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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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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Blue Ridge Rock Fest Day 1 w/ A Day To Remember, The Convalescence, Beartooth, Of Mice & Men, Hinder, 10 Years,Cold, Soil, Flaw, A Feasting Beast, and Two Sides of Me

Blue Ridge Rock Festival Day 2

Two Sides of Me

A Feasting Beast

Flaw

Soil

Cold

10 Years

Hinder

Of Mice & Men

Beartooth

The Convalescence

A Day To Remember

A Day To Remember | The Convalescence | Beartooth | Of Mice & Men | Hinder | 10 Years | Cold | Soil | Flaw | A Feasting Beast | Two Sides of Me

Photos courtesy of Chyenne Conner| 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