Venom Prison & Homewrecker w/ Great American Ghost | The Blood Sacrifice North American Tour | Photos + Review

Venom Prison & Homewrecker Conduct Los Angeles on the Blood Sacrifice Tour

Venue: Five Star Bar on 10/2/19

When I first saw Venom Prison in 2018, I was in awe. As one of the opening acts on the Devastation of the Nation Tour, they had the challenge to warm the crowd up for the bands to come. What many did not expect was for the band to set a bar so high that few of the bands to come after them were able to reach. As the headliner this time around, they embarked on a month long across North America, co-headlining with Homewrecker. The tour has rotating direct support acts, but a majority of the dates had Great American Ghost as the support act, who were on my date as well. This tour mixed together bands of death metal, hardcore, and thrash metal, but it worked and blended so well!

The first band up was Great American Ghost from Boston, Massachusetts. Great American Ghost is cut from the same cloth as many newer hardcore and metalcore bands like Knocked Loose, Bodysnatcher, Traitors, Kublai Khan, Varials, and more. They were very high energy and truly got the crowd going wild. I was personally impressed by vocalist Ethan Harrison. His stage presence was powerful and truly helped hype the crowd up. Guitarist Niko Gasparrini and Bassist Joey Perron were also super tight on stage, headbanging and grooving along with the songs. Touring drummer Davier Perez smashed his drums, creating the foreground for the band to build upon, completing the lineup for this four-piece. The band played an 8-song set, most of which came from their 2017 album “Hatred Stems From The Seed”, which was released via Good Fight Music. They were truly a driving force on stage and got the crowd rowdy for the co-headliners to come. I cannot wait to see them again when they come back out here in 2019 with Bodysnatcher!

SETLIST

  1. No Savior
  2. New England Misery
  3. Destroyer
  4. Deliver Me
  5. Time Is Your Enemy
  6. Altar Of Snakes
  7. Prison of Hate
  8. Ann Arbor

Up next was Homewrecker from Ashtabula, Ohio. As one of the two co-headliners for the tour, they were solid. While not as high energy as Great American Ghost, they still slayed! Mixing together death metal with thrash metal, the band played an 11-song set, playing songs from several of their releases, most of which came from their 2018 release “Hell Is Here Now”, which was released via Good Fight Music. This four piece consists of co-lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Barnum, co-lead vocalist and drummer Matt Izzi, guitarist Paul Aloisio, and bassist Dalton Edwards. Although they had a couple of technical difficulties throughout the set, the band persevered and killed their set.

SETLIST

  1. Create Sin
  2. Bound By Validation
  3. Prophet Liar
  4. Demons In Disguise
  5. Worms and Dirt
  6. One With Torment
  7. Punish the Ignorance
  8. Buried in Suffering
  9. Land of the Damned
  10. Constant Eyes
  11. Perpetrators of Annihilation

Finally up came Venom Prison from South Wales, UK. Venom Prison is best described as a death metal band with elements of hardcore and grindcore. What I personally love about the band is their bold choices in lyrical content, speaking out about social and political topics like: rape culture, fascism, misogyny, mental health, organized religion, and more. The band played a super tight set, with 9-songs from both their 2016 record “Animus”, as well as their 2019 record “Samsara” which were both released via Prosthetic Records. The band stands strong, with vocalist Larissa Stupar at the forefront. Guitarists Ash Gray and Ben Thomas are very fun to watch on stage, shredding with technical guitar parts and intricate solos. At the foundation of any band’s sound is the bass and drums, which are filled by bassist Mike Jefferies and drummer Joe Bills. I was thoroughly impressed by the band’s performance. I found them to be even tighter and more dynamic than the last time I saw them, which I thought would be a hard performance to top. I am very much looking forward to seeing Venom Prison the next time they return to the states.

SETLIST

  1. Matriphagy
  2. Corrode the Black Sun
  3. Uterine Industrialisation
  4. Abysmal Agony
  5. Asura’s Realm
  6. Self Inflicted Violence
  7. Perpetrator Emasculation
  8. Dukkha
  9. Implementing the Metaphysics of Morals

The Blood Sacrifice Tour was filled with lots of moshing, a couple of brawls, technical instrumentals, and lots of heavy fucking music. All three bands were incredible, with the best being Venom Prison. This was a tour I was looking forward to, and I am truly grateful I was able to attend.

