02/27/06 - Dark Tranquillity + Guests @ Club Soda, Montreal
The moment Dark Tranquillityâ€™s [www.darktranquillity.com] Montreal tour date was announced by BCI [www.braveconcerts.com], their first-ever opportunity to headline a show in Canada no less, I knew it would be a special event based on three facts: First, a flawless back-catalog of seven full lengths and numerous EPs with well over an hour to fill; second, the sheer professionalism, skill, and class that each member exudes; and third, the overwhelming response they garnered as Soilworkâ€™s direct support at Le Medley last year. Such a response it was that the remaining attendance for Soilworkâ€™s strobe light infused set was not only nearly halved, but visibly unmoved by the headlinersâ€™ performance. While the prospect was unlikely, I dreamed of these factors culminating with a headlining show sometime in the near future, and for some crazy reason, or possibly just those listed above, my dream came true. Now if only more of my dreams came true, I would actually have some hope for this godforsaken world! Among the two better opening bands, Montrealâ€™s newest generation of extreme hybrid metal enthusiasts Insane [www.insan3metal.com] got the crowd moving a bit with material from their recently-released debut album, Insanity Through Nightmares. For such a young band, their mixture of sped-up and downtuned guitars ala Slipknot with traditional yet wild harmonics as Neuraxis and Quo Vadis utilize was definitely inspired, albeit in need of more growth to be considered one of Montrealâ€™s elite; a level of status for which the bar is raised quite high, seemingly year after year. Direct support came from Montrealâ€™s Soulforge [www.soulforge.com], a more veteran act on the verge of releasing their sophomore album, Re-Activate, from which most of their live material originated. Their combined styles of technical, melodic thrash and power metal did not come across as clearly as I would have liked, because on record the band can be entertaining and at times impressive as well. Still, they confidently and enthusiastically pushed through a generous forty-minute set, which primed the crowd for the gods of Swedish melodic thrash. Still touring on the success of their latest stunning album, Character, Dark Tranquillityâ€™s set honored each of their popular eras, from the Gallery and Mindâ€™s I years when they were on Franceâ€™s Osmose Recordings, to their ongoing relationship with Century Media. Fan response to songs from Character suggested they have taken more than just a slight liking to the bandâ€™s newest, some say return-to-form, material. Mikael Stanneâ€™s fascinatingly analytical and intricate lyrics about the rarely-discussed negative impacts of technology, mass media, and privacy bring to mind some of Chuck Schuldinerâ€™s (Death, Control Denied) best, and Dark Tranquillityâ€™s newest material contains some of his best ever. Their popular single Lost To Apathy was welcomed with open arms, as were The Endless Feed, One Thought, My Negation, and album opener The New Build. Underrated album Projector lent the soulful ThereIn and classic The Sun Fired Blanks, while their best-selling album Damage Done was referred to for a handful of moving songs, including Monochromatic Stains, Damage Done, and. White Noise/Black Silence. The wildest reactions were to The Galleryâ€™s material, including Punish My Heaven and Silence, And The Firmament Withdrew.By the time the set closed with Final Resistance, the barrier between Dark Tranquillity and the eager Club Soda audience has long been eradicated, both having merged as one. And as if the show itself were not rewarding enough, our city got a personal nod from the band on the front page of their website. Wrote singer Mikael Stanne: â€œAll gigs have gone well, but yesterday's headline show in Montreal deserves a special mention for being nothing short of AMAZING. The crowd reaction, atmosphere and general vibe was truly spectacular, and we all agreed that it was easily among the top 5 shows ever in our 17-year old career. Hopefully we'll have a video clip from the event up and running soon.â€ And YOU were sitting at home for what reason exactly?