Unsigned Metallers Come Together
The Toronto Death Fest at the Opera House, March 31, 1996
by: Alain M. Gaudrault
Adam sez:

I arrived early at this year's venue, the Opera House, which has been home to many big death metal concerts in the past, such as the "Campaign for Musical Destruction" tour with Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, and Cathedral. But for the past year or two, the scene in Toronto has practically disappeared, except for some hard-working independent acts which made up the roster for this year's Toronto Death Fest. When it finally started (about 45 minutes late) the band Porno took the stage. From London, the band played surprisingly well for an opener. They utilized different tempos (which surprised me, as I was familiar with only one of their songs, an atmospheric/death track off the _Sonic Obliteration Vol. 1_ compilation) and had a female vocalist, who also danced during Porno's opening song. Definitely a good act to start off the night with. Next up were a three-piece called Anhkrehg, a black metal band from Montreal. Having seen them play before, they were just as intense as I remember. Playing songs off their two demos, _The Oath of Sorcerer-King_ and _Sacrificial Goat_ (the latter reviewed in New Noise), the band were a good follow-up, but as I remember didn't fare too well with the crowd. Following Anhkrehg were Anthropophagus, a four-piece from Toronto. It was unfortunate that Anthropophagus were experiencing technical problems, as it really affected their performance. The vocals were weak at times, but musically they fared better, playing songs off their demo _Ripped Open_. Classics like "Blood Scabbed", "Pus Filled Erection", and "Nothing Left to Fuck" were played in their brutal fashion; it was truly a Cannibal Corpse fan's dream!! The last band I was to see on this night was Burning Moon. Formed from the ashes of now-defunct Toronto death act Flesh Emperor, Burning Moon played their black metal, decked out in full corpse paint and all. Featuring a really bad cover of Deicide's "Sacrificial Suicide" (unless it was sung in Latin or something), the band didn't play nearly as well as on their demo (also reviewed in New Noise), because of the lack of a keyboardist. I had to leave soon after Burning Moon's set, missing half the entire show. I can truly say that when I left, I left with the impression that the Toronto scene isn't dead just yet.

Alain sez:

I came in late, being from out of town, but having a car meant I could stick around until the bitter end. Fearsight followed Burning Moon, playing a style of power-groove metal with NY hardcore-ish vocals that left me cold. Actually, the music was quite decent at times, with some memorable hooks occasionally heard, but those vocals right turned me off. These guys must have a bit of a following as I saw a number of Fearsight t-shirts around, sporting a nifty logo. I, unfortunately, was not a convert. Flesh Feast followed with a dose of mediocre grinding death metal. I can't really say a whole Hell of a lot about this group except: unmemorable. Stage presence was virtually nil, and the music was entirely generic. At this point in the evening, I was actually beginning to mildly regret having driven down for this event, as I'd seen very little talent thus far. Luckily, Summertime Daisies took the stage and changed that. Strong stage presence, crushing riffs, and unrelenting chugging death were unleashed by this top-notch five-piece act. This London, Ontario based act were easily the highlight of the evening, delivering an excellent set of tight, well-arranged slabs of hatred. Check out my review of their _Gathering of Vermin_ demo in this month's New Noise. The night ended with Hidden Pride's set of grinding death, again expertly delivered and tight as a homophobe's asshole. Hailing from Montreal, these guys have taken a hint or two from fellow Montrealers Kataklysm and Cryptopsy, and perhaps need to work on distinguishing themselves from the pack. They were kind enough to pass along their demo, _The Encounter of the First Kind_ (see this month's New Noise for my review), despite being visibly bummed at the turnout. Sadly, there were maybe 70 people who bothered to attend, and far fewer at the end of the night, which meant that Hidden Pride played to a near-empty venue. They were frustrated with the whole affair, and it showed, but nobody said playing metal was an easy, or lucrative, career choice. Greater fan support is essential to these bands, so I encourage all readers to attend these types of shows featuring unsigned acts, and to give their demos a try.

(article submitted 10/5/1996)

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