Soilwork / Darkane / Warbringer / Swallow the Sun The Opera House, Toronto ON February 17

Soilwork / Darkane / Warbringer / Swallow the Sun The Opera House, Toronto ON February 17
Photo: Mark Coatsworth
With a chunk of the city's metallers banging heads elsewhere to Cynic and Meshuggah, the Opera House had some room to move last night, but a good turnout showed up for Soilwork and company nonetheless. It was a mostly passionate group as well, many young and eager to collide, salute, and shout their enthusiasm.

First up, Swallow the Sun had close to half an hour to warm up the crowd up with their melodic Finnish doom and gloom, playing material from across their catalogue. Though stacks of others' gear kept them pinned to the front of the stage they managed to convey both vitality and expertise, proving once again that they deserve more time and higher billing.

An abrupt change in direction saw Warbringer step up next, their raw frenzy bringing out more moshing than warfare. Looking young but sounding much older, the Californians channelled their thrash forebears with intensified and coagulated brutality and introduced new material off their upcoming second album. The rest of the night belonged to the Swedes.

Darkane had less than an hour for their powerhouse set, mixing old standards with a taste of their freshly released Demonic Art. Still, they raged like good-natured pros and expressed their love of Canada, even giving us a slice of the national anthem on guitar. Their set began with hardly discernible vocals and ended in deliberate chaos but in between was solid skill.

Darkane's tempered aggression led into Soilwork's high entertainment. More fun than ferocious, with bassist Ola Flink particularly playing the clown, they pulled out a range of fan-chosen material off their best-loved releases, including a few atypical tracks like "Shadowchild." Good at fan interaction, Soilwork stirred up the packed floor, and though it's unlikely they blow any minds, they delivered the kind of "natural born chaos" we've come to expect.