In less than one month metalheads from all over will descend on The Palladium in Worcester, MA for The 15th Annual New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. The Palladium is widely regarded as the metal capital of the northeast. Starting with the kickoff party on April 18th the weekend long festival boats a who’s who of the best heavy bands in the world such as ANTHRAX, HATEBREED, EXODUS, OPETH, EVERY TIME I DIE, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, D.R.I., THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, MUNICIPAL WASTE, SHADOWS FALL, KATATONIA, SICK OF IT ALL, TYR, TERROR, REVOCATION, THE ACACIA STRAIN, JOB FOR A COWBOY, BLACK BREATH, TRAP THEM, TRAPPED UNDER ICE, GOATWHORE and dozens more. At the center of it all is SCOTT LEE, who helped devise the festival originally and helps book it yearly, along with Mass Concerts. We chatted at length with Scott about the history of the festival from its humble beginnings, what it takes to put on the show and where it is headed in the future. You can buy tickets here.
NAILS, formed from ex-members of TERROR, CREMATORIUM, and BETRAYED, totaling up to one member from each, is the sonic definition of hate. If you regularly listen to NAILS, you’re probably pissed about something. If stay-posi Pop Punk a là THE WONDER YEARS had an evil counterpart, it would be NAILS. Formed in 2007 in the sun-baked climes of Southern California, home of the Bay Area Thrash scene as well as fellow hatemongers EARLY GRAVES, they’ve been shedding the blood of fearful lambs since the release of their first 11 minute cannonade, also entitled Obscene Humanity, setting the tone for the follow-up,Unsilent Death, with just under a quarter of an hour of face-ripping metal inflected Hardcore that was like TRAP THEM with even more “fuck off”. With Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE fame behind the board, they saw a tone that ENTOMBED would doff their collective hat to, and a killer live show to boot. Their split with fellow Metalcore swordsmen SKIN LIKE IRON was a small taste of a new artistic direction, and now we have this, the reboot of three songs off of their first release. I would first like to note that writing about any given NAILS release takes about three times longer than the complete running time, and since this is their shortest release… You do the math.
I’ll be honest, when I found out that this was simply a rehash of old material, I was bracing myself for a letdown. I’m quite glad I did, however, since they have exceeded expectations. Not to say that the original Obscene Humanity LP was bad, but hearing these three well-chosen tracks (“Obscene Humanity”, “Confront Them”, and “Lies”) fleshed out with their ENTOMBED meets WEEKEND NACHOS sound, courtesy of Kurt, makes these songs even more powerful.
“Obscene Humanity” opens like some of TRAP THEM’s more vicious tracks, then goes into that good old fashioned NAILS assault we’ve come to love. “Confront Them” shows their ability to go from piledriving mayhem to a more controlled and bludgeoning stomp within under a minute and a half and still make it a fulfilling listening experience. “Lies”, for any who have listened to Unsilent Death, will notice that the two beginning sections are basically cut and pasted from “Scum Will Rise”, but with some minor variations and more dirt. Though this recycling is nothing new, being that “Lies” came first on the debut LP, it’s more apparent due to them having defined their sound beyond just another pissed off Hardcore band wielding feedback and intentional refrigerator box lo-fi quality. Whether or not this takes you out of what is otherwise a very well-written track on its own, that’s up to you.
Overall, it’s nothing new, but at the same time it gives a different perspective on the old material, which sounded like it came from a last-minute Deathwish Inc. demo. Though Obscene Humanity 2009 was good, Obscene Humanity ca. 2012 is a chance to show fans that A) they remember where they came from and B) they’re hard at work on new material with which to wage war on Pop Punk.
The Verdict: It burns.
TODD JONES and NAILS: You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.
This is going to be fucking fun! TERROR are coming to the east coast with CRUEL HAND, FIRE AND ICE and STRENGTH FOR A REASON. These are going to be some of the most fun hardcore shows of the year so, if a date is near you, I highly suggest you get out there and start windmilling. TERROR always brings one of the most intense shows I’ve ever seen and CRUEL HAND is equally as destructive. I’ve never seen FIRE AND ICE or STRENGTH FOR A REASON live but I’ll be there early to check them out!
