The Black Dahlia Murder w/ After The Burial, Carnifex, Rivers of Nihil, and Undeath | Up From The Sewer Tour | Photos + Review

The Black Dahlia Murder Returns To California With A Bang Selling Out The Belasco

Date: September 18th, 2021

Venue: The Belasco in Los Angeles, CA

The Black Dahlia Murder is a band I constantly see live whenever they come through Southern California. As one of the staples of the melodic death metal genre, they are continually one-upping themselves with each record, staying true to who they are musically but constantly grinding like the madmen they are. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, a lot of their touring surrounding their newest album, “Verminous,” was put on hold, and in such, this is their first tour back after all of the chaos. Unsurprisingly, the tour sold out like crazy, with over two-thirds of the dates being completely sold out, with the others close to selling out as well. Not only did The Black Dahlia Murder play quite a stacked setlist, but they brought along a beastly lineup of bands. The supporting lineup consisted of After The Burial, Carnifex, Rivers of Nihil, and Undeath. With a lineup this stacked, it was no wonder why the Los Angeles date was the first on the tour to sell out.

Undeath from Rochester, New York, was the first up to the stage. Coining themselves as “skull-crushing death metal,” it is no wonder why this is the perfect term to describe these guys. Their music is HEAVY. I had to bold that word because it needed emphasis.  With a gritty barebones sound similar to staple bands of the death metal genre like Dying Fetus, Nile, Cannibal Corpse, and more, this brutal death metal style set them apart from the rest of the bands on this lineup. Their vocalist Alexander Jones did a great job of crowd management. He owned that whole stage with his’ distinct vocals that you can tell have a slight black metal influence. Bassist Tommy Wall spanked that bass to give it those deep thick tones pumping through and prominent throughout Undeath’s sound. Guitarists Jared Welch and Kyle Beam add the riffage, really adding that gritty sound that pays homage to the death metal greats that came before them. The final member that closes out the band’s lineup is their drummer Matt Browning, who plays those stank beats with precision. When listening to the band’s album and witnessing their live set, I also feel a slight thrash vibe in their music, prominent throughout the brutal death metal genre. That gritty edge was showcased on their debut album “Lesions of a Different Kind,” released in 2020 via Prosthetic Records. They played 3 songs from this release, 1 song from their 2019 independent EP “Sentient Autolysis,” and one unreleased song that I, unfortunately, do not know the name of. Overall, these guys were a great way to start out the show and really set the stage for those to come with their high energy and brutal riffs.

SETLIST

  1. Enhancing the Dead
  2. (Unknown)
  3. Acidic Twilight Visions
  4. Chained to a Reeking Rotted Body
  5. Lesions of a Different Kind

The next band up was the ever so talented Rivers of Nihil from Reading, Pennsylvania. I first saw Rivers of Nihil back in 2018 when they opened for Thy Art Is Murder and Dying Fetus, and I already thought they were great then. But boy have they risen in my ranks since then. Initially, the band’s style was very much in line with the rest of those in the technical death metal genre: fast-paced, heavy, and riffy. However, as the band found their groove and started experimenting, they started moving more into the realm of progressive metal, mixing in clean vocals, and creating a cinematic style within their music. With their new record, The Work, just weeks away from debuting to the world, we as the audience were lucky to hear two of the new songs live, those being “Clean” and “Focus.” Within the new songs, you can really hear the power of vocalist Jake Dieffenbach and bassist/clean vocalist Adam Biggs’ voices. The new songs, along with the songs from their 2018 release “Where The Owls Know My Name,” have a lot of dynamics. But it seems that Jake and Adam have a good number of trade-offs in terms of vocals with The Work. They were the only band at the show to have clean vocals, and the change really felt needed as their set was well-rounded, and I couldn’t hold back a smile underneath my mask. Drummer Jared Klein is an absolute beast behind the kit, and my eyes always go to him because some of the technical parts he plays blow me away. Guitarists Brody Uttley and Jon Topore help create the atmosphere with their melodic instrumentals, paired with Uttley’s lead guitar solos and hooks. Honestly, Rivers of Nihil continue to get better and better every time I see them, and they constantly blow away any expectations I had prior. I cannot wait to see where this band goes with the release of “The Work,” which came out in 2021 via Metal Blade Records. You MUST all check out this band and see live if you have not yet done so.

