Words and Photography By: Dakota King
You didn’t want to miss this one.
On Thursday, August 27, 2015, Little Italy was slammed by the Node Tour and with it brought British metalcore quintet Oceans Ate Alaska, who released their debut album, Lost Isles, on February 24, 2015 via Fearless Records, Australian metalcore four piece In Hearts Wake, who just recently released their third studio album Skydancer, on May 1, 2015, via UNFD, American metalcore band Like Moths to Flames, who just released their 7” vinyl EP titled The Dream Is Dead, on April 16, 2015, via Rise Records, and Australian metalcore ensemble Northlane, who dropped their third studio album Node, on July 24, 2015, via UNFD and Rise Records. Joining the Toronto date for some opening feels was local hardcore mates Out Of My League, hailing from Bowmanville, Ontario, who released their EP titled Beautiful Calamity, on November 21, 2014.
Despite being the tour’s opener, the gentlemen in Out Of My League plagued a more than receptive crowd, which was surprising as most, sadly, have some sort of bias against up and coming local talent who join a date or two on tours to lend support, and thus do not bother to attend shows until the headlining bands take the stage. To say they threw us for a loop is an understatement. Vocalist Dom Perron, who quite strangely, resembles the late Adrian Fitipaldes of Northlane, visage and stage presence alike, bounced out grooves from Out Of My League’s EP and laid down some solid foundation in the energy department. They are ambitious, angry, hardcore kids who showcased a sound that we’re all heard before without at all sounding rehashed or imitative. That’s hard to do these days. Keep an eye, ear, what have you, out for these gents because they are one to watch.
Oceans Ate Alaska:
If you have yet to listen to Oceans Ate Alaska or catch them at a show: brace yourself as, apart from the common metalcore motifs, you’ll notice just how chaotic and frenzied they are. Comparing their earlier, generic singles that made Ocean’s Ate Alaska popular to their current release, one will see the massive amount of growth the band has experienced over the years. Playing a set that consisted of Lost Isles and their EP titled Into The Deep, members James Harrison, who spat melodically and growled dissonantly; Adam Zytkiewicz, James Kennedy, and Mike Stanton who fired rapid bursts of technical fret-tapping and off time signatures; and Chris Tunner, who energetically chopped and hacked away on his kit, successfully cemented into each other, sending us into a confusing, disorienting, schizophrenic soundscape. They are a challenging listen; moments of respite come far and few in between as Oceans Ate Alaska have set out to truly differentiate their sound by exploring and implementing a plethora of less conventional streams. They are tempests, and the concoction is great- in terms of metamorphosis, they once were your average ‘screamo’ larvae, but have now evolved into speedy, techy, progressive metalcore Death moths, a transformation that seeks to cuff your brain into submission and leave you convulsing.
In Hearts Wake:
The biggest hype of the night, it seemed, was when Byron Bay natives In Hearts Wake raged onto stage. If you were out on the floor, no one was spared. Jake Taylor’s begrudgingly harsh vocals juxtaposed next to Kyle Erich’s chillingly soft cleans created an ethereal combination that bade us to chant along to every-single-song, but this was especially true during “DEPARTURE”, “SURVIVAL”, “Healer”, and “Divine”. To say the floorboards were stressed is putting it lightly as each chug-a-lug resulted in heavy bouncing and the flailing of limbs either beside you, or above you as fists and hands kissed the air and stage divers clambered their way to the front. The formula they have adopted works in their favour, their intricate choice of structure and instrumentation; the sweeping melodies, the abrasive strain of restrained aggression, the environmentally conscious and humanitarian approach to their lyrical content- In Hearts Wake unabashedly delivered. In an already saturated genre, they showed a growing technical complexity as well as their individuality in sound. Here’s to wishful thinking that when they rip into Canada again alongside Parkway Drive in November they’ll play “TRAVELLER” off Divination.
Like Moths To Flames:
Chris Roetter is a vulgar one- he flipped birds off to the audience, slewed profanity during the numerous mosh calls… and he didn’t give a damn what you thought. Opening with the emotive “You Won’t Be Missed” was a shrewd choice as looking out across the Mod Club, once again, the only stilled bodies belonged to those along the utmost edge of the floor who were too conservative to get weird. This is one of the reasons why Like Moths To Flames are, simply put, deadly to see live as their malicious, intense, vibrant atmosphere resonates within the anger-pitted souls we know we all share (don’t lie) and sends us repeatedly spewing hate alongside Roetter’s honest and desperate screams. Their ability to send pretty much any willing body up and over our heads is note-worthy too. Songs from When We Don’t Exist seemed to be the most favoured out of their set, which was surprising as many lauded the album to be sub-par, imitative, and full of cliché, that easily blended them in amongst Rise Records roster. Despite this, “A Feast For Crows” and “I Solemnly Swear” off An Eye For An Eye generated just as much flair. Like Moths To Flames prove that now, yes, their sound is more refined, their fret work and guitar styling has improved, and that they are still spit firing galloping drum beats, one thing still remains however- their material is still dark and they’re still pissed-off.
After frontman and vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes parted ways in late 2014, the future of Northlane’s soul was in pitfall. When new frontman Marcus Bridge made his first appearance as Adrian’s predecessor, many dropped their respect for the band as he just didn’t seem to belong, there were other candidates better suited for the position… yada-yada. There could’t be anyone more adequate for the latter. Bridge bridges the balance between holding down what Northlane has already sewn in terms of spacey, atmospheric, semi-progressive metalcore and their evolution into new territory. Bridge’s soaring range and clean crooning certainly do not match Fitipaldes’ colossal screams and aggressive style in flat-out comparison, but they served their purpose more than well enough during their otherworldly set. Old and new die hards were treated to songs from not just Node, but Singularity, and Discoveries as well, with guest appearances from Lauren Babic, of local band Red Handed Denial, lending vox on “Quantum Flux”, and Brendon Padjasek, of STRUC/TURES, joining Bridge on stage during “Masquerade”. Quiet moments were cherished, especially during “Weightless”, and when Bridge addressed the audience, an outstretched Canadian flag in his hands. Northlane is rejuvenated- however the all too familiar discordant riffs from guitarists Josh Smith and Jon Deilley, as well as the thundering, rhythmic backdrop courtesy of bassist Alex Milovic and drummer Nic Pettersen, are preserved and still ring true to their organic nature before Node.
You didn’t want to miss this one.
And, to those wondering- no, Nic Pettersen was not (sadly) wearing his palm tree boxer shorts.