Arch Enemy / Dark Tranquillity / Divine Heresy / Firewind Opera House, Toronto ON May 16

Arch Enemy / Dark Tranquillity / Divine Heresy / Firewind Opera House, Toronto ON May 16
Treating a sold-out club like a packed arena, Arch Enemy delivered another explosive set for Toronto fans on their latest tour, Tyranny & Bloodshred 2008. A reported cold barely held back front-woman Angela Gossow, whose onstage attitude and growls are always at least three times her size. A drum solo and guitar solos by both Amott brothers also contributed to the band’s larger-than-life dynamic, though blinding lights and monotonous vocal effects were among a few blemishes standing in the way of brilliance. Strangely, openers Firewind had the best sound of the night — loud, clear and heavy, which only added to the professionalism of their high-speed power metal performance, highlighted by lead guitar and keyboard duets and duels and an onslaught of double bass. Despite the overwhelming personality of Dino Cazares and some hot drumming, Divine Heresy were less convincing, coming across somewhere between Fear Factory and Killswitch Engage. Newly-added touring vocalist Jake Veredika pulled off his new gig well on the whole, but melodic singing is not his or the band’s strength, and they left no particular impression. Up next, Dark Tranquillity’s time on stage was a combination of satisfaction and disappointment. The band were as tight and personable as ever, packing a good range of masterfully-performed material into their too-short set. Unsurprisingly, their latest album got the most attention, but even that would have been okay if you’d been able to hear them properly. Instead, the death metal quotient came through heavily muffled, especially the guitars, and it was left to the band’s ever-present melodies to soar over the sludge. In the end though, stage time and crowd volume made it clear that the night belonged to Arch Enemy, who are consistently proving themselves more than deserving of their pre-eminent stature.