Concert Review – Arch Enemy & Behemoth (Rebel, Toronto, ON, 04/25/2022)

A night of rain, insanity, blasphemy and, above all that, first-class Heavy Metal for the delight of thousands of metalheads in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Unto Others and Napalm Death

Despite the heavy rain that decided to hit Toronto only a couple of hours before the fantastic tour named The North American Siege 2022 took the city by storm, the venue chosen for such metal attack, the spacious Rebel, was almost packed already when the first band of the night hit the stage exactly at 6:30pm, American Heavy Metal/Gothic Rock act UNTO OTHERS, and let me tell you I feel a little ashamed for not knowing those guys before last night. Promoting their 2021 opus Strength, vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Franco and his henchmen put on a sensational show, with songs such as Give Me to the Night, Summer Lightning and When Will God’s Work Be Done inspiring all fans to dance, slam into the pit, or simply raise their horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. It was a short and sweet performance by such talented band, and I hope to see them again in Toronto (or anywhere else in the world) in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
Subdivisions (Rush song)
Heroin
Give Me to the Night
No Children Laughing Now
Can You Hear the Rain
Nightfall
Summer Lightning
When Will God’s Work Be Done

Band members
Gabriel Franco – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Sebastian Silva – guitars
Brandon Hill – bass
Colin Vranizan – drums

Right after a bathroom/beer break (not necessarily in this order), it was time for the iconic Barney Greenway and his Grindcore/Death Metal institution NAPALM DEATH to show Toronto what noise is all about for the delight of admirers of the heaviest and most demented side of music who attended the concert. Having released earlier this year the album Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes, the band was on absolute fire from start to finish, with Shane Embury and John Cooke hammering their respective bass and guitar mercilessly throughout their entire set. Amidst a hurricane of infernal tunes the likes of Fuck the Factoid, Contagion, Scum and the one-second masterpiece You Suffer, Barney had time to distill his opinion about controversial topics such as illegal immigration, being always of course on the side of the less fortunate. Closing their boisterous setlist, the band smashed our faces with their rendition of Dead Kennedys’ all-time classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off, sending a message of love and peace, and warning us it won’t take long for those four British noisemakers to return to our beloved city.

Setlist
Unchallenged Hate
Fuck the Factoid
Backlash Just Because
Hung
Contagion
Continuing War on Stupidity
Everyday Pox
Invigorating Clutch
Suffer the Children
Breed to Breathe
Scum
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
You Suffer
Smash a Single Digit
Deceiver
Dead
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)

Band members
Mark “Barney” Greenway – vocals
John Cooke – guitars
Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals, noises, effects
Danny Herrera – drums

ARCH ENEMY

Precisely at 8:35pm Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal army ARCH ENEMY (although we can say the band is now 60% Swedish, 20% American and 20% Canadian) hit the stage and delivered exactly what the crowd wanted, which was a fusion of some of their best classics with the new songs Deceiver, Deceiver, House of Mirrors and Handshake With Hell, from their upcoming album Deceivers (to be released in July), spearheaded by the unstoppable Alissa White-Gluz and, of course, by one of the best guitarists of the Scandinavian metal scene, Mr. Michael Amott. It was clear in their faces how much they missed playing in front of an audience during the pandemic, in special Alissa who always gets very emotional when playing for her Canadian “family”, which translated into sheer adrenaline for our vulgar delectation. As a longtime fan of the band I was obviously more inspired to bang my head to songs such as Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead and Nemesis, but I must say their entire performance was awesome. How long will we have to wait to see Alissa and the boys again in Toronto? Massive circle pits like the ones we witnessed yesterday are not created out of silence, you know. We need Arch Enemy!

Setlist
Set Flame to the Night
Deceiver, Deceiver
The World Is Yours
Ravenous
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
House of Mirrors
The Eagle Flies Alone
As the Pages Burn
Handshake With Hell
Dead Bury Their Dead
Nemesis
Fields of Desolation (Outro)
Enter the Machine

