Author: Misael (page 1 of 5)

Hypocrisy: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 3/15/19

Swedish death metal band Hypocrisy and Italian symphonic death metal maestros Fleshgod Apocalypse announced a co-headlining tour called Death Is Just the Beginning. A great lineup for metal fans to let loose on a Friday night. The first stop on the tour was the Regent in Downtown Los Angeles. The first 3 bands went on and the venue was already packed as Fleshgod Apocalypse prepared to go on. The lights went out and the crowd cheered as Fleshgod Apocalypse came out and started the show with The Violation, a perfect song to start their crushing performance. Frontman Francesco Paoli led the band with classic death metal growls and shredding guitars. He was backed by Veronica Bordacchini who sang in her beautiful soprano vocals. Their performances can be described as opera death metal. Fleshgod Apocalypse next played Healing Through War from their newest album, King. The next song was Cold As Perfection from the same album. Fleshgod Apocalypse have a new album coming out on May 24th titled Veleno (Italian for Poison). To give the audience a taste of the new album, Fleshgod Apocalypse played the first single Sugar live for the first time ever. A masterpiece of a song and surely the rest of the album will be killer. Fleshgod Apocalypse continued to crush Los Angeles with hits such as Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon), The Egoism, and another live debut of Fury from the upcoming new album. It was sadly time for Fleshgod Apocalypse to call it a night and so they ended their show with the most popular track, The Forsaking. A perfect ending song. Fleshgod Apocalypse wrapped up their show and made way for the headlining band of the night.
It has been many years since Hypocrisy last came to the USA so having them back is a true gift for metalheads everywhere. Their last album was 2013’s End of Disclosure. They currently have a new album in the works which will hopefully be released soon. For many people in attendance, it was their first time seeing Hypocrisy and were more than ready to finally see these death metal legends. The lights went out and the crowd once again cheered as Hypocrisy came out on stage with main man Peter Tägtgren being the last member to come out. Hypocrisy started their show with Fractured Millennium from their 1999 self-titled album. The crowd went into a frenzy with mosh pits and crowd surfers throughout the night. Up next was Valley of the Damned followed by End of Disclosure. Tägtgren hasn’t lost his touch in being one of metal’s finest musicians. Hypocrisy never slowed down as they played plenty of classic like Eraser, Penetralia, Fire in the Sky and Killing Art. Seeing Hypocrisy live finally was a thing of beauty and they did not disappoint. To properly end the show, Hypocrisy performed The Final Chapter. Hypocrisy left the stage and all seemed quiet with the stage being dark. The intro track The Gathering from their 1996 extra terrestrial-themed album Abducted played over the speakers. The intro track features samples from the Halt Tape which was allegedly recorded during the Rendlesham Forest Incident in which UFO sightings were reported in Suffolk, England. Hypocrisy came back out and played the next track from the album, Roswell 47. Because who doesn’t love songs involving extra terrestrials? The song is perhaps the band’s most famous song and had the crowd moshing and singing along. Hypocrisy finished the show, thanked the audience for coming out, then left the stage. Hopefully it’s not a long time before they come back again.

 

Hypocrisy

 

Fleshgod Apocalypse

Cradle of Filth: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 3/8/19

British extreme/gothic metal band Cradle of Filth released their newest album Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay in 2017 and have been actively touring since. Their lyrical themes and imagery are heavily influenced by Gothic literature, poetry, mythology, and horror films. Often being depicted as a satanic band, that is hardly the case and is used as shock value. Cradle of Filth announced a new leg for their North American tour which included Wednesday 13 and Raven Black. The stop on this tour was the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. By the time Cradle of Filth came on stage, the venue was packed with their loyal fanbase.
The lights went out and the crowd cheered in excitement as the intro track Ave Satani blared over the speakers and the band members came out one by one with frontman Dani Filth being the last one to come out. Cradle of Filth started their show with their popular track, Gilded Cunt. Right away, you feel the gothic tone of the band’s music and Filth wastes no time unleashing his high-pitch vocals and Cradle of Filth was now out with full force. The fans all cheered and the mosh pit started as one of Britain’s biggest bands was just a few feet way from them. Cradle of Filth continued the show with Nemesis and Right Wing of the Garden Triptych. Cradle of Filth was off to a great start and they seem to only get better and better. One of the highlights of the night was when they played Bathory Aria, a rarely played track and is eleven minutes long. A nice treat for their devoted fans. The show continued with Dusk and Her Embrace, then the show seemed to come to an end as Cradle of Filth finished with You Will Know the Lion By His Claw. After a brief pause, the intro track A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon started as Cradle of Filth came back out and continued the show with The Promise of Fever. Up next was a very special treat as Cradle of Filth next played Saffron’s Curse, a song that hasn’t been played live since 2003 and is a fan favorite. Up next was another one of their best songs, Nymphetamine (Fix). It is their most beautiful songs and is backed by Lindsay Schoolcraft’s hauntingly beautiful vocals which gives the song life. This is a song for all the fans to sing along. The show was nearing the end and so Cradle of Filth played Honey and Sulphur. To end the show, Cradle of Filth played their most famous song, Her Ghost in the Fog. Another song for fans to sing along to, the song also featured Schoolcraft on vocals which made the song even more hauntingly beautiful. Cradle of Filth finished up their show, thanked the audience, then left the stage. The fans were very happy with the performance and surely can’t wait for Cradle of Filth to return.

 

Lords of Acid: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca 2/22/19

Electronic/industrial metal legends Lords of Acid released their sixth studio album Pretty In Kink in 2018. With that, they embarked on a tour across the USA to spread the love and kink. The second stop on the tour was the Regent Theater and Los Angeles was more than ready to get their kink on, especially on a Friday night. Genitorturers have been active since 1986 and are one of the leading bands of the underground industrial metal scene. Their live performances include latex outfits, gimp masks, whips, and of course, metal grinders on metal with sparks flying everywhere giving in to the genre, industrial metal. They are a band to witness live if they ever come to your area. Up next was the industrial rock band, Orgy. First appearing in 1998, they have only released three albums so far with their fourth album titled Entropy still being made with an undetermined release date. They have a very energetic stage presence that got the crowd pumped up whether their audience had old school fans of theirs or new. Orgy finished up their show and now it was time for the Lords of Acid to sex things up.
Lords of Acid came out and started the show with Sex Bomb. Their music is heavily inspired by techno and rave music so it’s easy to dance to and get in the groove. The second song was Scrood Bi U from their 2001 album, Farstucker. They are known for their outrages sexual lyrics and sound samples. Even then, it fits the band’s image and the lyrics are easy to follow along to and sing along to. This is the first tour to feature the new female vocalist Marieke Bresseleers and what eye candy she was to watch perform on stage. Watching her sing and dance at the same time, it’s impossible to not be hypnotized by her. The band also features guitarist and two time Grammy-nominated Sin Quirin who is also the guitarist for industrial metal legends, Ministry. Leading on the groovy bass is DieTrich Thrall who is a former bassist for the solo band of Misfits legend, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein. Praga Khan serves and vocalist and keyboardist and is the sole original member since the band’s inception in 1988. Other sexed up songs to get the audience warmed up included Sex Cam Girl, Out Comes the Evil, and You Belong to Me. It was around this time of the show when Lords of Acid started bringing out the good stuff as Khan played the familiar keyboard intro to one of their famous songs, Rough Sex. The song is very catchy and fun to sing along to the lyrics, “I Think about pure sex, deep sex, hard sex, rough sex” then get hit with a pure techno beat that will have you dancing and jumping. The next song was Rubber Doll and what better way to get into the song than to have backup dancers bring out a sex doll complete with open mouth and drawn out hairy bush. The next hit was Voodoo-U and once again the crowd was seen dancing and singing along. Some more hits were played including Pussy, Lover, and The Most Wonderful Girl. Following the end of that, Khan jumped into another one of their most popular songs, I Sit on Acid. A very simple beat and lyrics, but it’s impossible to resist singing along to “sit on your face, I wanna sit on your face”. The show seemed to come to an end as the band left the stage. After a few minutes, they came back out for some encores. The first encore was Let’s Get High. The crowd still had plenty of energy left and continued to jump the music. The final song of the night was The Crab Louse which is naturally an ode to pubic lice. Lords of Acid wrapped up (no pun intended) their show and surely left their fans in a horny state so they too can spread the love.

 

Lords of Acid

 

Orgy

 

Genitorturers

Pennywise: 3/2/19 – Ventura Theater – Ventura, California

Punk rock legends Pennywise announced a one-off show at the Majestic Ventura Theater in downtown Ventura County where they know they are welcomed with open arms from their dedicated fans. Pennywise got their name from the evil clown monster from the Stephen King horror novel, It. These last few shows have been celebrating the band’s legacy as they have been touring their asses off for 30 years since 1988. To no surprise, the Ventura Theater sold out ahead of time. Even before doors opened, there was a huge line of people waiting to get in to see these punk legends.
The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as the members of Pennywise came out and started the show with Fight Till You Die. A perfect intro to the show as fans went wild with mosh pits and crowd surfers in true punk fashion. The next song was Rules from their Pennywise debut album and it proved to get the audience just as wild as the opening song. The third song was Homesick, another classic track from their catalog. It seemed no matter what song Pennywise played, fans could be seen singing along and going wild. The whole band had a very energetic presence to them and watching them go crazy on stage, it was impossible to sit still as fans not moshing were seen head banging and singing along. Other classic Pennywise tracks played were Perfect People, Same Old Story, Unknown Road, and the title track Pennywise. Before continuing the show, founding member and guitarist Fletcher thanked the fans for supporting Pennywise for 30 years and how they weren’t gonna stop until the fans told them to. Nearing the end of the show, Pennywise brought out the best as the started to play their catchy track Fuck Authority and had the fans singing along to the chorus. Pennywise next played a cover of Stand By Me starting off slow at first, then speeding it up punk style for the rest of the song to keep the energy going. To end the show, Pennywise started the familiar bass intro that everyone in the venue recognized. The fans in the mosh pit went crazy once again as Pennywise played their biggest hit and always closing song, Bro Hymn. Everyone in the venue was singing along to the song’s chorus of “whoa-oh-oh-ohh, whoooaaaa oh-oh-oh-oh”. To make it even more special, fans rushed the stage to dance and sing along with Pennywise until the whole stage was covered with people. Pennywise finished the show and left the stage leaving the audience with nothing but smiles on the faces of their lifelong fans.

