Concert Review – Cannibal Corpse & Behemoth (Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015)

If you want to live in the bitter cold of Toronto, you have to kill or become.

OPENING ACTS: Tribulation and Aeon

cannibal corpse_behemoth_winter tour 2015If you live in Toronto or anywhere nearby you know how bitterly cold the past couple of months have been. For instance, I personally don’t remember when we had temperatures above the freezing mark (or even above -5°C) for the last time, and it looks like February 2015 is about to become the coldest month in the history of Toronto. Well, nothing better than a hotter-than-hell extreme music night to warm up the hearts of lots of headbangers in the city, right? The venue chosen for this awesome gathering was the always welcoming Phoenix Concert Theatre, where friends wearing the T-shirts of their favorite extreme bands and even a group of girls with their well-crafted corpsepaint were able to enjoy some beers together, headbang like motherfuckers and especially slam into the circle pits.

The bands chosen to liven this mini-festival up were the excellent Swedish Death Metal bands TRIBULATION and AEON, both raising the flag of Scandinavian metal really high with their ferocious performances. If you truly love extreme music but have never heard of either Tribulation or Aeon, I kindly ask you to please go check these two bands: you’ll be surprised with how good they are. The first band was Tribulation, playing a very technical and progressive Death Metal permeated with elements from Black and Doom Metal and singing about darkness, horror, vampires, death and all other of those “beautiful” themes. In case you want to know more about this great Swedish band, my suggestions are the songs Beyond the Horror, Rånda and When the Sky Is Black With Devils, masterfully executed by this four-piece act in front of an avid Torontonian crowd.

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Aeon @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

After a short break it was time for Aeon to deliver their infernal music, blasting everyone’s ears and necks with each and every song played. Lead singer Tommy Dahlström is a beast on vocals (and you can easily notice he’s a huge fan of Cannibal Corpse by his stage performance), perfectly vociferating the violent lyrics of all songs of their brutal setlist, with highlights to the opening song Satanic Victory and also to the amazing Kill Them All and Blessed by the Priest. In addition, how can I describe the performance of drummer Emil Wiksten? That guy is like an unbelievable human stone crusher behind his drums so fast and precise he is, which added a lot of power and fury to the band’s performance. As I said, go after the music by Tribulation and Aeon as quick as the blast beats by Emil!

BEHEMOTH

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Behemoth @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

It was around 8:45pm when the iconic Nergal and his horde of darkness hit the stage with an incredible concert, both in terms of their ominous music and their unique theatrical performance, and it’s amazing how they were capable of delivering so much content in such a limited space. Still promoting their most recent album, the impeccable The Satanist, which even after one year of its release it continues to astonish me, Polish Black/Death Metal masters BEHEMOTH proved why they’re one of the most influential and portentous groups in the world of extreme music.

Although they didn’t play the best song of The Satanist in my opinion, “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel”, the songs selected from the album were just as superb live, with highlights to Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer and Ben Sahar. Older classics also helped keep the audience mesmerized by their obscurity, such as Chant for Eschaton 2000 and Slaves Shall Serve. However, I believe almost everybody will agree with me when I say they simply kicked all possible asses with the already classic O Father O Satan O Sun!, a song that live sounds even more grandiose than its studio version, augmented by the band’s special satanic attire worn during its execution. This might sound stupid for a lot of people, but Behemoth performing this song at the Oscars would have been beyond spectacular. Unfortunately, the world and all mere mortals that live in it don’t seem ready for Behemoth yet.

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Behemoth @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

Also, it’s undeniable that Nergal is a true Extreme Metal leader and he’s passionate about what he does, and consequently he had almost all eyes staring at him during the whole concert, but the other band members are also wonderful and skillful musicians who help Nergal achieve the level of excellence he has in his mind for the band. Who didn’t enjoy the performance by bassist Orion, who looked like an even more devilish version of Gene Simmons’ stage persona The Demon? And what about the dark riffs by Seth or the rhythmic drumming by Inferno? What an awesome band, and if you missed them this time, may Lucifer have mercy on your soul. Or not.

Setlist
1. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
2. Conquer All
3. Ben Sahar
4. Decade of Therion
5. Messe Noire
6. Ov Fire and the Void
7. At the Left Hand ov God
8. Slaves Shall Serve
9. Chant for Eschaton 2000
10. O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

CANNIBAL CORPSE

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Cannibal Corpse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

In order to properly close the night and pulverize anyone or anything that was still alive after Behemoth, Death Metal titans CANNIBAL CORPSE arose from the crypts of hell to transform the entire venue into their own “skeletal domain”, obviously promoting their most recent album, the visceral A Skeletal Domain. If there’s one thing that I love about Cannibal Corpse is the fact that they’re a band that always moves forward, despite having a solid past which they could live on forever like many classic bands do. All their latest albums are brutally superb, and technically speaking they’re getting better and better year after year.

Their setlist was an awesome mix of old classics and newer songs, including almost one track from each one of their albums, from Eaten Back to Life (1990) to last year’s A Skeletal Domain. Mosh pits and pure headbanging erupted with classics such as A Skull Full of Maggots, Demented Aggression, Make Them Suffer and The Wretched Spawn, while the selected songs from their new album for this tour, in special the great Sadistic Embodiment and the steamroller Kill or Become, intensified even more the hurricane that was happening on the “dance” floor.

