On Thursday, November 2, Toronto experienced perhaps the strongest extreme metal show of 2017.
Kicking things off was Guelph, ON troupe the Long Dark Road, who created crushing, cinematic soundscapes and are best described as a transcendental, post-black metal merged with hardcore punk act. On their Facebook profile, they write that they formed after "hearing Deafheaven's album Sunbather," and they followed that lineage. No shade thrown at the band, but that proved to be an issue: they were clearly playing a more purist metal crowd. Despite that, they were extremely tight, and would have been a stunning addition to a different bill.
Next up were Toronto's own Paroxsihzem. Merging the visceral, atmospheric style of Western Canadian black/death metal (think Auroch, Mitochondrion) with a more bludgeoning style that came to dominate in the latter part of the set, the band sounded excellent, further aided by the frankly fantastic live mix. Kudos to the Hard Luck Bar staff — it's exceedingly rare to hear a proper sounding show with such blazingly fast bands in a smaller venue.
Mysterious hooded Toronto act Thantifaxath were next. Having been a recent transplant to Ontario, it was my first opportunity to see them live, and frankly, I was blown away. Creating a strong sense of atmosphere with their deafening hymns, the band oscillated between progressive, instrumental moments and frenzied, shrieking technicality. Extra points go to the band for already having CD copies of the long anticipated EP Void Masquerading as Matter, out November 24 on Dark Descent Records.
Cruciamentum then took the stage. The band have a fanatical cult following on the basis of one full-length (2015's Charnel Passages) and a handful of shorter offerings, and their performance demonstrated exactly why. Unleashing filthy death metal that's deceptively complex against a backdrop of malevolent vocals and jaw-dropping drumming from newest addition J.F., the Profound Lore signees were stunning.
As the last notes rang from the stage, the crowd erupted in appreciation, while several attendees made a beeline to the merch. Emerging from the venue soaking in sweat with several CDs and a shirt in my grubby fists, one thing was clear: this show was one to remember.