(DemiGodRaven checks in with this review of the Sacramento stop of the THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS tour, featuring All Shall Perish, Carnifex, Fleshgod Apocalypse, The Contortionist, and more.)
First off, before I really begin, I need to give a huge shout out to the folks at CapitalChaos and RockHardLive. Whilst at the moment they are both competing with each other at least in one sense, we’re all able to reap the rewards because they both had people out at this show recording it, and as a result we have some decent live videos on both ends. Check out both the Capital Chaos and Rock Hard Live youtube pages, because both of them have been doing more for Sacramento than anyone could imagine. Believe me, if a band has played here recently, there’s a pretty good chance the live footage you see pop up on youtube is because of one of those two groups. They deserve far more credit and love than what they get.
Now then. I arrived at the show late. I actually had it planned where I would get there around 6:30, believing that since the doors opened at 5:30, there would be about an hour delay (as has been standard fare at the other shows at Ace that I’ve been to) so I could get there right as things were kicking off. This provided me an opportunity to enjoy some fine 20-year old hooch that my friend’s Grandfather had made at his Dad’s birthday. Meanwhile, my friend is over in Japan teaching. I am nothing if not an appreciator of weird social situations.
I was looking forward to this show for a few reasons. I’d finally get to see The Contortionist. (Okay, I’ve actually seen them before, but it was at something like 1 am in The Boardwalk. I was so fucking tired I actually found myself dozing off in the corner of the venue. I couldn’t believe it, you could’ve been blasting grindcore in my face and I still would’ve dozed off.) I’d finally get to see All Shall Perish, and as part of a touring cycle for an album I enjoy the hell out of. I’d get to see Conducting From the Grave on a larger stage than The Boardwalk’s.
Oh, and Fleshgod. Did I mention Fleshgod? Because I’d finally get to see Fleshgod Afuckingpocalypse in a live setting. I could’ve listened to two hours of Hare Krishna bullshit as openers if it resulted in me getting the solid forty or so minutes I did of Fleshgod on stage.
Anyway, I got out of there and arrived at the venue at about 6:20ish to find that the guys in Awaiting The Apocalypse were already about two songs deep, so the review for them is going to be representative of about three songs for them.
These guys seemed to find their crowd here, likely due to the fact that this was almost a tailor-made show for the meat-headed, breakdown-loving kind of guy. They played sans projector and zombie footage this time, and since I got there late I had to hang back and enjoy the festivities from a distance. They were able to get a couple of Karate Kid-esque pits going and seemed to be having a hell of a time up there. They had a different drummer than the guy I’ve been used to seeing, and he seemed to be handling stuff pretty well. Also, since it was 6:00-something instead of damn near almost midnight, both the band and the fans seemed to have more life in them than the last time I saw them. Maybe they gained some rejuvenation in the previous month by killing the projector guy.
I had a hell of a time finding a recent band photo of these guys, so you’re looking at the album art for them. Fortunately, the folks at RockHardLive have put up a video of their performance at this show, so you’ll be able to see them momentarily.
I Wish We Were Robots are a pretty standard metalcore + light electronics – styled band. They have two vocalists, one who does primarily all the singing and another gentleman who handles all the screaming, and alongside them are the usual lineup of keyboardist and so on. Basically, even for a stage as large as Ace Of Spades’ stage, things were still a little crowded with these guys up there. Now personally, I’m pretty jaded toward this specific style, so I could tell right away I wouldn’t be too into these dudes. They had the occasionally head-nodding riff, but overall you really have to be a genre fanatic or one of those flavor-of-the week people who bounce from group to group in order to catch a hold of these folks.
