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By: Nessa

January 22nd: 7pm in Toronto and the temperature only drops to -3 °C, which is strange since a sea of snow should be covering us by now. The doors  to the Queen St. venue opened at 7:30pm and by 8:15 people were already facing the stage. According to the schedule posted on the event page, the lights of the Opera House went off and there was silence.

The drummer (Spencer Wiedner) entered; sat on his stool and the first notes of “Be Dead or Die” began while the other members walked onto the stage, accompanied by whistles that were quieted Wiedner’s snare drum and Parker Jameson’s growl.

Starkill was formed in 2008 as a melodic death metal band. Although the band originated in Chicago, their their sound exudes more of a European feel. They have clear influences, such as bands like Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth, and Nightwish. They have been on tour with Amorphis, Sepultura, Kreator, Arch Enemy and now, Epica and Moonspell.

Jameson, Weidner, Shaun Andruchuk (bass) and Tony Keathley (guitar and backing vocals) gave us a preview of their third album when playing “Burn Your World” and “Cloudless.” Then they freed the night’s mosh pit with “Fires of Life.” The 6-song setlist was more than perfect in fueling the crowd.

After a small pause, the goth metal collective made its presence on the boards. Pedro Paixao only had to play the intro of “Breathe (Until we are no more),” the first track from Moonspell’s last album, to cast a shadow on the locale. After increasing the intensity of the show with songs of ’96 (“Opium” and “Awake”), they returned to their “Extinct” album.

Fernando Ribeiro bewitched the crowd with “Vampiria” and with a very harsh “ARGH!” he ushered the beginning of the subsequent song: “Alma Mater”. It was impossible not to move with this two classics of heavy riffs, wistful chords and irregular tempo.

At last, they concluded with a song that made everyone howl: “Full Moon Madness”. Definitely, this performance made the spectators remember their mortality from beginning to end.

It’s the second break of the night and the excitement to see the prodigious symphonic metal act could be felt. People were hurrying to the front when all lights dimmed except for a blue glow on the stage.

The orchestral intro of “Originem” started and “The Beast” made his appearance, followed by CoenMark, Isaac and Rob. Testing the fans’ energy with “The Second Stone”, Simone made her entry. Next, Coen soothed the ambience with the initial keys of “The Essence of Silence” and the sharp riffs, along with Jansen’s guttural vocals broke fiercely.

The building continued trembling with one of everyone’s favorites, “Sensorium”, and there was no recess until the melody of “Cry for the Moon”, which was continued by Ariën’s drums solo.

Throughout the concert, the Europeans were more than engaging: they approached their fans, extended their hands and made everyone headbang to their rhythm. When they asked the crowd to choose between “The Last Crusade” and “Storm the Sorrow”, the fans screamed equally for both of them, so Jansen replied: “Let’s play both of them then!”, and began with the track of “Requiem for the Indifference”.

During “The Obsessive Devotion”, Jansen played back to back with Delahaye and Simone’s warning (“If you believe in yourselves…”) unleashed “Victims of Contingency” and “Design your Universe”. The strings’ solos, the wicked drum beats, the keyboard’s devilish harmony were all impeccable along with Simon’s soaring voice… The expectations for the show were absolutely wrecked.

Epica's encore, just as experienced in Lima, was powerful. “Sancta Terra”, “Unchain Utopia” and “Consign to Oblivion” were in charge to terminate the night.

Never did the Canadians give the impression of being boring, as it is believed. The characteristic destruction of a thrash metal concert did not occur, obviously because this was not the occasion for it, but the fans enjoyed to the core each one of the bands’ performances. Even though they did not know as much about the first group as they did from the others, they still clapped, supported with the “HEY-HEY-HEY-HEY!!” and, as mentioned above, made a mosh pit in the center of The Opera House.

This was an awesome event and the energy of both the fans and the artists made this a night to remember. Though the Opera House did not reach full capacity, this helped everyone to cope comfortably. Moreover, the place was not very big so any spot was good enough to appreciate the spectacle. The stage crew was efficient throughout the event and the schedule was respected; no wonder why Inertia Entertainment has been awarded as the best concert promoter in Toronto. See you in a next time Starkill, Moonspell and EPICA!

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