On a night where the Ukrainian heavy metal outfit JINJER was headlining for the very first time, a diverse group metal was on display from all types of sub-genres. The eclectic lineup made the night at Corona Theatre far more dynamic and epic than shotgunning beers in a football field while simultaneously rockin’ out to heavy metal.
Kicking off the night was local act Burning The Oppressor, a groovy melodic death metal band with an appetite for delivering the most brutal of performances. Sounding even far more furious than one would expect given their name, the opening act set the tone for the night with an unmerciful set. Assaulting the audience with ferocious blast beats, savage death metal growls, harmonized guitars, and wicked solos, Burning the Oppressor did a tremendous job hyping up the crowd. Guitarists JF Roy and David Bérard fed off each other’s energy throughout the set, effectively galvanizing all metalheads to raise their first in the air and headbang like no tomorrow during each song. Their unrelenting setlist and crystal clear production made for a dynamic opener and left an impression on me as I immediately sought them out on Spotify after the show.
Up next was the super energetic Sumo Cyco, a female-fronted heavy metal-infused punk rock band from Hamilton, Ontario. I didn’t know much about them before the concert other than they had a pretty unique name and seemed like an intriguing fit on the bill. However, I left this show an unabashed headbanging fan of their music mostly because of how animated they were throughout their entire setlist. The best way to describe Sumo Cyco is a funky and industrious blend of heavy metal being spliced with punk rock. Rocking platforms, the lead vocalist Skye “Sever” Sweetnam exuded as much power as her counterparts for the evening and livened up the building with her stage presence. Immersing herself into the show, she ended up making her way through the crowd before taking a shot of whiskey at the bar, which was ridiculously awesome, to be honest. In addition to playing a full slate of originals, they did an entertaining quick-paced cover of System Of A Down’s “B. Y. O. B,” getting even the angriest of metal heads on hand to sing along.
Adding to the eclectic mix of metal on hand was the penultimate act, The Browning, a self-described electronicore band hailing from the American Midwest. Sounds absurd, right? But these guys pulled it off with one hell of a performance. Now, if you’re not familiar with the band, their music can be described as various elements of metalcore and deathcore meshed with somewhat upbeat EDM-style breakdowns. Think of adding rum to chocolate milk: it sounds like a puke-inducing concoction at first, but a couple of gallons later and you’re having the time of your life. Vocalist Jonny McBee’s stage presence and range of vocals were on display, as his rap-style chorus perfectly complemented the harshest of vocals. It was as if Satan himself was engaged in a rap battle while at the same time composing the evilest blend of electronic deathcore for an inter-dimensional “battle of the bands” contest. Effervescent guitarist Brian Moore’s colourful attire and face paint matched his unyielding intensity, as he continuously spun around in circles and danced around the stage.
After surviving a hellacious assault from the opening acts, the time finally came for the nascent headliners. The atmosphere was electric as the horde of JINJER fans showed no signs of slowing down and eagerly awaited the final act. The protracted break in between The Browning and JINJER was well worth the wait as soon as “Teacher, Teacher!” commenced. As someone that was introduced to the band by fellow Buckethead Jason Greenberg last year, I couldn’t wait to get the chance to see them live again. Their funky blend of djent-inspired groovy progressive metal was on full display. The intricate light show effectively blinded you, while the harmonious cacophonous compositions simply beat the living hell out of you. Tatiana Shmailyuk’s vocals were perfect and kept up with the rest of the band’s never-ending supply of energy. It was virtually impossible to do anything but headbang because of how powerful the delivery was song after song. The progressive changeups and menacing breakdowns were fierce and apparent on tracks like “Outlander,” “Ape,” and “Captain Clock.” After teasing the crowd with a final goodbye, the crowd chanted “Olé” in typical Montreal fashion before the band strolled back out to tear into the crowd again with the finale “Pisces.”
Written by Jonathan Berthold
Photography by Nicolas Racine
*edited by Danielle Kenedy