It feels weird to say it, but they actually kinda felt like the outlier for the night. Whereas everyone else has incredibly thick sections that if they aren’t breakdowns, are very akin to such (yes, even The Contortionist), these guys sounded a little lighter than that. I can’t really pass judgement on the singing guy’s voice because I couldn’t hear him too well, which actually became something of a theme for the night. Also, since I was front row I was getting blasted from both sides by speakers, so everything was an octave or two louder in my mind than what it was in real life. Pretty much knew what I was in for once I saw the chest tattoo + striped wife beater + red classic vans and skinny jeans combo. Oh, and I think there was a pork pie hat or something as well. Since we here at NCS seem to be on the heavier side of the spectrum, they likely won’t find any allies here.
RockHardLive captured their full set — love these RockHardLive guys. But interestingly I don’t think I was able to leave this show with a more solid opinion formulated about The COntortionist than when I got there.
I’ve seen them compared to a variety of different bands and recently even saw them referred to as metal’s Pink Floyd. I don’t agree with that firmly, but they do like their spacey music sections, their high-minded concepts, and from what I gather, one hell of a fondness for weed, but it results in an interesting if spastic live show — main reason being that these guys can write some amazing, kicked-back, chill sections of music for people to get lost in. They’re great at building that sort of atmosphere in a live setting, but the stuff in between all that has a tendency to get muddled.
They seem to be very concentrated on what they are playing, so from a crowd’s perspective things are very relaxed. They can play everything with pinpoint accuracy, so I’m sure some of their bigger fans were super-stoked to see those songs take shape in a live setting. I thought it was interesting, and the new songs sounded very clear, but I’m still on the fence with The Contortionist over all. The guys at RockHardLive captured them playing a tune called Oscillator, and the video you see below is from Capital Chaos’ set up.
This show would prove to be a fun Homecoming for this band and a chance to play to a fairly large crowd. There weren’t any new songs played that night; instead, they stuck to a pretty even split between their releases When Legends Become Dust and Revenants. I’m very familiar with this setlist at this point. I mean hell, I just saw these guys last month. Not going in with any real desire to talk about the set though, it gave me a chance to have fun and see how the crowd reacted.
It was great. They seemed to get the crowd moving every chance they could and it was nice to see how a much bigger audience reacted to these guys. Usually I see them in places like The Boardwalk, which’ll top out at a max 200 or so people. Here, it was a full house. They seemed excited about this one, even letting slip the occasional foolish grin at what they were seeing as they were playing.
The Sacramento crowd was pretty good, but they’re never perfect. During “Her Poisoned Tongues” (which I’m telling you, I’ve heard live way more than I planned to), Conducting decided to let the crowd handle the heinous-as-all-hell breakdown, and it seemed like whoever got the mic just ate the fucking thing. I can at least confirm that section sounds really weird with no vocals. I managed to avoid being kicked in the head by crowdsurfers, although I can’t say the same for my friend, the tall guy in glasses who is at every show I am but I bullshit with him and then forget to ask his name (he’s Native American, alright?).
This was the last show of the tour, so things were crazier than usual, but hot damn was it fun. The two videos captured that night were songs from When Legends Become Dust. You can view the other here.
Holy fucking hell. I was so excited to be up front for this. I’d had a chance to see them last year as part of Summer Slaughter, but decided to hang out with the aforementioned friend (all the way back in that opening paragraph!) because it was his last day in Amurika. So, almost a year later, this was my chance to finally witness the spectacle, and they didn’t disappoint in any sense.
I knew it was going to be ridiculous since their brand of symphonic death is so overblown. It was. Hell, even their soundcheck was ridiculous because it seemed like every time the drums were touched, it was blasts. I have to wonder if on the first night of the tour, the drummers from the other bands didn’t just strap Francesco Paoli down to a bed and beat the hell out of him with socks full of soap while saying, “Cmon man! Can’t you just tone it down a bit?”.
Most of their setlist consisted of stuff from Agony (“The Hypocrisy”, “The Violation”, “The Egoism”, “The Betrayal”) and “Thru Our Scars” from the Mafia EP. Everybody actually takes a shot at vocals at some point during the set, although they definitely have a lead screamer [Tommaso Riccardi]. Their bassist [Paolo Rossi] handles most of the clean-sung live vocals, and he does them as well and as crazy-sounding as he does on the Agony release. It might have been me, but it seemed like the mic he was using wasn’t picking him up as well as it should’ve, because it looked like he really had to get up on the damn thing in order to get sound out of it.
