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There's a line that connects horror films and metal music, and on August 11, 2023, that line was drawn in blood at Toronto's Rebel. The much-hyped Ice Nine Kills North American tour hit town, and let me tell you, this wasn't your run-of-the-mill metalcore spectacle. This was a visual and auditory shockwave that left the audience spellbound. It was a great 4 band lineup that kicked off just after 6pm on Friday.

Mike’s Dead is an industrial freakshow of a band that opened the show with some great licks and a heavy beat. The three piece band had some solid riffs and a great command of the stage, hope to see them again.

Veil of Maya, once a technical deathcore powerhouse, has transformed over the years, embracing a more accessible metalcore sound. Lukas Magyar's inclusion as the vocalist brought clean vocals into the mix, altering the band's dynamic. But, witnessing their live performance transformed my skepticism into appreciation. Their setlist was a carnival of anthems, expertly engaging the crowd. Yes, the sound mix could have been better, the vocals overshadowing the instruments, but the band's development since my last encounter with them in 2012 was undeniable.

August Burns Red took the stage with their trademark energy. I have seen them several times before and they consistently deliver. Their setlist spanned their career, the crowd’s enthusiasm skyrocketing. The symbiotic flow of their complex riffs made for a jaw-dropping experience. Light shows and pitch-perfect sound mixes don’t do justice to the sensation of an August Burns Red live show; they mind-blow, plain and simple. Jake Luhrs did me a huge favor this time around as his trademark baseball cap was turned around and I could finally capture his fantastic expressions. "JB" Brubaker on guitar is always a highlight. For a mop head guy in flip flops the guy can shred. The encore set was first rate.

But the real carnival of chaos awaited us with Ice Nine Kills. Metalcore shows typically follow a certain pattern, but not this one. This was a living, breathing horror movie – a sonic Alice Cooper-esque extravaganza. Clad as Patrick Bateman from American Psycho, Ice Nine Kills drenched the stage in horror theatrics. Choreographed reenactments of iconic scenes from horror films took the center stage, none more chilling than their recreation of Bateman’s infamous murder.

This wasn't just a concert; it was a theatrical immersion. Spencer Charnas, the frontman, was the star, his vocals as haunting as his stage presence. The band's intricate blend of pop vocals and metalcore instrumentation, coupled with Spencer's commanding performance, was like a vortex, drawing the audience into their dark realm.

Their setlist was a rollercoaster through their three recent albums. A fusion of pop hooks and visceral metalcore, it was hard not to get swept away. The show was a horror fan's paradise, with references to Psycho, Evil Dead, and more. Their creativity didn't stop at music; it seeped into the visuals, with dramatic lighting that transported the audience into different horror dimensions.

Ice Nine Kills didn't just perform; they created. They owned the stage, transforming it into their dark playground, where horror and music embraced. This tour, this evening, was a sonic celebration of horror and metal. It was a testament that metalcore could be more, a storm of creativity and innovation. Ice

Ice Nine Kills might just be the band that injects life back into the concept of a metalcore show, reminding us that a concert can be more than just music – it can be a visceral experience. If you missed this, you missed an inferno of horror and metal intertwining in electrifying harmony.

This concert wasn't just a lineup; it was a legacy. It was a blazing inferno of horror, metal, and theatrics. A tour de force that blasted through genres and expectations. If you're a fan of metal, or if horror films send shivers down your spine, an Ice Nine Kills concert is a must-see. It wasn't just a performance; it was a full-throttle plunge into the dark, adrenaline-pumping world where metal and horror collide.

Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

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