Author: Misael (page 1 of 4)

Tribulation: The Lodge Room – Los Angeles, Ca – 10/2/18

Tribulation is a metal band from Sweden. Their sound has varied depending on the album you’re listening to.  The first two albums are more traditional death metal while their later two albums change it up to black metal and gothic rock while still maintaining a death metal sound. Tribulation released their fourth album Down Below on January 28, 2018 to positive reviews from both critics and fans alike. Tribulation finally announced a USA tour in support of their new album and fans were ecstatic to have them return since they were last here in 2016. The last time they were here, Tribulation sold out the legendary Troubadour in Los Angeles. It was only fitting that they now play a larger venue. This time, Tribulation lured their fans to the Lodge Room in Highland Park. Even on a Tuesday night, fans packed the venue in anticipation for this haunting show.

As Tribulation prepared to start the show, the stage was covered with fog from fog machines giving the stage and eerie feeling as if walking through a cemetery on a foggy night. The lights went out and fans cheered as the members of Tribulation made their way to the stage in full makeup and attire looking like corpses that had risen from their graves. The first song of choice was Lady Death from the new album. The song has a vibe that makes you wanna dance a dance of death, yet still maintained a classic death metal sound. The vocals from Johannes Andersson are a thing of haunting beauty. The second song performed was Melancholia from their previous album, The Children of the Night. One of the highlights of the band’s performance is watching guitarist Jonathan Hultén dance and prance around on stage looking like an undead ballerina. He’s always a sight to behold never missing a note while mesmerizing the audience. Other songs from the band’s macabre setlist included The Lament, Cries From the Underworld, and The World. In the middle of the show, guitarists Hultén and Adam Zaars took turns performing guitar solos to wow the audience and were often covered with fog for a more grim appearance. Nearing the end of the show, Tribulation kept to the new album and performed the gloomy and catchy Nightbound. The show had come to an end and Tribulation left the stage. The fans weren’t ready to go home just yet and chanted the band’s name. Tribulation listened and came back out for some encores. The first encore was Strange Gateways Beckon. Tribulation kept the energy up and never had a dull moment in their performance. It was time for the show to come to an end and to end it, Tribulation played Lacrimosa. The fans let out whatever remaining energy they had left. Tribulation wrapped up their show, bowed to the fans, then left the stage for the final time. Tribulation is a band enjoyed by both death metal and black metal fans and hopefully they come back soon for another living dead performance.

 

Angra: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 10/1/18

Angra is a power metal band from Brazil. With nine albums out and 25 years of existing, Angra announced their first ever full-on North American headlining tour. Throughout their career, Angra has had hiatuses and multiple lineup changes. One recently was when guitarist Kiko Loureiro joined thrash metal legends, Megadeth. Aside from this tour, Angra has only played selected shows here in the US and now fans can finally enjoy one of power metal’s most legendary acts. On February 16, 2018, Angra released their ninth studio album, Ømni (Latin for “Everything”). One of the stops on the tour was the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California.

Angra came out and started the show with Newborn Me and were greeted with cheers from their Hollywood fans. Angra quickly proved that they are one of the best power metal bands in the world as both guitarists shred away with speed and precision giving power metal it’s classic Helloween/Iron Maiden sound. On vocals currently is none other than Italian singer Fabio Lione who is most famously known for being the singer for Italian power metal band Rhapsody of Fire for 21 years. The second song performed was a song from the new album, Travelers of Time. For the third song, Angra went back to their classic albums and played one of the most popular songs Angels and Demons from their 2004 album, Temple of Shadows. Fans cheered for this classic and happily sang along to the song’s catchy chorus. Angra played a solid mix of classic and new material which included Black Widow’s Web, Nothing to Say, Upper Levels and Spread Your Fire. One of the tracks performed was The Bottom of My Soul and it features guitarist Rafael Bittencourt on vocals as well as guitars. Bittencourt is the only sole original member of the band as well as one of the founding members. The final song of the night was Magic Mirror and soon after, Angra left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go home just yet even though it was 12:30am on a Monday night. Bittencourt came back out to the stage for a speech and thanked the audience for coming out as well as talk about how proud he is of the band and thanked all the previous band members for all of their work. The rest of Angra would come out to perform two encores. The first encore was Rebirth from their 2001 album of the same name. To end the night, Angra performed Nova Era from the same album. Fans cheered as Angra wrapped up their show and lots of smiles could be seen as they were happy to finally see them. Hopefully it’s not another long wait before Angra returns to the states.

 

Deep Purple/Judas Priest: FivePoint Amphitheatre – Irvine, Ca – 9/27/18

When two of the biggest rock and metal icons join forces for a tour, you know you’re in for one of the biggest and best experiences of your life. Rock icons and heavy metal pioneers Deep Purple and heavy metal gods Judas Priest joined forces for one of the biggest tours of the year. Deep Purple is still on tour for their farewell tour that they’re calling The Long Goodbye Tour. Judas Priest is currently on tour in support of their eighteenth studio album Firepower which was released on March 9, 2018. The FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine, California was the venue of choice which was perfect for this tour. Starting up the show was Judas Priest and as always, they put on one of the best performances from any metal bands. The venue was super packed by the time the metal gods came on stage.

Judas Priest came out and started the show with the first track from the new album, Firepower. With a classic heavy metal sound, Judas Priest exploded onto the stage and made their presence known as one of the best metal bands of all time.  Metal God Rob Halford still sings like a god and seems to only get better with age. Guitarist Richie Faulkner has been the replacement for longtime guitarist K.K. Downing since he left the band in 2011. Longtime guitarist Glenn Tipton was forced to retire from touring in February 2018 due to a severe case of Parkinson’s Disease. In Tipton’s place is guitarist/record producer Andy Sneap. Regardless of band members, Judas Priest still sounds great. The next song performed was the classic Delivering the Goods from their 1978 album, Killing Machine/Hell Bent For Leather. The third song performed was another classic Sinner from their third album, Sin After Sin. With a new album out, Judas Priest of course had to play some new tunes. Those new songs were Lightning Strike, No Surrender and Rising From Ruins. With the new songs out of the way, Judas Priest focused on their classic material. The familiar sound of guitar synthesizers blared over the speakers as fans cheered knowing what was coming. The song Turbo Lover started which is one of their most popular songs. With a super catchy chorus, Halford put the mic out to the crowd so they could sing the chorus. You Got Another Thing Comin’ is without a doubt one of the most popular metal songs of all time so when Judas Priest started to play it, the whole venue cheered and sang along. Halford went to the back of the venue and seemed to disappear. The familiar sound of motorcycle engines revving filled the venue and fans once again cheered as they knew what song was next. Halford came back out riding his motorcycle as the rest of the band started playing Hell Bent For Leather. The band minus drummer Scott Travis left the stage leaving him to do a drum solo. After he finished, he asked the audience what they wanted to hear. The crowd yelled, “Painkiller!”. He gladly obliged and started the drum solo to Painkiller as the rest of the band came out to join in and play one of their best songs with fast guitars, pulverizing drums and Halford’s godly high-pitch yells. The show seemed to come to an end as the band left the stage. After a little while, the intro of The Hellion started as the band came back out and started the first encore which was Electric Eye. As soon as the song ended, Judas Priest jumped into playing one of the greatest metal songs of all time, Breaking the Law. Most, if not all metalheads know this song and is usually one of the first Judas Priest songs that fans hear when first introduced to them. Halford would allow fans to sing the chorus of, “Breaking the Law! Breaking the Law!”. It was time for Judas Priest to finish up their performance and to end the night, they performed Living After Midnight. Once Again, Halford let the audience sing the chorus which the audience sang perfectly. Judas Priest finished their performance, bowed to the audience, and left the stage for the headlining band of the night.

 

When people talk about some of the most iconic and influential rock bands, Deep Purple is often one of the first bands brought up. With all the bands they have influenced, Deep Purple has earned their reputation as one of the all time great bands that everyone needs to listen to. The lights went out once again as the members of Deep Purple came out and started with one of their most popular songs, Highway Star. Deep Purple still has the energy to put on an entertaining show and still prove why they’re one of the greatest bands of all time. The second song performed was Pictures of Home followed by Bloodsucker. Deep Purple had an impressive stage setup with a back screen showing old photos of the band from throughout their career as well as an impressive light setup that beautifully illuminated the stage. Deep Purple went on to play many of their classic such as Strange Kind of Woman, Lazy and Knocking at Your Back Door. Deep Purple took a quick break while keyboardist Don Airey performed a nice keyboard solo to wow the audience. Deep Purple would come back out to perform another one of their popular hits, Perfect Strangers. Iconic frontman Ian Gillan spoke to the audience about the history of the band and his involvement and different experiences over the years. To introduce the next song, Gillan said it was time go…Space Truckin’. People were seen dancing and singing along to this Deep Purple classic. Now at the end of the show, Deep Purple played their most famous song and one of the best-known songs of all time, Smoke on the Water. This song is one of the holy grail of rock music. It has the most familiar guitar riffs that unmistakable as soon as you hear it and is a riff that surely most guitar players learn to play. During the song, the back screen would show photos of the Montreux Casino in Switzerland that burned down in 1971 and inspired the title of the song. Deep Purple finished the song and left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go just yet and stayed a while longer. Eventually, Gillan came out once again and thanked the audience for coming out and for all the support over the years. For the encore, Deep Purple played their popular Joe South cover of Hush. Once again, the fans danced and sang along for the show’s grans finale. Deep Purple bowed to the audience and left the stage once again. Judas Priest and Deep Purple are two legendary acts whose music will for sure stand the test of time and will continue to influence many future bands even after they’ve both retired. Rock and metal will never die.

 

Judas Priest

 

Deep Purple

Wintersun: 9/23/18

Wintersun is a melodic death metal band from Finland. In 2017 they released their third album, The Forest Seasons. This was the first album since the release of their second album Time 1 in 2012. The album consists of only four songs, one per season. Though only four songs, the songs themselves are lengthy at 12-15 minutes each and take you on a journey through each season. After five long years, Wintersun made their return to the USA. One of the stops on the tour was the beautiful Mayan Theater in Los Angeles, California. Even before doors opened, fans were lined up outside waiting to see one of Finland’s  finest bands.

The lights went out and the packed venue went into a frenzy. The members of Wintersun came out and started playing the first track from the newest album, Awaken From The Dark Slumber (Spring). Frontman Jari Mäenpää was the last to come out just in time to start singing the vocals to the song. Mäenpää has a truly stunning voice as he sang with growls matching the album perfectly. If you can get used to the long songs, the music itself is some of the most beautiful melodic death metal you will ever hear making you feel both majestic and as if you are floating in space. After almost fifteen minutes, the first song came to an end as Mäenpää sang the final lyric, “Die and be born agaaaain!” which had fans singing along. For the second song, Wintersun went back to their 2004 self-titled album and performed Winter Madness, one of their more popular tracks which was well received by fans. Two more songs from the debut album would be performed which were Sleeping Stars and Starchild. Back to performing songs from the newest album, Wintersun next played Loneliness (Winter) which is one of the most beautiful songs that Wintersun plays. The moshing stopped and everyone’s eyes were on stage as Wintersun played this emotional song. Wintersun finally next played a song from their Time 1 album which was the first track Sons of Winter and Stars and it had people singing along to the catchy chorus. Back to the newest album, Wintersun next played The Forest That Weeps (Summer) and is perhaps the best song on the album. Normally the chorus has a choir featuring singers from other Finnish metal bands, but for this tour, all the members of the band would perform the choir chorus and it still sounded beautiful just as it does on the album. Wintersun surprised the audience by performing a brand new song titled Storm. As to whether this song will be in the next album or an EP of some sort remains to be seen. Sadly, it was time for the show to come to an end. For the end, Wintersun played Battle Against Time then left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go home just yet and stayed chanting the band’s name. After a brief break, Wintersun came back out for one last song. The encore would be one of the band’s best songs, Time. A perfect fitting for the show’s end with it’s catchy and emotional chorus. The show had come to an end and Wintersun shook hands with fans and signed fans’ items. Hopefully it’s not another five years before Wintersun returns.

