Written by: Kirsti Heitz
Venue: Opera House Toronto, Canada
Erik Danielsson – vocals, bass
Håkan Jonsson – drums
Pelle Forsberg – guitar
Set Teitan(Davide Totaro) –guitar (live only)
Alvaro Lillo – bass (live only)
Label: Century Media
Johannes Andersson - Vocals/Bass
Adam Zaars - Guitar
Jonathan Hultén - Guitar
Jakob Ljungberg – Drums
Label: Invictus Productions
Hornper - Vocals
Niklas Lindström - Guitar
Henrik Palm - Guitar
Gottfrid Åhman -Bass Guitar
Uno Bruniusson - Drums
Label: Metal Blade Records
Voldamares - Vocals
Lord Abaddon - Guitar
Wulfgar - Drums
Orcus - Bass
Carver – Orchestrations
An evening of black metal descended upon the Opera House with Canadian Eclipse Eternal opening the night with impossibly long drawn out screams. Dressed in a dark robe, vocalist Voldamares was in character throughout their set, acting as if the stage were an altar for some evil ceremony. Eclipse Eternal’s dramatic presence echoed their gloomy beats and made a good intro to the night. Though the band seemed to almost be hypnotized by their own sound, bassist Orcus was the only one to really seem into the music as he headbanged and demanded a reaction from the crowd. Keyboardist Carver added her own windmills as well as lending her voice to fill in the Voldamares’s black metal screams, which I really enjoyed. I felt that their set was a little too short but like any good black metal band, their last song was a pretty long one.
Tribulation took the stage next in their tight pants, 80’s hair and corpse paint. It was as if Motely Crue decided to play black metal. True to their image, their sound was a mix of black metal but with lighter riffs and non gloomy melodies. Kind of like pop meets black metal or black metal for beginners. All joking aside, though I may have been perplexed at the time, in truth I really enjoyed their set. The band was extremely expressive and had a good stage presence as they moved ethereally while playing. The songs themselves were easy to digest and were heavy enough to make Watain fans move their heads to the beat. Drummer Jakob Ljungberg was so-so at playing blast beats but he proved to be a pro at the double pedal.
In Solitude began their set with vocalist Hornper stumbling around. I couldn’t tell if he was actually in his cups or if that was his stage persona. Either way he was on key for all his parts, as far as I could tell. It was a real surprise to have a band like this play before Watain. Hornper’s clean rocker vocals, more like his lack of high pitched screams and growls, really made them stand out. In
Solitude had some solid solo’s performed through exotic movements of the band grooving to their sound. The smell of incense slowly filled the Opera House and I noticed they had lit bundles of incense around the stage giving off a cool smoky haze as well as a pleasant smell. In solitude played a good set but I still believe they were out of place at this show.
Watain’s fake decrepit walls and inverted crosses were released on stage. The backdrop changed to the image of a ruined city and vocalist Erik Danielsson slowly creeped on stage, taking his time in lighting the row of candles in front of the drum kit. His dramatic entrance was enhanced by the gloomy music. Watain slowly emerged with their ripped vests and corpse paint from behind their fake walls and took their positions. They ripped into “Night Vision” and never before have I been so annoyed by the Opera House’s sound system. From the beginning of their set right to the end an occasional squealing metal ring would out win Watain’s sound.
It’s quite a site to see metalheads actually cover their ears and cringe. Sadly for fans, the constant problems with the sound system couldn’t even be covered up with some really good black metal.
Problems reigned all over the night, from issues with Danielsson’s mic that made him unheard for the beginning of Watain’s set, to technical issues with their props. It just wasn’t their night. Even after some awkward pauses to try and fix the sound problems, the issues were just being slightly improved not fixed. Ah well, Watain played it off like the pros they are and strove to make fans forget the issues. Insane blast beats and fast riffs filled the night, getting the pit riled up and hypnotizing fans.
If I was a tad concerned about the lit candles on stage I think my mouth dropped as Watain brought out lit torches and lit up the tips of their inverted crosses. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, they still headbanged dangerously close to the flames. I had heard rumours of an explosive ending to their set and deduced that the paper thin fake wall partitions would light up. Unfortunately nothing ever happened and there was talk of another technical difficulty with the props.
Flames aside, Watain owned that stage with older classics like “On Horns Impaled” and newer anthems “Reaping Death.” Watain ended fast and heavy, with the fires on stage burning low and fans going crazy. An insane fiery ending would have been very appropriate, but somehow I think the Opera House and staff were happy to not have walls of fiery death on their stage.