Sounds of the Underground Kool Haus, Toronto ON. July 18

A hot and humid afternoon was about to become a scorcher in the near capacity Kool Haus. Long Island’s This Is Hell played a solid set of NYC hardcore with Red Bull and ADHD infused energy, but towards the end boos rang out. Thankfully vocalist Travis Reilly stood his ground and told everyone, "You can eat a dick.” The Devil Wears Prada had their Canadian cherries popped, starting with a vigorous team huddle and then launching into some tech-influenced metal that got the crowd going. The Number Twelve Looks Like You followed with a familiarity of tech-metal but stood out with glorious finger-tapping solos. Their jazzy interludes and creepy noises must have been noticeable given the circumstances, just like having two singers on stage. Vikings have left Valhalla to return as Amon Amarth; Viking metal does exist and was played with adamant fury throughout. In between songs, lead singer Johan Hegg pillaged the crowd with his deepest baritone voice. Fortunately a crack in that resulted in his normal tone making for a great moment that pleased the crowd. Darkest Hour served up a set of finger-riffing goodness from Undoing Ruin, two tracks from Deliver Us, and finished with "The Saddest Nation.” Listening to their music through your headphones isn’t enough — go see them live. Rapper/director Necro attempted to sell rap to metal-heads. He got the crowd jacked up before he started, but that died off in the end. Necro’s grotesque, gory and violent imagery was perfect message for SOTU, but hip-hop isn’t the medium. Every Time I Die’s live show isn’t missing anything. Keith Buckley air-guitared his mic stand and was held up by the crowd as he kept everyone in the palm of his hand. They played a succulent mix of thrash-y metal from Gutter Phenomenon, Hot Damn! and two tracks from The Big Dirty. Gwar! Their music is lame and not very energetic, maybe because they stopped taking their Centrum Silver multi-vitamins. They do excel in visual entertainment though with massive three-foot genitals spraying Hollywood goo everywhere and stage characters maiming each other with weapons while more goo flies about.