Let’s begin with the first band, Starkill, the Chicago melodic death band. I hadn’t heard them play before, and their sound reminded me a bit of the post-hardcore scene. The mixture of clean and death vocals was spot on, as was the mixture of high energy, powerful guitar riffs with dark electronic sounds. They have also just come out with their latest album, Shadow Sleep, which was released on Nov 4th, which was the beginning of the tour. They performed a great 30-minute set that included a mix of their old and new songs, which kick-started the energy of the crowd. Starkill was the perfect band to start the night and set the stage for the rest of the show.
Swallow the Sun was a dramatic change of pace and style from Enforcer, and here is where there was perhaps the greatest flaw. They are a great band, beautifully melodic and take their time to draw out those exquisite sounds that they produce, but I think that the dramatic shift in energy was just too startling. It was clear that the crowd was still buzzing from Enforcer and waiting for Dark Tranquillity, and that many were not feeling the slow melodic-death-doom vibe. They were also one of the bands that looked a bit crowded on stage, but they managed to make it work. Regardless, they played a gorgeous set, including songs from their latest album Songs from the North I, II, and III (“Ten Silver Bullets,” “Rooms and Shadows,” and “Silhouettes”) as well as some older ones like “Cathedral Walls,” and “New Moon.” Mikko never ceases to amaze me with his vocal abilities, which seem to grow with each new album; this in turn contributed to their depth and complexity of sound. It was poetic, and it was an enchanting experience to finally see them live on stage.
Writer: Marty Adem
Photographer: Navneet Johal
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Presented by Inertia Entertainment
@ The Mod Club
November 12, 2016
Toronto, ON Canada
2016 has been a great year for metal in Toronto, and the show on November 12th at the Mod Club was no exception. The killer line-up included Starkill¸ Enforcer, Swallow the Sun, and Dark Tranquillity and it was a blast from start to finish. Having moved recently from Vancouver, this was my first show at the Mod Club; the venue is beautiful and the audience area is quite spacious, but I had mixed feelings about the sound quality and found that some of the bands looked a bit crammed on stage. Despite this, both the bands and the crowd were pumped and rocking from start to finish.
Next up was Enforcer, a heavy metal band from Sweden that plays that traditional, fast-paced sound that we all know and love. If the crowd wasn’t already going by the end of Starkill’s set, well, then Enforcer got them going and kicked it up another notch too! Not only did they play favorites like “Take Me Out of This Nightmare” and “From Beyond,” but Olof’s vocals were on point and their guitars shredded up the stage. Their show was also rich in on-stage shenanigans, which included a hard-core fan who got up on stage, ripped off a costume that included tear-away pants and a wig, and just rocked out with the band for a while. What else can you expect from heavy metal? Even though I don’t think their sound necessarily went with the flow or direction of the other bands, it was still great to see them and to see the audience have a such a good time. Everyone was so upbeat by the end, that I think they could have had a longer set and kept on going.
The final, and most awaited band, was Dark Tranquillity, who had also released an album on November 4th, Atoma. Not only did they play an impressive 17-song set, but they also performed an additional 3 songs for their encore! They, of course, played tracks off their new album, such as “Atoma,” “Forward Momentum,” Force of Hand,” and “Neutrality,” as well as some of their older songs. And, for their encore, they played a favorite: “Misery’s Crown!” I was impressed with their ability to get the crowd back up and head-banging after Swallow the Sun’s set, and they kept that energy going all the way until the last encore song. Their performance was also accompanied by digital and video artwork that was shown on two screens on either side of the stage, which reminded me of Opeth’s recent performance at Massey Hall for their new album Sorceress. I’ve been enjoying this mixing of media and I’d like to see it continue to be part of the live music experience. Of course, Mikael Stanne always does a great job of interacting with the audience, consistently shaking hands, fist-bumping, and engaging with the crowd. They were definitely the right band to end the night!
Swallow the Sun
Century Media Records
Nuclear Blast Records