We arrived at the Hard Luck about 10 minutes after the first band AxMinister took the stage, so we only caught the last 15 minutes of their set, but the band debuted an epic 13-minute song. They were the only band of the night wearing a bit of corpse paint as well. Their music was good, but their stage presence was dull, where their full-body headbangs looked very stiff. Bassist and vocalist Nicholas Klaus was the only member to have a bit of a costume. He wore a hood, pants held up by suspenders and no shirt. What really surprised me was how well Aaron Salem's guitar (being the only guitarist) filled out the sound, especially when he played a solo. It actually felt like there was a second guitar. You can tell that AxMinister is a band that is all about fun, especially since one of their songs is titled "Arnold Schwarzenegger". AxMinister delivered great music, it's just the stage presence that needs improvement.
Third band was Caym. They were the only band I was familiar with because their former drummer was Tyler Reiner, son of Anvil drummer Robb Reiner. I was informed by frontman Jay Sarrazin that Tyler left the band recently to move on to other things. Currently, they have Sludgehammer drummer Fernando Villalobos filling in until they find a permanent replacement. Caym were definitely a more straightforward metal band with elements of thrash, groove metal, as well as modern metal. The guitars were not too distorted and you were able to hear all the riffs very clearly, which is always good. Jay Sarrazin made good interaction with the crowd, and the band displayed great energy on stage.
Final band was Midnight Malice, whose sound and look just screams "80s". Their sound was very much in the vein of classic melodic speed metal. If you took a dash of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon and Motorhead, with an dose of early Metallica, and a bit of party rock n' roll, you've got Midnight Malice. They were definitely a crowd-pleaser with their classic metal sound, which to me is something that I feel the local metal scene is lacking. Vocalist Caleb Beal and bassist Tom Gervais' combined melodic vocals made for some great catchy vocal harmonies and melodies. The guitar interplay between Caleb and fill-in guitarist Daniel Dekay was phenomenal, with lots of twin-harmony leads and grooving riffs.
Journalist: Alex Stojanovic
Photographer: Navneet Johal
Date of show: March 13, 2015
Wacken Metal Battle Canada is back for its third year, and we have already seen a bunch of incredible bands. A group of devoted local metal scene supporters spent their Friday the 13th by coming out to the Hard Luck Bar to show their support for all the competing bands. 5 talented bands, a couple hundred devoted metalheads, one epic night of metal. Couldn't ask for more.
Second band was Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy, which was a two-frontman band, with Adrian Pain handling melodic vocals and Jonathan Young handling the screaming vocals. When people think of two-frontman bands, they generally think of pop music, but metal has its fair share of bands with two frontmen. The use of the two vocal styles in each song was perfectly balanced where each one wasn't over-used. Each one of their songs began with a soft melodic intro with soft vocals before turning aggressive. Every time Adrian would sing the melodic vocals, Jonathan Young would mouth along to the lyrics. The energy the band displayed really amped up the crowd and mosh pits erupted during each song.
Fourth band was Dispersia, who are a gothic metal band, which you could guess right away by their outfits. All the guys, except for drummer Steven Sullivan wore long skirts. Ady Cernea's guitar was turned up way too loud, to the point where it drowned out every other instrument. Their sound reminded me of a lot of the folk metal bands from Scandinavia, mainly due to the keyboards, the operatic female vocals and the aggressive male vocals. Christina Marcu's operatic vocals were in the vein of Liv Kristine of Leaves' Eyes, and Leeni-Maria Hovila of Kivimetsan Druidi, and she showcased her skills on the keys by playing some soothing solos in a few of the songs.
Wacken Metal Battle Canada 2015 national updates here.