Review by Matt Lewis; Concert photos by Albert Mansour
On a cold snowy night in the hammer, the atmosphere was set for the beginning of Ironclad recording artists Starring Janet Leigh‘s final tour. The band has been playing around these parts for the better part of six years. With main writer Matt “Zaddy” Zadkovich having replaced the entire lineup almost three full times, the prospect of doing it again was daunting. Considering what radically opposite direction the writing style for the next album was headed it was time to put SJL six feet under.
The night began with That Boy Ain’t Right a conglomerate of members from expired Hamilton bands this recent collaboration has crafted a style of music that sounds like the best parts of Vital Remains and Into Eternity. With main vocalist Curt Smythe evoking Glen Benton without having to read lyrics off a sheet of paper. The clean vocals need work but the music was energetic and epic.
Following them were The After Chapter from Port Colbourne, playing a well crafted style of metalcore with sections of music on both sides of the line, heavy and melodic. The After Chapter kept the energy going and were excited to be a part of the night and showed it with one guitarist thrashing and headbanging and the other guitarist playing with ferociousness and intensity. The rhythm section was solid and the vocals were enthusiastic.
Then came Burlington’s Mortify, a brutal death metal band with some truly hellish vocals. The music was fast and well… brutal. It was a treat to hear this genre played well, there is nothing more grating to the ear then hearing brutal death metal that doesn’t work and that is something Mortify doesn’t do.
Then came the night’s last band. SJL plays a style of metal that some people don’t get. They have taken jazz, brutal death metal and technicality, thrown it all in a blender and hit puree. The crowd was small, about 30 people in all, but they were psyched to see the band. Singing along to fan favorites “Ex you” and “Noire” the fans were elated to see the band one last time. As always the band was tight and technical and yet you could see the fun they were having even with the end in sight. There aren’t many bands around here with the talent SJL has and with everyone splitting off and pursing new projects maybe some new great bands will rise from the ashes but there won’t be a better tech jazz band around here for years to come.