NXNE 2007: Arise and Ruin

Arise and RuinArise and Ruin at Kathedral

Friday, June 8, 8pm, Toronto

“Forged deep within Mount Doom in Mordor, Arise and Ruin shot towards the heavens like a heavy duty Twin Hemi engine from hell to save the souls and ears of the fallen.”

When I read that band bio in the NXNE program, I laughed out loud and nearly shot beer out of my nose. I just assumed these guys couldn’t be serious, but since there was absolutely nothing else going on at eight, why not check them out? As it turned out, Arise and Ruin were far from a joke. Indeed, these were the sorts of uber-serious dudes who bow at the altar of heavy metal, and their band will likely be chosen to represent Canada if synchronized headbanging ever makes it into the Olympics.

Now if you’re a metal band, about the worst thing in the world a promoter can do to you is to schedule you to take the stage when it’s still light outside. I once saw Slayer open for Megadeth at an outdoor venue, and even a guy as scary as Tom Araya looked like a complete fool thrashing about in the bright sunshine. When he screamed, “Let the bloodshed continue,” to segue into the second song I’m pretty sure even his fellow bandmates had to chuckle.

So the NXNE pencil-pushers didn’t do these five kids from Guelph, Ontario, any favors with the eight o’clock start time. The doors of Kathedral, a ratty street-level bar on Queen, were open when Arise and Ruin took the stage, sunlight streaming through. Counting the band, bouncers, bartenders, NXNE staff, sound guy, and your intrepid GloNo reporters, there were no more than 20 people in the joint. No matter — Arise and Ruin played like this was the biggest gig of their lives, with a ferociousness and aggression that I would not see again all weekend.

Not that those traits should be confused with being good, interesting, or approachable. Technically proficient, yes. Heavy as fuck — hell yes. But as Arise and Ruin fall squarely into the thrash metal camp (you know, the type of young punks who like Slayer but think they played too slowly and the aforementioned Mr. Araya didn’t scream his unintelligible vocals loudly enough), their appeal is strictly limited by how much beer you’ve consumed. I’d only had about six at that point, so listening for more than 30 minutes would have grown monotonous. Happy then I was when Arise and Ruin ended a perfect half-hour set and started dragging their gear down the street to their van.

One thought on “NXNE 2007: Arise and Ruin”

  1. Same thing with me recently. I played an opening gig for mostly metal bands afterwards. They rocked REALLY hard, but there were many fingers flailing, voices wailing and guitars ejaculating. Technical proficiency -check. Tightness and purpose-check. Emotional connection with audience or melody? Zip.

    I didn’t quite know what to make of it. Clearly insane music for angry men.

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