It has been a long 2016, and I was stoked to say goodbye with my last show of the year. The Opera House hosted yet another kickass night of metal featuring Municipal Waste and a ton of groups from the Toronto-area. Although I was exhausted before even making my way to the venue, not to mention not looking forward to being downtown until 1 am, I figure I shouldn’t complain. I’ve wanted to discover more metal bands recently, so what better place than a thrash metal show?
The second band of the night, Punch Drunk, was seconds away from kicking off their set when I tardily made my way into the surprisingly empty venue. The 5-piece from Oshawa supplied a healthy dose of aggressive metal. The screaming vocals and speedy, if muddy, instruments complimented each other well to make for a compelling set. Although their songs were repetitive, they kept it short and left those interested wanting more. Personally, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy Punch Drunk for more than half an hour at a time due to the lack of diversity, but they’re a good band that can fit any heavy mood.
Hamilton, Ontario’s Profaner was up next. The 2016 Wacken Metal Battle Canada champions were my favourite of the opening bands that night. Their music was a lot more exciting, with tons of melodic elements and impressive guitar work. The vocalist was especially spot on and had an impressive and diverse set of pipes that night. All five members were fun to watch and stepped around the stage pretty comfortably. Their bassist even had a double-necked instrument, with the second neck being a six stringed guitar. He never used it, though, much to my disappointment. I guess that’s what I get for expecting a bassist to quit doing his job and contribute to some wicked three-part guitar harmonies.
The floor finally started to fill up as Chainbreaker were getting ready for their set. The Toronto group had one fewer guitarist than the other bands that night, but they still sounded just as full thanks to their bassist’s grungy tone. The lead vocalist was easily most impressive contribution to the group, if only for his look and unique timbre. I couldn’t tell if he was growling, yelling, or fucking inhaling, but it is hard to put a pitch or melody to his vocals. There seemed to be a strange effect on his voice, too, which made it just as difficult to understand what he was saying. His tone did grow on me after a few songs, though, and was a cool and relaxed frontman between songs. Their music was reminiscent of the night’s headliners, utilizing an effective blend of thrash and hardcore punk.
As much as I like Municipal Waste, I wasn’t expecting their live show to be as good as it was. The sound problems fixed themselves by the start of their set, mainly thanks to clear guitar and bass tones that cut through the mix well instead of being stuck in their muddy range. The band kept up with their ridiculous playing speeds and played them so damn tight. In a genre where playing sloppy is maybe excusable, Municipal Waste certainly didn’t cut corners. Ending songs as a collective unit, and making the volume go from 100 to 0 in less than a second never got any less impressive throughout the night. The crowd was crazy as well, as beer cans were thrown left, right, and centre. Bodies were flying off stage, and everyone was having a blast. No doubt I would have been soaked in beer and sweat if I wasn’t at the very back of the floor. The only thing I think I can complain about was the set length, but then again, such a short set suits them. They came in like a tornado, fucked shit up for forty-five minutes, and left a huge mess behind them.
It was a great night, and it was good to have a reminder of how fun the crossover thrash subgenre can be, and that’s all you can expect from an artist whose average song length is ninety seconds. You know you’re going to have a good time. As much as the venue janitors probably hate it, if the Opera House want to boost beer sales significantly, they better have these guys back soon.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy