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Photography by: Dakota King

Words By: Raven Benwait

Ground Zero Album Release Tour with As Blood Runs Black and Special Guests Rings of Saturn & More

Blood, sweat, mosh pits, crowd surfing, stage dives and metal – this is what the music-filled night at Toronto’s very own Hard Luck Bar consisted of. On November 8th, the Ground Zero Album Release Tour took place, with headliners As Blood Runs Black with special guests Rings of Saturn, Drag the Lake, Cadence Calling and Beguiler.

Once you stepped into the venue, you could feel the energized vibe going through the crowd. There were those that were more laid back and enjoying beer with friends, and those that were standing by the stage, eagerly waiting for the start of a thrilling night.

“I feel pretty damn amped right now. Metal is a whole scene that I want to explore and I think that this is going to be a great experience,” said Toronto student Jorge Alvarez, who was experiencing his first underground show.

First up on the Hard Luck stage was Death Metal band, Beguiler. From Oshawa, this five piece band began the night with some “blistering blast beats, crushing breakdowns and guitar riffs to split your ears,” as the band says. Since the concert had just begun, the crowd was quite small, but Begulier still played some pretty angry tunes to warm up the crowd. They are one of those underground bands to check out.

The second act to step on the stage was Toronto band, Cadence Calling. With their Metalcore style, they played a single, “Post Mortem” which was released in May from their upcoming EP, Metamorphosis, this Fall. Fans say that two words to describe Cadence Calling are “brilliantly heavy;” listen and you can be the judge of that. Despite not having a set bassist, they still did their best to entertain the petite crowd with an energetic set.

Another Hardcore Toronto band, Drag the Lake began to bring more volume, energy and moshpits to the crowd. The five man band played some metal tunes from their album, I Am Violence, which consists of a heavy, head-banging instrumental, filled with complex guitar solos and powerful vocals. And of course, can’t forget the raging fans to complete their set. They were definitely the band to warm up the crowd for what was to come next.

Minutes passed and the floor began to fill with people wearing these colourful, artistic t-shirts, unlike any designs you would ever see. Planets… aliens, the universe and odd-looking figures? What could this possibly be? Well the answer came once Rings of Saturn joined the fans on the Hard Luck stage.

Rings of Saturn are a Death Metal, Aliencore band with Unique Leader Records. And yes, that is right – Aliencore. Rings of Saturn produce technical music with a fast-tempo, guitar sweeps and a harmonic effect along with some ambient elements and of course, lyrics that deal with space invasion and extraterrestrial life. Their music is heavily influenced by the video game series Dead Space and outer space films.

The California band had a much larger, wild fan-base by their side. Rings of Saturn played songs from their 2010 and 2013 albums, Embryonic Anomaly and Dingir, along with their most recent album, Lugal Ki En. The set was said to be a brutal choice of tracks, but the most insane number of the night had to be “Shards of Scorched Flesh,” as I saw at least eight people hit the floor during this one, with its ridiculously fast instrumental.

“Tonight and last night were the better shows of the tour; people are going wild for the show and seem to be enjoying it more,” said vocalist Ian Bearer and drummer Aaron Stechauner, “What metal is about is when people come and they wanna’ see people shred, let it all out and go crazy. That’s what we want to accomplish.”

Last but not least was the headlining band of the night – As Blood Runs Black. The American Deathcore band was supporting the release of their new album Ground Zero for this tour. The first track of the night, from this album was “All or Nothing,” which by fans is said to slightly sound like the August Burns Red type style. The song did seem to impress the large crowd, especially with a touch of its melodic guitar solo and bass lines.

Fans were pumped for what else was to come, especially Ellie, who came just for them. “I’m here to see As Blood Runs Black and I’ve been a fan for six years! I loved their first two albums and they’re the first metal band I’ve really listened to.”

With Mediaskare Records, these guys released two albums – Allegiance from 2006 and Instinct from 2011, which reached number one on the Billboard Heatseakers Albums chart which is a great accomplishment for the band.

Unfortunately their bassist could not make it past the border, so they remained bass-less for the night, but the set show still went on. One thing that shocked the fans was when vocalist Sonik Garcia was hit with a water bottle. The way he reacted offended the pack, as he spit at everyone with fury. It was definitely not expected.

Despite the incident that occurred during the headlining act, the metal-filled night still had a great turnout with a number of people from Toronto and fans who travelled hours just to be a part of the show.

Vaughan musician Gabriel said, “This was honestly such an awesome show. It’s been a while since I felt this beat up after a concert and that’s a good thing, thanks to the awesome fans. It’s great how much Toronto’s metal music scene is growing.”




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