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TOOL Take Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena by Storm for First of Two-Sold Out Shows [Photos]

Tool brought with them Steel Beans to Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena for an epic performance of songs spanning the band’s remarkable career.

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Tool on November 20, 2023, photo by Darren Eagles

Prog-metal heavyweights Tool took their place at Scotiabank Arena for the first of two sold-out nights in a row. “We love Toronto,” frontman Maynard James Keenan announced early in the show. “You gotta be louder than Montreal, though,” to which the crowd roared their approval.

Tool shows are always a feast for the eyes, ears and soul. These shows are heavy, pounding, intense, compelling, as well as sometimes soft and thought-provoking. All of these elements expertly meld together to make the Tool live experience something not to be missed. And if possible, seen more than once.

The two-hour show’s set list only contained eleven songs. With most Tool songs checking in around the ten minute in length mark, it’s quality over quantity. As a result, a bunch of favourites always need to take a back seat to make room for the new ones. The setlist was balanced between songs from their key albums while mostly excluding their early-era material. They do make sure to change up the setlist from night to night, though.

Guitarist Adam Jones designs all of the visual effects and video content showing on the giant hi res video screens. Couple those with the lasers and crowd facing lights on stage and in the rafters moving throughout the arena means that the fans are always being immersed in the show experience.

Keenan, sporting black pants, black suit vest, white rolled up sleeve dress shirt and a bleach blonde, tall Mohawk hair piece, patrolled his stage left and right raised platforms adjacent to Danny Carey’s drum kit. Alternating between the two giving both sides of the arena a closer look at him, albeit Keenan isn’t one to be in too much of the spotlight. It’s more about the rest of the band and the visuals. Sometimes working with microphone effects or a portable megaphone strapped to his shoulder, Keenan worked his signature vocal chops and deep meaning lyrics, to give the Tool material its compelling sound.

Bassist Justin Chancellor in black and grey with green suspenders commanded the low end without much fanfare as usual. He held court in his spot at stage left, doling out punishing riffs on his honey coloured Wal Bass. And periodically, glancing over to Carey and Jones to keep the otherworldly complex time signature and other musical changes from going off the rails.

Jones, like Chancellor spent much of his stage time hovering at his guitar pedal board, either standing still looking menacing behind dark aviators dressed all in black, or bent down adjusting dials and knobs in real time. All the while delivering some of the heaviest melodic riffs on the planet.

Artwork for ‘Fear Inoculum’ by Tool

One of the biggest surprises of the night was Keenan’s introduction of Rush guitar wizard Alex Lifeson to the stage. On this tour, every night, Tool has played the intro to the Rush classic “A Passage to Bangkok” before starting one of their fan favourites, “Jambi.” Only this night, Lifeson did that intro himself to the dropped jaws and roars from the packed house. And then, later on, in the middle of “Jambi” the band paused for a few moments before unleashing the whole guitar solo/bridge from “A Passage to Bangkok.”

Lifeson actually playing part of a Rush tune onstage again is something most Rush fans thought might never happen again after the band stopped touring in 2015 due to drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart’s diagnosis and ultimately fatal case of brain cancer in 2020. Both Rush and Tool share a loyal fan base in their musical genres, and getting to catch Lifeson play with one of his own favourite bands live made it an extra special show. Never one to leave a snippet of humour out of the situation, after “Jambi” was over, Keenan quipped, “What a Rush!”

After a short intermission (with a countdown timer running on the video screen), Carey, dressed in his customary basketball uniform for the city he’s playing, took the stage for his nightly ode to Neil Peart’s style of iconic drum solo. This time, it was a gold and black Toronto Raptors kit with Scottie Barnes’ #4. Clocking in at nearly five minutes, the instrumental “Chocolate Chip Trip” allowed Carey to use nearly every square inch of his enormous drum and digital instrument kit. Including the giant Buchla Marimba Lumina keyboard towering behind him.

And even an aggressive rock band like Tool can have an acoustic, intimate band seated together at the front of the stage, a fireside interlude for one. “Culling Voices” from Fear Inoculum gave the fans in front a welcome closer look at the band for a while.

Fear Inoculum was released in 2019, and the band has been touring behind it since. After the world closed its doors temporarily in 2020, Tool fans had time to learn the new material. And seeing it performed live after its complexities were more ingrained over time made for an even better show of appreciation for it.

Standouts for the show were “The Pot,” “The Grudge,” “Jambi,” “Invincible,” and show ender “Stinkfist.”

The band wrapped up its 2023 tour after the second show in Toronto. But winter 2024 sees the band back on tour in January and February in the U.S.

