SoundShooter

About SoundShooter

A designer of genetically modified organisms and concert photographer turned reviewer, SoundShooter is a motorcycle obsessed geek based in the suburbia of Washington DC area. Considered a closet nerd by his closest friends, he often finds solace in the lyrics of Iron Maiden, science fiction novels and secretly aspires to harness the powers of a Marvel supervillain.

KATATONIA, CASPIAN, UNCURED Take Over Washington, D.C. [Photo Gallery]

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Katatonia

Last Thursday night I found myself doing something I absolutely despise, taking the horrid DC metro rail, to do something I dearly love, enjoying live music. Katatonia, was opening the North American tour in support of their album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. A small venue with a prominent stage with excellent lighting and sound system, many consider 9:30 Club to be the heart and soul of the music scene in Washington D.C. And I have never been to this iconic venue in our nations capital, despite having lived in the area for multiple years. This, combined with the excitement of seeing Katatonia live for the first time, my excitement was palpable. Still, I had little idea how good a night this was going to be. Katatonia is one of the finest heavy metal bands to have emerged from Sweden, and their ten studio albums bear testimony to that. The last album ‘The Fall of Hearts’ was released mid last year, which garnered excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. On this North American leg, they are supported by Caspian and Uncured.

Uncured

The first band of the night was Uncured, which I was not very familiar with, so them taking the stage was when I really discovered their music. It has been a long time since I have been this utterly impressed by a new band with only a debut album. And how often do you see a progressive metal band with two vocalists unleashing harsh vocals with intense yet melodic riffs ? The vocals were shared nearly equally by the two guitar wielding vocalists on more than one song. The young lads with their youthful energy, technical prowess behind their instruments and blistering speed set the stage on fire. Listen to the riffs in the later part of the song “Opium Den” and tell me if it does not remind you of Liquid Tension Experiment. The lads totally had totally earned the rousing applause they got once they were done with their set. This is one band that I earmark for nothing but stellar things in future and will certainly be keeping a close watch on.

Caspian

Caspian was the second band of the night, a largely instrumental band with fast riffs, yet they can sound melancholic at times, something that not too many bands can lay a claim to. I had no idea they had such a fan following in the D.C. metro area, the crowd erupted as soon as they took the stage. The imperious drumming and the excellent guitar play lays the basis for the six member strong band. The rapidly changing stage lighting in sync with the fast yet melodic guitar play contributed to this spellbinding show. I can’t really do justice to their musicianship on the show by trying to explain it in words, one needs to see them out live. If you are not familiar with their music, check them out and get ready to be captivated.

Katatonia

Katatonia was one of the first Swedish metal bands I discovered. Over the years Katatonia has progressed to be more melodic from the harsh vocals of the early days. Opening the set with the track “Last Song Before We Fade”, the band burst in to intense guitar play and luscious rhythms. The following tracks “Criminals”, a song from the album ‘Viva Emptiness’, and “Serein”, a standout track from the latest album, kept the crowd really going. The delivery of Jonas Renske was flawless, the guitar work and drumming impeccable and overall the band treated the crowd to an album quality performance. The graceful interaction with the crowd only enhanced the experience of this fabulous night. I won’t bother going in to discuss the performance of each song of the nineteen songs long set, you are better off attending the show than trying to experience it through my words. This is one tour that you don’t want to miss, especially if you are a fan of melodic or progressive metal. If you have a chance to see them on this tour, which has just started, don’t miss it!

Follow the bands online: Katatonia, Caspian, Uncured!

Deafheaven, Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You In Baltimore, Maryland!

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Deafheaven

Last Sunday night, the genre defying maestros of Deafheaven enchanted the crowd at Baltimore Soundstage. On this current tour, in support of their excellent last album ‘New Bermuda’, they are joined by Emma Ruth Rundle and This Will Destroy You. This was a night to behold, so let me dive straight in to the review without further ado.

Emma Ruth Rundle

Emma Ruth Rundle and her band were the first to take the stage, opening the set with the track “Run Forever” from the album ‘Some Heavy Ocean’. The crowd was slowly building up, and they were soaking in the lyrics of her songs. A flawless delivery with dark and very mature lyrics highlighted the performance, which was a near album quality like performance. With the seven song set, capped off with the track “Heaven” from her latest album ‘Marked for Death’, Emma Ruth Rundle mesmerized the crowd. The gracious yet somber performance was well appreciated by the crowd and she left the stage to a very well deserved rousing applause from the crowd.

This Will Destroy You

This Will Destroy You, a “largely” instrumental rock/metal band from Texas, who took the stage next. Sandwiched between the somber mood bought to the stage by Emma Ruth Rundle and the unhinged energy of Deafheaven. The opening track “The Mighty Rio Grande”, which is from their decade old self titled album, was perhaps an ode to their home state. The excellent guitar work lays the basis for the signature sound of this quartet, which is enhanced by the impeccable timing of the drumming. I love the sound of this band and it has been a constant companion, especially at my work, for some time now. The six songs set was well appreciated by the crowd, hooting and screaming at the band every time they stopped for a few seconds after a playing a song. The last song of the set, “Little Smoke”, erupted to a cathartic drone like crescendo towards the end, providing the perfect backdrop for Deafheaven.

Deafheaven

Now was the time for Deafheaven, the headliner of the night. George Clarke had come on to the stage to check the microphone before the band took the stage and everyone in the crowd started going nuts. Folks, hold your horses, you need to wait for a few more minutes here. Once the lights dimmed, Deafheaven took the stage, opening the set with the track “Brought to The Water”, the opening track of their last album ‘New Bermuda’. Right from the word go, Deafheaven unleashed sheer madness on the stage, which lasted until the very end. The unrelenting vocals of George Clarke behind the microphone, in contrast to the largely calm stage presence of the other band members, was the highlight of the show. Mind you, the calm demeanor belies the excellent guitar play of Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra, ably backed by the bassist and the drummer. Additionally, George Clarke was bounding around the stage showing off some cool moves, like that of a symphony director, and the crowd was digging it. A high school kid who was right next to me in the front row was exhilarated to get a fist bump from George Clark. Constantly pushing the boundaries of traditional genres, Deafheaven is certainly one of the most creative bands around. The set was somehwat short, with eight songs, capped off by “The Pecan Tree”. Musically, this was certainly one of the finest nights I have had in a while. My only gripe with this show was the lack of a photo pit, but I can see how a barrier would have hindered the interaction of George Clarke with the crowd. That interaction between the band and the crowd is one of the single most exciting things to witness or be a part of. The styles of the three acts are quite different, yet similar in the mood. This current tour is still in its midway stages with a bunch of remaining dates, I highly recommend you attend it. And be sure to stand in the front row, it WILL be crowded, don’t say I didn’t not warn you!

Live Review: AZREAL Live @ Baltimore Soundstage

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We recently covered the Bound By The Road Tour which features DevilDriver, Death Angel, Winds Of Plague, The Agonist and Azreal during their stop in Toronto, Canada (See Review Here). Unfortunately, Azreal was unable to make the trek across the border for the Canadian dates of the tour.  We of course was highly looking forward to seeing the Australian based band take the stage. So we caught up with them on another tour stop in Baltimore, Maryland at Baltimore Soundstage on February 20th. Continue reading