 

Cannibal Corpse/Morbid Angel: Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca 2/21/19

The annual Decibel Magazine tour was underway and this year proved to be another brutal year. This year featured death metal legends Morbid Angel as well as metal bands Necrot and Blood Incantation. Death metal legends Cannibal Corpse would headline the tour from February 17-March 7. After that, death metal band Immolation would headline from March 8 till the tour’s end on March 14. The 4th stop on the tour was the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles and to no surprise, the show sold out ahead of time. The venue was flooded with dedicated metalheads as Morbid Angel was set to go on.
The lights went out and the venue cheered as the curtains lifted to reveal Morbid Angel on stage as the venue was filled with death metal as they started the show with Piles of Little Arms. The crowd went wild with mosh pits as the death metal legends unleashed hell onto Los Angeles. Up next were the tracks D.E.A.D. and Garden of Disdain. All the songs performed were brutal and on point with the combination of Steve Tucker’s bass and guttural vocals to Trey Azagthoth’s sweet guitar solos and powerful riffs. The mosh pits and crowd surfers never stopped as Morbid Angel continued to pulverize Los Angeles with hard-hitting songs such as Nothing Is Not, Blasphemy, Prayer of Hatred, and God of Emptiness. The show was thought to be over, but not before Morbid Angel came back out and played an encore of Blood on My Hands. Morbid Angel wrapped up their show and thanked the audience for coming out and made way for one of death metal’s finest bands.
Cannibal Corpse are without a doubt one of the biggest and best death metal bands of all time with over two million album sales. A couple of months ago, Cannibal Corpse were in some hot water when guitarist Pat O’Brien was arrested for burglary and assault from a very misunderstood situation. Until things are settled, guitarist Erik Rutan of death metal band Hate Eternal will be filling in for guitar duties. The lights went out once again and the crowd once again went into a frenzy as the curtains were lifted to reveal the death metal legends on stage. Cannibal Corpse started their show with Code of the Slashers from their newest album, Red Before Black. The crowd went absolutely wild with crowd surfers and brutal mosh pits. Fans were seriously hurt one way or another and they did it all in the name of metal. Two more songs from the new album One Will Die and Red Before Black were played and were just as brutal. One of the main highlights of the show is watching vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher headspin with his gigantic neck and is one of the most entertaining sights in metal. Cannibal Corpse continued to brutalize Los Angeles as they played classics such as Scourge of Iron, Staring Through the Eyes of the Dead, The Wretched Spawn, and A Skull Full of Maggots. Such disgusting song titles that are often brought up in controversies, but still awesome! Fisher announced this next song as a love song and that it was about “shooting blood from your cock!”. The fans cheered knowing what was coming next as Fisher belted out, “I…Cum…Blooood!” and so Cannibal Corpse played one of their most popular hits I Cum Blood which once again drove the fans wild and kept the mosh pits brutal. another song was played which was Make Them Suffer before announced one more song of the night and of the fans wanted more, they would have to scream as loud as possible. The fans screamed as loud as they could. Fisher said after hearing their pleas and after considering it…it was still the last song! HA! Then continued on to call himself a heartbreaker. Cannibal Corpse finished their show with Stripped, Raped, and Strangled which one of the most brutal songs played that night. Cannibal Corpse finished the song and stayed on stage as Fisher screamed into the mic, “Hammer…Smashed…Faaaace!”. It seems the audience got their one last song and it was one of the most popular and brutal songs in metal, Hammer Smashed Face. It is recognizable by its intro and bass solo by legendary metal bassist Alex Webster. The fans went berserk with crowd surfers showing up and a mosh pit so brutal, it hurt just by watching it. Cannibal Corpse finished up the show and left the venue in a surprising standing state. Los Angeles  always awaits Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel.

 

Cannibal Corpse

 

Morbid Angel

Okilly Dokilly: Discovery Ventura – Ventura, Ca – 2/6/19

Neighborinos! Viral sensations Okilly Dokilly – the world’s only “Nedal” band – recently announced the release of their upcoming second full-length album, entitled Howdilly Twodilly, scheduled for release on March 29, 2019. Their first album, Howdilly Doodilly, was released in 2016. As their name suggests, Okilly Dokilly takes after Ned Flanders from the popular TV show, The Simpsons. The band members all dress in traditional Ned Flanders attire with green sweaters, pink shirts, and wear glasses. The Neds go by the names of Head Ned (vocals), Shred Ned (guitars), Dread Ned (drums), Zed Ned (synths), and Bed Ned (bass). Their lyrics are Ned Flanders quotes turned into songs to fit the band’s image. Okilly Dokilly announced a west coast tour called The ReNeducation tour to begin promoting their second album. One of the stops was the Discovery bowling alley in downtown Ventura. The venue was decently packed even on a Wednesday night.
Okilly Dokilly came out and started the show with the first single released from the new album, Reneducation. The band seems to alternate with sound as one song can be more of a metalcore sound, then the next will have more of a punk rock vibe. It was really quite humorous seeing all the band members dressed up as Ned Flanders while playing their music. It was definitely something you need to see to believe. The next song performed was They Warned Me followed by Flanderdoodles. In Between songs, Head Ned would mimic Flanders himself as he spoke to the audience about the dangers of the world and of course, getting closer to heaven. The show went on with the catchy You’re A Jerk and Press Destruct Button. One of the more interesting segments was when Head Ned brought out his acoustic guitar as Okilly Dokilly prepared to play a rendition of Yellow Submarine by The Beatles, but with the title changed to Yellow Family with the lyrics changed to match The Simpsons. Head Ned next brought out his mandolin guitar and performed Panic Room. A typical metalcore-sounding song, then out of nowhere the chorus of the song hits and has a humorous resemblance to the classic song She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain as Head Ned sings, “we’ll be safe inside our fortress when they come, (when they come!) we’ll be safe from creeps and killers when they come (when the come!)”. Okilly Dokilly continued the show with Purple Drapes and White Wine Spritzer. Head Ned brought out a cannon that would shoot out shirts for the audience members to catch. It was time for the show to come to an end and so Okilly Dokilly said their goodbyes in the traditional way that Flanders says bye, Godspeed Little Doodle. Okilly Dokilly left the stage and all seemed quiet. The fans stayed to cheer them on and after a few minutes, the band came back out for one more song. What better to…treat…their audience than to perform Donut Hell. Head Ned tossed a giant inflatable donut into the crowd  which was tossed around for the whole song. Because the audience was so good, Okilly Dokilly decided to treat them to just one more song which was appropriately named Nothing At All. Head Ned removed his clothing and revealed the blue and red suit that Flanders wears during the classic segment of The Simpsons where Homer goes skiing. It really felt like he was wearing nothing at all. The show came to an end and the crowd cheered on Okilly Dokilly for a very entertaining show and thanked them for coming out to a usually overlooked area of Southern California. Hopefully they come back after the release of the second album for more ReNeducation. The current West Coast tour is still going on and just recently, announced an East Coast tour so be sure to catch them in all their Flanderness! Stupid sexy Flanders.

 

 

Last In Line: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca – 2/2/19

     

     Last In Line is a heavy metal band formed in 2012 by former members of the original lineup of Dio, the band belonging to the late legendary heavy metal icon and vocalist, Ronnie James Dio. The band’s name came from Dio‘s 1984 album, The Last In Line. Following the death of Ronnie James Dio in 2010, the original lineup of drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, guitarist Vivian Campbell, and keyboardist Claude Schnell reunited along with vocalist Andrew Freeman to perform the Dio songs they originally recorded. In February 2016, they released their first album with original material titled Heavy Crown. They are set to release their second album titled II on February 22nd, 2019. The only difference being that bassist Jimmy Bain passed away in 2016. After searching, Last In Line recruited Jimmy Soussan for bass duties. Last In Line announced a USA tour to continue delivering new music as well as beloved Dio classics to heavy metal maniacs throughout the country. One of the stops was at the Majestic Ventura Theater and was the perfect way to spend a cold Saturday night.
Last In Line came out and started the show with the first single from the new album, Landslide. A continuation of a classic heavy metal sound by some of metal’s greatest musicians. With one new song out of the way, Last In Line started playing the classics everyone was waiting for. The second song performed was the fan-favorite Stand Up and Shout which had the audience singing along to the chorus. The next song was another classic Straight Through the Heart which also had the audience singing along and raising their horns. Another new song was played next which was Year of the Gun and when it was finished, the stage went dark and silent as a creepy intro filled the venue. Everyone surely knew what was coming next. Last In Line next played Dio‘s most famous song and one of the most famous songs in heavy metal, Holy Diver. Fans banger their heads, raised their horns, and sang along to the whole song. A sight that Dio himself would be very proud to see. Last In Line continued to play all the hits as they played more classic tracks like Evil Eyes, The Last In Line, and finished up the show with Rainbow in the Dark. Last In Line left the stage and all seemed quiet. Fans didn’t leave and stayed put and cheered for the band. After a brief break, the band came back out to thank the audience for coming out and played some encores. The first encore was one of Dio‘s most famous songs, Don’t Talk to Strangers and had fans singing along to the chorus once again. The next encore was Devil In Me and to finish off the show was the classic We Rock to truly let the fans rock out one last time. Last In Line wrapped up the show, bowed to the audience, and left the stage for the final time.

 

Metalachi: Discovery – Ventura, Ca – 1/25/19

Metalachi is perhaps one of the most interesting and fun bands you will ever see live. As their name suggests, their music is composed of covers of popular rock and metal songs using traditional mariachi instruments. At first it sounds a little odd, but a quick YouTube search and you’ll quickly be blown away by what you see and hear. They make mariachi instruments work perfectly for the covers that they do. Their stage outfits are taken directly out of the books from other rock/metal acts like Rob Zombie, KISS, and Gwar. The members are made up of Vega De La Rockha (vocals), Paco Halen (guitar), El Cucuy (trumpet), Kyla Vera (violin), and Kiko Cane (guitarron/bass). Metalachi just released their third album Tres and have been touring non-stop in support of the album. The Discovery bowling alley in Ventura, California was packed which was no surprise on a Friday night.
The first thing you’ll notice is how the mic stands are covered by the bras of women from previous shows.  Metalachi‘s manager Warren Moscow came out to greet the sold out audience and asked if they were ready to party with Metalachi. The crowd cheered, of course. He said that if any audience member is not ready to party, to do him a favor and walk their ass out of the venue. He also made note that alcohol is your friend and the more you drink, “the more this shit will make sense”. With that, he introduced Metalachi as they came on stage and started with their traditional opening song, a rendition of the classic Mexican song Guadalajara, but with the lyrics and title changed to Metalachi. Metalachi was welcomed by their loving fans as they performed the first song of the night, Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses). Right away, you’ll see how the music fits perfectly as it’s performed with mariachi instruments. The next song performed was We’re Not Gonna Take It (Twisted Sister). Metalachi is also known for their humorous dialogue in between song which leads to the band members taunting each other with jokes  and telling personal stories. One such joke is when singer Vega De La Rocha told the audience to drink up as much alcohol as possible because “The more you drink, the better we sound”. Metalachi continued the debauchery as they performed classic rock and metal songs which included Rock You Like A Hurricane (Scorpions), Killing In the Name (Rage Against the Machine), Breaking the Law (Judas Priest), and Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) which has a new music video out by the band. Metalachi made note on how they noticed how people of all races were together rocking out and having fun. To celebrate the occasion, Metalachi played Rock and Roll All Nite (KISS). The show was coming to an end and De La Rockha introduced the final medley of the night which were Iron Maiden covers of Hallowed Be Thy Name, The Trooper, and Run to the HillsMetalachi thanked the audience for coming out then left the stage. Warren Moscow came back out and asked the audience if they had fun. The audience cheered. He then asked if they would like one more song. The crowd cheered even louder. Instead of asking a second time, he was satisfied with the response and brought out Metalachi for an encore. The choice of encore was Canción del Mariachi (“Morena de Mi Corazón”) as heard on the film, Desperado.  The crowd cheered as the show came to an end hoping that it’s not long before Metalachi rides the loco train back to Ventura County.