Opening the show was one-man band Steel Beans (aka Jeremy DeBardi), hailing from Portland, Oregon. He took the stage in a flamboyant outfit comprised of purple tights, tall white boots, a black satin vest with gold embroidered trim and a red cape with gold ball tassels. He struck quite the figure, emerging with a leaf blower “flame thrower” and taking his spot behind the drum kit and menagerie of instruments. Cradling a Silvertone “Jaguar” styled guitar on his lap, he deftly worked it while holding a drumstick in one hand while fingerpicking, and chording with the other hand. And sometimes, he was drumming or playing the keyboard with that other hand as well. The hard rock music was surprisingly full and well-played. It was fun to watch, and the crowd was right into it.

Tool Setlist:

1. Fear Inoculum
2. The Pot
3. Rosetta Stoned (Lost Keys Intro)
4. Pneuma
5. Descending
6. The Grudge
7. Jambi (with Alex Lifeson)
Intermission
8. Chocolate Chip Trip
9. Culling Voices
10. Invincible
11. Stinkfist

Alternative/Rock

The V13 Fix #004 w/ Darkest Hour, Glitterer, LowLives and more

From pop to metalcore, experimental grindcore to indie, each week The V13 Fix will bring you a roundup of all the new music worth hearing…

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The V13 Fix

Welcome to the latest The V13 Fix our weekly round-up of some of the best albums, singles and EPs to drop in our laps/inboxes this week. From pop to black metal to experimental pop to punk rock, there is something for everyone in this mix of new music. Check out and support all the bands and labels if you like what you hear and if there is a particular album you like, make sure you head over to Spotify and check out one of our specially curated playlists where there is more great new music added daily.

Alternatively, if you’re in a band or want one of your bands considered for inclusion get in touch. While we can’t guarantee every album or EP we receive will be included, there are still plenty of other ways we can support you.

So, without further ado, sit back, plug in your headphones and get this week’s V13 Fix of new music…

Crossfaith
Zero’ [Single]

When Japanese genre-smashers Crossfaith exploded onto the scene with their brutal, electronic-laced metalcore, the world sat up and paid attention. Well, after twelve months regrouping, the band are back with this new single, a massive statement that they’re ready to pick up where they left off but with a new energy. This new slice of heaviness from the band is packed dangerously full of pulsating electronics and pummelling metalcore. Equally as explosive as it is anthemic, “Zero” heralds a new chapter from the band who, after hitting the reset button twelve months ago, have returned with a vengeance.

Pick up your copy of “Zero” from here.

Darkest Hour
Perpetual | Terminal
MNRK Heavy

It’s incredible when you realise that Perpetual | Termainal is the tenth album in the rollercoaster career of US metalcore/metallic hardcore mob Darkest Hour. Spirit and dogged determination has kept the band going to this point and it is a theme which provides the heartbeat of this savage collection. Guitarist Mike Schleibaum explains: “The record’s theme centers around the duality of survival while embracing rebirth,” and, hearing the band hurtle through each of the eleven tracks, Perpetual | Terminal certainly feels like the sound of a band who have been reborn. An uncompromising, unrelenting metal assault, Perpetual | Terminal highlights exactly why heavy music would be worse off without Darkest Hour in it.

Pick up your copy of Perpetual | Terminal from here.

Morta Skuld
Creation Undone
Peaceville Records

Now, even though the new wave of modern death metal bands is doing a sterling job in keeping the flag flying high for the genre, sometimes it’s nice just to take a trip back into some of the old-school bands. Having formed in Milwaukee in 1990, Morta Skuld are still battering away with their latest offering from the death metal stalwarts indicating no sign of slowing down. For fans of the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel and Deicide, the band expertly combine groovy moshy sections, blastbeats with swamp born vocals. Creation Undone isn’t metalcore, it’s not deathcore, there are no symphonies, this is just straight between the eyes brutality.

Pick up your copy of Creation Undone from here.

M.U.T.T.
Dirty Deeds
Quiet Panic

M.U.T.T. are a trashy punk rock band straight from the gutters of the San Fransisco punk rock scene. There isn’t much you need to know about the kind of punk rock M.U.T.T. peddle except that it comes devoid of airs and graces. Taking a route one approach, M.U.T.T’s punk noise is covered in snot and packed with attitude. Formed from the ashes of Culture Abuse, the project has moved on from the more rock and roll stylings of their debut album, Bad To The Bone, into more trashy waters. Offerings like “Downtown Boy” come with a suitably unpleasant sneer plastered across their face and, while this EP might a fairly brief listen, M.U.T.T pack plenty of bite into those eighteen or so raucous minutes.

Pick up your copy of Dirty Deeds from here.

