Monday, April 23, 2007

Concert: Dimmu Borgir, Unearth, DevilDriver, Kataklysm

April 22 was my first time at Toronto’s Kool Haus. All of the concerts I’ve been to in Toronto have been at the Opera House, but the Kool House is much bigger, essentially like a great big room. Simple, big, and square.

It wasn’t long after I got inside that the long standing Quebec death metal band Kataklysm began playing. Three men in front of the drum kit, one with a bass, one with a guitar, and one with a mike headbanged and windmill spun their hair through each and every song. Every song sounded exactly like what you would hear on any Kataklysm CD. With the exception of guitar parts that required more than one guitar, Kataklysms sonic execution was perfect.

For the next band, the lights darkened and music playing in the background between bands muted. The introductory portion of the opening song on DevilDrivers latest album “The Fury Of Our Makers Hand” was piped in from a recording through the PA. The lights then came on, and DevilDriver blasted into their first song “End OF The Line”. High energy songs are great for beginning albums, and they make great opening songs for shows as well. Upon getting into the song when the lights came on, the first thing I noticed was how long Dez Fafaras hair has gotten, probably longer than he ever had it in his Coal Chamber days.

DevilDrivers setlist was well-rounded with songs from every album, including two new songs from the upcoming album, and one of my favourite songs was played as well, that song being “Grinfucked”. Many people (including myself) had pondered the question as to what that word meant, and Dez explained that it essentially means it’s a person with a knife behind their back and a grin on their face. A word he made up, and had given the audience permission to use.

It was my fourth time seeing Unearth. Having already seen them with Slayer, I spent my time close to the pit, and crowd surfed often through their 45-minute set. Having their music focussed more big breakdowns than the rest of the bands on tour, the crowd reaction for Unearth seemed to be the roughest out of all the artists on tour.

Plenty of water from bottles was thrown into the audience, as well as spitting clouds of mist throughout their set, an Unearth staple for their live show. While I didn’t get a chance to see much of the action on stage, a friend claimed that guitarist Ken Susi was french kissing a girl at one point while he continued playing his guitar.

One thing I found unfortunate, much like on the Slayer tour, Unearth played no songs from their first full-length “The Stings Of Conscience”, or their EPs (with the exception of “Endless” which was re-recorded for “The Oncoming Storm”). Unearth has a great early history that I wish they would celebrate more often.

Then came the band everyone was waiting for, Dimmu Borgir. They opened with the ever-popular “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse”, and carried on the early part of their set with mid-paced songs before getting into faster material, and mixing things up later on.

Shagrath walked around the stage slowly with his dominating, almost rock-star like presence. The leather vest and no shirt for most of the show solidified his rock ‘n roll appearance even more.

As always, guitarist Galder appears to be into the music more than any other member of the band, as evidenced mostly by his facial expressions while playing (I’ve seen pictures of Galder playing, and when seen by himself, his facial expressions can be absolutely hilarious when taken out of context). I couldn’t help but think to myself, with his shaven head and standard moustache, Galder comes pretty close to being the equivalent of a black metal dad...

The only fault that was in my mind was simply not having a song that had Mayhem drummer Hellhammer play at absolute top speed. He showed off his capabilities in a drum solo playing faster than any song in the Dimmu set, yet there was no song that showed how fast he could actually go.

To be honest, had it not been for that guy in security who told me to stop crowd surfing during the Dimmu Borgir set, the show would’ve been perfect.



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