Opeth - 9.6/10
3 - 9.5/10
Dream Theater - 9.4/10 (this is only 9.4 because I didn't get to see them very close, so this didn't feel personal like small venues do. But, they were incredibly spot on including LaBrie)
Symphony X (seen twice) - 9.2/10 (shitty venues and a lack of energy in comparison to other bands didn't make one of my favourite bands the "top live performance" title. However, it was good. I'll pay any day to watch Romeo and Allen kill people metaphorically up on stage.
Ensiferum (seen twice) - 8.9/10
Turisas - 8.8/10
Into Eternity (seen twice) - 8.4/10
TYR - 8.2/10
Epica (without Simone Simons) - 8.1/10
Metallica - 7.5/10
Obscurcis Romancia - 7.4/10
Dark Forest - 7.3/10
Godsmack - 7/10
Redemption - 6.5/10
Echoes of Eternity - 5.5/10
Sanctity - 5/10 (average music + slightly above average performance of average music = meh)
Ofaolain (seen twice) - 1.2/10 (poop)
Deathmarch - 1/10 (bigger poop. Note that I haven't given then less than 1 though. I've seen way worse. They were just average and generic, and generic bands drag. If this were 20 years ago it would have been a fair performance. But, it's not and to top that off, nobody in the band did anything special)
Bands I'd love to see live:
Iced Earth (along with the Alive in Athens DVD)
Atheist (one can always hope, even though their performances were a little rusty from what I saw on youtube)
At the Gates
Woods of Ypres
Keep of Kalessin
Cryptopsy I'm really debating over this one. They've fallen so short of the legend they used to be. Bad move on Flo's behalf stylistically and vocally. Flo's personality isn't very geared towards constructive criticism in the first place, so that aside, looking at The Unspoken King musically, I can't get past the cleans at all. They're horrible and I have no idea why Flo would even consider putting that on the album. Matt may be a solid growler depending on how you look at it, but regardless of how tight Flo feels he is, he doesn't have the same intensity Worm had, and in that sense, Matt's sound doesn't fit Cryptopsy at all. It's mind boggling how someone with as much percussive talents as Flo could just waste his time with this new sound along with the original guitarist. Seriously. I hope Flo grows some balls. A man can hope. The problem is like I mentioned before, Flo is a stupid dick (don't believe me? go on to Ultimate Metal forums into the official Cryptopsy forum and see how blind he really is).
Pain of Salvation
Opeth with 3 and Deathmarch:
Deathmarch (local band from Hamilton, Ontario) started off, and I think most of the crowd wanted them to leave as soon as possible. Good thing when they did because I was bored off my balls. "chugga chugga" *failed growls* "chugga chugga" *failed cleans* "chugga chugga". NEXT.
3 came on rather casually with their obnoxious set up to the point where I thought they might pull a Slipknot on us by having a drummer AND a percussionist. Good thing they didn't when they surprised me in the first 10 seconds of their first song (Alien Angel I think). They completely blew me away and will always stand as one of the greatest live bands in my eyes (that is, until I see a better band). Even if I see a better show, I'll always remember this one. Top notch, professional musicianship and very crafty ideas coupled with a lot of energy. What more could you ask for? This band is ghetto fresh.
A little wait longer and Opeth were there, by which point I was sweating like a fat man's rectum on a humid summer day in August. However, I can look back in retrospect and say that this suffering was worth it. Bloody brilliant they were. All the little talking interludes Mikael Akerfeldt had were genius. Before forking through Heir Apparent, Mikael said "this next one is about squeezing tits on a beach". Class. Good setlist too (In this order: Demon of the Fall, Master's Apprentices, The Baying of the Hounds, In My Time of Need, Serenity Painted Death, Wreath, To Rid the Disease, Heir Apparent, The Drapery Falls).
Overall Experience: 9.4/10
Now on to a little bit of a different show: Paganfest.
Ensiferum, Turisas, Tyr, Ofaolain.
Ofaolain started off. I've already seen them with another drummer back when Ensiferum came with the Quebecois band Obscurcis Romancia and local band Dark Forest. Horrible sound both times. This time around, the vocalist in my band actually helped his friend take over the drummer spot for this band. Too bad they blew and he played through an entire set with a cracked cymbal. Pathetic. I only give them a 1/10 for appearing to try and for having a clean section that I quite like both in their grim basement demo and live. Folky it is, but otherwise, generic folk/black drivel hidden by horrible eq'ing at the venues.
Tyr came on and played a very spot on, professional show and I don't think they missed a note. An amazing break from Ofaolain and fun band. However, in terms of the energy department, it lacked very much. I however happen to enjoy those sorts of bands too and their accuracy suffices.
After a very long wait, Turisas came on and at that point I realized Eluveitie didn't make it and Ofaolain was their replacement. What can you do? Oh well. I digress a bit. On to Turisas. They slayed. They weren't used to the high energy show we put on from what I gathered from their expressions and what they said (and the preception that mosh pits in Europe don't really happen too much). Very, very energetic band though. Costumes and stage presence enhanced the somewhat two dimensional music for a very vibrant experience. Amazing show, and very memorable. They stole the show when they played their rendition of Rasputin.
Another long wait, and Ensiferum came on. They were great as usual, and this time it was in The Opera House, which is soundwise 1000000000x better than The Annex Wreckroom where they played when I saw them the first time earlier that year. That place was literally a wreck. Another memorable experience from these guys too.
Overall Experience: 9.3/10