11/27 Haverhill, MA – Anchors Up
11/28 Montreal, QC – Underworld
11/29 Toronto, ON – The Poor Alex Theatre
11/30 Buffalo, NY – The Funeral Home
12/01 Smithtown, NY – The Smithtown Masonic Temple
12/02 New York, NY – Santos
12/03 Washington, DC – DC9
12/04 Philadelphia, PA – The Barbary
THE ACACIA STRAIN kick off their headlining tour with TERROR, STRAY FROM THE PATH and HARM’S WAY on October 26th and I’m sure it’s devastating show will cause most of these venues to collapse and crumble so I hope anyone who booked these behemoths has great insurance! We also know that VINCENT BENNETT made a fucking hilarious promo video for the tour that you should check out immediately!
Oct 26–Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights
Oct 27–Jermyn, PA @ Eleanor Rigby’s
Oct 28–Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
Oct 29–Columbus, OH @ The Outland
Oct 30–Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
Oct 31–Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theatre
Nov 1–Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
Nov 3–Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
Nov 4–Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Nov 5–Boise, ID @ The Venue
Nov 6–Spokane, WA @ The A Club
Nov 7–Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
Nov 8–Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
Nov 10–Oakland, CA @ Oakland Metro
Nov 11–Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Nov 12–Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
Nov 13–San Diego, CA @ Soma
Nov 14–Tempe, AZ @ The Clubhouse
Nov 16–Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live Studio
Nov 17–Austin, TX @ Emo’s Inside
Nov 18–San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
Nov 19–Dallas, TX @ The Door
Nov 20–Tulsa, OK @ The Marquee
Nov 21–Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
Nov 22–Joliet, IL @ Mojoes
Nov 23–Covington, KY @ The Mad Hatter
Nov 25–Cleveland, OH @ Peabody’s
Nov 26–Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
Another great night of metal and debauchery was on tap at my favorite spot in or around Boston for a metal show, Great Scott in Allston MA. A bunch of hardcore inspired metal bands were invading the spot and it was a treat to see such a big turnout for a normally dead summer night. Lots of punk and hardcore kids mingled with metallers and show each other approving looks for shirt choices like THE BAD BRAINS as well as DEATH ANGEL. So choice was the lineup that many of Boston’s metal luminaries were in the house like members of CONVERGE and DEATH RAY VISION. All thanks and props go to Born of Fire and Zack Wells for putting on yet another killer bill for all to enjoy.
Front man Pboy of NEW LOWS is an incredible performer.
Local favorites PANZERBASTARD opened up the night and are just a killer live act. they are best described as old-school rock and thrash served up in a dirty shot glass full of fuck you! Bassist/front man Keith Bennett is hilariously funny on stage and the entire band just cooks live. Their label head Dan Patac (Patac Records) was also in the house and told me they have an new album in the works and I’m really psyched about it. Next up were NEW LOWS and BITTER END. Both of these bands are on the Deathwish Inc. label and had a lot of heads in the house just for them. BITTER END is a little more on the old school tip of things, but still crushingly harsh. NEW LOWS has a killer live show buoyed by insane front man Pboy. His vocals alone were worth the price of admission. Both bands are names to watch out for in the near future if hardcore is your thing.
Todd Jones of NAILS drive his point home....
After a quick change over of gear NAILS his the stage and the entire venue seemed swollen with people. It was hot as hell in the joint and the front packed in tight really for the onslaught the band would bring. From the opening salvo of “Conform/Scum Will Rise” it was like a powder keg went off and a big, wild mosh pit opened right up. The band was tight and sounded great. Vocalist/guitarist Todd Jones (ex-TERROR) is a terrific screamer, guitar player and performer. He has a lot of energy and really conveys his lyrics with his raging style. The crowd totally seemed to feed off of this making for an explosive set. The band played a set entirely from their album Unsilent Death (Southern Lord) and the crowd was enrapt as hellish anthems of hardcore, thrash, crust and grind rained down on our ears. Drummer Taylor Young and bassist John Giannelli round out the lineup and the bashed away at the songs with little time wasted. Songs like “I Will Not Follow”, “No Servant”, “Depths” and “Scapegoat” were just spot on perfect and the crowd never stopped moving. They even covered old NYHC band BREAKDOWN, playing the classic ”Sick People”. When the final notes of their set rang out like a shot from a smoking gun, I was pretty much spent for the night. Every time I see this band I just want them to keep going and play double the time. Perhaps next year when they do a headline tour. In the meantime I cannot wait for their next album to drop in 2012.
