The Witches Made Me Do It by Ryan Cassata | Album Review

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Recently, Ryan released a new album ” The Witches Made Me Do It “, which consists of eight tracks. Bamboo Plants is captivating and in my opinion the perfect hook to reel in new listeners and excite long-time fans like myself. It’s definitely a new favorite of mine. Track listing is as followed; Bamboo Plants, Extended Vacation, Cather in the Rye, The Witches Made Me Do It, Never Lied, Holy Holy Hold Me, Disguise, & We’re Still Living. Through out the album you hear raw real vocals and can relate to the emotions Ryan experienced as it comes through so strongly in his art. Usually an artist will release an album and each song will have the same or a similar sound, with this album each song brings us a different sound. While listening Ryan brings us with him through different stages in his life. I believe this album has elements everyone can relate to and you should listen to it if you enjoy songs about all parts of life; the good the ugly and everything in between.

You can listen to the album below on Spotify as well as purchase a physical copy and pick up some kick-ass merch while you’re at it. T-shirts, shorts, pins, stickers & more!

Review courtesy of Cristine Trimarco

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Ryan Cassata, Skylar Kergil, Mae Krell + April Rose | Instagram Live virtual concert review +Premiere of Ryan Cassata’s new single artwork!

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Last night via Instagram Live on Ryan’s account all who joined the live stream got a taste of what we’ve all been missing most during this quarantine; live music and togetherness.

First, Ryan and Loren performed – with background barks from Geoffrey.  They opened the stream with singing one of my favorites off of Ryan’s newest album  The Witches Made Me Do It called Bamboo Plants. Following that he played a new song called Gender Binary (Fuck You) , which will be released in honor of Pride Month on June 5th + I’m so excited for you all to hear it. Below is the premiere of the cover art for the song, it’s beautiful.

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Between all performances, Ryan set up a cute light up Stay Safe sign!

Next, Mae Krell joined the live stream. They opened with a new song called garden followed by Monster, between songs they spoke a bit about garden and how it was written when they were in a dark place but surrounded by so much beauty.

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Following Mae’s performance, April Rose Gabrielli of The Rose Monarch and Jacob Kulick of Kulick joined the live stream to play two songs for us as well. April is currently writing songs and making music for her solo record – and I am so beyond stoked to hear it in  full. She sang her song called Do You, beautifully. As well as a song that was inspired by busy and crowded New York City streets on days where EVERYONE bumps into you – I believe the lyrics went somethin’ like ” Hit me with your f – – – – – g car, cause nothing really moves me anymore.” and I can’t wait til she releases it.

 

Seeing as tour and concerts are on hold for the foreseeable future April has started doing art commissions and created an Instagram just for that @lifeisjustlines – go check it out!

To close out the hour long show, Skylar Kergil joined the live.  He sang Lost & Found, which is a love song, then Tell Me a Story, which was a fan requested and is an all time favorite for most of his followers. Keep your eyes peeled for a new single coming from Skylar soon.

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For everyone who was planning on going to their show in Brooklyn, NY pre-quarantine they announced it WILL BE  rescheduled when everything is up and running again. Until then support these artists in any way that you can. Listen to & share a song with your friends, buy some merch, give them a follow/like on social media, anything !!!

Ryan Cassata| Mae Krell | April Rose Gabrielli | Skylar Kergil

Review courtesy of Cristine Trimarco

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Trivium – What the Dead Men Say review

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Trivium – What the Dead Men Say review

When Trivium released The Sin and the Sentence back in 2017, it caught many in the metal community by surprise. Through the six years before that album’s release, Trivium had seen their fair share of inconsistencies and challenges, from drummer swaps to damaged vocal cords and stylistic changes in-betweenThis led to albums with some undeniable concert staples (ie. “In Waves”, “Strife”, “Until the World Goes Cold”), but none of these records could hold a candle to either Shogun or Ascendancy from the decade prior in terms of cohesion or overall quality. Sin and the Sentence changed all of that. It came across as a more confident and inspired record, due in no small part to the band’s inclusion of new powerhouse drummer Alex Bent, as well as singer/guitarist Matt Heafy’s revitalized harsh vocals (which had unfortunately been completely absent on 2015’s Silence in the Snow). The record was a shot of adrenaline for a band that had been quite frankly wandering in circles trying to find a foothold again in the modern metal world, and it won them back long-time fans who had written them off for dead.

