On the evening of Saturday, April 29th, The Rockpile venue in Etobicoke looked like a spread from a 1986 issue of RIP Magazine as a horde of leather, denim and bullet belt-clad metal heads piled in front of the corner stage to see four Ontario thrash metal bands Rippr’d, Mortal Annoyance, Korrosive and Razor. The sold-out event brought together heavy music fans of all ages for a night of unrelenting thrash worship thanks to Rad Zarei, the vocalist of Korrosive, who organized the show with his promotion company F//ck Your Scene.
Korrosive’s two full-length albums Kaustic Hordes and Toxic Apokalypse lent to a setlist packed with all the blast beats, technical riffs and cataclysmic imagery you would expect from an extreme thrash band. Zarei, along with Korrosive guitarists Derek Solomos and Jack Neila, drummer Kaveh Afshar, and live bassist Peter Steve jumped at the chance to open for the Ontario thrash titans Razor before they head off to international festivals this summer. “We wanted to make this a special show and give it all we got, remarked Zarei, “We really honed our setlist, and we took our time to make sure that every song that we put on the list is something that not only we would enjoy but the fans and new listeners would enjoy as well.”
Rippr’d and Mortal Annoyance got the evening in motion with their blend of humour and fury. Mere minutes before Korrosive’s set time, the Maple Leafs claimed their spot in the second round of the NHL playsoffs with an overtime win in game 6 that sent showgoers into fits of uproarious excitement. The timing could not have been more ideal as this energy was then redirected to Korrosive’s stage entrance. At 10pm five figures appeared, forebodingly silhouetted against the smoke-filled stage; washed in green and purple light reminiscent of the Toxic Apocalypse album cover. After an introduction of nothing but air raid sirens, they began their sonic assault through floor-to-ceiling speakers with their song “Radioacktive Scourge” in what could have been the soundtrack to the end of the world. Within the opening riff, the crowd instantaneously parted into a moshpit that remained active for almost the entirety of the set, while crowd surfers and stage divers donned in Korrosive t-shirts were proudly hoisted up by the crowd like trophies.
The long, dark hair of each Korrosive member was in constant motion, moving in time with the unrelenting rhythm of the drums and bass, and the thunderous riffs of the double lead guitarists who flanked either side of their vocalist. Zarei’s brutal vocals ranged from chants, to spits, to screams as he paced the stage like a caged animal of prey. Despite the intensity of the music, his performance was often punctuated with smiles he appeared unable to hold back, revealing how much fun he was truly having. This marriage of both dark and light energy; both rage and release, echoed throughout the entire performance as a reminder of what metal shows are truly about.
A definitive stand-out moment of the show was Jack Neila’s hypersonic guitar solo on his black Jackson X Series Rhoads RRX24 during “Acidized”, which closed with the ultimate thrash whammy bar flourish.
As the set came to a close, Zarei slyly asked the crowd if they wanted one more song. With the reception of a unanimous response, Korrosive burst into a thrashy cover of Venom’s “Black Metal” which sent the moshing and crowd surfing to its peak. Korrosive gave their command through the song’s lyric “lay down your souls to the gods rocks and roll,” and the crowd thoroughly proved their allegiance.
Minutes after the set ended, fans could still be seen grabbing for Korrosive members’ hands and reaching for copies of the setlist. This ability to command such enthusiastic crowd engagement, along with their unbridled confidence, was the most poignant part of Korrosive’s performance. This true, unabashed loyalty of their fans was ultimately proven when towards the end of the set Zarei gave a shoutout to a fan of theirs in the audience who had been stabbed three times the day before and still came to the show despite his injuries. Another fan, fresh from the mosh pit and bathed in sweat, agreed that Korrosive has “excellent interaction and control of the crowd. They know exactly where they are in the world. It feels natural.”
This passionate fan response was deeply felt by the band members in conversation with them after the show. “I’m on Cloud 9,” shared guitarist Derek Solomos, “best crowd I’ve played in front of.” Guitarist Jack Neila mirrored this feeling, saying, “That was the wildest show we’ve ever played. Instantaneous enthusiasm and the most stage diving and crowd surfing we’ve ever seen at a show.”
Vocalist Rad Zarei shared that the best compliment he heard that night “wasn’t friends telling me it was a great set; it’s people that have never heard us before and are seeing us for the first time and saying ‘Hey man, I’ve never seen you play before, killer show, I’ll be watching more of your shit’ and they bought merch. Gaining new people to listen to Korrosive is a big thing for the rest of the band and me so I’m feeling pretty great. We wanted it to be a show that will be talked about for years to come.”
This show had additional significance to Korrosive as it was professionally filmed in 4K to create the video experience “Live Vitriolism”. The entirely unique setlist was designed in order to follow their “Live Hellfire” video filmed at The Rockpile last summer, where Korrosive opened for legendary Ottawa speed metal band Exciter. Both videos were directed and edited by Korrosive guitarist Jack Neila, and the camera team was led by professional cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson. The audio was recorded and mixed directly from the soundboard to create a raw, authentic recording true to the live performance. “Live Hellfire” is available to watch on CDN Records’ YouTube channel, and “Live Vitriolism” will be released this summer.
As fitting for a thrash band, Korrosive has no plans of slowing down. “We’re planning to write new songs for the third album,” shared Zarei. “Our next plans are touring; besides touring Canada we’re working on getting shows outside the country such as the US, South America, and hopefully even Europe in the future. Those are the big plans, and hopefully, they’ll come sooner rather than later.”
Photo courtesy of Michael Jari Davidson.