Well, we've reached the end of the qualifying rounds of the Toronto edition for Wacken Metal Battle Canada 2016 and they ended with a bang at the Rivoli on April Fool's Day as a crowd of rowdy metalheads packed the Rivoli to see who will be the last band announced to join the other Ontario winners in the semi-finals in a couple of weeks. Having the difficult task of opening the night was Toronto metalcore outfit Strike The Storm, and they received a fairly warm reception. Musically, they were great to listen to, and their tunes were really energetic and great for headbanging. The band didn't bring anything as far as uniqueness, but they gave the night a great start with great energy and great tunes.
Up next was Out Of The Ruins. This was my second time seeing them after seeing them open for Act Of Defiance at the Mod Club back in November. I mentioned back then that I wasn't too impressed with their performance, but this time around, they put on a much better performance and had better sound. There was energy exploding all over the stage with each member bringing their own energy. Frontwoman Lisa Sinner and bassist Grigor Avanesov paced across the stage continuously as Lisa delivered some pretty powerful metalcore screams and Grigor whipped his dreads with fury as he attacked the bass. Guitarists Nicolas Fernandino and Steve Haines stomped the stage furiously and gave some chunky riffs and drummer Ange Ruin gave the drums an absolute pounding. Great show guys!
Phear closed out the night with a round of impressive classic heavy metal. The riffs were easy to pound your fist and bang your head to. Everything about their set was top notch, but what I was really impressed by was Patrick Mulock's amazing vocal range. He sounded like a mix of King Diamond and Bruce Dickinson with some Rob Halford thrown in. His high notes sounded a lot like King Diamond. The same can be said about the music as well. It was very King Diamond-esque. Even cooler was that Patrick wore a glove with four laser pointers latched on to it,, and his leather studded boots looked just so cool. Seeing Patrick, along with Tyson Emanuel, Graham Stirrett and Chris Boshis groove along to the pounding riffs made the music that much more exciting. When it comes to sound, Phear had the best sound of the night. From the riffs, to the bass, drums and vocals, everything sounded perfect.
Journalist: Alex Stojanovic
Photographer: Navneet Johal
@ The Rivoli
April 1, 2016
Astaroth took the stage next with a huge crowd of their devoted and rowdy followers gathering up at the front of the stage to show their support. Sam Astaroth took the stage with a menacing make-up design on his face, looking like King Diamond meets Darth Maul meets Dani Filth, and a long leather coat, giving him a real villainous look. The only part that made his outfit look a tad awkward was his red tie. It just looked a bit out of place. They gave great energetic tunes and they may have had the rowdiest crowd of the night with constant moshing, headbanging, some crowd-surfing and people chanting "Astaroth" constantly in between songs, but I noticed that the leads executed by guitarists Pablo Sagastume and Emile Giordan were off with the drums. Their songs were pretty lengthy, so they ended up only playing 3 songs, but they filled the entire 25 minutes they had.
Up next was Centuries Of Decay, who gave us some atmospheric death metal. Devin Doucette and Rob McAllister shared guitar and vocal duties. Devin sang lead and handled a chunk of the brutal vocals but they gave a few great harmonized melodic vocals. Their last song had an additive time signature, which is something that really catches my attention as a musician. It was also a bit of a celebratory occassion for the band as they announced that the day before the show, bassist Anthony Zhura became a dad for the first time. He told me afterwards that it was a girl, so we out a huge congratulations to Anthony! He also had the best sounding bass of the night.