Sin and the Sentence reset the clock for Trivium, and for listeners going into 2020’s What the Dead Men Say, it could almost be justified to have suspicions and fears of this potentially being a sophomore slump. The band arguably had more to prove going into this record than ever in their whole career. Success was crucial and not guaranteed, as that rebirth from three years before could have easily been a fluke, nothing more than an exciting yet short-lived footnote in their history. Yet while Sin and the Sentence was a culmination of all the things that made Trivium so appealing through the years before, What the Dead Men Say ends up being the leaner, more captivating record.

Over the course of nine songs, it is not only apparent how much tighter the band has become in the last three years, but also how much more attention to detail there was in making sure that no filler was present. The intro “IX” leads into the anthemic powerhouse title track, itself invoking feelings of classic Metallica opener “Battery” through a melodic death metal lens. This track’s sense of building tension appears frequently through the album on highlights such as “Sickness Unto You” and “Catastrophist”, the latter which delivers one of the best vocal performances of singer Matt Heafy’s entire career. His overall presence on this record shows a continued rebuilding of his voice that started as far back as 2015’s Silence and the Snow. His extra controlled grit and distortion is a fantastic touch to lyrics that are without a doubt improved over past records, never becoming as overly verbose as those on Shogun, nor as boringly blunt as those found on In Waves.

There are also plenty nods to the best parts of the band’s mid-2000s heyday in “Amongst the Shadows and the Stones” and “The Defiant”, and the years of experience behind them make these songs sound far more thought-out and mature in their rage and energy. All of the instrumentals are locked in with lightning precision, and while the guitar work of Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu in Trivium has always been a strong point even when the band was not in top form, the true source of What the Dead Men Say’s power is from the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Gregoletto and drummer Alex Bent. These songs wouldn’t have the same weight and impact if it wasn’t for Gregoletto and Bent’s massive synergy together, ranging from the drop-tuned groove of “Bleed Into Me” to the furious power thrash closer of “The Ones We Leave Behind”. As stated before, Trivium has always been a technically gifted band, but here it is beyond just pure guitar hero shredding and bombast, it’s now further developed into an experience where all 4 members lock into every moment with intent and integrity.

What the Dead Men Say is exactly the album Trivium needed to make in 2020. Off the heels of Sin and the Sentence, they recognized all the past wrongs they made right on that record and took that approach even further, without any uncertain sidesteps or shakeups that have plagued them on and off over the years. It is an uncompromising take on modern mainstream metal, and easily their strongest release to date, reflecting a band that finally feels comfortable with each other and their collective vision. “Gods walk amongst all without fear,” indeed.

Rating: 9.5/10

Review courtesy of Brent McCann

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5 Seconds Of Summer’s “CALM” album review

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5 Seconds Of Summer are a band that I’ve been an avid fan of for several years. I’ve been listening to them for a large majority of their career as a band, and since I first got into their music way back in 2013, I’ve seen the evolution of their sound, from their more pop punk-tinged self-titled debut LP (as well as its follow up “Sounds Good Feels Good), to the much more pop leaning and chart-topping third album “Youngblood.” The band have experimented with new influences and started to refine their sound even more with each release, and “CALM” sees them continuing to do so.

“CALM” seems to draw a bit of influence from those poppier elements on “Youngblood,” especially with its more upbeat tracks. A lot of the singles, as well as another track towards the end of the album, expanded upon those influences and combined them with the newer influences and overall sound on “CALM.” Lead single “No Shame” brings intriguing melodies that are as catchy as the riffs that lead the intro and verses, before a bigger chorus where Calum and Ashton’s instrumental performances really shine, as well as Luke’s impressive vocal range. “Old Me” is very memorable musically, and lyrically, it’s a more reflective track that discusses growing up and the lessons you learn along the way as you get older and move forward in life. The irresistible choruses of “Easier” and “Wildflower” really embrace the poppier influences in the band’s sound, and the well-written “Not In The Same Way” instantly became a fan favorite with its extremely catchy composition from start to finish.

