Summer Slaughter Tour featuring the Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Oceano, Darkest Hour

Sound Academy, Toronto ON August 9

BY Mike SimpsonPublished Aug 10, 2011

Given the show's eight-hour duration, one would think that the metal-loving masses who attended this year's Summer Slaughter Tour would gradually lose the rage and grow weak in their leather-clad knees. However, in true testament to the power of youthful exuberance and an atmosphere made thick with Red Bull, metal's future remained angry, outspoken and proud throughout the course of a very intense day.

During the show's opening hour, subpar sound plagued acts like Fleshgod Apocalypse, whose ghoulish getup and lacklustre Hypocrisy/Bodom-flavoured melodicism was not able to receive the benefit of the doubt. By the time Oceano took the stage, however, the problems had been rectified. The stage presence ante was also upped substantially by frontman Adam Warren, whose exhortations to the impressionable audience to "smash somebody's face in" were met with, perhaps regrettably, great enthusiasm. The band's occasional Cryptopsy-isms mixed well with their slow-slower-even slower method of playing breakdowns and made for the best set of the night.

As Blood Runs Black made a valiant effort despite being minus a bassist. Their music, although fairly generic metalcore, was well received, perhaps due to the boundless energy of their Peter Dolving-esque frontman. This was followed by the questionable Power Glove, whose instrumental Nintendo/cartoon theme song covers and bizarre pageantry (including audience members duelling with blow-up swords) was met with more than a bit of confusion, although many eventually gave in and welcomed the hilarity.

Due to a last-minute pull-out by Six Feet Under, prime deathcore influence Dying Fetus were next, plowing through a no-frills set that included classics like "Grotesque Impalement" and "Pissing in the Mainstream." Unlike their lower-billed tourmates, these veterans eschewed histrionics, instead opting to keep stoically in place, looking like the Slayer of their genre.

The final third of the day was a bit of a downward swing. Although the audience maintained a circle pit every time they were asked to -- which was frequently -- the remaining three acts failed to deliver. Darkest Hour's Dark Tranquility-influenced take on metalcore seemed phoned in and was saved only by a dynamic light show. Whitechapel displayed technical prowess by toeing the line between traditional death metal and breakdown-laced modernity, but did not bring the evening toward a climax. And headliners the Black Dahlia Murder rode a wave of excitement with favourites like "Everything Went Black" and "Nocturnal," but objectively, they came across as sluggish. Thankfully, the crowd's boundless energy helped to propel the night to a successful close and was the true highlight of the show.

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