Words By: Raven Benwait
On October 15th, Darkest Hour and Unearth hit The Opera House stage for the third night of The Hell or High Wattage Tour. With support from openers Carnifex, Origin, King Parrot and Black Crown Initiate, the Toronto venue was preparing for a heavy metal filled night.
As Toronto metalheads made their way down to the venue, you could sense the excitement for the night as they were preparing for some loud amps, crowd surfing, mosh-pits and most importantly, great live music.
“I came for the headbanging, the insanity, and the sure technical chaos. It’s the only time I get to escape from school and work,” says Toronto fan Fernando Murga. “That’s what shows are all about.”
Progressive death metal band Black Crown Initiate welcomed fans to the venue with their 6pm set. The five-piece band entertained the small crowd with songs from their most recent album The Wreckage of Stars, which is filled with a sharp and technical instrumental yet melodic and beautiful at the same time.
To continue the live entertainment of the night, Australian band King Parrot approached the stage with an energetic yet chaotic vibe. From Melbourne, these guys brought their heavy, thrash, grind, punk, metal feel to the stage with a focus on their new album Bite Your Head Off. The fast-paced music brought the petite crowd to form a moshpit, just as vocalist Youngy was pumping up the crowd with his violent, yet musical screams.
Next up was the third of six acts of the night, Origin. From the label Nuclear Blast Records, this death metal band brought a combination of harsh sounds with a great level of technical skill. Windmills and extreme head-banging were seen during this set as they played music from their newest album, Omnipresent.
Although the crowd remained small through the night, there were still some hardcore metal fans in the venue there to enjoy all the bands. Gabriel Gimenez said, “I love how at concerts there are different types of crowds. You have some that sing along, some that mosh, some that are very passionate and some that interact with the crowd. ”
Halfway through the night arrived modern death metal band Carnifex, leading the stage with a slightly larger crowd on their side. Together, the audience was enjoying the viciously heavy music as they were screaming lyrics from their five albums, one of which includes the 2014 released album, Die Without Hope.
Up next on the bill were co-headliners, Unearth. The crowd suddenly grew surprisingly large for the 4-peice Boston band and the chaos began once vocalist Trevor Phillips asked for a circle pit during one of their most known songs, “This Lying World”. Another one played at majority of their shows is Endless, which created an emotional feeling as people were head banging together.
Guitarist, Ken Susi was also having a good time rocking his guitar, cracking a few jokes and making silly faces with the crowd, as he responded back to someone who asked for the set list replying, “I am the set list.”
Unearth came to Toronto many times in the past and has been writing music together for 15 years. The countdown to their upcoming album Watchers of Rule, is eleven days away and fans are stoked for what’s to come.
Last but not least, to close the show appeared the last act of the night, Darkest Hour. This American Melodic Death Metal band has been together since 1995 and recently released their eighth album – a self-titled album.
“We wanted to break out of the mold we created for ourselves,” said vocalist, John Henry.
They opened with “Wasteland”, the first song of this album. The crowd had shrunk drastically, but the few passionate fans were the ones that stayed. As they were playing their new material, the crowd was just getting into it, but as the set went on they began to play some of their older tracks.
From their 2007 album Deliver us, they played the first track called “Doomsayer”. As soon as John Henry said the first line of the song, “You are the only one,” the passionate fans began to sing along. Shortly after from their 2005 album, Undoing Ruin they played “Convalescence”. Dedicated fans got every emotional. The oldest track Darkest Hour played was “The Sadist Nation” from their 2003 album Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation.
“I always enjoyed their music. Knowing that they’re still continuing as a band makes me very happy. For being a band that’s underrated and continuing producing music for almost 20 years makes me proud and it gives me motivation for the love of music,” said Gabriel Gimenez.
At the end of the set, Darkest Hour walked right off the stage, but the fans wanted more music and began to chant “With a Thousand Words to Say But One”, which is one of their deepest tracks. After debating, the band came back for the encore to play their beloved song.
“Ideally we want the crowd to leave and be sweaty and maybe bruised up, drunk and happy,” says vocalist John Henry. And that’s exactly what happened.
All in all, The Hell or High Wattage Tour was not as large as expected, but was jam packed with some dedicated, head-banging metal heads. These bands have a bright future ahead of themselves and the fans cannot wait to see what comes next.
Snaps from Raven’s phone: