Mar 152011

Your three NCS co-founders, plus friends, spent last night at Seattle’s Studio Seven having our eardrums shattered and our brains pulped by an amazingly good set of performances by four very talented bands. I’m not writing this in order to gloat about getting to see the show. You know how sometimes you get so enthusiastic about an experience that the first thing you want to do is call up or text a friend and tell them about it? Well, that’s sort of what I’m doing with this post, but I do want to report a couple of surprises (at least for me) that might be of interest.

I went to the show mainly to see Darkest Hour (despite the fact that I’ve seen them three times before), though I was also curious to see The Human Abstract. It turned out to be an eye-opening night — especially in the case of Born of Osiris and the music they played from their forthcoming third album. All four of these bands have new releases (the one from As Blood Runs Black debuts today), all four played songs from the new albums, and it was all . . . just . . . awesome.

Studio Seven has a simple layout: There’s a big concrete floor and there’s a balcony that includes a bar. The balcony hangs over much of the floor, with the leading edge not more than 30 feet from the front of the stage below. IntoTheDarkness and I got to the venue early and waited in line almost one hour in a cold wind in order to get a perch at the front of the balcony bar area, which gave us (literally) a bird’s eye view of the stage and what turned out to be a packed, roiling mass of humanity directly below us.

Of course, I forgot my fucking camera, but I’m not sure it would have done me any good since the stage was shrouded in smoke effects most of the night. (more after the jump . . .)


I’ve still not listened to the entirety of this band’s new album, Digital Veil, despite the glowing review from Andy Synn in these pages and enthusiastic recommendations from NCS co-founder IntoTheDarkness. I’ve just never been a big fan of this band based on their previous music. But now, after last night, I get it.

The majority of the set consisted of music from the new album — they played “Holographic Sight”, “Complex Terms”, and closed the too-short set with “Digital Veil”, in addition to a couple of older songs. The new stuff just kicked my ass through the roof. As turned out to be true of all four of these bands, the playing was as tight as a vacuum seal, and the new songs stunned me (given what I knew of the band’s previous output) by their power, aggression, and physically convulsive rhythms.

The band is also a helluva lot of fun to watch. The sight of Dean Herrera windmilling his thigh-length dreads AND his guitar at the same time will stay with me, and I was also really surprised by the relatively new frontman Travis Richter. This reed-thin dude looks like he’d blow away in a summer breeze, but what comes out of his mouth has the power of a blast furnace. He’s also one of those guys who just smiles all the way through the set when he’s not singing (in that way, he reminded me of Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne). He looks like he’s having the time of his life — and he probably is.


After THA finished, I wondered how As Blood Runs Black could possibly compete. In a way, they couldn’t. The songs are less musically interesting, the musicianship less technically demanding. But that didn’t prevent them from massively rocking the house. Despite the band’s long hiatus, they clearly had a big fan base in the audience, and the pit went explosive.

It’s been, what?, five years since the band’s debut album, Allegiance. Now, it’s basically a new band, with guitarists Greg Kirkpatrick and Dan Sugarman and vocalist Sonik Garcia joining just last year. I haven’t heard the new album yet, but now I’m interested. The set was a mix of stuff from Allegiance and the new album (Instinct), and it was a blast of above-average deathcore madness.

The real highlight of their performance — what really made the set a success — was the new vocalist. Garcia is another small, rail-thin dude who likes like he’d blow away in a breeze, but he’s got fantastic stage presence and a huge voice. He was in constant motion, constantly exhorting the crowd — another dude who looked like he was having the time of his life, and his live-wire enthusiasm electrified the audience, too.


I don’t really have anything new to say about this band. They are simply one of the best live acts I’ve ever seen. They dependably deliver a riveting live show. John Henry‘s vocals are in a class by themselves, and in terms of instrumental performance, I really can’t think of another band that, man for man, is better on stage than Mike Schleibaum, Lonestar Carrigan, Paul Burnette, and Ryan Parrish.

I made the mistake of picking the wrong line at the bar after As Blood Runs Black finished, and by the time I got back to our balcony perch, I’d lost my place at the rail and for most of this set I was the third person back from the front, which means about the only band member visible on the stage below was Parrish, on his elevated platform with the drum kit. So, I watched him, and was blown away. And I focused on the music, since I could barely see what was happening on stage. Just a stunningly tight performance.

Fortunately, a couple of people moved away from the front balcony before the last two songs, so I wormed my way back up to the rail and got to see the finish — and was reminded all over again how much fun it is to watch these guys. John Henry and bassist Paul Burnette are in constant motion, Parrish is an absolute beast behind the kit, and even though Carrigan and Schleibaum don’t cavort as much as Henry and Burnette, they are such immaculate guitarists that it’s hard not to stare at them.


I wondered how, in a just world, this band could be headlining, with Darkest Hour in support (though maybe this is a co-headlining tour, with DH as the last act on other stops?). I was a fan of their debut album, The New Reign (because it sounded so different at the time), but I found A Higher Place to be disappointing. I saw them on tour a couple years ago after that second album came out, and I thought the live show was good but not great.

