Sodom / Finntroll / Burn to Black Opera House, Toronto ON - January 11, 2006

The first marauders to tear up the Opera House on this unseasonably warm January night were local thrash/death/black metallers Burn to Black. Though a little muddy (a mix issue that periodically reasserted itself throughout the night), their intense roar struck the appropriate raw chord, bridging the new and old flavours of metal to come. By the time Finntroll took their place the bar was teeming with warm bodies, many of them making their way toward the stage to experience a little Finnish polka metal up close. Finntroll were in fine-kilted form, as lively as the traditional drinking and hunting melodies (mostly conveyed by the Korg at mid-stage) decorating their otherwise fairly straightforward, if folkie, extreme metal approach. The band played a cross-section of tracks, including "Jaktens Tid," gave an interactive language lesson at the opening of "Trollhammaren" and kept a good slab (mostly the youthful part) of the crowd well in rowdy attendance. The greener audience thinned out a little for Sodom's headlining set, but those who stayed tended to mean it. Despite their 20-some years in this head-banging business, Sodom weren't showing much signs of their age, at least not fatigue. Instead, the good, old-fashioned German thrash they delivered was angry, uncouth and tight as a rusty hinge — precision and bedlam all in one butchering package. The encore was fairly short and salty, kicking off with their cover of Motörhead's "Ace of Spades," and topping off a set that ranged through newer material to classics like "Blasphemer." At times, the festive "now meets then" vibe tended to overwhelm the details, but they always came blasting back through in shots of troll horns and steel.