The band showed early on that they were experimenting with some darker composition through the captivating single “Teeth” that dropped last year, which really allows Calum to show off his talent as a bassist and is easily the most rock influenced song found on the record overall. The experimentation continues in a couple of other songs on the record, such as the opener “Red Desert,” which begins with a chorus of beautiful vocal harmonies from everyone in the band (and those harmonies return in the chorus), and “Thin White Lies,” with some softer percussion and really catchy riffs and melodies throughout.

The band also incorporated a lot of softer moments on this record, including the acoustically driven closer “High,” with some additional vocal harmonies that help emphasize the vocal performances even more, “Lover Of Mine,” which adds some piano in addition to the acoustic guitar, and “Best Years” and “Lonely Heart,” both of which are on the softer side for the most part before leading up to huge, explosive and anthemic choruses that make the songs even more memorable than they already are.  

5 Seconds Of Summer have created another fantastic record that not only shows further experimentation within their sound and more of what the band is capable of musically, but also shows them refining and honing in on their signature sound even more throughout twelve really solid tracks.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Atreyu w/ Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz | 20th Anniversary Tour | Photos + Review

Atreyu Closes Out Their 20th Anniversary Celebration In Ventura

Venue: The Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, CA on 11/20/19

When a band hits a milestone in their career, it’s a big deal. From hitting 1 year as a band, to selling out a show, each of these milestones for bands has sentimental value in their growth. Atreyu hit twenty years of being a band, which is huge considering the many bands in their cohort of metal that have come and gone since they started. While it seemed the band would be done after 2010, the band came back in 2014 stronger than ever, continuing with the momentum they had before and then some! With seven albums under their belt, the band let the fans vote on their setlist, which showcased songs from each record. Atreyu brought along with them an interesting mix of bands. With Whitechapel as direct support bringing the deathcore, He Is Legend bringing their southern influenced Mathcore, Tempting Fate bringing the post hardcore, and Santa Cruz throwing it back with some glam rock to the table, this tour was a blend of bands that were different from one another and kept the show truly interesting. Those of us in attendance at this final date of the tour has a wonderful time!

First up was Santa Cruz from Helsinki, Finland. Opening the show up, the band brought out a flare completely different than any other band on the lineup. Their sound is a mixture of glam metal, heavy metal, hard rock, and has some elements of post hardcore mixed in. As the oddballs on the tour, they really hyped the crowd up with energy, especially frontman and founding member Archie Cruz, who shredded to his’ hearts content center stage and captivated the audience with his vocal abilities reminiscent of hair metal from the 80s. The band’s touring guitarist Joe Perez was on point, shredding both the rhythm and lead parts when he and Archie switched off, with incredible stage presence and lots of hairflipping action. On stage left, you’ll find the band’s bassist Eemi Lamberg, who played his basslines with precision and class, while also giving lots of windmills and high energy. Closing out the band’s lineup is drummer Tuomas Lehtonen, who did backup vocals along with his fast and intense drum playing. Throughout the band’s six-song set, you could feel the energy thriving on the stage. I wasn’t able to meet the band, as they took their merch away shortly after they played, but they slayed their set and executed their performance brilliantly. It was a great way to start out the show!

SETLIST

  1. Changing Of Seasons
  2. Bang Bang (My Worst Enemy)
  3. True Believer
  4. We Are The Ones To Fall
  5. Wasted & Wounded
  6. Aiming High

Up next was Tempting Fate from Los Angeles, CA. This band sits on the borderline of post-hardcore and metalcore, while also blending in some nu metal influences, shown especially in their song “Sik”. As an independent band, they have released two EPs and one full length record, which they incorporated songs from each release into their eight-song set. The band has an interesting dynamic, with brothers Cory Beecher on vocals and Shane Beecher on guitar. Drummer Alex Rivas played the heavy blast beat sections with ease and had a lot of energy behind the kit. Eemi Lamberg from Santa Cruz filled in on bass, providing a lot of energy and bass lines to the band’s set. It was cool for me to see the variety in the band’s sound, with songs like “Filthy” showing their heavier side, and other songs like “A Place Called Home” showing off the band’s hard rock side. I was thoroughly impressed by their set. Tempting Fate is definitely a band to keep your eyes on!

