New Jersey natives Symphony X and Overkill teamed up for a rather diverse night of two different styles of metal. Overkill being one of thrash metal’s best bands and Symphony X being progressive metal band (a blend of progressive rock and heavy metal). It would make for an interesting night giving two different metal genres to expand their fanbase. The Regent in Los Angeles, California would make a fine place for this fine metal night.
Thrash metal giants Overkill released their seventeenth studio album White Devil Armory on July 22, 2015. By the time Overkill came on, the venue was only partially filled. It was surprising to see a lack of Los Angeles’ thrash metal scene as it’s highly expected to see them at any old school metal show. Maybe they were turned off at the thought of Overkill not headlining or because of it being a school night. Regardless, there were a good amount of people sporting their Overkill merch and cheered when Overkill started the show with the first track from the new album, The Armorist. The first thing that’s expected when a metal band starts is the infamous mosh pit. Very surprisingly, there wasn’t one even though a band like Overkill was playing. Maybe the fans needed to warm up first and will get crazy when Overkill plays their old material. The second song played was Hammerhead from their debut Feel the Fire album. Still no mosh pits from this crowd. Weird. Overkill followed with a track from their previous The Electric Age album, Electric Rattlesnake. Rotten to the Core is a fan favorite song from the debut album and is always pleasing to hear live and always gets the mosh pits going. Except for this crowd. There were two security guards in the middle of the crowd so it’s possible they were stopping people from moshing. At a thrash metal show. What venue does that!? One thing that sets frontman Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth apart from other singers is that when he has no singing parts during a song, such as the guitar solo, he leaves the stage and lets his band members shine as to not take up all the spotlight then returns to the mic and continues the thrash metal assault. Ellsworth paused during the show for a bit to talk about his love for baseball. Being that he was in Los Angeles, he couldn’t help himself but talk a little smack about the Dodgers and tell how the superior team are the Mets. If you didn’t agree with him, “you can go fuck yourselves, if you know what I mean”. Overkill played what looked to be their last song and they picked Ironbound from their 2010 Ironbound album. Ellsworth finished the song strong showing his voice still has what it takes by letting out a loud and powerful, “Ironboooound!”. The crowd cheered on as they waited to see what happens next. Overkill came back out to play the first encore, Playing With Spider/Skullcrusher. Both guitarists and bassist came out with double-neck guitars for showmanship and was an interesting sight. The second encore was one of their best songs, Elimination. Something about this finally got the crowd amped up and a large mosh pit finally formed to where even the security guard was in the middle with a look on his face knowing he couldn’t just stop people from moshing. The final song is another fan favorite, The Subhumans cover of Fuck You as Ellsworth and bassist D.D. Verni held up their middle fingers giving the sign as to what song was coming next. The mosh pit continued as Ellsworth sang, “We don’t care what you say!” and the crowd finished the line with, “Fuck You!”. Overkill finished their show, thanked the crowd, then took their leave.
Symphony X released their ninth studio album Underworld on July 24th. Plenty of Symphony X fans were in attendance for tonight’s show as Symphony X was the headliner. Non-Symphony X fans had most likely never heard of the band and stayed to check out the band. Symphony X started the show with the first six tracks from the new album. The first song is the first single from the new album, Nevermore. Fans that have never heard of this band will be surprised that a band like Symphony X keeps the tradition of a classic heavy metal sound and clean vocals instead of the usual deep growling metal vocals. The second song was the title track from the new album, Underworld. The next song was the second single from the new album Without You and it makes for a beautiful song almost like a ballad. Frontman Russell Allen is a great singer, one of metal’s most underrated singers. On stage he would sing and gracefully dance as if he was in a play. A very entertaining frontman. To add to his dancing, Allen would wear a mask that resembles The Phantom of the Opera giving his dance moves an even more graceful appearance. The rest of the new album songs were Kiss of Fire, Charon, and To Hell and Back. Allen took a quick break to talk about his life. He talked about how even though the band is from New Jersey, he was right at home in Los Angeles since he was born in Long Beach and went to high school in Whittier. The band announced the next song and it was the fan-favorite Of Sins and Shadows. This song had a faster pace to it, almost like a power metal song. This would give the crowd the chance to create a mosh pit, but the crowd remained very still the whole show. It seemed everytime someone tried to start a mosh pit, the security in the middle would grab the person and stop them. How sad. Symphony X kept up their setlist with In My Darkest Hour, Run With the Devil, and finished the show with Swan Song. The crowd knew they had one left to play. Surely enough, Symphony X came back out to play their most famous song, the 11 minute encore of Iconoclast. Guitar maestro and founding member Michael Romeo displayed his amazing guitar skills with the frenzy opening guitar riffs to the song. This was the longest song of the set and it was an explosive song that every Symphony X fan knows about machines and technology rising up and taking over everything. Symphony X finished the show and they received a standing ovation from the crowd. Symphony X is a criminally underrated band that deserves more recognition even though they’ve been around since 1994.