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Conquerors Of The World brought defiance and skill to NYC’s Gramercy Theater last night, an awesome venue I always try and catch good tours at. The staff is generally really cool, the sound is really consistent and they book a fair amount of good metal shows. Deathstars, Moonspell and Septicflesh are reaching the end of a “long hot” tour (as described by a nonetheless enthusiastic vocalist Fernando Ribiero of Portugal’s darkest sons. There was no sign of road fatigue in the swagger and theatrical bravado of these three great bands, though there were some merch sizes no longer available this late in the tour.

Septicflesh from Athens are perhaps the most consistently ambitious band in metal. I’m listening to Sabbath Assembly’s 18 minute cult hit masterpiece “The Four Horseman” (not a Metallica cover). As the music and chanting about babies and Lucifer with lush and sultry vocals takes me away on this half lit rainy morning, still tired from a long late train ride back home two hours from NYC, I am left in awe and thanks of bands who work their craft to the white-knuckle bone.

Titan on Prosthetic Records has some critics saying it is too similar to the previous release from the band, but really is that a valid complaint? If you are bitching about a huge orchestral arrangement paired with psychotic technique, the utmost heavy speed and nightmare imagery upheaving the soul with important questions of self and the cosmos being too redundant, um…go take out your trash or something. Seth Siro Anton led the Greek demi-gods in a hellraising charge that had the crowd screaming the band’s name and getting down hard, especially ine heavy, somewhat slower bridge riff of new fang bang “Order Of Dracul”. I had to send Androniki Skoula from Chaostar a hyper message to tell her how excited I was to finally be seeing Septicflesh live.

The kick ass top to bottom show was on the same night as the annual Black N Blue Bowl at the old Ritz (Webster Hall) and while it featured my friends in Candiria and Bad Brains this year along with other great bands like 100 Demons and Madball, I still went to Gramercy. I’d been bugging Prosthetic publicist Kelly about this tour since like the split second after it was announced, though I wish they’d been on different weekends.

Read more BELOW.

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Show Review: The Missing Link Tour at The Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee

Posted by JDKleinhans on Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 9:31 PM (PST)

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The progressive/stoner metal lineup that The Missing Link Tour provides is a show that one would be remiss to miss. As the crowd filled the Eagles Ballroom, the air began to smell like an over heated hemp store in the middle of a humid summer day. The perfect environment for the evening’s festivities. Graveyard, Clutch, and Mastodon are generational bands that bring together the past, present, and future into one killer evening of auricular enlightenment.

Get the full review here.

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While beer is always a sponsor at Saint Vitus, tonight was brought to you by Trooper, Iron Maiden’s English ale. Revolver Magazine also took part in this party, which explains the all the magazines that were being repurposed as coasters. Headlining the night’s performances was Doyle, which features, as you could have figured out, guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein of The Misfits fame. Direct support tour long was Heavygrinder, who stepped out of her normal industrial/ EDM touring ilk, onto a tour with actual fucking metal musicians. She tells me “Touring with metal bands is what I’ve been aiming for.” Local support Tournament fully embraced the “Drunker than everybody else” motto of Vitus. Goddamn they were loud and loaded. and a perfect start to the night.

Click here for the review and pictures of the show.

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The Decibel Magazine Tour: At The Gates and pals take over NYC

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 12:21 PM (PST)

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Thinking back on the whirlwind night of Decibel Magazine Tour‘s Webster Hall finale, the main thing that comes to mind is not the sweaty masses of hairy metal dudes, bad ass chics or even the amazing music from Vallenfyre, Pallbearer, Converge and At The Gates (playing their first set in NYC in many years).

No, what got me the most was thinking of the influence and deep involvement of all the members of these bands in the metal scene and how much passion can spread to coat the world in one person’s lifetime of work. From Converge’s Jacob Bannon’s Deathwish Inc. label/distro to his artistic influence on the visual side of the scene to Vallenfyre’s cast of characters deeply influential work in bands like Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride to Pallbearer playing big hip festivals only metal bands like Mastodon or Metallica usually get asked to play to At The Gates deep legacy on melodeath to the members involvement in other groups ranging from The Haunted to Disfear and Skitsystem, you’ve got a huge web of metal history, present and future emanating from the stage.

For the full review see BELOW.

