PHOTOGRAPHY BY: ANNA SKLAVOS
WORDS BY: GIANCARLO CORTEZ
Less than 2 weeks into their long awaited North American tour, Arch Enemy, Kreator, Huntress, and Starkill roll into the Canadian city of Toronto October 29 at the Opera House.
Starkill opened the proceedings at with melodic metal with a sprinkling of hardcore. Although they have their epic moments the band had trouble getting the crowd moving. Their first album Virus of The Mind certainly has the potential to be a successful album for the Americans, however the overwhelming feeling is that the band’s live sound is more like a tribute than a band trying to stamp its own identity on the wider metal scene.
Next up were Huntress. The American band have built up a massive underground following since their previous release Spell Eater in 2012 and continue to fly the flag for witchcraft with the release of Starbound Beast via Napalm Records. With a sound that can only come from worship at the altar of classic bands like King Diamond, Danzig, and Motorhead the future looks bright for the California band. Eli Santana (guitar) and Tyler Meahl (drums) from Holy Grail do a perfect job.
Third up was Kreator, who brought a much needed dose of extremity to Toronto. The band started with Violent revolution. This time around Kreator opted for playing their newer stuff which may have disappointed some of their old school fans.
Petrozza was at the center of attention for 900 metal hungry headbangers and hardcore high-kickers, spawning a rib-cracking mosh of the kind your parents warned you about. The German front-man seemed genuinely humbled by the rapturous reception his band received.
Before the intense “Enemy of God” Petrozza stopped: “Fucking Religion and motherfucking politics”. The crowd was outstanding on this one, even singing along to the guitar riff. That’s not something you see often at metal shows unless you’re in a country like Argentina or Chile where the fans are really hardcore about it. When audience participation and music meet, that is the result!
Long time drummer Ventor is an extermination machine behind the drums, double kick drumming bursts that shoot the temperature of the room through the roof. While Kreator persevered through the nineties with drummer Joe Cangelosi the band and its fans awaited the day Ventor would return. Surrounded by the dual machine-gun guitars of Mille Pettozza and Sami Yli-Sirnio, Vector is the confident center of the storm.
Death metal tyrants Arch Enemy took the stage next. The Swedish/American/Canadian metallers always give a bit of overall career into their setlist. There’s a nice balance to pulling it off but more important is to promote the latest album War Eternal.
When Arch Enemy put out Wages of Sin in 2000 the gender furor soon followed. Much discussion about women and metal ensued. The novelty of a woman fronting an elite underground band has finally worn off. Heavy metal is no longer a male dominated world.
With new singer Alissa White Gluz (The Agonist) the band has a stable lineup now and they want to show they have a stable fan-base. Nobody can outbeast the French Canadian singer. She showed her love for her country by bringing the Canadian flag to the stage. Later she brought an Arch Enemy flag.
Arch Enemy proved to be both invigorating and back to form. By We Will Rise the crowd is eating out of Alissa’s hands accepting the comeback of these titans. New classics “Dead Eyes See No Future” and “Nemesis” resound gallantly around the venue.
Watching a bonesnapping mosh, the instant, chanted recognition of Arch Enemy lyrics and the commanding presence of the guitarplayers on stage, it is impossible not to wonder whether this really is far more than mere hype. The legion of horn-throwers calling for more by the end of it leave no doubt.