 

Ensiferum/Septicflesh: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/21/19

     

     Septicflesh is a symphonic death metal band from Greece. In 2017, they released their tenth studio album Codex Omega and have been actively touring since then. Septicflesh is currently at work on their eleventh album. The band’s lyrics deal with religion, folklore, history, myths, and legends. Septicflesh came out to a packed venue and started the show with a song from the newest album, Portrait of a Headless Man. The heaviness of the music filled the venue as a mosh pit started and fog cannons filled the stage as frontman Spiros “Seth” Antoniou belched his deep death metal growls onto the audience. They are also known for their use of choirs in their songs giving them their symphonic death metal sound. The next song was one of their best songs and one of their most popular tracks, The Vampire From Nazareth. A catchy song that’s hard not to sing along to the chorus. Septicflesh has a powerful performance on stage and always puts on a killer performance. Septicflesh made sure to play their best hits for this tour and some of those hits included Anubis, Pyramid God, Martyr, and Enemy of Truth. With a short set, Antoniou announced the end of their show and told everyone that they were all…a Dark Art. Septicflesh ended with Dark Art as it made for the perfect ending song. Septicflesh left the stage with the headlining band of the tour waiting to come out.
Ensiferum is a folk metal band from Finland. In 2017 they released their seventh album, Two Paths. As all traditional folk metal bands, Ensiferum‘s lyrics deal with fantasy, history, Nordic, and battles. The lights went out and the crowd cheered as the members of Ensiferum made their way to the stage in traditional folk metal attire and war paint. Ensiferum started the show with For Those About to Fight For Metal. Frontman Petri Lindroos sang in traditional folk metal growls and sent the crowd into a mosh pit and even crowd surfers made an appearance every now and then. The second song performed was the title track from the newest album Two Paths followed by one of their newer fan-favorite’s, Heathen Horde. The music of Ensiferum will either wanna make you bang your head or dance. Probably both. With the new songs out of the way, Ensiferum went on to play their popular songs. Up next was the fun and catchy track, Twilight Tavern and had fans moshing and singing along to the chorus. Other fun songs to dance to included Treacherous Gods, Lai Lai Hei, From Afar, and Way of the Warrior. The show seemed to come to an end as Ensiferum wanted to see the biggest mosh pit LA could give them and so they ended the show with Two of Spades. Ensiferum left the stage, but the fans weren’t ready to go home just yet. After a quick break, Ensiferum came back out to deliver some encores. The first encore was Guardians of Fate. The next encore was one Ensiferum‘s best songs, In My Sword I Trust which the fans loved singing the chorus to. Now nearing the end of the show, Lindroos let the fans know that this next song they should know and mimicked the accordion part by saying “da-dadada, da-dadada” to which crowd sang back to him during the beginning to the song, Iron, another one of Ensiferum‘s best songs. Ensiferum finished their set and seemed to jam on stage for a bit before deciding to treat the fans to a folk metal cover of Guns N’ RosesSweet Child O’ Mine and had the audience singing along to the chorus. Ensiferum hadn’t played the USA since their last tour in 2015 and it was nice to see them finally come back and hopefully won’t be another four years before their return.

 

Ensiferum

 

Septicflesh

Possessed: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 1/10/19

Possessed is a death metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. They are heavily credited as the first death metal band as well as the pioneers of death metal for Jeff Becerra’s guttural vocals, super-fast drumming, and guitar tremolo picking. Possessed has only released two studio albums Seven Churches (1985) and Beyond the Gates (1986) along with the EP, The Eyes of Horror (1987). Possessed is currently at work on their third album to be released by Nuclear Blast which hopefully means will get a release this year and would make their first studio album in almost 33 years. Possessed disbanded in 1987, but reformed in 2007 with Becerra still on vocals and with a new lineup and have been touring ever since. You’ll notice that Becerra performs in a wheelchair. This is due to him being shot at a robbery in 1989 which left him paralyzed from the chest down. Still, Possessed puts on one of the wildest performances seen from any death metal band. Possessed announced a short three-date tour with two of them being back to back at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood and the third in Oakland. To no surprise, both shows at the Whisky were sold out and so it was set to be one for the books even on a Thursday night. After enduring six local opening acts, the Whisky was packed to what felt like over-capacity as LA’s metal scene was more than ready to put  their bodies on the line for Possessed.
The lights went out and the sold out crowd went wild as the members of Possessed made their way to the stage as the demonic grunts over the speaker came on and Possessed started the show with the classic song, Pentagram. Right away, the mosh pits started and it was not a pretty sight to see the audience bashing into each other and leave each other feeling sore for the next few days. Becerra unleashed his evil guttural vocals onto the audience as the show continued with Beyond the Gates followed by The Eyes of Horror. Their music may be over 30 years old, but every note still hits you hard and is almost impossible to keep still and not headbang or raise your horns as Possessed played their brutal death metal and pounded everyone’s ears. Possessed played all their hits including Evil Warriors, Tribulation, Storm in My Mind, and Burning in Hell. Becerra took a quick break to talk to the audience about the new album coming out and thanking the audience for the support after all these years. Possessed continued to pulverize fan’s ears and the fans continued to mosh as the music intro to the film The Exorcist started which is also the intro to the next song, The Exorcist which is one of their most popular songs. The show was nearing the end and Possessed next played Fallen Angel, Death Metal, and ended with Seven Churches. Possessed was preparing to leave the stage, yet fans kept chanting, “one more song!”. Becerra asked, “you want one more!?” and the crowd cheered. Possessed listened and played Satan’s Curse as the shows finale. It was during this song where a couple of fans took a chance and broke the Whisky’s strict rules of no stage diving and crowd surfing. When it’s the last song, it’s best to go all out. Possessed finished the show, thanked the audience, and left the stage. Fans were satisfied by the performance seen sweating, drunk, and lots of smiles going around.

 

Carcass: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/5/19

The fourth edition of the Show Your Scars Festival once again took place at the Regent in Downtown Los Angeles. This year’s headliner was the British death/extreme metal legends, Carcass. Lots more underground and old school metal was set in the lineup and  the Los Angeles audience was pumped up and waiting outside in the rain to get in early enough to the show to catch all the bands playing. As all previous SYS shows, this one sold out ahead of time so you know it was going to be a wild night.
Excel is a hardcore punk/crossover thrash metal band from Venice, California. They are one of the major bands from the 1980’s to come out of the crossover scene along with Suicidal Tendencies. Plenty of fans were excited for Excel as they destroyed the venue with classics such as Wreck Your World, Your Life My Life, and Split Image. Excel put on a great performance and surely did not disappoint the already packed venue.
Iron Reagan is an American crossover thrash supergroup from Richmond, Virginia, featuring members of Municipal Waste which are vocalist Tony Foresta and Cannabis Corpse and Municipal Waste bassist Phil “LandPhil” Hall. A band like this always puts on an energetic performance so you know you’re in for a crazy show. In true hardcore punk fashion, Iron Reagan played fast songs that got the mosh pit going and stage divers were still showing up on stage constantly. Iron Reagan didn’t seem to mind fans coming up on stage to party and get wild as fans got up on stage and dove right back in. Iron Reagan played fast and short tunes like Eat Shit and Live, Tongue Tied, Fuck the Neighbors, and even a Cannibal Corpse cover of A Skull Full of Maggots. There was never a dull moment in Iron Reagan‘s performance and fans were left wanting more and seemed to have plenty of energy left.
Lowlife is a crossover thrash/hardcore punk band from Santa Monica, California. Lowlife features the original and founding members of crossover thrash/hardcore punk band Cryptic Slaughter who are Les Evans (guitar) and Scott Peterson (drums). Cryptic Slaughter was originally set to play, but had to change their name due to legal rights and so now go by Lowlife after one of their songs. Despite the name change, fans still chanted the name Cryptic Slaughter because to them, it was Cryptic Slaughter. Regardless of names, Lowlife promised a full Cryptic Slaughter set and they delivered on their promise. Lowlife started the show with Positively and right away, the mosh pits started again along with crowd surfers and stage divers. Fans went wild for Cryptic Slaughter as the band had not played any shows since their initial breakup in 1990 so for most if not all fans in attendance, it was their first time seeing Cryptic Slaughter. Cryptic Slaughter drove the fans wild as they pummeled through classics like M.A.D., Last Laugh, Set Your Own Pace, and Lowlife. It seems Cryptic Slaughter has been revived and is alive and well with their current lineup and will hopefully play again in the area real soon.
The headlining band of the night was Carcass. Plenty of fans were also in attendance with Carcass merch and the packed venue was ready for the death metal legends. The lights went out and the crowd cheered as Carcass made their way to the stage and started the show with Genital Grinder. Carcass‘ performance was flawless as they always are. Fans continued to mosh and crowd surfers continued to make their way to the stage. It seems security was tight in not letting fans stay on stage and would immediately toss them back into the crowd. Carcass‘ heavy music made for some great headbanging and moshing. Songs such as Exhume to Consume, Reek of Putrefaction, Buried Dreams, and No Love Lost allowed fans to let loose and go wild on this rainy Saturday night. The show was coming to an end and they ended with their most famous song, Heartwork. Carcass thanked the audience for coming out and left the stage. Seeing all the carnage from the venue itself, people were sweating like crazy, tired, sleepy, drunk, and everything in between. A very good Saturday indeed and it’s just the beginning of the year.

