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In the heart of Toronto, a night of sonic devastation unfolded as four titans of extreme metal descended upon REBEL, leaving a trail of shattered eardrums and awestruck souls in their wake. The evening commenced with a cosmic journey led by Denver-based Blood Incantation, guided by the deft hands of Paul Riedl, Morris Kolontyrsky, Isaac Faulk, and the bass wizardry of their own, the mysterious fourth member. Following suit were the enigmatic Gorguts, helmed by the visionary Luc Lemay on rhythm guitar and vocals, with Kevin Hufnagel commanding lead guitar, Colin Marston providing the pulsating bass, and Patrice Hamelin on drums, solidifying their House of Wisdom-inspired performance.

Blood Incantation's set was a revelation, a seamless fusion of caustic riffage and eerie psychedelia that set the tone for the night. Tracks like "Disfigured" and "Evisceration Plague" showcased their technical acumen, weaving intricate melodies with bone-crushing aggression. The crowd, initially still, succumbed to the irresistible gravitational pull of their cosmic soundscape, succumbing to the irresistible gravitational pull of their cosmic soundscape.

Following in their wake, Gorguts emerged, unearthing the House of Wisdom with a sonic tapestry that defied easy categorization. Luc Lemay's masterful command of the guitar led the charge, each riff a narrative thread in their intricate musical tapestry. Kevin Hufnagel's lead guitar work danced between the boundaries of chaos and catharsis, while Colin Marston's basslines added an earth-shaking foundation to their sonic onslaught. Patrice Hamelin's drumming was a controlled explosion, a relentless barrage of precision and power. Tracks like "Pit of Zombies" and "Hammer Smashed Face" elicited a fervent response from the crowd, a testament to the enduring legacy of this death metal behemoth.

As the night deepened, the stage was shrouded in an aura of malevolence as black metal legends, Mayhem, emerged. Attila Csihar's vocals, ranging from guttural growls to ethereal chants, added an eerie dimension to Mayhem's already formidable sonic assault. The stage filled with smoke and the band was silhouetted against the lights, casting an otherworldly aura. Classics like "Freezing Moon" left the crowd in the throes of a collective trance, a testament to the enduring power of Mayhem's dark incantations.

Finally, the stage was set for the masters of carnage, Cannibal Corpse, to bring their brutal assault to life. Frontman George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, armed with his monstrous neck, led the charge alongside guitarists Rob Barrett and Erik Rutan, bass phenom Alex Webster, and drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. George Fisher’s signature hair thrashing was on full display, a whirlwind of intensity that left the front rows drenched in sweat.

Opening with "Scourge of Iron," the band wasted no time in establishing their dominance. Alex Webster's wicked bass lines, a signature of Cannibal Corpse's sound, reverberated through the venue, each note a seismic tremor. Tracks like "Blood Blind" and "Inhumane Harvest" showcased Cannibal Corpse's technical prowess, seamlessly weaving intricate melodies with bone-crushing aggression. With each thunderous riff and guttural growl, they reaffirmed their status as masters of carnage.

In the end, the night was a testament to the enduring power of extreme metal, a genre that thrives on its ability to challenge, to evolve, and ultimately, to transcend. Each band brought their unique sonic vision to the stage, leaving the audience spellbound and craving more. As the final notes of "Hammer Smashed Face" reverberated through the venue, it was clear that these four titans of metal had left an indelible mark on Toronto, a night that will be etched in the annals of extreme music history.

Dave Blass

Photojournalist - Toronto

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