SETLIST

  1. The Silent Life
  2. Focus
  3. Clean
  4. Sand Baptism
  5. Where The Owls Know My Name

The third band up to the stage was Carnifex from San Diego, CA. Carnifex has been one of the leading deathcore bands for quite some time, being one of the genre’s founders. Coming hot off the release of their newest album, “Graveside Confessions,” out now via Nuclear Blast Records, I was stoked to hear how the new songs would sound live. The lead singles from the record “Pray For Peace” and the title track “Graveyard Confessions” sounded epic and translated very well live. The band started their set with the title track from their 2019 record, “World War X,” and also played some of the band’s most famous songs, “Slit Wrist Savior” and “Lie To My Face,” which the band re-recorded for the new album “Graveside Confessions.” The band closed out the set with the title track from their 2010 album “Hell Chose Me,” which got the crowd wild. From the start of the set to the end, I was stoked.

As usual, the band had their large lit-up pentagrams, but they also had a bright lighting setup on stage with many strobing lights that were very well lit and timed. Vocalist Scott Ian Lewis is an absolute beast on stage, genuinely taking every inch in and captivating the crowd. Carnifex was one of the first death metal bands I got into, which came with their 2016 album “Slow Death.” What drew me straight in was the symphonic backing, along with Scott’s vocals. Something evident in Carnifex’s music is just how intricate and technical their drumming parts are, and that is all courtesy of the ever so talented Shawn Cameron on drums. This dude is an absolute beast and truly has me in awe when I hear how fast some of his parts are. A significant change from the last time I saw Carnifex to now is the band going from having two guitarists down to one. Still, guitarist Cory Arford did not disappoint in the slightest. He absolutely killed it on those leads and shredded it on that stage. Closing out the band’s lineup is Fred Calderon, who provides the headbangs and the deep tones from his bass. Bass, in my opinion, is the most underrated instrument when it comes to bands. To me, the bass is one of the most essential, as it adds some of the deeper undertones that can really bring the music to the next level, and Fred does that very well. All in all, Carnifex is an absolutely insane band to see live and is very consistent when it comes to theatrics and musicianship.

SETLIST

  1. World War X
  2. Pray For Peace
  3. Slit Wrist Savior
  4. Graveside Confessions
  5. Lie To My Face
  6. Hell Chose Me

Up next as direct support was the ever so talented band After The Burial from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Unfortunately, vocalist Anthony Notarmaso became sick on tour and lost his voice. The band continued on and played instrumentally, which the crowd went WILD for. After the Burial is a very technical band instrumentally. Thanks to their odd time signatures, guitar tones, and fast pacing, the band is well known in the progressive metal genre, constantly teetering between metalcore and deathcore territory. Having the instrumentals showcased in the forefront was an absolutely incredible sight and audible experience. Guitarist Trent Hafdahl was on full display. His leads and backing vocal parts were at the forefront of the band’s performance. They had beautifully timed and strobed lighting that added to the overall experience and performance. The crowd went wild when the band started the set with the fan-favorite song “Lost In The Static.” During the next song, “In Flux,” I couldn’t help but really tune in to bass player Adrian Oropeza. Adrian is really vibing on stage, with his headbanging and downtuned bass tones really adding the grit and djenty sound that the band is known for. Dan Carle closes out the band’s rhythm section, and he is by far one of the most on-point and technical drummers in the progressive metal scene, not missing a beat. I especially noticed it during the third song in the set, “Collapse.” After I left the photo pit, I got to see just how nuts the crowd was going. With a moshpit about twice the size as it was prior, they were absolutely mesmerized by the technicality and prowess the band showcased. During the lead single “Behold The Crown,” from the band’s 2019 album “Evergreen,” released via Sumerian Records, I especially saw this energy from the crowd with one of the fastest and most violent circle pits of the night. The band played two more songs before closing out their incredible set, those songs being “Exist, Exist,” and “A Wolf Among Ravens.” I am incredibly proud of these guys for trooping on through their vocalist being sick. Them playing instrumentally was incredible and wowed the whole audience in attendance.

