After being forced to postpone a handful of dates back in the spring so lead vocalist Jesse Leach could undergo vocal cord surgery, Killswitch Engage was back with a vengeance for a quick ten date fall run (makeup dates plus a few bonus shows) that would see them finish out their US commitments in early December before heading overseas in early 2019. Joining in on the fun were one of Killswitch bass player Mike D’Antonio’s other bands Death Ray Vision, sludge metal kings the almighty Crowbar, and progressive metalcore quintet Born of Osiris.
The party bus caravan rolled into Chattanooga, TN on a rainy Saturday in December with fans lining up at least two hours before the doors opened. Sandwiched between Nashville, Knoxville and Atlanta on the map, Chattanooga metal fans were starving for a meaty serving of tasty riffs and The Signal was offering up a delectable four course meal.
Up first and wasting no time getting the party kicked into overdrive was Massachusetts based Death Ray Vision. The seasoned metal head should recognize Death Ray Vision as the supergroup featuring members other New England based bands Killswitch Engage (Mike “Double Duty” D’Antonio on bass), Shadows Fall (former singer Brian Fair), Cannae (drummer and thrash-stache aficionado Colin Conway) and Overcast (guitarist Party Pete Cortese, also Mike D. and Brian Fair). With Fair and former guitar player Zack Wells making their exit due to family commitments and being spread across the country, Death Ray Vision have added vocalist Jeff Gard (Chuggernaut) and guitar player Chris Rosati to the ranks for their latest release, ‘Negative Mental Attitude’, which debuted on Nov. 30th. For fans who hate lineup changes, especially when it involves the voice of the band, don’t fret, Gard was the right guy to step into the big shoes left empty by Brian Fair. They kicked things off with the first track off the new album, “We’re Done With You,” an old-school hardcore thrasher that set the tone early. Without pumping the breaks they transitioned into one of their older tunes, “Not for Glory” and then rolled right into another new one, “Just Let it Die.” Death Ray Vision somehow managed to pummel the enthusiastic Chattanooga crowd with “Fuck Compromise,” “The Journey is Your Tomb,” “Enlightened,” and “Barfly” all within their 30-35 minute set before capping their set off with the epic, winding “Captain Blackout.” And by epic and winding I mean a 24 second punch in the face!
Just when I thought their performance couldn’t be topped, singer Jeff Gard dropped the mic and crowd surfed all the way from the stage to the bar. A fitting end to what had to be one of the best opening performances I’ve seen in quite a while. As of this review, Death Ray Vision had two tour dates listed for 2019, January 20th in Cambridge, MA and March 10th in Providence, RI. Killswitch Engage is preparing to release a new album next year and just announced a US tour beginning in April, so Mike D.’s touring plate is filling up, but if Death Ray Vision hits the road anytime soon and near you, I suggest you get out to a show and thank me later. These guys know how to party and bring the no holds barred hardcore metal to the masses.
Just when the crowd had a chance to recover and catch their breath, the almighty Crowbar took to the stage next to unleash their aroma of downtuned sludge metal. If you’re a Metal Nexus reader, you know Crowbar, the N’awlins based band consisting of the Beard of Doom, Mr. Kirk Windstein on vocals and guitar, Matt Brunson on lead guitar, Tommy Buckley behind the drums and Shane Wesley on bass (“Sexy T” Todd Strange retired from touring in mid-2018 but continues as a member of the band). After about 40 seconds of a long sustaining low B chord shaking the building, Kirk stepped to the mic and growled, “It’s our pleasure to be back in fuckin’ Chattanooga, TN. We’re Crowbar from New Orleans! I said we’re Crowbar from New Orleans . . . and we’re gonna kick your ass! Let’s do it!” Buckley counted them into the fan favorite “All I Had (I Gave)” and the crowd went nuts. Keeping with the slogan on the back of Kirk’s shirt, Tune Low Play Slow, they went into “The Lasting Dose,” an upbeat little ditty that gave the moshers a bit of a break and let the headbangers wreck their necks, but nothing compared to the end of their next tune, “The Cemetery Angels,” where the breakdown was slower than the Chattanooga Choo Choo trying to climb nearby Monteagle Mountain. For about 40 minutes Crowbar did just as Kirk promised, they kicked our asses from a combination of body blows, “Walk With Knowledge Wisely,” “To Carry the Load,” “I Am the Storm,” and “Planet Collide” until the final knockout punch of “Like Broken Glass.” For someone who’s been doing it as long as he has, it was obvious that Kirk still gives a shit. He was constantly interacting with the crowd (and photographers) and his banter ensured there was never a dull moment between songs. Sadly, in my 30+ years of metal fandom, this was my first time seeing Crowbar live and they did not disappoint. Luckily for me (and you), they, in addition to Mothership and either Weedeater or The Obsessed (depending on when and where you see them), kick off a massive US tour in January supporting Corrosion of Conformity which ends in my home city of Nashville, TN. Get out to this tour and hit up the Crowbar merch table and you may just get a “Whoooo!” from the Beard of Doom himself!
