Tuesday felt like an odd day to go see a concert, and the sudden cold didn’t help either. Yet off I went in search of metal, and let me tell you, metal was found. Supported by Smash Into Pieces and In Flames, Within Temptation stormed l’Olympia and brought joy to all in the form of their awesome music. I lived to tell the tale.
Smash Into Pieces is a four-piece band from Sweden, bringing to Montreal their industrial-type metal. Sounding like a mix between Nickelback and Disturbed, they offer a generic sound with some songs sounding more pop, while others are heavier. It would seem they changed their sound with their newest album Evolver, which came out this year, as some songs have completely abandoned the heavy metal act. Though the music itself, at times, felt out of place and too alternative in a room filled with hardcore headbangers, they put on a lively show with the little time they had. The band members had energy and the crowd responded well to that energy, which in my books means their show was a success.
Next came In Flames, the legends of the melodic death metal scene. Having helped create and define the genre, many fans were already chanting the band’s name even before they stepped on stage. The lights were dim and the band erupted into their song “Voices,” right off of I, the Mask. Chris Broderick (replacing Niclas Engelin for the tour) and Bjorn Gelotte led the charge with their aggressive yet melodic guitar playing. Anders Fridén surprised me with the effortless control of his voice, at times singing with harsh vocals like he was born screaming, and other times reverting to a clean yet powerful sound. They had a diverse selection of songs, ranging from their older stuff like “Pinball Map” from the 2000 album Clayman, to “(This is Our) House” from their newest album I, the Mask.
The music was accompanied by an impressive light show, brought to you by Olympia. Having lights flash at the same time as solos or massif riffs always amps the heavy for some reason. In Flames kept it heavy, and so did the crowd. There was always a mosh pit and throughout many songs, like “Monsters in the Ballroom,” the audience would sing along to either the melody or vigorously clap their hands. Emotions ran amok as the love oozing from the crowd was too much for Anders too handle, who shed the manliest tear before telling the audience to “Shut the F*ck up” so he could stop crying and continue the show. The band ended the night with the song promptly named “The End” and I’d be surprised if someone didn’t lose consciousness during that last mosh.
Within Temptation is a Dutch symphonic metal band who play songs like anthems. Though less heavy than the act before them, Within Temptation nonetheless felt right at home with the Montreal crowd. Their catchy melodies were extremely uplifting and gave us the impression of being part of a large family. With the crowd chanting and raising their fists in unison, Within Temptation brought together the entire audience with their epic music. The band started with “Raise Your Banners,” straight off their fresh record Resist. Sharon den Adel stormed the stage with a large white flag, waving it around as she sung. I am still unsure about how I feel about her voice. She has incredible range and can sing opera very well, but it felt at times extremely breathy and other times weak. But the fact that she was backed by a full band and a keyboard player adding in atmospheric melodies made the sound feel full.
Within Temptation played most of the songs off their newest record, “In Vain” being noteworthy with the most crowd participation. With a catchy chorus, it was easy to follow along and feel welcomed by the old-school fans. Luckily for them, Within Temptation also treated them to older songs like “Ice Queen” and “The Promise” from their second record Mother Earth. When it was time to wrap up, the Montreal audience demanded one final song from the band. For a moment I thought they wouldn’t come back, but Sharon den Adel appeared and called “the boys” back on stage for one final song, “Mother Earth.” It happened to be my favourite song of the night as it had one of the catchiest melodies I ever heard, reminding me greatly of Celtic music.
Written by Johnathan Robinson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Kate Erickson