Gen & The Degenerates
ANTI-FUN Propaganda
Marshall Records

Alt-punk collective Gen & The Degenerates tattoo their principals proudly onto their debut album. Written to a backdrop of disaster, tragedy and misfortune, ANTI-FUN Propaganda comes from a world of late nights and early mornings, sexuality, gender politics and mortality. It’s a punk rock album at its beating heart but, as vocalist Gen puts it, comes with a humourous approach and a love of dirty disco pop. Lyrically, tracks like “Famous” may come from a dark, bleak place but, as the video for “Big Hit Single” highlights, there is a wry smile and a sense of sarcasm nipping away at the subject matter to make sure we don’t lose sight of the fact that, while a quick look outside your window will show a world imploding on itself, it’s important to enjoy what time we have while we’re here.

Pick up your copy of ANTI-FUN Propaganda from here.

Glitterer
Rationale
ANTI-

Following his previous band Title Fight ceased touring, lead singer and songwriter Ned Russin needed a creative outlet. The creative outlet soon manifested into what originally started out as solo project but, six years later, has blossomed into a fully-fledged band and the release of their fourth album, but debut as a full band, Rationale. An album with a sound deeply entrenched in the DC hardcore and indie rock scenes, Rationale is a rowdy listen packed with jarring indie guitars and slick pop melodies with the cohesiveness paying testament to the fact that Russin has found bandmates who share his creative vision.

Pick up your copy of Rationale from here.

Hands of Kalliach
Corryvreckan
Prosthetic Records

Spawned from the minds of Edinburgh, Scotland husband and wife duo have blended together melodic death metal melded with Scottish folk music to create an album that is a work of art. The title of the album is inspired by enormous whirlpool, Corryvreckan, which lies between some of the western isles of Scotland. As harsh yet as beautiful as the inspiration behind it, Corryvreckan is a jaw-dropping piece of work. Soaring passages of melancholic Scottish folk music crash into brutal death metal, like two perfectly matched components. Through the folk music, the pair capture a drama and the emotion that can only come from being truly living and breathing it. When matched up with the extremities of the death metal scene, the end result is utterly majestic.

Pick up your copy of Corryvreckan from here.

Job For A Cowboy
Moon Healer
Metal Blade

For fans of iconic progressive death metal outfit Job For A Cowboy, it’s been almost a decade since new music was last heard from the band. Having teased for a number of years, the band are now back with their follow-up to 2014’s Sun Eater pretty much picking up where the 2014 album dropped off. Unsurprisingly, Moon Healer is the kind of album you really need to invest your time and effort into to really appreciate. Skim over it and you’ll find another incredible album in the Glendale’s musical armoury. Dig under the surface and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world which thematically picks up the story from Sun Eater while musically delivers it in a tightly woven package of complex, experimental, progressive death metal.

Pick up your copy of Moon Healer from here.

Austrian Death Machine
Quad Brutal
Napalm Records

Ten years since their last outing, Austrian Death Machine are back with Quad Brutal, their first album for new home Napalm Records. Formed fifteen years ago by As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis, the Arnie-inspired neck-wrecking death machine is back reinspired and reinvigorated. Joined by a bunch of friends from across the metalcore scene including members of Ov Sulfur and Wolves At The Gate, Lambesis is back with another full-throttle, adrenaline-fueled metal feast. With more muscle than your typical weights room, Quad Brutal is just pumped-to-fuck, beefed-up metal. There’s nothing fancy about this. No need to put your brain into gear, Quad Brutal is just here for when another couple of plates on the end of that bar just doesn’t seem enough.

Pick up your copy of Quad Brutal from here.

Royal Tusk
Altruistic
MNRK Heavy

To date, Alberta, Canada three-piece Royal Tusk have gigged with a veritable Who’s Who of Rock from Slash to Halestorm while, during the pandemic, frontman Daniel sang on viral at-home collabs with Stone Sour, In Flames, and Mastodon. Listening to the hard rockers third album and you can probably pinpoint all of those inspirations seeping through the thumping anthems. Full of hard rock bangers like “Fire In Your Veins” and “The Death of Common Sense” to “Hated”, Altruistic has the perfect blend of melody, singalong choruses and power. Of the album, bassist Sandy MacKinnon says “I really hope you want to blast it in your car and headbang” and we can’t think of a better way to enjoy Altruistic than that.

Pick up your copy of Altruistic from here.

Borkanagar
Fall
Century Media

Honouring commitments delayed by the pandemic means that it has been almost five years since we have heard a new full-length album from Norwegian progressive folk/black metal band Borknagar. Reading into the whole process the band go through to write an album though, you do get the feeling Fall would have taken as long pandemic or not. An unrushed, flawlessly-crafted peice of work, Fall sounds like Borknagar frontman Øystein G. Brun has worked tirelessly to ensure that every moment of this album plays out like a story. Blast of grim, violent black metal weave through epic passages of progressive rock and folk to tell a tale of survival. Heading towards their third decade, Fall feels like the Norwegians are still riding at the top of their game.

Pick up your copy of Fall from here.