Rounding out the support for this tour was IL based progressive metalcore quintet Born of Osiris. Born of Osiris has been on the road for what seems like the entire year. Early in 2018 they went out in support of August Burns Red on the North American leg of their ‘Phantom Anthem’ tour. Then this summer they joined a ton of bands, including Between the Buried and Me, Veil of Maya, Erra, and a resurrected The Agony Scene, for the 2018 version of the Summer Slaughter tour. Now, as 2018 winds down, they have hit the road for a few dates with Killswitch Engage in anticipation of the January 2019 release of their album, ‘The Simulation.’ Born of Osiris always puts on energetic shows, with tonight being no exception. Vocalist Ronnie Canizaro and keyboard player/vocalist Joe Buras utilized the entire stage including the three risers at the front of the stage to make sure the audience was engaged in their set. Leading off with the bombastic “Bow Down,” Born of Osiris got the pit jumping quickly with its staccato riffs and machine like double bass. They kept the guitar and synth harmonies rolling with several of their fan favorites like “Divergency” and “The Other Half of Me” and even introduced two new tunes from their upcoming album, “Silence the Echo” and “The Accursed.” As they wrapped up they led the crowd in cheers for all of the bands on the bill and then got a venue filled clap along going to the beat before they laid waste to the place with arguably their most popular song, “Machine.” ‘The Simulation’ comes out on January 11th and I’m sure a long tour will follow, so check their social media accounts to stay up to date on when and where Born of Osiris will make a stop near you!
Killswitch Engage is another band that’s had a busy 2018. The band spent the first part of the year on the road with Anthrax on the KillThrax II tour before singer Jesse Leach had vocal cord surgery in late April. After spending most of May and June recovering and re-learning how to use his voice, the boys supported the mighty Iron Maiden during their summer Legacy of the Beast European tour through mid-August before heading to Australia in late October. All while recording a new album which is due out in 2019, their first for Metal Blade Records. As guitarists Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz strummed the intro to “The End of Heartache,” Jesse stepped to the mic and asked, “Chattanooga! Are you ready to sing for me?!” They were. And from the first scream from Jesse’s throat it was clear his voice was stronger than ever.
After “Beyond the Flames,” Jesse told the Chattanooga crowd that “so far, this crowd has been the most wild on this tour, I’ve watched every set today. You guys went nuts for Death Ray Vision, the almighty Crowbar, and for our boys in Born of Osiris. So now that I know you’re a noisy fuckin’ crowd I want you to go even crazier and be more noisy for us, is that ok? With seven studio albums under their belts, Killswitch Engage had plenty to guarantee a rowdy, noisy night. Fans new and old were not disappointed as they nearly covered their entire catalog, six songs of which were from Howard Jones era tunes (but none coming from 2009’s self-titled effort). However, Jesse’s voice and meticulous musicianship aren’t the only reasons to come out to a Killswitch show. Cody the light guy illuminating the antics of the guys up front led by the always entertaining and unpredictable Adam D. If there’s one thing you can count on at a Killswitch show its Adam D. either playing his way to the merch table and getting a beer, giving an emphatic heartfelt speech about masturbating on a tour bus . . . . or both! It’s always worth the price of admission. The highlight of the night for most fans had to be the cover of Dio’s classic “Holy Diver” to end the night, with horns going up throughout the venue in honor of the man himself. Killswitch Engage head back to Europe at the beginning of 2019 and they just announced a spring US tour with Parkway Drive and After the Burial beginning April 18th in San Francisco (tour dates below). Presale tickets go on sale Wednesday, Dec 19th so head to their social media accounts to make sure you know when the new album will drop and when the party will roll into your town!
4/18 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield Theatre*
4/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium**
4/20 – Mesa, AZ @ 98 KUPD – 98Kupd Ufest***
4/22 – Colorado Springs, CO @ City Auditorium**
4/23 – Wichita, KS @ Cotillion Ballroom*
4/24 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom**
4/26 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom*
4/27 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater**
4/28 – Houston, TX @ So What Music Festival***
4/30 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater**
5/1 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre*
5/3 – Jacksonville, FL @ Welcome To Rockville^^ (KsE Only)
5/4 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle**
5/5 – Nashville, TN @ War Memorial Auditorium*
5/7 – Niagara Falls, NY @ The Rapids Theatre**
5/9 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5*
5/10 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall*
5/11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall (Outdoors)**
5/3 – Rockingham, NC @ Epicenter^^ (KsE Only)
5/12 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues^
5/14 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore Silver Spring*
5/15 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit**
5/16 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Club Stage*
5/17-19 – Columbus, OH @ Sonic Temple Festival
*Killswitch Engage Closes Show
**Parkway Drive Closes Show
^^ Festival – KsE Only
^Parkway Drive only