Sleepsculptor Interview

 

In a genre like metalcore where so many bands fade into the back, patterns often repeating, and a lot of songs falling into a similar sound, how do you make yourself stand out? Sleepsculptor’s answer is to create intense, chaotic music that will leave your jaw on the floor. Of course many bands fall flat by doing too much. Sleepsculptor has done the opposite, taking a huge hold on the scene they’ve become a part of. I talked with Ben Pypiak and Hunter Derr, lead vocalists of Sleepsculptor to ask about what makes the band special. 

What inspired Sleepsculptor and the sound you guys were going for?

Hunter: Definitely bands like the Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Arsonists Get All The Girls, IWrestledabearonce. We were going for a more mathy approach to metalcore.

Danza was a metalcore giant that had a huge influence on the scene with the same sporadic, chaotic sound Sleepsculptor achieves. The band regularly covers them in their live shows, giving insanely impressive performances of Rudy X 3 and The Alpha The Omega, a song that the TDTE never played live themselves. Their cover of Rudy X 3 can be seen here: https://youtu.be/h8gE8z82Xc

The inspiration coming from bands of the same genre brought me to my next question. 

Is that where you pull inspiration from while writing. Is it solely mathcore/sporadic metalcore based or do you pull inspiration from other genres?

Hunter: I feel like we most definitely pull from a lot of genres. I mainly listen to Captain Murphy and Earl Sweatshirt. Everyone else listens to some pretty niche stuff I’d say.

Do you ever worry about how your music will be received based on how unique it is?

Hunter: Nah not really I feel like we just write what we want to write and if people like it, that’s cool. If not, I don’t really mind because I make music for myself at the end of the day.   Ben: It’s pretty cool to hear that people like what we make anyway. 

Sleepsculptor isn’t for the faint of heart for sure. The live shows feel claustrophobic in the best way possible. The constantly changing guitar, the vocalist’s fast and angry tonal changes. It’s enough to make anyone want to get moving, and their shows certainly deliver. It’s amazing to see them move as a unit, which is difficult for bands so large sometimes. Along with two vocalists, they have two guitarists, Jake Moyer and Kuyler Massam, who offer intensely technical playing along with the classic breakdowns everyone knows and loves. To help with the fast paced performances, James Slattery as drummer, and Travis Antoniello on bass, are both well versed in the metalcore scene, both being in the Wilkes Barre local band Toothless. With so many amazing creative minds, I always wondered who took the reins while writing. 

Is there any difficulty having 6 member’s input while making music?

Hunter: I don’t think so, we’re all generally into the same stuff. It’s easier to get weirder ideas.    Ben: We’re all pretty connected. 

Do you two (Ben and Hunter) ever disagree on where to go vocally/lyrically or does it work best when you bounce your ideas off of each other?

Hunter: Not that I can think of, we’ll usually write in chunks and then go back and dissect/ split parts up.  Ben: Not really, sometimes we swap lyrics.  

Their first album, Untimening, was well received, but their most recent album, Entry: Dispersal, was beyond unique. 

Entry: Dispersal was different than Untimening, do you plan on leaning towards more of a drastic change with your next release?

Ben: We all decided to get pretty experimental, but not straying too far. 

Hunter: It’s definitely gonna be a lot weirder than anything we’ve released yet. 

Weird has turned out to be an amazing thing for Sleepsculptor. The band constantly works and writes, which explains why in seemingly less than 2 years, they have grown into a force to be reckoned with in the Pennsylvania metalcore scene. Entry: Dispersal was a fantastic album in every sense of the word, every song having the same vibe, but every one felt insanely unique. Every piece of music released by Sleepsculptor has its own personality and own breath of life, making them an absolute joy to listen to. It’s exciting to support them, and I cannot wait to see what they do in the future. 

Follow them on Instagram , you can listen to & buy their music on ITunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, and other streaming services

Interview + Photos courtesy of  Emily Sulkowski  –Instagram| Twitter

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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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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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Diseased & Disguised Tour 2020 | Photos + Review

Metalcore is a genre that never seems to go away, and that’s a good thing. When two giants of the scene, Beartooth and Motionless in White, announced their co-headlining tour, everyone knew we were in for a treat. With Limbs and Stick To Your Guns as support, this tour set the tone for the rest of 2020. 

Limbs was a band I had never heard of, but I was pleasantly surprised. They brought an energy no one in the crowd expected so early in the night. I’m used to watching openers have a few courtesy head bangs and nothing outside of it. The pit soon opened and the night began. With only one album, a few EPs and singles in their discography, you’d never expect a band to pack such a punch. 

Stick To Your Guns made their mark in the scene years ago, but something about them is always refreshing. Hardcore is a genre on a steady resurgence, and it’s easy to understand why. The set contained mostly classics such as “ Amber “ to spark memories in the crowd. The anger was obvious, but the band always has a way of bringing everyone in a room together. 

I can never stop suggesting Beartooth to anyone. Caleb Shomo has a voice that fills you with every emotion you could feel. The production of orange lights and fog created a vibe that made you want to move. Crowdsurfers made my job as a photographer difficult, but even my fellow photographers in the photo pit couldn’t help but bang their heads. Classic metal riffs with the anger and punch of a new hardcore band, Beartooth is a treat every single time. 

Few bands can pack a punch for over a decade. Motionless in White have the honor of being within those select few. The ambiance before they even walked on stage was enough to send shocks through the crowd. The spooky purple and blue lighting, strobes, and the skeletons on the stage, the band was sure to come out with a bang. Motionless mixes old songs with new, but the crowd knew the words to everything. Frontman Chris Motionless works the crowd into an angry and violent pit every single time, yet expresses his love and appreciation the entire time. With heavy hitters like Devils Night and Abigail, the crowd had plenty of energy to burn before the softer side of things came out towards the end with Another Life and Eternally Yours. The entire show was a mix of beauty, chaos, and spooky vibes. 