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

BEHEMOTH

And at 10:05pm the gates of hell opened once again and the almighty Blackened Death Metal horde BEHEMOTH emerged from the underworld with another flawless and very theatrical performance, darkening the skies of Toronto and putting a huge, devilish smile on the faces of everyone at Rebel (at least on the faces of the ones not wearing masks). Kicking off their demonic concert with one of my favorite Behemoth songs of all time, the incendiary Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, the multi-talented Nergal, Seth, Orion and Inferno did not disappoint their fans, sounding utterly heavy, dark and blasphemous until the very last second. Their brand new song, entitled Ov My Herculean Exile, from their upcoming (and still untitled) new album, sounded amazing live, but of course there’s nothing like raising our horns in the name of evil to masterpieces such as Ov Fire and the Void, Christians to the Lions, Chant for Eschaton 2000, and the hymn to Satan himself, O Father O Satan O Sun!, proving why Behemoth are one of the best and most obscure bands of the current metal scene. And when the night was over and those Polish blasphemers left the stage, it was time for us Torontonians to keep some of that darkness inside our hearts, face the cold and rainy weather outside again, and return to our lairs waiting for the next time Behemoth come back to crush the infidels in Toronto with their undisputed music.

Setlist
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Wolves ov Siberia
Ov Fire and the Void
Evoe
Christians to the Lions
Bartzabel
Conquer All
Ov My Herculean Exile
Decade of Therion
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

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Album Review – Salò / Sortez vos Morts EP (2021)

A newborn French entity brings out their dead in their debut EP of pulverizing Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust.

Labeling their own music as “Blackened Crust Industrial As Fuck”, Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France-based Industrial/Blackened Crust outfit Salò is unleashing upon humanity their debut EP entitled Sortez vos Morts, or “bring out your dead” in English, which as the band itself says, “tells you, without telling you everything either, poor little ones, how it generally goes – after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed.” Recorded and mixed by Manu Laffeach at Studio Chaudelande, mastered by Cyrille Gachet at Dick Doom Studio, and featuring an apocalyptic artwork by CLLK Artwork and logo by Dehn Sora, Sortez vos Morts is highly recommended for fans of the darkest and most desperate form of Industrial Metal you can think of, showcasing all the rage and versatility of this up-and-coming quartet formed by HCT on vocals and bass, AVS on the guitars, DLE onkeyboards and samples, and NGH on drums.

There’s nothing better than kicking of an Industrial Metal album than with a wicked, cinematic intro the likes of La Morale C’est Ça… (or “the moral is that…” in English), setting the stage for the band to crush in the visceral Sans Gêne Ni Haine, or “without embarrassment or hatred”, sounding sick and demented from the very first second with AVS and NGH making an infernal duo with their respective riffs and beats, while HCT barks and roars like a rabid beast. Then the phantasmagorical keys by DLE add an extra touch of dementia to the furious fusion of Industrial Metal and Blackened Crust by Salò in Sans Toit Ni Loi (“no roof or law”), with AVS firing his Thrash Metal-inspired riffage, followed by Tant D’interdits (“so many prohibitions”), where another eerie, alternative intro morphs into a neck-breaking sonority showcasing the rhythmic drums by NGH spiced up by the sick keys and samples by DLE, not to mention how HCT effectively takes the lead with his deranged screams. Their second to last blast of industrialized sounds, titled Sonnez La Curée (“ring the quarry”), is an insane and demonic creation by the French quartet where its thrashing, Punk Rock-infused riffs, together with its rebellious attitude and Hardcore growling by HCT, turn it into the most detailed and thrilling of all songs; whereas the ruthless and hellish Contagion closes the album in the most aggressive way possible, bringing to our ears venomous screams and riffs, menacing keys and Doom Metal-inspired beats.

Sortez vos Morts is available for a full stream on YouTube, but of course if you want to truly show your support for those French metallers you should start following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and even more important than that, purchase the EP from their BandCamp page, from the Cold Dark Matter Records’ BandCamp page or Big Cartel, from the Coups de Couteau’s BandCamp page, and soon also from the Duality Records’ Big Cartel. We must all admit Sortez vos Morts is indeed an amazing start for Salò, therefore already positioning them as a driving force of the genre in their homeland, and if that’s the music we’ll all hear “after all the lights at the end of the tunnel have closed”, then we can rest assured that the other side is at least heavy, furious and frantic, just the way we like it.

Best moments of the album: Sans Gêne Ni Haine and Sonnez La Curée.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Cold Dark Matter Records/Coups de Couteau/Duality Records

Track listing
1. La Morale C’est Ça… 1:04
2. Sans Gêne Ni Haine 6:53
3. Sans Toit Ni Loi 4:28
4. Tant D’interdits 4:02
5. Sonnez La Curée 6:29
6. Contagion 3:53

Band members
HCT – vocals, bass
AVS – guitars
DLE – keyboards, samples
NGH – drums