Pick up the new album from RINGWORM, out now.
If it was any other band besides RINGWORM, they might have a hard time following the chaos that preceded them. However, the hardcore and metal bashers from Cleveland had other ideas and are not to be outdone as a live unit. On the road in support of their new album Scars (Victory Records) they hit the stage with wild-eyed , reckless abandon. As usual vocalist James “Human Furnace” Bulloch just killed vocally. He is a terrific front man, with tremendous stage presence and he always gets the crowd moving. No one in metal sounds quite like him and probably couldn’t even if they tried. Naturally, the pit was sick with a lot of real old-school mosh dues out in force and no room for sissy ninja kicking noobs. There were circle pits galore from wall to wall in the relatively small venue and it was cool too see no fights or knucklehead action for a change. Since the band is out on the road celebrating the 10 year anniversary of the modern hardcore classic Birth Is Pain album and 20 years as a band, they played nearly as many deep cuts as they did recent ones. Songs like that title track as well as “Amputee”, “Dollar Whore” and “The Sickness” meshed well with newer material like “Unravel”. The entire band was tight as hell as they tore through the hour long set, keeping the intensity on high. I have to single out guitarist John Comprix (BEYOND FEAR, CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED) for his usual axe-wielding awesomeness. I for one am glad RINGWORM are still plugging away after all this time and suggest you catch them live if they come to your town.
RINGWORM bassist Mike Lare wears a cool ANAL CUNT shirt in tribute to Boston grindcore legend Seth Putnam. RIP Seth!
Few names are synonymous with with the words New York Hardcore and metal like PRO-PAIN. Kids in my hometown were scrawling the NYxHC four points logo everywhere they could and the scene, now mostly gone was all about unity and common bonds. I first saw the band at one of my favorite spots back in the day, the now long gone Coney Island High at a matinee and they were as important as any band back then. As a young guy with humble dreams of having my own band they showed you what was possible. Being from Long Island, they were one of of us. Years before anyone heard of the current crop of bands calling themselves hardcore existed, PRO-PAIN was putting it down big time with their infectious mix of second wave old-school punk values, metal riffs and influence and occasional singing/rapping style. Front man Gary Meskil (ex-THE CRUMBSUCKERS) was and still is the straw that stirs the drink. In many ways he is as legit an underground icon as it gets. Not too mention that Foul Taste of Freedom was as influential a record as any to come out in 1992 in the scene, at least locally. There is no HATEBREED, TERROR, TRAPPED UNDER ICE or countless others without PRO-PAIN and those bands would tell you that fact themselves. Now celebrating twenty years as a band with this massive and deep CD/DVD package, perhaps the band will get their proper due respect they have long ago earned.
In typical fashion for the band, to just retread out the classics for nostalgia would be a total waste. Hot on the heels of last years excellent Absolute Power, this album begins with four brand new songs that are as relevant and good as anything the band has ever done. Songs like “Damnation” and “Hands In the Jar” have the famous Meskil vitriol, harsh jamming core and melodic sense that really hit home. “Someday Bloody Someday” has a tongue in cheek title, but the song is short, hostile and to the point. “True Liberation” is a throwback that could have been on any PRO-PAIN album. This is not vanity release because the band proves to be quite vital here. Next up are some updated versions of classic songs like “Foul Taste of Freedom”, “Make Love Not War” “Shine” and “Denial” featuring guest appearances from original members JC Dwyer, Eric Klinger and Rob Moschetti. These new versions are a treat for the fans, but also sound hot and vibrant too. Then over the remaining disc and a half (figure it out if you are buying a download, I still buy metal CD’s and DVDs. Thank you very much!) you have thirty tracks of the band in concert in Europe. This tremendous offering has great oldies, deep cuts as well as more recent songs. The performances are great and Gary has never sounded angrier or better in my opinion. The current line-up includes Marshall Stephens and Adam Phillips on guitar and Rick Halverson on drums. All of them are lock tight and they play with a ton of passion. The best cuts of these tracks includes “Neocon”, “All For King George”, “Get Real” and “Bad Blood” among many, many others. The real treasure in the set has got to be the DVD element. Not only does it include a full 90-minute set filmed in the Czech Republic, but it also contains another 78 minutes of fan filmed bootlegs, other live sets and a video for “Down For the Cause” and a montage of rare footage from the vault. If you are a lifer this is a must have and if you are a relative newbie this is an important document to own to better understand this corner stone band.
