A press release came into Metal Nation News late last summer announcing one of the best tour packages of the year, the Soilwork headlined Fury Tour with support from Unearth, Battlecross, Wovenwar and Darkness Divided to be played in 26 markets across North America. When the Rev saw that the Toronto show would take place at the infamous Rockpile West, a smallish room with about a 400 person capacity, he jumped at the chance to take in the show with photographer Phoenix Camerah.
Let me get something straight right out of the gate. It takes a special tour to motivate me to get my aging metalhead derriere out the door and into the big smoke (Toronto) which is 2 hours north. The reason for this is when you’ve seen as many shows as I have over the decades there is a risk of becoming somewhat jaded. It’s been my experience over the last few years that the bigger bands I’ve seen in large venues were ok but nothing to write home – or you – about. I’ve gotten my biggest kicks by getting involved in the independent scenes of several major Canadian cities mainly Calgary, Toronto and Hamilton which to me is time and money well spent.
But when I read that Soilwork would be headlining the Fury Tour this fall I got super-stoked as they were playing a smaller venue. As I’ve said in previous ramblings, when you have a chance to see a stadium calibre band such as Soilwork in an intimate setting, you jump at it and that I did with the help of photographer Phoenix Camerah.
Our evening began with an interview with Darkness Divided vocalist Gerard Mora. I admitted to him that I’d not heard of the band before but was intrigued by his very public professions of faith as a Christian to the extent that the band is considered ‘Christian Metalcore’. While that in itself is nothing particularly new, the intrigue enters when you consider the fact that the vibe of the bill was decidedly on the more extreme end of things. You will be able to hear that interview on an upcoming edition of Too Metal For Church as well as read a transcript here at Metal Nation News.
The show kicked off very early, around 5:15 pm, with local support from Fallen Legion and My Hollow. While I missed Fallen Legion whilst conducting our interview, I did have the opportunity to catch My Hollow whose brand of groovy death metal got the crowd revved up for the evening.
It’s rare to find a bill with four or five bands that are all at or near the top of one’s most-loved list and the Fury Tour fits this description for me. Darkness Divided led off with an entertaining and highly energized set of metalcore and while most in attendance were most likely at odds with Mora’s brief statement of faith from the stage, it was received with respect which was a testament to the awesome crowd in the packed house.
Wovenwar was up next with a set that gave everyone but Soilwork a run for their money. Their performance featured tracks from their two full-length releases including the recent “Honor Is Dead”. For me Wovenwar’s success is made that much more remarkable by the fact that they are (mostly) the remains of As I Lay Dying, the band that collapsed after the arrest of vocalist Tim Lambesis in 2013 on hire-for-murder charges.
Michigan’s Battlecross were up next, brandishing their aggressive and death infused brand of thrash metal. The highlight of their performance was definitely “Not Your Slave” from their latest full-length, 2015’s ‘Rise to Power’. Otherwise the set was plagued with uneven sound which is curious considering that none of the other bands had any difficulties in that area.
Longtime metalcore veterans Unearth took the stage next with a ripping set that featured some serious moshing and crowd surfing. Not having been too familiar with them other than their most recent release, 2014’s ‘Watchers of the Rule’, I was impressed by the solid musicianship and enjoyed their set immensely.
The headliner for the evening was melodic death metal masters Soilwork who played highlights from their long career throughout the set. Bjorn “Speed” Strid absolutely commanded the audience with a presence that was undeniably larger than life. Strid frequently enlisted unsolicited assistance from fans pressed against the stagefront by grabbing their heads for stability whilst leaning out over the throng of raised horns and pumping fists. The highlight for me was hearing “Late For the Kill, Early For the Slaughter”.
Overall the Fury Tour delivered an arena quality show in an intimate venue that absolutely met and exceeded this jaded, aging metalhead’s expectations. For a $35 CDN ticket the crowd got 7 bands over 6.5 hours in a venue with great sound, sightlines and staff. Tell me again why there are people willing to spend thousands for Metallica tickets. Here’s a sermon for you: Forget the thousands, spend a few bucks a local venue to see great tours like the Fury Tour and get to know your local scene. #unitedwerock
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 9/10
All photos by Phoenix Camerah
Reverend Rock is host of Too Metal For Church, Mondays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST and Fridays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. only on Metal Nation Radio