Cannibal Corpse w/ Thy Art Is Murder | Fall North American Tour | Photos + Review

Cannibal Corpse Slaughters Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater on 10/25/19

When it comes to death metal bands, Cannibal Corpse is one of the ultimate greats. I got into them a little later than most, when I came across “Hammer Smashed Face” on Rock Band back in 2013. They’ve been on my bucket list of bands I’ve wanted to see since then, and with them performing what would be a sold out show so close to home, this was the perfect opportunity to finally see them. And with another one of my favorite bands, Thy Art Is Murder, performing as well as direct support, this was bound to be a truly stellar show!

First up was Thy Art Is Murder from Sydney, Australia. This was my third time seeing these guys, and this was the longest set I’ve seen them play. They played a lot of songs from the new record “Human Target”, while mixing in songs from each of their other Nuclear Blast releases “Hate”, “Holy War” and “Dear Desolation”, totaling out to an 11-song set. Thy Art Is Murder is described as deathcore, but take in influences from death metal, blackened death metal, and even metalcore. It’s because of this blended sound that the band can fit with a plethora of metal lineups. I previously saw them in March of 2018 co-headlining with Dying Fetus on a North American Tour, then saw them in April of 2019 when they acted as direct support for Architects (UK) on their North American Tour. Once again, Thy Art Is Murder acted as direct support on this tour for none other than Cannibal Corpse, so Thy Art was able to bring out some of the heavier tracks on this run. I personally was extremely stoked to hear them play “New Gods” and “Make America Hate Again” from the new record. When you see the band live, there are a few notable things to look out for. Holding down the fort in the back is Jesse Beahler on drums, who truly creates an interesting dynamic with intense and difficult drum parts played to perfection. On stage left is rhythm guitarist Sean Leander and bassist Kevin Butler, who each groove along in each song with high energy and a plethora of facial expressions. Lead guitarist Andy Marsh stands on stage right and can be usually seen looking intensely into the crowd as he shreds to his’ hearts content. Front and center is vocalist CJ McMahon, who is spotted in the first 2 songs sporting a hooded cloak and looking tall and ominous into the crowd, while screaming and growling with a wide range of tones and pitches. The band is also known for their bright and strobing lighting, not using any of the frontal house lighting and bringing forth an haunting presence, which goes right along with their serious politically driven lyrical content that focuses on anti-religion, anti-extremism, animal rights, greed, war, and much more. I was thrilled to see Thy Art Is Murder once again and I believe they truly put on their best set to date!

SETLIST

  1. Death Squad Anthem
  2. Make America Hate Again
  3. Fur and Claw
  4. Slaves Beyond Death
  5. Holy War
  6. No Absolution
  7. Human Target
  8. The Son of Misery
  9. New Gods
  10. Reign of Darkness
  11. Puppet Master

Next up was the all mighty Cannibal Corpse from Buffalo, New York. After many years of listening to them and playing their songs on Rock Band, it finally became time to see them. The band is good ole fashioned death metal that borders the line of brutal death metal. Their lyrical content draws from horror fiction novels and horror films, with highly graphic and controversial imagery on their album covers to go along with the musical content. As a big horror fan myself, I was almost immediately drawn to that aspect of Cannibal Corpse when I found out about them. The band has been going strong since 1988, despite a couple lineup changes near the beginning of their career. What I was pleasantly surprised when watching them was how humble they were. They didn’t do a walk on intro like a lot of other bands, they didn’t bring additional lighting, they just played good fucking music and got the crowd hyped. Vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher blew me away with his ability to own the stage by doing a single stance. The band isn’t known for being insanely energetic, but the power each member gives off just from their stage presence and musical technicality is mind blowing. With fourteen albums in their discography, I was pleasantly surprised how well the band was able to cover, playing songs from twelve of those fourteen albums. The crowd went nuts, with one of the most violent mosh pits I’ve seen. This was a perfect setlist, as the band played a whopping 18-songs, with George adding in some comedic moments while the rest of the members would tune their instruments. I was thrilled to hear songs like “I Cum Blood”, “Hammer Smashed Face”, “Red Before Black”, and “Kill or Become”, which were all highlights from the set for me. Bassist and founding member Alex Webster was also very fun to watch for me, as his bass stance was very powerful and was very fun to capture. The band had Erik Rutan, guitarist of Hate Eternal, filling in on this tour. His stage presence and ability to own those dueling guitar solos blew me away. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz truly impressed me with his extremely technical drum parts that were played to perfection, along with his stage presence behind the kit. The dude is insanely fun to watch. Closing out the band’s lineup is guitarist Rob Barrett, who truly slayed it with his’ rhythmic patterns and technicality on the rhythm guitar. But the stand out was definitely George Fisher, who’s headbanging and vocal abilities drove the set to a whole other level. Cannibal Corpse’s performance was one for the books and I will definitely be seeing them again in the near future!