 

September Mourning: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 9/16/18

We’re No Gentlemen is an alternative rock band from Long Beach, California. They were one of the few bands that were the opening act for the headliner, September Mourning. They have been aggressively hitting the LA music scene and even earned themselves a spot on the Las Vegas stop of the Vans Warped Tour in 2017. They proved to be a highly energetic band as they started with Disguise. Vocalist Amanda Gabel has a very energetic stage presence as she regularly went out to interact with the audience. Their set was filled with songs to make you rock out which included Mirror Mirror, Home and Night. The band has only released two EP’s so far with the second one titled This Is Home and is set to release on October 5th. To give their audience a taste of it, they played Promises from the upcoming EP which they have also released a music video for. We’re No Gentlemen is slowly, but surely climbing the ladder to make themselves one of the most promising rock bands coming out of Southern California.

 

Headlining the show was the hard rock band September Mourning and they were here to collect the souls of Los Angeles fans who the band refers to as their Children of Fate. The band came to be originally from a graphic novel depicting the character of September Mourning played by singer Emily Lazar as a human-reaper hybrid, who feels the need to give some human souls a second chance, and thus toys with Fate. To get the full experience of the band one must not only submerge themselves in the music, but the graphic novels as well. The stage was set up with a back screen which showed the beginning of the graphic novel as an animated short. September came to the stage as she entered the human realm with her reapers. September Mourning Started the show with Angels to Dust, the first song from their newest album titled Volume II. Right away, you get a taste of the band’s vibe from their music as they combine gothic imagery with hard rock music. In between songs, September Mourning would step aside so the back screen could show the next chapter of the graphic novel. September Mourning would come back out and continue to mesmerize the fans by playing tracks like Eye of the Storm, Children of Fate, and Skin and Bones. September had a great stage presence as she gracefully made use of the whole stage and flipped her hair with every opportunity that let her shine. The show came to an end with one of the band’s catchiest and best songs 20 Below which also has a music video out. September Mourning is a great experience to witness live, especially if you love a theatrical band.

 

September Mourning

 

We’re No Gentlemen

Tarja: El Rey – Los Angeles, Ca 9/14/18

Finnish singer Tarja Turunen is most famously known for fronting Finnish symphonic metal legends Nightwish from 1996 until her dismissal in 2005. In 2006, she started her solo career and since then has released seven studio albums (four rock, two Christmas, one classical). In 2016, she released her sixth studio album The Shadow Self and has been actively touring for the album. Since her departure from Nightwish, Tarja has not preformed in the USA until this year when she announced four exclusive shows promoting her latest live album titled Act II so the tour was called Act II Release Shows. The final stop on the tour was the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles so fans of hers and Nightwish were finally able to see her in all her glory. Even before doors opened, a line had formed outside the venue in anticipation after waiting for many years.

The lights went out and fans cheered and yelled out Tarja’s name as her band member’s came out. Tarja was the last to come out as the band started the show with No Bitter End from the latest album. Tarja’s voice only seems to get better with age as she graciously performed her operatic vocals to perfection as heard on the album. Fans were ecstatic to finally get their chance to see Tarja perform in person. The second song performed was 500 Letters followed by Demons In You. Throughout the whole night, Tarja was full of energy and showed she was happy to be back in Los Angeles after a long time. After a few more songs, Tarja surprised fans by performing snippet covers of Nightwish songs which included Tutankhamen/Ever Dream/The Riddler/Slaying the Dreamer. To tone things down for a bit, the band sat down to perform an acoustic set which consisted of The Reign/Mystique Voyage/House of Wax/I Walk Alone. The show was coming close to an end as the band performed Undertaker, Love to Hate then finished up with Victim of Ritual. The band left the stage and fans didn’t seem to wanna leave as they cheered and chanted Tarja’s name. After a short break, the band came back out and performed some encores. The encores were Innocence and Die Alive before wrapping up the show with Until My Last Breath. Tarja put on a truly beautiful performance that should be witnessed by any and all fans of Nightwish. Hopefully it’s not a very long time before she comes back.

 

Helloween: Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, Ca 9/8/18

German power metal legends and creators Helloween set out on the Pumpkins United World Tour. This tour was a special occasion because it featured the return of co-founder and guitarist Kai Hansen who left the band in 1988 to form power metal band, Gamma Ray. The tour also features the return of the band’s best vocalist Michael Kiske who was fired from the band in 1993. With two of the band’s key members returning, fans of the band could finally see the pioneers of power metal as they were many years ago. Helloween has been fronted by Andi Deris since 1994. Instead of relieving him of his duties, Helloween kept him in the band and so now have two vocalists sharing duties for certain or singing their perspective songs from their perspective albums. The second stop of the tour was the Hollywood Palladium and even well before doors open, fans were lined up going around the venue in anticipation for the show. A tour like this is so special, that no opening act was needed and so Helloween would have the stage to themselves and would play for 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The lights went out and fans cheered and chanted the band’s name as the back screen lit up showing clips as the band members made their way to the stage. Helloween started their show with Halloween, a 13-minute monster of an opening song to get the crowd going with this classic. Having Hansen back in the back felt right and natural as a band live should feel. The music sounds perfect as it does on the album even 31 years later. The second preformed was another one of the band’s biggest hits Dr. Stein and the chorus allows the fans to sing along whenever Kiske signaled them too. The third song performed was I’m Alive, the opening track to their classic 1987  album Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 1 which is no doubt one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Kiske’s high-pitch vocals and the guitar solo to the song is what helped spark the sound to European-style power metal. Once the song was over, the band took a quick break while the stage screen showed caricatures of pumpkin humanoids messing around with instruments and rock star outfits. These short movies would appear after every couple of songs to entertain the crowd. After a couple of more songs, Helloween returned to their roots from their debut album Walls of Jericho when Hansen handled both guitars and vocals. Hansen performed a medley of songs from the album which were Starlight, Ride the Sky and Judas. The only full song he performed was Heavy Metal (Is the Law). Kiske came back out to join the band to perform the beautiful ballad A Tale That Wasn’t Right. Kiske announced that this is the second time since 1987 that he has performed the song. It was beautifully performed and the crowd could be seen singing along soaking in the beautiful music. Deris came back out to join the band for a duet of Pumpkins United, a brand new song from Helloween which features Kiske, Hansen, and Deris sharing lead vocals. The band went off stage leaving drummer Daniel Löble on his drum kit as he performed a drum solo. A little after, the back screen showed a VHS tape going into a VCR showing an old drum solo from the band’s original drummer Ingo Schwichtenberg who died in 1995. It was a tribute that Helloween gave to their fallen brother. Löble came back out to perform a drum duet with Schwichtenberg which made the tribute perfect as fans cheered and called out Schwichtenberg’s name. Helloween continued the show and played many more classic like A Little Time, Sole Survivor, and How Many Tears. The show seemed to come to an end, but fans weren’t ready to go home as the chanted the band’s name. Helloween came back out to perform some of their best songs. The first encore was the fan-favorite Eagle Fly Free followed by the 13-minute epic track, Keeper of the Seven Keys. Helloween left the stage again, but once again fans stayed and chanted the band’s name. The back screen lit up once again to show the conclusion to the short movies involving the pumpkin humanoids and soon after, Helloween came back out for two more encores. The next encore was Future World, another one of their best songs and got the crowd singing along with its catchy chorus and guitar solos. The final song of the night was the band’s most famous song I Want Out and Helloween made the song extra fun by tossing out balloons with pumpkins on them and were tossed around like beach balls. Fans were moshing, crowd surfing, and singing along to the super catchy finale. The show came to a grand ending and had fans cheering and smiling as Helloween bowed to the audience and left the stage for the final time.

 

Napalm Death: Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, Ca 8/28/18

  

 

The sold out Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles was set for a night of amazing metal bands. On this Tuesday night, metalheads were blessed by Thrown Into Exile, Crematorium, Cattle Decapitation, and British grindcore legends Napalm Death. Los Angeles was not ready for this sh0w and the bands performing were more than ready to shred the night away as metalheads filled the venue ready for a good night.

Up first was Los Angeles local band Thrown Into Exile. Having been around since 2011, they have been slowly but surely rising to the top and opening for some big name metal bands whenever they come to town. Thrown Into Exile is the band you listen to when you’re looking for a fresh metalcore sound with harsh vocals and shredding guitar solos. They always get the crowd going wild with an energetic stage presence as they pummeled through tracks such as Idol of One and The Wronged. Thrown Into Exile is cooking up their sophomore album which is due for a release soon. To give the audience a taste, they played a new song titled Death’s Reprise. The band’s sound seems to improve and mature as the band grows. Their second album will surely be worth a listen once it comes out. With a short set, Thrown Into Exile finished up their set with Declination from their only album out, Safe Inside. Thrown Into Exile got the audience warmed for the rest of the bands.

Cattle Decapitation are an extreme metal band from San Diego, California. Despite their name, Cattle Decapitation‘s songs deal with the mistreatment and consumption of animals, the abuse of the environment and the misanthropy and genocide of the human race. Lots of fans were there specifically for them as they could be seen shouting out the band’s name before they came on as well as wearing the band’s merch. Cattle Decapitation came out and started the show with The Carbon Stampede. Right away, you’ll hear the brutality and speed of the band’s music and always gets the crowd going with mosh pits. The next song was Dead Set on Suicide. Both songs are from the band’s 2012 album, Monolith of Inhumanity. Songs like this display guitarist Josh Elmore’s guitar playing as his hand moves up and down on the neck of his guitar in inhuman speed and is mesmerizing to watch. Vocalist Travis Ryan filled the venue with his deep guttural vocals that, in a strange way, are pleasant to listen to. Cattle Decapitation always puts on a great show and never have a quiet moment when they perform blistering tracks like The Prophets of Loss, Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot), and the fan-favorite Forced Gender Reassignment. They currently have a new album in the works which will be released sometime next year which leaves fans something to look forward to. Cattle Decapitation ended their show with Pacific Grim from their latest album The Anthropocene Extinction then left the stage leaving the fans hungry for more as the headlining band was set to go on.

Napalm Death are grindcore legends from Britain. They have been active since 1981 and their debut album Scum was released in 1987. Since the album’s release, none of the original members are part of the band. The current lineup has been the band’s staple since 1992, with the exception of guitarist Mitch Harris who has been on a hiatus from the band since 2014 due to illness within his family. Napalm Death‘s music is notorious for short songs often spanning 30 seconds to two minutes, though from their newer albums, they have reverted to normal-length songs for the most part. In 2015, they released their newest album Apex Predator – Easy Meat to positive reviews and will be working on the next album in the near future. By the time Napalm Death was ready to hit the stage, the venue was packed to max capacity with fans screaming out the band’s name as they eagerly awaited for the show to start. Napalm Death finally came out and started with the first two tracks from their debut album titled Multinational Corporations and Instinct of Survival. Napalm Death really got the crowd going. For the most part, the crowd had remained calm with mosh pits that were barely felt up front. Once Napalm Death started, things really hit the fan. Shoving started and fans rushed the stage and in no time, stage divers started to make an appearance and were constant for the whole performance. Vocalist Barney Greenway unleashed his incomprehensible guttural vocals and shrieks onto the audience that has made him famous and is the band’s signature sound. During the performance of The Wolf I Feed, a fan got on stage and in the process, knocked over the mic from guitarist John Cooke and hit him in the mouth. Cooke was so upset by it that he shoved the fan making him land on top of fans behind him. After the song was over, Greenway let the audience know that Cooke was hit in the mouth by the microphone and in the process, it chipped one of his teeth. Bassist Shane Embury had to tell the audience to stage dive away from the band’s equipment. The fans stayed wild the whole time as Napalm Death rampaged through classic like Practice What You Preach, On the Brink of Extinction, and their most famous song, Scum. One of the fun parts of the show is when Napalm Death plays their shortest song called, You Suffer. The song You Suffer is in the Guinness World Records as the shortest song in the world, at only 1.316 seconds long. Suffer the Children is one of the band’s most popular songs and is a subject of anti-religion when religion is forced on children which the band is against. Nearing the end of their set, Napalm Death played a Dead Kennedys cover of Nazi Punks Fuck Off which always drives the mosh pits wilder and stage divers were everywhere. The show came to an end as Napalm Death played the last two songs back to back which were Cesspits and Inside the Torn Apart. Napalm Death left the stage and the audience themselves were tired and sweaty from all the chaos that happened.

 

Napalm Death

 

Cattle Decapitation

 

Thrown Into Exile

Armored Saint: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 8/17/18

Heavy metal leaders Armored Saint went out on tour to perform their critically acclaimed fourth studio album Symbol of Salvation in its entirety. The band was originally formed in 1982 in Los Angeles by brothers Phil (lead guitar) and Gonzo (drums) Sandoval. The second to last stop on the tour was the Parish Room at the House of Blues in Anaheim, California. The show sold out way ahead of time so for sure it was set to be a night filled with heavy metal manics. The opening act for the tour are Act of Defiance and they made for a great opening act to get the crowd warmed up.

Act of Defiance are a heavy/thrash metal band from Los Angeles, Ca. The band features lead guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover; both who are former members  of thrash metal legends, Megadeth. They released their newest album Old Scars, New Wounds in 2017. Act of Defiance came out to an already packed venue and started the show with M.I.A. and got the crowd going wild. Broderick displayed his fast guitar playing as he shred through the songs and vocalist Henry Derek growled through the set with ease. Other songs in their set included Legion of Lies, Poison Dream and The Talisman. Act of Defiance made for a great opening act for the tour and were most definitely enjoyed by the audience.

Armored Saint was the headliner of the night and by the time they were getting ready to come out, the venue was packed to max capacity filled with heavy metal maniacs. The lights went out and the sold out venue cheered as the members of Armored Saint made their way to the stage and started the show with their most famous song, March of the Saint off their debut album of the same name. The crowd went wild with heads banging and horns being raised. Vocalist John Bush delivered some fine heavy metal vocals and let the crowd sing with him as he sang the chorus, “It’s the March of the Saaaint! March of the Saint!”. The next two songs were Long Before I Die and Chemical Euphoria. After these songs, Bush announced the start of the Symbol of Salvation album and naturally, the crowd cheered. The album starts with Reign of Fire, one of Armored Saint‘s live staple hits and plenty of fans could be seen singing along. Other live staple hits from the album included Last Train Home, Tribal Dance, and Symbol of Salvation. Halfway through the album, Bush spoke to the audience about Armored Saint‘s sixth member Dave Prichard who passed away in 1990. Prichard may not be in the band physically, but he will always be with them in spirit. Armored Saint played Another Day in his honor and the energy of the song was felt throughout the whole venue. The album came to a finale with Spineless. Bush announced how instead of walking backstage and pretending to end the show then come back out for encores, that the band would stay right there and perform their encores right then and there. The first encore was Pay Dirt followed by Left Hook From Right Field. After a night of classic heavy metal, it was time to say goodbye. To end the night, Armored Saint played Can U Deliver which is the band’s usual closing song and another one of their biggest hits. The show came to a close and the band members came out to the audience to greet fans and thank everyone for coming out to celebrate heavy metal.

 

Act of Defiance

 

Armored Saint

Ghoul: Velvet Jones – Santa Barbara, CA – 8/12/18

  

The masked hooligans from Creepsylvania Ghoul made a stop on their Weapons of Mosh Destruction tour at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara, California. A small, but intimate setting where chances are, the venue had no idea what it was in for. Ghoul is still touring in support of their newest album, Dungeon Bastards. If you’ve never experienced Ghoul live, you are in for a real gross treat.

Two politicians came out on stage and started talking to the audience before unveiling the Necronomicon book. The members of Ghoul made their way to the stage with axes and hacked away at the politicians. The result? the main attraction at a Ghoul concert.

Ghoul started the show with Ghoulunatics as the politicians started spraying blood (red dye) at the audience. The audience went wild as they willingly let themselves get sprayed as part of the fun at a Ghoul concert. Thrash metal plus blood being sprayed everywhere is the perfect combo. Ghoul continued the madness with Ghetto Blasters/Bringer of War and kept the energy going as the fans kept the mosh pits alive. Ghoul would bring out more of their ridiculous characters that would always end up  with more blood being sprayed at the audience. Ghoul played more tunes from their newest album which included Shred the Dead, Dungeon Bastards, and Word Is Law. Other classics included Splatterthrash, Rot Gut, and Spill Your Guts where bassist Cremator ripped the head off a baby doll and squirted blood from the lifeless body onto the audience.

In between songs, Ghoul would tell short stories as if they were in a play that would always leave the audience laughing and would lead to the next song. One of the more fun songs played was Abominox and of course Ghoul brought out the gross mutant monster known to the universe as Abominox as it almost successfully devoured the band members. Guitarmageddon was the perfect finish to the show and Ghoul left the stage for the audience to fend for themselves. After a few minutes, the band made their way back to the stage and let the fans know that this is the part of the show where they go home. The fans refused to do so and to reward their dedication, Ghoul played a couple of encores. The first encore was Metallicus Ex Mortis.

The grand finale of the night was Gutbucket Blues and it featured an ape-like creature with dangling testicles throwing chunks of blood and flesh from a bucket labeled as “Whale Cum” at the audience and eventually led to the whole bucket being flung at the audience. Ghoul finished the show once again and left. What was left of the venue? Mass blood and chunks everywhere and everyone up front looking like they were just put through a meat grinder. If you’ve never seen the live macabre that is Ghoul, they are for sure not to be missed next time they grind their way to your city.

Hail Creepsylvania!

 

Foreigner/Whitesnake: FivePoint Amphitheater – Irvine, Ca 8/1/18

  

 

Classic rock band Foreigner announced the Juke Box Heroes tour to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. They are one of the best-selling bands of all time with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records and 14 top 20 Billboard hot chart hits. Joining them on this historic tour are the British hard rock band Whitesnake and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. The last stop on the tour was the newly opened FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine, California. I missed Jason Bonham due to the usual nightmare that is Southern California traffic, but I made it in time for Whitesnake. The venue was already packed by them time Whitesnake was set to start the show.
Whitesnake came out and started the show with Bad Boys. Whitesnake received a positive response from the audience as most if not everyone present was familiar with their music. Fronting the band was David Coverdale who at one point was the singer for British rock legends, Deep Purple. The second song performed was Give Me All Your Love followed by Love Ain’t No Stranger. The band has great stage presence with not a dull moment in their performance. Even at 66 years old, Coverdale’s voice has not aged and he sounded amazing as he sang all the classics with precision. After a few more tracks, Whitesnake started to perform some of the their most famous songs that got the audience singing and dancing along. The first of the classics was Is This Love which reached number two on the US charts in 1987 making it their second-biggest hit in the US. The next classic is the band’s best-known song and one of the most well-known songs in the rock/metal community, Here I Go Again. The song reached number one on the US charts in 1987 and is often labeled as one of the greatest songs of the 80’s. Everyone was on their feet singing along and felt the good vibes throughout the venue. Ending their set was another one of the band’s most popular songs and their usual encore/ending song, Still of the Night. This song is widely considered one of the greatest hard rock songs of all time. Plenty of people were rocking out to this tune which included head banging and raising their horns. The show had to come to an end, but Whitesnake‘s career is still strong as they are set to release their thirteenth studio album in 2019 titled Flesh & Blood. Whitesnake thanked the audience for coming out and cleared the stage for the headlining band of the night.

  

 

Foreigner is hailed as one of the greatest bands of all time. Since their formation in 1976, only guitarist/songwriter Mick Jones is the band’s sole-remaining original member. He’s such a legendary songwriter that in 2013, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The lights went out and the packed venue erupted into a roar as the band members made their way to the stage one at a time and started the show with Long, Long Way from Home from their 1977 self-titled debut album. At first glance, you’ll notice that Mick Jones is missing on stage for whatever personal reasons. Still, the band got a loud welcome from the audience as smiles and singing were seen wherever you looked. The second song performed is one of the band’s most popular songs Double Vision from their second album of the same name. Foreigner always has great stage presence and is amazing live band to be witnessed by fans of all ages. Foreigner kept bringing out the classics as they played Head Games, Cold As Ice, and Waiting for a Girl Like You which is one of the band’s most successful songs reaching number two on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Billboard’s Rock Tracks. Foreigner took a quick break while singer Kelly Hansen introduced Mick Jones to the stage and had him start the very first song that the fans heard from their debut album, Feels Like the First Time. Urgent was next and is another one of the band’s most popular songs as well as one of the more fun songs performed live. Nothing gets the crowd excited quite like the signature sax solo from Thom Gimbel. Starrider is another single from the debut album and the song’s soothing tone was only matched at the end with fireworks raining down from the stage. Foreigner took a break on stage while drummer Chris Frazier performed a drum solo. Once his solo was over, he started performing the familiar bass drum intro to another one of Foreigner‘s most popular songs, Juke Box Hero. The song has over a million digital downloads and is certified platinum by the RIAA. The audience was surprised to see that Hansen was on top of a pedestal in the middle of the crowd singing the song. A lot of people were seen singing and dancing along to the song. Hansen went back to the stage and started talking to the audience about love and asked everyone to wrap their arms around the person next to them as they prepared to play their biggest hit and their only #1 song in the US and UK, I Want to Know What Love Is. It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful songs ever written and hearing it live is one of the most beautiful things. Joining Foreigner on stage was the Rosewood Avenue Elementary School Choir as they sang the choir part towards the end of the song. It was time for the show to come to an end and so Foreigner played another one of their biggest hits Hot Blooded which the single has sold over one million units. To go with the song, Foreigner had fire coming out of the stage to go with the theme of the song which made it all the more exciting. Foreigner thanked the audience for coming out, bowed to the audience and left the stage as the audience cheered and thanked them for a truly spectacular performance by one of rock’s biggest bands.