 

Carcass

 

Lowlife

 

Iron Reagan

 

Excel

Mac Sabbath: Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 12/28/18

Captured! By Robots is perhaps one of the strangest, yet interesting acts one will ever see. As the name suggests, the theme of the band is that robots have taken over and the stage is set up like a post-apocalyptic world. Robots named GTRBOT666 (guitar/bass) and DRMBOT0110 (drums) serve as the primary sound of the band while JBOT (vocals) is held captive by the robots shown in chains and dirty clothing. Yes, the robots actually do play the instruments! The music style is grindcore so there’s lots of fast and heavy music with screaming deep growls. The show itself was spectacular and is something you must see to believe. In between songs, the robots would talk trash and insult the audience showing their success of world dominance. The show came to an end when DRMBOT0110 challenged a member of the audience to a drum-off. Loser dies! After a grueling drum battle, the human emerged victorious so he may live to tell the tale. Captured! By Robots is a band worth checking out if they ever come to the area.
     People Mover (PPL MVR) is another very interesting band. If you’ve ever wondered what a band led by Yetis would sound like, this is the band to check out. Their music is a bit hard to categorize as they seem to alternate between stoner metal and autotuning. You may be confused at first as to what exactly you’re looking at, but after a while, you’ll be hypnotized by their movements and music. Almost like a 60’s psychedelic rock band on an acid trip. The band is led by SNWBLL (guitar/vocals), K-Po (bass), and Q (drums). The band is often mischievous on stage taunting each other and trying to communicate with the audience with grunts. The audience had fun watching this interesting band and should be checked out by anyone that likes bizarre bands and music.
     The Dickies are punk rock legends from Los Angeles. To see them on a lineup like this was a bit odd, but still a great choice nonetheless. Plenty of audience members were seen sporting The Dickies merch as well as traditional punk garments like spiked jackets and torn shirts/pants. The Dickies came out and filled the venue with classic punk rock as they have been playing for forty years now. The mosh pits started and the punk rock show was underway. Frontman Leonard Graves Phillips was very energetic and comedic during the whole performance as he would jump and dance showing why he’s one of punk’s greatest frontmen. To go along with the performance, Phillips would bring out a variety of items to go along with the songs played. Some of those items included a dog puppet for Doggie Do, water goggles and snorkel for Waterslide, and even an inflatable sex doll. The Dickies have been around for forty years and they’re clearly not slowing down anytime soon and still have plenty to offer for fans.
     Headlining the show was the Black Sabbath Drive-Thru metal band known as Mac Sabbath. At first, you won’t really think what to think of the name. Once you see them come on stage and hear the music, it will all make sense. Mac Sabbath perform the music of heavy metal godfathers Black Sabbath, but change the lyrics to match that of fast food products. Black Sabbath fans can easily determine the original Black Sabbath song names based on the Mac Sabbath titles. The curtains lifted and revealed on stage to the members of Mac Sabbath which were Grimalice (bass), Slayer MacCheeze (guitar), The Catburglar (drums), and coming out last in a straitjacket, Ronald Osbourne (vocals). Mac Sabbath began their greasy performance with N.I.B.B.L.E. and right away you could feel the two themes coming together like the perfect burger. The next song performed was More Ribs followed by Organic Funeral. Mac Sabbath brought out plenty of toys to play with as Osbourne acted like a clown and really had tricks up his sleeve. One of his tricks involved eating a burger patty prior to the performance of Sweet Beef and vomiting inside of a bucket. He would pretend like he was going to chuck the vomit onto the audience and when he finally did, out came…confetti. Other tricks including spraying the audience with water from ketchup and mustard bottles, and party snakes coming out of bottles. At one point, Osbourne somehow took out a really long straw from his under garments and had his fast food employee chug a beer down one end of the straw as Osbourne drank from the other. During the performance of Frying Pan, Osbourne brought out a frying pan and set it on fire as he prepared to cook his next meal. He brought out a bat and was going to recreate one of the most infamous incidents in metal as he put the bat between the burger buns and bit the head off. Mac Sabbath finished the show and left the stage. The audience wasn’t ready to go home yet and stayed behind. After a little while, Mac Sabbath came out to perform Pair-A-Buns and joining them on stage was The Dickies guitarist, Stan Lee. Osbourne helped himself to some crowd surfing or as he called it, clown surfing. The whole show was highly entertaining and anyone that didn’t show up clearly missed one of the most comical shows of the year.

Mac Sabbath

 

The Dickies

 

PPL MVR

 

Captured! By Robots

Ministry/Alien Weaponry: Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, Ca – 12/21/18

Industrial metal legends Ministry released their fourteenth studio album AmeriKKKant on March 9, 2018. Since the 80’s, Ministry has been releasing angry political songs for those who share the same political views as Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen. Ministry have been touring for the album since before its release and the latest tour was called the AmeriKKKant Tour 2018. On this special occasion, Ministry would be performing their new album in its entirety. The last two stops on the tour were both at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Support came from Carpenter Brut and Alien Weaponry. The final stop of the tour was more than ready for the metal legends and had the venue packed just as Alien Weaponry was getting ready to come on stage.

Alien Weaponry is a three-piece thrash metal band from Waipu, New Zealand, formed in 2010 by brothers Lewis (guitar/vocals) and Henry de Jong (drums). The band is most noted for its fusion of Te Reo Māori (the native language of New Zealand) with thrash metal – delivering emotionally and politically charged stories of conflict and grief with a warrior-like attitude. on June 1, 2018, they released their debut album Tū and even before then, they have been praised by magazines and outlets for their amazing music. This is the band’s very first USA tour and it was obvious they had lots of fans in attendance. Alien Weaponry came out and first gave the fans a traditional New Zealand Haka dance to warm things up. The first song performed was PC Bro. Alien Weaponry showed their thrash metal music to the US fans and they loved it. The next song was Holding My Breath followed by Kai tangata. The audience responded really well to the band as fans raised their horns and banged their heads. With them being the opening act, they had a very short setlist and ended with Rū Ana te Whenua (The Trembling Earth). This is their first USA tour, but surely it was a successful one and made lots of new fans.

The lights went out and the audience cheered as the intro track I Know Words started which involves a remix of Trump’s infamous quote of “We Will Make America Great Again”. As the intro was finishing up, the members of Ministry made their way to the stage and started with the first track from the new album, Twilight Zone. Jourgensen was the last one to come out and was greeted by a huge cheer from the audience. The song made for a great opening song letting you know that Ministry has arrived and what made the song even better was the harmonica being played by Jourgensen. The next songs were Victims of a Clown and We’re Tired of It. Both songs have strong anti-Trump lyrics showing how much Jourgensen hates Trump. The whole time, there was a screen in the background depicting images of war and politicians from the past as well as caricatures of Trump.  The AmeriKKKant album kept being played as Ministry performed tracks like Antifa, Wargasm, Game Over, and finished the set with AmeriKKKa. Ministry left the stage for a bit to catch their breath. After a few minutes, Jourgensen announced that he was done spewing his political beliefs on the audience and would now focus on the band’s old material. Another special occasion was that Ministry was also celebrating the 20th anniversary of their certified gold third album, The Land of Rape and Honey. Ministry would also play select cuts from the album to help celebrate the occasion. The first song from the album played was the title track, The Land of Rape and Honey. A classic industrial metal track. The next classic tracks were were The Missing, Deity, and the popular track, Stigmata. With that album out of the way, Ministry now focused on their best tracks which everyone wanted to hear. The next track played was one of their most popular tracks, Just One Fix. The mosh pits came to life once again and crowd surfers made an appearance as fans also sang along to the song’s chorus. Thieves was up next and is perhaps Ministry‘s most popular song. The mosh pits kept going and crowd surfers kept security up front busy. For the performance of So What, Ministry brought out Chris Connelly to sing who has also worked with Ministry on their albums in the early days and is also a member from Jourgensen’s side project, Revolting Cocks. It was time for the show to come to an end and so Ministry played a very old track called (Everyday Is) Halloween. The previous day was the first time in 32 years that the song had been played so this marked the second time. Another guest was brought out which was Dave Navarro from Jane’s Addiction for an acoustic performance of the song. Ministry delivered two nights of glorious metal and it’s clear that they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

 

Ministry

 

Alien Weaponry

Stone Sour/Joyous Wolf: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 12/11/18

Stone Sour released their sixth studio album Hydrograd in 2017. Since then, they have been actively touring for the album all over the world. Their current tour came to an end at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California and what better way to welcome the band with a sold out show. Support came from Joyous Wolf and Aeges. The venue filled up quickly with it being packed even by the time Joyous Wolf came out to start the show.

Joyous Wolf is a newly formed rock band from Southern California formed in 2014. The band is still very young with only two tracks available for purchase which are a Mountain cover of Mississippi Queen and the original track, Slow Hand. The band is currently hard at work at releasing their new album so 2019 will be their year to make themselves known even more. Joyous Wolf came out to a packed venue and were welcomed by the audience. Their music is as if 60’s rock never left which was a nice change of pace compared to a lot of rock bands that tend to sound the same. Joyous Wolf was very energetic during their performance  and made sure to leave marks on the audience and surely made lots of new fans. Frontman Nick Reese introduced the song Mississippi Queen by asking the audience if the knew the song. Fans could be seen singing along to this classic tune that surely everyone in the audience knew. Joyous Wolf had a very energetic stage presence and it was nice to see them play to a much bigger audience than what they’re used to playing in much smaller venues. Joyous Wolf had a short set, but they made every minute count and will surely only get bigger as their career expands.

Stone Sour was obviously the main band of the night with plenty of loyal fans in the audience that were eager to see them. The lights went out and the sold out crowd went wild as the members of Stone Sour came out. Singer Corey Taylor also of Slipknot fame was the last one to come as the band started the show with Taipei Person/Allah Tea, the first track from the newest album. Stone Sour was immediately welcomed by the sold out crowd and you could tell Stone Sour was happy to be in the presence of this sold out crowd. The next tracks performed were Do Me a Favor and Knievel Has Landed. Taylor was more than happy to introduce his bandmates to the audience, especially guitarist Josh Rand who he has been writing music with since Rand was 15 years old. Taylor would bring out some props for the fans including a bazooka that shoots out confetti. Stone Sour continued playing hits such as Absolute Zero, 30-30/150, Bother, and Tired which were all beautiful songs by the band. Taylor sang every song to perfection with his amazing vocal skills proving he’s one of rock and metal’s best singers alive. The crowd would sing along to the songs as well as mosh during the band’s heavier songs. Stone Sour played Get Inside from their debut self-titled 2002 album and proved to be one of the best songs of the night as fans went crazy during that song as well as sang along. For the end of the set, Taylor once again brought out a guitar in order to play what is perhaps their most beautiful song, Through Glass. A very emotional song, the crowd stood still in awe and everyone could be seen singing along to this beautiful song. Stone Sour finished the song, thanked the audience, then left the stage. The audience stayed put and chanted for the band to come back out. After a little while, Stone Sour came back out and thanked the audience for all the years of support and would give them a couple of encores. The first encore was the popular track, Made of Scars. To end the night, Stone Sour played the first single from the newest album, Fabuless. A great ending to a great concert as fans let out whatever energy they had left with mosh pits and singing along. Stone Sour left the stage once more, but left nothing but smiles on their fans.

