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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Album Review – Konvent / Puritan Masochism (2020)

A dark, primeval and absolutely stunning fusion of Death and Doom Metal masterfully crafted by four unrelenting women hailing from Denmark.

If you’re craving a dark and primeval fusion of Death and Doom Metal in the same vein as renowned acts such as Candlemass, Paradise Lost, Cult of Luna and Black Breath, who all unleashed the bleakest horror on mankind in the early 90’s, you’ll certainly fall in love with the “Primitive Death Doom” blasted by four talented and hardworking Danish women collectively known as Konvent. Formed in 2015 in the charming city of Copenhagen, this all-female band currently comprised of Rikke Emilie List on vocals, Sara Helena Nørregaard on the guitars, Heidi Withington Brink on bass and Julie Simonsen on drums is ready to haunt our souls with their debut full-length opus entitled Puritan Masochism, the brilliant follow-up to their 2017 demo, conjuring up a deserved revival for the whole death doom genre.

As obscure as the pits of hell from the very first second, the title-track Puritan Masochism comes ripping mercilessly, with Rikke barking the song’s acid lyrics in great fashion (“You pathetic, worthless subject / Submission keeps you erect / Ignorant as you wait / There are enemies at the gate / Slaughter the peacocks / Set fire to the lawns / Now the Queen shall hang”) while Julie sounds thunderous with her sluggish and damned beats, followed by The Eye, where Sara continues to masterfully slash her strings, therefore generating a menacing ambience complemented by Julie’s pounding drums and Heidi’s rumbling bass punches in another solid and visceral display of our good old Doom Metal. And in Trust we face a gargantuan amount of darkness, dementia and rage flowing from all instruments with Rikke being once again bestial with her she-demon growling, living up to the legacy of the genre without a shadow of a doubt.

Stygian clouds are all over us in World of Gone, with Sara and Heidi delivering minimalist but extremely sharp guitar lines and bass jabs respectively, inspiring us to break our necks headbanging in solitude while their music penetrate deep inside our psyche. Then blending elements from the grim music crafted by Black Sabbath, Candlemass and Tryptikon, the quartet fires another round of doomed riffs and beats simply titled Bridge, getting heavier and heavier as the music progresses thanks to the venomous beats by Julie, whereas the absolutely metallic and devilish bass lines by Heidi ignite the incendiary Waste, featuring guest vocals by Danish singer Tue Krebs Roikjer (from Atmospheric Black Metal band Morild), and let me tell you that Rikke and Tue make an infernal vocal duo throughout the entire song, turning it into one of the best and most demonic moments of the entire album.

Kicking off the last batch of songs from Puritan Masochism, Julie will smash your skull with her beats while Sara keeps extracting pure evil form her strings in Idle Hands, all embraced by the cryptic, poetic lyrics vociferated by Rikke (“These idle hands full of will / Go into the field / I will yield / Only dust and dew where they grew / Empty bags / Working mill / Go into the field / I will yield”). And closing the album we have Ropes pt. I, the first part of a double-the-pain extravaganza which begins in a mournful and cadaverous way thanks to the crisp guitar lines by Sara, with its ending being just as somber and captivating as its beginning, flowing smoothly into Ropes pt. II, an epic fusion of the slow and lugubrious sounds of Doom Metal with the enraged growls from Death Metal where Sara, Heidi and Julie are in perfect sync, providing Rikke all she needs to crush our minds with her deep guttural vocals. Put differently, this is what I call a breathtaking closure to such amazing album of extreme music.

In a nutshell, the girls from Konvent nailed it in Puritan Masochism, offering fans of both old school and contemporary Doom Metal a powerful lesson in heaviness and obscurity over the span of 48 minutes of music found in their newborn spawn, consequently pointing to a fantastic future for the band. Hence, go check what Konvent are up to on Facebook, including their tour dates, and of course don’t forget to show your true and honest support to those amazing metallers by purchasing Puritan Masochism directly from their BandCamp page, or click HERE for all locations where you can buy and stream the album in its entirety. The (under)world of doom will never be the same after Puritan Masochism, an album that can already be considered a new classic of such distinct genre, and albeit it has set the bar absurdly high for Rikke, Sara, Heidi and Julie in their future installments, I’m sure that’s exactly what those four amazing Danish girls wanted to achieve with the album, showing the entire world they’re among us to stay, their passion for a good challenge and, above all, that they’ll keep praising the riff and the horrors of doom for years to come.

