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 – 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 (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 – Cradle of Filth (The Opera House, Toronto, ON, 06/04/2022)

Existence might be futile, but witnessing Cradle of Filth live in Toronto every single time they come to the city is more than essential.

OPENING ACTS: Phantom High and Frayle

I always find it truly impressive how the traffic to get in and out of Toronto during the spring and summer seasons, mainly when the weather is clear and the temperatures are above +20oC, is multiplied by a thousand or more, making it impossible to arrive wherever you have planned on time. That’s the main reason why it took me hours to get to The Opera House this Saturday for the Existence Is Futile Tour with the bands PHANTOM HIGH, FRAYLE and the almighty CRADLE OF FILTH (not to mention American Thrash Metal act Misfire, who are missing part of the tour due to Covid-19 related issues), and because of that I sadly missed most of the awesome concert by Toronto’s own Glamcore/Death Pop/Alternative Metal outfit PHANTOM HIGH. Anyway, the few minutes of their performance I was able to witness were excellent, with their frontwoman Peril Erinyes showcasing all her talent, charisma and passion for what she does. I hope I can see them again in a not-so-distant future as their music and onstage performance are outstanding, and next time I promise I’ll beat traffic (even if that’s humanly impossible).

Band members
Peril Erinyes – vocals
Seven Six – guitars
Greg Shier – guitars
Faraz Jabbari – bass
Joey Prolx – drums

After a (very) quick break it was time for Cleveland, Ohio-based Doom Metal/Occult Rock band FRAYLE to kick some ass onstage with their massive, low-tuned, sluggish sounds, spearheaded by the angelic vocals by their stunning frontwoman Gwyn Strang, who by the way grew up on the east coast of Canada in the province of New Brunswick (which is why she said “I’m home” to the crowd several times during their performance). Playing a mix of songs from their awesome 2020 album 1692 plus a brand new song entitled Treacle & Revenge, from their upcoming album Skin & Sorrow (to be released on July 7), Gwyn and the boys put on a mesmerizing show, with Sean Bilovecky extracting sheer electricity from his guitar while bassist Eric Mzik and drummer Pat Ginley added endless heaviness and groove to the music. Nobody was capable of taking their eyes off Gwyn during their entire set, as not only she was at the same time the personification of good and evil, but her minimalist, delicate vocals and moves were a thing of beauty. There weren’t any mosh pits for obvious reasons, but everyone at The Opera House loved what Frayle had to show us, and Toronto is waiting for Gwyn to “return home” whenever she wants with her whimsical music.

Band members
Gwyn Strang – vocals
Sean Bilovecky – lead guitar
Eric Mzik – bass
Pat Ginley – drums

CRADLE OF FILTH

The last time I saw the unparalleled CRADLE OF FILTH was at the same venue back in 2019, before all this Covid-19 madness hit the world and still with Lindsay Schoolcraft on keyboards, and as you can see from their 2019 setlist only two songs were the same this Saturday, those being Nymphetamine (Fix) and Her Ghost in the Fog, with everything else being either based on their 2021 ass-kicking opus Existence Is Futile, such as Existential Terror, How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose? and Necromantic Fantasies, or some welcome surprises the likes of Nocturnal Supremacy, I Am the Thorn, A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore) and Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds). Was it better, the same or worse than their 2019 performance? Well, I don’t like to compare concerts, as I strongly believe each performance has its own taste, its own details and its own energy, but what I can say is that Dani and his horde were as electrifying as expected, inspiring the fans at the venue to slam into the nonstop circle pits (even if you’re on a power mobility scooter) while screaming together with the band in the name of evil.

Most fans of course had an absolute blast with classics such as the aforementioned Nymphetamine (Fix) and the closing song Her Ghost in the Fog, but I might say their new songs Crawling King Chaos and Us, Dark, Invincible sounded simply superb live, proving once again how alive the band is and that we can expect at least a few more decades of pure filth from those devilish metallers. Dani, Ashok, Daniel Firth and Marthus were on fire as usual, but I must mention how powerful the performances by guest guitarist Donny Burbage (of Melodic Death/Folk Metal act Æther Realm) and the gorgeous keyboardist Zoë Marie Federoff (of Symphonic Metal act Catalyst Crime) were as well, translating into an even more incendiary concert by one of the trailblazers of Symphonic Extreme Metal. As a Cradle of Filth fanboy I think they should return to Toronto next week already, but of course I think all fans who attended another memorable concert by Dani and his crew will be more than happy to wait another year or so for the band to come to our beloved city again. The traffic back home was just as bad as when I was going to the concert, but who cares? It’s CRADLE OF FUCKIN’ FILTH, a metal institution that deserves all our admiration, and if next time they come to Toronto I have to walk 40km to get there, so be it.