SETLIST

  1. Code of the Slashers
  2. Only One Will Die
  3. Red Before Black
  4. Scourge of Iron
  5. Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead
  6. The Wretched Spawn
  7. Devoured by Vermin
  8. Unleashing the Bloodthirsty
  9. Gutted
  10. Kill or Become
  11. A Skull Full of Maggots
  12. Evisceration Plague
  13. Firestorm Vengeance
  14. Death Walking Terror
  15. I Cum Blood
  16. Make Them Suffer
  17. Stripped, Raped, and Strangled
  18. Hammer Smashed Face

Cannibal Corpse’s Fall North American Tour was an amazing night with two bands who absolutely crushed it, performing incredible music that blew me away. Both Thy Art Is Murder and Cannibal Corpse are at the top of their game and I cannot wait to see both bands in the new year when they come out to California again!

Cannibal Corpse | Thy Art Is Murder

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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The HU ft Crown Lands – The Gereg Tour 2019 – North America

Crown Lands

The HU

Photos courtesy of Chyenne Conner

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Interview to follow

Taking Back Sunday ft Red City Radio & Destry | 2019 North America Tour – Leg 2

Destry

 Red City Radio

Taking Back Sunday

Photos courtesy of Ashley Grace : Instagram Twitter

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Allegaeon w/ Inferi and Paladin | Apoptosis Tour Part II | Photos + Review

Allegaeon Brings The Second Leg Of The Apoptosis Tour To LA

Venue: The Hi Hat on 10/22/19

When I saw Allegaeon was finally coming back through Los Angeles, I was beyond ecstatic. I’ve seen them twice before, both times in 2018, and they blew me away both times I saw them. Allegaeon is the perfect blend between progressive metal, melodic death metal, and technical death metal, which is blended perfectly. Along with them on this leg came melodic technical death metal band Inferi, as well as speed thrash metal band Paladin, making for a tour filled with tons of talent and a mixture of metal genres that blended so well.

Up first was Paladin from Atlanta, GA. I last photographed vocalist and guitarist Taylor Washington in 2018 when he toured with Arsis as their touring guitarist. While Arsis is melodic death metal, Paladin is a mixture of speed metal and thrash metal, which was honestly an interesting and cool way to start off this tour. The band played a six-song set from their debut album “Ascension”, which was released in 2019 via Prosthetic Records. As the band pointed out during the set, a few of their songs are based around video games, which was very exciting to me. They stood out on this tour on a positive note, with melodies and shredding guitar parts, in line with bands like DragonForce, Exmortus, etc. The rest of the four-piece consists of guitarist Alex Parra, bassist Andy McGraw, and drummer Nathan McKinney. I was thoroughly impressed with their set and cannot wait to see them again next time they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Awakening
  2. Divine Providence
  3. Call of the Night
  4. Black Omen
  5. Shoot for the Sun
  6. Carpe Diem

Next to the stage was Inferi from Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time seeing this band this year, with the first time being in May when they toured as direct support for Archspire on the Tech Trek IV Tour with Virvum and Wormhole. Inferi is the perfect mix between melodic death metal and technical death metal, which helps them fit with many bands in the death metal genres. The band played a five-song set, which showcased songs from each of their albums, two of which came from their 2019 release “The End of an Era”, two from their 2018 release “Revenant”, and one their 2014 release “The Path of Apotheosis, which were each released via The Artisan Era. Vocalist Steven Boiser crushed it on that stage, with his distinct vocal stylings that drive the band’s performance. Bassist Andrew Kim throws it down with rhythmic bass lines and wild headbangs. Guitarists Malcolm Pugh and Mike Low shredded the stage with dueling guitar solos and technical rhythmic patterns. Holding down the fort on the drums is Spencer Moore, who beats the hell out of those drums with insane precision. I was once again blown away by Inferi’s set and cannot wait to see them again next time they’re in the area!