My comrade IntoTheDarkness has been listening to some of the tracks from the forthcoming album, The Discovery (due March 22 on Sumerian). He told me before the night started that I was going to be pleasantly surprised by the new music. And then, after Darkest Hour finished, he told me that as good as the night had been up to that point, the best was yet to come. In my mind, I called bullshit. To his face, I said something along the lines of, “Really? Are you serious?” And he was.

I would have a very hard time picking the best performance of this night, but I will say this: Born of Osiris was very much in league with Darkest Hour and The Human Abstract. They were, I dunno, 1000% better than I remember them. Another vacuum-tight performance instrumentally, and frontman Ronnie Canizaro’s live vocals and overall stage presence have become just awesomely good.

And here’s the main point I want to make about this set: The new music just kicks the living shit out of everything this band have done before. Seriously.

I hadn’t listened to the songs that are now streaming on the BOO Facebook and MySpace pages, so I wasn’t familiar with the titles, but I’m pretty sure I heard Canizaro announce “Follow the Signs” and “Two Worlds of Design”. Blazingly fast and powerful, with djent-style rhythms, catchy melodies, keyboard additions that do not annoy, and vocals that reminded me of John Henry’s. The shit caved in my head. If the new stuff sounds like this on the record, I will be very happy.

Of course, they ended the set with “Bow Down”, and by that point I was ready to bow down to Born of Osiris. I will be getting the new album ASAP.


Noisecreep is streaming that Born of Osiris song called “Two Worlds of Design” with a short accompanying interview. You can check that out here, or listen to the song on the player below:


  1. This makes me so happy to read.

    I’m sort of shamed to say that I’ve been listening to BoO for years and could almost call the boys friends–I’ve interviewed them and even partaken of the sacred herb with them multiple times. Their hearts are definitely in the right place.

    This made me excited to hear the new record again!!!

    • I just said it, but will say it again: I was in a state of near-shock after their set, not just because of the huge step-up in stage performance but also because of the sound of the new songs. I am sooo hoping they sound as good on record.

  2. I’m really glad you posted this.

    I’m going to this concert next week and am fortunate enough to have interviews set up with both The Human Abstract and Darkest Hour. I’ll be seeing both these bands play for the first time as well which I’m super jacked for, and this post gets me even more excited for it. I saw Born Of Osiris play last fall when they were opening for All That Remains and I remember being very impressed. I wasn’t the biggest fan of their music at the time but I remember being very fond of their live performance. But with these new songs that have come out, you seriously have to check them out Islander, I know it’s going to be an awesome show.

  3. I caught the British equivalent last month, Darkest Hour, Born Of Osiris, Protest The Hero and had a great time.

    Unfortunately I still found BOO to be extremely unconvincing as a live entity (and on record to be honest). They might be nice guys and all, but I just don’t find myself believing what they’re doing, they don’t exude the same sense of passion as DH did on the night (and every night) nor are they convincingly aggressive. Tight players though, I will give them that.

    • Maybe it was the difference between two different shows, or maybe the result of how many whiskies I had consumed by the time BoO started last night, but I found them convincing. 🙂 As for how convincing they sound on the album, we will see . . .

      • I’ve only heard the one song so far and wasn’t impressed. It went absolutely nowhere and seemingly regressed back into the “djent” pack. I’d be interested to hear the album though, see what sort of direction they’ve gone in. They’ve always seemed a bit lost for direction to me.

        I just don’t think they offer anything *special” if you know what I mean? For all their competency on their instruments they’ve never stunned me with interesting playing or songs.

        I don’t mean to be harsh on them, they’re not a BAD band by any stretch of the imagination, but I just don’t see what they offer that isn’t done better and more interestingly elsewhere.

        • Even before the show, I wasn’t as down on them as it sounds like you are, but I certainly wasn’t a huge fan. The live performance of the new songs got me very interested in the new album. Nothing I heard sounded like the track in this post, so either they didn’t play it live or the live execution blew it up into something much more riveting. I’m still hoping the rest of the album lives up to the live experience of the new music (or at least gets close).

          • I’m not meaning to be “down” on them, in the sense that I expect them to be bad before hearing/seeing them. It’s just that I did own both their albums and found nothing in either of them that spoke of a “great” band, merely a competent one. Live they were equally as competent and many of the crowd enjoyed them, but I didn’t get the feeling of any “passion” – they were clearly enjoying themselves and playing well, but the performance felt very safe and detached. Loud, but not heavy.

            I’m sure the album has leaked (properly leaked as well, not the joke leak) so would be interested to see and read various opinions on it, with some more in-depth discussion, from people who have heard the whole thing.

  4. I don’t know how anyone could not find them convincing last night. I thought they were fucking fantastic. In fact, it was one of the best live performances i’ve seen period. They were on point the entire time, clean, sounded great and they had the crowd going. How was the energy during bow down not convincing? I get the vibe that they have a blast playing and their new cd is godly from what i’ve heard. They had a bit of a lull but last night sure convinced me that they are back in full form.

  5. Whatevs I think they are fucking awesome.

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