Review and Photos by: Darren Eagles
The Historic Danforth Music Hall in Toronto was pummelled with metal this past Wednesday night, when co-headliners In Flames and Hellyeah brought their Forged in Fire fall tour to town. Both bands are currently on the road promoting the hell out of their new albums. Tracks from In Flames’ November release “Battles” and Hellyeah’s summer release “Unden!able” were serve up hot, with a blinding light show and a non stop sonic assault that the bands are famous for. As frequent summer festival playing bands, it was great to get them into an intimate theatre space where the close confines and pitch black could work together to create the correct vibe for a metal show. Tight, hot, sweaty, loud and frantic.
Opening the show with the instrumental “!” from the new album, Hellyeah wasted no time in presenting nearly half of the hour long set with the new stuff. Frontman Chad Gray is the opitome of what metal singer should be. In your face, in both the lyric delivery and physically, whenever possible. The stage at the Danforth is very low, which allowed for some close quarters fan interactions between Gray and the those lucky enough to be pressed into the rail. The “blood” started flowing early on with Gray’s trademark dreads and goatee drenched and offering the bad ass imagery every photographer loves to capture. Veteran metal drummer Vinnie Paul is still an absolute machine, perched high atop his drum riser, pounding out his message, and raining spent drumsticks on the crowd throughout the show. Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady on guitars kept the crunch and the mayhem constant, with Kyle Sanders on bass working his magic with Paul on the low end giving a good test to the structural stability of the old building. “Startariot” and the Phil Collins cover “I Don’t Care Anymore” were standouts from the new album. They ended the set with their namesake hit “Hellyeah!”, without an encore.
Veteran Swedish metal masters In Flames took the stage after a short gear change with “Bullet Ride” from their year 2000 release “Clayman”. With over twenty years and 16 albums to draw from, they only worked in two new tracks for this show. The problem with a co-headliner scenario, is both bands have equally short one hour sets. “The Truth” and “The End” were both good choices for the new material. Frontman, Anders Friden dressed in his best plaid Canadian dinner jacket and black ball cap snarled and screamed out his lyrics while slapping hands with fans and writhing around his mesh platform at centre stage. His vocal range extends from gravel infused buzzsaw to a semi melodic delivery, and works well with the band’s fully melodic hard driving metal tones. Bjorn Gelotte on lead guitar with his long greying fashion santa beard, traded licks with a much more animated Niclas Engelin. It’s fast complicated music, so any significant stage movement is a welcome thing for a band like this.
The band stuck to the post year 2000 material for this show, leaving the real vintage work on the shelf. New on the kit as of this past September is Joe Rickard, who seems to be fitting in very well with the In Flames material and his new bandmates on stage.
It was a great full on metal show, in a great venue on a cold snowy night in Toronto.
Setlist – Hellyeah
Demons in the Dirt
Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)
Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones)
War in Me
I Don't Care Anymore
(Phil Collins cover)
Setlist – In Flames
Where the Dead Ships Dwell
Only for the Weak
The Quiet Place
Take This Life