There is something about metal that brings people together. From the epicenes of the lyrics to the thundering drum bass pedals, metal brings us all to a place we never want to leave. Some of us don’t ever leave and some of us chose to bring that place back to reality. Two weeks before Enforcer and Warbringer stormed Foufounes Électriques, I had been going back in time and listening to classic metal bands and thrash albums which I had somewhat left aside after high school. When it was time for the show, I was fueled to the max on heavy metal energy and couldn’t wait to hear the lightning crash.
Sans Amertume, the first band of the night, had the important task of warming up the crowd for what was to come. Singing songs about French Canadian history, Sans Amertume had a short set but played through it with heart and passion. Frontman Maxime Vachon interacted multiple times with the crowd and even incited a mosh pit, finding that the movement in the audience was lacking. A problem with the lead vocalists’ harsh vocal style was that it didn’t seem sustainable. Each song started with such force and energy but by the end, you could hear the strain in his voice. Fortunately, the harmonies dealt in by his fellow band members filled the void. All in all, Sans Amertume were the perfect opening act for a night of heaviness.
What is there to say about Chemical Way that hasn’t already been said? Montreal’s finest thrash metal act did exactly what I expected them to do: create pure mayhem. From Bull Royce’s technical guitar playing to Scott Renaud’s excellent vocals, everything about this band is excellent. The crowd moshed from beginning to end, chanting along to their rendition of Iron Reagan’s “Fuck The Neighbors” and going complete ape shit when they played their original “This Isn’t Earth.” Chemical Way brought along some props, which were probably lost and torn apart somewhere in the mosh. You can never trust those metalheads with your things. Also, worth mentioning was how perfect the sound was. Every instrument was perfectly balanced, which give the whole show a Centre Bell worthy performance.
The giant Swedes from Enforcer stormed the stage and solidified my theory that all the best music comes from northern Europe. I was anxious to see if their live performance held up to the epicenes of their studio albums. Simply put: It really did. Actually, it exceeded all my expectations. Olof Wikstrand, with his mastery over his voice and over the audience nearly brought us to our knees with his energy. Songs like “Mesmerized By Fire” and “Zenith of The Black Sun” were so epic, I almost cried tears of blood. Everyone had their fists in the air and everyone was singing along. You could see the members of Enforcer feeding off this energy and giving it back in full force. Olof and his fellow guitarist Jonathan Nordwall play often together, amplifying the main riff of any particular song, which I think is a big part of their grand sound. Throughout the entire show, they never missed a beat and never gave us time to catch our breath. You know you’re at a good metal show when people start singing the melody along with the guitar and then start doing some vocal exercises with the singer, all live.
And lastly, Warbringer dropped the nuke. Warbringer’s music is basically Slayer but on steroids. And I mean that in the best of ways. Slayer is an obvious influence, but Warbringer never becomes a “rip off band.” They play a mix of thrash and death metal, with growling vocals and soul-crushing power behind each instrument. I don’t know what these guys are fueled on, but they are unrelenting. I was especially impressed by lead singer John Kevill, who never showed a single sign of fatigue, even after three encores. This type of brutal music often suffers from problems in diversity, where the fast picking and drumming almost seems to blend everything into one very long song. That being said, the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Warbringer called for war and Montreal answered. We were treated with their new single “Firepower Kills,” as well as their classic “Combat Shock” which also included a wall of death. Something about a bunch of sweaty bodies violently slamming into each other under the blasting sound of metal will forever be satisfying.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
Photography by Marc-Antoine Morin
*edited by Mike Milito