Cutting Through the Shit
Nitemare, Razor and Reckon With One
at Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON on November 24th 2001

by: Adam Wasylyk
Ah yes, the local metal show. It's unfortunate I don't attend such shows anymore, but for good reason. Simply put, the local bands of today that are able to hold my interest for more than five consecutive seconds can be counted on one hand. God knows it didn't used to be this way.

As many metal fans in Toronto will attest to, the mid-to-late '90s contained the worst years concerning tour stops of international acts. In those years I remember checking the primitive websites of Earache and Metal Blade, hoping to find a Toronto tour date under a Tours link. But I would find no such luck. I, like many, took solace in what we had available to us: the local show. The bands were exciting, energetic, and passionate. I made my first connections in the underground scene through my friendships at these very shows.

Those were the days.

As 2001 draws to a close, local metal fans had a lot to be thankful for. Most major North American tours had Toronto stops, with its last of the year featuring the mighty Enslaved. But the local shows continually feature acts that are either overexposed, unoriginal, or flat out awful. While the bill on this cold November night wasn't overly thrilling, I found the pull of Razor too strong to resist. After all, "Evil Invaders" was a favourite song of mine, having seen the music video countless times throughout the years. And it was a Saturday night as well -- what the hell, right?

We arrive at the infamous Toronto club as Reckon With One are taking the stage. When I soon discovered what was emanated from the speakers was not to my liking, a lengthy bathroom break and some light conversation with metal folk was in order. I would also take a moment to observe those in attendance tonight. I immediately noticed that I was the youngest in attendance. The scores of old tasseled leather jackets, fluffy mounds of hair and tight blue jeans proved to be a humorous point in my mind as the night progressed. Not feeling out of place was nearly impossible. I was far from home, my bed becoming more attractive by the minute. As Reckon With One played to the 15 individuals who physically expressed their interest upfront, it came to an end. And not a second too soon.

It's worthy of note that Razor has played major metal festivals in Europe in the past few years, playing to legions of appreciative fans. On this night, less than 150 people would come out to see one of the more important metal bands to come out of Canada. Pathetic, isn't it?

Opening with "Miami", the newest incarnation of Razor played a decent mix of both old and new material, attempting to satisfy the pangs felt by those who appreciate this speed/thrash Canadian legend. Their set draws to an end, and as the drummer hits his last beat he flings his sticks into the audience. Having moved to the front at this point in time, the stick flies in my direction. I ready myself to catch it, but find that it has already hit the face of Chronicles of Chaos co-editor Adrian "The Energizer" Bromley, sending him to the ground butt first. The stick finds the ground at my feet, still spinning from its tumultuous ride. I quickly kneel down and snatch it into my hand. It was mine. I rise to my feet, as a feeling of victory overwhelms me. I can almost say with absolute certainty that I would have felt the exact same way had I been holding the Olympic torch instead. As I look to those in my circle of friends for both congratulations and jealous acknowledgment, I realize that Adrian is still on the ground, gazing at me with a look of bewilderment. So I helped him up, and continued to revel in my excitement.

Razor hit the stage for an encore. Their singer poses a question to the audience: "What do you want to hear now?" As if the answer wasn't completely obvious to anyone in the club who wasn't old enough to experience an early form of senility. Still standing close to the stage, I yell "EVIL INVADERS!" loud enough for those in the back to hear me. It proves impossible for the band to hear my request. "So you wanna hear "Evil Invaders?", the vocalist asks, toying with me. They rip into it, and what a moment it was. Securing my drumstick up the sleeve of my long-sleeved shirt, I surprisingly begin to mosh. Surprisingly, because I had never done it seriously beforehand. It was worth it. A great rendition was performed to my delight -- my aural orgasm for the night had been achieved. As the band finished their set, so did one of the best local sets of 2001.

Exhausted by Razor's set, I had had enough. A car ride home would reveal itself, proving too difficult to turn down. As we exit and circle around the club to the parking lot, we run into the drummer of Razor. While not having a pen to autograph my stick, he gives me the next best thing -- biting down on the end of the stick. His molar and incisor indentations forever immortalized in wood, we begin our long journey home.

(article submitted 14/1/2002)

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