The Exalted Piledriver / Maldita @ Coalition, Toronto on December 31st 2017
A metal new year! That’s what every metalhead dreams of for December 31st. The only real metal party in Toronto to tell 2017 to fuck off is The Exalted Piledriver at the Coalition. The temperatures are the lowest in Canada’s most populous city – the coldest in over 150 years. Courageous members of the alternative community are braving the freezing temperatures to party tonight and those who attend this concert will not be disappointed.
Toronto crust punks Maldita take the Coalition stage and promptly proceed to tear it to shreds. Chaotic, thrashing and well-executed crust steam rolls through the venue. Traces of crossover thrash enhance their flailing assault and vocalist Rosa hurls forth her spirited vocals with Spanish lyrics. Influences are drawn from the likes of Sacrilege, Wretched and Nausea, boasting infinite energy that effortlessly amps up the crowd. The guitar tone is scrappy but scathing while the drumming strikes city-leveling amounts of recklessness. While only a fresh collective, Maldita has the sprightly energy and conviction to turn heads and will rapidly develop a loyalist following within Toronto’s potent punk subterranean.
Just before midnight, ’80s guilty pleasure The Exalted Piledriver take the stage and vocalist Gord ‘Piledriver’ Kirchin counts down the demise of 2017 and ushers in 2018 for the venue. A flurry of cheers is the first sound heard in 2018 and then the headliners launch their sonic attack. Piledriver were formed in 1984 and released two thrash metal albums before throwing in the towel in 1988. 2004 was the year of their renaissance, this time wielding the grandiose moniker they use today. A band featuring a topless portly man in a spiked gimp mask and other S&M wares unquestionably has its tongue planted in its cheek, promising theatrical entertainment and party metal – the perfect accompaniment to the New Year’s Eve party merriment hell raisers partake in.
Tonight sees Piledriver perform their classic ‘Metal Inquisition‘ in its entirety, molding vintage heavy metal to stinging thrash metal with the ultimate meathead metalhead lyrics. Piledriver himself has a very entertaining on stage persona that ups the enjoyment of the night. His backing band is comprised of Brampton thrashers Spewgore, who are dressed in horror-inspired garb. The likes of ‘Sex with Satan’, ‘Sodomize the Dead’ and ‘Alien Rape’ are harmless caricatures of what the genre channeled in the ’80s and now in 2018, are a stark contrast to the unflinching seriousness that afflicts many metal genres these days, in spite of garish, cliched and kitsch imagery.
While Piledriver are arguably more entertaining than musical, their compositions themselves are well-constructed, featuring fascinating attributions that leave them a distance from the tides of mediocre ’80s metal that unjustly enjoyed more success than these Toronto natives did. There is plenty of variation and moods featured tonight with a typical level of ’80s guitar hero talent that featured frequently in the ’80s metal world.
Needless to say, the Coalition rally behind The Exalted Piledriver one hundred per cent tonight. For the last concert of 2017 and the first of 2018, it fulfilled all the objectives necessary to have an alcohol-fueled, louder than hell and delirious New Year’s Eve. Let’s hope 2018 continues in the same stride!