Published Oct 11, 2011The first opening band is usually the youngest, least experienced and sometimes, unfortunately, the least talented. But Toronto's Redeemer should have switched places with Sepulchre, as they provided an impressive opening set.
Reedemer vocalist Lord Faulkner, who could be a stand-in for Down singer Phil Anselmo, was particularly impressive, with solid pipes and a great stage presence. And while their blend of thrash and hardcore wasn't that original, they were certainly better than Sepulchre, who were a great disappointment. How long have these guys been together? The musical skill among the band was uneven, as one member wearing a cheesy bullet belt tried to mask his lack of guitar-playing skills by preening to the audience, and what could have been a passable set was ruined by awful metal clichés.
However, Murder Squad T.O. ripped it, as the Toronto band's old-school hardcore was pristine, and their music well-suited what the almost sold-out show was looking for -- an abrasive and angry sonic warmup for the headlining act. But should men over 35 wear jeggings? No, but as long as you didn't stare at vocalist Mike Abalienation protruding crotch, it was all good.
When Napalm Death took the stage, they bum-rushed it, opening with two of their best tracks, "Downbeat Clique" and "Strong-Arm" off of 2009's Time Waits for No Slave. The crowd was frenzied and the young'uns in the pit started punching each other, meaning they were excited, apparently.
Vocalist Barney Greenway announced that they were going to delve deep into their catalogue, and they did, performing "Lucid Fairytale" off of 1988's From Enslavement to Obliteration and "The Code Is Red... Long Live the Code" from the same-titled 2005 album. Napalm Death also covered Cryptic Slaughter's "Lowlife" and previewed "Quarantined," a new track that will be released early next year.
Between songs, Greenway talked about the rather complicated state of the world, and while the band are known for their political sensibilities, one wondered, especially after observing those who had downed too many Molson Canadians, if these messages would have any impact at all.