SETLIST

  1. Filthy
  2. Questions
  3. Eminence
  4. 99
  5. Falling To Pieces
  6. I’d Rather Burn
  7. A Place Called Home
  8. Sik

Next to the stage was the all mighty He Is Legend from Wilmington, North Carolina. Starting out as a metalcore band, the band’s sound has progressed throughout the years, becoming more of a fusion between a plethora of sub-genres, most notably being a mixture of hard rock, alternative metal, stoner rock, psychedelic rock, sludge metal, and southern rock. Watching their set and listening to their music takes listeners on a journey, as songs can sometimes mix several of these influences together, creating an album where each song is dynamic and impressive. Vocalist Schuylar Croom is an entertaining person to watch on stage, grooving along with the music as if he is entranced in it. Lead guitarist Adam Tanbouz and rhythm guitarist Andrew Gaultier played their parts with ease and headbanging to their hearts content. Bassist Matty Williams strummed in those deep basslines that hit the spot in the band’s music, while providing tons of hairflips and energy. Jesse Shelley on drums is the final piece to the band’s lineup, holding down the fort and keeping the band on track while playing the drums with precision, even through the many random tempo changes. The band has a total of six albums, four of which they played songs from in their seven-song setlist. Overall, I was blown away by their set and cannot wait to see He Is Legend again in the future.

SETLIST

  1. White Bat
  2. Burn All Your Rock Records
  3. The Seduction
  4. The Widow of Magnolia
  5. Attack of the Dungeon Witch
  6. Everyone I Know Has Fangs
  7. Boogiewoman

Whitechapel from Knoxville, Tennessee was up next as direct support. Whenever I prepare for a Whitechapel set, I know what to expect: lots of energy, lots of strobing lighting, and those groovy heavy tones that match perfectly with vocalist Phil Bozeman’s deep guttural vocals. Since they released their album “The Valley” earlier in the year, which was released via Metal Blade Records, the band played six-songs from the album, along with three other fan favorite songs, adding up to a nine-song set. Whitechapel has interesting dynamics in their band, with three guitarists: Ben Savage, Alex Wade, and Zach Householder. While Ben technically does a majority of the leads, each guitarist shines during the set, truly adding to the band’s groove metal infused deathcore. Vocalist Phil Boseman really stepped out of the box on the new record, showing off more of his’ vocal abilities in terms of clean vocals, shown in songs “When A Demon Defiles A Witch” and “Hickory Creek”, both of which they played on this tour. I’m also very amused whenever I see Gabe Crisp on stage, as the dude has a really intense presence on that stage, truly jamming out and grooving along while playing those piercing bass tones. The band’s live drummer Alex Rüdinger closes out the current Whitechapel lineup, and he does not disappoint, nailing all of the bands intricate drum patterns. One funny part of the set that stuck out to me was when Phil Boseman said, “We just wrote this next song this morning, so I hope you enjoy it”, and then going on to play the band’s most recognizable song “This Is Exile”. I always love seeing Whitechapel live because they truly have an amazing arsenal of music and it’s cool to see what songs they’re going to pull out of the vault for their sets. Whitechapel never disappoints in concert, and I am looking forward to seeing them again when they come out to Southern California next!

SETLIST

  1. Forgiveness Is Weakness
  2. Brimstone
  3. Black Bear
  4. Third Depth
  5. When A Demon Defiles A Witch
  6. This Is Exile
  7. Hickory Creek
  8. Our Endless War
  9. The Saw Is The Law