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Poughkeepsie, NY shook as Suicide Silence and Emmure packed the house and cracked concrete for the Stronger Than Faith Tour. The rowdy show featured adrenalized performances met with major enthusiasm from the mixed age crowd (though full of young fans primarily). Frankie from Emmure was still suffering throat problems and sat this one out, seeming really bummed as he told the near capacity crowd he couldn’t sing their set. I thought it was the guy who fronts Emmure’s NYC buddies Sylar who filled in at first but was told a bit later it was the controversial bands tour manager stepping in. The crowd supported wholeheartedly and people were flipping out and singing along nonetheless.

I honestly heard several people say it was the best show they’d ever gone to there. While it was a good show it didn’t come near the balcony kamikaze jumper insanity of Soulfly/Incubus over a decade ago or some of the nutsballz Gwar, Hatebreed or All Out War shows I’ve seen there over the many years I’ve been attending concerts at the theater.

But yeah, it was a fired up night for metalcore fans. Openers Fit For An Autopsy had the heaviest set besides Suicide Silence (who seriously brought in this first time I got to witness them live since Mitch died). FFAA were clearly hungry and delivered a death heavy performance with particularly satisfying bass fluidity from Shane Slade.

I was most excited probably to see Within The Ruins who have one of the best guitarists in metal. They recently survived a snowy van crash and Tim Goergen still had his arm in a sling when off stage. The Westfield, MA band didn’t dissapoint though, bringing Dillinger-worthy technical madness to the masses.

Suicide Silence’s Eddie Hermida really owned the night, though. Hermida told a heckler that “if you want to see All Shall Perish go to an All Shall Perish show”, his new band bearing down with crushing forward momentum as the pit swelled.

Catharina Christiana and Matt Slater provided photos. 

For the live shots see BELOW.

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NYC’s celebrated Gramercy Theatre was host to a plethora of true metal fans of various stripes, from denim jackets to hipsters to black t shirts to hairbags. The occasion was the inredible package tour of Witch Mountain, Ecstatic Vision plus headliners Yob and mighty black metal/prog legends from Norway, Enslaved. The tour is a celebration of much of what is good about metal right now, deep roots of Yggdrassil extending into the past, present and future.

I was really excited as I’d yet to see any of these great bands live. I’ve been an Enslaved fan since my artist pal Simon Ampel gave me a mix cd years ago with “Entrance Escape” on it along with Malevolent Creation (who turned out to be racists, unbeknownst to me and Jewish Simon at the time, so I never listen to them anymore).Enslaved, however, have left a long lasting impression on me and were pretty much my introduction to black metal. Their viking/Bathory influence interested me a lot more than groveling in the dark for Satan bands and since they have remained a tour de force for pushing metal into new territory. I love their new stuff as much as the old and it was so fucking cool to finally bask in their onslaught.

It was awesome to see the marquis saying “Enslaved Tonight”, like some crazy bondage party was about to go down. It was also cool to catch up with metal scribe Kim Kelly who was holding down the merch table for Yob.

Witch Mountain were up first and Kayla Dixon, the new vocalist, had the job of winning over the toughest crowd of snobs in the world (NYC music fans). Uta Plotkin was a tremendous talent but Kayla amply filled her shoes and people were talking about her all night! At first she seemed a touch nervous and admitted as much at the merch table later but she ended up killing it! I’d say Dixon has a more soulful voice than Plotkin, who is a bit eerier. Kayla kind of stalked the stage like Angela Bassett making grim, contorted faces in American Horror Story one minute and suddenly her face looking like a quite sweet and comely model the next. It was very theatrical. It will be awesome to hear what she brings to the next Witch Mountain record. Kayla really brought the massive sound the band was putting out down from the rafters and into her body, channeling it out in stark wails.

Click HERE for the full review.

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“I smell a massacre!” We’ve got some exclusive Black Label Society, Hatebreed and Butcher Babies shots from staff photog Matt Slater. The show is from January’s stop at the Webster in Hartford, CT and from the looks of it the show was pretty intense. I’m a big fan of all of these bands. Hatebreed have been metalcore originators for a long time, since Slater and I used to go see them (and in Matt’s case his band Beneath The Remains used to open for them) in Poughkeepsie hardcore’s arguable heyday in the late 90’s-early 00’s. Black Label? It’s fuckin’ Zakk. What else is there to know? And as for Butcher Babies? They get a lot of shit for looking good but you know what? The band is not only about sex or some BS. Pay attention to their Instagram feeds and you’ll see how they really work hard, push themselves and care about connecting to their fan base as a full band. I agree that women shouldn’t be exploited but don’t think that means every woman and/or man in a band has to leave their outfits from showing too much all the time either. Bottom line? Butcher Babies fuckin’ rule! Go listen to Goliath now and tell me you don’t want to pit it up during “C8h18 (Gasoline)”!

