Shadows Fall - Megadeth/Testament/Exodus - Trivium/Slapshock - WASP
Shadows Fall - Knitting Factory - Spokane, WA 02/10
By Ziggy Sawdust
There are times where chance is on your side, particularly when you find out at the last minute that a killer show is rolling through nearby on your day off. In this particular instance, I had the opportunity to experience one of the best live shows I've been to, basically on a whim...
Corralling my old pal Scary and his girl Snotface, we rocketed down the highway, doing my finest driving ever and making a 3- 4 hour drive in record time to reach The Knitting Factory Concert House in Spokane, Washington to catch the 2010 Shadows Fall tour, with special guests Baptized In Blood, Kryterium, Goatwhore & Bison B.C.
Unfortunately, arriving too late to catch Baptized In Blood, we made it in during the set change before Kryterium, a somewhat local band from Boise, Idaho who took charge of the stage with a solid lineup from their album "Control", showing that bands can and do have an even better sound and energy live and giving fine example of why they've been chosen over the years to play with some of the biggest bands in the business.
To my personal pleasure, Goatwhore was up next in their blackest best, savaging the night with Ben Falgoust snarling his way through an impressive roster with true metal madness, ending their time onstage by nailing an amazing rendition of their newest masterpierce "Apocalyptic Havoc", shredding the crowd with sonic Ginsu knives and validating my faith in these bayou badasses once again.
Although never having heard of Bison B.C. before and not knowing any of the songs, it didn't matter as I became an instant fan, reveling in their soundcraft and finding their energy and style onstage most enjoyable as they whipped and slammed their way through the hits, rocking out almost as hard as they were and digging every minute these crazy Canadians were onstage.
Closing the night was crowd favorite Shadows Fall, as the sudden increase in violence made evident. Focusing on songs from their latest album "Retribution", they also performed older songs unfailingly, along with a wicked cover of Ozzy's "Bark At The Moon" as yours truly had to make his way to the edges of the crowd to avoid the unnecessary amount of elbows and bodies being thrown his way.
On top of every band's interaction with the crowd and adding to the value of my experience, the venue itself was impressive, with plenty of room, a full bar, balcony seats and a sales area where we had the opportunity to meet and hang out with Baptized In Blood, Kryterium and Ben from Goatwhore, gathering up our quota of merch, autographs and pictures to memorialize a great and satisfying night of metal all around.
Megadeth/Testament/Exodus - The Hollywood Palladium - Hollywood, CA 03/10
By Jeffrey Easton
Where were you 20 years ago? Do you remember the shows that you went to much less the ones that really stood out? In 1990, Judas Priest toured with Megadeth and Testament, each band touring on their best record to date and for Megadeth that was Rust In Peace. Rust was a pivotal album for Megadeth, metal in general, and its lasting impact was monumental. Flash forward 20 years to a whole new generation of Megadeth fans that never witnessed this historical run nor its immediate impact and you have a reason to dust off the classic and take it back out. So we have the 20th anniversary of the release of Rust In Peace and a tour to coincide with it and you have a massive event, period. Also to bring the point home you have on this jaunt two thrash titans in the form of Exodus and Testament.
The show opened up with Exodus on full tilt blasting out Bonded by Blood and it was on. They blew through their classics like a freight train loaded with dynamite charging through a plutonium plant. Fabulous Disaster, Brain Dead, Toxic Waltz and Strike Of The Beast made for a true old school thrash show with the manic War Is My Sheppard from the incredible Tempo Of The Damned to bring it to the 2000’s. They do have a new record entitled Exhibit B: The Human Condition coming out may 18th and it will be insanity on a silver disc.
Testament, this is a band that has never lost its luster and has continued to grow darker and heavier with age. Like Megadeth, Testament’s catalog is littered with classics and we were getting one in its entirety tonight. That gem was The Legacy and they blistered the songs with a renewed heaviness. Over The Wall is a song that still causes my blood to race and to hear it live again is monstrous, a shear moment of intensity. The crowd, having been ramped up by Exodus was in overdrive in the moshpit as they plowed through The Haunting, Burnt Offerings, First Strike Is Deadly, Alone In The Dark and my favorite testament track in Apocalyptic City. They closed their set with a few tracks from The Gathering which to me was different considering they are still pushing a new record but it was refreshing to hear D.N.R and 3 Days In Darkness.
Megadeth, no matter what your opinion of their output over the last decade or so, still sit at the top of the metal heap and their new record, Endgame, is why. Endgame to me is the logical follow up to Rust In Peace, 20 years later. At the drop of the lights, the intro came on that preceded his show 20 years ago and I was transported back 20 years. The show kicked off with Skin Of My Teeth and In My Darkest Hour, just a prelude to the main course. The stage was set, Holy Wars kicked off with that sickening riff, and RIP was on. There is not a bad song on that record, Five Magics, Tornado Of Souls, Poison Was The Cure, Hangar 18 as well as the haunting Dawn Patrol. This landmark album in the live setting only heightened the intensity of it and the crowd reaction from it only certified what I thought. The set finished out in a heavy with Symphony Of Destruction, Headcrusher, The Right To Go Insane amongst other full throttled head bangers and this show was in the books. Having seen several thrash shows years ago, I can say that even though these guys are older they have not slowed down, only intensified.
