and energy to the audience. Songs like Whatever, Black and Gold and Loud and Free are pure adrenaline in the form of music, but it was their last batch of songs comprised of We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Watch Out and their rockin’ hymn Driving in Style that truly showed why they were chosen to open for the mighty Scorpions and why they’re becoming more and more famous and admired in the world of music. Guernica’s voice is like thunder, so powerful and loud, that I wonder where she will go armed with such striking pipes. Hopefully back to Canada in a not-so-distant future for a few more concerts.

Setlist
Whatever
The Road Is Ours
Dog From Hell
Try with Love
Back in ’76
Black and Gold
Loud and Free
I Don’t Know You
We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Watch Out
Driving in Style

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums 

SCORPIONS

After a very short break it was time for the most important band in the history of Germany to kick some serious ass with their undisputed fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, putting a huge smile on the faces of every single person at the Bell Centre. As the name of the opening song of this new tour already says, the rockin’ SCORPIONS still have a lot of “gas in the tank”, which became crystal clear throughout their entire set blending new songs from the excellent Rock Believer with some of their biggest classics including Make It Real, Bad Boys Running Wild, Tease Me Please Me and Blackout. There was no time to breathe as those German rockers put the pedal to the metal until the very end, turning the night into another memorable visit to Montreal.

I honestly don’t know how Mr. Klaus Meine keeps on rockin’ like that at 74 years of age. He’s not human, he can’t be, as not only his voice is still fantastic, but his onstage performance is captivating. The same can be said about the band’s axe duo Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, supported by the rumbling bass by Paweł Mąciwoda and, of course, the demolishing beats by Mikkey Dee. To be fair, I can’t think of a better place for Mikkey Dee to be after the end of Motörhead, and Scorpions are really lucky for having such talented drummer with them as they’ve never sounded so heavy and groovy in their entire career (and may that happy marriage last for all eternity).

From their new songs, the most exciting ones were of course the opener Gas in the Tank and Peacemaker, but the title-track Rock Believer also worked really well live inspiring us all to raise our fists and horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. And what can I say about their classics? How many bands do you know that have so many rock hymns like Scorpions? Who doesn’t love to sing out loud Send Me an Angel, Big City Nights and Still Loving You from the bottom of their hearts? And what they did with the touching Wind of Change, adapting the original lyrics in support of Ukraine, is a thing of beauty that everyone at the venue loved to sing together with the band while the background showed the peace sign with the Ukrainian colors. “Now listen to my heart / It says Ukrainia / Waiting for the wind to change…”

As usual, a Scorpions concert is not complete without the Rock N’ Roll hit Rock You Like a Hurricane, and it didn’t matter if it was a little kid or a 75-year old lady, everyone who attended their concert at the Bell Centre screamed, danced and raised their fists in the air during the entire song, ending with a loud-as-hell standing ovation to the band that lasted for several minutes. It was deafening, sometimes even louder than the rock music played by Scorpions, showing how much respect and love the fans in Montreal have for the band. I almost missed Scorpions because their show in Toronto was on the same day as Rammstein in Montreal, but I’m glad I made the right decision to see them in Montreal a few days later. Why? Because just like the city of Montreal, I believe in the Rock N’ Roll played by Scorpions.

Setlist
Gas in the Tank
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Seventh Sun
Peacemaker
Bad Boys Running Wild
Delicate Dance
Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Tease Me Please Me
Rock Believer
Blackout
Big City Nights

Encore:
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

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