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Cannibal Corpse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, ON, 02/24/2015

Moreover, anything I say about the band members will just be pure repetition of common sense: they are all really talented musicians that love Death Metal above all things (well, Corpsegrinder said he loves pussy above all things), and that translates into pure electricity when they’re performing on the stage. You can barely see Alex Webster’s face, but he’s there delivering the most intricate bass lines you can find in extreme music, while Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett keep firing their evil riffs and Paul Mazurkiewicz his nonstop beats. And as I always say, Mr. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is the face of Cannibal Corpse and the one to give life (or death) to the band’s gory lyrics while headbanging like a fuckin’ chopper in a way only he is capable of. Besides, seeing him scratching himself with one of Paul’s drumsticks due to an incontrollable itch in the middle of his back, and you know he’s not a small guy, was priceless.

When Cannibal Corpse played their last two songs, the unparalleled classics Hammer Smashed Face and Devoured by Vermin (my top Cannibal Corpse song of all time), they turned the whole venue into a fuckin’ monstrous mosh pit with absolutely no place to hide, showcasing how awesome those songs are. But do you think anyone in the audience complained about it? There were so many smiles and so much sweat everywhere when the show was over I’m pretty sure the fans of the Corpse cannot wait for them to storm Toronto once again and heat up our chilly winter with their perfect Death Metal. Fire up the chainsaw!

Setlist
1. Scourge of Iron
2. Demented Aggression
3. Evisceration Plague
4. Stripped, Raped and Strangled
5. Kill or Become
6. Sadistic Embodiment
7. Icepick Lobotomy
8. The Wretched Spawn
9. Pounded into Dust
10. I Cum Blood
11. Make Them Suffer
12. A Skull Full of Maggots
13. Hammer Smashed Face
14. Devoured by Vermin

Band members
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – vocals
Pat O’Brien – guitar
Rob Barrett – guitar
Alex Webster – bass
Paul Mazurkiewicz – drums

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The Walking Dead Review – Episode 408 (Mid-Season Finale): Too Far Gone

The darkest days have arrived for Rick and the other survivors.

***WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS***

If you haven’t seen Too Far Gone yet, I suggest you scroll down to the end of this post first and watch the entire episode before reading the rest of the text.

twd_408_01I’m still shocked with everything that happened yesterday in The Walking Dead’s Mid-Season Finale. That was absolutely EPIC, and I don’t know how the producers will be able to surpass what was done last night in any future episodes and seasons. There was a lot of good dialogues, emotion and vengeance for fans that love a good storyline, and total fuckin’ annihilation for fans that love every drop of blood that falls in the show.

As I mentioned last week here, there was no way that the combination of the Governor and a tank could end up in a monotonous episode. From the very first minute, he showed us he was totally consumed by rage and would do anything to kill Rick, Michonne and everybody else. He was so crazy that he didn’t even kill Michonne and Hershel at first, because that was too easy. Kidnapping them and using them to blackmail Rick was a pretty wise move, and the way he “hypnotized” all his new crew to attack the prison makes him an excellent candidate for any election.

However, when he realized Rick was never going to give up the prison, he grabbed Michonne’s sword and prepared to decapitate Hershel in a last attempt to make the sheriff surrender. Well, Rick was too stubborn tough for that, and the Governor knew his plan was not going to work. As soon as he pronounced the word “LIAR”, just as he saw in that sign attached to a decapitated body in the previous episode, I knew it was the end for our one-legged hero. I must confess that I cried a little with that scene, especially by seeing the desperate reaction of Maggie and Beth, and after by seeing the partially beheaded Hershel dragging himself on the floor, trying to go somewhere but actually knowing he was going nowhere. And then, the Governor finished what he started. That was one of the saddest moments of the show so far without any doubt.

Just when you thought that was enough, there comes Lilly with a dead Meghan on her arms, previously bitten by a zombie by pure and total lack of attention from herself, her mom, the Governor and anyone else from that camp. Why going to war and leaving a child behind like that? That was a huge price to pay, but it seems the Governor didn’t care too much about her as he cared about Penny, by simply shooting the dead girl in the head with no remorse. That was the moment when any vestige of humanity in him was gone and his tyrannical side exploded. Poor Rick for having to fight him that way, and what’s even worse, with a wounded leg.

twd_408_02“KILL THEM ALL!”, the Governor said. All Hell was breaking loose, with a war between Rick and the Governor, all the walkers attracted by the sound of gunshots and explosion, the prison falling to pieces, and the desperate cry of the survivors. Rick was going to die, and everyone else was going to die too, if it wasn’t for the toughest woman on Earth, Michonne. Fortunately she got back to “normal” and instead of smiles and jokes, there was our warrior piercing the Governor’s body with her sword and saving Rick. But she didn’t kill the Governor, she simply let him to die and become a walker, which would have been an eternal punishment for him. Well, Lilly didn’t allow that, by shooting him in the head and ending the life of one of the most frightful characters in the history of TV and comics. That chess piece on the ground with the eye-patch, being stepped by a walker, was another epic moment in The Walking Dead.

In the end, there were so many deaths and so many survivors taking different paths that it’s difficult to predict anything that will happen in the second half of the season. What happened to Rick’s baby, Judith? Was she sadly eaten by a walker, or saved by one of the survivors (maybe Michonne or Tyreese)? Where are Maggie, Beth, Tyreese, Sasha, Bob, Lilly, Glenn, those kids that shot Alisha in the head (a perfect shot, by the way) and everybody else going now? What about Rick and his (one more time) savior Carl? Where is Carol? This show is just getting better and better.

R.I.P. Hershel. And the Governor, well, may his soul rot in Hell. When The Walking Dead returns in February 2014, we’ll finally be able to see how Rick and the others will survive their darkest days on Earth. It won’t be easy, not at all, and I can’t wait to see it.

Too Far Gone (FULL EPISODE)