Anyway, check out the shots BELOW. As Hatebreed scream “This Is Now!!”

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IMG_0072Through Space and Grind features a slew of bands hell bent to kick the shit out of you and the other thousand plus metal denizens of your city. Get there early to see all the show. Black Crown Initiate opened, followed by Ringworm, who were only on the tour for a brief moment. There’s a rotating support slot, like a professor of the dark arts. Iron Reagan and Exhumed played well rounded sets. From headliners Voivod and Napalm Death, we saw true vitality in the 21st century. This tour package is absolutely astonishing. Every metal fan, of any age, should go see this tour.

 

Click here for photos and the full review.

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Night Viper show heavy metal lives at The Crypt, Linköping.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 8:03 AM (PST)

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Fredric Sommer has allowed us to share some of his great photos of Gothenburg’s new heavy metal sensation Night Viper with you hungry hounds today. Fans of pure heavy metal with melodic but gritty vocals will have tongues wagging over this group. Tom Sutton, a guitarist in The Order Of Israfel and Horisont, also moonlights in this explosive band. Most people think of early melodeath years when Gothenburg comes to mind but the truth is many stripes of metal are still honored there through the dedication of soulful rockers and headbangers. Christian Mistress Amulet and Judas Priest fans alike will want to check out “Faces In The Mirror” from Night Viper to wet your appetite and then feast your eyes on these shots from The Crypt, Linköping.

To see more proceed BELOW.

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Live photos: Upstate, NY’s Painmask bring the one-5 to Hot Shotz

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 7:05 AM (PST)

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It’s been about a week since I got really horrible news that my dad passed away suddenly. I’m kind of chilling listening to Bad Brains dub record they did at Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY from 2002, I & I Survived. Dealing with so much family stuff as my sister Cambria Evans and I navigate tending to my very understandably stressed out and distraught mom (presently relaxing and listening to the cool rhodes piano or whatever is on this track behind the dub), it has me questioning many of my choices of the last twenty years when I was partying as a younger dude… drinking too much, time I could have spent with family. It really hurts.

But seeing the photos of my boys Painmask that I just got from Beneath The Remains bassist (and Metal Riot photographer) Matt Slater, it reminds me that this scene has also been family to me. I’ve gotten to be part of interviewing hundreds of bands and helping people who believe in art and metal and hardcore, so it hasn’t all been a waste. My dad supported me in my pursuit of rock n roll.

The bonds made- even with a band like Painmask whom some of you new school kids might not even know about cuz they never had a trendy record deal… these are priceless friendships. Seeing Jay Avery, Carl Carlew and the guys in these photos makes me think of countless shows with Painmask and bands like All Out War, Subzero, whoever…where creativity, crazy pits of energy but with brotherhood and unity at the core and most of all music that will last…it matters. We’ve all been doing shows together for like 20 years!

I talk a lot about Life Of Agony on this site and Joey Z. just produced the Painmask guys recently. They even recorded some of the early tracking at one of the band’s I sing for, Antidote 8‘s studio Darkworld Studio. SO it was awesome to meet Joey Z and hear him mixing Painmask levels on my bassist Dave Daw’s console last year. Anyway, these are shots from a recent Painmask show at Hot Shotz in Upstate, NY. It’s a small venue that hosts cover bands and occasioal rock shows, but they support live music so who gives a fuck.

I just wanna say be thankful for the friends you have and the limited time on this Earth. Make it count!

For more shots see BELOW.

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By any standard the Papa Roach and Seether tour (with up and comers Kyng and a band I often hype called Islander) has been a huge success all around. Somehow the bill, which featured a blend of nu metal and hard rock, was a blend of both PMA and mope but the bands gelled together great.