These guys headbang a ton, holy crap. Every one of them was going up and down during “The Egoism”. How the heck their necks aren’t killing them is so far beyond me. I wish I could’ve gotten a better view of the synth player since he has that sort of mad Orchestra director thing going, and I would’ve loved to get a clearer view of that. He had himself tucked far left on the stage (stage right) though, and since I was on the left, some sacrifices had to be made.
I did get a clear view of the drums and the surprisingly compact looking kit. I can confirm that the drummer is a real person and not some bionic robot, although there were some suspicious movements that are making me doubt myself. That said, you should definitely see Fleshgod live. Here’s another video taken from that show.
This is about the point where I left the front row of the venue and decided to hang back. Not because I severely dislike this band, but mostly because I am not an idiot who was going to deal with being bum-rushed while these guys and All Shall Perish were on stage. Plus, I’ve just never been able to really get into these guys. They’ve just been the standard sound for deathcore in my eyes. They’re perfectly fine as background noise or if a friend is listening to them, but I’ve never felt the desire to blast any Carnifex or really go see them live.
Now that I have, I can pretty much say that I have seen these guys way more times under the guise of other local bands just starting out with their various splatter font logos than I have under the actual Carnifex name. Seems like that is the bar that is set: If you want to get into that scene, you need to be comparable to these guys. I went into this show pretty ambivalent toward these guys and left about the same. I am nothing if not jaded. You can find another live vid here
Live performing presented an interesting dynamic, because the one who moved the most and, surprisingly, was the most interesting from my new high-up-by-the-bar vantage point, is their bassist. The group’s guitarists are both pretty sizeable dudes, so they planted their feet firmly where they were at and were content to just circle-headbang their way through the set. As such, most of the spectacle came from the Carnifex bassist and front man (who reminds me a ton of Bleeding Through’s lead guy — it has to be the hair and arm tattoos thing.). They covered a large chunk of the stage running back and forth.
On the other side of things, I did get to score a Great White beer off of a friend during this set. The fact that it was free made it taste way better than usual. Highly recommended. If you have the ability to get some of that, you should do so.
RockHardLive captured their full set. Watch It Here.
This is another one where I hung back for a bit. Not up high, but definitely in the back of the crowd on the floor. I still had an excellent view and it was great to finally see these guys. Who cares if they’re based a scant two hours away from me. I like my car stereo and I would love to keep it, so I will not be seeing them in Oakland. However, if they happen to roll through Sacramento again with as excellent a lineup as they did on this tour, I’ll be there with bells on.
The guys in All Shall Perish have a lot of material to crib from now, and just about every song they played proved to be a fan favorite. Whilst I did get my wish for the deep cut of “Spineless”, they did do “Divine Illusion”, which I think is one the best goddamn songs they’ve done in a long time. Of course, these guys owned the crowd from the get-go, and people seemed to be having the times of their lives — even during the video above, which has a wall of death and some poor girl getting fucking floored (3:30).
If you watch that video closely you’ll even see me getting the fuck out of the dodge because, as I mentioned above, I am not an idiot. Nope. I’ll just jump into the pit during “Divine Illusion” because THAT is CLEARLY the better idea. Still, an All Shall Perish show is like a goddamn battlefield, so you have to know what you’re in for. Two smaller chunks of video can be seen here if you’re not interested in doing the full set.
Last Saturday was fun as hell, and left me aching for about three days. I’m still not completely sure I’m over the bangover, but a big dumb stupid core show is nice every once in a while. Now If we can just work on Sacramento’s problem of that being the only big thing that seems to roll through town. Since this was the last night of the tour, I can’t really recommend that everyone go see it, but hey, if you did, then good on you. If you had as much fun as I did, it was well worth it. If you guys do get to see these bands on their own, be sure to. It is worth it.