“I’m honestly surprised the floor didn’t cave in,” remarked Ethereal Tomb bassist Aidan Weatherall after their sold out fundraiser show at See-Scape on Sunday, February 19th. The show featured a lineup of Toronto hardcore bands including Street Justice, 2 The Bone, Indian Giver, and Force of Will, and raised over $2,500 for Indigenous charities.
The all ages event was tirelessly organized by twenty-three year old Alexander Senum, the vocalist and guitarist of Ethereal Tomb; a budding doom metal trio out of Barrie and Toronto. Despite being a doom band, Ethereal Tomb feels at home on a hardcore lineup as Senum operates the band from a DIY hardcore mentality; a punk subculture that aims to exclude mainstream influences and function through self-sufficiency. He brought together a bill of socially conscious bands from the Toronto community who all played the show for free, with the proceeds donated to Nations Skate Youth—a Vancouver-based organization who empowers Indigenous youth through skateboarding—and Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction. According to Senum, supporting these charities was a deeply personal choice as multiple members of the bands who played, including himself, are Indigenous.
By the 6 o’clock door time, the bands watched in awe as the See-Scape venue began filling up shoulder to shoulder and front to back with an assembly of young heavy music fans. An hour later, the show was opened by the kinetic Vegan Straight Edge band Street Justice, who powered up the audience with their full tilt set while also encouraging them to learn more about veganism.
Force of Will were scheduled to take the stage next, but members of the newly-formed band 2 The Bone, who were attending the show, were able to throw together a set that was a surprise to both the audience and the band members themselves. Despite the short notice, they managed to immediately win over the crowd with some huge riffs and fierce vocals from their upcoming debut EP.
Force of Will’s following set opened some bloodthirsty mosh pits with their hardcore/metal fusion and marked their biggest show to date. They finished with a classic crowd-pleasing cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” to keep the energy climbing right to the very end.
Indian Giver followed by giving the audience a lot to think about with their heavy tracks and even heavier lyrics discussing BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and other oppressed communities.
By the last set, fans were sweaty, bloody, and exhausted, but when Ethereal Tomb took the stage to finish off the show, the crowd roared to life and gave everything they had. The band premiered two new songs about environmental racism and colonialism from their upcoming record ‘When The Rivers Dry,’ and were met with riotous enthusiasm from the crowd despite it being their first listen. The headbanging, crowd surfing, and audience energy reached its peak during their self titled song “Ethereal Tomb,” which always serves as a perfect show ending thanks to drummer Aidan Harper’s explosive performance.
To be at this show was to witness the power of DIY music culture and the true spirit of community over profit. “If there wasn’t a DIY scene, shit like this wouldn’t happen,” said Adrien Vienneau, vocalist of 2 The Bone. “When it becomes too commercial, everything gets messed up and everyones loses sight of what these shows are actually about, and that’s community. It’s not about fucking money.”
Force of Will vocalist and guitarist Robert Jackson was excited to report that the underground metal and hardcore community in Toronto is growing rapidly. “There’s so many young people into it,” he shared. “They’re the ones supporting the scene.” These young fans were truly instrumental in packing out this event which is something other local bands would do well to notice. Ethereal Tomb’s Alexander Senum makes an effort to put on as many all-ages shows as possible. He does this in solidarity with teenage fans who make up a large percentage of heavy music fan bases but are often excluded from shows being 19+.
When asked about what this momentous night meant to him, Senum shared that “too many people focus on trying to change the world when they don’t even try to change their community. If everyone just changed their community, we’d have a lot more good in this world.”