Saturday, May 17, 2014

Killswitch Engage/ Trivium/ Battlecross @ Rams Head Live 5/15/2014

I went to see Killswitch Engage up in Baltimore ($35 after fees WTF). I met up with Tony and saw Kris, Matt Rice n Witt Black (Yesterday's Saints... who let those chumps out of the studio?) Jose, Scott, and I am pretty sure the singer from Hydra Kyll and Jen P and Bridget were there too.  I was pumped to see Killswitch and hang with my buddy Tony, but I also was interested in the rest of the bill. Would Nothing More sound like an Octane band? Would Battlecross sound the same as last time? Would Trivium be underwhelming like last time?

There were a lot of people there, def more as the night went on. I don't think it was sold out, but it was crowded, many hundreds of people.  And it was the metalcore/more mainstream /baseball cap/neck tattoo/etc. crowd (tho I didn't see ... well not THAT many... Affliction shirts).

Who wore it better?

There was a ton of merch at this show. Nothing More had a pretty slick setup, but nothing was priced. If I knew their album hadn't officially dropped yet I may have grabbed a CD. Their logo looked like the legs of Sleipnir from the Amon Amarth With Oden on Our Side cover.Trivium had shirts ($25), Hoodie ($50), and the like.  Battlecross had shirts ($25 I think), drum head. Killswitch had meh shirts ($25?) and something I recall being $75. They also had the Death Ray Vision (Killswitch side project) CD at the counter. I don't know what it is, but my last few merch reports have been a little slacking. Blurry pics, spotty price recollections. I gotta step it up. I did NOT get anything.

Nothing More- Now is the Time?

As I walked in after grabbing some tickets to WITHIN TEMPTATION/ AMARANTHE, I could hear Nothing More already started.  I had heard one song on 98 Rock, and I thought it was pretty catchy, but pretty Octaney.  As I took a spot, there were 3 guys on stage playing  bass that was strapped to some sort of stand so the audience could clearly see. That was interesting, but for a new band, I was surprised as to why they wouldn't play an actual song instead.  The first song that I was fully able to hear was the aforementioned radio single "This is the Time (Ballast)," which I rather liked. Live it sounded even better- the Rams Head sound system is pretty great. They then apparently only had time for one more and it was the kind of funky "Salem (Burn the Witch)," which seemed like it had potential as a closer with the shout along chorus ("burn the witch!"). They curiously added a triple drum solo (or is it quadruple, as the drummer, the guitarist, the bassist, and the singer all had a drum to play), which they briefly did to some way too generous applause and hoots and hollerings.  The singer had his shirt off and was pretty ripped (and had a good voice and very energetic performance) and was reminiscent of Jim Morrison (The Doors) (at least in look) . The guitarist had one sleeve cut off of this hoodie/shirt, and that with his long hair reminded me of the Winter Soldier in shorts.  Though they sounded great, their actual songs were only OK. I wish they had played more songs instead of trying to show off.  I think they gave an interesting performance, but I would not focus on that much dicking around until you are a bit more established. Regardless, I think these guys will get bigger, especially touring with more ... similar fanbase... of Volbeat, Five Finger Death Punch, Hellyeah.

Just Headbang, ok guys?

Battlecross was up next- they certainly look quite the motley crew, the skinny guy with huge beard and long hair, older tall guy with skullet/mullet and hulkamania shirt, drummer w/ gauges and the short brown guitarist. And the white guitarist who was grinning like a madman (kind of looked like Matt Hardy).  I think all my photos of them captured them headbanging.  Best line was "I worte this song for my son, and his name is Kaleb. ... This song is called "Kaleb!" "  They also gave a shout out to DC/MD/VA area metal band Yesterday's Saints! Last time I thought they were OK with some very nice guitarwork, and it was about the same as then this time. Their Lamb of God harsh vocals really reminded me of a lighter version of them. I think there may have been another death metal band that the vocal patterns reminded me of but I can't quite place it. Basically I still am looking for something that I can say "Oh this is a Battlecross song" by the sound of it... They did play some different songs than the other time I saw them, but I didn't really recognize that at the time.  I did see a couple mosh pits during their set as well. They were decently entertaining, but I think still overhyped. The crowd gave them a surprisingly strong reaction. Maybe their insane touring is paying off!  I'm looking forward to a new album...