Venom Prison | Homewrecker | Great American Ghost

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Lacuna Coil & All That Remains w/ Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured | Disease of the Anima Tour | Photos + Review

Lacuna Coil and All That Remains Infest Los Angeles with the Disease of the Anima Tour

Venue: The Regent Theater on 10/1/19

When I saw that the all mighty Lacuna Coil was coming back to Los Angeles, I was ecstatic. And when I saw that they would be co-headlining with All That Remains and would have tour support from Bad Omens, Toothgrinder, and Uncured, I was beyond thrilled. This tour is stacked with bands I have been listening to and watching for quite some time. Lacuna Coil was one of the many bands I got into back when I was obsessed with guitar hero and rock band, as was All That Remains. It was definitely an exciting experience and one hell of a show!

First up was Uncured from New Jersey. I last saw this four-piece in May, when they opened the Chaos & Carnage Tour and set a high bar for the rest of the bands. They did even better this time around at The Regent. While they only played 5 songs, they truly banged those songs out. Uncured would be best described as Progressive Metal, with influences from metalcore, death metal, and deathcore. With such variety in their music, they have been able to mesh well with bands of many genres of metal. This four piece consists of co-lead vocalist and guitarist Zak Cox, co-lead vocalist and guitarist Rex Cox, drummer Liam Manley, and new bassist Micah Smith. They played an incredibly tight set that was honestly perfect from the moment they hit the stage to the moment they left the stage. They truly set a high bar for the rest of the bands to hit.

SETLIST

  1. Desecration (Outro only)
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Myopic
  4. Death Valley
  5. Blinded By Demise

The second band up was Toothgrinder from Asbury Park, New Jersey. I last saw this five-piece in March of 2018 when they opened for the all mighty Norma Jean. I would best describe them as Progressive Metal that mixes in metalcore and post-hardcore. They put on a super tight set, playing 5 songs that showcased at least 1 song from each of their 3-albums, including their 2019 release “I Am”, which was released via Spinefarm Records. Since the last time I saw the band, they seemed to have strengthened their aesthetic, all performing in suits. With dark yet colorful lighting, the mood was set perfectly for each of their songs. I was personally stoked when my favorite song from Toothgrinder, “Blue”, was played. The song is the perfect mixture of progressive metal and metalcore, and truly is what got me into the band from the start. The band consists of vocalist Justin Matthews, drummer Wills Weller, guitarists Jason Goss and Johnuel Hasney, and bassist Matt Arensdorf. The band was truly strong that night and blew away my expectations I had.

SETLIST

  1. The Chain (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  2. The Shadow
  3. I Am
  4. My Favorite Hurt
  5. Blue

Bad Omens from Richmond, Virginia was up next as direct support. I had just seen the band almost two months prior when they opened for Born of Osiris but was unfortunately let down that time due to their choice in setlist alongside the heavier bands they were touring with. This time around, the band played a much more evenly mixed set which meshed very well and worked so much better than the previous set of theirs. I’d best describe Bad Omens’ sound as a mixture between metalcore, post-hardcore, and alternative rock. All four of the members had a whole lot more energy radiating from them and the songs each flowed amazingly from one to the next in the set. They played a 9-song set, which was a perfect mixture of songs from their 2019 release “Finding God Before God Finds Me”, as well as their 2016 self-titled album “Bad Omens”, which were each released via Sumerian Records. I was super thrilled with their performance overall. The members consist of vocalist Noah Sebastian, guitarist Jolly Karlsson, bassist Nicholas Ruffilo, and drummer Nick Folio. Bad Omens was amazing this night and truly set the stage for Lacuna Coil and All That Remains to come and obliterate the stage.

SETLIST

  1. Mercy
  2. The Hell I Overcame
  3. Malice
  4. The Worst In Me
  5. Said & Done
  6. Exit Wounds
  7. Glass Houses
  8. Careful What You Wish For
  9. Burning Out

Lacuna Coil from Milan, Italy was up next as the first of the two co-headliners. In support of their new album “Black Anima” which was released in 2019 via Century Media Records, the band set out on their North American tour, their first time returning to the continent since their tour with Epica in 2017. They prepared an incredible set with 12-songs ranging from their entire discography. I was thoroughly impressed with how well their songs translated live, with co-vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro truly owning every inch of that stage. Guitarist Diego Cavalotti and bassist Marco Coti Zelati were also incredibly high energy, both sporting corpse paint and skeleton-like attire. Touring drummer Ryan Folden was also incredibly high energy, with lots of hair flips and energetic faces. I was especially excited when they played the song “The House of Shame”. It was truly the song in their discography that was a turning point to their darker and heavier sound their newest two albums have focused on. They continue to captivate the scene with their symphonic backing and gothic aesthetics. I was completely blown away by their set and I’m super happy I was finally able to see them after all of these years of listening to them.

