THRASH INVASION 2014
Jounalist: Alex Stojanovic
Photographer: Navneet Johal
Published: November 14, 2014
Click here for interviews with Nige Rockett and Michael Stutzer.
Hard Luck Bar
Toronto, ON, Canada
November 7, 2014
Presented by Inertia Entertainment
What's better than spending your Friday night at the Hard Luck for a serious dosage of metal with the fathers of the British thrash scene: Onslaught and a great lineup of guests, including the fathers of the Danish thrash scene: Artillery? Nothing! This was Onslaught's second time in Toronto, and also my second time seeing them. This was a pretty special night for me, because I was lucky enough to see Onslaught's very first show in Toronto two years ago, and that was the show that brought me on board Metal Master Kingdom, because it was where I first met our awesome manager Ingrid Newton, so it was a total full circle metal moment. The only differences this time around were that it was a different venue, and Onslaught had Neil Turbin (ex-Anthrax) filling in for vocalist Sy Keeler, who had to sit out this tour and the remaining shows of 2014 due to health issues with his son. We all wish Sy, his son and family all the best in this difficult time, and hope his son will make a full recovery real soon. I also had the opportunity of conducting interviews with Nige Rockett of Onslaught and Michael Stutzer of Artillery, and both went really well. Now, let's get down to the night's metal madness.
Kicking off the night's festivities were Montreal progressive power metal titans Eclipse Prophecy. I had the privilege of seeing them last December at the same venue for a local show, and in my opinion, they were my favourite band of that night. I also interviewed singer David McGregor that night as well, so it was great to catch up with him again. The band also had Dean Arnold, who most Toronto metalheads know from the local Toronto band Primalfrost, filling in for their guitarist Pierre-Olivier Merizzi. A couple of us sang along to a couple of their songs, and David held his mic out to let us sing into it. It always feels awesome when the singer lets you sing into the mic. Eclipse Prophecy did an incredible job once again, and I definitely look forward to seeing them again soon.
Next up was VX36 from California, giving the fans the first thrash dosage of the night. The band had a slight delay before they started playing. Their music was pretty much straightforward thrash with the raspy style vocals. The best part about their set was that whenever singer Nate Klug would address the crowd, he thought they were in Ottawa. Sorry bud, wrong city. That drew a few laughs from the crowd. However, they did struggle to hold my interest due to the lack of versatility in the music and vocals. If the vocals had maybe just a tinge of melody, it would have been a little better.
Third band up were Danish thrash godfathers Artillery. It was Artillery's very first time in Toronto, and they received a warm welcome beyond their expectations. The band started their set with the opener of their latest album Legions: "Chill My Bones (Burn My Flesh)". Their 9-song set consisted of 3 recent songs, those being "Chill My Bones", "When Death Comes" and "Legions", and the rest were all classics from the first three albums, such as "By Inheritance", "The Challenge", "The Eternal War", "Khomaniac", "Terror Squad" and "The Almighty". If you think about it, when people go see an old band live, it's no surprise that the old songs are going to get the best reactions. The crowd was constantly chanting the band's name in between each song. Before "Terror Squad", Michael Stutzer did a short guitar solo, where he also played with his teeth. That was the first time I ever saw that with my own eyes rather than on screen. The crowd started chanting "One more song" when the band finished their set.
Closing the night off was Onslaught. Now Toronto has gotten to experience Onslaught live for the second time only, and we hope they will come back again soon. Their setlist was very well balanced, ranging from the classics and the recent material. Neil Turbin did a great job singing all the songs. He had a little iPad set up on a mic stand as a teleprompter for the lyrics. I was amazed that Neil still has the ability to belt out the high notes he sung on Fistful Of Metal in the Anthrax days. The band started their set with two back-to-back thrashers "Killing Peace" and "Chaos Is King", followed by "Sound Of Violence". Comparing crowd participation to the last time I saw Onslaught to this time, the crowd was definitely more active this time as far as moshing and singing along. I was up front for a majority of the set, and got my knee bruised pretty good after a mosher bumped into me pretty hard and my knee hit the edge of the stage. I'm not complaining about that. The biggest surprise of the set for me was when they played "Children Of The Sand" from VI, because this song is so ferociously heavy, it begs to be played live. A few other of the recent songs that ended up in the set included "66'Fucking'6", "Rest In Pieces" and "Destroyer Of Worlds". Some of the classics the crowd got treated to included "Let There Be Death", "Fight With The Beast" and "Metal Forces". They ended the set with "Power From Hell" and "Thermonuclear Devastation".