Archive for the ‘Live Recaps’ Category

Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust

LIVE PHOTOS:
Sevendust
He is Legend
Never Your Zero
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Review by Greg Maki
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In spring 1997, I was 17 years old and finishing my senior year of high school. Though I had been raised on loud guitars and thunderous drums, I had become disillusioned with a lot of rock music in the mid-’90s, and had turned to the harsh, industrialized sounds of Nine Inch Nails and the dark theatrics of Marilyn Manson. I remained a regular reader of Metal Edge magazine in those days, however, and while perusing the latest issue one day, a CD review caught my eye. The CD in question was the debut, self-titled release from a quintet out of Atlanta called Sevendust. I wish I could find that review or remember what the critic wrote, because something about it made me take note, made me think this was a band I needed to hear. YouTube and Spotify weren’t even a figment of anyone’s imagination at this point, so the first time I ever heard Sevendust was a short time later when I spotted the CD on a shelf at Circuit City (RIP), went home, popped the disc in my CD player and those unforgettable opening notes of “Black” started me on a journey I’m still on 20 years later. (more…)

James Hetfield of Metallica

LIVE PHOTOS: Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Volbeat
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Review by Greg Maki
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There have been some rough patches here and there, but make no mistake—Metallica still is the best metal band that ever was or will be. On Wednesday, May 10, at the home of the Baltimore Ravens, the most successful band in the history of the genre gave a fiery, powerful performance that almost certainly erased any doubts among the tens of thousands of people who filled the stadium.

A number of factors—the band’s first proper North American tour in eight years, releasing its best album in decades (last year’s Hardwired … to Self-Destruct), the fact that they’re freakin’ Metallica—combined to make this show feel more like an event than any other I’ve attended recently, including multi-day festivals. That this was the first stop on the North American leg of the band’s “WorldWired” tour made the anticipation climb even higher.

Before we even got to Metallica there were two opening acts capable of drawing several thousand fans on their own. (more…)

Chuck Billy of Testament

LIVE PHOTOS: Testament, Sepultura
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Review by Jeff Maki
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It’s been 30 years since the formation of Bay Area thrashers, Testament—30 years since it released its debut album, The Legacy. The band’s current label, Nuclear Blast Records,also is celebrating its 30-year anniversary. And let’s not forget the fantastic new album, The Brotherhood of the Snake (read review). It was the perfect storm for Testament—forever in the shadows of “The Big Four”—to showcase its own impressive discography and different eras of the band. After 30 years and thousands of live shows, this one could have been its last—it was that good! (more…)

John 5

LIVE PHOTOS
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Review by Greg Maki
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Instrumental rock music can be a tough sell, even for someone who loves music as much as me. Too often, it comes across as self-indulgent, with endless noodling and shredding. It’s as if the musicians forget the song is what matters most.

Over his eight solo albums, John 5 has avoided that common pitfall, and when John 5 and the Creatures came to the area earlier this month, I jumped at the chance to see them live for the second time in two years. (more…)

Lexxi Foxx, Michael Starr and Satchel of Steel Panther

LIVE PHOTOS: Steel Panther, Citizen Zero
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Review by Greg Maki
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It’s nothing short of amazing that Steel Panther, a band originating from–and still based on–a joke, still is going strong today. The ‘80s hair metal parody act just released its fourth studio album, Lower the Bar, and is out on a headlining tour across the United States. It nearly filled Baltimore’s Rams Head Live on a recent Friday night, and for good reason–you won’t find a better rock ‘n’ roll party. (more…)

Scott Ian of Anthrax

LIVE PHOTOS: Killswitch Engage, Anthrax, The Devil Wears Prada, Jasta
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Review by Greg Maki
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One of the most anticipated metal tours of the spring–dubbed the “Killthrax” tour–brought together bands–and fans–of different eras. On one hand, there was Anthrax, one of the “big four” of thrash and possessing a history of more than 35 years. On the other, there was Killswitch Engage, one of the pioneers and leaders of metalcore, but also with a lengthening history of its own–its seminal, subgenre-defining album, Alive or Just Breathing, turns 15 this year. It’s all metal in the end, though, and ultimately the bill, which also featured The Devil Wears Prada and Jasta, was a testament to how this powerful, empowering, often misunderstood style of music has shifted and endured through the years. (more…)

