December 28, 2015 All That Remains Tear Up Gramercy Theatre, NYC 12-14-15 w/ Sons of Texas, Audiotopsy, & Devour the Day
On the heals of their Fall run with We Came As Romans, New England’s Metal titans All That Remains continued The Order Of Things Tour with a new lineup of supporting bands as of November 17th. As a final hurrah for 2015, the year’s closing tour would continue through December 18th, right before the Christmas Holiday. This time around, they would bring Razor & Tie Records labelmates Devour the Day, Sons of Texas, and Napalm Records’, Audiotopsy. In the final days of the run, they would roll into New York City on an abnormally warm evening, Monday December 14th, for a special night at Gramercy Theatre. The show began promptly at 8 PM and would be one filled with a lot of excitement from the get-go.
Sons of Texas, aptly named for their home state, have accomplished quite a bit in the four years since the band’s inception. Having only recently released their Razor and Tie debut, Baptized in the Rio Grande, the band has been touring the nation religiously to spread their name. Having more than a few fans in the crowd, including members of Failure Anthem (another Razor and Tie band), the band received an impressive welcome from a crowd that had seen more than their fair share of Sons of Texas shows.
The quintet came out, fists swinging and heads banging, to a very tight rhythm section held down by brothers Mike and Nick Villarreal on the drums and bass respectively. Dual guitarists Jon Olivares and Jes De Hoyos filled in the melodies and crunchy grooves which fueled Mark Morales’ powerful and diverse vocal range. “Pull It and Fire” really showcased Morales’ pipes in the opening vocals while their fourth number carried a nice shuffle feel courtesy of skinsman Villarreal. Bringing their Southern charm and appreciation to The Big Apple did not go unnoticed as fans were graciously responding to all prompts and demands from the stage. Closing with their single “Baptized in the Rio Grande,” the band brought their most solid groove of the night before leaving the stage.
Next was Audiotopsy, who although are new in theory, have quite a diverse history among three quarters of its lineup. Composed of former Mudvayne alumni Matt McDonough (drums) and Greg Tribbett (guitar), the band also has former Skrape vocalist Billy Keeton (vocals and guitar) among their ranks with Perry Stern holding down the low end on bass. This being the band’s inaugural tour in support of their recently released album, Natural Causes, the members were clearly excited to make an impact, carving a new name for themselves.
Opening with the track “Headshot,” the band had heads and bodies moving almost instantly. Tribbett came to the stage in a top hat and aviator goggles, perhaps in a throwback to his crazier outfits in his Mudvayne days. McDonough’s impressive kit towered behind the band as they plugged and chugged through a nice set featuring tracks off their debut Natural Causes. Keeton’s vocals will no doubt draw comparisons to Mudvayne and even Tool, but clearly have a life of their own. New single “The Calling” delves almost into Progressive Metal terrain before diving into its infectious chorus. Keeping the chit chat to a minimal, the band focused on driving the tunes into the hearts of the crowd. Stern’s bass lines certainly had a unique click to them and filled the room while McDonough’s double bass was bionic in nature. “Disguise Your Devils” brought a bouncy rhythm to the floor and Keeton was sure to thank the crowd before rolling into closer “LYLAB” (Love Ya Like a Bitch) with lyrics that certainly sound like someone has an ax to grind. The band is definitely onto something, and was well received at the merchandise booth where Keeton and Stern made their presence known to introduce themselves to fans while selling merchandise and taking photos.
Keeping the energy flowing with one strong band after another, Memphis, Tennessee’s very own Devour the Day were next. Sticking to their vision of what they want to be, the band has really come into their own these past few years. In fact, the band has grown and matured into the powerhouse they are in 2015, which resulted in them inking a deal with Razor & Tie Records. Having been on countless national tours in support of their 2013 debut, Time & Pressure via Fat Lady Records, the band is prepping to drop their sophomore release sometime in 2016. Formed from the ashes of now defunct Egypt Central, Blake Allison (vocals and guitar) and Joey “Chicago” Walser (bass) recorded their debut as a duo before adding two touring members for drums and rhythm guitar to the fold.