Atreyu from Yorba Linda, California was up next to celebrate being together as a band for 20 years. The band’s setlist was voted on by the fans, adding up to a setlist with 20-songs spanning their entire discography, except songs from 2015’s “Long Live”. For the anniversary tour, the band brought an elaborate light show that lit up the whole venue, which made the 1200 capacity venue feel like a stadium show. The band’s lead vocalist Alex Varkatzas was filled with energy, truly utilizing every inch of that stage and engaging fans from every part of the crowd. One thing Atreyu never strays from is their guitar solos, and co-lead guitarists Dan Jacobs and Travis Miguel truly showcased their abilities throughout the set. Brandon Staller is the member that truly sets Atreyu apart from many other bands, as he plays the technical drum parts while providing the clean vocals for the band. Bassist Marc McKnight is truly a hype man on stage, playing his bass lines while engaging the audience members and headbanging with his epic beard waving around. Since the fans voted on the setlist, it consisted of mainly songs from the band’s earlier albums “The Curse” and “A Death-Grip On Yesterday”, but I was glad to see that fans at least voted on some songs from the band’s later albums. I am truly lucky and happy that I was able to see Atreyu two times in a span of five months. They’re a very entertaining band to see and photograph. I cannot wait to see them again when they come back out here!

SETLIST

  1. The Time Is Now
  2. Right Side of the Bed
  3. Ain’t Love Grand
  4. Doomsday
  5. My Fork in the Road (Your Knife in My Back)
  6. Ex’s and Oh’s
  7. Our Sick Story (Thus Far)
  8. The Theft
  9. Bleeding Mascara
  10. Demonology and Heartache
  11. The Crimson
  12. Her Portrait in Black
  13. Bleeding Is a Luxury
  14. House of Gold
  15. Becoming the Bull
  16. Falling Down
  17. Blow
  18. Five Vicodin Chased With a Shot of Clarity
  19. Untitled Finale
  20. Lip Gloss and Black

Atreyu has been dominating the rock and metal scenes for two decades and truly went all in on their anniversary tour. Whitechapel, He Is Legend, Tempting Fate, and Santa Cruz all brought it and meshed with Atreyu beautifully to create a wonderful night of music and a beautiful end to this tour! Make sure to check out all of these bands and see them on tour at a city near you!

Atreyu | Whitechapel | He Is Legend | Tempting Fate | Santa Cruz

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Issues w/ Polyphia and Sleep Token | Beautiful Oblivion North American Tour | Photos + Review

Issues Runs Los Angeles Into Beautiful Oblivion

Venue: The Mayan in Los Angeles, CA on 11/14/20

When it comes to sound progression in a band’s discography, Issues almost instantly comes to my mind. While they started out sounding a lot like vocalist Tyler Carter’s previous band “Woe, Is Me”, the band started to slowly but surely incorporate influences from genres such as R&B, Funk, Jazz, and EDM. Their newest record “Beautiful Oblivion” saw the band taking a giant leap in terms of their sound. With the departure of long-time vocalist Michael Bahn, the band distanced themselves a bit from the metalcore sound, incorporating more of those influences than ever before. To celebrate the album, the band set out on their world tour, with the first stop being North America with support from Polyphia and Sleep Token: a mixed bag of talent that worked well for the tour!

First up was Sleep Token from London, England. Sleep Token is a fully conceptual band, with each member sporting masks and black body paint. They’ve created this story of being united in worshipping their god known as “Sleep”. The lineup still remains completely anonymous, which adds to the appeal. Sleep Token has taken the scene by storm, garnering a cult-like following with their diversified sound that blends together alternative rock, progressive rock, progressive metalcore, ambient, and EDM. It was surreal to see them on stage, as they looked very ominous on stage with their masks and look. But their music is very melodic and can completely change genres mid-song, which continuously keeps the listeners on their toes. I was personally thrilled to hear the band play songs from their debut album “Sundowning”, which was released in 2019 via Spinefarm Records. The band played a total of six songs, five of which came from that new album. The band played a flawless set with a lot of energy, and I cannot wait for the band to return to the U.S. in the future!

SETLIST

  1. The Night Does Not Belong To God
  2. The Offering
  3. Dark Signs
  4. Higher
  5. Sugar
  6. Jaws

Up next was Polyphia from Dallas, Texas as the direct support for the tour. Polyphia is a very dynamic band. And while they are fully instrumental, they got the crowd going wild like no other, blending together progressive metal, progressive rock, math rock, funk rock, and even some elements of electronic music. Both guitarists Scott LePage and Clay Aeschliman played some insane riffs, with odd time signatures that fit perfectly into the songs. Bassist Clay Glover acts as the band’s front man, hyping up the crowd between the songs and grooving along with his’ deep hitting basslines. With three full length records and two EPs under their belt, the band has garnered a very passionate following, selling out shows country wide on their headlining tours. As direct support, the band prepared a ten-song set, which showcased songs from each of their releases, the newest of which being their 2018 album “New Levels New Devils”, which was released via Equal Vision Records. Polyphia was truly amazing and blew my expectations out of the water!

