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On a blistering night in Toronto, the echo of metal and the resonance of rock reverberated through the air, as Echo Beach played host to a gathering of metalheads in a fervent celebration of the genre. This was no ordinary night; it was the eve of September 18, 2023, a night when the stars aligned to bring forth the Babyklok Tour - a spectacle of musical prowess headlined by the formidable Dethklok and the sensational Babymetal. To set the stage ablaze, none other than Jason Richardson, a guitar virtuoso renowned for his work in Born of Osiris and All That Remains, took command. With masterful strokes, he conjured a sonic tempest that seemed to defy the laws of music. His solo performance was a tantalizing glimpse of the auditory feast that awaited the eager audience. I would have loved him to have an accompanying band. I get it, I am old, and the idea of programed playback music at a live performance makes me feel like I am at a really expensive karaoke bar. Satriani, Yngwie, Steve Vai and Nita Strauss all are guitar virtuosos who take center stage for instrumental sets, but you get the full band experience on stage. Jason’s guitar playing was extraordinary, and it deserves a solid band to go with it.

Then, in an eruption of fervor, the iconic trio of Su-Metal, Moametal, and Momometal, collectively known as Babymetal, descended upon the stage. Bedecked in matching garb, they opened with a surge of energy, unleashing "BABYMETAL DEATH" and setting the venue ablaze. The fusion of J-pop and metal was nothing short of electrifying, as they traversed their discography, leaving no soul untouched. Hits like "PA PA YA!!," "BxMxC," and the Tom Morello-backed anthem "METALI!!" echoed through the venue, each note infused with an infectious vibrancy that resonated with the fervent audience. The ethereal dance moves, synchronized to perfection, added a visual dimension that elevated the performance to transcendence. The backing band looking VERY similar to vintage Ghost “Popestar” era Nameless Ghouls.

As the night wore on, it was clear that this wasn't just a concert; it was an odyssey into the heart of musical ingenuity. Each act brought forth a distinct flavor, a unique essence that painted the evening with vivid strokes of sonic brilliance. And then came the crescendo, the moment that all had been waiting for – the emergence of Dethklok, a band born not just of musical prowess, but of animated imagination.

Dethklok didn't just take the stage; they inhabited it. The colossal screen, a visual marvel, dominated the backdrop, bearing witness to the iconic artwork of Metalocalypse. It was more than a mere canvas; it was a living, breathing entity, pulsating in perfect harmony with every thundering riff. The band, cloaked in shadows, emerged from the very depths of their animated universe, as if the screen itself had come to life. It was a revelation, a testament to the enduring influence of Metalocalypse, a series that birthed not just a band, but an entire sonic universe.

The interplay between music and animation was nothing short of extraordinary. Dethklok orchestrated a multi-sensory experience that transcended conventional notions of a live show. Each riff, each growl resonated in perfect synchrony with the pulsating visuals, creating an immersive sonic landscape that defied easy categorization. The experience was akin to stepping into the heart of Metalocalypse itself, a world where music and art converged into a singular, electrifying entity.

In the end, Dethklok proved that music could be more than a mere auditory experience. It could be a visual journey, an animated odyssey that invited the audience to step into a realm where sound and imagery danced in perfect harmony. It was a night that celebrated the boundless possibilities of creative expression, a night where the fictional and the tangible coalesced into something truly extraordinary. As the final notes echoed through the venue, it was clear that the legacy of Dethklok would continue to resonate, reminding us all that sometimes, the most powerful experiences are the ones that defy easy explanation.

Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

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