 

Whitesnake

 

Foreigner

The Black Dahlia Murder: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 7/6/18

 

Fleshgod Apocalypse is a death metal band from Italy. In 2016, they released their fourth album King. On October 2017, their fan base was shocked when the band’s longtime singer/guitarist Tommaso Ricardi exited the band. As a replacement, the band’s drummer Francesco Paoli will return to being the guitarist/vocalist for the band as he was for the band’s early days and first album. Taking over drums for this tour will be David Folchitto from the extrem metal band Stormlord. This would be the band’s first US tour with the current lineup. The lights went out and the violin outro to The Deceit filled the sold out venue. Fleshgod Apocalypse came out and started the show with The Violation and immediately sent the crowd-filled floor into a frenzy with moshing and crowd surfing. Fleshgod Apocalypse seems to only get better with time and their music will make any person headbang and throw their metal horns in the air. Their music was backed up by the haunting operatic voice of Veronica Bordacchini. Paoli’s voice is a force to be reckoned with as he unleashed hell on the sold out crowd. Their setlist consisted of some of their best songs including Healing Through War, The Fool, and The Egoism. The whole band was very energetic with not a single dull moment in their performance. Being one of the opening bands, they had a short set and the final song of the night was their most popular song, The Forsaking. Upon finishing their set, they got a huge standing ovation from the Orange County crowd with fans praising their performance and commenting how amazing they were as it was most likely their first time seeing and hearing the band.

 

The headlining band for the tour was The Black Dahlia Murder. In 2017, they released their eighth album Nightbringers. The album became the best-selling direct-to-consumer in Metal Blade Records’ history. To celebrate the occasion, The Black Dahlia Murder would perform the album in its entirety on their current tour. The sold out House of Blues was packed to capacity on this hot day and the crowd was more than ready to continue to show their support for one of America’s most popular bands. The lights went out and the fans screamed at the top of their lungs as the members came out and started the show with the first track from the Nightbringers album, Widowmaker. Vocalist Trevor Strnad was the last to come out and once he started the singing, the mosh pits went wild once again with even crowd servers being plentiful during the whole show. The second song was Of God and Serpent, Of Spectre and Snake and it drove the audience just as wild. The Black Dahlia Murder is known to have wild shows and this show was no exception. Strnad’s wicked vocals always drives the audience wild and goes perfectly with the fast guitar work. The album continued with Jars and Kings of the Underworld. The Black Dahlia Murder took a quick break from the album to surprise the audience by playing their most popular hit, What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse. The song got its name from a quote from the 1988 video game Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest. The Nightbringers album continued with Catacomb Hecatomb and eventually finished with The Lonely Deceased. Strnad announced that that was the whole Nightbringers album, but they weren’t finished with the show. The show continued with Everything Went Black and the fans continued to make the band proud by giving it their all in the mosh pit despite how hot and sweaty they were. The grand finale of the show was Deathmask Divine and the crowd went totally berserk. The show came to an end and nothing but smiles were seen among the audience as going to a metal show was the perfect way to spend a Friday night.

 

Fleshgod Apocalypse

 

 

The Black Dahlia Murder

 

Insomnium: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 6/6/18

  

 

Insomnium is a melodic death metal band from Finland. In 2016, they released their seventh studio album titled Winter’s Gate. The album is an interesting concept because it consists of a single 40-minute epic track, but is broken up into seven parts on the album. The album’s story is said to be about “a group of vikings who set out to find a fabled island west of Ireland, despite the treacherous winter drawing near.” Insomnium announced a North American tour and on this tour, they would perform the entire Winter’s Gate album as well as other greatest hits. The venue for the event would take place at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California.
The Whisky A Go Go was nicely packed by the time Insomnium came out to the stage at around 11:40pm. They started with Winter’s Gate pt.1 since it is the album’s opening track. The music sounds sounds just as beautiful live as it does on the album itself. Insomnium was primarily doused in dark blue lights, possibly to match the winter theme of the album and at times made it hard to see the band. Fans cheered as the band played as well as raised their horns and head banged to the music. The fans seemed to stay relatively calm which isn’t a surprise given that Insomnium‘s music is meant to be soaked in and enjoyed rather than form mosh pits. It wasn’t until roughly part 4 of Winter’s Gate where the crowd finally seemed to come to life and started a mosh pit and kept it up for most of the show. The album’s finale Winter’s Gate pt. 7 was played and Insomnium left the stage much to the fan’s disappointment. After a few minutes, it was time for the second half of the show. Insomnium made their way back to the stage and started to play some songs from their previous album, Shadows of the Dying Sun. The first song played from that album was The Primeval Dark. Once again, fans started rocking out to the music which went perfectly together. The next song played was the next song on the album, While We Sleep. Insomnium truly makes some beautiful melodic death metal to rock out to and to just enjoy. Insomnium would go on to play more hits which included Revelations, Killjoy, and the beautiful and emotional track, The Promethean Song.  Sadly, it was time for the show to come to an end. for the show’s finale, Insomnium played Ephemeral. The perfect tune to end the night with and continue moshing away. Insomnium wrapped up their show, thanked the fans for coming out, then left the stage.

 

Slayer: FivePoint Amphitheatre – Irvine, CA – 5/11/18

  

Thrash metal legends Slayer recently announced that after over 35 years of making music, the band would embark on their farewell tour. To make sure that they went out with a bang, Slayer brought with them on tour some of the biggest bands in metal. It included Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, and Testament. The second stop on the tour was the newly built FivePoint Amphitheater in Irvine, California. SoCal was so ready for this show that it sold out just  days after tickets went on sale. Even on this rainy day, fans still packed the venue early on. I missed Testament due to the usual nightmare that is Southern California traffic, but luckily I made it in time for the mighty Behemoth.

  

Behemoth are a blackened death metal band from Poland. They are currently riding on the success from their 2014 release The Satanist which earned the #1 spot on Loudwire’s 2014 metal albums of the year. Behemoth is now cooking up new music which we will hear very soon. Behemoth came out to the sold out audience and started the show with Ov fire and the Void. Right away, you can feel the evil in the band’s music and it gave you a feeling of discomfort, yet made you headbang and raise your horns to the music. Frontman Nergal always has a way with words when interacting with the audience and announcing the next song. To introduce the second song, Nergal said to the audience, “Let us rejoice, my brethren, for God is no more. This is Demigod!” and so the second song was Demigod from Behemoth‘s famed album, Demigod. One of the highlights of the show was when Behemoth announced their upcoming album which has yet to have any info on it, but Behemoth still gave the audience a taste of new music and played a brand new track, Wolves ov Siberia. Behemoth‘s set came to an end when they played O Father O Satan O Sun!, the final track from their album, The Satanist. The song seems to be over when all the band members leave, then they come back out for the ending of the song wearing the horned masks as seen on their music for Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel. A powerful set by this fine metal band and the show was still getting warmed up.

  

If you’re a Slayer fan, chances are you are also a fan of thrash metal veterans, Anthrax. Alongside Slayer, Anthrax are part of the “Big 4” of thrash metal (Megadeth and Metallica being the other two). Anthrax released their newest album For All Kings in 2016. With lots of fans in the audience, Anthrax was ready to tear it up. Anthrax started the show with the always satisfying Caught in a Mosh as guitarist Scott Ian started the familiar guitar intro to the song. The song was written specifically for people in the mosh pit so naturally, a mosh pit formed right away and even crowd surfers started to make their way to the front. Thrash metal is some of the best music to see live as it always makes for crazy crowds. Anthrax proved this as they continued their thrash assault with their most popular hit, Madhouse. A song that’s super fun to sing along to, yet always makes for some insane mosh pits. Anthrax went on to play some classics like I Am the Law, Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.), and Antisocial. Anthrax never had a dull moment in their show so when it came to the end, singer Joey Belladonna asked for a huge mosh pit as they played Indians. A great way to end their set and make way for the next band.

  

Lamb of God are a metal band from Richmond, Virginia. On May 18, 2018, Lamb of God released a new album under their previous band name, Burn the Priest. The album’s name is Legion: XX and is an album with punk covers. The lights went out and the audience cheered as the intro vocal track for Omerta started. The band made their way to the stage and started Omerta. By this time, rain had started to descend upon the sold out audience and with the venue being outdoor, it made it difficult to withstand the rain as fans tried to shield themselves from the rain. Frontman Randy Blythe always makes sure to interact with the fans as he would talk to them and make sure everyone is having a good time. Lamb of God next played one of their popular hits Ruin followed by a song from their previous album, 512. Blythe offered the audience to take a walk with him in hell, so Lamb of God next played Walk With Me in Hell, one of their most popular songs and always drives the mosh pits wild. It was during halfway through the song when Blythe brought the song to a halt when he noticed that a fan was injured in the mosh pit. He had people move out of the way so EMT’s could get to the injured fan. What a guy. After about ten minutes, Lamb of God continued the song. Nearing the end of the show, Lamb of God played their most popular song Laid to Rest which drove the fans even crazier and has fans singing along. To end their set, Lamb of God played their Grammy-nominated song, Redneck. Blythe asked for the biggest mosh of the night and so the audience gave him just that. A wild ending for Lamb of God and still the main band of the night has yet to come on.

  

Kings of thrash metal Slayer are undoubtedly one of the most important metal bands of all time. The majority of bands that have come out within the last 25 years or so can say that they have been influenced by Slayer. The rain was still in effect, but that wasn’t stopping fans from having a good time. Even before Slayer came on stage, the fans were eagerly chanting, “Slayer! Slayer! Slayer!” as any Slayer audience should. The intro track Delusions of Saviour started and the stage came to life as fire started to engulf the stage, including Slayer‘s eagle logo. The band made their way to the stage and started with Repentless, the first track from their newest 2015 album, Repentless. Right away, you could feel 35+ years of thrash metal come to life as Slayer unleashed hell on the fully-packed venue. Mosh pits formed and crowd surfers kept coming. Their song Disciple is a live staple as fans love singing along to “God Hates Us All! God Hates Us All!”. All four bands members were on fire that night. Literally. As the band played, the pyro behind the stage would go off to match the rhythm of the song. Pyro makes everything better. Slayer blasted through many classic from throughout their career which included Mandatory Suicide, Black Magic, Postmortem, and Blood Red. Frontman Tom Araya took a quick break to talk to audience. He asked, “you guys wanna say WAR with me!?” the audience cheered in agreement. He asked, “are you ready!?” and the crowd cheered some more. Araya let out a powerful “WAAAAARRRRRR” along with audience as Slayer played one of their best songs, War Ensemble. Oh, how the pits went wild. Slayer dug deep into their catalog and played more old school classics like Hell Awaits, Seasons in the Abyss, and Dead Skin Mask. Slayer played South of Heaven signaling that the show was near its end. As the song ended, the band members huddled around drummer Paul Bostaph as he drummed the familiar drum pattern to their most famous song and one of the greatest songs in metal, Raining Blood. Whether you like Slayer or not, you have heard Raining Blood. Slayer played Raining Blood and everyone was seen headbanging, raising their horns, and even multiple mosh pit had broken out on the floor. Metal truly brings people together. Chemical Warfare was next and kept up the energy that Slayer had going all night. The show had come to an end and so Slayer played one of their most popular hits, Angel of Death. Araya let out one of the most infamous screams in metal which is how the song is played and is satisfying to have the scream piercing your ears. Slayer wrapped up their show and came out front and center stage to thank the audience for coming out. Araya held an intimate speech with the audience thanking them for all the years of support, “if it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you and goodnight”. Slayer walked off stage as a sense of gloom covered the venue with many fans knowing that they had seen the thrash metal legends most likely for the final time.