Setlist
The Fate of the World on Our Shoulders
Existential Terror
Nocturnal Supremacy
Lilith Immaculate
I Am the Thorn
Crawling King Chaos
Nymphetamine (Fix)
A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)
How Many Tears to Nurture a Rose?
Scorched Earth Erotica
Us, Dark, Invincible
Portrait of the Dead Countess
Lustmord and Wargasm (The Lick of Carnivorous Winds)
Necromantic Fantasies
Her Ghost in the Fog

Band members
Dani Filth – lead vocals
Marek “Ashok” Šmerda – guitars
Donny Burbage – guitars
Daniel Firth – bass
Zoë Marie Federoff – female vocals, keyboards
Martin “Marthus” Škaroupka – drums

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Concert Review – Gojira & Deftones (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/22/2022)

A great night of Progressive, Groove and Alternative Metal in Toronto almost ruined by the total lack of organization and respect for customers by Live Nation.

INTRODUCTION: No VOWWS, and a massive headache caused by Live Nation

The only word I can use to start this review is “nightmare”. All the happiness from the moment I knew Australian Death Pop duo VOWWS was not opening for GOJIRA and DEFTONES at the Budweiser Stage, which meant more Gojira for me, simply vanished when I arrived at the venue and saw the massive line formed for what the so-called organization decided to do to reassign seats based on a “first come first serve” basis that absolutely NO ONE was informed beforehand. I bought floor tickets because I hate seats, and to my surprise I was assigned to seats at the 200 level. It’s like ordering a pizza but receiving a burger instead because “the pizza is over”, right? Not only that, seats at the Budweiser Stage are AT LEAST 40-50% cheaper than floor tickets, so not only I got a burger, but it was one 50% cheaper than the pizza I paid for. Live Nation is the sole responsible for such mess when they decided to move the concert from the RBC Echo Beach (which is basically a huge floor section with no seats) to the Budweiser Stage, and if you’re pissed off just like I am, I highly recommend you submit a huge complaint about the whole situation by EMAIL to Live Nation including your order details, screenshots of your tickets and anything else you might want to send them. This is absolutely ridiculous, and we should receive some sort of refund for their total lack of organization and respect for their customers.

GOJIRA

Moving on to the concerts, although I was completely disappointed and pissed off with our stupid seats, at least France’s own Progressive/Groove Metal masters GOJIRA were capable of reducing my stress considerably with another flawless performance in the city. Mixing some of their classics such as Backbone, Stranded, Flying Whales and Silvera with songs from their latest album Fortitude, including the fantastic Born for One Thing and Amazonia, the quartet comprised of the Duplantier brothers Joe and Mario, plus bassist Jean-Michel Labadie and guest guitarist Aldrick Guadagnino  of KLONE (as Christian Andreu returned home to be present with his first newborn child), inspired the fans in the floor section (not in the seats, of course, which made me even more furious) to jump up and down and slam into the circle pit nonstop during their longer set as VOWWS wasn’t there, as mentioned. Mario is a beast behind his drums, proving why he’s a reference to any rock and metal drummer these days, while also interacting with the audience all the time and throwing lots of drumsticks to the fans during the entire concert. To the floor section fans, of course.

