Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Live Report: Dark Tranquillity, Warbringer and Striker at The Mod Club in Toronto

        Tonight was a night of aggression at The Mod Club in Toronto, from Thrash Metal to Death Metal we saw Dark Tranquillity bring their "Atoma" world tour through presumably one last time before heading back into the studio for the bands next album. With them came two newer bands, California based Thrash Metal band Warbringer and Canada's own Striker, who both have released an album in 2017 and want to get out and show some or all of it off to fans new and old.

        Tonight was the first time I had seen the venue take advantage of the screens they have, so for Striker, who opened the show, instead of having a backdrop they had their name on the screen behind them. This was the only band I had seen previously, having seen them play with Annihilator and Razor in 2016. The band are out tonight to show off their new, self-titled album as well as a couple old songs. The older fans were obvious as Striker have a sort of Power Metal vibe mixed in with their Thrash base, the choruses are much more catchy than normal, songs like "Former Glory", "Born to Lose" and "Phoenix Lights" had all the older fans singing along while the new fans watch in awe and headbang along. The real highlight of the set was, as an opening band, getting an entire venue to sing along with "Fight for your Life" playing a game of back and forth with the band singing "Fight for your life" to be answered with "fight for your freedom".

        With the crowd ready from Striker, it was time for Warbringer to bring "Woe to the Vanquished" to the masses (you thought I was gonna say "bring war", didn't you?). Warbringer played the new album, in its entirety, on this tour and it was an incredible experience as the album has so much diverse and intense sections to it. Opening with "Silhouettes", the audience was ready to go as this is one of the more standard Thrash songs on the album, its incredibly fast paced full of wicked riffs. The big song I was looking forward to hearing was "Shellfire", it's an incredibly written song that I couldn't help but praise in my review of the album back when it came out. The intensity of the music following the blast of shellfire was probably one of my favourite things about their performance, hair was everywhere and the solo following sounds just as emotional and intense as it does on record. Then you have slower songs like "Spectral Asylum" that are more lyrics based and everyone just stares. Warbringer had complete and total control over the audience, and once they finished their 11:11 epic "When the Guns Fell Silent" the band brought out "Total War" and the pit went into high gear. A full and intense set from Warbringer and we still haven't even hit the headliner.

        Dark Tranquillity took full advantage of the screens the venue had, showing off videos that followed the songs and the band wasted no time once they hit the stage. I'll be honest, I didn't know much Dark Tranquillity before this, but I was enthralled by their brand of Melodic Death Metal. The band kicked off with "Force of Hand" which seemed to integrate what the band had to offer, power, melody and a symphonic element and of course, guitar solos. Not everything goes off without a hitch though as vocalist Mikael Stanne backed into the drum riser and had a bit of a tumble, nearly taking out the keyboard with him, luckily he was not hurt and it turned into a bit of a joke for the rest of the night. Not knowing much from Dark Tranquillity wasn't an issue in the slightest and the one big song I wanted to hear was pretty close to the beginning of the set luckily, when the band whipped out "The Treason Wall" the pit officially opened and everything got intense, the floor was full of energy from people jumping and singing along to the intensity of the pit, everyone was having a blast. The height of the pit was during "Final Resistance" an I made the unfortunate mistake of trying to move through the pit when this song started and since I was already there, may as well enjoy it right? The next morning was pretty rough. At no point that night did the energy die and when the band went into their final song "Misery's Crown" all the diehard fans showed themselves, singing along and jumping to the beat. While I'm sure the majority of the audience knew Dark Tranquillity, I can tell you they made a fan out of me and if you're a Melodic Death Metal fan, if you've enjoyed an In Flames or Amon Amarth concert, this is a band you absolutely must check out live.

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