Battlesoul / Terrorhorse Studio BLR, Toronto ON January 24

Battlesoul / Terrorhorse Studio BLR, Toronto ON January 24
Decked out in kilts and green war paint, London's Battlesoul were ready for Braveheart-style combat. What the crowded Studio BLR got instead was an assault of Celtic thrash metal, which brought no complaints from the enthusiastic head-bangers up front. However, Battlesoul shared the spotlight with more than a few very worthy opening acts.

The five-band show began with a rock band from Toronto called 1867, followed by east Scarborough's death metal masters From Ruins, a band that continue to shock me with their level of musical skill despite the fact that the members are barely old enough to legally drink. After that was the extreme metal of Elevator 22, who hammered through an intensely heavy set, playing tracks from their 2008 release Vox Nihili.

But it was London's Terrorhorse that shared the main spotlight with Battlesoul. The band's power was undeniable with their progressive style mixed with death metal elements and intricate playing. They began their set with "Rapid Eye Movement," a fast and incredibly strong tune in all aspects of guitar work, drumming, and vocals. Terrorhorse's intense energy was a constant throughout their six-song set, which included "The Gate," "Packet Flier" and ending it with the incendiary "Heffer Exploder."

Battlesoul's Celtic thrash metal ended the night perfectly. With a full-on metal attack plus bagpipe melodies playing in the background at some points, the general consensus among the crowd was that they made you feel like hoisting your drink up it the air in salute to their Irish infused thrash revelry.

The band began with "Divinity Defiled" and kept their set going strong with "Dance of Vengeance," a song that combines Celtic melodies with gruff vocals and heavy guitars in a way that showcases Battlesoul at their best and was easily the highlight of their set. The night ended with their aptly named track "Battlesoul," which left everyone that was still standing wanting more.