SETLIST

  1. Blood, Tears, Dust
  2. Trip The Darkness
  3. Our Truth
  4. Spellbound
  5. Layers of Time
  6. Downfall
  7. Zombies
  8. My Demons
  9. The House of Shame
  10. Heaven’s a Lie
  11. Reckless
  12. Nothing Stands In Our Way

Finally to the stage came All That Remains from Springfield, Massachusetts. The band’s sound is a mixture of metalcore, heavy metal, and hard rock. This was my second time seeing the band this year, with my first time being in March when they did a co-headliner with Attila with support from Escape The Fate and Sleep Signals. I was thoroughly impressed with their set that day, but was surprised when they played even better this time around. Vocalist Philip Labonte had a true fire behind his’ vocals this night, which was perfectly matched by guitarists Jason Richardson and Mike Martin, bassist Aaron Patrick, and drummer Jason Costa. Their setlist this time around consisted of a whopping 15-songs, with songs spanning over 7 of their 9 records, including their newest record “Victim of the New Disease”, which was released in 2018 via Razor and Tie Records. What I truly love about this band is how consistent their music is. While having a mixture of styles in each song, their songs are always tight in terms of lyric quality and musicality. I was so excited to hear them play Chiron within the first 3 songs, as I was able to photograph them while they played it. Seeing Jason absolutely crush that guitar solo was mesmerizing. They truly demolished that stage and brought The Disease of the Anima tour to a beautiful end.

SETLIST

  1. This Calling
  2. Chiron
  3. This Probably Won’t End Well
  4. Hold On
  5. Just Tell Me Something
  6. The Last Time
  7. Fuck Love
  8. Blood I Spill
  9. Wasteland
  10. Madness
  11. Not Alone
  12. The Air I Breathe
  13. Six
  14. What If I Was Nothing
  15. Two Weeks

The Disease of the Anima Tour was truly stacked and amazing from start to finish. Each band brought a level of precision and talent that made this one of the best tours I’ve attended this year. All That Remains and Lacuna Coil both prepared amazing headlining sets and blew me away. Go listen to all of these bands and support! Can’t wait to see them all again when they come out here again on future tours!

All That RemainsLacuna Coil | Bad Omens | Toothgrinder | Uncured

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Erra & Northlane w/ Currents and Crystal Lake | Neon Alien Tour | Photos + Review

Erra and Northlane Invade Anaheim, CA and Bring Forth The Neon Alien Tour

Venue: Chain Reaction on 9/14/19

When this insane tour was announced, I was thoroughly excited. I am a big fan of Erra as a band, with their style mixing progressive metal with metalcore and post hardcore, which is why I am similarly a fan of Northlane. Knowing these two bands would be co-headlining was nuts. Supporting these two bands were Currents and Crystal lake, two amazing bands who also slay it on stage. This show ranked as one of the best I’ve been to this year so far.

First up was Crystal Lake from Tokyo, Japan. The best way I could describe Crystal Lake is progressive metalcore mixed with metalcore and nu-metal. Although their albums sometimes have clean vocals, the band played a heavier set for this tour. They played seven songs in their 25-minute set, 5 of which came from their newest album “Helix”, which was released in 2019 via SharpTone Records. I have had the opportunity to see Crystal Lake twice this year and they were absolutely insane both times. Their stage energy is absolutely nuts, with vocalist Ryo Kinoshita full on running and jumping into the crowd. The rest of this five-piece consists of guitarists Yudai Miyamoto and Shinya Hori, drummer Gaku Taura, and bassist Bitoku Sakamoto. Major props to Gaku for holding down the fort on drums and playing some of the fastest drum parts I’ve ever heard, which is especially showcased in the band’s song Aeon. Crystal Lake delivers a truly stellar performance each time I see them and sound even better live than on record.

SETLIST

  1. Hail to the Fire
  2. Six Feet Under
  3. Machina
  4. Helix
  5. Aeon
  6. Lost In Forever
  7. Apollo

Next up was Currents from Connecticut. The best way I could describe Currents is a mixture of metalcore and progressive metal. But their sound is diverse enough for them to even tour with a few deathcore lineups in the past as well. This was my fourth time seeing these guys and they certainly did not disappoint. The band played a mixture of songs from their 2017 release “The Place I Feel Safest” and their 2018 release “I Let The Devil In EP”, which were both released via SharpTone Records. The band played a total of 6-songs, showcasing the diversity in their sound. With more melodic songs like Weathered, to heavier songs like Apnea and In Despair, Currents proved just how much of a force they are in the scene as an up and coming band. This five-piece consists of vocalist Brian Wille, lead guitarist Chris Wiseman, bassist Christian Pulgarin, rhythm guitarist Ryan Castaldi, and drummer Matt Young. This band has grown a lot in the short two-year span since I first saw them, and I cannot wait to see them again next time they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Into Despair
  2. Apnea
  3. The Rope
  4. Withered
  5. Forever Marked
  6. Night Terrors