Metal Army caught up with Todd Jones of NAILS right after he got off stage on their recent tour with RINGWORM. We talked about making their latest video, inspirational stuff and the next NAILS album. We were also propositioned by a guy who might have been a pimp, who was hoping we were selling weed and not doing an interview. You gotta love Allston Rock City (Allston, MA)!
This was a sick show!
MAA: You guys just played a sick show! How is the tour going?
TJ: Excellent! All the bands are band that I like musically and bands I like people wise. The tour went by too fast. Today is the thirteenth day of the tour, tomorrow will be the fourteen. I left my house three weeks ago and feels like it was only three days ago. Even the worst show was an awesome show. It’s been too easy and too much fun!
Todd Jones live with NAILS.
MAA: NAILS have been tireless road dogs, but your shows are crazy intense. How do you manage to stay motivated night after night?
TJ: I go through periods of motivation and demotivation, both. When I get demotivated I just try to think about the band and not listen to our music too much or our demos for our next record. We have a lot of demos for our next record right now. But when its time to hit the road or time to hit the stage something in me naturally kicks in and takes over and I’m ready.
If you don't own this album, something is seriously wrong with you.
TJ: The video was made by a friend of mine named Joel Perkins, who I’ve know since the fifth grade. He has recently started a career in the video world, I don’t know what you call it. He’s doing really well for himself and I called him up and asked him to do it. He did a great job on a shoe-string budget and I think it came out great. I’m proud of it, proud of him and how it came out. I think it was a success for us. It didn’t come out corny and that was my biggest fear. I think it works. It captures us and I hope somebody sees it and gets an idea of what to expect from us. You can listen to a record and get a general feeling of how the vibe that a band is trying to portray is. When you see a band live, it could be a different thing. The vibe that we portray in a live setting is the one they feel when they hear the album or see the video. I hope the video does that since it is live and if people can’t feel it I don’t know what to say. I just hope it was successful.
MAA: What is the progress on writing the new record?
TJ: We have five songs done. We need to write six or seven more. We’d like to write more songs than we need in case some of them don’t fit into the flow of the record. We already have the title for our record. I already have the idea for the cover. Writing is a slow process for us. It took us nine months to write Unsilent Death. We don’t rush anything and we just let it come to us. As it comes to us, we get it down. We will probably be recording early next year and hope the album comes out in the spring or summer.
MAA: What inspires your lyrics?
TJ: I try to write lyrics that fit the vibe of the music. I’m a very emotional person. Unfortunately, a lot of that emotion comes with depression and anger and I try to use NAILS as a way to vent that. In life there are a lot of injustices that you face in the way of relationships you have with people, relationships you have with your career, or with your family. Even though I might sound pissed, I look at it as a positive thing. NAILS is about freedom to do whatever the fuck you want and not have anybody not come down on you for it.
MAA: What music do you listen to in the van?
TJ: Today we listened to JESU, Justin K Broderick’s current band. We listened to SEPULTURA’s Chaos AD today. In the van we listen to a lot of music and with 5-7 guys its hard to cater to everybody, but I try to put on stuff everybody likes such as LED ZEPPELIN, SEPULTURA and METALLICA’s Master of Puppets. We just try to listen to classic records that are “easy to listen to” we can all enjoy.
I always get annoyed when I don’t see The Chance in Poughkeepsie on B-market tour routings. That is my defacto destination for a tour that doesn’t stop in NYC and, unfortunately, this GOD DAMN tour doesn’t go there so I guess I won’t be seeing it at all. However, if you are in a city that this GOD DAMN tour comes through, I highly recommend you go see these GOD DAMN bands because they put on a GOD DAMN good show. I don’t really know much about HARMS WAY (the bill’s opener) but all of these other GOD DAMN bands are GOD DAMN electric!
(See what I did there?)
