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To Hell and Back With Vader

Vader perform live at Lee's Palace in Toronto, Canada. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Toronto, Canada - 40 years ago, a death metal band would rise from the Polish underground, to start what would be a legendary assault on the heavy metal world. To celebrate the band's apocalyptic raid, Vader hit the road in Europe in September 2023 to celebrate "40 Years of the Apocalypse" Tour. The tour brought the band through South America in November, and finally, in February 2024, Vader hit the continent of North America. With support from Topeka, Kansas monsters Origin, and Floridians Inhuman Condition along for the ride, Vader Hell to Toronto on February 11, 2024, at one of the city's most legendary venues, Lee's Palace.

As I strolled up to the front entrance of the Bloor Street live music venue, only a handful of anticipating fans were lined up. With a fairly large gap between the first group of friends, and the next 2 dudes, I wasn't sure if the 2 guys were actually in line or the show. As any self respecting person would do, I asked them if they were in line, to which they responded positively. "No worries man! You can go ahead of us" one of them replied, and I told them I wouldn't squeeze in ahead of them. One of them then says "It's ok! We listen to music about killing people but we're really good people!" I roared laughing, because it's true! The Metal Community are the nicest people you will ever meet, and this little interaction set the scene for a fun night ahead.

As I entered the joint upon doors opening, there was a definite buzz. It's something I have noticed as not unusual at a metal show, but it certainly doesn't happen with every gig!

Inhuman Condition

Inhuman Condition performing live at Lee's Palace. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Ahhhhh... the sunny south! Seriously.... what's better??? Florida has churned out some amazing heavy metal music over the decades. Bands like Savatage, Deicide, and the grand-daddies of Death Metal music themselves, none other than Death! Now, you can add Inhuman Condition, a band formed by ex-Massacre members Taylor Nordberg and Jeramie Kling in 2020. So these guys are new, and it was their job to amp up the crowd on this Sunday evening in Toronto.

As the unexpected Allman Brothers song "Midnight Rider" comes over the sound system at Lee's Palace, Nordberg appears in a 3/4 length baseball style Rush tee, along with another lad, in a Johnny Cash t-shirt, sleeves cut-off and sides cut out. He heads behind the kit. This is typically the home of singer/drummer Jeramie Kling, who appears, with mic in hand. As it turns out, Kling has been wanting to focus on singing, so with new recruit Colton Zietler behind the kit, and Terry Butler (yes, that Terry Butler) rounding out the 4 piece, Inhuman Condition kicked it hard with their opening track "Recycled Hate", and the we were off!!!

During the band's whole set, Jeramie Kling is all over the stage, despite very little room to manouever around too much. He made the best of it, walking out onto platforms flanking the stage and engaging the crowd at every moment. The band brought some intense energy, and the fans reciprocated. Kling quickly shares a story of the last time they played in Toronto, and recalls a fan in a wheelchair, and how the fans lifted him up, wheelchair and all, and raised him high in the crowd. As Kling states "That's a core memory!" Yes, that's metal my friends!!

Inhuman Condition was killer! What a great start to this one.


Jason Keyser of Origin, summons the crowd in Toronto. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Things were about to get powerful, and unreal with Kansas's death metal masters Origin. By some strange coincidence (well no, not really), Origin's football team was playing a massive game south of the border in Super Bowl LVIII, but the crowd was not to be denied by any focus elsewhere. The band opened their set up with "Expulsion of Fury" from 2011's Entity. As the beat drops, lead singer Jason Keyser taunts the crowd... "Toronto, if you needed a cue to move, THIS IS IT!!", and with that, the floor erupts into insanity, and we're only a couple minutes in!

After "Chaosmos" and "Accident and Error", Keyser sympathizes with the melting pot on the sunken floor at the Palace (a true "pit"). "I understand that was a lot to take in, but it only gets worse from here!" The pit erupts again as the band blasts out "Panoptical". The power here is unreal.

With Keyser helping crowd surfers up onto the stage, and even directing them when to "dive", the fans are raging. Finally, the coup de gras of heavy metal insanity, and something I had never seen up close and personal, the Wall of Death!!! The lead singer directs the crowd, splitting them into 2. "We don't do this at the breakdown! We do it before the song even starts!!" He counts to 3, and screams "GO!!" and the crowd charges meeting in the middle, right on cue as the band starts the song. It's complete pandemonium, and complete fun!

As the band rages on, and gears up for their final track of their set, one last bit of encouragement from Keyser. "Toronto, if you have anything left, now's the time to lose it!!" and they explode into "Unattainable Zero"... WHEW!!!!


A fan surfs to the foggy front during Vader's set at Lee's Palace. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

The lights go out... fog completely fills the stage. This is such a cool visual, but selfishly, it's a nightmare for a photographer. The crowd immediately starts to chant "Vader! Vader! Vader!" The band's introductory track "Macbeth" plays over the airwaves, and they explode out of the gate with "Decapitated Saints". Years of experience is immediately evident in the band's sound, and their stage presence. With all due respect to any new and upcoming bands, this quickly takes me back to the days long gone. The 1980s... the golden age of thrash and death metal. And here was Vader, 40 years later, kicking ass right off the hop! Piotr Wiwczarek is sure to let the crowd know "Tonight, we are going to take you to Hell and back!!!"

As heavy as the band's start is, and the crowd immediately raging, a couple surfers head towards the stage. The first makes it, and the band's photographer, and apparent security jumps out onto the stage and seemingly helps the fan up. As the second surfer gets to the stage, the bouncer seems to push the fan back into the crowd, and looks to be telling them "NO!" in an attempt to stop them from getting to the stage. The fans gives him the finger, and sinks back down onto the floor. How do I feel about this? I'm on both sides of the fence here. The band needs to be safe, and clear of any potential hazards, but what of the loving fans looking for a bit of fun?? Either way, what's more important, is that it ultimately doesn't seem to bother the fans in the least (well, except maybe that one guy).

Vader performs live in Toronto, Canada. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

After the band's 4th track "Vicious Circle", Wiwczarek simply states "Wow! This is fucking crazy already". And it truly was. This was some old school death metal. A fan in the front waves the flag of Poland. The pit raged on, as the fans slammed and circled. There was little banter from the band's frontman as they blasted out one song after another, in an effort to keep the fans raging, and to get as much music out of the evening. It's intense as hell! And here we are!!

A small technical issue ahead of "Black to the Blind" sees the band leave the stage and results in the lead singer losing his guitar and going with vocals only. I hear fans around me saying "I've seen these guys 20 times and I've never seen him play without a guitar". In the grand scheme of things, it seems like a minor bit of nothing, but unfortunately happens again. All the credit to the veterans on the stage though! They plowed through the technicalities, and frankly, still sounded amazing! Unless perhaps you've seen the band 20 times (like the guys behind me), you literally would not have noticed.

Eventually Wiwczarek returns with his original flying V, and all is right in the world again, as the band screams through the rest of their set. The pit continued to burn throughout the evening, and gives one last push for "Triumph of Death" and "Shock and Awe".

Piotr Wiwczarek of Vader. Photo Credit: Jay Broderick

Sometimes, you just need what's familiar. New is great, but something about the old just holds a special place. And that was the case here, as Vader took Toronto to Hell and Back on this Sunday night in February.

Concert Photo Gallery

Vader Online

show date: February 11, 2024



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