Words & Photography by Raven Benwait
A night of Deathcore began as co-headliners Despised Icon and Carnifex arrived at the one and only Lee’s Palace, with support from Fallujah and Lorna Shore. Upon arriving to the venue, there was already a huge lineup of metalheads awaiting entry into Lee’s Palace. It was an interesting start to the night actually.
A bit over an hour before doors opened, Rings of Saturn shared the news that they were unable to cross the border and be a part of the show.
“Unfortunately we had trouble crossing the border into Canada for the first time ever on tour, and will not be able to play the Toronto, Ottawa, and Quebec City shows. We apologize for not being able to be out there, however we will be crossing during the later Canadian dates on tour,” they said via Facebook.
Now, this was a letdown for folks like me who are huge fans of Rings of Saturn. In addition to this, they had announced that they would be playing some new tunes of theirs during the night, so disappointing for many.
Moving on from that loss, Lorna Shore opened about thirty minutes after doors opened. Due to the long lineup, many ended up missing their set, including myself, but I was lucky enough to catch Fallujah.
They stepped on the Lee’s Palace stage with a bang. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Fallujah and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. From Nuclear Blast Records, Fallujah opened up with an “atmospheric death metal” sound. There is a ton of chugging and blast beats, but a lot of “atmospheric melodies” in each song. Fallujah is definitely a band that comes with a lot of instrumental abilities. I was impressed by their ability to adapt to so many different sounds. They would alternate between heavy, fast picking and chugging, blast beats, yet many interesting ambient elements and smooth guitar riffs that meshed so well together. Looking at their on-stage performance, I’ve got to say they gave the crowd adrenaline with their high levels of energy. The packed venue was filled with mosh-pits and circle pits. I think my favourite song by Fallujah that night had to have been “Face of Death.” Opening up with their ambient elements, they were building the energy; their precise guitar riffs and chugging built it even more. “Adrenaline” was another sweet tune, as it gave the crowd adrenaline. The drumming in this song is perfection. The vocals really pumped the crowd up in this one. Overall, I’m impressed with their instrumental abilities; especially live in action, onstage.
I hate to shoot you guys down with more letdowns, but another one was when we found out Fallujah’s guitarist Brian James had his guitar stolen.
On their Facebook page, he wrote, “I unfortunately am obliged to report that my Ibanez Prestige RG752AHM was stolen from the venue we played last night in Toronto, Canada at Lee’s Palace. If anyone has any leads please contact us via our Facebook messages OR my direct email – firstname.lastname@example.org
I saw the guitar in its case on the pit floor as I was loading out other gear. I came back to find that it was not in its rightful place where I had seen it just moments before. I checked the trailer thinking one of the Fallujah homies took it and unfortunately it was nowhere to be found.
Musicians work so hard for their instruments, and it is a disappointment to know that there are people out there that let their greed get the best of them. Let’s help James get his guitar back and share the news.
Next on the bill was Carnifex. Now, I’ve seen these guys many times, so I wasn’t expecting anything new or interesting, but I’ve got to admit, they impressed me that night. They opened up with their Deathcore energy; this is the most energy I’ve felt from them. Their music consisted of tight double picking, those guttural growls and ofcourse, blast beats. I felt that they were instrumentally heavier; more melodic and more experimental… and slower. But putting the slowness aside, I sensed the strong energy in the crowd. The jam-packed venue (at this point) was going pretty nuts. My favourite moment was when they covered Slipknot’s “Heretic Anthem.” Before they played it, I thought to myself… can they really pull this off? The answer is yes, they killed it. This had to have been the craziest the crowd went during their set. Even non-fans were going crazy to this song. Overall, Carnifex left many fans satisfied with their heavy sound and ability to create so much energy within the room.
Last but not least arrived Despised Icon, to close the night. Listening to them I find their music is very much in the hardcore genre with some Death Metal. Watching their performance, I was a fan of their song writing with lots of breakdowns and riffs. Instrumentally, they were good; less tempo changes and rhythms than I saw with the other bands, but one big difference I loved with these guys was the double duo of unforgettable power vocals. Vocalists Steve Marois and Alex Erian killed it with their screams and growls. I love the idea of having two talented vocalists onstage; I feel like it really engages the crowd and makes people go more nuts. During their set, there was so much stage diving and crowd surfing; I loved it. Despised Icon would ask for a circle pit, they would get it. They asked for a wall of death, and it they got a brutal one! The fans were clearly having the time of their lives, getting destroyed in that pit. Overall, I feel like Despised Icon can step up their instrument game, but looking at the vocals, they kept me engaged and wanting to listen to more of them.
All in all, there were let downs of the night, but many fans left happy. We were missing our Aliencore act, Rings of Saturn, but honestly, listening to all these other Deathcore bands really made up for the loss. I was impressed with the energy, loved the crowd and would go see most of these bands again.