 

Stone Sour

 

Joyous Wolf

Doyle: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 12/14/18

Legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolgang von Frankenstein released his second solo album As We Die in 2017. When he’s not touring with Misfits, Doyle is off on his solo tour with his bandmates unleashing hell on the road. To promote the album, Doyle once again embarked on a USA tour called As We Die World Abomination Tour 2018. One of the stops was at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. Finally at 11:45pm after enduring seven opening bands, it was time for the Vegan Metal Monster to come out and raise hell to the packed venue for the second of two shows performed there.

His bandmates came on stage first and Doyle himself stomped his way to the stage as the final member as they started the show with Kiss Me As We Die, the opening track from Doyle‘s newest album. The floor came alive as a mosh pit formed as well as people shoving trying to get as close as possible to the front of the stage. Doyle‘s music offers a range of heavy metal and horror punk which moshers loved as they kept doing what they love best. For most of the songs, singer Alex “Wolfman” Story would introduce each song by saying, “this next song is a love song. You can dance to it if you want”. It made for some great humor in between songs. The next track played was Beast Like Me from the new album and is one of the more popular tracks from it. Seeing as how Doyle has two albums out, it means he has plenty of material to pick from for his show. On his previous tours, Doyle would throw in some classic Misfits tunes for fans, but sadly this was not the case for this tour. Still, fans had a good time as Doyle stomped on stage and Story used the whole stage as his playground and even went as far as climbing the speakers and singing from there proving he’s one of the best frontmen around right now.  The band crushed through songs like Cemeterysexxx, Land of the Dead, Blood on the Axe, and DreamingDeadGirls. It was during DreamingDeadGirls that Story made motions with his hands as if he was spanking a dead girl and having intercourse with her. Because who doesn’t dream of a dead girl? Doyle is a fun and wild band to see live, especially if you’re a fan of the Misfits. Story ended the show by saying, “let’s finish this so we can go get tacos”. The band ended the night with Night of Sin, the final track of the newest album. Doyle has proven repeatedly that they deserve more recognition. Doyle finished up the song then left the stage as the audience cheered.

 

Armored Saint/Night Demon: The Troubadour – Los Angeles, Ca – 11/30/18

The Metal and Beer Festival kicked off at the famous Troubadour in Hollywood, California. The Friday edition of the festival was a special pre-fest show. The lineup had Persekutor, black metal band Uada, heavy metal locals Night Demon, and Los Angeles’ own heavy metal veterans, Armored Saint. The Metal and Beer Festival kicked off at the famous Troubadour in Hollywood, California. To no surprise, the show sold out ahead of time. The show was set to be an explosive opening night for the Metal and Beer Festival.

    Night Demon is a heavy metal band from Ventura, California. They released their second album Darkness Remains in 2017 and in August released a live album, Live Darkness. Night Demon came out and started with Welcome to the Night and made for a perfect entry song. Their sound is a nod to all the classic 80’s heavy metal bands. One of the highlights from their show is when they perform The Chalice and their mascot comes out on stage with a chalice. Night Demon has a great stage presence to keep you entertained and was only matched by the show’s ending when they played their self-titled song, Night Demon. They are still a young band, but they’ll surely carry the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound with them for many years to come.
    Armored Saint made their return to the Troubadour since their last stop at the venue in 1983. Armored Saint recently wrapped up their tour where they’ve been performing their 1991 album Symbol of Salvation in its entirety. On this special occasion, Armored Saint would perform a “no hits” setlist and perform some oddities from their catalog. The Troubadour was packed to capacity and plenty of Armored Saint fans were seen in attendance of various ages. Armored Saint came out and were greeted with cheers from their devoted fans. The first song played was That Was Then, Way Back When. Fans cheered with joy as Armored Saint played their songs to perfection and all the members were happy to be in front of a sold out crowd in their hometown. The second song played was Pay Dirt from their 2000 album, Revelation. Even though the songs performed were obscure from their usual hits, longtime and hardcore fans were still seen with smiles and singing along to the songs to show that they didn’t know just the hits.  Singer John Bush spoke to the fans and thanked them for coming out and talked about the last time Armored Saint was last at the venue in 1983. The show went on as Armored Saint played more obscure hits like Book of Blood, An Exercise in Debauchery, Left Hook From Right Field, and Symbol of Salvation. Armored Saint kept up the energy to their performance in true heavy metal fashion with thunderous drums and shredding guitars. Their hometown of Los Angeles always welcomes  the band with open arms and makes Armored Saint feel right at home. With the show coming close to an end, Armored Saint played Win Hands Down and Nervous Man to finish off the set. A great start to the Metal and Beer Fest which also premiered Armored Saint‘s new beer, Symbol of Salvation.

Armored Saint

 

Night Demon

 

Uada

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, California – 12/1/18

Trans-Siberian Orchestra is an arena juggernaut super group formed by four members of progressive metal/hard rock band, Savatage. The band only tours in winter and is so massive that they have a west coast version of the band and an east coast version of the band with two members from Savatage taking control of each version. Bassist Johnny Lee Middleton, drummer Jeff Plate, and guitarists Al Pitrelli and Chris Caffery. Two decades and hundreds of sold-out arena shows later, all four musicians still tour with the band each winter, albeit as members of different touring troupes. Pitrelli and Middleton are the longtime anchors of “TSO West,” while Plate and Caffery are stalwarts of “TSO East.” The band is known for their extensive use of lights, lasers, and pyro that can be seen from space by the International Space Station and makes for one of the most beautiful shows that anyone will ever see. TSO has never needed an opening act so their shows are always 2-3 hours long. This tour was celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their winter tour called, The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. The first of two shows at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California was packed with long lines at every entrance with fans of all ages ready for a spectacular night.

The lights went out and the packed venue cheered as the curtains came off and revealed the stage with the choir in place and guitarist Angus Clark front and center as TSO started the show with Night Enchanted. The metal orchestra music hit you and you were instantly transferred to a magical world as lasers and lights filled the arena. The first segment of the song ended and the next song Winter Palace started with keyboards and soon after, the huge lights towering the stage came down like platforms and revealed three other members to join the rest of the band. The Lost Christmas Eve was the third song performed and it was executed beautifully with more lasers for a beautiful sight. Now, it was time for the main segment of the show which was called The Ghosts of Christmas Eve where TSO‘s best Christmas songs are performed. Storyteller Phillip Brandon came out to introduce the story to the segment; a storyline about a runaway who takes refuge in an abandoned theatre on Christmas Eve, and experiences the musical performances as ghostly visions from the theatre’s past. The first two songs performed were the popular tracks O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night and Good King Joy which are featured on the band’s 1996 debut album, Christmas Eve and Other Stories. One of the highlights of the night was when TSO performed their most famous song Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 which is often featured in Christmas commercials. Two members of the band went to the back of the venue standing on platforms that went all around the venue while performing the song. Other songs from segment included Christmas Canon Rock, Music Box Blues, and Promises to Keep. During the performance of First Snow, the venue was filled with many beautiful lasers and to match the theme of the song. Bits of foam came down on the audience to mimic snow and it was quite funny to see people covered in bits of foam. The Ghost of Christmas Eve segment came to an end with Brandon once again coming out to announce the end of the segment, then left as TSO came out to perform This Christmas Day which featured Jeff Scott Soto on vocals who is best known as the singer on Yngwie Malmsteen’s first two albums. Pitrelli came out to greet the audience and thanked them for twenty years of winter touring and showed his condolences for all the recent tragic events that California had been having. He also asked the audience if they wanted more music. Naturally, the crowd cheered. The show went on with the second set starting off with Wish Liszt (Toy Shop Madness), A Mad Russian’s Christmas, Christmas Nights In Blue, Wizards In Winter, and Carmina Burana. Pitrelli came out once again to show his love for TSO founding member Paul O’Neill who passed away in 2017. He mentioned how the next song they were about to play was the first song that the two of them wrote together which was the song, Someday. It was a beautiful and emotional song. TSO went back to their Savatage roots by performing a Savatage cover of Chance, one of the band’s popular songs. A few more songs in and TSO played a reprised version of Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 which was the second half of the song. The show came to a grand finale with fireworks, lights, and pyro engulfing the whole stage. A truly amazing spectacle to see after over two hours of magical music. The whole band came out to bow to the audience and left Pitrelli alone on stage as he wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

 

Municipal Waste: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 11/26/18

Municipal Waste is a hardcore punk/crossover thrash metal band from Richmond, Virginia. In 2017,  they released their sixth studio album, Slime and Punishment. Municipal Waste has been actively touring for the album and just recently announced The Speed of the Wizard Tour with High On Fire, Toxic Holocaust, and Haunt. High On Fire had to drop out of the tour due to surgery for frontman Matt Pike. In their place was the punk rock supergroup, OFF! The final stop on the tour was The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. The venue was packed with metalheads ready to get this wild night started.

Municipal Waste was the headlining band of the night. Fans were impatiently waiting for the band as they were shouting, “Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up!”. The lights went out and the fans screamed as the members made their way to the stage. Frontman Tony Foresta introduced the band by saying, “We are Municipal Waste from Richmond, Virginia!”. Municipal Waste started their show with Bourbon Disciple from the newest album. Right away, the fans went wild with a mosh pit and soon after, crowd surfers started to make an appearance. The second song played was one of their popular and catchy songs, Sadistic Magician. The fans went wild for thrash metal and the crowd surfers and mosh pits kept coming. Stage divers were plentiful as well as crowd surfers would make their way to the stage. Security tried to slow the amount of stage divers, but Foresta had to let them know that it was ok to let them come up on stage. After all, it wouldn’t be a Municipal Waste show without stage divers and chaos. The speed metal punks never had a calm moment on their show as they unleashed fast riffs and played classics such as Beer Pressure, Unleash the Bastards, Terror Shark, and Poison the Preacher. Foresta noticed a fan dressed as a wizard and so brought him on stage to rock out with the band and eventually convinced him to stage dive and join in on the fun. The mosh pits only seemed to get faster and wilder as Municipal Waste performed more thrashy hits like Breathe Grease, Mind Eraser, The Thrashin’ of the Christ, and the deep cut Nailed Casket. The mosh pits got so violent during this time that fans were being dragged out looking like they were on the verge of passing out and were even bleeding. A few stage divers were unfortunate enough to not be caught landing and nastily landed on the floor and were also seen being carried out with injuries. The end was near for Municipal Waste as they performed their most famous track Born to Party which also drives fans the most wild as they sing along to the ending lyric, “Municipal Waste is gonna fuck you up!”. Municipal Waste finished the show and left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go home yet and stayed put. Municipal Waste came back out for some encores and started with Bangover. Foresta has no problem showing his hate and disgust for Donald Trump saying, “Donald Trump can kiss my ass!”. Municipal Waste played another new track, I Want to Kill the President. It was time for the grand finale of the show and what better way  for Municipal Waste to drive the fans wild once again  than to play The Art of Partying. The fans once again gave their blood, sweat, and tears to Municipal Waste for one last song. Municipal Waste always puts on one of the craziest shows you’ll ever see so if mosh pits and stage diving is something you love to do, then be sure to go see them for a truly epic night.

