Toronto, Ontario - March in Toronto brings the most unpredictable weather. It's the time of year when winter just doesn't seem to want to leave. While we haven't had a horrible winter, we've had more snow in the past 4 weeks than is typical for a full winter. It's completely miserable. As I exited off the Don Valley Parkway at the Bloor/Bayview exit on my way to Sneaky Dee's, the snow started to fall again. MISERABLE!! I'm glad I'm about to get a teeny bit of reprieve, going to see some thrash metal.
Sneaky Dee's is a tiny venue. I've actually never even been inside the iconic Toronto bar/concert hall to see a show, let alone to cover one. As I head upstairs, I get a sensation of nostalgia. It's grungy, graffiti covers the walls, and it's as intimate as a clown car at the Calgary Stampede. It's completely cool!!
On tap at Sneaky's tonight is the Empire of the Blind Tour, with headliners Heathen, and supporting acts Invicta, and Alberta's own Arrival of Autumn (speaking of the Calgary Stampede). With the west typically being ruled by the Country Music scene, we're about to get a taste of what the metal scene is like out in Canada's wild wild west.
Arrival of Autumn has been active since their inception in 2011 and have released 3 full length albums. The latest recording is brand spanking new, actually still awaiting its release. Kingdom Undone is set to hit the street on May 26, 2023.
On this night, Arrival of Autumn was second up on the bill. When the band hit the stage for their set, they hit the stage flying. They came out of the gates fast and heavy, heads banging, and hair flying. It's been a long time since I've been at a thrash metal/metalcore show of this ilk, and Arrival of Autumn immediately shows me (and the rest of the 150 strong) why it's the genre I've been drawn to since tearing off the plastic and dropping the needle on Metallica's Master of Puppets.
With the band's bruising riffs, pounding drums and growling vocals, Arrival of Autumn brought an insane amount of energy as soon as they graced the crowd with their sound and presence. During his initial greetings with the crowd, lead singer Jamison Friesen tells the crowd that it's great to be back in Toronto again, and tells them to make some noise! Unfortunately, it took the crowd a little bit to match the energy of the band, as the first mosh pit wasn't realized until halfway through the set. It's not to say the crowd was dead though. You could actually feel the floor shaking under your feet as the crowd thrashed and banged their heads to the heaviness of the band.
Friesen's growling vocals weren't all he had in his repertoire, as a number of the band's tracks showed the singer's vocal range. Hitting the higher notes wasn't a problem, and the accompanying growls from guitarist Ryan Sorensen provided a certain melodic cohesion.
The last track of the evening was the lead song from the band's upcoming album. The song is called "Scars" and it had the crowd raging. The whole front row was banging in unison to its classic sounding thrash drive and beat. It was a perfect ending that tied up the band's set, showcasing Friesen's vocal abilities, and the band's musical prowess, and tightness.
Ahead of the band's final track, Friesen is very grateful for the fans coming out on a snowy Sunday evening. Based on the reaction from the crowd, once their blood was pumping, they were happy to be there. And I can speak for myself, I was definitely happy to have made the trek through the ice and snow. Definitely NOT miserable! And I'll be looking forward to the new album!