Best moments of the album: Puritan Masochism, Trust, World of Gone and Waste.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Puritan Masochism 4:41
2. The Eye 3:25
3. Trust 5:17
4. World of Gone 5:57
5. Bridge 6:30
6. Waste (feat. Tue Krebs Roikjer) 4:59
7. Idle Hands 5:22
8. Ropes pt. I 4:36
9. Ropes pt. II 7:21

Band members
Rikke Emilie List – vocals
Sara Helena Nørregaard – guitars
Heidi Withington Brink – bass
Julie Simonsen – drums

Guest musician
Tue Krebs Roikjer – vocals on “Waste”

Metal Chick of the Month – Julie Simonsen

The Bridge of Light gives wings… Lead into the sea where you’ll be joining me…

Are you ready for some old school, dark and heavy-as-hell Doom Metal on The Headbanging Moose this month of February? If doom is what you love, I’m sure you’ll have a blast with our metal chick of the month, the badass, raven-haired Julie Simonsen, drummer for one of the most infernal and Stygian bands of the current European scene, the unrelenting all-female Doom Metal entity known as Konvent, an up-and-coming act that will surely become a driving force of primeval doom not only in their homeland Denmark, but anywhere else where obscure and devilish extreme music is properly appreciated. Having said that, fasten your seat belts and enjoy our humble tribute to a woman who albeit might be taking her first steps in her music career, has all it takes to conquer the hearts of metalheads form all over the world with her unique charisma and undeniable talent behind the drums.

Born and raised in Frederiksværk, a small town in the Halsnæs Municipality on Zealand, in Region Hovedstaden in Denmark, but currently residing in Søborg, a neighbourhood in Gladsaxe Municipality, located some 10 km northwest of central Copenhagen, Julie said she was feeling bored at school before joining Konvent. She said that after she moved to Søborg she attended some sort of “left-wing hippie music college” (which I believe is a school called Det frie Gymnasium) where she was supposed to play angry punk music, therefore getting more involved in the local punk and metal scene. After her graduation, she worked at H&M and even in the zoo where she sold ice cream, and now apart from her career with convent she is also currently working in a warehouse for an online clothing store.

Julien mentioned in one of her interviews she started playing drums when she was around 12 or 13 years old, getting her first drums from her parents and then starting taking lessons. Her father introduced her to the music by Kiss when she was a little girl, when she was only around 6 or 7 years old, and she instantly fell in love for it, saying she thought at that time Eric Singer was really cool with the makeup and everything else. As a matter of fact, that was actually the real reason that inspired her to play the drums. A few years later, after she started playing drums, Julie also started taking guitar lessons, which by the way it’s still a thing for her, but of course drums have always been her top priority.

It was at the end of November 2017 when our dauntless drummer joined Konvent, the all-female Doom Metal sensation formed in 2015 in Copenhagen following in the footsteps of Candlemass, Paradise Lost, Cult of Luna and Black Breath, who all unleashed the bleakest horror on mankind in the early 90’s, having already appeared with the band at several festivals such as Aalborg Metal Festival, Metal Magic, When Copenhell Freezes Over and Roskilde Festival. Kovent are currently comprised of Rikke Emilie List on vocals, Sara Helena Nørregaard on the guitars, Heidi Withington Brink on bass and, obviously, Julie Simonsen on drums, having released a demo in 2017 (still with their original drummer Mette Marie List), and just a few days ago their debut full-length opus entitled Puritan Masochism, via Napalm Records, a massive extreme metal highlight of early 2020 (which will obviously be reviewed at The Headbanging Moose soon) conjuring up a deserved revival for the whole death doom genre. Julie said the four girls in the band already knew each other from the Copenhagen metal scene, as the scene in the city is not actually really big, with most people knowing each other from concerts and other events. In addition, Julie said that when Konvent first got together, they didn’t want to commit to any specific genre, simply deciding to call their music “Primitive Death Doom” due to the slow rhythms and riffing combined with Rikke’s Death Metal-like vocals.

When asked about the recording process for Puritan Masochism and what lessons the band learned from their live performances that were applied to the album, Julie said that the whole recording got better and better as they got more and more comfortable with their instruments, having more control and more creativity while writing music, consequently becoming more fun, more relaxed and more instinctual. She also said it was indeed a very lengthy process at the beginning, especially due to all the concerts and rehearsals happening at the same time they were writing and recording material for the album. The girls had a very strict deadline, saying they wrote the last song for the album on the last day before the recordings, but that after all the pressure somehow contributed to their creative thinking and they were happy with what they took with them from the studio. If you want to get a very good (and infernal) taste of Konvent’s undisputed doom from their new album, with Julie smashing her drums beautifully, take a very good listen at the songs Trust and Ropes Pt. II, and don’t forget to also purchase their music directly form their BandCamp page. I’m beyond certain you’ll get addicted to their devilish creations.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Highly influences by some of the most obscure and talented bands and artist from the extreme music universe such as Anaal Nathrakh, King Diamond, Candlemass, Mantar, Monolord, Alunah, Solbrud, Dirt Forge and Black Breath, Julie was questioned if she still feels the influence of Metallica’s own Lars Ulrich around Copenhagen and in Denmark in general. well, she said there will always be a comparison to Lars due to the fact she’s a drummer from his homeland Denmark, but she doesn’t really know if that’s a compliment. There’s this “love-hate” feeling due to Lars’ arrogance, but she still likes him and his style, saying he’s some sort of “goofy uncle” for all drummers, complementing by saying that he’s still a big celebrity in Denmark and that he’s not seen in public that often, as opposed to the guys from Volbeat who are always around town.

