Arch Enemy comes to town and your NCS Authors turn into moths drawn to a candle flame.
On February 6, 2010, the TYRANTS OF EVIL tour stopped at The Showbox in Seattle and two of us plus our entourage were there to take in the tyranny of evility. We file this report (along with a big batch of our regrettably amateurish photo images at the end of the post).
This band first drew our attention through a YouTube video of their transplant-from-England vocalist Chris Clancy singing an operatic aria called “Nessum Dorma.” So, okay, the dude’s got some pipes. But does he belong in a metal band, and is the band itself worth a damn? Someone thinks so, because they’re signed to Roadrunner Records, they’ve got a debut album coming out on February 23, they’re touring with Arch Enemy, and they clearly had a bunch of appreciative fans in the Showbox audience.
But this is power metal, with mostly clean singing, and you know that’s not our thing (see the name of this site). Anything we might say would come off as a put-down, but that wouldn’t be our intent. We’re just not into this kind of metal. So, we’ll pass on the review and move to the next band . . . . (after the jump)
These Virginians have got a new release, Starve for the Devil, officially due out in about 3 days, and they launched their set with a cut from that album, “Forced to Rock.” Frontman James Malone was in good form, both in his powerful delivery of harsh vocals and in the virtually non-stop shredding that’s the hallmark of this band’s blend of melodic death metal and guitar-powered thrash. Malone and Nick Cordle traded off on the soloing and periodically harmonized their axes, and the whole band kept the energy level in the red zone from start to finish. The Showbox crowd got into it as the pit action started on the first song and carried through to the finish. We liked it!
We’d never seen these thrash legends in the flesh before, and it was an eye-opener — complete headbanging, moshtastic mayhem! Imagine dropping your brain into a blender and punching the “liquify” setting, and you’ll have an idea of the experience that Exodus generated. Vocalist Rob Dukes stalked his burly self around the stage, clad in a New York Rangers jersey, belting out the high-end harsh howling and successfully exhorting the crowd into a frenzy. He also carried off the clean vocals on the epic “Children Of A Worthless God” with power and clarity.
As magnetic as Dukes was, he was more than matched by an impeccable instrumental performance by his bandmates. Gary Holt and Lee Altus were just mind-blowing shred machines on guitar — blazingly fast and technically amazing — and bassist Jack Gibson kept pace with them despite a vicious hangover that required some alcoholic medicine to get him on stage (or so Rob Dukes informed the crowd). But as impressive as those dudes were, drummer Tom Hunting was the guy who most blew my mind — incredible speed, stamina, and intricacy that really drove the thrashing power of the whole set. A genuinely stand-out live performance I’ll remember for a long time.
Exodus lit a bonfire under the Showbox crowd and kicked the pit action into high gear with old favorites like “Bonded By Blood,” “War Is My Shepherd,” “Strike Of The Beast,” and “The Toxic Waltz.” The set ended with a pretty impressive wall of death and a deafening roar of appreciation from an exhilarated audience. Your NCS Authors were drawn to this show mainly by Arch Enemy, but it was Exodus I had on my iPod during the trip home. Two-word summation: Holy Shit!!
Our first audience with Empress Angela and her Court was back in May ’08 at El Corazon in Seattle on the Tyranny & Bloodshed Tour with Dark Tranquillity, Divine Heresy, and Firewind. We were completely taken with the performance — one of the best live shows we’ve seen, period. And what a stroke of luck to see them in a relatively small, club-sized venue!
The Showbox is a bigger setting, and we weren’t quite as on top of the action as we were almost two years ago, but man was this fun! The set included more than a dozen songs, including crowd-pleasers like “Revolution Begins,” “Ravenous,” “I Will Live Again,” “Dead Eyes See No Future,” “We Will Rise,” and “Nemesis,” as well as some of the pre-Angela songs that the band re-recorded for last year’s The Root Of All Evil, an extended melodic guitar solo from the Amott brothers, and an eye-popping drum solo by Daniel Erlandsson. This is a band with tremendous technical skill that still projects infectious enthusiasm and energy despite the long years of touring with basically these same songs.
But of course, as good as they were, Angela Gossow was the center of attention. She was in constant motion, headbanging and windmilling, her mane of platinum hair flying with abandon — and that voice! Still blows my mind that those vicious gutteral howls are coming out of someone who looks like she does. She had this adoring crowd eating out of her upturned hands.
The only complaint of your NCS Authors was how closely this performance resembled the one from two years ago. It’s still awesomely entertaining, but we’re ready for some new songs!
Well, that’s a wrap. Now for more of our concert photos: