words & photos: Matt Forsythe @skin_mf
Alt-Metal? Off-Metal? Post-Metal? Whatever you want to call it, the touring triple bill of Zeal and Ardor, Baroness and Deafheaven is certainly not for metal purists. Gauging from the crowd, plenty of people are okay with that.
Switzerland’s Zeal and Ardor are taking a three-vocal approach to metal, something like Rag’n’Bone Man but tuned down and mixed with black metal. Their first time playing a room as big as the Danforth in Toronto, they drew an impressive crowd in an opening slot.
As co-headliners, it could’ve gone either way, but Baroness drew the middle slot. Colour coding their set (all their albums are titled by colours) made it easy to follow along. Singer/guitarist John Baizley got excited before the audience with the opening keys of Purple’s “Shock Me”. The crowd responded with everything from circle pits to lighter salutes. But it was Yellow & Green’s “Take My Bones Away” that would crush everyone.
That left only the pummeling (in a good way) of Deafheaven. Even while sticking to their latest album, they dropped into an even newer song, “Black Brick”, early on. After only five songs (still nearly an hour), under threat of sound curfew, they put their frustration into possibly the first Deafheaven song most people heard, Sunbather’s opening epic, “Dream House”, bringing everyone full circle.
Be sure not to miss any of these bands when the tour finds it’s way to you.