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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wage War | Like Moths To Flames | Polaris | Dayseeker

Photos + Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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

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

Venue: The Glass House on 10/10/19

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

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

SETLIST

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

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

SETLIST

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

Finally came Blessthefall from Phoenix, Arizona. Now of the two co-headliners, Blessthefall was by far more prepared and slayed the stage hard. The band brought a lot of lighting and special anniversary tour merch, which was what I’d expect from a 10-year anniversary tour for such an iconic album in the band’s discography. The band was extremely high energy, which is very consistent of the band. Just like Escape the Fate, I have seen them 10 or 11 times, and they always find a way to blow me away. Hearing the album that helped me get into metalcore being played in its entirety was absolutely mind blowing. Along with them playing the full “Witness” album, the band played 5 other songs, 3 of which came from 2018’s “Hard Feelings” and 2 from 2013’s “Hollow Bodies”. The band’s additional setlist was perfect and made their set truly one of the best I’ve ever seen them play live. Vocalist Beau Boken is always a joy to capture live, as he is so lively and is great at controlling the crowd. Guitarists Eric Lambert and Elliot Gruenberg were very lively and slayed those guitar parts. Bassist and screaming vocalist Jared Warth absolutely demolished the stage with his strong vocals and basslines. Touring drummer Conor White held down the fort and played previous drummer Matt Traynor’s parts to a t, while incorporating perfectly timed drum fills. Blessthefall stood out on this tour and ended the night by smashing out an amazing set.

SETLIST

  1. 2.0
  2. What’s Left Of Me
  3. To Hell and Back
  4. God Wears Gucci
  5. Hey Baby, Here’s That Song You Wanted
  6. Witness
  7. Last Ones Left
  8. Five Ninety
  9. We’ll Sleep When We’re Dead
  10. Skinwalkers
  11. You Deserve Nothing And I Hope You Get Less
  12. Stay Still
  13. Wishful Sinking
  14. Cutthroat
  15. Hollow Bodies
  16. You Wear A Crown But You Are No King

ENCORE

17. Sleepless In Phoenix

The This War Is Ours To Witness Tour was a truly special night with two influential bands celebrating the 10-year anniversaries of some of the most impactful albums of the late 2000s. I am truly grateful that I was able to attend and witness this beautiful celebratory concert.

Blessthefall | Escape The Fate | Islander

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