Setlist
Born for One Thing
Backbone
Stranded
Flying Whales
The Cell
Love / Remembrance
Hold On
Grind
Silvera
L’enfant Sauvage
Amazonia
The Gift of Guilt

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums

DEFTONES

After a somewhat lengthy break, it was time for Sacramento, California-based Alternative Metal trailblazers DEFTONES to mesmerize their loyal and supportive fans with a long and very dynamic setlist that traveled through all of their albums until their most recent opus Ohms, released in 2020. Songs like Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), Swerve City, Change (In the House of Flies) and my favorite of the night, My Own Summer (Shove It), drove the crowd crazy and, for the ones who could make it to the floor section (and sorry for repeating this a thousand times, but I’m really pissed off with what Live Nation did to me and to so many others), the whole concert turned into a massive rock and metal party spearheaded by the band’s charismatic frontman Chino Moreno. And what to say about their lighting? It was a thing of beauty, adding an extra touch of insanity and passion to their solid performance. I’m beyond certain Deftones will return to Toronto several times due to the standing ovation they received from the fans when the concert was over at the Budweiser Stage this Sunday, and hopefully next time EVERYONE who bought GENERAL ADMISSION tickets can actually be in the floor section to jump and enter the circle pits freely without being stuck in a tiny, very uncomfortable and, above all that, unsolicited chair.

Setlist
Pompeji (outro)
Genesis
Rocket Skates
Prayers/Triangles
Royal
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Tempest
Swerve City
Digital Bath
Knife Prty
Beware
Sextape
Diamond Eyes
Rosemary
Bloody Cape
Change (In the House of Flies)
Ohms

Encore:
Lotion
7 Words

Band members
Chino Moreno – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Stephen Carpenter – lead guitar
Lance Jackman – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Fred Sablan – bass, backing vocals
Frank Delgado – keyboards, turntables, samples
Abe Cunningham – drums

Concert Review – Lamb of God & Megadeth (Budweiser Stage, Toronto, ON, 05/18/2022)

After two years of waiting, Toronto was finally able to witness all the energy and heaviness of “The Metal Tour of the Year”… and it was absolutely awesome!

OPENING ACTS: In Flames and Trivium

Ladies and gentlemen, or whatever way you like to be referred as, what an incredible night of first-class, high-octane, infernal Heavy Metal we had yesterday in Toronto at the unparalleled Budweiser Stage, with IN FLAMES, TRIVIUM, LAMB OF GOD and the one and only MEGADETH showing us all why their tour was named The Metal Tour of the Year! As a matter of fact, last night’s concert was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but of course due to the shitty COVID-19 pandemic (which apparently seems to be finally over), it had to be rescheduled countless times. Anyway, the wait was totally worth it, as all bands were simply awesome yesterday, putting a huge smile on the faces of everyone at the venue (and the fans didn’t seem to care about the fact the temperature in the city dropped from the mid-30’s to the low-10’s in just a couple of days). Well, I believe Sweden’s own Melodic Groove Metal/Metalcore icons IN FLAMES were awesome as well, as due to work and traffic I wasn’t able to make it to their concert, but a friend that arrived earlier said they kicked ass.

Setlist
Cloud Connected
Behind Space
Everything’s Gone
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Call My Name
All for Me
I Am Above
Take This Life

Band members
Anders Fridén – vocals
Björn Gelotte – guitar
Chris Broderick – guitar
Bryce Paul Newman – bass
Niels Nielsen – keyboards
Tanner Wayne – drums

I was scared I wouldn’t be able to make it to see Orlando, Florida-based Heavy Metal maniacs TRIVIUM, but fortunately I arrived at the venue around 10 minutes before they hit the stage with their short but extremely powerful performance. Matt Heafy, Corey Beaulieu, Paolo Gregoletto and Alex Bent were beyond happy to be back in Toronto after almost five years (yes, their last concert in the city was in the distant year of 2017), and add to that the superb tracks from their most recent album In the Court of the Dragon, those being the title-track In the Court of the Dragon and my favorite one of the album, Like a Sword Over Damocles, and there you have a recipe for success (and mosh pits). “Throes of Perdition” and “Feast of Fire”, which were on the setlist in the US dates, were replaced by Strife and Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr, and let’s say those new additions to their setlist received a killer feedback from the crowd, who engaged in several mosh pits while the band was on fire onstage. And what can I say about the jumping up and down ignited by Matt during their hit In Waves? That was outstanding to say the least. Furthermore, Matt mentioned this was the biggest show of the entire North American tour, proving how much us Torontonians love all bands involved, and hopefully that will inspired Trivium to return to Toronto for a full-bodied performance on their own in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
X
In the Court of the Dragon
Like a Sword Over Damocles
Beyond Oblivion
Strife
Rain
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
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