In all honesty, I do think the bands on this tour are very fun live and I do encourage you to check it out if you have even one small hardcore bone in your body because it will be a good time. ‘The God Damn Tour’ does what many big hardcore tours do though, hot scene band headlining with TERROR direct support to bring out the more traditional fans and then you’ve got STRAY FROM THE PATH (a younger sceney HxC band) and HARM’S WAY — which is a band that I haven’t listened too much yet, but they seem like they’re for the older crowd, a NAILS kind of vibe.
So, you have two band on the bill that appear to each different section of the hardcore scene in 2011 – well rounded! Get out there and fucking mosh!
God Damn Tour dates:
10/26: Albany, NY – Northern Lights
10/27: Jermyn, PA – Eleanor Rigby’s
10/28: Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
10/29: Columbus, OH – The Outland
10/30: Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
10/31: Indianapolis, IN – Emerson Theatre
11/1: Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
11/3: Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
11/4: Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
11/5: Boise, ID – The Venue
11/6: Spokane, WA – The A Club
11/7: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
11/8: Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre
11/10: Oakland, CA – Oakland Metro
11/11: Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
11/12: Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
11/13: San Diego, CA – Soma
11/14: Tempe, AZ – The Clubhouse Music Venue
11/16: Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Studio
11/17: Austin, TX – Emo’s Inside
11/18: San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
11/19: Dallas, TX – The Door
11/20: Tulsa, OK – The Marquee
11/21: Sauget, IL – Pop’s
11/22: Chicago, IL – Reggies Rock Club
11/25: Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s Down under
11/26: Syracuse, NY – Lost Horizon
If you’re heard this sort of thing once, then you’ve heard it a thousand times.
While the idea is admirable to perform no-frills, stripped down hardcore, the problem is that this mission is left in the hands of bands like S.O.S., whose musical end results still miss the mark when it comes to the real, punk rock influenced hardcore of the early 80s.
While I Owe You Nothing is competently played and well-produced, its professionalism becomes the band’s inherent downfall, because the inherent danger and electricity so integral to GOOD old school hardcore becomes sucked out in a minute. Consisting of Terror members Scott Vogel (vox) and Nick Jett (drums) alongside Hatebreed bassist Chris Beatie, Trapped Under Ice axeman Sam Trapkin and-surprisingly enough-Agnostic Front and Madball’s Matt Henderson on guitar, S.O.S. ends up sounding more tuff guy than anything else, not doing much to distance itself from the modern hardcore racket already performed by Terror and Hatebreed.
If this sort of stuff floats your boat, then by all means…jump aboard. To these ears, it’s just a whole lot of testosterone with not a lot to say which hasn’t already been screamed (for change) much more efficiently by countless, classic core bands of yore.
Once again it was time for my annual sojourn to the northeast’s premier destination for all forms of metal in one crazy weekend. Every year they have tried to improve aspects of the show and this time was no different. Western Massachusetts has its very own Svengali of metal in Scott Lee. Lee runs several venues, promotes the scene to the fullest, helps manage bands like THE ACACIA STRAIN via Crimson Management and has a bunch of other ventures he’s into. He makes this fest happen and all the fans and myself appreciate it. Now expanded to three days, I missed day one on Thursday night. Early arriving fans got to see performances by DR. ACULA, STRAY FROM THE PATH, MY CHILDREN MY BRIDE, VANNA and ATTACK ATTACK. I met fans from all over the world on Friday including one couple who came in just for the show from Australia because they have never seen BIOHAZARD or the teenage girl who made her parents bring her from Indiana only to see TERROR and CARNIFEX which is amazing if you think about it. I made into the venue and strapped myself in for the first full day of non-stop metal madness. Dominated mostly by bands that were mostly either hardcore or deathcore, I figured today would be packed to the gills and I was right. (Extra special thanks to Rev. Aaron Pepelis and Return to the Pit for the photo usage where noted.)
As I walked into the the upstairs part of the building to where the second stage was I got to see and hear the end of the set by THE CARRIER. They were playing their asses off as usual with their “hit” song “Alcatraz”. A good way to start the weekend by catching them and their heads were definitely there to represent which was good to see.
Brian Fair goes off!