The Diseased and Disguised tour was an incredible start to the 2020 metal-core tour season. No mixed genres were needed to carry this tour around different fan bases. Solid, to the point heavy music was all it took to sell out shows, and created what I can say is one of the best shows I’ve been too.

Photos + review courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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In Flames with Red and Arrival Of Autumn | Winter North American Tour | Photos + Review

In Flames Set The Observatory On Fire On Their Winter North American Tour

Venue: The Observatory Orange Country on 11/6/19

            In Flames has been a band on my radar for quite some time. I got into them later than most when their 2016 album “Battles” hit the shelves. I was stoked when their North American Tour was announced, as I had still never seen them live. Along with the band came support from Red and Arrival of Autumn, giving the evening a mixture of metalcore, post-hardcore, hard rock, and melodic death metal. This night was truly amazing.

First up was Arrival Of Autumn from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. This was my second time seeing and photographing these guys, the last time being a little over a month prior on the last date of their tour with Soulfly, Incite, and Prison. The band is the perfect mixture of metalcore and melodic death metal. Unfortunately, due to traffic, I was only able to photograph and catch the last song and a half of their set at The Observatory, but something that is evident about Arrival of Autumn is just how strong and together they are as a band. From their riff heavy instrumentals, courtesy of Ryan Sorensen and Brendan Anderson, to their thick basslines, thanks to Kevin Student, technical drumming from Ty Fox, and the mixture of a wide array of singing and screaming from vocalist Jamison Friesen, the band has a very strong sound that have blown me away both times I’ve seen them. The band played a 7-song set, most of which came from their debut 2019 release “Harbinger”, which was released via Nuclear Blast. Arrival Of Autumn is truly an amazing band and I cannot wait to catch their set again next time they’re in Southern California!

SETLIST

  1. Hurricane on the Horizon
  2. Witness
  3. Better Off Without
  4. The Endless
  5. Apocalyptic
  6. Old Bones / New Blood
  7. The Horror

Up next was Red from Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time seeing these guys, with my last time being in March of 2018 when they co-headlined The Regent with Lacey Strum. I didn’t know much about them the first time I saw them but became a big fan after seeing them the first time. I now own every one of their six albums on physical copy and was happy with the songs they chose for their 9-song set. They mixed songs from their albums, along with songs from their 2019 EP “The Evening Hate”, which they released via The Fuel. I would best describe their sound as a mixture of Nu Metal, Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal, and Hard Rock. Their sound is dynamic, blending each of these songs into their diversified discography to perfection. When you go see Red live, the first thing you will realize is just how energetic vocalist Michael Barnes is, truly engaging with the crowd and owning every inch of the stage. Guitarist Anthony Armstrong, and twin brother and bassist Randy Armstrong own their sides of the stage with ease, slaying those guitars with ease. In the back of the stage, you’ll find drummer Dan Johnson drumming with force with his double bass drums on point. The band was a joy to see, and I especially liked them more now that I actually know the music they were playing. I cannot wait to see Red again in the future.

SETLIST

  1. Fight Inside
  2. Death of Me
  3. Confession (What’s Inside My Head)
  4. Let Go
  5. From The Ashes
  6. Already Over
  7. Feed The Machine
  8. The Evening Hate
  9. Breathe Into Me

In Flames from Gothenburg, Sweden finally hit the stage last. The band really went all out in terms of choosing their setlist, putting together 21-songs that showcased songs from ten of their thirteen albums. What blew me away was hearing the band’s change in sound over the span of their 30-year career as a band. Their musical style mixes together melodic death metal, metalcore, alternative metal, and heavy metal. The band played the perfect mix of the heavy, with some of their more melodic songs, to make both old school fans and newer fans alike very happy. Of the 21 songs they played, 6 of those songs came from their newest album “I, The Mask”, which was released in 2019 via Eleven Seven Records in North America, and via Nuclear Blast throughout the rest of the world. One element to the band’s sound that is iconic when many think of melodic death metal is their heavy use of guitar solos and dueling guitar parts, courtesy of Björn Gelotte and Chris Broderick. Both Gelotte and Broderick had great stage presence and interacted a lot with the crowd. The band’s older sound was strictly melodic death metal, but as time went on, vocalist Anders Fridén started incorporating more clean vocals, which truly helped bring the band in a different direction. Fridén told jokes between the band’s songs and was very active on stage. Bassist Bryce Paul headbanged like crazy and was also very big on crowd participation while he slammed out those bass notes. Drummer Tanner Wayne closes out the band’s lineup, playing an intricate drum patterns with ease. Wayne was previously in post-hardcore bands Chiodos and Scary Kids Scaring Kids but has since joined the metal greats of In Flames and helped them create “I, The Mask”, which has truly become my favorite record from the band to date. Just like their live set, the new record mixes together elements from melodic death metal with elements from metalcore, alternative metal, and heavy metal. They played a truly amazing set that left a lasting impression on me. I cannot wait to see them next time they come out to Southern California!

SETLIST

  1. Cloud Connected
  2. Only for the Weak
  3. Take This Life
  4. Clay Man
  5. Where the Dead Ships Dwell
  6. Call My Name
  7. Behind Space
  8. Follow Me
  9. Monsters in the Ballroom
  10. All for Me
  11. (This Is Our) House
  12. The Hive
  13. Wallflower
  14. Here Until Forever
  15. Burn
  16. Voices
  17. Everything’s Gone
  18. Colony
  19. The Truth
  20. I Am Above
  21. The End