Trivium/Slapshock - Valley of Chrome Venue - Makati City, Phillipines 02/10
By Miguel Blardony
The evening got off to a bad start when opening act Valley of Chrome played a dispiriting three song set. Now who the fuck plays a three song set? This writer smelled something fishy and it wasn’t because he hadn’t showered for two days. Anyway, so this rather talented local band Valley of Chrome do their best with three songs and next is the country’s preeminent nu-metal champions (yuck!) Slapshock who, surprise, surprise, performed a longer but still abrupt set to an excited crowd. To be honest, dated as their music is, they do garner this hater’s grudging respect.
Alright, Trivium. But not yet. A curtain falls and it takes forever for the roadcrew to set up. Meanwhile, the widescreens flanking the stage run endless Dickies commercials much to the boredom of those in attendance. When Trivium finally hit the stage however, it’s orgasmic. Blame the scarcity of local promoters for not having enough foreign bands come over and play, but everyone’s blood was hot by the time Matthew K. Heafy and co. did a sloppy rendition of “Rain” from their ‘Ascendancy’ album.
Yeap, you read correctly. That’s ‘sloppy rendition’ used as an adjective on the sentence above. It’s not the band’s fault cos they’ve got a bulletproof reputation for having tight chops. The culprit was the awful mixing that almost muted the guitars and amplified the rhythm section to almost seismic proportions. Shit you not, whenever Nick Augusto (he of the mysteriously large forehead) cooked up a double bass driven volley, you could feel it up to your testicles—if you were present. Oh yeah, Nick Augusto. The ‘new guy.’ He was alright. In fact, it was only his second show with Trivium since a few days earlier they played Indonesia for the first time.
Speaking of seconds, twas also the second time Trivium debuted their fresh-from-the-oven single “Shattering the Skies Above” (y’know, for the video game God of War?) and boy, it rawked. Packing a lot more heaviness than their previous material from 2008’s “Shogun” and loaded with a huge chorus, it’s a guaranteed winner. For those who’d like to think this is a first taste of what’s gonna be on the quintet’s next album; just expect the new stuff to harken to the band’s thrashier preferences.
Now performance-wise, Trivium spent a good one hour plus entertaining a capacity audience and executed the task with relish. Contrary to what the haters claim, Trivium are a seasoned live unit, and Matt, for all the f-bombs he dropped that night, gave the impression of being a really chill dude. A perfect contrast to his fellow guitarist, Corey, the silent wall of stringy hair who did the backing growls on their harder songs. On the other hand, the bald bassist Paolo seemed to be enjoying himself moving from one end of the stage to the other and shaking his head. As for the songs, why, the lads went all guns blazing on their best cuts from “Shogun” and “Ascendancy” such as “Like Light To Flies,” the emo-ballad “Dying In Your Arms” (Matt dedicated this to the girls), “Throes of Perdition,” and the thrash tinged joyride “Insurrection.” There was Sepultura’s “Slave new World” too but who cares about that?
WASP - Alrosa Village - Columbus, OH 03/10
By William Alexander
The Alrosa Villa…..unfortunately the venue where the life of the legendary Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell’s life was taken away from this earth. This was also unfortunately the venue for the evening of a much anticipated W.A.S.P. show. This venue is lacking in accommodation and quality, however all disappointments were quickly forgotten the moment W.A.S.P hit the stage and Blackie Lawless became the master of ceremony.
Slow to take the stage for the scheduled start time, the desire to see Blackie and the boys grew stronger as chants rang from the audience there to see this rock icon! As he shared with me in the interview weeks before the show, Blackie’s presence was monumental and represented the lyrics crafted in the song “Crazy” off their latest album “Babylon”. This was a rock icon standing in the presence of the moment and he delivered to his worshiping fans. “On Your Knees” opened the set and they never looked back delivering a set list that was scripted for the most deserving W.A.S.P. fan. To follow were songs including “The Real Me”, “L.O.V.E. Machine” and “Wildchild”. A moment of brilliance came when they kicked into “Crazy” as this is a new track and yet the audience seemed to be extremely familiar with this song and those who were not embraced this tune as another W.A.S.P. classic.
Although the performance was definitely geared toward a unified band feeding off each other, it was not Blackie that stole the show. Guitarist Doug Blair stood out among all with his brilliant guitar work, positive energy and honestly, this dude just kept smiling and kicking everyone’s ass through the entire show. In his Metal Exiles interview, Blackie said that he felt that Doug Blair was the single greatest contribution to the “Babylon” album. This was his night and he brought it in a big way.
The set continued with W.A.S.P. classics like “The Idol”, “I Wanna Be Somebody”, and “The Headless Children”. Overall, it was a time of brilliance for any W.A.S.P fan and simply just a damn good time! Those who know Blackie Lawless love him, those who don’t know him….well, you are missing out on a great opportunity to see a great show and a rock icon legend. Being honest as always, I have to point out the disappointments outside of the venue itself. Supposedly and according to Blackie, there was to be a huge screen backdrop with W.A.S.P. videos playing in sync with each song performed “live”. This did not happen and was most likely due to the limited accommodations of the venue. Also, the opening bands were very disappointing, however who cares….we were all there to see W.A.S.P! One bright spot of the show just happened to be a guy named Chris who was overseeing the merchandise booth. Chris was a great guy and extremely polite and we engaged in some cool conversation about the band and many other subject matters. This is much more than I can say for the rest of the crew specifically one individual who was running the sound board…..you know who you are! All in all, a kick ass show and a must see!! If you go, enjoy Blackie, Doug Blair, and the band’s performance. And oh yeah, tell Chris I said “Hello”.