Next up was quasi super-group DEATH RAY VISION. Despite having such local notables like Brian Fair (SHADOWS FALL/OVERCAST), Mike D’Antonio (KILLSWITCH ENGAGE/ OVERCAST) and Pete Cortese (SEEMLESS/OVERCAST) I was surprised by the initially soft response the crowd had. During the first song, however Brian got the crowd going with his usual awesome antics. Since the DRV material is brand new with Get Lost or Get Dead just coming out a week ago, perhaps it took people awhile to feel it, but as the set wore on the pit filled up a little and people were digging it. Every song was good with “Not For Glory” and “Drown the Light” being the very best. They played excellent, rocked out and showed a lot of promise for the future with this, only their second show. Brian made a short speech about hardcore not being a fashion statement before they closed with a sick old school cover of “Grifter”.
About the only downside to an alternating stages show is sometimes you end up missing bands you want to see. So in order to catch a few main stage bands I missed SHAI HULUD who is strong live, but I have seen a bunch. I caught the end of MOLOTOV SOLUTION and their proggy, tech, death-core style. I hadn’t really heard them much besides a few songs and I really liked their live delivery, especially frontman Nick Arthur. They had a few too many bass drops for my taste, but I was impressed enough with their talent in just a few songs, especially “Harbinger”. I’m definitely going to keep tabs on them since they are releasing a new album later this year.
Then it was time for THY WILL BE DONE to hit the stage. I was really excited to see them as I feel they are really coming into their own after a pair of solid albums. With their blend of PANTERA style power-groove, hardcore and thrash they differentiated themselves apart from most other bands of the early going. Frontman Jay Costa, wearing a TYPE -O-NEAGTIVE shirt in memory of Peter Steele set things off as usual with an electric performance. As usual the crowd ate it up and TWBD has the best pits of the the early day. Songs like “Preserve the Sacred”, “Cast the Crown” and “Earth’s Final Embrace” just crushed and their positive pro-Christian lyrics are more in line with old school hardcore than preachy sermons. This is a band that could be a headline act in a another few years here and I am excited for what their next record will bring.
TRAPPED UNDER ICE was the next band I caught and as usual they were insane. The excellently named band falls more on the hardcore side of metal with a ton of old school influences. The entire floor was a giant clusterfuck of a circle pit with everybody slamming and jumping on stage to grab the microphone to scream. Stage divers galore too! As usual they played unforgettable jams like “Believe”, “Soul Vice”, “TUI” and their anthem “Stay Cold”. It is great to see a band come along and embody what really used to mean something in music, add something modern and new to it and keep it going. Great job guys!
I had made the smart move staying in the boiling hot upstairs area of the venue because about ten minutes before TERROR’s set security cut off letting people in. I have seen many shows at the Palladium and the upstairs has never been so packed in tight and crowded. When the band hit the stage it was pure mayhem! The tiny stage was crammed with fans and friends plus the band when they started with “Stick Tight”. Playing a set chock full of hardcore anthems they just jammed their asses off and it was awesome to see so many heads in the room, crowding the microphone and knowing every word. They played a really tight and long set with great cuts like “Betrayer”, “Out of My Way”, “Lowest of the Low”, “Hell and Back” and the title track off of their recent album Keepers of the Faith (Century Media). They delivered live as always and put on a main stage worthy set.
Johnny Plague whips up the crowd
After waiting in the sweaty upper room for things to clear out I needed to step outside to get some fresh air and decompress a little so I ended up missing STICK TO YOUR GUNS which bites. By the time I made back to the downstairs part of the venue WINDS OF PLAGUE was about to start. They have been slowly growing on me and they always put on a great show. They certainly didn’t disappoint because they went nuts live as usual and the crowd was definitely feeling them. Opening with “The Impaler” the energized the crowd that may have started to sag as day turned into night. Front man Johnny Plague jumps around like crazy, winds up the fans and has an awesome vocal delivery. It was cool to hear the entire place singing “One Body Too Many” which is always a crowd pleaser. Also interesting was the hot reception for new songs like “Drop The Match” and “Refined In the Fire” off of Against The World (Century Media). People were feeling it and moshing their asses off. Closing with reloaded they finished up strong with one of the best sets of the day by far.
