“Arriving at the Opera House a little late (missing Unleash the Archers for the TIFF presentation of Takashi Miike’s 13 Assassins) we walked into a friendly greeting from Leaves’ Eyes growler Alex Krull. That second or two was characteristic of the relaxed and intimate vibe that held for the rest of the night. With Kamelot off the line-up, the Leaves’ Eyes / Blackguard billing drew a smaller crowd, making it easy to get close to the stage and giving the in-between-song banter a more conversational tone. The casual atmosphere made me a little more forgiving of the often muddy mix for all three bands that blurred some of what, on record, comes across fairly clean and precise.”
“Vocalist Jonas Renkse is at once physically imposing and intensely vulnerable. He cradles the mic in his hands almost pleadingly, offering his voice to the audience. I found him completely mesmerizing. It was also a great joy to watch Anders Nystrom perform in person. He’s a wiry-framed and incredibly intense musician, his sinews as tautly drawn as guitar strings, fully embodying his instrument.”
Natalie Zed documents an evening of rather emotional music (in all directions) as Katatonia, Orphaned Land and Swallow the Sun recently invaded Toronto.
On Monday, September 14, one of my most anticipated shows of the summer arrived in town – the New Night Over America tour – consisting of the powerhouse lineup of Finland’s Swallow the Sun, Israel’s Orphaned Land, and Sweden’s Katatonia. By far one of the best shows of the year, I was lucky enough to be there to visually document the evening. A more detailed review of the show will be coming up shortly by Hellbound’s live review extraordinaire, Natalie Zed. Until then, here’s some photos to hold you over in the mean time.
“The best part of the show outside of a really awesome 20-song setlist was watching drummers Coady Willis and Dale Crover play. I’d seen the band in Detroit last year and even though the duo has drummed together for almost four years, Willis seemed more confident on this stop. Crover was still in command, but while they played mostly in tandem and both were decked out in what looked like vintage muumuus castoffs from a Liza Minnelli video shoot circa 1983, you could really see their different playing styles, and there were more individual flourishes evident in their new material than ever before.”
Laina Dawes reviews the September 1st performance by the MELVINS at Toronto`s Opera House. Concert photography by Adam Wills
“Metal cannot often be defined as subtle. Every now and again, however, these is a show that serves as a sort of palate-cleanser, offering metalheads an opportunity to indulge in some of the more delicate flavours that this broad, strange genre of music has to offer. Cynic, Intronaut and Dysrhythmia performed just such a show, giving the audience at the Opera House an aural meal to be sipped and sampled as well as devoured.”
Natalie Zed reviews the August 2nd Toronto performance by CYNIC, INTRONAUT and DYSRHYTHMIA. Concert photography by Adam Wills
“On this occasion, however, while I certainly felt overindulged, I enjoyed the sonic gluttony. Whereas Death Angel left me feeling like the insides of my ears had been coated in burning pitch, Soilwork brought a delicious coolness to the show. Their bluesy, melodic death metal proved to be an excellent foil to Death Angel’s performance. These bands work exceedingly well together in this regard; the tour is well curated. Soilwork have matured well as a band, retaining all their punch and aggressiveness while becoming smoother and more balanced in their overall sound.”
“By the time High on Fire hit the stage, the venue was thankfully almost at full capacity and despite not yet turning on the stage lights, when the crowd saw frontman Matt Pike stroll out in the darkness, bare chested, snaggle-toothed but still sexy as all hell, the crowd went nuts. While the trio had the least amount of members in comparison to the other bands, their sound was ten times more powerful and dense.”
Laina Dawes reviews the July 16th concert by HIGH ON FIRE, PRIESTESS, SKELETONWITCH at Toronto Ontario’s Opera House venue
The awkwardly-named Charred Walls of the Damned delivered a solid headlining performance. While the other bands they shared the stage with has set a decidedly un-serious precedent, CWotD were much more straightforward and earnest in their presentation. Not to say that they were stuffy or stoic. They play unabashedly entertaining power/thrash metal, but choose not to caricature themselves to the point of complete cartoonification.
I have yet to attend a metal show that I am not excited about. It’s an excitement that transcends ticket price, record label, venue, or profile. Whether I am going to see a deep-underground band playing in a tiny bar, or a legend taking on the ACC, I experience the same moment of unrestrained pleasure when I step out my door wearing heavy boots and carrying earplugs in my pocket.
Natalie Zed reviews Obituary/Entombed/Rumplestiltskin Grinder in Toronto, accompanied with photography by Adam Wills.
Immortal never failed to acknowledge the momentous occasion that their appearance was for the diehards in the crowd. From their frequent praising of the crowd to Abbath’s invocation of fan worship during “Tyrants,” the band’s antics never failed to garner overly-excited cheers from fans who had obviously been long bursting a gut to see their heroes in the flesh. While there was no fire-breathing to be had, Abbath and company didn’t fail to prove their musical chops.
Jonathan Smith reviews Immortal’s March 27th concert at Toronto’s Opera House. Panzerfaust and Eclipse Eternal also appeared. All concert photos by Adam Wills.