SETLIST

  1. Lost In The Static
  2. In Flux
  3. Collapse
  4. Behold The Crown
  5. Exist, Exist
  6. A Wolf Among Ravens

The Black Dahlia Murder hailing from Waterford, Michigan, finally hit the stage next. To say they obliterated the stage with their talent would be an understatement. Being a band with 20 years and nine albums under their belt, they had a lot of songs to choose from for their set. I think they created a setlist that was both dynamic and crowd-pleasing. The band opened up the show with “I Will Return” from the 2009 album “Deflorate,” released via Metal Blade Records, which is the record label the band has been with thus far throughout their career. This is typically the band’s closing track when they headline, so it was cool to hear it at the beginning of the set. One thing that cannot be ignored when seeing The Black Dahlia Murder live is vocalist Trevor Strnad’s vocal prowess and control over the crowd. His vocal tone and stage presence combined have made him a figurehead within the death metal community. With crowd surfers galore and tons of moshing in the pit, the band quickly moved on to the title track “Verminous” from their newest album from 2020 that reached number 99 on the billboard 200. Strnad stated himself that the addition of guitarist Brandon Ellis was really showcased on this record. While Ellis was also a part of their 2017 record “Nightbringers,” his style and musicianship really took the helm for the new record. Bassist Max Lavelle provided lots of headbanging, windmills, and deep grooving bass tones that really mesh beautifully with the band’s sound. The band then went into their third song, “Nightbringers,” and I really noticed just how on-point drummer Alan Cassidy was during this song and throughout the whole set. The Black Dahlia Murder songs are incredibly technical, fast, and complex, and Cassidy did not miss a single beat. Guitarist and founding member Brian Eschbach absolutely shreds those rhythm guitar parts with ease. As I’ve stated, the band’s songs are challenging. But someone like Eschbach has been performing them with ease for over two decades at this point, and you can tell he is genuinely enjoying himself on stage with him smiling and exuding lots of positive energy. The band went on to play a career-spanning set, with songs from seven of their nine records. I always get excited when they play “What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse” from their 2007 album “Nocturnal,” as it reminds me of when I first discovered the band myself when I found that song on Rock Band. Fun fact, that song is still the most challenging song on Rock Band for drums. The Black Dahlia Murder once again blew me away, with their colorful green and red lighting to their technical musicianship that got the rest of the crowd and me going wild. They are always on point and are a band that must be witnessed to fully appreciate how great of a band they truly are.

SETLIST

  1. I Will Return
  2. Verminous
  3. Nightbringers
  4. Unhallowed
  5. Funeral Thirst
  6. Sunless Empire
  7. Nocturnal
  8. Statutory Ape
  9. Removal of the Oaken Stake
  10. Contagion
  11. Everything Went Black
  12. On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood
  13. Child of Night
  14. Kings of the Nightworld
  15. What A Horrible Night To Have A Curse
  16. Warborn
  17. As Good As Dead
  18. Deathmask Divine
  19. Miasma

This tour was beyond incredible. After a year and a half away from shows, to have this monster of a tour with these fantastic bands be one of my first shows back; was beyond incredible. Thank you to all of the amazing bands, crew, and venue staff for making sure this show and tour ran so smoothly. This will probably go down as one of the best tours of 2021.

The Black Dahlia Murder | After The Burial | Carnifex | Rivers of Nihil | Undeath

Photos + Review Courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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Allegaeon w/ Inferi and Paladin | Apoptosis Tour Part II | Photos + Review

Allegaeon Brings The Second Leg Of The Apoptosis Tour To LA

Venue: The Hi Hat on 10/22/19

When I saw Allegaeon was finally coming back through Los Angeles, I was beyond ecstatic. I’ve seen them twice before, both times in 2018, and they blew me away both times I saw them. Allegaeon is the perfect blend between progressive metal, melodic death metal, and technical death metal, which is blended perfectly. Along with them on this leg came melodic technical death metal band Inferi, as well as speed thrash metal band Paladin, making for a tour filled with tons of talent and a mixture of metal genres that blended so well.