 

Behemoth

 

 

Anthrax

 

Lamb of God

 

Slayer

Municipal Waste: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 4/27/18

The weekend hails upon So-Cal and with only a month’s notice, we are graced with the presence of Richmond’s beloved Municipal Waste. Recently I was able to catch this spectacle with the Mr. Pickles tour opening for the Bay area’s, Exodus which was nothing but a fantastic show. This evening in particular was just as epic. I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve witnessed a room go completely ballistic and its a sight to behold every time. My take on this show is best described as complete madness and in the best way possible. Alongside MW were 3 opening bands: The Trappist, Savage Master, and Despise You.
Savage Master: Though as usual being in the LA area I always have the hardest time catching the opening band which was ‘Despise you’ I was lucky enough to walk in as ‘Savage Master’ took the stage. Ive seen this band on a smaller stage a few months back and since then have been in touch with catching them on future gigs. Like most Women fronted bands you adhere to a certain type of vibe, however, SM is able to deliver in a crowding venue as the seconds go by. With bangers such as “With whips and chains, “Burning Leather” and “Ready to Sin” they’re able to keep the crowd growing and chanting. These hellions are best fitted into the traditional heavy metal scene with pounding fists, leather and chains being the way they represent themselves and their music. Truly heavy and worth catching on any future shows.
Setlist:
Black Hooves
Vengeance Is Steel
With Whips and Chains
Satan’s Crown
Looking for a Sacrifice
Burning Leather
Dark Light of the Moon
Ready to Sin
The Ripper in Black
Death Rides the Highway
The Trappist:
Now, I’m one for being open minded through and through because I feel that its the best way to enjoy anything and everything. This band surprisingly made me consider that statement just a tad bit. Definitely won’t say anything negative on their behalf since they of course have their own unique style of doing things. The best way I can describe ‘ The Trappist’ would be speedy gutter grindcore. Don’t quote me on that exact label, but to me it’s what fit best. With a few tunes that were literally only about 5 seconds long and what appeared to be off tempo rhythm. I am definitely sure I heard one song played about 3 times. This band can bring a crowd together as well as make’em move. I can see that half of the people were into it while the other were just as confused as I was. This does not mean they aren’t any good, it just goes to show that there are times when these kinds of bands aren’t worth bringing to this sort of lineup. Nonetheless; If I do happen to catch them live again I’m sure it would be with their extreme types of bands playing alongside.
Setlist:
No Soldier Left Behind
This Means Wort
Victims Of A Bomber Raid
Patron Saints
Swignorant
Giving The Boot 
Municipal Waste:
Now, the main reason why this house was entirely full, with fans out at the front door asking anyone and everyone who had a spare ticket at a fully sold out show. After announcing that 100 tickets were left and in a few short hours being completely gone, there’s only one thing you’d have to expect at a show like this. The only predicament I fell into when taking photos during the Wastes set was that there was little to no room you could consider “safe” especially for a camera lens. With fists flying and legs kicking high up in the air and what looked like 20 people up on the center stage simultaneously, the venue was engulfed entirely with angst and rage. Heavy hitting jammers such as “Unleash the Bastards”, “Beer Pressure” and “Slime and Punishment”, the room echoes with chants and screams from all the die hards shouting alongside Tony Foresta’s lyrics. Crunchy rhythms and ripping bass tones are what give MW that signature speed metal punk sound you just love to get active to. The band currently has one show itself in the states before heading over to Canada and then to partake in a number of festivals overseas. Besides MW, the band members are also playing a few shows in their other bands ‘Bat’ and ‘Iron Reagan’. Make sure you check them out as well, as far as performance goes. This band always delivers a party wherever they land!
Setlist:

Breathe Grease

Mind Eraser

You’re Cut Off

I Want to Kill the President

Substitute Creature 

Slime & Punishment

Parole Violators
Headbanger Face Rip 
Terror Shark 

Born To Party

The Inebriator
Pre-Game
The Art of Partying
Photos and review by Hugo Juarez

Municipal Waste

 

The Trappist

 

Savage Master

Nightwish: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca 4/12/18

  

 

Nightwish are a symphonic metal band from Finland. They are the most successful Finnish band worldwide, selling more than 9 million records and receiving more than 60 gold and platinum awards, having released five number 1 albums and thirteen number 1 singles. On March 9, 2018 Nightwish released their newest 2CD compilation album Decades which contains remastered versions of the original material. With the release of the compilation album, Nightwish set out on a world tour with a very special setlist. This setlist would include almost all songs from the band’s early career with their original singer, Tarja Turunen. These songs are featured in the band’s first four albums and some haven’t been played in ten years or more. To make the show extra intimate, Nightwish would have no support for the tour and would make each show each night two hours. One of the stops on the tour was the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California which made for a nice beach setting. As Nightwish was preparing to start, the venue was packed to almost sold out.
Fifteen minutes to the band starting, an intro video would be seen on the screen. With the last minute of the intro, a one minute countdown clock started which got the fans excited. The fans counted down the last ten seconds, then the lights went out. Nightwish member Troy Donockley, who plays the Ullieann pipes, was first to come on stage. He would play the first minute of the song Swanheart which works perfectly for his pipes. The rest of the band would come out and start the show with End of All Hope. This is a song that the band has not played since 2004 so for many fans, it was surely the first time hearing the song live. The second song played was one of Nightwish‘s best songs, Wish I Had An Angel. It is their biggest US hit to date and fans were happily singing along to the song. The third song played was 10th Man Down. This song has also not been played since 2003 making it for a nice treat for fans that will most likely never hear this song live ever again. Singer Floor Jansen looked amazing rocking out with the band as she head banged to the music and gracefully danced. Nightwish continued to bring the old songs into play as they played old favorites from ten years ago or more which included Gethsemane, Sacrament of Wilderness, Dead Boy’s Poem, and Elvenpath. Hearing these old tracks being played for possibly the last time was an amazing feeling of nostalgia for long time fans. Jansen gave these song justice that would make Turunen proud. Up next was one of the band’s newer songs and live staple, I Want My Tears Back. This is perhaps the band’s most fun song to jump and dance to. During the middle of the song is when Donockley plays his pipes and makes everyone dance to the segment as Jansen has everyone jumping, clapping, and she herself is dancing on stage. Moments like this bring fans together showing there is no hate amongst them. Bassist Marco Hietala went on to talk to the audience and joke with them a bit before introducing another old song The Carpenter from their 1997 debut album Angels Fall First which hasn’t been played since 1998, most likely since their first tour ever way before they toured the USA for the first time.  The Kinslayer was up next and this song hasn’t been played since 2005, most likely on the last tour featuring Turunen before being dismissed from the band that same year. This song was written about the victims of the Columbine High School massacre. Devil & the Deep Dark Ocean was next and is another old track that was last played in 1999. The familiar keyboards started and fans cheered as Nightwish played what is perhaps their most famous song, Nemo. Fans everywhere were seen singing along to the song and is always one of the best songs played live by the band. Slaying the Dreamer hasn’t been played since 2008 and is one of the heavier songs by the band and has Jansen rocking out on stage as well as the fans rocking out. Nearing the end of their two-hour set, Nightwish played the longest song in their catalog at 24 minutes, The Greatest Show on Earth from their newest album, Endless Forms Most Beautiful. The song is separated into five parts, but only parts 1-3 were played. The song has a beautiful piano intro then Jansen jumps in with her beautiful soprano voice and sings part one of the song. The rest of the song is played flawlessly for the seventeen minutes of parts 1-3. Sadly, it was time for the show to come to an end. Nightwish would perform their ten-minute symphonic metal masterpiece, Ghost Love Score. A beautifully performed song that made for a perfect ending. Nightwish finished their show and got a standing ovation from the packed venue. It was truly one of Nightwish‘s best tours.

 

John 5: Discovery Ventura – Ventura, Ca 4/11/18

Guitar extraordinaire John 5 released his first live album It’s Alive on January 25th, 2018.  He is currently the guitarist for Rob Zombie and was also a longtime guitarist for Marilyn Manson. When he’s not touring with Rob Zombie, John 5 focuses on his solo albums. He has released eight solo albums with the most recent one being Season of the Witch. All of John 5‘s albums are instrumental and have no vocals so he lets his guitar work do all the talking. With the release of his live album, John 5 was once again ready to set out on the road in support of his most recent releases. On this day, John 5 made a stop in Ventura, California at the Discovery bowling alley. Ventura County made him proud as the venue was packed even on a Wednesday night.
John 5 had the stage setup with a screen showing classic horror/monster movie segments playing backwards and blow up carnival entrances. John 5‘s bandmates made their way to the stage with John 5 being the last one to come out and immediately started the show with Flight of the Vulcan Kelly from his 2014 album, Careful With That Axe. John 5 would immediately show his musicianship by swiftly and flawlessly playing his guitar exactly to the album. The first stage prop you notice is how he has a mouth piece that blinks and changes colors. After the second song, he would toss the mouth piece into the audience for a lucky fan to have. The second song played was Here’s to the Crazy Ones from his most recent album, Season of the Witch. Watching John 5 play his guitar is a thing of beauty that can best be described as something you have to go and see for yourself. The third song played was one of his more popular songs, This Is My Rifle. Every song John 5 plays sounds different so you never know what he will bring out next and is always a pleasant surprise. At one point, John 5 wore one of his own masks of his face paint while performing. A man dressed as an evil clown came up behind him and ripped the mask off John 5‘s face only to reveal a second mask in the form of flesh looking as if John 5‘s face had been ripped off. Another one of his props was when a man dressed as a little girl came up to John 5 and handed him a doll. John 5 used this to his advantage and ended up using the doll as a guitar pick to play his guitar. John 5 would go on to entertain his audience by playing songs from his recent album releases which included a cover of Enter Sandman by Metallica, Hell Haw I.G.R., Season of the Witch, and Portrait of Sydney Sloan. One of the more fun songs played live was The Black Grass Plague. In this song, for the solos, John 5 brings out a miniature Fender guitar which brought great laughs and entertainment to the audience. The second instrument for the solo was a banjo and it drove the fans wild as they cheered. John 5 made note that there would be special guests for this show as some of the stops on his tour had different guests. The first guest to come out was Sebastian Bach most famously known for being the singer for 80’s glam metal band, Skid Row. They performed covers of Parasite (KISS) and Shout at the Devil (Motley Crue). John 5 would reveal another special unannounced guest and it turned out to be Stephen Pearcy most famously known for being the singer for 80’s glam metal band, Ratt. John 5 showed how excited he was to have two influential musicians share the stage with him as he smiled throughout their cover of Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen). John 5 would close out the show by performing a medley of covers of classic rock and heavy metal songs. To go with the medley, John 5 brought out a guitar that shot out lasers and even asked for the lights to be turned off to show the full effect. John 5 finished the show and the crowd cheered for him as he left the stage.

