Bill: Lords of the Trident, Prismind, Tsargrad & Lutharo
Date/Venue: May 29, 2016 Coalition Club Toronto, Canada
Lords of the Trident, hailing from Wisconsin in the U.S., bills itself as the most metal band on earth. Well… that’s a pretty heady claim isn’t it? We decided to take in their headlining show recently at the Coalition Club in Toronto to see whether or not that bold statement is mere balls and bluster or if they actually deliver on it. And the verdict is…
At the moment our jury is sequestered at a dilapidated donut shop sucking back double-double coffees and snarfing moldy apple fritters so we’ll first consider the other bands on the bill.
Lutharo is a young band from Hamilton, Ontario, whom I have had the pleasure of seeing a couple of months ago while acting as an industry judge for the Wacken Metal Battle semi-final in that city. The group is female-fronted traditional metal in the vein of Kobra and the Lotus or Huntress. While that performance was raw and energetic, it suffered from poor sound but I blame the sound technician on that account and not the band. On this evening Lutharo played a blistering set of original material led by the phenomenal pipes of vocalist Krista Shipperbottom. Having been a big fan of female fronted metal since the days of Canadian metal queen Lee Aaron in the mid ’80’s I feel qualified to stated unequivocally that Shipperbottom has the range, style, charisma and showmanship worthy of a much bigger stage. As the band grows and develops I’m sure that theory will be tested in future.
Next up was Toronto’s Tsargrad, a viking metal band complete with the associated garb and makeup. I will admit to knowing absolutely nothing about them prior to the show and thus had zero expectations especially due to the fact that as a metal sub-genre, viking metal hasn’t ever been on my radar apart from Amon Amarth. In spite of this I can say that Tsargrad impressed the hell out of me. The band’s set was tight and furiously presented and the star of the show was vocalist/guitarist Conor Filipuzzi – he is clearly the driving force behind this band and has the talent to be so. The songs were engaging and well performed. I dug them to the extent that you can expect to hear tracks from them on Too Metal For Church in future.
Third up was Prismind, a progressive metal outfit from Hamilton, Ontario. As this is the third time I’ve seen them this year, and after having had their tracks in regular rotation on my show, I was stoked to see them live again. This is a band worthy of a much, much bigger stage. Their level of musicianship is staggering, from the thunderous drums of Mike Harshaw, formerly of Annihilator, to the stunning fretwork of guitarist Kelly Kereliuk, to vocalist John Mamone whose style is a perfect fit for prog-metal with excellent range and force rounded out by terrific stage presence. The bottom end is handled impressively by bassist Justin Faragher who absolutely shreds on his instrument, often doubling Kereliuk’s fast, furious and impressively tasteful lead playing. I could watch him play bass all night and to be able to do that from a few feet away was incredible. A definite highlight, apart from their excellent original material from their forthcoming album, was a crowd-pleasing, killer version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” that saw Kereliuk deftly mimic the song’s keyboard parts on his axe in tandem with Mamone’s tonally perfect voice.
Lords of the Trident hails from Wisconsin in the U.S. with this being their first foray into Canada. Unfortunately their experience was marred by mechanical difficulties with their van that caused them a great deal of frustration and time and it would have been excusable, under the circumstances, had they given a distracted, uneven performance. Happily that was certainly not the case as the band, donned in its trademark medieval garb, put forth a highly entertaining, musically impressive and often intentionally hilarious show. Vocalist Fang VonRothenstein engaged the crowd with sing-alongs and sword fights in a performance that could have devolved into cheesiness but did not. The Lords seemed to be having a blast in spite of the aforementioned frustrations and led the crowd through a blistering set of original material taken from their relatively new yet impressive catalogue of releases. The highlight of the set was the melodically memorable, “Knights of Dragons Deep” taken from their latest release, “Frostburn” which has been in steady rotation on Too Metal For Church for several months now. Overall the Lords delivered on the promise spoken of in our intro. Are they the most metal band on earth? I would encourage you to pick up their releases and see them live to judge for yourself. It would certainly be worth your time and money to do so.
A final word goes to the awesome staff at the Coalition Club in Toronto. This was my first experience at the venue and one never knows what one is walking into although I’d heard from friends in the Toronto scene that the club is well-liked and respected. I now agree with both of those sentiments. The staff was terrific and treated us very well, right from the doorman through to the bartender who happily served us up free water and reasonably priced Coke all evening. Kudos to them. \m/
All Photos by Phoenix Camerah
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