Next up was the first of the two co-headliners, that being Erra from Birmingham, Alabama. This band has been one of my favorites since I heard their 2016 album “Drift”, which was released via Sumerian Records. For their co-headliner, the band had programmed lighting for the first time and prepared a mixed set that showcased a lot of songs from 2018’s “Neon” and 2016’s “Drift”, as well as showcasing a couple songs from the band’s older records and even played their newest single “Eye of God”. They put together a truly incredible set, with songs rooted in deep emotion and issues ranging from depression, loss, and mourning. Erra has a deep part of my heart, as they were the first band that shared one of my photos back in the day before I even considered doing this for a living. It meant the world to me and to this day I am forever grateful for this band to give me the motivation to continue forth. Erra’s stage presence is dynamic, with intricate and dynamic lighting matching the complex guitar parts and rhythm patterns the band is very well known for. JT Cavey is the ultimate frontman, engaging the crowd with his intense vocal abilities you can tell are rooted in the deep emotions of the songs. The rest of this five-piece consists of guitarist and clean vocalist Jesse Cash, guitarist Sean Price, drummer Alex Ballew, and bassist Conor Hesse. Their set was incredible, but insanely hot in the room; So hot in fact that vocalist JT had to run off the stage midset to catch his’ breath due to the intense heat. Erra made this show truly surreal for me, and I highly recommend listening to their music and seeing them at a show near you!

SETLIST

  1. Irreversible
  2. Dreamcatcher
  3. Ghost of Nothing
  4. Drift
  5. Orchid
  6. Luminesce
  7. Eye of God
  8. Breach
  9. Monolith
  10. Dementia
  11. Hybrid Earth
  12. Skyline

Finally, Northlane from Sydney, Australia came to the stage. This five-piece is best described as a mixture between progressive metal, metalcore, and nu-metal. This was the band’s first time touring North America since their tour with Architects (UK) in 2016, and they surely did not disappoint this time around. Their setlist mostly consisted of songs from their newest album “Alien” which was released in 2019 via UNFD Records, as well as songs from their 2017 album “Mesmer”, their 2015 album “Node”, as well as a couple of songs from their first two albums “Singularity” and “Discoveries”. The band came out swinging with “Talking Heads”. From the moment they hit the stage, the crowd was going nuts, with the entire crowd turning into a mosh pit with the addition of crowdsurfers galore. The heat that had been accumulating in the room rose even further during their set. Being practically a sauna in the room, the band continued on with their 13-song set, which blew me away. They are musically talented, and their stage presence was stellar as well. Using the same lighting set up as Erra, the programmed lighting worked perfectly to convey the atmosphere of the songs. This five-piece consists of vocalist Marcus Bridge, guitarist and programmer Jonathon Deiley, guitarist Josh Smith, drummer Nic Petterson, and bassist Brendon Padjasek. Northlane put on a stellar set and closed out the night of performances brilliantly.

SETLIST

  1. Talking Heads
  2. Intuition
  3. Details Matter
  4. Obelisk
  5. Rot
  6. Bloodline
  7. 4D
  8. Freefall
  9. Vultures
  10. Eclipse
  11. Citizen

ENCORE

  1. Dispossession
  2. Quantum Flux

The Neon Alien Tour was amazing from the moment Crystal Lake entered the stage to the moment Northlane finished their set. This mixture of bands was honestly perfect and kept the night of music flowing amazingly. Erra especially put on an amazing set and was the highlight of the night for me. Make sure to check out each of these bands out when they play a city near you!

Northlane | Erra | Currents | Crystal Lake

Photos + Review Courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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Jinjer w/ The Browning and Sumo Cyco | Fall North American Tour | Photos + Review

Jinjer Sells Out The Legendary Whisky A Go-Go On Their First North American Headlining Tour

Venue: Whisky A Go-Go on 9/12/19

Since I found out about Jinjer a year and a half ago, they have quickly become one of my favorite bands in the scene. Their music perfectly blends together progressive metal with metalcore, with slight elements of technical death metal as well. With their breakthrough song “Pisces” from their 2016 album “King of Everything”, which was released via Napalm Records, the band quickly took off like a storm, selling out venues worldwide. After touring North America twice before as direct support for Cradle of Filth and then DevilDriver. For their first ever North American Headlining Tour, they embarked on a 2-month long tour spanning across the United States and Canada with support from The Browning and Sumo Cyco. With such a stacked lineup, this tour proved to be one of the best this year thus far. This date in particular sold out 3 months prior, so it was bound to be a truly insane show!

