Co-written by, Mike Marlinski and Vick Sacha-
Last Friday, May 22, Sumerian Records’ Veil of Maya cruised through Rochester, NY in celebration of their new album, Matriarch. They brought with them a range of artists, from deathcore to thrash. There was certainly a little bit on that bill for everyone.
Entheos opened the show at Rochester’s Water Street Music Hall, promptly at 6:30 pm. Now, I know what you’re thinking- “Who the hell is Entheos?” Entheos is a little project courtesy of Navene Koperweis (ex-drummer of Animals as Leaders) and Evan Brewer (ex-bassist of The Faceless), both of whom used to play together in Animosity years ago. Recently, the two joined forces with guitarist Frank Costa and vocalist Chaney Crabb to complete a solid four piece.
Needless to say, knowing that I was going to see essentially half of Animosity, I was pretty stoked. Actually, knowing exactly what to expect from Navene and Evan was the biggest reason I was so excited. With techy riffs, audible basslines and crushing gutturals, Entheos were the perfect opening act for the show. No doubt, Chaney out-screamed every guy on the bill. It was sad though; the crowd that watched them play was pretty pathetic (actually, the crowd the whole night was pretty pathetic). There were probably 60 people at the show total (not including band members) and Entheos had to suffer through about half that during their set. Their songs were followed by quiet echoing golf claps and awkwardly hesitant “woots”.
Seriously- Where was all the support for this show?
Certainly, they were at least better than the band that was up next. Entheos has an EP out called Primal, and it’s definitely worth checking out. You can stream it at http://www.entheos.bandcamp.com.
Up next, was a band called Gift Giver. The whole time during band transitions, I wasn’t sure if I had heard of them before, but when they all walked on stage and started playing, I was kind of glad I hadn’t. The guys were all wearing matching football jerseys, with (I think) a bounty knife right on the front. The backs of them all said “Shit Life”. One could tell from the get-go that all of these guys had a thug-life attitude, and their music reflected that exactly. If you’re into bands like Emmure and Atilla, Gift Giver is right up your alley. I can’t remember if I heard even one legitimate guitar solo. All of their songs were chugging and breakdowns with high-pitched screams and more than seldom speech parts about things I’m sure I can only imagine, especially with songs with titles like “Daddy Issues”. Though I think this band is trash, they did manage to work up the crowd a bit; they somehow got a better response than Entheos. Fortunately for me, and the party I was with, their set was over in no time, and the worst part of the night was over.
Oceano took to the stage next and fed off the energy Gift Giver had left behind in the crowd. A throwdown pit ensued immediately in correlation with the opening song. For those of you who don’t know, Oceano is another crushing act that fits neatly into the “deathcore” category. Most of their songs are breakdown driven, with the occasional death metal tremolo riff, along with NYC hardcore influenced note and chord progressions. Vocalist, Adam Warren has a commanding presence on stage and really owns the crowd. In my opinion, he’s the most important asset to this band both on and off stage. Not to suggest that the other guys aren’t talented, I just felt they might come across as another White Chapel or Winds of Plague without Warren’s unique presence and incredibly consistent screams and growls. They played a lot from their most recent release, Ascendants and kept the place moving, getting a great response in and out of the pit for their entire set. It was the perfect segue for the next act, Revocation.
Revocation (for those unfamiliar) are a high-energy melodic death/thrash four piece from Boston, MA. They’ve been on the scene since 2006 and released their latest album, Deathless late last year. However, their set covered a lot of their musical ground. At least a track or two from Existence is Futile (2009), Chaos of Forms (2011), and Revocation (2013) were played. These are four incredibly talented dudes and I’d recommend them to fans of technical thrash, death metal or even metalcore. I had missed my last opportunity to check them out, which was in Cleveland back in 2010 (since I arrived fashionably late to the show) so I was beyond amped to experience their brand of metal live. What impressed me most about their live show was frontman, David Davidson’s ridiculous shredding ability on guitar while singing/screaming. His execution of his vocals in unison with his guitar playing is always spot on. A lot of people praise Dave Mustaine solely because of those qualities and rarely bring up other musicians of the same suit. But if you look around every once and awhile, you’ll see that there is a whole slue of underground musicians out there. There are a great many of the same explosive, multitasking caliber in the metal scene, and David Davidson of Revocation is definitely one of these.
We actually ended up running into Revocation at a bar called Scotland Yard Pub around corner from Water Street Music Hall. They were very gracious, humble dudes. It’s always nice to meet musicians who are all too happy to meet their fans.
Veil of Maya from Chicago, IL concluded the night. After all, the tour was in celebration of their new album, Matriarch. Their music was rather catchy, with a barrage of djent style breakdowns, melodious choruses, intricate guitar overlays and superb drumming. But what captivated me more than any of that was there professionalism given the sad turnout. Lead vocalist, Lukas Magyar has only been in the band since last year, but he delivered extraordinary stage presence and made the show feel like a packed arena of 20,000 fans, as opposed to 60 odd bodies floating between the stage and the bar. Diehard VOM fans hardcore danced to their hearts’ content, opening up the pit for the whole set, thus adding to the pretend ‘sold out concert’ vibe. I’m not a big fan of breakdown driven bands anymore per say, but I can definitely appreciate a strong live performance catered by a passionate band, which is exactly what VOM brought to the table that night. I’d recommend their new album, Matriarch to any fan of metal with hardcore influence, great screams and cleans, tasty grooves and equally tasty licks. The last time I saw VOM, was 5 years ago at Peabody’s in Cleveland and I can say without a doubt that they’ve matured a lot as a band. Their new material seems much more pronounced and focused than what I heard them play off of [id] back then. Guitarist, Marc Okubo and bassist, Danny Hauser consistently expanded upon Magyar’s stage presence, while drummer, Sam Applebaum owned his kit with intricacies and precision across the board. In short, they’re not a band I’d go out of my way to listen to at home, but I’d probably jump at the chance to see them live again.
Thanks for reading this review! Your feedback, as always, is greatly encouraged. We’ll be back with another piece for our band gimmicks series soon!