Elize Ryd of Amaranthe

LIVE PHOTOS: Amaranthe, Failure Anthem, Citizen Zero, Cypher16, Smash into Pieces
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Review by Jeff Maki
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It had been more than two years since I had seen Amaranthe open for Within Temptation (read review), also in Baltimore, Maryland. Now, with the success of Massive Addictive and its most recent album, Maximalism, Amaranthe has graduated from opening act to headliner. This was the third to last show of its North American Maximalism Tour, which featured four bands in support. (more…)

Dez Fafara of DevilDriver

Review by Jeff Maki
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DevilDriver, the headliner of the Bound by the Road Tour, now has seven studio albums under its belt. Yes, seven. The band has been around that long, and I’m getting that old. But the band in direct support on the tour has been around way longer—Death Angel. Thirty-five years to be exact.

Death Angel has been an absolute machine in recent years, churning out its style of Bay Area thrash metal with albums Killing Season (2008), Relentless Retribution (2010), The Dream Calls for Blood (2013) and last year’s The Evil Divide, which earned an honorable mention on my “best of the year” list. I also interviewed frontman Mark Osegueda in 2010 (read here) and again in 2016 (read here). Both times, his excitement and enthusiasm was unlike anyone I’ve interviewed. It turns out he carries this enthusiasm over to the stage (more…)

Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom

LIVE PHOTOS: Children of Bodom, Abbath, Exmortus, Oni
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Review by Greg Maki
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With four bands from four different countries, Children of Bodom’s I Worship Chaos tour was an international affair. Even better, each act brought a very different sound to the stage, making for a pleasantly diverse night of metal in Baltimore.

The progressive metal stylings of Oni, from Canada, kicked off the evening. This is an interesting, talented band that hasn’t quite put it all together yet, but it was fun watching them as they’re figuring out how the pieces fit. Guitarists Martin Andres and Brandon White each can shred with the best of them, and the band’s secret weapon is John “D” on the xylosynth, a sort of electric xylophone that hasn’t been used in metal before. Vocalist Jake Oni’s clean singing complemented the music better than his barks and growls, but this definitely is a band to keep an eye on as it matures. (more…)

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Simone Simons of Epica

LIVE PHOTOS: EpicaFleshgod ApocalypseArkona
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Review by Jeff Maki
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Epica’s North American Principle Tour made one of its last stops of its month-long trek at Baltimore Soundstage, and judging by the energy of the band and its fans, this show should go down as one of the strongest of the tour. According to Epica’s official Instagram, Soundstage won the “award for most crowdsurfers” of the tour, as hundreds of fans came to see the Dutch goddess Simone Simons lead the symphonic metal masters, who are supporting their new album, The Holographic Principle. The tour was an international affair, with Epica from the Netherlands, Italian symphonic death metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse, the Russian pagan tribe Arkona and The Agonist, which hails from Montreal, Canada. (more…)

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Anders Fridén of In Flames

Review by Jeff Maki
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Only a weekend had passed since In Flames released its 12th studio album, Battles, and despite my less-than-enthusiastic review (read here), I was still ecstatic to be seeing the Swedish metal pioneers kick off their U.S. co-headlining tour with Hellyeah at the Fillmore Silver Spring. Since I discovered the band in 2004, its albums have been my go-tos time after time, even as the years have gone by. (more…)

Papa Emeritus III of Ghost

Papa Emeritus III of Ghost

LIVE PHOTOS
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Review by Greg Maki
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On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton ending their campaigns here, Nov. 7 was a momentous day in Raleigh, North Carolina. But for a couple thousand people at the Ritz, a concert venue located in an industrial park just outside the city’s downtown, politics took a back seat. Differences were tossed aside as the assembled masses all partook in the ritual of Ghost.

The Swedish occult rockers have rocketed to worldwide stardom, winning a Grammy Award along the way and inspiring some of the most devoted fans any band can claim today. Everyone at the show seemingly wore a Ghost T-shirt or stood in line at the merch table to purchase one. Many came in costumes inspired by the demonic papal figure Papa Emeritus III and the masked Nameless Ghouls who provide the instrumentation behind him.

The band’s North American “Popestar” tour is its biggest production here to date, with a tiered stage and elaborate backdrop fit for an arena. At the rate they’ve been growing their fan base and with performances as strong and dynamic as this one, Papa and the ghouls could find themselves in venues that size before long. (more…)