 

Bonded By Blood/Novareign: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca 3/29/18

 

Novareign are a progressive power/speed metal band from Los Angeles, Ca. On February 16, 2018; they released their debut album, Legends. For a few years, Novareign has been slowly, but surely reaching the top of the mountain as they’ve been conquering show after show and opening for big names such as Michael Schenker just recently at the Grove in Anaheim, California. On this day, they would perform at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go for the first time to a nicely packed audience. Novareign started the show with Call on the Storm, the first track on the new album. Right away, yours ears will be shredded by the dual guitar speed from guitarists Danny Nobel and Balmore Lemus. In jumps in singer David “Icarus” Marquez with his high-pitch singing that would make heavy metal singers proud. As with most traditional power metal bands, their music includes some long songs. Even the opening song stands right at seven minutes and made for a great opening song. The next song played was Heavy Heart, another great track from the album. The audience responded really well to their music as they moshed and banged their heads to the music. With a short set to use, Novareign ended their show with Black as the Dead of Night, an almost nine minute finale. Novareign‘s career is just barely getting started and for sure will have many more opportunities to share the stage with other rock and metal legends.
Bonded By Blood are an American thrash metal band from Pomona, California. They named themselves after the debut album from San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends, Exodus. The group formed in 2005 and released their debut album Feed the Beast in 2008. To celebrate the occasion, they played this special show to celebrate the album’s tenth anniversary and would play the album in its entirety. Plenty of fans were in attendance and were more than ready to get thrashed out of their minds. Bonded By Blood came out and started the show with the first track from the album, Immortal Life. Right away, fans started moshing once again as the thrash metal music hit. Their fast and heavy music hit you hard and will easily make you throw your horns in the air as well as head bang. Bonded By Blood continued the thrash metal assault as they played through tracks like Necropsy, The Evil Within, Vengeance, and Self-Immolation. Singer Mauro noted how the venue was packed, even for a Thursday. He asked for the crowd to get louder if they wanted more fast music. After a few attempts, the band was convinced. The highlight of their performance came when they finally played the title of the album, Feed the Beast. The crowd got even more insane as they had clearly been waiting for that song. Up next was the final song on the album and Mauro once again noted how the fans had been requesting a certain song since they started performing. He asked, “what do you wanna eat?” and the audience responded with, “Pizza!”. Bonded By Blood played Theme from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and was a great thrash metal twist to the classic TV show intro. To end the show, Bonded By Blood played The Aftermath from their third album of the same name. It was the last chance that Hollywood had to really get crazy. Bonded By Blood finished up their set, thanked the audience for coming out, then left the stage. Shows like this prove that no matter what day of the week, dedicated metal heads will come out and rage.

 

Novareign

 

 

 

Bonded By Blood

 

Ministry: Ventura Theater – Ventura, Ca 3/23/18

 

Industrial metal legends Ministry released their highly anticipated fourteenth studio album AmeriKKKant on March 9th, 2018. The first single Antifa was first performed at the 2017 Blackest of the Black festival. Since the album’s release, Ministry has been touring and are currently on their USA headlining tour featuring The God Bombs and Chelsea Wolfe. The second stop on the tour was the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California. Not too many metal bands come through to Ventura County so it’s nice when one doesn’t need to make the 1-2 hour drives to Los Angeles, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Pomona, etc. A Ministry show on a Friday after a long work week was the perfect way to relieve stress.
As the opening acts finished their sets, the stage was being setup for Ministry which included fake TV sets, lights, and giant inflatable chickens with a crossed out Swastika on their chest. Judging by their hair, the chickens were obviously made to poke fun at Donald Trump which Ministry mastermind Al Jourgensen has openly said he despises him. By the time Ministry came on stage, the venue had a healthy turn out of fans. The lights went out and the band members came out one by one as DJ Swamp played the intro to the new album titled I Know Words, a phrase used by Trump at one of his speeches. The intro track features a mock remix of Trump’s infamous speech where he says, “we will make America great again”. The track went perfect with the screen in the background that was going to the slow speed of the remix. The intro track ended and all the band members except for Jourgensen were on stage as they started the show with the next track from the new album, Twilight Zone. Jourgensen finally came out with a harmonica and would alternate between singing the song and playing the harmonica segments of the song. The next song played was the next song from the new album, Victims of a Clown. As the song started, Jourgensen introduced the guest vocalist for the tour which was Burton C. Bell who is also the singer for the metal band, Fear Factory. Punch in the Face was the next song played and after that, Ministry focused on one of their Bush-era albums titled Rio Grande Blood as they played their three live staple hits Señor Peligro (Mr. Danger), LiesLiesLies, and the album’s title track, Rio Grande Blood. The screen in the background showed lots of depictions revolving around the band’s music which involved war, politics, religion, and violence in the world. Some of the best ones shown were caricatures of Trump and Hillary Clinton fighting each other as if it was a giant monster brawl. Another showed a cartoon of Trump which an eagle’s nest for hair and showed a bald eagle laying an egg in it. Ministry went back to perform three more new songs which were Wargasm, We’re Tired of It, and Antifa. Jourgensen took a quick break to let the fans know that for this upcoming quarter, that they should go out and vote. Ministry had partnered up with HeadCount to empower young people with their right to vote. Now that Ministry had gotten all of their newer material out of the way, it was time to bring out the classics  that fans had been craving. The first was the band’s juggernaut hit, Just One Fix. The fans in the mosh had been moshing all night, but went extra crazy when those notes hit and they knew what song it was. The chorus line involving the song’s title had fans singing along and raising their horns and fists in the air. N.W.O was another one of the band’s biggest hits and also drove the mosh pit wild. Both of those songs were from the band’s certified platinum and gold album,  Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs. When fans heard the intro riff to Thieves, they once again lost their minds to another one of Ministry‘s best songs. It was perhaps the best and most energetic song of the night as a few crowd surfers showed up, people were jumping, and of course the mosh pit stayed active. To end their set, Ministry played their 8-minute song So What and it also had fans shouting along to the chorus of, “So What!”. Ministry left the stage and all seemed quiet. The fans cheered and chanted the band’s name for them to come back out. After a couple of minutes, the band members made their way back to the stage. Jourgensen once again urged the fans to get out there and vote. For the encore, Ministry played another old favorite, Bad Blood from their 1999 album, Dark Side of the Spoon. The fans cheered as Ministry waved goodbye and left the stage for the final time.

 

Doyle: Whisky A Go Go – Hollywood, Ca – 3/11/18

Legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolgang von Frankenstein released his second 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 embarked on a USA tour. One of the stops was at the world-famous Whisky A Go Go on the Sunset Strip. This show was extra special as punks and metal heads came together and sold out the show.

After enduring six local opening bands, it was time for Doyle to come on stage at 11pm sharp. 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 Abominator, the opening track from Doyle’s debut album of the same name. 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. From here on out, singer Alex 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 as the band crushed through songs like Cemeterysexxx, HeadHunter, Valley of Shadows, and DreamingDeadGirls. Even the band’s previous drummer Brandon Pertzborn came out to jam for a couple of songs. 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, “and with that, I Hope Hell Is Warm” as the band played the final song of the night then said goodnight to the audience and left the stage.

 

Enslaved: The Observatory – Santa Ana, Ca – 3/10/18

Norwegian black/extreme metal band Enslaved released their fourteenth album E in 2017. The title of the album represents the initial letter of the band’s name. To promote the album as well as return to North American soil, Enslaved announced their tour as the headlining act of the 2018 Decibel Magazine tour. The tour also featured Khemmis, Myrkur, and Wolves in the Throne Room. The Observatory in Santa Ana, California would serve as the final stop on the tour on this rainy Saturday night.

The venue had a nice turnout of metal heads that braved the rain and plenty of Enslaved fans were seen in the audience wearing their merch. The lights went out and the crowd went crazy as Enslaved made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the new album, Storm Son. A rather lengthy opening song at eleven minutes. Due to most of Enslaved‘s songs being long, they are usually limited to short sets which is why it is often better to see Enslaved on their own headlining tour. The next song played was Roots of the Mountain from their 2012 album, RIITIIR. Another lengthy song at just over nine minutes. Singer/bassist Grutle Kjellson would unleash his growls at the audience with precise to the albums. Kjellson thanked the fans for being at the show and spoke to them about how the band started out in 1991 with guitarist Ivar Bjørnson and himself. To celebrate the occasion, Enslaved played a track from their 1994 debut album, Vikingligr Veldi (Icelandic meaning roughly Glorious Viking Square). That song was Vetrarnótt (“Winternight“). Kjellson also made note on how they had released their previous album In Times and decided to play one of the best songs on the album, One Thousand Years of Rain which was also fitting seeing as how it had been raining all day. Enslaved went back to the new album and played one of the album’s best songs, Sacred Horse. For the majority of the show, the band was plagued by the venue’s red and orange lights often make it hard to see them. As to why the venue thinks it’s a good look for the band for most of the night is a mystery and should be avoided by all venues. With a short set, Enslaved played their most popular track Isa as a finale and even brought out the band Khemmis on stage with them to sing along. Enslaved finished the song, thanked the audience once again for coming out, then left the stage. Enslaved are very talented musicians and lyricists and should be adored by metal heads, especially if you’re a fan of Scandinavian metal bands.

 

Exodus & Municipal Waste: House of Blues – Anaheim, Ca – 2/26/18

 Exodus and Municipal Waste – Adult Swim’s Thrashtacular Evening
 House of Blues – Anaheim, CA (02/26/2018)
Photos & Review by Hugo Juarez
While most weekend warriors are trying to recover from their weekend’s raging, the real spectacle was taking place in Anaheim. On this particular evening, we are granted with only the finest doses of speed, metal, adrenaline and great performances. Thrashtacular, an event hosted by Adult Swim promoting season 3 of the hit animated show ‘Mr. Pickles’ with the presence of Municipal Waste and headlining Bay Area thrashers Exodus. With such a small line up and huge promotion this show was an amazing success despite the fact that it takes place on a Monday evening. Those in attendance definitely came out to have nothing but a great time at the House of Blues, and that they did. Unfortunately due to traffic I was not able to catch the first band who had played but was right on time to see the Waste annihilate their set.

 

Municipal Waste
The boys from Richmond Virginia were about to set the stage and by the looks of how the House of Blues was already tremendously packed, you already knew that we were all in for one hell of a time. Before appearing on stage, a short clip for Adult Swims ‘Mr Pickles’ came on and really hyped up the crowd. Barely kicking off the set and already you’re witnessing crowd surfers and stage divers in all directions. With their fast aggressive angst attitudes portrayed throughout their performance it’s no wonder why they have a massive following. A cross over thrash band such as the Waste brings in different sorts of crowds from metal heads, punks and thrashers who rage to their tunes as one and chant their songs such as ‘You’re Cut Off’, ‘Sadistic Magician’, and my all time favorite, ‘Headbanger Face Rip’. It’s no doubt that Municipal Waste definitely over delivers, I even give singer Tony Foresta credit for screaming the way he does even with a tired voice that this tour has taken a toll on him for. It’s always a privilege to see these heavy titans up on stage live and I know we’ll get many chances again in due time. Currently the band will be touring up until the 8th of March, with 4 shows remaining I know each show is not worth missing out!