SETLIST

  1. O.A.T.
  2. D.
  3. Saucy
  4. Goose
  5. 40oz
  6. Champagne
  7. Icronic
  8. Look But Don’t Touch
  9. Finale
  10. Euphoria

Issues from Atlanta, Georgia finally hit the stage next for their headlining set. To celebrate the new album’s release, the band played the album “Beautiful Oblivion” in its entirety, along with songs from their previous releases, adding up to a whopping 20-song set. “Beautiful Oblivion” was released in 2019 via Rise Records and shows a more adventurous side to Issues’ sound. Each song brings its own flavor, bringing in different levels of influences and styles. Many fans were surprised by the change in style, compared to their metalcore foundations on previous albums. New songs like “Drink About It”, “Tapping Out”, “Downfall”, “Rain”, and “Here’s To You” still retain some of the heavy instrumentals, but rarely include the screaming vocals or as heavy of instrumentals as the band had on their first several releases, 2012’s “Black Diamonds EP”, 2014’s “Issues” and 2016’s “Headspace”. It personally took me a couple of listens through the record to truly fall in love with it, but I eventually became obsessed. Tyler Carter writes some truly catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head on a daily basis. The groovy guitar and bass lines courtesy of AJ Rebollo and Skyler Acord. The intricate drum patterns come from the one and only Josh Manuel, who is very fun to see in concert with his energy in the back. Issues brought out some older songs on this tour, with “Never Lose Your Flames” and “Mad At Myself” being fan favorite songs from their self-titled album. I was thoroughly impressed by their performance and cannot wait to see them in the fall when they tour North America as support for Dance Gavin Dance, Animals As Leaders, Veil of Maya, and Wolf & Bear!

SETLIST

  1. Here’s to You
  2. Drink About It
  3. Never Lose Your Flames
  4. Hero
  5. Find Forever
  6. Tapping Out
  7. Stingray Affliction
  8. Without You
  9. Rain
  10. Your Sake
  11. COMA
  12. Downfall
  13. Second Best
  14. Get It Right
  15. King of Amarillo
  16. Flexin
  17. No Problem (Keep It Alive)
  18. Slow Me Down
  19. Beautiful Oblivion

ENCORE

20. Mad at Myself

Issues’ Beautiful Oblivion North American Tour brought together an excellent tour, with a mixture of music that was entertaining from the moment Sleep Token opened the show, to Polyphia slaying their set with crowdsurfers galore, and finally to Issues playing a monstrous twenty song set! Don’t forget to get your tickets to see Issues open for Dance Gavin Dance in August!

Issues | Polyphia | Sleep Token

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Ice Nine Kills w/ Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last | SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour | Photos + Review

Ice Nine Kills Play Homage To Horror Classics At Their Sold-Out Los Angeles Show

Venue: The Belasco on 11/9/19

Ice Nine Kills has been a consistent band I’ve listened to since I got into them when I first saw them on Warped Tour in 2014. Their blend of symphonics with metalcore has always been intriguing to me. For the second edition of the SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour, Ice Nine Kills was announced to headline, with support from Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last. Make Them Suffer was also slotted to open on the tour, but due to VISA issues, they were unable to perform on the tour. This would be Ice Nine Kills’ biggest headlining tour to date in the United States, and they really went all out to make this an amazing tour.

