Imagine a room with 300 people in it, with a significant beard quotient and 95% of them wearing slightly faded black band T-shirts from groups ranging from Autopsy to Zoroaster and you have the crowd for All That Is Heavy II, a one-night-only mini-festival of metal bands put on by local college radio show Crossing Boredom.

Apart from popular retro-metallists Blood Ceremony - the putative headliners - the show’s hosts also scored a coup in the first appearance in Canada of Iron Man, Baltimore cult favourites.

First act of the evening was Loviatar, a local doom metal band that favours songs about dragons, flaming sword, frost druids and the occasional Leonard Cohen cover. They played a well-received and quite intense set.

Next up were Monobrow, another local band who played a dynamite set of instrumental metal. The audience was understandably wowed by their hard-hitting performance and tasty chops.

The next band, Revelation, like Iron Man hails from Baltimore, Maryland, and has a lengthy history, having formed back in 1986. They split in 1996 but reformed in 2003 following a well-received release of their early demos. They got off to a slightly rocky start but finished strong thanks to bassist Bert Hall Jr.’s thunderous low end.

Buffalo, New York’s Blizaro added a new twist to the evening’s sound. Though they like Black Sabbath as well as any of the other acts on the bill, the trio mix some Moog with their metal. Like other modern metallurgists such as Zombi, they draw on the gloomy soundtrack work of Italian giants Goblin and also covered Italian psych rock genius Paul Chain.

Iron Man actually began as a Black Sabbath tribute band in the mid-1990s, and were tagged as “The Black Black Sabbath” since guitarist and mainstay Albert Morris is that rarity, a black man in the world of heavy metal. The band won early praise for Morris’ mighty guitar tone, but frequent lineup changes and plain bad luck have kept them from the acclaim many feel they deserve. Fortunately they have a capable frontman now in hefty belter “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun and a quality catalogue of tunes. Their crushing set unleashed some dinosaur-slaying riffs from Morris as well as some pummelling drumwork from sinister-looking drummer Mot Waldmann (another recent addition to the band).

Toronto’s Blood Ceremony finished things off with their witchy take on 1970s metal, which comes with some Jethro Tull-inspired flute work from lead singer Alia O’Brien. Her fringed outfit and guitarist Sean Kennedy’s Yamaha guitar have also seemingly stepped out of 1975 - unfortunately the crowd was beginning to feel the hour - it was getting past 1 a.m. when they took they stage, and only a third of the crowd stuck it out for their sharp set of spooky metal.


Iron Man setlist: Choices/Run from Tte Light/Ruler of Ruin/Sodden with Sin/The Final Straw/As the Gods Have Spoken/I Have Returned/Grown/Fallen Angel/On The Mountain/Black Night

Blood Ceremony setlist: The Great God Pan/Hop Toad/Return to Forever/My Demon Brother/The Eldritch Dark/The Witch's Dance/I'm Coming with You/Oliver Haddo



















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