It was when Krallice members Nick McMaster, Lev Weinstein, and Mick Barr folded their hands over their instruments as Colin Marston rounded out the end of new track “Telluric Rings” with rung out string picking – James of Titan put it best, being “dedicated to metal”, wry as it was – Any doubt in the conviction of extreme music, or, fuck it, metal would have been ruthlessly scraped away after a section like that. The Krallice headlining show with touring support from Withered and local opener Titan was a stable formula for proving the high peak artistry of contemporary heavy music; Titan thankfully opened with “The Glory of the Fleet”, erupting far more toxically with this track than when I caught them at Starring Janet Leigh‘s last visit to Sneaky Dee’s. Featuring new songs “Indulgence” (premiered) and “The Fire Sculptures”, the set traded between austerity and grandeur which was concentrated in a way I had never seen them execute previous. “Indulgence” was wanton affect (the tumult of double bass, crushing palm muting…), and projected album closer “Fire Sculptures” landed more mythologically, tasteful sweep picking and all. As a thorny and genuinely powerful set, I can only predict grander for what a larger stage and attendance will provide the band – As for Titan now, they keep Toronto above reputable in a post-Cursed world.

Withered, dappled by red, began their “Extinguished with the Weary”. Crowd participation increased, trading between the audience’s synchronized swirl of hair (which I missed having at that moment) and energetic circle pit. As much traditional blackened death flavour as Withered has, the introspective “Purification of Ignorance” was less about metallic attitude than it was hardened music for beating hearts, not dead ones. Krallice followed suit, less dream-state than I had expected – No, this was sobered, vital black metal projected across a great mix in Sneaks’ monitors. “The Clearing” led into “Inhume”, which frankly was a joy. Marston and Barr graciously displayed how their trademark interplay really worked, completely unmechanical to boot. Barr’s shifting harmony moved expertly through the light at “The Clearing”‘s odd-timed climax, and Marston’s riffing in album highlight “Telluric Rings”  (as well as a solo I could have sworn belonged to Barr’s!) brought the emotional punch I’d expected. McMaster took stage center with low-end vocal conviction that I wish would become more the standard in conventional black metal, proving to aid the power of the natural “Inhume” (including his brilliant bass riff before the waltzy ride-blasts… It’s a fucking brilliant song). Weinstein, an intelligent and aware drummer (requesting some vocals in his monitor), did not waste a single blast of many – And it was when the resonance of not only their performance but their compositions themselves that built a palpable field, felt in slow motion and their hair gradually hit and remained on their faces. It was then that some kind of peace took hold, remaining thoroughly metal, never pandering to more approachable genres in the process.

Photo credit: Charlie Young


  1. Phil wrote:

    there were four bands on this bill.

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