Seltlist:
Breathe Grease
Mind Eraser
You’re cut off
Unleash the bastards
Sadistic magician
Bourbon Discipline
Thrashing is my business
I want to kill the President
Black ice 
Poison the preacher
Amateur Sketch
Slime and Punishment
Thrashing of the Christ 
Substitute Creature
Parole Violators
Headbanger FaceRip 
Art of Partying
Born to Party

 

Exodus
Finally the time had come. The night was still fresh and everyone still energetic to keep the floor active. Exodus, one of the pioneering Thrash Titans who have a high reputation in promoting old fashioned friendly violent fun. While both the crowd and the band are in full swing with adrenaline, the band doesn’t spare a single second and they do so by starting off with one of their all time hits ‘Bonded by Blood’.
Perhaps the best part attending a thrash show is the fact that you know you’re in for a good body slamming, fist flinging, hair flying time.
Madness and chaos engulfs the venue as Exodus plays many old school favorites as ‘Fabulous Disaster’, ‘Metal Command’, and ‘Lesson in Violence’. New songs from their Latest Album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ are definitely a must for this tour. The best part about Exodus, besides the fact that their music is wound excellent, the band carry themselves as very professional and humble individuals who make it aware that while we’re at a show letting out our angry passions on each other, it’s still a brotherhood. Singer Zetro Zausa makes that very clear. If you’re able to pack a venue top to bottom, and have an engaging interaction with everyone in the room you have done only the finest job in doing so. After wrapping up the Adult Swim tour, Exodus is set to do a few shows across Europe in June. If you haven’t already, go ahead and check these guys out before you regret it!

 

Setlist:
Bonded by Blood
Blood In Blood Out
And then there were none
Fabulous Disaster
Body Harvest 
Metal Command
Lesson in Violence
Black List
War is my sheopard
Toxic Waltz
Strike of the Beast

 

 

Exodus

 

Municipal Waste

 

Sabaton, Kreator, Exmortus: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 2/9/18

Swedish power metal band Sabaton released their newest album The Last Stand in 2016. Their name is a reference to a knight’s foot armor. Since the release of the new album, Sabaton has been actively on tour in support of it. They treated their US fans by announcing a tour and their return since they last came in 2017. They didn’t come alone, tho. They brought with them German thrash metal legends Kreator and Los Angeles-based thrash metal band, Exmortus. A bill stacked like this was sure to please metal fans of all ages and guaranteed to be a good time.


Exmortus started their show at 7pm sharp to an already filled venue. Plenty of fans wearing the band’s merch was seen so you know there were fans in attendance. Exmortus released their newest album Ride Forth in 2016 and have been touring almost non stop in support of it. Exmortus came out and started the show with Immortality Made Flesh from their previous album, Slave to the Sword. A shred-tastic song to kick things off. Foe Hammer was the next song of choice followed by a song from the newest album, Death to Tyrants. Exmortus has been rising to the top with their thrash metal music with their tasty and catchy riffs. They are also heavily influenced by classical music and it is shown as they played a cover of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (Act 3). Regardless of whether you’re a fan of classical music or not, it is a musical piece to listen to. Next, they played a cover of the instrumental intro of Foreplay/Longtime from classic rock band, Boston. Another beautifully executed instrumental cover. Exmortus bid farewell to the audience and finished their show with Metal Is King. The only disappointing part was that their performance was plagued by the Wiltern’s terrible and dark lighting making it difficult to see them. Exmortus always puts up a great performance so if they ever come to your city, be sure to check them out.

Kreator were up next with lots of fans waiting and hungry for some old school thrash metal. Kreator released their newest album Gods of Violence in 2017. The lights went out and the crowd went wild as the intro track Mars Mantra started and the members of Kreator came out and started the show with Phantom Antichrist. The crowd wasted no time in starting a mosh pit to one of Kreator‘s best songs. Hail to the Hordes is a song from the new album and was received really well with the fans. For the third song, Kreator played another one of their best songs, Enemy of God. Before that, singer/guitarist Miland “Mille” Petrozza made the mosh pit on the floor split in two and on his count of four, to crash together into a wall of death. The Los Angeles crowd did not disappoint with it. Satan Is Real is another song from the newest album and has quickly become one of the band’s most cherished songs and a staple song live. Kreator never slowed down their performance and kept up the energy and chaos as they performed songs like: People of the Lie, Phobia, Gods of Violence, and Hordes of Chaos. Petrozza went backstage for a bit and came back out with a flag with the band’s name on it. Fans of the band knew what was coming next as Petrozza waived the flag and announced it was time to wave the Flag of Hate. Kreator finished the show with Totalitarian Terror then left the stage. The crowd chanted their name and after a few minutes, Kreator came back out to deliver some more thrash metal. The first encore was Violent Revolution. The show came to an end as Petrozza asked the audience if they were ready to kill each other. With that, Kreator played what is perhaps their most famous song, Pleasure to Kill. The audience delivered a brutal mosh pit and gave Kreator a proper farewell.

The lights went out once again and the audience went wild once again as Sabaton came out and started the show with Ghost Division. Right away you’ll notice how the band’s mic stand are covered by old war helmets as well as rifles to show how they embrace their lyrics that deal with war, battles, and history. Ghost Division always makes for a great opening song as it is catchy and always the fans singing along. The next song performed was Uprising followed by Blood of Bannockburn. Sabaton always make sure that the fans are having a good time. The band is always seen smiling and interacting with fans in the crowd  whether it’s fist-bumping, waving, or giving high-fives. Sabaton also tend to joke around on stage with one another which is always comedic to see. One of the highlights of the show was when singer Joakim Brodén announced to the audience that they will not be playing the crowd-favorite, Swedish Pagans. The crowd sounded disappointed, but then proceeded to chant the intro chant of the song. Guitarist Tommy Johansson played his guitar to the chanting of the audience to further fuel how badly the audience wanted the song. Brodén proceeded to call out Johannson by calling him a “motherfucker” and pointed out that the song was not on the setlist which was taped to the floor. Regardless, Brodén asked the audience if they wanted Swedish Pagans. The audience screamed as loud as they could. With Brodén convinced, the rest of the band chimed in and the band started playing Swedish Pagans. Brodén also announced that the next song would be another crowd-favorite, Gott Mit Uns (German for “God With Us”). He asked the audience if they wanted the English version or the Swedish version. In true European metal fan style, the fans obviously chose the Swedish version. Brodén made a joke on how suddenly the fans got to decide what songs Sabaton plays and how they play them. Sabaton would continue to teach the audience about war and battles as they played classics like: Night Witches, Sparta, Primo Victoria, and Winged Hussars. Now that Sabaton had come to the end of the show, it always ends with Brodén calling out a child on stage. This time, a young boy named Kyle was chosen to be up on stage while Sabaton played the final song of the night, To Hell and Back. The show came to an end and the audience stood up and gave them a standing ovation as Sabaton bowed to the fans and left the stage. If any of these three bands come to your area, be sure to check out as they are an amazing experience and you will not be dissapointed.

 

Exmortus

 

Kreator

 

Sabaton

 

Meshuggah: The Wiltern – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/29/18

 

Swedish extreme metal band Meshuggah released their eight studio album The Violent Sleep of Reason in 2016. Since then, they have been actively touring in support of the album. Their band name comes from the Yiddish word meaning, “crazy”. To start the year, they announced a small west coast tour which concluded at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, California. Even before doors opened, loyal metal fans were already in line waiting to get in. Support came from Toothgrinder and Code Orange which served as energetic opening bands as the venue had already filled with metal maniacs even on a Monday night.
The lights went out and fans cheered as an intro track started and the band members made their way to the stage and started the show with the first track from the newest album, Clocks. Right away, you can tell how Meshuggah separate themselves from other bands in that their music is far more complex with crazy 8-string guitars, polyrhythms, and double bass drumming from Tomas Haake that is godlike. Another way to describe their music is called djent, a metal subgenre which utilizes the use of distorted, palm-muting, and low-pitch guitars. You can also hear the distinct bass playing from Dick Lövgren in that you can hear his bass playing that sounds like a rubber band as he plays in unison with the guitarists and is Meshuggah‘s signature sound. Meshuggah‘s music is made to hit you with blunt force so you can really feel the music hitting you and going through you. It’s metal that’s super easy to head bang too and of course, mosh your soul away too. The next track played was the second track from the newest album, Born in Dissonance. Another thing you’ll notice is how Meshuggah has set up their stage. Aside from banners, the band uses some of the most beautiful light shows you will see from any band. From the flashing lights, strobe lights, to the back lights. You never saw the same light show twice. The lights themselves gave you a psychedelic feeling and blended really well with the band’s music. Meshuggah kept up their energetic performance and performed each song to perfection as they played songs such as Rational Gaze, Lethargica, Nostrum, and Violent Sleep of Reason. Frontman Jens Kidman spoke to the audience and thanked them for coming out. for the next song, he said that they should all know this one. As soon as the song started, fans went crazy as they recognized the song Bleed, which is perhaps the band’s most famous song. It is known for Haake’s insane double bass drumming involving triplets that would change throughout the song as well as more insane guitar playing. Meshuggah ended the show with Straws Pulled at Random, then left the stage. Fans weren’t ready to go home just yet and chanted the band’s name for them to come back out. Surely enough, Meshuggah came back out and played the first encore, Future Breed Machine which is another one of their most famous songs and is also a very catchy song. Kidman once again thanked the fans for coming out and left them with the final song of the night, Demiurge. Fans went wild as crowd surfers even appeared aside from all the horns in the air and head banging going. Meshuggah left the stage for the final time and some fans were seen covering their ears as they had just witnessed an amazing and loud band.

 

Show Your Scars Festival: The Regent – Los Angeles, Ca – 1/6/18

The annual Show Your Scars Festival has proven to always book some of the heaviest metal bands whether they’re well known or still underground. This year was no exception and what better way kickoff the new year than one of the biggest metal shows for the year. This show was extra special because thrash metal veterans Nuclear Assault would be playing their final west coast show and quite possibly, their final show ever. As expected, this show sold out ahead of time so it was guaranteed to be a wild night. The Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles was about to be shaken up by the metal community.

Thrown Into Exile are a relatively new metal band from Los Angeles. At 6pm, they came out to nicely packed venue to ensure that they got plenty of metalheads to witness their shredding techniques. They had a very energetic stage presence that would for sure get heads banging and mosh pits starting. For many people in the audience, it was their first time seeing the band. With an amazing performance that the band delivered, hopefully they reach new heights and prove that rock nor metal aren’t dead.

Expulsion is a super group metal band consisting of members from Repulsion, Exhumed, Phobia, Gruesome, and more. They are a newly formed band and had made this concert their second performance ever. They only have one album out titled Nightmare Future and it’s pure grindcore goodness. Expulsion kept the mosh pits going as they played fast, quick, and heavy tracks such as Altar of Slaughter, Mask of Fear, and Funeral Bells. Their performance came to an end when they played a cover of Corpse Grinder by death metal legends/pioneers, Death. The song was originally played together by guitarist/event organizer Matt Olivo and Death frontman Chuck Schuldiner back in the 80’s when Schuldiner was still alive. It was a great way to keep his memory alive.