First up to hit the stage was Sumo Cyco from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. I previously saw Sumo Cyco when they toured in 2018 with Butcher Babies, Nonpoint, and Islander, but they were even better this second time around than before. Sumo Cyco is a mixture of alternative metal, punk rock, and post-hardcore. The band was truly on fire, with vocalist Skye Sweetnam truly being a hype woman and getting the crowd going nuts. From jumping into the crowd and getting the first moshpit of the night started, to jumping around like crazy, Skye really has a powerful stage presence, which is matched perfectly by guitarist Matt Drake, drummer Matt Trozzi, and bassist Oscar Anesetti. The band is fully independent and have raised money for recordings through crowd funding. They have two albums so far with a third on the way. They played songs from both their 2014 album “Lost in Cyco City” as well as songs from their 2017 album “Opus Mar”. They all together played an eight-song set and played new single “Run With The Giants” as well as a System of a Down cover of “B.Y.O.B.” which got the crowd going completely nuts. Sumo Cyco is truly a ton of fun to see live with their wild stage presence. Make sure to get there early to check out their set!

SETLIST

  1. The Ugly
  2. Undefeated
  3. Free Yourself
  4. Sleep Tight
  5. Y.O.B.
  6. Run With The Giants
  7. Love You Wrong
  8. Move Mountains

Up next as direct support was The Browning from Kansas City, Missouri. The Browning’s sound is very unique in the scene, blending together metalcore, deathcore, and EDM. Typically categorized by some as electronicore, I categorize the band as one thing: stellar. This was my second time seeing these guys this year alone and they did not disappoint. They set the stage with dark lighting and smoke machines and obliterated that stage with a ten-song set that showcased songs from their 2018 album “Geist”, which was released via Spinefarm Records, as well as three songs from their 2016 album “Isolation”. I personally love hearing their song “Carnage”, as it perfectly blends together metalcore with EDM and even has a slight trap influence in a section of the song. This four-piece consists of vocalist Jonny McBee, guitarist Brian Moore, drummer Cody Stewart, and bassist and clean vocalist Collin Woroniak. When you go see The Browning, get ready for a party that’ll consist of headbangs, moshing, and lots of jumping. This band honestly deserves more recognition than they get so go give them some love when they play near you!

SETLIST

  1. Beyond Stone
  2. Final Breath
  3. Carnage
  4. Pure Evil
  5. Disconnect
  6. Awaken The Omega
  7. Optophobia
  8. Dragon
  9. Skybreaker
  10. Geist

Finally up to the stage came Jinjer from Donetsk, Ukraine. This four piece went all out for their first North American Headlining Tour, bringing a full on lighting rig with them and preparing a whopping 15-song set, which covered songs from 2016’s “King of Everything”, 2014’s “Cloud Factory”, which was reissued in 2018 via Napalm Records, 2019’s “Micro EP”, and even a couple of brand new songs from their upcoming full length album “Macro”, which will be released in October via Napalm Records. They came out swinging with songs “Teacher, Teacher” and “Sit Stay Roll Over”, two of the bands heavier tracks that truly got the mosh pit moving like crazy. The band has incredible stage presence and sound identical live as they do on record. The key to the band’s incredible stage presence is vocalist Tatiana Shmailyuk, who has impeccable crowd control and demands that stage with ease. Bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov and guitarist Roman Ibramkhalilov also have incredible stage presence, with head bangs and grooves perfectly in sync with the music and Tatiana alike. Holding down the tightness and togetherness of the music is drummer Vladislav Ulasevich, who’s drumming skills are a stand out and keep the songs interesting with constantly changing time signatures and fast parts that are prominent in progressive metal and metalcore alike. If it seemed the set couldn’t get any better, the band came out for their encore with their most popular song “Pisces”, which at the time of writing this review is sitting at 26 million views on YouTube on their music video. Jinjer is a force to be reckoned with and are continuing to slay the game.

SETLIST

  1. Teacher, Teacher
  2. Sit Stay Roll Over
  3. Ape
  4. Judgement (& Punishment)
  5. I Speak Astronomy
  6. Dreadful Moments
  7. Who’s Gonna Be The One
  8. Retrospection
  9. Perennial
  10. Captain Clock
  11. Bad Water
  12. Outlander
  13. No Hoard Of Value
  14. Cloud Factory

ENCORE

  1. Pisces