For me, it had been almost two years since my last concert. My last convention. My last anything that really involved crowds save for the Hockey Card Show we attended in November. This was going to be an exciting evening, and I wasn’t about to miss it! Especially not with another lockdown looming over our heads.
Solarus had been hyped up! The release of their 3rd album growing closer and closer, teasing us along the way with YouTube releases like “Guiding Light”, and the title track “A Dance With Tragedy” feat. Vicky Psarakis from The Agonist.
The album was an absolute dream. I’d gotten a hold of it from songwriter and guitarist, Lucas McArthur, a good friend of mine, and one of the many talents behind Solarus. Naturally, I dove in head first, fearing not how high I’d set my expectations because I knew the kind of work that he and fellow songwriter, and vocalist, Sarah Dee, had put forth before. A mix of beautiful vocals, killer guitar solos, and amazing symphonic sound overwhelmed me, and I was completely enveloped in the brilliance that was “A Dance With Tragedy”. You can read more about my opinion on the album over on Metalgoddesses.com.
Rum Runner’s in London, ON was our venue of choice. The smaller, 350 person capacity section of the larger London Music Hall, and the perfect setting for such an intimate show. “A Dance With Tragedy” had dropped in the early hours of December 17th, and ears were already tuned and ready to listen as people began to pile in.
The night started out with Hell Is Other People, a Blackgaze/Post-Metal band from a collective Windsor and London. They set the pace with a mixture of harsh vocals, ghostly screams, and terrifying riffs. Heads banged and horns were raised as vocalist, Brandon Gruber, belted out his best with a next level performance of noose-latched microphone cables, and face-clawing action. Definitely a band to check out for those of you into the darker side of Metal, with a touch of speedy trash here and there. You can check out their bandcamp link above in their name.
Flidais followed up with Prog-Metal power that sounded to me a lot like if Wolfmother and Alestorm had a baby and then they threw a guitar in its hands and made it play. It was heavy, fun, and definitely a crowd pleaser with a ton of energy from both band and crowd alike.
Lutharo took the stage before Solarus, filling the gap in energy as the remaining crowd filled in and the excitement truly set in. Despite the news that their show with Unleash The Archers would be cancelled (due to Ontario’s new restrictions coming into play Saturday at 12:01AM) they left no ear unscathed with Krista unleashing her ferocious vocal range unto the crowd with mercilessness. Flesh-ripping guitars and pounding drums echoed across the floor, filling the room with thunderous applause and cheer. You can also check out my review for Lutharo’s album “Hiraeth” over on Metalgoddesses.com as well! The stage had been set, and all that was left was for Solarus to bring down the house.
And that they did! For a brief moment, just as things had settled, Lucas peered out from the stage, to look upon the crowd as the stage began to darken. A single hand raised and the crowd erupted in cheer. Everything they had hoped and dreamed had come to fruition right there and then. All they had left to do was play.
The energy was contagious! Opening with the introductory track from their newest album called “Waking Mind” and one of my absolute favourites! Some fans had already learned the words (yours truly included) and had no problems singing along, giving every last bit of energy just as the band gave theirs. The crowd had erupted into a frenzy of pumping fists, head-banging, and bouncing. It was as if no one had been held back for two years prior. Nothing was going to stop them in that very moment, and it was worth every second.
Tracks like “A Dance With Tragedy” and “The Keeper” saw their debut as well, with classic favourites like “Limbo” finding a place as well. Every member had a moment for a solo, or a feature, and it was beautiful, especially with Sarah took the stage to put on display her full classical training which had grown tenfold since the previous album.
The crowd gave love, and harmonious praise with every note held, and ever solemn glance. What this band had accomplished in their time away from the stage was infectious, and beyond admiration. Their positivity and joy had the crowd moving until the very end, with “This Journey That Yet Remains” closing out the evening with utter perfection.
I’d been waiting all year for a Symphonic Metal album that I could put on merciless repeat without guilt and this was the album for me. With so many favourable tracks, it was hard to skip over any song to make sure they all got a well-deserved playthrough.
Hugs were had, family and friends joined in with laughter, endless applause, and cries for more. If this would be our last taste of Metal before the New Year, it was sure to linger in our mouths, and quench our thirst for some time. You can snag Solarus’ newest album “A Dance With Tragedy” here or find them on your favourite streaming service.
Favourite tracks from the evening: Guiding Light, Waking Mind, and Holding On