Not too much "Strife"

Trivium fared better this time( Last time, Devildriver basically blew them off the stage).  I was a bit distracted during their set because Rams Head Live loves to block AT&T service on my phones, and I had to keep an eye out for Tony so I could let him in.  I don't think I got as much as I could have out of them due to this. That being said, they were clearly stronger this time, as Battlecross wasn't able to steal Trivium's thunder.  The sound from where I was standing during their set was a little thin, but everything was rather clear. As I am more of a recent Trivium fan, I didn't recognize a couple of their songs, but all the newer ones sounded very good.  The crowd seemed into them as well, so I think that's gonna help Matt Heafy and the boys.

This May or May Not be "The Hell in Me"

Killswitch, despite seeing them recently, were still great and def blew Trivium off the stage (sheesh, Matt can't get a break). From when they took the stage to the ending strings of "My Curse" I was having a great time minus "You Don't Bleed For Me" which I thought was lame. They sounded great (Thanks Rams Head), and the crowd was way more active and LOUD for them.  They also did NOT have the annoying seizure inducing lights like last time.

I noticed that they played a lot of Howard Jones era stuff, perhaps to continue to fight off the haters who can't accept the singer change (or restoration in this case) back to Jesse Leach. A number of bands have changed singers an gotten better (Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath) or still maintained their strength (Journey, Van Halen (to a different degree), Skid Row, Styx, Iced Earth),  or had a similar restoration (Maiden, Judas Priest, Sabbath). Lets leave The Jon Leon Project (White Wizzard) out of this. As a side note, from far away, Jesse looked like Kal Drogo from Game of Thrones with a bad hair cut.

Adam D Didn't seem to clown around as much this time

Setlist wise- they threw the bonus track "In the Unblind," and now this time "This Fire Burns" (used to be a theme for ex- WWE wrestler C.M. Punk) was dug up from the vaults! They played basically all their 'hits,' and actually a whopping 7 from their latest (very solid) release.  I would have liked to hear "Numbered Days," but maybe next time. "Self Revolution" was also a nice throwback.  Their hour and 15 minute set seemed like it flew by, but I had a blast. Could they have thrown in a couple more songs? Sure, why not?

Overall, things started a little rocky, but it ramped up by the time Trivium came on. Totally worth the hellish trip to Baltimore to check out Killswitch and hang with Tony.  I will agree with him that I can be a little wishy washy about KSE, but when I finally go, I always remember who my favourite (and probably the best) metalcore band in the land is, man.

Next Show: Ashes of Ares !


Nothing More (7:30- 7:56)

  • ?
  • ?
  • Bass Solo
  • This is the Time (Ballast)
  • Salem (Burn the Witch) w/triple drums solo

Battlecross (8:22- 8:46)

  • Force Fed Lies
  • My Vaccine
  • Beast
  • Flesh & Bone
  • Kaleb
  • Push Pull Destroy

Trivium ( 9:03-9:47)

  • Brave This Storm
  • Like Light to the Flies
  • Built to Fall
  • Strife
  • Black
  • Dying in Your Arms
  • Through Blood and Dirt and Bone
  • Down from the Sky
  • Capsizing the Sea
  • In Waves

Killswitch Engage (10:17 - 11:31)

  • A Bid Farewell
  • This Is Absolution
  • The New Awakening
  • The Arms of Sorrow
  • This Fire Burns
  • Self Revolution
  • Beyond the Flames
  • Rose of Sharyn
  • Life to Lifeless
  • Take This Oath
  • No End in Sight
  • You Don't Bleed for Me
  • Always
  • My Last Serenade
  • The Hell in Me
  • Fixation on the Darkness
  • In Due Time
  • The End of Heartache
  • My Curse