SETLIST

  1. Behold the Bearer of Light
  2. Thy Menacing Gaze
  3. The Promethean Kings
  4. Quest for the Trinity
  5. Cursed Unholy

Finally up came Allegaeon from Denver, Colorado. For the second leg of their headlining tour in support of their newest release “Apoptosis”, which was released in 2019 via Metal Blade Records, the band brought with them a programmed light show and a lengthy headlining set that would blow away long time fans of the band and newer fans combined. As I said before, this was my second time seeing this five-piece, with the last two sets being in 2018. Seeing them a little over a year after they opened on the Summer Slaughter Tour, the band was stronger than ever. Their sound mixes together progressive metal, melodic death metal, and technical death metal, giving them a style and sound that can fit perfectly with many bands and tour lineups throughout the metal genre as a whole. The band played a 12-song set, showcasing songs from each of their releases, with five of the twelve songs coming from “Apoptosis”. Vocalist Riley McShane really showcased his vocal abilities on this new album and live, with both his’ clean vocals and wide array of screaming styles. Guitarists Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel performed dueling guitar solos and melodies that meshed and blended oh so well. Bassist Brandon Michael is always the hype man of Allegaon shows, as he is filled with energy that radiates from his’ stage presence and intricate bass lines. Closing out the band’s lineup is drummer Brandon Park, who’s complex drum parts are truly the core of the band’s sound and drive each song to perfection. I was thoroughly impressed with the band’s performance and am so proud to have seen just how much they’ve grown in just over a year.

SETLIST

  1. Parthenogenesis
  2. Interphase // Meiosis
  3. Threshold of Perception
  4. Behold (God I Am)
  5. Of Mind and Matrix
  6. Dyson Sphere
  7. Metaphobia
  8. Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassionata Ex Machinea
  9. The God Particle
  10. Stellar Tidal Disruption
  11. Apoptosis

ENCORE

  1. 618

The Apoptosis Part II Tour was filled with bands of a mixture of metal genres that blended together to perfection. I’m truthfully blown away by Allegaeon’s growth over the last year, and am so proud and happy for them! Definitely check them out when they come to a city near you, and give some love to Inferi and Paladin as well who set the stage and put on epic performances on this night. Overall, I am thrilled I was able to attend this show, as it was a spectacle from start to end!

Allegaeon | Inferi | Paladin

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Wage War w/ Like Moths To Flames, Polaris, and Dayseeker | Pressure North American Tour | Photos + Review

Venue, Date, & City: Marquis Theater in Denver, CO on 10/18/2019

Florida based metalcore band Wage War are a band that have been on my radar for awhile, ever since I heard their single “Youngblood,” from their 2015 debut LP, “Deadweight.” Fast forward a few years later, and the band have now released their third album, “Pressure,” and I attended the Denver date of the North American headlining tour that they did in support of the record.

Southern California based post-hardcore band Dayseeker opened up the night. They played a mix of songs from 2017’s “Dreaming Is Sinking /// Waking Is Rising” (“Vultures” & “Sleep In The Sea Pt. II”) and their newly released album “Sleeptalk” (“Drunk,” “Crooked Soul,” “Burial Plot,” and “Sleeptalk”). The extremely catchy hooks and the overall energy the band puts into their live performance had so many people in the crowd singing and dancing along (myself included) and made the set a really fun one to watch.

Polaris was up next, and while I wasn’t extremely familiar with their music and hadn’t seen them live before, I was really impressed by their set. Their setlist was entirely made of songs off of their latest release, their 2018 debut LP “The Mortal Coil,” and included “The Remedy,” “Casualty,” “Crooked Path,” “Relapse,” “Consume,” and “Lucid.” They put a lot of energy and emotion into their performance, and the crowd was the same way, shouting the words and moshing throughout the set.