 

    

Behemoth: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 11/24/18

Behemoth is a blackened death metal band from Poland. On October 5th, 2018, they released their eleventh studio album titled, I Loved You at Your Darkest. Behemoth was recently a part of Slayer‘s final tour and are now setting out on their own headlining tour. Behemoth announced the Ecclesia Diabolica 2018 Tour with support from Swedish melodic death metal lords At the Gates and American black metal band Wolves in the Throne Room. The final stop on the tour would the Wiltern in Los Angeles. This show was extra special in that it sold out ahead of time so it was bound to be an unforgettable night.

The stage was covered by a black curtain as the stage was prepared for the arrival of Behemoth. The lights went out as the sold out Wiltern erupted into a roar as the intro track to the new album Solve started the voices of the children’s choir filled the venue as the members of Behemoth made their way to the stage. The band started the playing the first track from the new album Wolves ov Siberia which is also the second single from the album and also has a music video. Behemoth came out wearing skull masks to add to their arsenal of stage props. Furious riffs and hard-hitting drums filled the venue and how glorious it was to feel Behemoth‘s music pounding through each and every body in attendance. The second song performed was Diamonos and the third song was Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer from their previous masterpiece album, The Satanist. For the next song, frontman Nergal came out wearing a pope hat designed for him specifically while they played the new album’s latest single, Bartzabel. The song Ov Fire and the Void was next and featured fog cannons that would shoot out fog in the form of upside down crosses. Behemoth went back to the new album and played the album’s first single, God = Dog. Behemoth next went back to their most popular album from 2004 Demigod to perform their most popular track, Conquer All. Fans raised their horns in their to the intro and fans happily moshed to this intense song. Behemoth kept up the brutality as they more evil tracks such as Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica, Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel, and Slaves Shall Serve. To end the show, Behemoth played their usual closer of Chant for Eschaton 2000. The members would come up close to the audience and spit out blood which the fans gratefully accepted. Behemoth finished up their set and left the stage. The fans weren’t ready to go home yet and kept shouting, “Behemoth! Behemoth! Behemoth!”. It wasn’t long before Behemoth made their way back to the stage for some encores. The first encore was Lucifer, a slower track compared to the rest of the setlist, but still fit beautifully. To end the set, Behemoth played the final track from the new album, We Are the Next 1000 Years. Behemoth left the stage once again as the new album’s instrumental finale outro track Coagvla played over the speakers. As the drum section was coming in, all four members of Behemoth came out once again carrying marching band drums and played along to the outro track which was a sight to behold and made for the perfect ending to a truly spectacular and satanic show.

 

Machine Head: House of Blues – Anaheim, California – 11/23/18

San Francisco Bay Area metal giants Machine Head released their ninth studio album Catharsis on January 26th, 2018. Once again, Machine Head would set out on An Evening With Machine Head meaning there would be no opening band and it would be three hours of pure uninterrupted Machine Head. On September 28, frontman Robb Flynn made a shocking announcement that guitarist Phil Demmel would be leaving the band after fifteen years and drummer Dave McClain would also be leaving the band after twenty three years. The Freaks and Zeroes Tour would serve as the farewell tour for this era of Machine Head, but not for the band as a whole. The second to last stop on the tour was the House of Blues in Anaheim, California and fans were ecstatic to see Machine Head perform all the hits.

The venue was packed by 8:30pm as Diary of a Madman by Ozzy Osbourne played over the speakers signaling the arrival of Machine Head soon. The song ended and the lights went out and the fans screamed and chanted “Machine fucking Head! Machine fucking Head!”. The members of Machine Head made their way to the stage and started their set with Imperium. The crowd wasted no time in going wild with crowd surfing and moshing as Machine Head laid waste with fast and shredding riffs. The second song for the show was Volatile from the new album. The third song was Now We Die from the previous album, Bloodstone & Diamonds. Beautiful Mourning was the next song and is always a fan-favorite to sing along to and drives the fans wild in the mosh pit. After a few more songs, Flynn came out to talk to the audience. While talking, he would strum the acoustic intro to Darkness Within. His speech involved talking about how long it has been since Machine Head played in Anaheim. It had been eleven years due to being banned by Disney due to the band’s music and lyrics. Flynn had the audience raise their middle fingers and yell out, “Fuck Disney!”. He would also talk about politics and how politicians don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and all they do is turn everyone against each other and how the only thing that matters is music bringing everyone together no matter what their beliefs are or what race. The rest of Machine Head would come out to play Darkness Within which is a beautiful piece heard live. Machine Head never had a dull moment in their performance and kept the fans raging as they performed blistering tracks like Ten Ton Hammer, Locust, an Iron Maiden cover of Hallowed Be Thy Name, and Bulldozer. Machine Head was about to start Killers & Kings, but not before Flynn ordered the pit to split in half for a wall of death and circle pit as the band started the song. The show seemed to come to an end as Machine Head played one of their popular songs from their Burn My Eyes debut album, Davidian. The song has their famous lyric of “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!” and always has the crowd singing along. Machine Head the stage to a dark and packed venue. The crowd wasn’t ready to go home yet and kept chanting, “Machine fucking Head! Machine fucking Head!”. After a brief break, Machine Head came back out for some encores. The first two encores were Descend the Shades of Night and Now I Lay Thee Down. Flynn asked the audience if it was ok  if they messed around for a bit. The crowd cheered and so Machine Head treated the crowd with medley covers of Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (Metallica), You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC), Night Train (Guns N’ Roses), and Would? (Alice In Chains). Back to speeding things up, Machine Head played one of their best and fastest tracks Aesthetics of Hate which made the circle pits go even faster and crowd surfers were plentiful. More encores included Game Over and Old. After three hours and 15 minutes, it was time for the grand finale of the show which was Machine Head‘s most popular track, Halo. Fans sang along and moshed to whatever energy they had left which seemed to be never ending. Machine Head wrapped up their show which was definitely emotional given that it was the second to last show for Demmel and McClain. A new era for Machine Head was on the horizon and the fans will have to see what’s next for the band.

 

Metalachi: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca 11/10/18

Metalachi is perhaps one of the most interesting and fun bands you will ever see live. As their name suggests, their music is composed of covers of popular rock and metal songs using traditional mariachi instruments. At first it sounds a little odd, but a quick YouTube search and you’ll quickly be blown away by what you see and hear. They make mariachi instruments work perfectly for the covers that they do. Their stage outfits are taken directly out of the books from other rock/metal acts like Rob Zombie, KISS, and Gwar. The members are made up of Vega De La Rockha (vocals), Paco Halen (guitar), El Cucuy (trumpet), Kyla Vera (violin), and Kiko Cane (guitarron/bass). Metalachi just released their third album Tres and to celebrate the occasion, they performed a special show at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. To make the  show even better, it sold out! Anaheim was not ready for the madness that is Metalachi as the venue was packed by the time Metalachi came on stage.

The first thing you’ll notice is how the mic stands are covered by the bras of women from previous shows.  Metalachi‘s manager Warren Moscow came out to greet the sold out audience and asked if they were ready to party with Metalachi. The crowd cheered, of course. He said that if any audience member is not ready to party, to do him a favor and walk their ass out of the venue. He also made note that alcohol is your friend and the more you drink, “the more this shit will make sense”. With that, he introduced Metalachi as they came on stage and started with their traditional opening song, a rendition of the classic Mexican song Guadalajara, but with the lyrics and title changed to Metalachi. The first cover song was The Final Countdown (Europe). It doesn’t take long before you know the comedic stage presence that Metalachi delivers to their stage. Their next covers included We’re Not Gonna Take It (Twisted Sister), Santeria (Sublime), and Sweet Child O’Mine (Guns N’ Roses). In between songs, Metalachi would put on a comedic show which involves the band members taunting each other and telling stories. One such act is when Vega claims that the front area of the audience is the “splash zone” and being exposed to Metalachi for too long would cause the women  present to become…pregnant. Continuing the show, Metalachi played Hooker With a Penis (Tool), Raining Blood (Slayer), and Talk Dirty to Me (Poison). One of the specially performed songs was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, to which they recently released a music video for featuring comedian Felipe Esparza. Several more covers later and the show seemed to come to an end with Thunderstruck (AC/DC). Metalachi left the stage, but the crowd didn’t seem ready to leave. Warren Moscow came out once again thanking the audience for a sold out show and asked the audience if they wanted more. The crowd cheered, but Moscow wasn’t pleased with the response claiming they didn’t travel 27 miles from their previous show for a weak response. Asking again, the crowd cheered even louder which was convincing enough for Metalachi to come back out for some encores. The encores included Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne) and a medley of Metallica covers of Master of Puppets and Enter Sandman. At the end of the medley, Metalachi dropped red balloons all over the venue with fans kicking them everywhere. For the grand finale, Metalachi played Canción del Mariachi (Mariachi’s Song) as originally heard in the movie, Desperado. Metalachi stood center stage and bowed before their audience once again thanking them for an unforgettable night. Metalachi is always a guaranteed fun show and they’re always touring. So if you’re looking to have a good drunken time and let loose from life itself, going to a Metalachi party is the way to go.