Many heads were there just for BLOOD FOR BLOOD
BLOOD FOR BLOOD was next and I haven’t seen them in about ten years and it seemed like the entire place was amped for them to come on. Hitting the stage hard they went right in to the old school joint “Mother Dear” and the entire floor erupted. Bolstered by Bill Graziadei on guitar and backing vocals (filling in for “White Trash” Rob Lind who is taking care of personal issues) then entire band put on an explosive performance worthy of their reputation. They played memorable songs like “Ain’t Like You”, “Dead End Street”, “Revenge on Society”, “Wasted Youth Crew” and “Piss on Your Hopes and Dreams”. Singer Erick Medina was funny as ever insulting the crowd and making fun of himself as well. Killing it live is what these guys do, long layoff or not and the core band of Ian McFarland on bass and Neal Dike on drums was augmented by Graziadei and Craig Silverman (ONLY LIVING WITNESS) also on guitar. They are everything a band from this genre should be about and I’m proud to be a fan.
Certainly the most anticipated set of the entire fest from a local standpoint was the return of BURY YOUR DEAD with original singer Matt Bruso. In the four plus years since Bruso quit they scaled new heights of popularity toured bigger tours and in my opinion made more daring and inventive music. Apparently forces around the band would prefer the Tom Cruise- movie inspired, gimmicky deathcore of their beginnings return and so Bruso is back. Upon hitting the stage the band announced themselves as back with “Top Gun” . The whole floor opened up with an insanely brutal circle pit and Bruso prowled the stage like a wild animal as the band played. They were in fact really good live and seriously heavy as ever. The crowd of crazies loved it and there was practically people walking and moshing on the tops of the bodies of other people to get to the stage to sing a long. Right before playing “Mission:Impossible” Bruso addressed the crowd. He said he wanted “to punch himself in the face” for how bad the bands’ music and former singer was without him all these years. I thought this was totally unnecessary and classless. Wasn’t he the one that quit? And why dump on the guys who took you back? BYD is a decent band, but they are not reinventing the wheel musically here and I thought changing their sound took a lot of guts. At this point I lost whatever respect I had for them and didn’t care much for the rest of their set. If you were a fan you probably loved them, but I have seen my last BYD show ever.
As I predicted earlier in the day most of the BYD fans left before BIOHAZARD even took the stage. When I came up in the scene years ago you always stayed for the last band, especially one deserving the respect BIOHAZARD does. Many bands all day long acknowledged that they would be around with the kings of Brooklyn. I saw the band just a few months ago and they were tight so I was expecting big things. Adding to the fact that the band had not played anywhere in New England in a long time made it very special from those who stayed. It proved to be an interesting show indeed!
"The Skull" is back!
The band hit the stage and went into their old standby opener “Shades of Grey” and they were killing, but the crowd was only half into it. Considering Billy had just played with BLOOD FOR BLOOD an hour ago he was full of energy, singing and playing and even customarily jumping into the crowd at one point early. The bands’ blend of hardcore influenced metal, which 1000 bands have ripped off sounded great on the big stage. My favorite song of there was next in “What Makes Us Tick” and it was equally well done. Whether it’s Bobby “The Skull” Hambel’s bluesy guitar solos, Danny Schuler’s sick beats or Evan Seinfeld’s bass playing, this reunited line-up is maybe tighter sounding now than it was back in the day. Bobby was getting pissed at this point and he admonished the crowd to get more into it with an awesome “don’t make me look like a dick” comment. He also told security to let everyone on stage that wanted to come up and dance- guys and girls. Well that did it because for “Urban Discipline” a bunch on of true fans stormed the stage and stayed there the remain set. The band was enveloped the rest of the show by fans who sang back-up, moshed and even got a circle pit going. The remaining crowd on the floor used this as a cue to mosh harder and sing along more which was cool.
They pulled out all of the stops with the set list with old jams like “Howard Beach” and “Survival of the Fittest” as well as typical hits like “Down For Life”. Another favorite of mine “Five Blocks to The Subway”. Doing their great cover of BAD RELIGION’s “We’re Only Gonna Die of Our Own Arrogance”, everyone on stage singing a song about unity that is thirty-one years young. For “How It Is” Evan handed his bass off to someone and just sang and rapped the remainder of the show. He is a natural frontman, but I enjoy his bass playing a lot so that kinda bummed me out a little. He’s really quite underrated when you get right down to it. Finishing up with the metal classics of “Punishment” and the bands’ theme song “Hold My Own” they closed out an amazing first day of bands. I was spent but happy to do it all again in less than twelve hours.