LAMB OF GOD

If there’s a band that knows how to inspire any type of person in the world to slam into the mosh pit, that’s undoubtedly Richmond, Virginia’s Groove Metal horde LAMB OF GOD, who precisely at 8:10pm hit the stage for the total delight of all metalmaniacs ready for a good dosage of heaviness, rage and insanity. Still promoting their 2020 self-titled masterpiece, the unstoppable Randy Blythe and his henchmen put on an unforgettable show, from the opening song Memento Mori, until the very last second of their all-time classic Redneck. It’s beautiful to see the rise of Lamb of God to the status of metal giants, as now they even have fire onstage like what they provided us with in Walk With Me in Hell, which was by the way flawless and one of the top moments of the entire night. It doesn’t matter if they played darker, more introspective songs like 512 or if they exhaled sheer violence like in Contractor, everything was perfect, and Toronto definitely shared their love for the band with all horns in the air, all screaming, and of course the frantic, never-stopping mosh pits in the floor section. As expected, Randy, who seemed possessed throughout their entire set, delivered a couple of Woooooo!’s as his personal tribute to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, and dedicated Redneck to the guy who in 2018 tried to swim back to that same venue during their tour with Slayer. Toronto can’t wait to have Lamb of God again in the city, an I can’t wait to slam into the pit to the sound of one of my favorite metal bands of the past decade.

Setlist
Memento Mori
Ruin
Walk With Me in Hell
Resurrection Man
Now You’ve Got Something to Die For
Contractor
11th Hour
512
Ghost Walking
Vigil
Laid to Rest
Redneck

Band members
Randy Blythe – vocals
Phil Demmel – guitar
Mark Morton – guitar
John Campbell – bass
Art Cruz – drums

MEGADETH

As expected, most fans at the Budweiser Stage were there to witness “MegaDave” Mustaine and his Thrash/Speed Metal institution MEGADETH distill their unique classics in the city again after so many years, and when the clock hit 9:45pm our dreams came true as the first notes from Hangar 18 (right after the intro Prince of Darkness) were played by Dave and his bandmates Kiko Loureiro, James LoMenzo and Dirk Verbeuren. Is there a better way to kick off a show than with such classic, followed by the underrated tunes Dread and the Fugitive Mind and Angry Again? What a brilliant start to their set, winning the hearts and minds of everyone instantly. Dave and Kiko played their guitars to perfection as usual during the entire concert, making our jaws drop and inspiring us to show them the horns during and after each song played. I loved the fact they’re still playing the superb Trust after so many decades, and although they replaced another pulverizing song, “She-Wolf”, with A Tout Le Monde, that didn’t do any harm to their concert. Who doesn’t love to sing such stunning ballad together with Dave, screaming the song’s French words at the top of his or her lungs? In addition, a few different versions of Vic Rattlehead appeared onstage during the songs Conquer or Die!, Dystopia and Peace Sells, adding an extra touch of awesomeness to the show, culminating with their undisputed hymn Holy Wars… The Punishment Due. By the end of the concert, Dave mentioned the band is recording the follow-up to their 2016 album Dystopia and that the album should see the light of day this summer, so all we need to do now is wait for it and for another night of our beloved Megadeth in Toronto… and Dave promised he’ll return to the city, oh yeah!

Setlist
Prince of Darkness
Hangar 18
Dread and the Fugitive Mind
Angry Again
Conquer or Die!
Dystopia
The Conjuring
Trust
Sweating Bullets
A Tout Le Monde
Symphony of Destruction
Peace Sells

Encore:
Holy Wars… The Punishment Due
Silent Scorn
My Way
Shadow of Deth

Band members
Dave Mustaine – vocals, guitars
Kiko Loureiro – guitars, backing vocals
James LoMenzo – bass, backing vocals
Dirk Verbeuren – drums

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Concert Review – Nervosa & Destruction (Lee’s Palace, Toronto, ON, 05/01/2022)

The German butchers of Thrash Metal struck back in another diabolical night of heavy music in the city of Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: VX36 and Sunlord

There’s nothing better than ending another fun weekend and getting ready for a cold and rainy Monday than a night of pure Thrash and Death Metal, and that’s exactly what several Torontonian metalheads were able to enjoy last night at Lee’s Palace thanks to the ruthless Diabolical North American Tour 2022, with the bands VX36, SUNLORD, NERVOSA and the iconic DESTRUCTION offering their fans exactly what they needed to slam into the pit and raise their horns nonstop. The first band to hit the stage was Geyserville, California-based Thrash/Groove Metal band VX36, led by vocalist and guitarist Nate Klug, who inspired all thrashers at the venue to bang their heads to great songs such as Satan’s Fury and Blood War. That was an excellent start to the night, and I just wish the band had new material to present as everything they played, despite being awesome, was from over seven years ago I believe.