 

Paradise Lost and Sólstafir: The Glass House – Pomona, Ca – 10/20/18

Sólstafir is a metal band from Iceland. The band’s name is the Icelandic word for sun beams (crepuscular rays). In 2017, they released their sixth album, Berdreyminn. The band’s lyrics are almost all in their native tongue of Icelandic with some songs in English. The lights went out and fans cheered as the quartet made their way to the stage and started the show with Köld (cold). Sólstafir‘s music is very calm and soothing. Perfect for those quiet days, nights, and long drives home or just to relax when you don’t want the usual loud noise that is metal. The singing itself is beautiful. Whether it’s the vocals from frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason or the high-pitch backing vocals of bassist Ragnar Zolberg. Sólstafir continued the beautiful atmosphere of their show as they played a few more tracks like Ótta (Dead of Night), the absolutely beautiful track Fjara (Beach), and Bláfjall (Black Mountain). The final track for their performance was Goddess of the Ages clocking in at 12 minutes and 41 seconds. A perfect ending for their performance. Sólstafir bid farewell to their audience and made way for the headlining band of the night.

Paradise Lost is a gothic/doom metal band from England. In 2017, they released their fifteenth studio album, Medusa.  This year is a special occasion for the band because they celebrate their 30th anniversary. It was a relief to see them back in the US because the last time they came was in 2012. The setlist would be a special set containing a selection of their best songs. Paradise Lost came out and started the show with The Enemy from their 2007 album, In Requiem. In classic gothic/doom metal style, their music isn’t meant to be fast or aggressive. Instead, you submerge yourself in the music and the lyrics. The next song played was Pity of Sadness followed by One Second. Paradise Lost has a very calm stage presence and would hardly move on stage. Paradise Lost would play many more classics and leave their audience in awe as they played songs such as Enchantment, Erased, Medusa, and Beneath Broken EarthParadise Lost finished their set and left the stage. Fans stayed behind and  chanted for the band to come back out. It wasn’t long before Paradise Lost came back out for some encores. The first two encores were No Hope in Sight followed by The Longest Winter. To end the show, Paradise Lost brought out Aðalbjörn Tryggvason from Sólstafir for a duet for the performance of Say Just words. After the song ended, Paradise Lost left the stage once again to a very happy audience. Hopefully it’s not another six years before their return.

 

Sólstafir

 

Paradise Lost

Legions of Evil: 5 Star Bar – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/20/18

An evening of blasphemy takes its toll at the center of downtown as the Elegy Ensemble, Church of the 8th day and Space Land productions brings us a night of Heavy Metal Mayhem. Pulling off a lineup of 9 classic acts with locals such as Nightmare, Casket Crusher, Evilization, Sector, Dread, Dismantle, and Scrapmetal. At the very top of the lists were heavy the heavy tyrants in Ruthless and headlining this monster is German legends Iron Angel! With the audience in low attendance throughout some parts the night I was able to shoot without issue up until the last band where the front side of the stage was bombarded with crazed fans. With one band opting out and a few members not showing up in another, what you do like of how this productions sets up there shows is that they keep everything on schedule even with situations such as this.

I’ll do my take on the last 3 bands even though I love every performance that’s listed on this bill and always encourage to check out the up incoming underground for their releases.

Scrapmetal takes the stage and I do what I can to make it to their set time whenever they grace us with their presence. These veterans are always giving out a quality sound that has your adrenaline pumping and asking for more. With rude and crude types of lyrics and pounding fast crunchy tones there’s no reason to sit back and relax every time they hit the stage!

Ruthless has been on my bucket list of bands to check out for the longest now and totally stoked that I get to hear and see them in the flesh. What I typically like about smaller dive bar kinda of venues is the intimacy you get for being so close to bands. Sure festivals are great for atmosphere but where you’re only inches to legends such as these it’s a whole other ballpark. I’d say my only conflict with this place is having a small stage, especially for a 5 piece. With no wiggle room any big move is definitely a risk. Still, the band delivers and carries on to a crowded room full of raging fans. The best songs of the night in my opinion were definitely hits such as “Gates of Hell”, “Metal Without Mercy”, and “Discipline of Steel”. Currently the band is in motion to bring out new material so hopefully it shines just as their old gold has been portrayed.

Setlist:

1) Cryptic Ruins
2) Gates of Hell
3) Atrocities
4) In Blood
5) Evil Within
6) Metal Without Mercy
7) Death March
8) Skulls
9) Defender
10) Discipline of Steel

Finally as the evening had unfolded Iron Angel has in seconds filled up the stage floor for all hell to break loose. It’s quite a spectacle to see such a heavy band like these legends to tear up a room and bring only the best kind of chaos into action. With related band structures and sounds similar (but just as unique) as Agent Steel, Exciter, and Hirax the only mode these guys play is heavy speed. Playing such hits like “Black Mass”, “Hellbound”, and “The Metallian”. The only thing you can see from the back is hair flying, fists pounding and blazing energy from its adoring crowd. The ambiance is definitely unsettling and grungy which has nothing to do with how grand the performance plays out, though having a band banner wouldn’t hurt. However, this doesn’t exclude the fact on how Iron Angel delivers on hell of a set and for that I’m grateful to witness such big influences in a smaller scale location. The band is currently dominating other countries across the glob such as Columbia, Brazil and Argentina. So if you’re hailing in any of these countries I’d suggest not sleeping on any of their upcoming dates and witness the madness that is Iron Angel.

Setlist:

1) Writings on the Wall
2) Sinner 666
3) Ministry In Metal
4) Hunter in Chains
5) Heavy Metal Soldiers
6) Waiting for a Miracle
7) Blood and Leather
8) Black Mass
9) Son of a Bitch
10) Hellbound
11) Legions of Metal
12) Metalstorm
13) The Metallion
14) Fight for your life
15) Stronger than Steel
Encore:
16) Carnivore Flashmob
17) Rush of Power

Photos and review by Hugo Juarez

 

Iron Angel

 

Ruthless

 

Scrap Metal

Interview with Robert Berry

Robert Berry is an American rock musician and multi-instrumentalist most famous for bands such as Hush, Sammy Hagar, The Greg Kihn Band, and 3 with Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. In August, Robert Berry released the album The Rules Have Changed which also involved Keith Emerson. The album came to a halt when Emerson took his own life in early 2016. After taking some time off t grieve, Berry came back with his band 3, but rebooted it as 3.2 and released The Rules Have Changed which has the last work of Emerson before his passing. We had a chat with Berry about the album and life in general. Check out our interview:

Concert Confessions: You just released your new album The Rules Have Changed. How do you feel about completing the album and releasing it despite the passing of Keith Emerson?
Robert Berry: Hey Misael. Great to meet you and thank you for the questions. It was a dream come true for me. I hoped for 27 years that the opportunity to work with Keith again on a follow up to our first 3 album would come along. The time we spent speaking about our past, what we had learned over the past 27 years, and how to bring the sound we had developed back in ’87 into 2016 and beyond was an incredible experience for me. I knew that I had one more prog album in me. I also felt that Keith had not done much since the first 3 album except maybe the ELP Black Moon album that really showed what he was capable of and how he could still create at a high level. We were heading down that path and getting great results. Then he was gone. To say it shook my whole world would be an understatement. I had lost my most famous friend, the musical partner that I had a top 10 record with (and by the way Keith’s last charting record) and just a really sweet guy and person that I cherished and highly respected. I couldn’t go on at that point. I put it aside. A few weeks after his death I noticed that the fans that were posting on Facebook and some private emails I was getting, that people were feeling like they lost a friend. Not just the world’s greatest keyboard player and member of their favorite band ELP. They felt they knew him, they loved him, and they missed him. Even though many didn’t really know him personally. That touched me and I felt I needed to write a song that bonded together all of us. Friends and fans. The common thread of sadness I wanted to turn into the common bond of love for the man. So I wrote the song Our Bond and put it out on YouTube with many photos of Keith in a specially made video. The response was truly wonderful. People felt my love for Keith and they expressed that the song felt like it included their sentiments too. That was exactly what I wanted to accomplish. After about six months I had an idea to have Keith’s song Aaron possibly finish the album with me. He was excited but once he heard the song I sent him he said it was too hard for him. His comment that he didn’t play like his dad was not taken lightly. Of course, none of us play like his dad. He was the best. But, what that did for me is get the flame rekindled and I began to work on it again. It took me a year of struggling with the feelings, the writing, the performing of such difficult music to get it done. At the point I felt I was done I really didn’t know what I had. I was so close to it that I couldn’t tell if it was good or bad.

CC: What was the easiest part about making the album? What about the hardest?
RB: The easiest part was while Keith was still alive. We were having such a good time speaking on the phone and writing parts that way. Keith would play something like only he can come up with and I would try to mimic it on my end in the studio. I’d record those parts onto my protools system but only after some serious discussions and direction from Keith.
RB: The most difficult part was getting those damn keyboard fingerings right so I could actually play some of the keyboard parts after he was gone. To create the part seems to pour out of me. I felt Keith with me as I was working in some way. I would always say to myself “what would Keith do here”? But then once I felt I had it right and maybe even played a rough idea I would have to go back and dedicate some hours to really playing it right and adding the more complex voicings.

CC: If Keith Emerson were to listen to the album, what do you think he would think of the final product?
RB: That is an interesting question. Many people that I have been interviewed by have said things like “Keith would be proud of this album”. Or “this effort”. I always feel a little uncomfortable with that and I’m not sure why. I mean, it’s a compliment but on the other hand it is so important to me that I honor my time with Keith and I honor his genius with my best effort. I am so pleased with the response, but I don’t take it for granted that I have done exactly the album it would have been if Keith would have finished it with me. I know that it would have developed in some way that would have been unique to our time in the studio whatever that may have been. But my hope is that I have honored him by doing my best work and completing his final work.  

CC: Are there currently any plans for a tour in support for the album?
RB: Yes there is. The plan for that is coming together now. I want to play 300 to 500 seat venues. No bigger. I want to play my history in prog rock starting with GTR, playing songs from Pilgrimage, music from my time with Ambrosia, and the new 3.2 album. I also have a long history arranging some well known tribute albums for the Magna Carta label. I want to do a few of those songs like Roundabout and Minstrel in the Gallery. Steve Howe actually played on Roundabout with me and sent me a letter on how much he liked my version.I want to call the tour “30 years of prog”.  I  also want to meet everybody, I want to tell some stories, and I want to shake their hand and thank them for supporting me all these years. We hope to be out by March or April 2019.

CC: What’s your personal favorite song on The Rules Have Changed and why?
RB: That is a difficult question. There are things that I like on all of them. Standout parts for me are the intro of One by One. Dual pianos. It’s really a grand introduction to the whole album. I still enjoy the morphing of past Emerson songs in the arrangement of Our Bond. That was a puzzle that just seemed to fall in place. I could go on and on. I like to say that I spent a year in the dark fulfilling the dream and it was difficult, fun, emotional, and most of all, rewarding. If you haven”t read the 20 page booklet you can read about the journey and how it took shape. Hard to pick my favorite song though. 

