The Palladium, Worcester, MA
Due to the sheer volume of bands and out of consideration for the eyes and souls of any readers, I won’t get into great detail with any band that kinda sounded like all of the other bands or that I don’t particularly like. Or in some cases, missed either because I chose to because I’m boss status or various circumstances. Also, hello again.
This show got started with SAVING GRACE, who are a Christian (obv.) band from Australia that play some form of hardcore that is heavy. You can get down to it with relative ease. Following them were yet another Christian crew, albeit a little heavier, both sound and weight-wise, under the moniker THOSE WHO FEAR. They provided a little anti-sermon, which is much appreciated so you know you’re not being judged. Totality was neatly sandwiched between the two, but their unremarkable sound and downright silly pit action that resembled enthused leprechauns circling a pot o’ gold bore their almost being left out of this review entirely. Sorry, guys.
A time skip and a jump later, FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY came out and encouraged the pitters and sinners to act a fool. One of the few true Deathcore bands currently existing as a legitimate combination of blasting Death Metal fury and Hardcore pit ignorance, FFAA have a lot to be proud of. For starters, they got to play the pre-party with REVOCATION, THE ACACIA STRAIN, and ABIOTIC to name a select few goodies. They can also be proud of the fact that they’ve got fans in both the Metal and Hardcore crowd going hard in the pit for ‘em as though the differences are non-existent. The set was spot-on, with cuts like “The Jackyl” and “The Conqueror”, and even a few new songs, ringing true and clear despite Nate Johnson’s apparent throat problems following an incident where he nearly swallowed his own beard. Hence, babyface Nate. Following these beasts were EAST BEAST, an up and coming crew of aggressors from (wild wild) Western Mass. Heavy, pissed off, but maintaining a sense of fun, I hope East Beast goes places with their churning breakdowns and rousing two-step sections.
The next band I witnessed, GLASS CLOUD, is well on their way to success, despite their part in the controversial “djent” movement. Boasting the guitar talents of TONY DANZA TAPDANCE EXTRAVAGANZA‘s (RIP) own Josh Travis, they’ve already got one musician that’ll provide the heaviness and dexterity that’s needed for a band of their type. Luckily the rest of the band is able to pick up their own slack, with tight drumming, tastefully layered melodies, and delectable clean vocals to go with the standard shouts and growls. I dug it. What I didn’t dig was the sound mix during TÝR, and unfortunately these otherwise fierce Viking warriors were sounding rather dull and neutered. I couldn’t stand to hear it for more than a minute and ran outside to socialize.
Freeing us from the hordes of noisy Norsemen were THE CONTORTIONIST, bereft of their usual singer, Jonathan Carpenter (not to be confused with the director of The Thing, of course), but it mattered not, since the equally talented singer of LAST CHANCE TO REASON, MICHAEL LESSARD, stepped up to fill in while the band searches for a new singer, presumably American Idol style. Replacing Jon Carpenter, even temporarily, is a job that would make anyone short of BTBAM‘s TOMMY ROGERS nervous. Despite the pressure to stay on key during the melodic sections of “Geocentric Confusion” and “Holomovement”, he cut through them with the same ease as he would during “Programmed For Battle” or “The Linear”. Spot on, you couldn’t tell the difference, aside from his apparent nervousness on such a large stage. The band as a whole remained professional and broke it down with the heaviness we know and love (that breakdown in “Oscillator” gets more massive every time I hear it live), and regaled us with tales of space and the inner workings of the mind. Marvelous, would repeat.
Sadly not all progressive/technical Metalcore acts cannot be as rousing of the spirit as THE CONTORTIONIST, as their peers WITHIN THE RUINS so gladly demonstrated with their show of brute chugs and going-nowhere-fast noodles. They weedled too much on “Creature”, they attempted to even it out on “Invade” by adding in some random chugs, and “Elite” is just much more of the same palaver. It’s not impressive by any means, but it isn’t terrible, so I’ll just stick them with a solid “meh”. AFTER THE BURIAL are a band that has drawn many comparisons to the WtR crew, but I feel that their style and panache entitles them to the chugging and weedling that other bands simply cannot master. I eagerly anticipate their new album to be released on Sumerian Records later this year. The band simply cannot fail as a cohesive unit, blending polyrhythms with a mind-bending ease, crafting dizzying melodies and mosh parts with equal verisimilitude, and of course, lyrical splendour that lends to great quotability. From the brutality of “Berzerker” to the more heartfelt hitters “Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You”, they get the crowd moving in a way that WtR can’t; with passion. BORN OF OSIRIS were the final flagbearers of prog-leaning Metalcore for the night, playing a set almost exclusively made of songs from their most recent outing, The Discovery, the only exceptions being oldies (but goodies) “Rosecrance” and “Empires Erased”. Some sound difficulties made the second one difficult to recognize until some way through, but hey, it’s a killer tune. The fact that The Discovery is just about a perfect album saved the set from being wearisome, as playing only material from one release is often a bad move for any band to make, but hey, like I said, it’s perfection in sound.
ENSIFERUM took the stage next, but not feeling in a very folky mood, I made my way upstairs to let the Vikings return to the battlefield once more, and check out ALPHA & OMEGA. One particularly awesome thing I saw was FitFo’s guitarist Pat Sheridan tearing it up in the pit like a monster programmed to kill mercilessly. Other than that, not much to say. Following them were everyone’s favourite tuff guy crew to love/hate, the infamous TERROR. Boasting equal parts old-school Thrash circle-pit riffs and breakdowns to get stangry to in a flat-brim sports cap, Terror have been damn near unstoppable since their inception in 2002. Sure, SCOTT VOGEL may have (unnecessary) beef with THE GHOST INSIDE, and may have dissed Refused on their reunion tour needlessly, but there’s no doubting their power to get a crowd going. The stage was as full of rabid fans that were at once tearing at one another and sharing the space, shouting every word without fail, and also knocking out fools that weren’t with the program. The staff’s completely helpless when a band with TERROR’S draw plays upstairs, and that’s the Lord’s truth.
While I did not physically spectate THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and instead mucked about upstairs, what I heard was their normal grinding technical Calculatorcore fury, punctuated by mellow moments that provide eyes for an otherwise blind hurricane of extreme music outpouring OPETH played a really long set of cool songs with growls this time. Two and a half hours. I have no words for it, except damn that shit was dope.