By Natalie Zed
Unfairly, the term “local band” is often be deployed in a dismissive or disparaging way. When I hear someone say that a band I enjoy is “good, for a local band,” for instance, it arouses the same homicidal fury I experience when someone tells me I am a pretty good writer, for a girl. As I believe in unqualified compliments, I think it’s important to emphasize how impressed I’ve been lately by the tenacity and talent of the metal bands operating from in and around Toronto.
Also want to take a moment to laud the bands and promoter for their hard work. No, seriously. Rich Gaggi, the manager behind Fatality, is an absolute powerhouse; have you seen a blank wall or a lamppost in Toronto that didn’t have a Fatality sticker on it? Didn’t think so. Terrorhorse and Hallows Die actively promote themselves all over the internet and beyond. They want to take up your time and brain space, and will actively campaign for it rather than passively waiting to be noticed. That kind of effort deserves praise.
On to the show! Sadly, I missed Eternal Judgement, and would like to take this opportunity to thank the TTC for daily making me want to shove an icepick up my nose. I arrived just in time to catch Hallows Die. This show represented the first performance of their tour of Eastern Canada. I’ve seen them perform before, and trust them to fill an opening spot with pluck, charm and aggression. However, at this show the band was in full-on kill more. They’ve been rehearsing incredibly hard leading up to their tour, and it shows. They were musically tight, fierce and hungry on stage, and while their manner was still still jovial and cheery, their performance took on a bloodier quality that I have not seen them exhibit before. Hallows Die care about what they do, and have clearly poured their energy into preparing for this tour. I know they’re going to tear it up.
Terrorhorse surprised me. I’ve heard their recorded work, Unrequited and Unscathed, which immediately struck me with its complexity. Live, however, the intricacy of their highly technical progressive death metal sound was overshadowed by their aggression. They certainly don’t waver or compromise in terms of their musicianship, but it’s the brutal intensity of the music that really grabbed me when they were on stage. I’d happily see these London, Ontario-based shredders again.
I’d been actively looking forward to Fatality‘s performance. They knocked my socks off the last time I saw them at The Blue Moon, and I can happily say that this show was also a hell of a lot of fun. Spencer Le Von is an excellent front man, perfectly suited to Fatality’s aesthetic. He’s smirky and crass, more interested in playing shit-disturber that crowd-manager, with a great deal of raw charm. He dedicated the set to everyone who worked a shitty job that they hated, and lived for those few hours when they could go out and listen to metal. He admitted he feels like a god on stage, for the hour that he plays, and I believe it. Few bands have as much fun as Fatality do when they perform, and it’s a killer thing to be a part of as an audience member. It’s important not to underestimate Fatality musically either. Their tunes are catchy as hell, with great hooks and melodies that compel drunken sing-a-longs. And they’re all about audience participation, whether that means doing a beer bongs on stage, or inciting everyone to sing along to “Trash/Fuck/Eat/Sleep” at the top of their lungs. I will make every effort to see their ridiculously entertaining HoserThrash (as they’ve been dubbed by fellow Hellbounder Rob Hughues) whenever I possibly can.
I had to leave before Heaven Ablaze performed, as I hadto be on a train at 7am to attend a wedding out of town and was already distinctly not sober (thanks for the everlasting hangover, Fatality ). I walked out of El Mocambo to the sound of a party still raging behind me; I’ve no doubt that the rest of the night was just as much loud, messy fun as everything I had the chance to hear.