Day of the Equinox II Opera House, Toronto ON - September 23

Day of the Equinox II Opera House, Toronto ON - September 23
Photo: Mark Coatsworth
When Canadian thrash meisters Sacrifice split up in the mid-’90s, it looked like they had played their last show. And they had, at least until now. After 15 years apart, Sacrifice’s original line-up could have sounded rusty or outdated compared to the newer acts taking the stage before them. Instead, they blew everyone away. The openers did their best to offer a worthy challenge but even though there wasn’t a bad performance all night, it was clear with every note who and what Day of the Equinox II was about. In between sets there was plenty to peruse and unload your wallet on, with vendors and band merch, including Sacrifice shirts and reissues, tucked into every available corner. Rammer slammed things into high gear right from the start, their retro-tinged death-thrash setting the ruling tone early on and proving that their recordings don’t do them justice. When Neuraxis took over, they faced a large group of vocal fans and responded by ramping it up beyond their usual violence, precision and melody. Feeding off the rising intensity, Misery Index claimed the room next, performing with a machine-like rumble and rage. Melechesh offered the biggest contrast of the night with their Middle Eastern-tinged black metal and faced the challenge of keeping an impatient audience focused. By the time Sacrifice stepped into place the party was in full swing. Stage divers didn’t have much luck crowd surfing but there was little else to complain about. Performing with classic fury and contemporary heaviness, the band tore through songs from the three albums they originally released (thus neglecting the undervalued Apocalypse Inside), finally bringing things to a ferocious, crowd-inciting finale with metal anthem "Reanimation.” Was some of all this enthusiasm nostalgia? Probably. But sometimes a little nostalgia can be head-bangingly sweet.