Julie and the other girls from Konvent were also inquired about the current state of the Danish metal scene, being asked about which bands from Copenhagen they would love to play with or see live, and their answers included several incredible bands from the beautiful capital of “Danevang” such as Dirt Forge, Solbrud, Alkymist, Møl, Afsky, Morild and Dying Hydra, among others, which by the way they said all made them feel very welcome to the scene, especially Dirt Forge with whom they had the pleasure to play with several times in the past few years. They complemented by saying the Danish scene is a very familiar one, as most bands know each other in some way and everyone is extremely friendly and helpful, also saying there are countless concerts happening everyday at different small venues and mentioning other Danish bands like Konvent that are branching out to the world and getting more and more attention such as Baest, Slægt and Møl. Hence, if you live in Copenhagen or if you’re visiting the city in the near future you should definitely try some of their best venues for some first-class underground doom and other heavy styles, including Ungdomshuset, which is the local youth house in Copenhagen, as well as the bigger venues such as Vega or Pumpehuset, also referred to as “The Bomb House”, whenever they put on metal, and Loppen, at the freetown Christiania in the middle of Copenhagen (which by the way Julie doesn’t feel one hundred percent safe as in the rest of the city), where Konvent has already taken their stage by storm.

As we’re talking about the Danish scene and venues for live metal performances, it’s obvious that Julie and the other girls love to play their music live and tour as much as they can, something that’s expected form any good metalhead. For instance, one of their biggest dreams was to perform at the biggest music festivals organized in their homeland, the exceptional Copenhell and Roskilde Festival, which they ended up doing in the same year, in 2019. Julie said it was truly unreal to be part of both festivals, saying they were extremely nervous and restless before the shows, and also mentioning that because they were supposed to play at a really early spot, at around 2pm, they didn’t think there were going to be so many people attending their concert. She also said they’re absolutely pumped for their first round of international concerts, including shows in Germany, Sweden and Norway, as well as international festivals such as Gefle Metal Fest in Gävle, Sweden, In Flammen Open Air in Torgau, Germany and the HRH Vikings – Chapter III in Sheffield, England. When asked about which countries or festivals apart from the aforementioned ones they would love to play, our stunning drummer said they definitely want to play at the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, also citing other major festivals like Brutal Assault, Sweden Rock, Hellfest and Eindhoven Metal Meeting. In addition to all that, Julia also mentioned Konvent have been receiving tons of positive feedback form all over the world, from countries and regions like the United States, Canada, Japan, Eastern Europe and South America, with the fans from the United States and Eastern Europe being the most excited with their music so far. If you would like to witness the power and obscurity of Konvent live, go check some YouTube videos such as their performance of the songs No End and Bridge at the Kaldet Fra Dybet III festival at Ungdomshuset, in Copenhagen, in February 2018; playing the song Puritan Masochism at Copenhell in 2019; and their full performance at When Copenhell Freezes Over at Vega in January 2018, where you can enjoy Julie smashing her drums in songs like Chernobyl Child, Tracks and Squares. Also, don’t forget to check their short and sweet “tour report” from their 2018 mini-tour in Germany as a support act for the bands Monolord and Firebreather, and Julie herself inviting us all to join them at the 2018 edition of Metal Magic.

When Konvent are not doing music, the girls like to do some distinct and fun activities either by themselves or together, with their curiosity about the world inspiring them to take walks in the nature, listen to science podcasts, travel the world, spend quality time with their friends and family and read books by authors like Dennis Jürgensen, Dan Turèll, and Patty Smith. As none of the girls smoke weed, they can only recommend some traditional Danish dishes to us fans, such as their famous Smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich made with rye bread with loads of different toppings on it, and the Danish pastry called Snøfler. And lastly, when asked if they’re worried about all the work that Konvent might generate for them, Julie said that all the girls are trying their best to align their tasks and responsibilities as a band to their non-Konvent work and studies, and that of course one day they hope they can make a living from Konvent. In my humble opinion, based on the fantastic job done by the band so far with both their demo and their newborn full-length spawn they’re on the right path to stardom, and I can’t wait to see Julie and her bandmates slamming our heads with their pulverizing doom in North America in a not-so-distant future.

Julie Simonsen’s Official Facebook page
Julie Simonsen’s Official Instagram
Konvent’s Official Facebook page
Konvent’s Official Instagram
Konvent’s Official YouTube channel