Four up and coming hardcore bands were slated for La Sala Rossa Sunday night, Sep 3. Unfortunately, one out of the four horsemen – Trail of Lies -had to cancel. Fortunately for the building though: one more wailing hardcore band probably would have brought the old cracking foundation of Sala Rossa down on the concert-goers. It was a shame, but the night hardly lacked for energy as a result.
A small army of denim-decorated mosh-pit warriors swung their arms in the front-stage free-for-all, while the rest of the packed house kept their distance. As the acts Jesus Piece, Eternal Sleep and Code Orange invoked the guttural chants of our own inevitable demise, the catharsis and bloody noses were real. A metal-studded Montreal crowd made due with only three heavy throat-rage hardcore anarchy-inducing ensembles, nevertheless it was still a solid night.
Jesus Piece’s frontman Aaron Heard stole the show. His leaping jump-kicks and dead-eyed stare brought something new, twisted and dark into the hearts of anyone watching. The Philadelphia band had some hardcore Quebecois fans up front, and at clutch moments Aaron would swap the mic into the hands of his followers to scream all fury multiple times. Jesus brought the mayhem and set the bar pretty high for the following act, Eternal Sleep.
Hailing from neighbouring Pittsburgh, hardcore band Eternal Sleep continued the deathmarch, shaking the walls of Sala Rossa with the screams of agony and bitterness. Shouting out their co-travellers and thanking Code Orange, frontman Joseph Sanderson was probably the most graceful hardcore lead of the night, before demolishing our eardrums to our delight. The tone of Eternal Sleep was more brooding, taking the tone down a notch before our finale act, the legendary Code Orange.
Pittsburgh five-piece hardcore band Code Orange has been building a name for itself since signing with Deathwish Inc in 2012. The average age of the band then was only 18, and it still remains a shocking sight to see the level of energy, output, rage and simply put – metal – from such a young band. No performer in the group is going at a rate of anything less than 1000%. From towering bassist Joe Goldman, to mini-red-haired-rage-witch Reba Meyers, they hold nothing back.
Following a few technical equipment false starts for synth and guitar player Eric Balderose, the wall of sound got to a gradual start with ‘Real,’ building up to an energy burst that saw drummer vocalist Jami Morgan screaming to us that “this is real now, Mother-f**kers!” The whole room simultaneously jumping, punching or head-banging in response.
There are a lot of unique aspects to Code Orange that make it something special. Perhaps most distinct is the male/female statement/response vocals combination we hear on tracks like “Forever.” Reba and Eric go back and forth and their deepest tones of angst, rage and despair. Bassist Joe and backing guitarist Dominic Landolina take turns giving their most intense facial expressions to the crowd.
While other hardcore acts might devolve into a showcase for the power-trip of the lead vocal, Code feels more equal, a shared act, a team product, a common flag. The energy these musicians put out on stage turn it into something greater than the sum of its parts. Go and feel the noise.
Code Orange is touring the United States this fall, teamed up with another legendary band – French metal lords Gojira.
Salla Rosa Setlist:
The New Reality
Bleeding in the Blur
Kill the Creator
I Am King
Review – David Loach
Photos – Steve Gerrard