Coupla weeks after I moved out here in ’05, I saw a poster on a streetlamp for a gig called the Gates of Hell II fest. A few names jumped off the page: Nuclear Assault, Anvil and Razor. I knew that this had to be my first real Toronto metal show. (I’d seen Gigantour Mach 1 the previous weekend, but y’know, it was at the Molson Ampitheatre…)
Nuclear Assault wrecked my neck that evening. Just so many great riffs to bang yer head to. But even when he was talking to the crowd between songs, I still couldn’t understand anything John Connolly was saying. Something about Tie Domi and the Rangers…
Great nite overall, lotsa great bands. Dreams of Damnation from L.A. were pretty solid, Piledriver was tons o’ fun, and I was so impressed by this black metal band called Eclipse Eternal that I bought their CD on the spot–and I don’t really like black metal. It was also the first of several times I’d seen Anvil before the movie came out that made them almost famous again. But Razor owned that nite, man. There was no one faster, more violent, more threatening, cept maybe the headliners from NYC.
The following summer, Razor was supposed to be playing a gig at this concert hall in the east end. Can’t remember the name of the place, dunno if it’s still there. The Marquee? Yeah, that mighta been it. All I know is that it was at Coxwell and Gerrard, and I was only a coupla blocks away at the time, well within walking distance.
The gig was some fundraiser for this Heavy Metal Association of Canada that Ray Wallace was putting together. Never quite grasped the concept of unionized metal heads, but I didn’t care, as long as Razor was playing. But they didn’t. They dropped out last minute and were replaced by Nitemare. I still went, picked up a buncha free CDs (re-issue of The Bleeding by Cannibal Corpse), but the nite wasn’t particularly memorable.
(I missed the tribute gig they played when Ray died. Venue was way out in the east end, whereas I no longer was. Rock ‘n Roll Heaven, redux. Heard it shut its doors recently. Oh well…)
Fast-forward a couple years to the summer of ’09. The annual Glory Through Steel fest at the Kathedral was onto its final edition. I still remember the first one; walking out on Cauldron’s first-ever gig, stumbling upon some band called Blood Ceremony at the Silver Dollar where The Atomic Bitchwax were supposed to be playing (but didn’t), making it back to Queen St to catch Anvil at 3 am–and lots of running around in between. Maybe I’ll share the full story with y’all some time.
Anyways, 2009 was to be the last Glory Through Steel metalfest, as booking agency NoC was on its last legs. But they went out in style, coaxing DBC into a one-off reunion gig (with only two original members, but still) and getting Razor out to headline. At this point, I hadn’t seen ’em in concert in almost four years…(!)
After an afternoon of local bands that went largely unseen (I walked in halfway through) and a band from Montreal that didn’t go over very well, DBC put on an intense performance. As people pushed towards the stage, I remember thinking “How’s Razor gonna top this!?”
Well, they did. From the opening strains of “Cross Me Fool” to the song we wanted to hear, “Evil Invaders,” they were on fire that evening, Bob Reid snarling in his leather-studded vest, and Dave Carlo melting bags of ice on his wrists between songs so that his lightning-fast riffage didn’t make his hands fall off. Killer performance all around. I left saying, “So, THAT’s how they top DBC…”
Anvil mighta been Canada’s first thrash band, but Razor’s perhaps our most caustic. After all these years, Razor still cuts deep. And it goes without saying that I’m looking forward to their gig next Friday at El Mocambo, a venue quite dear to my heart. See ya in the pit!
“We spit on those who choose to pose, we thrash with all the rest!”
Razor with Fatality, Nitemare, Aggressor, Vindicator, Joe Thrasher @ El Mocambo, 464 Spadina. Friday, November 12th. Doors @ 7, 19+.
P.S.: I’ll be playing some Razor tonite on Smokin’ Green, along with Anvil, Voivod, Exciter, Annihilator, Sacrifice… a true Canadian thrash extravaganza! Be sure to tune in from 1 till 3 am at 88.1 fm on yer radio, channel 947 on yer TV or www.ckln.fm on yer computer!