Islander opened it up, far and away my favorite younger band of the moment. I’ve interviewed them 3 times already! It was cool to finally meet the dudes in person. Like myself back when I sang for a nu-hardcore band Divest, the Islander boys have collaborated with someone from the legendary Bad Brains (arguably the first hardcore band) . The  Islander guys just seemed so psyched to be playing the big room. It reminded me of when I saw Polar Bear Club open for mighty Bad Religion in this same venue and they kind of stole the show from BR and The Bronx (both of whom I love). Islander were the hungriest band here and they killed it with NO backing tracks like some bands use these days. “Lucky Rabbit” (the song H.R. from Bad Brains sang on with them on their first EP) was intense, a post-hardcore and groove hybrid that found vocalist Mikey screaming for all the ones “slipping through the cracks in the system.” I told the band backstage they had only been beaten in year end polls for this site by a slim margin, and by the Foo Fighters. “If you’re close behind the Foo Fighters that’s not too bad,” said Mikey. “Dave Grohl still has a punk rock heart. We’re just kids who grew up on Bad Brains and Zao. I think we’re doing well. Mayhem Fest seasoned us a little bit. ”

Thanks to Islander’s label Victory Records for hooking us up with access and for supporting hard rock, metal and hard core now with a wider range. I love the old Victory era as much as anyone but this is 2015 and with people not buying records as much it is important for a label with a solid brand and passionate staff to get behind and unify a diverse roster and keep “rock” in general going strong! I’ve only ever had great experiences with Victory.

For tons of pics by Catharina Christiana and a full show review see BELOW.

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Hard Rock n 2014 had great highlights (no dyed hair joke intended). From Charm City Devils making a bigger name for their brash selves to Chevelle‘s thunderous Terminal 5 show (and tightly wound single “Take Out the Gunman” ) it was a solid year. Buckcherry have also been hitting the road and maintaining a dedicated tour ethic, while Pop Evil  put out a very cool LIVE version of a “Trenches” video thanking fans for the solid support given the nearly unstoppable ascent of Onyx. Diablo Blvd had the best goth hard rocker “Follow The Deadlights” this side of The 69 Eyes and the Belgians killed it opening for Life Of Agony in New Jersey. Best of all is Black Star Riders new record The Killer Instinct, which keeps alive the Thin Lizzy legacy into 2015 and MORE than ensures/proves the genre of hard rock is still worth the fuss.

To see some shots of a few of said bands from recent live concerts shot by our photographer friend Catharina Christiana and to immerse yourself in a river of rock, see BELOW.

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Show Review: Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus in Albany, NY

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 7:46 PM (PST)

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The most compelling work of the year was in doom metal, for the most part. From Electric Wizard to Yob to Castle and Witch Mountain the playing field was mostly ruled by thunderous, brontosaurus footprint sized-Sabbathian black worship, with the exception of Ex-Trouble singer Eric Wagner’s White Metal doomers The Skull (who nonetheless bettered most of the competition anyway). That said, thrash held down the legacy (Testament pun intended) of the genre well. It was a banner year for thrash, one of the best in memory. From Shrapnel’s charged The Virus Conspiracies to Iron Reagan and Hammercult to Exodus’ frenetic and feral reunion with Steve Souza (and Kirk Hammett, for that matter) there was much to get whiplash over.

The most anticipated thrash tour of the year was Slayer‘s return Stateside with Exodus and Suicidal in tow. The Albany, NY date at the Washington Avenue Armory was no let down, a high energy mug fest that made you remember all the reasons why you fell in love with these bands in the first place. It was a  communal strafing air blood raid but instead of a Copter or drone strike it was riff after riff falling like hail.

Click HERE for the review…SLAYYYERRR!!!

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Show Review: Abstract Reality Tour at Webster Hall, NYC-December 6, 2014

Posted by NichTheHair on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 9:07 AM (PST)

 

billNew York City’s Webster Hall welcomed Animals As Leaders, The Devin Townsend Project and Monuments last weekend. Earlier in the day, Devin treated me to a fantastic face to face interview, which you can read here. Prog reigned supreme throughout the night and due to some lengthy photo ops, so did the photographers. I’ve seen some awesome shots from this night already, due to the fact we were able to shoot for the whole show.

Click here for the pictures and review.

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11/21/14 Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, NY hosted The World Tour, a collaborative package between Sleeping With Sirens and a little band I’m partial to called Pierce The Veil. We sent photographer Nicole Terpening to shoot at the large venue (seriously, but the place has GREAT sound) and she came back with exclusive live shots of Pierce The Veil and Beartooth for us! Constructive energy and great bands.

Click HERE to check them out.

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