CC: What is one of your most memorable moments with Keith Emerson?
RB: There will never be anything that can replace actually playing on stage with him. Mainly I played bass and sang in the band but I did have a keyboard setup and pride myself as being (probably) the only guy that ever played keyboards on stage with Keith Emerson, He didn’t like that much LOL But a few of our songs needed that extra boost from the keyboards. Trust me, there are not many situations where Keith couldn’t cover what it would take two keyboard players to play. He was a monster player for sure. 

CC: What was your inspiration (or inspirations) for writing The Rules Have Changed?
RB: The song The Rules Have Changed was one of the very last songs written for the album. A good friend that was also a very good keyboard player and song writer died in the same way that Keith had only a few months after Keith. It was very hard for me to take. This guy, Trent Gardner, was the creator of the prog/metal band Magellan. He was solid as a rock, albums full of ideas, and to me, he always seemed to be moving forward with great momentum. After he was gone it just struck me that it seemed that so many things in the world are very different from what they were not that long ago. Some better, some worse, but most – different.  The Rules Have Changed was written about my utter disbelief that I didn’t see any of this coming. No signs, no hints, no chance to change things. The rules had definitely changed around me.

CC: If any, how is The Rules Have Changed different from the previous album, To the Power of Three?
RB: First off that is a great question. It was a deliberate effort to put forth what we had learned from the first album, our tour, and the 27 years that had passed. On the first album I wrote half of the songs and Keith arranged them. The other half was written by Keith and the band took them and made them into lyrical pieces and powerful arrangements. It started with songs that might not have been completely right for 3 but were reworked to fit. The 3.2 album began with what I call the meat of the music. The musical bits like intros, links to verses, choruses. Maybe a cool riff hear and there and an instrumental section. Then the “song” part, the lyric and melody sections were written within this cool surrounding music. I felt that gave us more continuity, more ‘sticking’ to the original plan we had made, and more chances to hone in what I call our AOR meets prog style. It was a very open and creative way to follow through. The tricky part was getting the sections to meet up and flow from part to part.  

CC: When you’re not working with music, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
RB: I like to say I was sentenced to a life of music. My mom sang in my dad’s band so I was in a band and on stage before I came out. Music and everything related to music has been my whole life. I built a guitar in 8th grade, I built speaker cabinets and a bass drum in high school, I started working in a professional recording studio when I was 18. Then I went on to major in music at San Jose State University. Music, music, music. I produce for local and national clients at my studio Soundtek Studios 5 days a week and I love every minute of it. My wife Rebecca makes sure I go to Cabo once or twice a year and get away from it all. I do enjoy collecting guitars but I guess you can’t really say that’s not music. But I do love cars. I have a very fast Tesla Roadster that gets me around fairly quick and I do enjoy that. I’d have a bunch of cars if I won the lottery.

CC: Who are some of your favorite bands/artists to listen to?
RB: I have an interesting exposure to many kinds of music. Of course my roots are in the more English rock and prog rock. Zepplin, Yes, ELP. But everyday at my studio a singer/songwriter anywhere from 16 years old to 60 years old comes in and I do their music track for them. I have a package deal where they work one on one with me and whatever they don’t play, I play. I also work on their arrangements, their lyrics, and the song structure in general. I always ask “who are you going to knock off the charts? Let’s listen to that”. Then I ask them to play me one song that influences their style. I get 20 year old guys playing me Deep Purple, 40 year old pop singers playing me Pink, Fall out Boy, Michael Jackson, Van Halen, Back Street Boys lol. You name it, everyday I hear something new and also learn something new from these unknown artists. It is truly a great life experience to work with people on their most important creations. Then of course after an 8 or 9 hour day – no radio in the car, no headphones blasting away in my head. I love the work I get to do and of course I love the fact that I still have plenty of musical ideas and get to use them everyday. From co-writing and producing last years Greg Kihn album Rekihndled, to doing the prerecorded Van Halen keyboard tracks for Sammy Hagar’s live show for his band The Circle, my days are filled with music.
I appreciate your questions and hope that you have listened closely to The Rules Have Changed and enjoyed what you heard. It was definitely a labor of love and one of the most incredible experiences in my life. I’m still not really sure how it all came together the way it did. Somebody was definitely watching and guiding me.
Cheers,
Robert

Gwar: The Belasco – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/18/18

Scumdogs of the Universe Gwar returned to earth to lay waste on the human filth. In 2017, they released their fourteenth album The Blood of Gods. The first thing you’ll notice about Gwar‘s infamous live performances are their grotesque costumes which makes them look like interplanetary warriors and science-fiction themed mythology. Their stage shows are always filled with satire, comedy, political rants, sexuality, and over-the-top violence. The most notable feature is how Gwar will spray their audience with vasts amount of fake blood, urine, semen, and other liquids of unknown origin leaving their audience drenched in different colors by the time the show ends. The Belasco theater in Los Angeles was the next stop in Gwar‘s intergalactic battle with Earth.

The lights dimmed down as two army soldiers came out to scope out the area where alien life forms had been seen. The members of Gwar started to make their way to the stage and soon found themselves in sword battles with the soldiers as Gwar started the show with War on Gwar. After some fighting, green-colored band member Bonesnapper brought the soldiers to their needs as they begged for mercy. Bonesnapper grabbed his trusty axe and with a swift strike, decapitated the soldiers thus exposing the neck and streams of blood were shot out from the neck and onto the unsuspecting audience. The show got a wild turn right away as fans went wild and moshed while being drenched in blood. During the performance of I’ll Be Your Monster, Bonesnapper brought out two puppets that looked like kids and rubbed them all over vocalist Blöthar the Berserker’s genitals which resemble cow utters. After a quick rub, Blöthar grabbed one of his penises, pointed it at the audience, and let loose blood in an interesting, but hilarious antic. A funny-looking fast food character known as Dickie Duncan came on stage to talk about feeding fast food to kids just as Gwar started playing the song Death to Dickie Duncan. Gwar had enough of Dickie Duncan and Bonesnapper grabbed his axe and split him in two which resulted in his organs being exposed and ended up spraying blood all over the audience. Gwar had something special planned for almost every song performed. When Crushed By the Cross was performed, a priest came out to try and cleanse Gwar of their sins. Gwar quickly silenced him by bashing him over the head with an axe. The priest bled into the audience while frantically running around on stage. Gwar flipped him upside down, took off his pants, and exposed his butthole. Bassist Beefcake the Mighty grabbed the cross belonging to the priest and jabbed it repeatedly into the priest’s butthole which resulted in blood being squirted into the audience. Gwar has never been afraid to show their political views. For the performance of El Presidente, a man that’s supposed to be Trump came out to give one of his less-inspiring speeches about illegal aliens. Blöthar reminded Trump that Gwar are illegal aliens and so the band members engaged in battle with trump before tearing off his suit and ripping his chest open and started to send more blood flying out. Gwar continued their debauchery and slaying of people as they performed monstrous tunes like Viking Death Machine, Saddam a Go-Go, Maggots, and The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo. Nearing the end of the show, a sea of red could be seen from all the fans that had willingly let themselves be drenched in blood and juice. Gwar announced that they were tired of the venue and said their goodbye by performing Fuck This Place. The chorus got the audience raising their middle fingers in the air while shouting, “Fuck This Place!”. Gwar finished the song then took their leave. Fans stayed around and chanted for the band to come back out. Gwar listened to their human filth fans continued the show with Phantom Limb. For the grand finale, Gwar announced that they were sick of the people in the venue so they played the fan-favorite Sick of You. More blood and madness was unleashed onto the fans as they continued to mosh and shove their way to the front to get as wet as possible. Gwar finished their show and left the stage as they prepared for their next voyage to the next unfortunate city. As for the fans? Faces, arms, and shirts were blood-soaked red, yet smiles were seen everywhere. Make America Gwar Again!

 

Carach Angren: 1720 – Los Angeles, CA – 10/12/18

Carach Angren is a symphonic black metal band from the Netherlands. In 2017, they released their fifth studio album Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten. The name means “Iron Jaws” in the Elvish language of Sindarin, and is the name of a fortified pass into North-Western Mordor in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Since their first USA tour in 2014, Carach Angren has always been a support act. This year, they embarked on their first headlining tour with Mors Principium Est and Wolfheart as support for the Pitch Black Horror Tour. The mood was set as Los Angeles was drenched by rain and even lightning and thunder in the sky made an appearance to further set the mood. By the time Carach Angren came on stage, the 1720 warehouse was nicely packed as black metal fanatics and metalheads in general were excited for a full set from the Dutch horror masters.

 

The lights went out and the crowd cheered as drummer Ivo “Namtar” Wijers came out on stage to sit on his throne. The keyboard on stage eerily moved by itself as to be possessed before keyboardist Clemens “Ardek” Wijers took his place on the keyboards. Touring guitarist Bastiaan “The Butcher” Boh was next. Singer Dennis “Seregor” Droomers was last to come out. Carach Angren started the show with the first track from the new album, Charlie. Right away, you can feel the horror that the music bestows upon you as Carach Angren tell their tales of terror in a haunting fashion. The third song performed was one of their most popular tracks, When Crows Tick on Windows. Seregor does an amazing job at not only singing the songs, but playing out the lyrics as if watching the song come to life. The band as a whole had amazing stage presence as they would all make grotesque faces to match the music and would regularly interact with the audience. Carach Angren played songs from all their albums which was nice to hear some classics as well as some performed for the first time. Some of those songs included The Carriage Wheel MurderIn de Naam Van de Duivel (Dutch for “In the Name of the Devil”), Sir John, and The Sighting is a Portent of Doom. One of the highlights of the show was the beginning of the song Blood Queen. Seregor went over to the mannequin with the words “Jane Doe” cut into her flesh, took a knife out, and proceeded to slice her throat with blood coming out of the wound. Seregor then gorged himself on the blood from the neck of Jane Doe down to her vagina. It made Blood Queen that much more interesting to see performed live. Another highlight of the show was when Carach Angren finally performed the fan-favorite The Funerary Dirge of a Violinist. It is one of the band’s most beautiful songs. Aside from the catchy song, it contains a beautiful piano/keyboard solo by Ardek that is worth rewinding just to listen to it over and over again. Carach Angren finished the show and left the stage. The fans stayed and cheered for Carach Angren to come back out. Not too long later, the band came back out to perform another favorite, Bitte Tötet Mich (German for “Please Kill Me”). The finale for the show was the band’s usual ending song of Bloodstain on the Captain’s Log. Seeing Carach Angren live is an experience that should be seen by metalheads. Not only are they an experience, but they are Pitch Black Horror goodness.

 

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