Up first was Paladin from Atlanta, GA. I last photographed vocalist and guitarist Taylor Washington in 2018 when he toured with Arsis as their touring guitarist. While Arsis is melodic death metal, Paladin is a mixture of speed metal and thrash metal, which was honestly an interesting and cool way to start off this tour. The band played a six-song set from their debut album “Ascension”, which was released in 2019 via Prosthetic Records. As the band pointed out during the set, a few of their songs are based around video games, which was very exciting to me. They stood out on this tour on a positive note, with melodies and shredding guitar parts, in line with bands like DragonForce, Exmortus, etc. The rest of the four-piece consists of guitarist Alex Parra, bassist Andy McGraw, and drummer Nathan McKinney. I was thoroughly impressed with their set and cannot wait to see them again next time they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Awakening
  2. Divine Providence
  3. Call of the Night
  4. Black Omen
  5. Shoot for the Sun
  6. Carpe Diem

Next to the stage was Inferi from Nashville, Tennessee. This was my second time seeing this band this year, with the first time being in May when they toured as direct support for Archspire on the Tech Trek IV Tour with Virvum and Wormhole. Inferi is the perfect mix between melodic death metal and technical death metal, which helps them fit with many bands in the death metal genres. The band played a five-song set, which showcased songs from each of their albums, two of which came from their 2019 release “The End of an Era”, two from their 2018 release “Revenant”, and one their 2014 release “The Path of Apotheosis, which were each released via The Artisan Era. Vocalist Steven Boiser crushed it on that stage, with his distinct vocal stylings that drive the band’s performance. Bassist Andrew Kim throws it down with rhythmic bass lines and wild headbangs. Guitarists Malcolm Pugh and Mike Low shredded the stage with dueling guitar solos and technical rhythmic patterns. Holding down the fort on the drums is Spencer Moore, who beats the hell out of those drums with insane precision. I was once again blown away by Inferi’s set and cannot wait to see them again next time they’re in the area!

SETLIST

  1. Behold the Bearer of Light
  2. Thy Menacing Gaze
  3. The Promethean Kings
  4. Quest for the Trinity
  5. Cursed Unholy

Finally up came Allegaeon from Denver, Colorado. For the second leg of their headlining tour in support of their newest release “Apoptosis”, which was released in 2019 via Metal Blade Records, the band brought with them a programmed light show and a lengthy headlining set that would blow away long time fans of the band and newer fans combined. As I said before, this was my second time seeing this five-piece, with the last two sets being in 2018. Seeing them a little over a year after they opened on the Summer Slaughter Tour, the band was stronger than ever. Their sound mixes together progressive metal, melodic death metal, and technical death metal, giving them a style and sound that can fit perfectly with many bands and tour lineups throughout the metal genre as a whole. The band played a 12-song set, showcasing songs from each of their releases, with five of the twelve songs coming from “Apoptosis”. Vocalist Riley McShane really showcased his vocal abilities on this new album and live, with both his’ clean vocals and wide array of screaming styles. Guitarists Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel performed dueling guitar solos and melodies that meshed and blended oh so well. Bassist Brandon Michael is always the hype man of Allegaon shows, as he is filled with energy that radiates from his’ stage presence and intricate bass lines. Closing out the band’s lineup is drummer Brandon Park, who’s complex drum parts are truly the core of the band’s sound and drive each song to perfection. I was thoroughly impressed with the band’s performance and am so proud to have seen just how much they’ve grown in just over a year.

SETLIST

  1. Parthenogenesis
  2. Interphase // Meiosis
  3. Threshold of Perception
  4. Behold (God I Am)
  5. Of Mind and Matrix
  6. Dyson Sphere
  7. Metaphobia
  8. Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassionata Ex Machinea
  9. The God Particle
  10. Stellar Tidal Disruption
  11. Apoptosis

ENCORE

  1. 618

The Apoptosis Part II Tour was filled with bands of a mixture of metal genres that blended together to perfection. I’m truthfully blown away by Allegaeon’s growth over the last year, and am so proud and happy for them! Definitely check them out when they come to a city near you, and give some love to Inferi and Paladin as well who set the stage and put on epic performances on this night. Overall, I am thrilled I was able to attend this show, as it was a spectacle from start to end!

Allegaeon | Inferi | Paladin

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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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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Archspire w/ Inferi, Virvum, Wormhole, and Discarnate Motions |Tech Trek IV Tour Photos | 5/12/19 | Whisky A Go-Go

Discarnate Motions

Wormhole

 

Virvum