It was an evening of jaw-dropping metal on Sunday (November 5th) at the newly rebranded MTELUS theatre, formerly known as the legendary Metropolis. The evening saw four bands, each masterful in their own genres, touring in support of new releases from this year. An evening of high-paced concision would see each band flaunt a selection of the deadliest tracks from their new releases, intermingled with powerhouse tracks from the rest of their discography.
First to pummel the stage were New Jersey deathcore slingers Fit for an Autopsy, and by the time they launched into their set, the floor of the venue was already swelling with an impressive number of people. Touring in support of the excellent The Great Collapse, their stage setting saw them largely enveloped in darkness, yet the riffs they slung were thick and powerful.
A heavy Gojira influence blanketed much of their new material, and nowhere was this more apparent that the excellent "Black Mammoth" with its strangled guitar sweeps and harmonic, desolate choruses. Their 2015 effort "Absolute Hope Absolute Hell" was a more straightforward deathcore effort; reeking of influences like Acacia Strain, it had the crowd pulsating and thrashing.
England's While She Sleeps performed next, and brought a very different sound to the stage. With a lot more clean singing and cleaner, soaring guitar riffs, the music felt a lot more jubilant and came across more "catchy" than "crushing." The band leaned very heavily on new effort You Are We, and the material was excellent. In particular, their new track "Hurricane" really had the audience bouncing, as did their definitive 2015 title-track "Brainwashed." The tight set provided a very solid appetizer for the hordes of assembled fans.
By the time Trivium took the stage, the venue was at absolute creaking capacity and nimble beer slingers really had to unleash their inner Cirque du Soleil to get refreshments to the voracious crowd. The band's new album The Sin and the Sentence is a welcome return to the elements that make this band so great, and Trivium flexed this by weaving four of the best new tracks into an impressive tapestry of songs spanning all the way back to 2005.
Basked in red and green lighting, frontman Matt Heafy often had Hulk-like skin tones as he wagged his tongue and encouraged the crowd to thrash. The other members stood their ground and anchored a dozen of their best songs in what really was a tight performance, honed by a decade of touring. The title track and the softer "The Heart From Your Hate" from the new album were incredibly well received by the fans, while vintage tracks like "Strife," "Kirisute Gomen" and a terrific rendition of 2011's "In Waves" had the crowd in a state of frenzy.
As technicians reconfigured the stage for the next set, the crowd in front of them somehow grew even denser, and the anticipation for Swedish melodic death metal titans Arch Enemy to take the stage grew with each passing moment.
Arch Enemy were an impressive draw in Montreal 20 years ago, but time has now padded their impressive catalogue with so many more lacerating new tracks — and of course, now that they're fronted by Montreal's very own Alissa White-Gluz, the fervour surrounding the band was simply incredible.
Injecting one last CC of anticipation, AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" played over the PA before the band assembled on the stage to the sounds of their instrumental Will to Power intro "Set Fire to the Night." The stage exploded into an incredible performance of their riffy new hit "The World Is Yours," and the concert was immediately in full swing.
White-Gluz prowled the stage, channelling her ferocity into the crowd between occasional aerial leaps. Surrounding her, legendary metal guitarist Michael Amott and the rest of the impressive ensemble were deadly accurate in unleashing their mesmerizing riffs. The performance was a relentless cavalcade of one incredible song after another. The most mosh-inducing members of their catalogue — "My Apocalypse," "We Will Rise," "War Eternal," "Nemesis," "Ravenous" — were strung together like an incredible blur. A terrific rendition of the (slightly) softer "The Eagle Flies Alone," from the new album, was well placed in the middle of the set to provide the crowd a few moments, at least, to regroup for the next onslaught.
The sound and performances on the night were stunning. In such a legendary venue, the four bands truly came out to play — catch this tour if you can.