Evildead are an 80’s thrash metal band that in 2016, reunited for the first time in years. They are set as being an active band once again and are even writing new material for a third album. Even once the band came out, metalheads started moshing and shoving in anticipation for the band. It was around this time when crowd surfers and stage divers were constant for the rest of the festival. Evildead brought the old school thrash with them as they played classic like F.C.I/The Awakening, Napoleon Complex, and even a new song, Word of God. A short set, but they did not disappoint and kept it up all the way to the end when they finished with Annihilation of Civilization.

Toxic Holocaust are a thrash metal band from Oregon. Plenty of fans were in attendance sporting the band’s merch. The trio came out and started the show with War Is Hell and right away, fans kept up the moshing and stage diving. Toxic Holocaust delivers fast and aggressive metal that drove the audience wild. They never slowed down as they delivered thrash-tastic tracks like Reaper’s Grave, In the Name of Science, and Nuke the Cross. Frontman Joel Grind thanked the audience for coming out and finished the set with Bitch ensuring that the fans had one last chance to rock out with them.

Hirax are a veteran metal band that started out in the 80’s, but later broke up. Years later, Hirax reformed and have been active since then with only singer Katon W. De Pena as the band’s only original member. The venue had already been packed to capacity so by the time Hirax came out and started the show with Baptized by Fire, a full blown mosh pit could be seen with little space to move around, yet moshers made their own space to continue the insanity. The band has a very energetic stage presence as De Pena would actively run around on stage screaming his vocals into the mic. He’s a very down to earth and overall friendly guy as he would stop to take pictures with stage divers and even let them sing parts of a song before the fans would dive off stage. Hirax kept the intensity of the show going as they performed blistering tracks like El Diablo Negro (The Black Devil), Hate, Fear, and Power, and wrapped up the show with Bombs of Death. All that craziness, and the headlining band was still to come.

Nuclear Assault was set to play what could possibly be their final show ever. For many people in attendance, it would be the only time they get to see the band. Nuclear Assault came out and started the show with Rise From the Ashes from their famed 1988 album titled, Survive. Right away, fans moshed violently to this classic thrash metal band. Brainwashed was the second song played and is also from the Survive album and is the band’s most popular track. The audience went all out for Nuclear Assault as they moshed during the whole set and stage divers were everywhere. Nuclear Assault thrashed through their set as they played classic like Radiation Sickness, Game Over, and Hang the Pope. Never was there a dull moment in their performance. The show came to an end as Nuclear Assault performed Trail of Tears and gave the audience one last chance to give it their all as Nuclear Assault closed out the Show Your Scars Festival. This show proved to be the start of a great year for the metal world and who knows what the 2019 edition will bring.

 

Thrown Into Exile

 

Expulsion

 

Evildead

 

Toxic Holocaust

 

Hirax

 

Nuclear Assault

 

Ozzfest Meets Knotfest: San Manuel Amphitheater – San Bernardino, Ca 11/4/17-11/5/17

The 2017 edition of the metal festival Ozzfest Meets Knotfest proved to be one for the books. Two days of pure in-your-face metal. The San Manuel Amphitheater was packed both days with metal fanatics and people looking to have a good time now that the year was coming close to an end. Both days were stacked with metal bands ready to thrust their way into your ears and fans were more than ready to mosh and drink lots of beer.

Day one was Ozzfest and featured a stellar lineup of bands. Starting early on the day on the side stages were Rings of Saturn, Fallujah, and SoCal natives, Night Demon. Even this early, dedicated metalheads filled the side of the venue where the side stages were being held. Tents with merch were plentiful as well as lots of food vendors. In the afternoon, bands like Suffocation ruled the Nuclear Blast stage and was extra special because vocalist Frank Mullen joined the band which he’s usually not able to do due to his regular job. Havok thrashed it up on one of the side stages. 1349 is a Norwegian black metal band which doesn’t come to the USA too often to it was a great opportunity for the band to reach out to new fans and play a large outdoor venue. Iron Reagan is a hardcore punk band which features members of Municipal Waste. Fans went wild for them as the mosh pits were fierce and crowd surfers were plentiful. Death metal legends and pioneers Possessed are one of Nuclear Blast’s newly signed bands so it was no surprise to see them on the bill. Plenty of Possessed fans were seen in the crowd and they got rowdy as Possessed delivered death metal classics like Pentagram and The Exorcist. High on Fire and Baroness are sludge metal bands that are sometimes referred to as “stoner metal” and they were so much fun to see live as fans raged on. Finishing up the side stage were the German thrash metal legends, Kreator. Earlier this year, they released their newest album Gods of Violence and fans were eager to get wild to some classic thrash metal. Kreator drove the fans wild with mosh pits and crowd surfers as they performed thunderous tracks such as Phobia, Satan is Real, Phantom Antichrist, Enemy of God, and finished up their show as they asked fans if they’re ready to kill each other as they played the grand finale, Pleasure to Kill. Now that the side stages were done, it was time to move out to the main stage where fans had completely skipped the side stages in order to secure a spot up front for the main stage bands. Orange Goblin started the main stage and warmed up the audience. Children of Bodom are a melodic death metal band from Finland and they were ready to bring that crazy metal from Europe that Americans love. They delivered blistering tracks like Needled 24/7, Hate Me!, and Downfall. Deftones are no strangers to the metal community and they are one of those bands that as a metalhead, you either love them or hate them. Fans in the mosh pit seemed to enjoy them as they played classics like My Own summer (Shove It), Shut Up and Drive (Far Away), Digital Bath, and Change (In the House of Flies).

Prophets of Rage are a rap/metal supergroup consisting of members from Rage Against the Machine, B-Real of Cypress Hill, and Chuck D from Public Enemy. Their music consists of covers from all three music acts which is something you have to see to believe. Fans cheered and went wild as the band played RATM classics like Testify, Bulls on Parade, and Bullet in the Head. Other covers were Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill and Bring the Noise by Public Enemy. Prophets of Rage brought sadness and tears to fans as they performed an instrumental version of Audioslave‘s Like A Stone in Memory of Chris Cornell who sadly committed suicide in May. In Audioslave, Cornell was the singer/guitarist and the other three members were also members of RATM who were also in Prophets of Rage. The show wrapped up when they performed one of the greatest songs in the metal community and surely everyone in the venue knew what it was, Killing in the Name. It drove the mosh pits wild. Ending Ozzfest was none other than the prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy came back with Zakk Wylde after he was gone from the band for 10 years. The entire venue erupted into a roar as Ozzy came out and started the show with the classic, Bark at the Moon. This was a very cold night for this festival and lots of plenty were seen shivering from the cold. Ozzy suffered the most as he complained about it and his voice suffered from it too as you could hear he wasn’t at his best. Regardless, Ozzy played plenty of favorites which included Mr. Crowley, I Don’t Know, No More Tears, and Crazy Train. Ozzy is famously known for being the frontman for heavy metal gods Black Sabbath, so it only makes sense that the band also played songs like Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, and War Pigs. Wylde is known for his solos in his work and he showed that during an extended guitar solo ending of War Pigs which seemed to go on forever with what sounded like the same guitar notes for what felt like ten minutes straight. Ozzy and the rest of the band partied hard as they finished Ozzfest with what is easily one of the greatest songs in metal, Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid. Everyone cheered and sang along as Ozzfest came to an end.
Day two was Knotfest and also featured some of today’s top metal acts.

Starting the day early were band like Warbringer, Repulsion, Exhumed, and Stitched Up Heart. Just many metalheads showed up for day two of this festival. In the afternoon, bands like Oni, Death Angel, Goatwhore, and The Black Dahlia Murder made fans wreck each other in the pit. The side stage for that day was headlined by the San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends, Testament. The crowd was especially wild for them as Testament brought classic thrash metal to the festival with ripping tracks like Rise Up, Practice What You Preach, Over the Wall, and Into the Pit which the band wrote specifically for people in the mosh pit. Daylight Savings really took its toll on the festival as near the beginning of their performance, the sun went down and made it difficult to see the band. Road crew brought out lamps as an attempt to light the stage which singer Chuck Billy made a joke on how the band spared no expenses on their lights. Regardless, it was a great performance by one of metal’s finest bands. Even in almost total darkness, the huge swarm of metalheads made their way out of the side stage area like a horde of zombies and making their way to the main stage. Starting the main stage was Prayers which warmed up the audience. Eighteen Visions is a metalcore band that reformed earlier this year after having broken up ten years ago. A lot of fans were complaining on how the festival was called Knotfest, yet it didn’t feature Slipknot which is who always headlines the festival and are the creators of it. Instead, Slipknot singer Corey Taylor got his other band Stone Sour to perform at the festival so it was close enough. Stone Sour recently released their newest album Hydrograd and have been actively touring for it since. Stone Sour performed many of their classic hits like Made of Scars, Say You’ll Haunt Me, Get Inside, and the band’s biggest single to date and ballad, Through Glass. Shock rock superstar Marilyn Manson was up next. This was his first performance coming back from an accident a couple of months prior where his gun props fell on him which resulted in a broken ankle. In the middle of the show, he made a joke on how he, himself, was a victim of gun violence. Manson mainly stayed strapped to a throne as to not cause more injury to his ankle. He still performed plenty of his hits which included Disposable Teens, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), The Dope Show, and of course one of the most popular songs in the metal community, The Beautiful People. Ending Knotfest was horror mastermind, Rob Zombie. Zombie released his newest album in 2016 titled The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser. The stage was set as a giant boombox was at the center of the stage with monster and clown heads surrounding the stage. Rob Zombie came out with his band and started the show with Dead City Radio and the Gods of Supertown. Zombie himself stood on the top of the boombox while guitarist John 5 and bassist Piggy D stayed on the ground in full makeup and masks. A stunning light show combined with lots of pyro made for an amazing stage presence from the band. The second song performed was one of Zombie’s oldest and best songs, Superbeast. The energy to that song still holds even after all these years and always drives the fans wild. Zombie and his band always put on an energetic performance. They prove this as they performed lots of Rob Zombie classics and newer tunes which included Living Dead Girl, More Human Than Human (White Zombie song), House of 1000 Corpses, Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a UFO, and Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy). The band took a quick break except for John 5 who performed a nice guitar solo with backdrops specifically for him to showcase his underrated guitar skills. Rob Zombie and the rest of the band came back out with Zombie saying a few words to the audience that for this next song, for people to put away their phones and enjoy concerts like people used to back in the days.

Rob Zombie performed one of metal’s most popular songs, Thunder Kiss ’65 (White Zombie song) and what a wild ride it was and a sigh of relief to not see any phones up in the air. Rob Zombie would entertain the crowd with something different and performed two covers. The first being Blitzkrieg Bop by punk rock legends The Ramones and School’s Out by legendary rockstar, Alice Cooper. To end the show with a bang, Rob Zombie played his most famous song, Dragula. What a show it was with giant tv screens and pyro everywhere. Ozzfest Meets Knotfest 2017 was a very successful metal festival and hopefully the next edition of the festival is also held at the same location.

 

Ozzfest:

1349

 

 

Iron Reagan

 

 

Possessed

 

 

High On Fire

 

 

Baroness

 

 

Kreator

 

Jose Mangin of SiriusXM Liquid Metal

 

Children of Bodom

 

 

Deftones

 

 

Prophets of Rage

 

 

Ozzy Osbourne (Photos courtesy of Stephanie Cabral)

 

 

Knotfest:

 

Goatwhore

 

 

The Black Dahlia Murder

 

 

Testament

 

 

Stone Sour

 

 

Rob Zombie

 

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