CONCERT COVERAGE: PARKWAY DRIVE w/ MISS MAY I, THY ART IS MURDER & IN HEARTS WAKE | The Danforth Music Hall

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WORDS BY: RAVEN BENWAIT

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: DAKOTA KING

To kick off the beginning of November’s Metal music scene, Parkway Drive, Miss May I, Thy Art is Murder and In Hearts Wake hit The Danforth Music Hall. On November 12, the city of Toronto was flaming with excitement as Judas Priest and Kataklysm were playing another two shows on the same night.

Our Metal filled night began when we made it to the venue just as deathcore band Thy Art is Murder hit the stage, all the way from Sydney, Australia. They opened up with “Absolute Genocide” from their most recent album Holy War. I expected brutality and pits right at the beginning, but the crowd was pretty calm. That was, until they played “Coffin Dragger,” an intro consisting of some tight riffs along with CJ McMahon’s vocals, followed by a bang. Next up was “Shadow of Eternal Sin” all the way back from their album Hate in 2012.  The crowd sang together – “You all will suffer, you will all rot the same.”

I was quite surprised by the Toronto fan-base as it was significantly larger than the crowd at Mayhem Festival during the summer of 2015, where Thy Art is Murder performed at the Victory Stage (find our coverage here). “Reign of Darkness,” a fan favourite, was followed by Light Bearer. Fans began a pit filled with hardcore dancing which is always quite entertaining to watch. Right before the final song, McMahon asked the crowd to raise their fists every time he would scream “Holy War.” Fans screamed, “Holy war, unholy followers, Holy war, brainwashed with death, holy war our unholy maker.” If you understand the song, the message is much deeper as the band once said, “Religion seriously has you and others around you.”

Overall, Thy Art is Murder played a set filled with darkness and a lot of meaning. Despite a short set-list, fans were happy with the energy and hate brought on stage.

Next up on the Danforth Stage was Miss May I. Fans crowded around the stage and the band began the set with an automatic bang as they played “I.H.E” which was released this past summer by Rise Records. An automatic mosh-pit began and I was quite surprised by the brutality and energy. This was my second time seeing them live after Vans Warped Tour 2014 and I was amazed by how the fan-base stepped up their game. There was so much more energy and passion. Fans sang along to Levi Benton’s clean vocals. Next on their set was “Relentless Chaos” as crowd reactions were similar to the song title. The next two were “Bastards Left Behind” and “Our Kings.”

Instrumentally, the sound quality at the venue was amazing, as Justin Aufdemkampe and BJ Stead were killing it rhythmically on guitar, as well as bassist Ryan Neff bringing some killer vocals to assist Benton. A member who stood out greatly in this band was Jerod Boyd, who rocked his drum set with so much power, especially during “Deathless.” Some more Miss May I tunes for the night included “Masses of a Dying Breed,” “Turn Back Time” and the lastly “Hey Mister.” The crowd was screaming with joy as they were head-banging and pushing one another to reach the front of the stage. I was quite impressed with the overall sound quality of this entire set.

Fans were crowding the stage all around and the venue was jam packed for the next band. After the longest thirty five minute wait, people were so ready for the act we had all been waiting for.

Parkway Drive was greeted with a roaring, excited crowd. Right off the bat, they began with “Destroyer” from their brand new album IRE. Fans were pushing and screaming as Winston McCall was bringing great levels of energy onstage. People were grooving along and hardcore dancing to the very catchy chorus consisting of very precise tempos. “Dying to Believe” was another brutal one, as it began with a huge Metal bang. There was a vicious circle pit where fans were growing wild. “Die, die, dying to believe” was being screamed by fans in the venue.

“Carrion” from the album Horizons is a song which has touched all Parkway Drive fans hearts. It’s a deep song which gives you goose bumps, especially the way Winston McCall sings the song. I felt this especially when McCall sang the chorus, “In a moment I’ve lost dying from the inside. Her eyes take me away, tear me apart from the inside out, from the inside out.”

“Dark Days” was also a wild tune with catchy off-beats. There was a circle pit during this song and if you are small like me, you were crushed! “Karma,” “Vice Grip” as well as “Idols and Anchors” were all played by Parkway Drive. I love that the energy from the crowd never died down. Pits and crowd surfing would never stop. They were all so passionate and it was amazing to watch.

A highlight of the show was that the committed guitarist of Parkway Drive, Luke ‘Pig’ Kilpatrick continued playing through the entire tour despite being on a wheelchair. The band shared that Kilpatrick had been in a surfing accident and his leg had swollen up to the size of a football. I give major respect to Kilpatrick for still going on stage and giving it his all.

The night continued with “Deliver Me” and a fan favourite, “Wild Eyes.” Everyone sang the intro to “Wild Eyes” before McCall even began to, as Jeff Ling and Luke Kilpatrick opened up with some sweet guitar riffs. This is when you know the audience consists of true fans. “Bottom Feeder” and “Romance is Dead” were another two insane songs, again, filled with so much passion and aggression. Fans in the pits had no mercy; regardless of gender, fans were still tough and keeping energy levels high. Parkway Drive closed the set with “Home is for the Heartless,” as there were loads of fog, colours, amazing lighting and confetti spraying out at the crowd. It was fantastic and exciting for fans to be a part of this amazing set, as well as amazing night. I along with many fans am proud of Parkway Drive because they are hard workers and it shows.

The Danforth Music Hall was the perfect venue for this event, as security was not too strict; lighting was fantastic, sound quality was off the roof and fans were treated with much respect. The tour was also a great choice of bands with a variety of metal for everyone.

In Hearts Wake:

Thy Art Is Murder:

Miss May I:

Parkway Drive:

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