IN THIS MOMENT, GEMINI SYNDROME, AVATAR, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE In Baltimore!

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In This Moment

Last Friday night at the Rams Head Live in Baltimore I witnessed the most visually stunning concert I have attended this year. The bands were In this Moment supported by Motionless in White, Avatar and Gemini Syndrome. The vast majority of shows I cover are of bands I follow religiously. These bands I wasn’t as familiar with, but you can bet that will soon change. When the tour was announced the discussion by the fans of the bands lit up the Facebook groups and other internet forums, which piqued my curiosity. On this Half God Half Devil tour, In This Moment and the cohorts of supporting bands have been selling out venues left and right. And this Baltimore show was sold out months in advance. So I let this review be an unbiased assessment of the captivating live performance of the all the bands on the given night.

Gemini Syndrome

The prelude to the fans started on shaky grounds. The entire Washington DC metropolitan area was rattled by a thunderstorm during late afternoon, maybe a sign from the metal Gods to the fans who have made the trek to Baltimore, with a few coming all the way down from Ohio and West Virginia. As soon as I walked through the airport tight security of Rams Head Live, I witnessed the most excited group of heavy metal fans I have seen in Baltimore. The venue was jam packed, a testament that the fans were there to witness not only the headliner but every single band on the bill. Many fans were dressed in funky costumes like the ones worn by Maria Brink, the front woman of In This Moment in case you did not know, on the stage. Gemini Syndrome, led by Aaron Nordstrom on the vocals, took command of the stage right from the get go. And once the set was over, the drummer came to the midst of the crowd and started stamping the Gemini Syndrome logo on the hands, and in one case of a heavily tattooed guy the neck, of the fans driving them to a manic frenzy. Excellent job Gemini Syndrome, this is one hell of a way to keep the attention of fans!

Avatar

Avatar, a band from Gothenburg (Sweden), brought a freakish cartoonish clown like energy to the stage. The tall lanky Johannes Nordstrom, lead singer with a variety of exaggerated facial expressions, is truly the frontman of the band. You just can’t take the eyes off of the antics of this guy during their set. Many have described the stage persona of this band as circus inspired, but I digress to say that he reminded me more of the Joker of the classic DC comics (not Heath Ledger one). The fans in the crowd were singing along with Nordstrom, with chants of “Avatar Avatar” ringing out in between the songs. I would love to see them headline a show in future just for the sake of the visual experience.

Motionless In White

Motionless In White, a metal band from Scranton Pennsylvania provided the darkest set of the night. Chris Motionless Cerulli led his band with powerful vocals and an intimate interaction with the crowd, despite the barrier separating the crowd from the stage. He reiterated multiple times that in the past he used to head to the Rams Head as a fan from not so far Scranton to attend shows there. The dark ambiance added to the gloomy atmosphere created by their music. Their stage presence is something that can’t be described in words or photographs, it’s an experience all it’s own.

In This Moment

Finally, it was time for In This Moment. A white curtain was brought on to cover the front stage when the stage props were being assembled. As soon as the curtain was drawn off the crowd were treated to a Maria Brink making a dramatic and theatrical appearance in a golden dress, like the one work by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1963 classic, amidst billowing smoke. The well synchronized and beautifully choreographed movements of her and her two performers in company helped create a mystical and sublime theatrical atmosphere with aplomb. As the set progressed she changed costumes after almost every song and the lighting pattern changed accordingly. The multiple persona and environment brought on to the stage by her was something I had never witnessed in a metal concert before. The soaring vocals of Maria Brink added to all the factors that had the crowd going. Maria Brink, spent a significant amount of time giving a prolonged introduction of her bandmates to the crowd, with each band member performing a solo right after the introduction. Very nice to see such a heartfelt introduction of your fellow band members Maria Brink, you are well and truly of the finest ones! This was a truly night of the odd ones, each bringing a completely different ambiance and musical style to the stage. After witnessing this night, I am convinced that we need more bands like In This Moment, and certainly need more enigmatic personalities like Maria Brink. This diversity in styles is what makes heavy metal special. If you are an avid fan of any of these bands, I truly hope you have already bought a ticket to a show, chances are that your nearest show is sold out. And if you are not someone who follows any of these bands, you should start looking at the secondary market. This is one show worth attending even if you are not a huge follower of the bands’ music. I will certainly be attending the shows of In This Moment the next time they are in my area again, just for the theatrical brilliance. We will be reviewing tons of great shows in the next few months, so keep following us. Until then, adios!

After The Burial, Emmure, Fit For An Autopsy, Artifacts, Fit For A King, Invent Animate In Baltimore!

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After The Burial

Monday nights can be a dreadful affair, I despise them. Last Monday night was not just another Monday night, for heavy metal reigned supreme at Baltimore Soundstage. This was my umpteenth concert at the Baltimore Soundstage, and I must admit that I have never seen this venue more crowded on a Monday night. When I reached the venue, over two hundred people (yes, I counted!) were lining up at the door to get in. This is not what I was expecting as only thirty odd people has confirmed “going” to the event page on Facebook, which was surprising to me since this was a night with six strong bands on the bill. I have a love hate relationship with concerts with a long lineup, the plus point being the experience of seeing multiple powerhouse bands on one night, and the major negative being shorter setlists for the bands. On this night, After The Burial was headlining at Baltimore on their Carry The Flame tour, with support from four other excellent touring bands. Continue reading

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