The Halo Effect + Unearth @ Fairmount Theatre

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It was a special treat to have Montreal host one of the few North American dates for the new melodic death metal supergroup The Halo Effect. They were only doing a handful of dates in Canada and the US and Montreal has always been a metal city. Metalheads of all kinds filled the Fairmount Theatre for the first American tour of The Halo Effect.

The opening band High Command from Massachusetts, were ready to warm up the crowd for an amazing evening of heavy metal. I was not familiar with High Command, but they blew me away instantly as the lead singer stepped on the stage wielding a giant sword. I had a feeling this band was ready to bring the intensity. Their set impressed me with their brand of crossover thrash filled with blistering fast guitar solos, heavy breakdowns, and the vocal intensity.

Their sound is very reminiscent of the great Power Trip, and I couldn’t help myself from headbanging intensely.  The crowd was slowly getting into them by the end of the set as the gathered metal head started chanting with them. If you enjoy the modern crossover sound that mixes thrash metal, hardcore breakdowns and heavy metal imagery, check these guys out. Their latest album, “Eclipse of the Dual Moons” on Southern Lords Records has been in constant rotation since the show.

The bill tonight was absolutely stacked as another veteran metal band was joining The Halo Effect on tour. Unearth have been an unstoppable staple of the scene since their beginning in 1998. Their absolutely classic album “The Oncoming Storm” from 2004 is a metalcore staple that has influenced and impacted both the metal and hardcore scene. Unearth was fired up and they delivered a stellar performance showcasing their new material from their latest album, “The Wretched: The Ruinous”.

They opened their set with one of their most popular songs, “My Will Be Done,” which features a fantastic intro to set the pace for their short but powerful set. They played songs showcasing their new album and featuring a lot of classics. The new material sounds fresh and interesting and it meshed perfectly with their classic songs. I had not been keeping up to date with what Unearth was doing in the past years, but after seeing them live, I suggest you give their latest album a listen.

It was time for our headliner, The Halo Effect, a melodic death metal supergroup recently formed featuring members of In Flames and Dark Tranquility, which are two of the most influential metal bands of all time. Unfortunately, guitarist Jesper Strömblad was not part of the tour, but he was replaced by another legend Patrik Jensen of The Haunted and Witchery. The stage was bathed in green lights as the band performed material from their 2022 album “Days of the Lost,” and they even played a few new tracks from their forthcoming album.

Vocalist Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquility showed us why he is a legend in the metal world with his strong performance this evening. The band was proficient and entertaining; we all had a good laugh as Mikael announced they were doing a classic set featuring material from their first (and only) album.  The crowd was enjoying every moment of the show as they sang along and headbanged to the infectious, catchy riffs of The Halo Effect.

Many thanks to Dave and Extensive Enterprise for bringing these great acts to Montreal and making our scene one of the best in North America.

Review – Jason Maher
Photos – Ryan Rumpel

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