alternate between playing guitar while singing and just
singing. Their musicianship was top-notch, the sound was clean and the overall performance was excellent.
Second band was Eternal Rising. Frontman Sebastian Kidman's vocal performance was one of the highlights of the set. where he sang with catchy melodic vocals and unleashed some ridiculous high-notes akin to Rob Halford and King Diamond. Their music had tons of energy and their stage presence was excellent. At the beginning of the set, bassist Frank Patten's bass was louder than the guitars for the first thirty seconds or so, but he noticed and turned it down right away. However, his bass playing really caught my eye with the technicality. Sebastian faced a technical issue with his guitar in the last song, so he took it off and finished the song by just singing.
Fourth band were Toronto party metallers Ammo. The guitar tandem of Brett Overkill and Megan Merrick was amazing, although Megan's guitar was almost inaudible when she would solo because Brett's guitar was turned up a little more than her guitar, but the twin leads could be heard very well, and they were extremely pleasing to the ear. Brett also had great control of his vocals and also unleashed some great high notes. Bassist Alex Erhardt had the real metalhead look with a denim vest, bullet belt and cool sunglasses. Drummer Struan Robertson was a ball of energy on stage, he even played the drums standing up a few times. They got the crowd to sing along to the chorus of their final song.
Journalist: Alex Stojanovic
Photographer: Navneet Johal
Date of show: March 20, 2015
Spring is here, weather's getting warmer steadily, and we're already up to round 3 in the Wacken Metal Battle Canada Toronto edition. It was great to be back at the Rivoli after about a year, because it's one of my favourite venues to see a show. There was an amazing turnout for round 3 of the competition. None of the bands had fancy set ups, so it was all about the music, which is how it should be.
Draft had the difficult task of opening up the night, but the crowd was pretty receptive to their set. They were the only band of the night to have screaming vocals, but they also had the melodic vocals. Musically, they were more straightforward
with elements traditional metal and groove metal, but also
had the hard rock vibe, melodic soloing, and meaningful lyrics, which always appeals to me. Frontman Dylan Fernando would
Third band was Droid, who played as a three-piece, due to their second guitar player being absent. When I saw Jacob Montgomery's battle vest, I knew that we were going to get some thrash. Jacob's first speech was pretty hilarious where he said "We're Droid from 'who gives a fuck". Droid was also the only band of the night that had a mosh pit going. The vocals were pretty standard thrash vocals where they were raspy shouting vocals. They even aknowledged one of their supporters who came all the way from Italy just to see the show. After they finished the fifth song, they announced that they had one more song to go, but were stopped because they were going to go over their cut-off time
Fifth band was Phantom. They are a three-piece band made up of the former members of the Toronto metal band Ash Lee Blade, which disbanded in 2012. Currently, they don't have a permanent drummer, so drummer Jim Gering from the band Levels Of Abandonment, which frontman D.D Murley is also a part of, is filling in until they find a permanent replacement. Phantom incorporates several elements of rock and metal into their music, and they displayed a real "out for blood" attitude with their incredible stage presence. Their music contained more of a punk rock and straightforward rock n' roll feel, but it was still very metal at the same time, it sort of reminded me of the music on the internet game called "Punk-O-Matic" (you serious gamers may know what I'm talking about). The riffs had the technicality and the crunch of metal and were seriously hooky and groovy, which instantly got heads banging and even a few people dancing in the crowd. D.D. Murley's vocals also reminded me a bit of early Geddy Lee, with a dash of raspiness. Bassist Necro Hippie also wowed the crowd by playing a few bass leads. I look forward to hearing more from them.
Wacken Metal Battle Canada 2015 national updates here.