Mother Mother
Grief Chapter
Warner Music / Parlophone

It’s fair to say that 2021’s album INSIDE catapulted Canadian indie rock troop Mother Mother to new heights. Piling up an incredible 300 million streams for said album Grief Chapter has some task ahead of it. The ninth album of their career finds the band at their most energized despite it focusing, lyrically at least, on themes of death and mourning. This is an album that transcends genres not only over the course of the twelve tracks but, as demonstrated on the brilliant opener “Nobody Escapes” or the stomping “Normalize”, many times within songs. An album which may come from a morbid place lyrically, by the end, will have you well and truly hooked.

Pick up your copy of Grief Chapter from here.

Lowlives
Loser’ [Single]
Spinefarm Records

It’s the year 2000 and Wheatus earworm “Teenage Dirtbag” is rapidly becoming one of the biggest hits of the year. An anthem for misfits, outcasts and losers, it’s a song we hold close to our hearts even 24 years later. Now, West Coast alt-rockers have gone and written their own version. A wonderfully hopeful slice of slacker rock, “Loser” has an almost pleading air to the chorus while the melody is lifted straight from the grunge/alt-rock 2000s. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming debut album, Freaking Out, so don’t worry if you’re going through that misfit phase because Lowlives have got your back.

Pick up your copy of Freaking Out from here.

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SAUL Embark on Headlining Tour with Kingdom Collapse

Iowa hard rock heavyweights SAUL hit the road again embarking on a headline tour this spring and Kingdom Collapse will serve as support.

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SAUL
SAUL

Iowa hard rock heavyweights SAUL — brothers Blake Bedsaul [lead vocals] and Zach Bedsaul [lead guitar, backup vocals], William McIlravy [bass, backup vocals], and Myles Clayborne [drums] — are hitting the road again. The band will embark on a headline tour this spring, and Kingdom Collapse will serve as support.

The tour kicks off on March 29 in their native Iowa and runs through April 12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. All dates are below, and tickets are HERE.

Zach comments:

“We are so stoked to be back on the road. Touring with our good friends in Kingdom Collapse will be amazing. Seeing all the Equals will be the best part of all! We will be throwing hard on every date to bring you the best show. So buckle up — because we’re coming!”

Saul dropped its latest album, THIS IS IT… THE END OF EVERYTHING last year via Spinefarm. It was celebrated for sticking to its “own artistic terms without bending at the knee to current trends” by Cryptic Rock and “a master class in hard rock” by Brutal Planet. Check out “TOOTH AND NAIL” and “A MILLION MILESfrom the album.

Tour Dates (w/ Kingdom Collapse):

3/29 — Des Moines, IA — Lefty’s Live Music
3/30 — Madison, WI — The Annex
3/31 — Westland, MI — Token Lounge
4/2 — Johnson City, TN — Capones
4/3 — Atlanta, GA — Masquerade (Purgatory)
4/5 — Dallas, TX — RBC
4/6 — Austin, TX — Come And Take It Live
4/7 — Houston, TX — Scout Bar
4/9 — Oklahoma City, OK — 89th Street
4/10 — St Louis, — Old Rock House
4/11 — Sioux City, IA — The Marquee
4/12 — Sioux Falls, SD — Remedy at 611

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Waterlines Drop New Single/Video “Brace” Alongside UK Tour Dates

Yorkshire metalcore heathens Waterlines return with UK tour news and their brand new single and video, “Brace.”

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Waterlines
Waterlines

Following thunderous receptions at every show on their first tour of 2024 last week, Yorkshire metalcore heathens Waterlines are back with a barrelful of announcements!

First is the matter of their brand new single, “Brace.” It’s the heaviest song the band has released so far; It’s three minutes of the fiercest metalcore you will hear all year. The subject matter of the song is as heavy as the riffs that go with it. Put simply, it’s a song about a plane ride with an unhappy ending and those last few moments of life after everything has gone wrong.

Having just completed four very rowdy shows with their new friends Cabin Boy Jumped Ship, October Ends and Iridium, Waterlines has announced two more live show batches! They’ll be hitting the road at both the start and end of May for two long weekends of metal mayhem.

At the start of May, they’ll team up with Mancunian metalcore specialists The Human Veil for three shows in Nottingham, Leeds and The Human Veil’s hometown show in Manchester. At the end of the month, Waterlines head out for a trio of shows in London, Wakefield and Bolton with tech-metal/metalcore maestros Eschalon. The Bolton chapter of the Waterlines fan club was out in force, as that show sold out in hours!

Tour Dates:

Waterlines + The Human Veil + Local Supports – May 2024

2nd May – Nottingham – Billy Bootleggers
3rd May – Leeds – BOOM
4th May – Manchester – The Peer Hat

Waterlines + Eschalon + Local Supports – May / June 2024

30th May – London – 229
31st May – Wakefield – Vortex
1st June – Bolton – Alma (SOLD OUT)

For ticket information for all shows, please visit the Down For Life Music website.

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