Opening with the cathartic and Hard Rock driven “Respect,” the crowd’s roar proved there were many devoted fans in attendance. Allison’s vocals have certainly gotten stronger as his live screams are much more clear and powerful, while Joey “Chicago” refuses to stand still, drenching himself by the end of the set. The band are true performers and gentlemen, with Allison’s banter between the songs both comical and respectful, calling Joey “his best friend” while simultaneously stating “his very single best friend.” The comradery between members is self-evident, and surpasses the stage into the audience. Before even taking the stage, the band had been out on the floor meeting friends and fans alike, making everyone feel like family.
Moving along, the set introduced some newer tunes from their forthcoming release, including new single “Faith,” which Allison claimed “saved all their lives” on a more personal note. “Handshakes to Fist Fights” had the crowd bouncing as Allison commanded hands in their air throughout the venue. By the time the first few chords of breakthrough single “Goodman” reverberated through the building, the audience had to tap into their energy reserves. The band definitely brought the heavy on their closer, making it sound even more solid live, particularly in the closing screams, which had Allison coming out into the audience. Devour the Day have definitely made themselves more than a noteworthy direct support these past few years, and here is hoping 2016 will see the band headlining their own shows.
As the houselights came on and the backdrop came down for the headliners, members of the crowd refueled themselves at the bar and went to meet Devour the Day in anticipation for the destruction to be brought by Massachusetts’ legendary All That Remains. Having formed almost two decades ago, the band rose quickly through the ranks of other NWOAHM bands along Metalcore pioneers Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, and Lamb of God. With 2006’s The Fall of Ideals, the band started to become a staple in large touring festivals like Ozzfest, Vans Warped Tour, and later the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. Having a fairly consistent lineup until recently, the band’s 2008 release Overcome would make them a household name as they shifted into a more Hard Rock feel. Having recently seen the departure of long time bassist Jeanne Sagan, for many it would be the first time seeing her replacement Aaron “Bubble” Patrick (formerly of Bury Your Dead and Devildriver). With all that in mind, the anticipation was clearly in the air in the moments prior to All That Remains set.
When the house lights went out and the intro “Now Let Them Tremble” from 2010’s For We Are Many began, the roar from the crowd could be heard in Times Square. As each member took the stage, the cheers rose to a climax as frontman Philip Labonte came to join fellow founding member Oli Herbert (guitar) and longtime members Mike Martin (guitar) and Jason Costa (drums) on stage. Things really took off as the band broke out into “For We Are Many” and only escaladed through “Stand Up.” Bodies were flying and moving throughout the floor as people either scattered to the seats or joined in the mayhem. Known for his intense and honest personality, Vocalist Labonte certainly has no fear or filter when speaking to the crowd between songs. Although some may find his presence overwhelming at time, this particular New York City crowd found no fault in the vocalist’s banter and welcomed the discussion.
Showcasing some new tracks fresh off their latest release, the band played tracks like “This Probably Won’t End Well” and “Victory Lap”. With a band like All That Remains, which is known for certain tracks that draw from many different eras, it is hard to pick a setlist that will please everyone, but the band certainly did their best, leaving no one disappointed. Rolling into crowd favorite “Six,” Labonte’s harsh vocals still stand the test of time as he can still scream with the best of them. Costa’s smooth double kick and speedy tom delivery sounded excellent in conjunction with new bassist Patrick who seemed to fit in perfectly with the outfit.
Herbert’s guitar soared throughout the set in and out of each track Al That Remains offered up. Before leaving for the night, the band played a trio of back-to-back smashes starting with the more recent “What if I was Nothing,” followed by the nostalgic “This Calling,” opening with a scream from Labonte as if it was still 2004. Martin and Herbert’s shredding through the verse brought the Thrash back effortlessly as the chorus was sung by each and every member in attendance. If things had not been turned to level 10 by “This Calling,” they had definitely reached it by the band’s closer “Two Weeks,” which is perhaps their most successful single to date.
Having seen their sound evolve throughout the years, All That Remains has never been shy from diverting to tour with different style bands, and the last tour of 2015 was a winner with powerful Hard Rock from top to bottom. Now it is time for the road warriors to go home, recharge, and spend time with their families, but not to worry, 2016 is bound to be another productive year for All That Remains as it quickly approaches.