By Matt Lewis
On a rainy Monday night in Hamilton, the stage was set for a low turnout to a killer metal show. The Ion Dissonance, Last Felony and Starring Janet Leigh tour was hitting the Steel City and it was raining steadily. Doors were early and as I was working the club as a bouncer I was there on time to catch the local opening band. Fortunately for this band I didn’t catch their name or else it would be in this review; it wasn’t on the posters either so they should be safe for another promoter to book them as an opener. This is the first time and hopefully the last time I ever hear someone covering of all bands, Gojira. The frontman of said local band announced they would be playing a cover of a band that no one has probably heard of. Pointless, yes but did they pull it off? Absolutely not, it sounded like someone had a glass full of marbles and was shaking it as fast as he could. Completely incoherent. Leave the environmental sledgehammer sound of Gojira to Gojira. I will say they have a new guitarist who is clearly playing with musicians below his skill level. What a waste.
Next up was Ironclad recording artists Starring Janet Leigh. Like them or not they are one of the hardest working bands in the area. Their jazz infused metal has their fans and I count myself as one of them. Needless to say, playing now with one guitarist and a new drummer the music has become leaps and bounds sounding much better. The new drummer knows when to let it ride and while the technical drumming is still there it fits the music far better. Having only one guitarist had an effect I didn’t expect. You were able to hear everything that was going on and it still had punch to it. It let the music breathe, while still causing your head to convulse in many different directions. SJL started strong and finished with a fuck you head snapping breakdown.
Following the SJL performance was The Last Felony and as they came out the 20 or so people turned into about 30 and started to fill out the room a bit. While the small crowd was completely into Felony, it was something I had already heard before. Their standard metalcore was played well and while I caught myself head bobbing once and awhile, their set wasn’t enough to keep my attention. The sound in the room was fantastic by the way, which isnt always the case for metal shows in this room.
By the time Last Felony finished there were a few more people showing up to watch Ion Dissonance. I loved the first two records from these guys and then came Minus The Herd, which as it turns out in talking to a few people nobody fucking liked including yours truly. So I wasn’t expecting much from the band. Until I talked to KSP (Kevin Stewart-Panko, writer of Hellbound fame), who told me Ion had a new album coming out and it was great. So that raised my hopes a little but I would have been mildly entertained if they played a couple old ones. Holy Christ, the new songs they played, which were about half their set, blew me away. Crazy, maniacal and with a heavy as an elephant low end, these guys use 8 string guitars and you can feel it in the stomach. Their performance was tight, to the point and they left it all on the field.