The Columbus, Ohio based Like Moths To Flames were second to last. The band played a surprisingly large amount of older material during their set, spanning from all throughout their discography, playing a few songs from “When We Don’t Exist” and “An Eye For An Eye,” as well as playing more recent material, such as “Bury Your Pain” from the double single “The Dream Is Dead,” “Nowhere Left To Sink” from their last LP “Dark Divine,” and “All That You Lost,” one of the three most recent singles the band had released since signing to UNFD.

Wage War closed out the night and put on a pretty long headlining set, also filled with songs from throughout their discography. They played a handful of songs off of “Pressure” (“Who I Am,” “Prison,” “Grave,” “Ghost,” “Hurt,” “Me Against Myself” and “Low”), as well as mixing some older fan favorites from their first two albums into their set – “Alive,” “Twenty One” and “The River” from their debut “Blueprints,” and “Johnny Cash,” “Don’t Let Me Fade Away,” “Gravity” and “Stitch” from their sophomore album, “Deadweight.” Each song of the band’s set had the sold out crowd engaged the whole time and I thought they put on a great performance.

This was my first time seeing all of these bands live, and their performances left a great first impression and made this tour one I really enjoyed.

Wage War | Like Moths To Flames | Polaris | Dayseeker

Photos + Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Blessthefall & Escape The Fate w/ Islander | This War Is Ours To Witness Tour | Photos + Review

Blessthefall & Escape The Fate Close Out Their “This War Is Ours To Witness” Tour in Southern California

Venue: The Glass House on 10/10/19

When I think of the two albums that influenced my musical taste the most, it would have to be Escape the Fate’s “This War Is Ours” and Blessthefall’s “Witness”. When they announced that both bands would be doing a co-headlining 10-year anniversary tour, where they would each play said albums from start to finish, plus additional songs, I was ecstatic! Along with these two bands was Islander, who is on the same record label as Escape the Fate. This was a stellar tour!

First up was Islander from Greenville, South Carolina. If I could describe Islander’s sound, it would be a mixture of nu metal, alternative metal, and rap metal. I last saw the band in June of 2018 when they were direct support for Butcher Babies & Nonpoint on the Kings & Queens Co-Headlining Tour. This time around, I feel like the band was fully realized. They were off the walls in terms of energy and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their on-stage antics. From vocalist Mikey Carvajal bringing a flatbed cart and riding it across stage, to guitarist Eric Pedersen sitting down mid-song to eat a sandwich, the band is insanely entertaining live and were the perfect way to open this show up. The other two members of this four-piece are keyboardist Chris Carvajal and drummer Michael McClellan. The band was truly entertaining and set the stage for the co-headliners to come.

SETLIST

  1. Lucky Rabbit
  2. Green Slime Man
  3. Counteract
  4. Darkness
  5. Cold Speak
  6. My Friends
  7. Coconut Dracula

The first of the co-headliners was Escape the Fate from Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, before I go on, I must say that I’ve seen this band 10 or 11 times now, so having seen them so many times, I hold their performances to a certain standard. Unfortunately, their performance this night was a bit lower energy than usual, but they still did pretty damn well. This was my second time seeing the band play through “This War Is Ours” in its entirety, as they did a special anniversary show at the Whisky A Go-Go in December. At that show, they brought their own lighting and had some special merch for the event. However, for the full U.S. run, they only used house lighting and used merch from previous album cycles, with limited options of newer merch. As for their stage performance, Craig Mabbitt obviously had the shining stage performance in the band, with touring bassist Erik Jansen coming in at a close second. The rest of the band seemed like they were kind of just going through the motions, and overall, I just wasn’t wowed like I have been seeing their shows in the past. To be fair, the band was under the weather, so taking that into consideration, they played a solid set. The full lineup for Escape the Fate consists of vocalist Craig Mabbitt, guitarists Kevin Thrasher and TJ Bell, drummer Robert Ortiz, and bassist Erik Jansen. The band played a solid set but were upstaged once Blessthefall hit the stage next.

SETLIST

  1. We Won’t Back Down
  2. On To The Next One
  3. Ashley
  4. Something
  5. The Flood
  6. Let It Go
  7. You Are So Beautiful
  8. This War Is Ours (The Guillotine II)
  9. 10 Miles Wide
  10. Harder Than You Know
  11. It’s Just Me
  12. Do You Love Me
  13. Empire
  14. Broken Heart
  15. Gorgeous Nightmare
  16. One For The Money