On a rainy Thursday night, the Toronto venue, The Boat, hosted a sparsely attended but hypnotically powerful night of metal. Those who braved the rain were treated to some high-energy trad-metal courtesy of Adrenechrome, an act who couldn’t of stood out more, being sandwiched between the amplifier-worshiping drone of Fires of Mammon and Gates.
After setting up their imposing wall of Sunn0))) amps, the four-piece Fires of Mammon took the stage. They then launched into their first and only track, a tidal wave of feedback that ebbed and flowed, with the three guitarists trading chunky chords and screechy, tremolo-picked riffing. Thankfully, the drummer gave the piece some urgency and momentum with his Dale Crover-ish pounding and dramatic cymbal work.
The seamless wash of noise set the stage perfectly for the far more focused and traditional Adrenechrome. I vaguely remembered seeing these guys a few months back and they didn’t make much of an impression on me, but I was pleasantly surprised by their set. What started as thuggish sludge riffs quickly evolved into a far more technical and dynamic beast, with breakneck tempo shifts, twin-guitar harmonies and impressive lead solos.
With Adrenechrome’s set finished, the crowd had thinned somewhat, and the mood seemed far more quiet and downbeat. Nevertheless, a few people remained by the stage, waiting expectantly for the final act. Unfortunately the Philadelphia doom metal band Ominous Black had cancelled, leaving the one-man onslaught of drone that is Gates to take the stage. Setting up his massive personal backline and tangle of effects-pedals and synthesizers, the lights dimmed and the room was demolished by a blackhole of sound.
While Fires of Mammon infused their particular brand of drone with actual riffs and propulsive drumming, Gates played the opposite. Like the notorious Sunn0))), oppressively huge, down-tuned power chords were favored, signal-processed and distorted beyond all recognition. While drone isn’t something I listen to at home, the power that it holds live can’t be denied. There’s just no comparison to having total vibration envelop your body – a transcendent experience that goes beyond metal. When the amps turned off and the lights came up, the room went quiet, eerie and unbearably tense; like people couldn’t decide whether to clap or run out of the place cradling their shattered ear-drums. Finally the applause broke, and we returned to the rainy evening, the deafening sonic ritual of the night still ringing in our ears.
**Both Fires of Mammon and Gates opted to play in complete darkness, so I couldn’t shoot any photos.**
About the Author
Hey everyone, my name's Anthony and I'm a photographer/sometimes writer for Axis. I was born and raised in Toronto, recently graduating in Film and Media Production at Humber College. I've been shooting concerts for nearly as long as I've been listening to metal, and you can check out some more of my work at anthonymaphotography.com.
As for the music, I'm mainly into stoner/doom/sludge side of things, as well as black metal, thrash, prog, and hardcore. I've also got alot of love for the proto-metal and heavy psych bands of the late 60s and early 70s.
Some favorite metal: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Slayer, Venom, the Melvins, Sleep, High on Fire, Corrosion of Conformity, Harvey Milk, Boris, Baroness, Kylesa, Weedeater, Zoroaster, Kyuss, Tool, Intronaut, the Isosceles Project, the Great Sabatini.
Non-metal favorites: King Crimson, Santana, Rush, Cream, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Can, Frank Zappa, Parliament-Funkadelic, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, A Tribe Called Quest, MF Doom, Madlib, Fugazi, Fucked Up, Black Flag, Talking Heads.