This line up did not fuck around. Each band hit the minuscule stage and went straight for the neck. Seven bands, both local and national, absolutely lit the room up, each with their own unequivocal performance and flair. Santa Cruz, California’s Arsonists Get All The Girls helmed this massive tour, with The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Beyond The Shore, MetalRiot.com homies Seeker, and Your Chance to Die opening the show. Refuge and Airismine ran the local New York City support, bringing with them a slew of fans to flood the intimate Club Europa in Brooklyn, New York.
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As of now, NYC’s Airismine has gone six feet under, announcing in late April they had disbanded. They were in full swing however when I saw them. That is, after they got their gear properly rigged. The first couple songs were a bit rocky, but they finally put themselves together for a solid opening set. After that, drummer Ray Francisco got out into the crowd and successfully incited a mosh pit for the next local support band, Refuge.
Refuge absolutely fucked shit up. My third degree ear burns are still healing. Right from jump street, these guys did not relent, nor did the obvious fan base they drew. Fans and bands alike opened up a pit that hit so hard, I thought a cave in would surely happen. Both guitarists rock sexy, twin eight strings, brandishing a tone not only deep and dark, but also insanely fast. Bobby Marino’s blisteringly authoritative voice kept the crowd on their toes and vocally napalmed everyone. The burn was fierce, as everyone immediately responded to their sharp heaviness. This was exactly what the crowd needed to set the mood for devastation. I spoke to some of their followers, many of them have seen the band before, or some of it’s previous incarnations. Their fans are definitely a loyal and dedicated bunch. Keep an ear out for Refuge in the NYC area. They kill it.
Following all that nastiness was South Carolina’s Your Chance To Die, a female fronted melodeath quartet. Thus far, they proved to be the most seasoned of the show. They took the stage, played their set, thanked their openers and hosts, and chilled out by their merch table. Cut and dry also was their performance. There was no lack of heavy riffage, liquid solos, or vicious screams from singer Missi Avila, but the tempo lurched and their music spread its cumbersome wings. They are a talented group, but I feel they muddled the momentum that was building. They definitely are a stand out act and one that has garnered a sizable following, but they were out of their element on this bill, which was more skewed to the grind/death sound. Maybe not the best fit. They are currently crowd-sourcing a tour via indiegogo and released their sophomore album The American Dream, on Red Cord Records.
I was super stoked to catch up with Seeker, who we have interviewed on MetalRiot before. Super nice guys and genuinely appreciative of the support. These rowdy Texans brought things back to the heavy fold, playing songs from their latest release on Victory, Unloved. “We do lose our minds live. I hardly ever remember a whole lot from any of our shows because I just kind of let go and let whatever happens happen. I’ve got knots in my back so intense that I can’t sneeze, my head is covered in scars, I have carpal tunnel, and my knees always look like I’ve been in a car wreck. I don’t really give a shit though. I knew what I was getting into when I got into this kind of music, and I’m gonna keep going until I just can’t anymore,” says singer Bryce Lucien. During their set, Arsonist’s singer Sean Richmond crashed their stage for a song, stoking the fire that was to come later (center picture below). Do. Not. Miss. Seeker.
Metal Blade newcomers Beyond the Shore marched in next. Hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, this meh metalcore quintet actually turned my frown upside down. Their live performance was far more impressive than their studio work. Singer Andrew Loucks was sporting an As I Lay Dying shirt, an obvious vocal influence. You can hear it during the spoken word bridges and the thunderous breakdowns. He also has a touch of Chris Cerulli’s (of Motionless in White) double tracked and crossfaded tracking vocals. The band as a whole had no shortage of stage presence. All had a solid air of showmanship and crowd engagement. To me, their live shows have put them on the map. While the studio recordings are safe bets in terms of genre style, they really honed the skills needed for rigorous touring. They are currently gearing up for a tour with War of Ages and The Ongoing Concept if that paints a clearer picture of their like.
Along with Refuge earlier, The Last Ten Seconds of Life’s fans definitely came out to throw down. I love seeing that. Huge sing alongs and a fair amount of two stepping ensued as these Pennsylvania natives crushed out their grinding set. Concertgoers moshed along to songs from their ’013 effort, Invivo[Exvivo] from WorkHorse Music. As you can see below, Vocalist Storm Strope gets in your face and vocally rearranges it. Every breath he took went into his decimating voice. The band behind him never missed a beat. Furthermore, they definitely jacked the room’s heart rate significantly. As soon as they started, the room became rabid, clamoring towards center stage. They are now gearing up for a tour titled “Break Your Face.” Let that sink in and check their Facebook for updates.
Still with me? Yeah, I got lost through the night too. Six bands plus Arsonists Get All The Girls is no slouch bill. Pressing on and finally reaching our headliner, Arsonists are touring on a very successfully crowd-funded new album, Listen To The Color. The lights went down and they hit the savage, and the floor. Vocalist Travis Levitre spent most of his time performing there. Fuck that stage. The crowd opened up and gave him some space to move around. He was then followed by bassist Travis Stacher, who wirelessly roamed the floor to start a circle pit. Meanwhile on stage, Sean Richmond twinkled on his ice cream truck toned keyboard as well as handling the second half of vocal duties. That keyboard is really a cornerstone of their abstract grind core sound. It has this 8-bit meets ape shit sound that perfectly and erroneously lays over the guitars, all wrapped in a song that might last two minutes. Below, check out “Beastfist” and my fav, “Play The Sheep.” I’ve been onto these guys for some time, but never had the opportunity to see them perform. They have been inactive for a number of years and almost closed up shop. That is until they over funded a crowd-sourcing campaign that put them back into fighting stance. After four albums under Century Media, they decided to go out on their own. My interview with drummer Garin Rosen goes into that in detail. Their setlist was a spastic blend of old and new, jammed into a 90 minute set. Fuck yeah. Arsonists are planning to tour much more over the summer. For fuck’s sake, go see these guys in your town.