First up was Awake At Last from Dover, Delaware. The band describes themselves as a mixture between pop, hard rock, and post-hardcore, which I agree with. Continuing their touring schedule in support of their newest release “The Change”, which was released in 2019 via Outerloop Records, the band opened the show with high energy that got the crowd going. Similarly to Ice Nine Kills, the band uses symphonic backing in their songs, with adds a great level of depth to their songs. Opening their set with the song “Purgatorium” from their independently released 2017 EP titled “Life/Death/Rebirth” showcases this depth to a T. Vocalist Vincent Torres has great stage presence, really engaging the crowd and moving about. Guitarists Imran Xhelili and Eric Blackway really held their own on stage, engaging their respective sides of the crowd and really adding to the energy coming from the band. Drew Hansen headbanged and slammed those notes with the bass with ease. Closing out the band’s live lineup is Jeff Dorber on drums, who was very energetic and engaging. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s seven-song set, and thought they really got the energy going for the bands to come!

SETLIST

  1. Purgatorium
  2. More Than Animals
  3. Unobtainable
  4. Paralyzed
  5. Fallen Stars
  6. Dead Generation
  7. The Change

Up next was the all mighty Light The Torch from Los Angeles, CA. Previously called “Devil You Know”, the band has been around since 2012 and have released three studio albums together. I was very much excited to see them, as I have been a fan of each member’s respective bands. Vocalist Howard Jones was previously in Killswitch Engage, guitarist Francesco Artusato is also in All Shall Perish, who are on an indefinite hiatus, bassist Ryan Wombacher is also the bassist of Bleeding Through, who I had the pleasure of seeing and photographing in June of 2018, and drummer Kyle Baltus is the drummer of 38 Crazyfists. So as a super group, the band embarked on this tour and prepared an 8-song set, most of which came from their 2018 record “Revival”, which was released via Nuclear Blast Records. As the perfect blend between metalcore and alternative metal, the band was energetic and slayed that stage with ease. I was just in awe to finally see Howard Jones on stage, and to be able to photograph them was a dream come true. The band will be going on a North American tour in support of Killswitch Engage and August Burns Red in March – April, so definitely go check them out when they hit a city near you!

SETLIST

  1. The Bitter End
  2. Calm Before The Storm
  3. Lost In The Fire
  4. Virus
  5. Consume The Damned
  6. The Safety of Disbelief
  7. The Sound of Violence
  8. Die Alone

As direct support, Fit For A King from Dallas, Texas was up next. I have seen and photographed these guys four times now over the last two years and this is by far my favorite set they’ve performed. The band plays some damn good metalcore, and with five albums under their belt, they have created a solid career for themselves. For their direct support slot on this tour, the band prepared a ten-song set, with songs from their two newest releases “Dark Skies” from 2018 and “Deathgrip” from 2016, both of which were released via Solid State Records. Something long time fans will know is that vocalist Ryan Kirby has taken on more as a vocalist, doing both screaming and singing on these releases. His stage presence is incredible. Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary is the hypeman of the band, jumping, spinning, kicking, screaming, and singing to his’ heart’s content while playing those bass notes. Drummer and founding member Jared Easterling is always on point, playing intricate and dynamic drum parts, while exuding such joy and happiness while playing on stage. Guitarist Daniel Gailey closes out the band’s lineup, and despite some technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, came out and delivered a stellar performance. I love Fit For A King. If you love some good metalcore, they’ll be going on a world tour in support of “Dark Skies” that will be hitting North America, Europe, and more in the coming months!

SETLIST

  1. Engraved
  2. Backbreaker
  3. When Everything Means Nothing
  4. Shattered Glass
  5. Cold Room
  6. Dead Memory
  7. Deathgrip
  8. The Price of Agony
  9. Oblivion
  10. Tower of Pain