Band members
Nate Klug – vocals, guitar
Gage Higgins – lead guitar, vocals
Nick Altenburg – bass
John Lorence – drums

After a really, really quick break, it was time for Jackson Heights, New York’s own Heavy/Speed Metal trio SUNLORD to kick some ass on stage. Comprised of vocalist, guitarist and founder Alfonso Ferrazza, bassist Ashely Wells and drummer Lamar Little, the band delivered a solid show including the fun songs Forbidden Witch and Turn Me Loose, with Lamar stealing the spotlight with a beyond professional and thrilling performance behind his drums, adding an extra touch of groove and heaviness to the band’s music. In the end, Sunlord might not be as thrash as the other bands from the night, but they definitely proved why they were chosen to open for Nervosa and Destruction with their energy and passion for heavy music.

Band members
Alfonso Ferrazza – vocals, guitars
Ashely Wells – bass
Lamar Little – drums

NERVOSA

Finally, after years and years waiting, I was able to see for the first time ever the all-female thrashing machine NERVOSA pulverizing everything and everyone live on stage. One of the most multinational bands of the current metal scene, as the band is now formed of Spanish frontwoman Diva Satanica, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace and Greek drummer Eleni Nota, the quartet was infernal with their fusion of Death and Thrash Metal from start to finish, with the stunning Diva Satanica not only showcasing a breathtaking vocal performance, but her stage presence was also a thing of beauty. Still promoting their 2021 opus  Perpetual Chaos, Nervosa made a lot of awesome noise playing songs the likes of Kill the Silence, Masked Betrayer, Into Moshpit, Guided By Evil and Under Ruins, as well as my favorite ones of the night, Genocidal Command, Time to Fight and Rebel Soul, where not only Diva Satanica was flawless on vocals, but Prika, Mia and Eleni were also smashing their instruments in great fashion. I just wish the girls had some time to interact with their fans at their booth (which apparently was reduced to just a few random items as their shirts couldn’t be delivered on time), but again, what really matters is what they do on stage, and they more than succeeded by inflicting that nice pain in our necks due to all headbanging involved.

Band members
Diva Satanica – lead vocals
Prika Amaral – guitar, backing vocals
Mia Wallace – bass
Eleni Nota – drums

DESTRUCTION

Another short break and there they were, German Thrash Metal institution DESTRUCTION, ready to show everyone at Lee’s Palace what old school thrash is all about. Anything I say about the band’s frontman and mastermind Schmier won’t be enough to depict his energy, his charisma and his onstage performance, kicking ass from the very first second and showing absolutely no mercy for our souls armed with his metallic bass and raspy vocals. Blending classics the likes of Nailed to the Cross, Born to Perish, Mad Butcher, Thrash Till Death, Bestial Invasion and The Butcher Strikes Back with songs from their recently released album Diabolical, including the amazing title-track and the pulverizing No Faith in Humanity, Schmier and his henchmen Damir Eskić and Martin Furia on the guitars and Canadian beast Randy Black on drums gave a lecture in Thrash Metal to their fans, showing why they’ve been alive and kicking since their inception in the distant year of 1983. By the way, close to the end of the show, Schmier had some very nice words to say about a guy that was present at the venue who was their first ever North American fan, being the first person in the US and Canada to purchase their 1984 demo Bestial Invasion of Hell. That was a really cool moment, and that guy, who was not too far from where I was standing, seemed deeply touched by such amazing tribute by one of his favorite bands of all time. That’s pure Thrash Metal, and after all was said and done (already past midnight, by the way), we were all certain those Teutonic metallers will return to destroy Toronto once again in a not-so-distant future.

Band members
Schmier – vocals, bass
Damir Eskić – lead guitars
Martin Furia – guitars
Randy Black – drums

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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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