While a large number of the Metal Community had headed out of town for the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, I had chosen to remain in the Big Apple so I could be a part of the weekend’s fun which included a Friday appearance by Y&T, a Saturday set from The Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and tonight’s adventures with The Haunted. The show this evening was at B.B. King Blues Club, where the guys in Y&T dropped in to deliver some powerful Hard Rock just the other day and now it was time for something quite heavier. The Haunted would bring their brand of Death Metal to the stage with NYCHC legends Merauder and rising stars The Agonist. Here is how the show went down for those who missed out.
The Agonist: I was pretty sure that the folks in The Agonist were doing as many gigs as we once found happening with Into Eternity and finding themselves on a number of interesting and powerful tour packages. Tonight marks about the fourth or fifth time that I have caught them in concert and considering I had only heard about them in the final months of 2007 when they opened up for Epica that’s rather much. I enjoy what they do and was happy to hear what had been accomplished with their newest release “Lullabies For The Dormant Mind” which marks the bands sophomore album on Century Media Records. Fronted by Alissa White-Gluz, who is a pint sized demon of Metal intensity, the band delivered a very solid set that hit you as soon as they began the first note and for those fans of the band that have been following then would be surprised to see the addition of someone new on guitar. Joining the touring group would be Chris Adolph who was put into place to add just a little bit of extra “oomph” to the punch that they deliver and this allows Danny Marino to focus his time on more of the lead guitar flair. I was digging into what the band was serving tonight and have been a fan of Alissa’s since I first got to see how diverse she is with her vocals, I felt that she was on point this evening and that the band comes across better and better in concert every time. With the new CD under their belts the set would focus on these new tunes and deliver about five of them while the remaining two came from “Only Once Imagined”. The full set ran like this “The Tempest (The Siren's Song; the Banshee's Cry)”, “...and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”, “Rise and Fall”, “Martyr Art”, “Thank You, Pain”, “Birds Elope With the Sun” & “Business Suits and Combat Boots”. I felt that the group went over well tonight which was nice to see as there have been times where the NYC is not always so receptive of their sound. I cannot understand why since they are heavy as hell during a live set and are in no way run of the mill or contrived. Let’s face it Metal heads, if you paid for a ticket you might as well enjoy the whole show and if you don’t have anything nice to say please don’t ruin it for your friends and the others around you. The Agonist is set to return on a number of other shows that will run the course of the summer and if we attend those we shall be sure to continue reporting on Alissa and Company’s adventures. Now it was time for Merauder.
Merauder: The band while being considered one of the legends of the Hardcore meets Thrash Metal movement in NYC and artisans par excellence of this particular sound were a group that I never really followed during their formative years and heyday but tonight would be able to see how they serve up the material to their existing longtime fans. As expected, the NYCHC group came out like an assault force and really had the audience going. There were a lot of Hardcore kids in the crowd and many of them were in bands themselves judging on the amount of show flyers that I found myself receiving during the show. This is a scene that really sticks together and while it was never my own personal thing to follow, I always respected how that worked out for them and gave them proper credit for maintaining the idealogy. The band was celebrating their being signed to Regain Records and I think that this is a great thing to have happened for them because this is a label that really knows heavy music even thought much of it falls into the Black and Death Metal aspect They are fronted by Jorge who was the perfect singer for a band of this kind, and some might remember him from when he worked in the band Il Nino. Despite the presence of a barrier between the audience and band, Jorge made sure to lean over enough to have some of the audience members sing along with him, and this kind of crowd participation just found the circle pit activity being brought up a notch. Having little background in their songs or repertoire I simply went with what those around me spoke of as the bands classics and after the set I checked with some people and found that there were three new numbers performed from this forthcoming album which I am still unsure about the title of. The bands set was also one that delivered a surprise as Mike, the lead singer of the band Inhuman came out and sang with Jorge on a tune. The fans in the crowd seemed to know who he was and at this up. One young lady impressed me with the level of acrobatics demonstrated in the circle pit as she propelled herself up and over and around. It was like watching professional gymnast and I was later told that she was also a singer but for whom I am not quite clear. If she does that on the stage I totally want to see how that works out while singing if it is even possible. Now it was time for The Haunted to come out and close up shop.
The Haunted: I had not seen The Haunted since they did a co-headlining tour with Dark Tranquillity a couple of years ago, and that stellar package also brought us the one and only Into Eternity and delivered to the US soil for the first time ever, the Metal might of Scar Symmetry. The band has a new album out on Century Media Records called “Versus” and tonight would be the first time that many would be able to enjoy this release in the live sense since it had come out after that particular show and I am pretty positive that they had not been back around since then. The band also has a compilation double CD affair called “Warning Shots” which appears to be a dual effort between Century Media Records and Earache Records and this piece of hot Metal was only released a little over a week ago. I have generally been more of the casual fan of The Haunted and have to say that I personally lean more to what its founding members did when they called themselves At The Gates but despite this tonight the band would impress me very much. I had to say that they were the best that I had ever seen them and instead of constantly rambling without end, singer Peter Dolving seemed to be focused on his message of Metal and life a lot more than I had witnessed. He was very interesting and made more sense to me, and he appeared to have the audience in his hand the whole show from my vantage point. The Bjorler Brothers were terrific in their sound this evening as Anders on guitar flanked one side of Dolving while Jonas on bass took the other. Patrik Jensen was not present and I did not find out why this was the case but despite this the four folks on the stage kept it together and really did a fantastic job. I like what I know came from “Versus” this evening and will definitely be looking around for a copy of the compilation release since it has a few live tracks on it. Nice work guys, I will plan on supporting your return when you set it up that’s for sure.
As the show ended I had to say that I didn’t miss the trek up to New England and felt that I had enough to keep my Metal hungers fed for a few days until my next adventure took place. The past few weeks had been awesome in NYC and there were some interesting shows coming up with Rock stuff like The Good Rats and former Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen who would be around before the month closed out.
Official Web Site: www.the-haunted.com/site
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/merauder
Official Web Site: www.myspace.com/theagonist
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