Ice Nine Kills from Boston, Massachusetts came out next to headline the night. With a dramatic curtain drop, the band started out their set with the infamous song and the third single “Thank God It’s Friday” from “The Silver Scream”, which was released in 2018 via Fearless Records. What the curtain drop revealed was an elaborate set of lighting and costuming. Each member was dressed up as a different horror icon: drummer Patrick Galante was dressed up was Billy The Puppet from SAW, guitarist and backup vocalist Ricky Armellino was dressed up as Georgie from IT, guitarist Dan Sugarman was dressed up as Jack Torrance from The Shining, and bassist Joe Occhiuti was dressed up as Edward Scissorhands. Spencer Charnas, the lead vocalist and founding member, changed costumes and props each song. When “Thank God It’s Friday” played, he was dressed up as Jason Vorhees from Friday The 13th, with the machete in hand. The second song in the set “The Jig Is Up”, spencer switched into his usual outfit for the show: a ripped green and red striped cut of shirt, black jeans, and shoes. But, to fit the song being about the SAW franchise, he sported an old man mask to act like John Kramer. For our third and final song in the photo pit, Spencer brought out a chainsaw and played with it for the duration of the song “Savages”. The rest of the set was filled with other costume changes, notably his’ complete costume change to be dressed up as Ghostface from the Scream franchise for the song “Your Number’s Up” from their 2019 deluxe edition release of the album. The whole band held their own. The most hyped part of the set would have to be during the encore when Spencer came on stage dressed up as Pennywise from IT and brought up someone in a Mickey Mouse costume. It was a creative way to mock Disney for banning the band. This set was filled with theatrics, amazing music, and amazing costumes. The band prepared a whopping 19-song set for their larger than life headliner, and it’s truly amazing to see how far they’ve come as a band since I first saw them. Ice Nine Kills is currently on a European tour in support of Hollywood Undead and Papa Roach, and then will be touring the US once again as support for Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, and I Prevail from 4/8 – 5/20, so definitely go see them on a date near you! I can’t wait to see one of my favorite bands again when they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Thank God It’s Friday
  2. The Jig Is Up
  3. SAVAGES
  4. The Nature of the Beast
  5. The World In My Hands
  6. Communion of the Cursed
  7. A Grave Mistake
  8. Your Number’s Up
  9. Rocking The Boat
  10. Merry Axe-Mas
  11. Thriller (Michael Jackson cover)
  12. Hell In The Hallways
  13. Stabbing In The Dark
  14. The Fastest Way To A Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage
  15. Love Bites
  16. Tess-Timony
  17. Me, Myself, & Hyde
  18. The American Nightmare

ENCORE

19. IT Is The End

The SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour was absolutely incredible from start to finish. Ice Nine Kills truly put on a one of a kind set that truly made me speechless walking out of the venue. Fit For A King delivered an incredible set as direct support and blew me away yet again. Light The Torch tore the stage up and made me an even bigger fan of them. And Awake At Last delivered a flawless set with ease as the opening act. I am truly grateful that I was able to attend this show and capture all of these amazing moments.

Ice Nine Kills | Fit For A King | Light The Torch | Awake At Last

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Capstan & A Grizzly Fate | Photos + Review

Set it Off was supposed to headline this Candian show in Winnipeg Manitoba, but unfortunately their bus had broken down due to the insane cold weather. Capstan, who has been touring with Set it Off got a chance to headline instead. It was absolutely incredible getting to not only see Capstan a second time but photograph them a second time as well! I did not get a chance to see Loiter play, they were added to the bill after Set it Off was confirmed as not coming, but I had memory card issues and missed their set. The other local opener was A Grizzly Fate, these guys have amazing stage presence and are really great people. I’ve been going to their shows since they started as a band and I’m really happy to see them play with bands like Capstan. Capstan of course killed it on stage! They have said many times that they love Winnipeg and they plan on coming back as many times as possible and I hope they do come back.

A Grizzly Fate

 

Capstan

 

 Photos + Review courtesy of Chris Hall

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The Classic Crime w/ Assuming We Survive, Your Bourgeois, and David Lunsford | West Coast Tour | Photos + Review

Seattle-based rock band The Classic Crime have been around for quite some time, releasing a handful of albums over the past fifteen years. The band have recently dropped a couple of singles, leading up to their upcoming full-length album “Patterns In The Static” (due to be released on February 28th) and embarked on a tour of the West Coast (their first tour since 2018) in support of the new material.
Opening up the night was Seattle based acoustic musician David Lunsford. He began the set with his most recent single, “God Damn Soul,” and played “Without Your Armor” and “On My Mind” from his 2018 debut LP, “To All My Friends And Family.” In addition, he also played two unreleased songs, one titled “Evergreen” and a self-titled song that he concluded his set with. What stood out to me about David’s set was the emotion he put into each of the songs he performed, and that was evident from the moment he started the set.