Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Arsis/ Allegaeon/ Exmortus @ Empire 9/1/2014

I went to see Arsis ($20) at Empire this Labour Day. This was a good lineup- Exmortus and Allegeon  I had both missed on 2 different dates (tho I did get merch).  I was wondering how the first stop of the 10th year anniversary of "Celebration of Guilt" tour was going to be on this holiday weekend. I saw Sean, Jason, Jen P, Bridget, Ariel, D'Andre, Steve Miller, and super Arsis fan Scott there.

James Malone's Arsis
I surprisingly didn't hear about any openers except for the touring bands, which was rare at Empire.  I arrived to a not very full parking lot, which made me wonder if this would be another 14 person show for Arsis. Last time I did see them with Wintersun, so I figured that this tour package of Melodic Death Metal would have some decent draw, tho.  Overall there were about 80-90 people there.

A Celebration of Merchandise

Merchandise (more pics here)on the first day of the tour was plentiful, and Arsis even had some select older shirts in odd sizes for $10. Normal shirts were $20, hoodies $30, CDs $15, and patches $2. Exmortus had their album on CD ($10) and Vinyl ($20), 2 backpatches ($5) and several shirts.  Allegaeon had a couple albums, and several shirts (including a 'crabcore' one).  Not a bad selection at all! I...got a cheap shirt.

Metal IS King

Doors were at 6, and Exmortus was supposed to got on at 7:30. And they did. I missed them opening for Dark Tranquility this past year, so I was excited to see their dual guitar harmonies live.  They did NOT disappoint, as their sweet solos were fabulous live (tho the vocals were still a little rough).  The crowd was also very much into them, which was also nice.


The always typo'd Allegaeon was up next. I was wondering how their technical death metal was going to be at Empire (re: spotty sound), and was dreading a muddy set.  They were, in fact, pretty clear sounding (minus the vocals), but not as clear as I would have liked. Some technical part no doubt got drowned out in the din of the bass, but the crowd heard some more subtleties, as we saw mosh pits emerge and the energy level start to rise. I only heard a few titles, so I'm not really sure what all they played besides those 3 songs. It seemed like they had a short set, compared to Exmortus for some reason.  Also of note was that they had an under 21 guitarist who was tearing it up.  During "1.618" a roadie in a crab costume jumped on stage for a little bit, which was pretty amazing.

Carnal Ways to Recreate the photo

Arsis finally took the stage to an OK sized crowd, and kicked right into the "Celebration of Guilt" album with "Face...", and played thru to the end, including some songs that had NEVER been played before live ("Carnal..." and "Looking..." I think). It was a treat to be the first to hear these songs live on tour!  At one point, one enthusiastic fan was shouting that Arsis was playing Thrash metal. He was incorrect, but as long as he is having a good time and not hurting anyone, it could have been a lot worse.  The reaction to Arsis's songs were spotty, which is a shame considering their talent.  There was no RATT soundcheck this time, I'm sad to say, but everything sounded heavy enough.  The vocals were as harsh as ever, and the sound was about as good as Empire can get for non-clean vocals, so that was good. I think it felt a bit louder than usual because of the...lack of audience to soak it up. As these death metal bands that aren't Arch Enemy (apparently) usually have me wondering about the setlist, there were of course a couple songs that I couldn't quite place (dam you ears). They threw in a surprise cover of "Animal (Fuck like a Beast)" by WASP, and did Blackie Lawless proud. I was expecting their Corey Hart cover instead ("Sunglasses at Night").

The frontman of Arsis, James Malone (not the MD politician), was pretty gracious and seemed humble. I believe they all came to the merch table and signed /took pics for a bit, but I rolled out not too long after the show.  It was a nice show especially to hear some old songs (and some not played before), and more particularly a pretty long set from Arsis (abou 1 hr, 16 mins), and seeing 2 bands I had missed at 2 different shows made it worthwhile to come out.

Next Show: Sonata Arctica (Philly date)  

Exmortus (7:30- 7:59)
Foe Hammer
Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)
Slave to the Sword
Metal is King
Allegaeon (8:15- 8:53)
Genocide for Praise- Vals For The Vitruvian Man
Arsis (9:18 - 10:34)
The Face Of My Innocence
Maddening Disdain
Seven Whispers Fell Silent
Worship Depraved
Carnal Ways To Recreate The Heart
Dust And Guilt
Elegant And Perverse
The Sadistic Motives Behind Bereavement Letters
Looking To Nothing
Wholly Night
We are the Nightmare

Animal (Fuck Like a Beast) (WASP cover)