Reviews – Live

Raven / Entropia / Magnus Rising / Striker @ The Red Room, Vancouver BC, Oct 2, 2010

“Raven hit the stage like an atom bomb about 9:30 and proceeded to remind the crowd that, even 35 years into their career, trial and tragedy besides, they still bring the athletic rock like nobody’s business. When I stopped to remind myself that Raven, alongside perhaps only Motörhead, pretty much invented the genre that became known as speed metal, and later thrash, this was special to see indeed.”

Kyle Harcott reviews the recent Vancouver appearance of legendary metallers, RAVEN.

Rockstar Uproar Festival @ Credit Union Centre, Saskatoon SK, September 30, 2010

“It wasn’t the most cutting-edge collection of bands, but with a media pass easy to secure and nothing better to do on a Thursday night, why not head out to the Rockstar Uproar Festival? With an open mind, a perpetual caffeine buzz thanks to that drink they keep flogging, and no ticket buyer’s remorse, who knows what pleasant surprises one might come across? ”

Hellbound’s Adrien Begrand visited Saskatoon’s Rockstar Uproar festival, featuring Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour, Hellyeah and more…

Leaves’ Eyes / Blackguard / Borealis @ The Opera House, Toronto ON, September 19 2010

“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.”

Raven / Cauldron / Skullfist @ The Wreckroom, Toronto ON, September 16th, 2010

“Raven stormed the stage last, serving as both main course and dessert for this particular metal buffet. It was fascinating to watch this legendary NWOBHM band perform after Cauldron and Skullfist had already worked the audience over. The only word to appropriately describe the experience is “educational.” This is the aesthetic that the younger bands are going for; this is the original template they’re paying homage to.”

Natalie Zed shares her evening with original and modern classic heavy metallers, Skullfist, Cauldron, and the legendary Raven. Photos by Albert Mansour.

Katatonia / Orphaned Land / Swallow The Sun @ The Opera House, Toronto ON, September 13 2010

“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.

Nachtmystium / Zoroaster / Dark Castle / The Atlas Moth @ Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON, September 11th, 2010

“During this performance, they behaved as though the stage was land they wanted to annex; they walked on as though their performance was an outright invasion. The crowd responded accordingly. While the vibe in the room had gradually ratcheted up from “polite and well-behaved” to “cheerfully aggressive” during the previous three sets, when Nachtmystium played, the crowd finally smelled blood.”

Natalie Zed reviews the Toronto visit from Nachtmystium, with support from Zoroaster, Dark Castle and The Atlas Moth. Photos by Albert Mansour

Melvins @ The Opera House, Toronto ON, September 1st, 2010

“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

Aborted/ Augury/ System Divide/ Horde of Worms @ Sneaky Dee’s, Toronto ON, August 28th 2010

“Only in death metal can you seriously announce that the next song is about the secret shadow-dwellers who live underground, have the room nod along seriously and then play a blisteringly brilliant song without a hint of irony. It’s damn fun to play mind-bogglingly intricate, complex music and still assert that the subject matter is inspired by psychic vampires. It is excellent, serious music delivered with charm, humour and monsters — there is nothing not to love.”

Natalie Zed reviews the August 28th Toronto performance by ABORTED, AUGURY and SYSTEM DIVIDE at Sneaky Dee’s. Live photos by Adam Wills.

Mares of Thrace/ Spitfist/ Drunk Hussy @ Rancho Relaxo, Toronto ON, August 14, 2010

Mares of Thrace played last on the bill, and brought the night to a thunderous close. I am profoundly interested in the aesthetics of constraint and the way art can be produced by limitation. Mares of Thrace plug directly into this particular obsession. Consisting only of vocals, baritone guitar and drums, this two-woman force of nature produce a wall of sound: intense and varied, deep and resonant, pulsating and urgent, and shockingly complex.