While there can be no doubt that Toronto loves metal in all its deliciously absurd incarnations, the genre has definitely had its share of ups and downs. In the 1980s through the very beginning of the ’90s, metal rode right alongside rock, fledgling commercial rap, and pop music, and was a viable arena (get it?) for any dedicated musician. But the nineties took flight, friends, and metal’s baggage was left on the ground as the Rock & Roll Airbus took off into outer space, leaving oftentimes more dynamic fare to rot on the Tarmac®.
It was a devastating blow, one that would shake poseurs loose while true headbangers clawed their way through the next ten years. Metal is a tough sell, but Toronto has fared pretty well, all things considered. The Guvernment (and to a lesser extent the Molson Amphitheatre), books the larger acts, although metal doesn’t make up the majority of their bookings. The Metal Bar concert hall made a commendable attempt to reverse this pansy trend, but was curiously located amid the sports bars on the Dundas strip west of Dovercourt, and, sadly, closed just under a year ago.
As you drink your lunchtime goblet of blood, though, you’ll be comforted when we remind you that as part of the rock complex Toronto loves to hate, Kathedral has made a go of booking non-stop heavy metal madness—or at least some pretty loud shit—during its reign at Queen and Bathurst. And perhaps most importantly, the same way the Canada Council can never be completely dissolved because of the way it’s written into Canadian legislation, the Heavy Metal Music Association of Canada has metal’s back (and yours, dear reader), and is committed to perpetuating the unholy sacrifice, forever ensuring that metal keeps on keepin’ on along with the rest of music’s less morbid counterparts. Huzzah for metal, the (blackened) apple of Toronto’s musical eye.
Illustrations by Jake “Eviscerator” Bauming.