November 18, 2013 Asking Alexandria, Sevendust, All That Remains, Emmure, & For Today live at Starland Ballroom Sayerville, NJ 11-11-13 (Exclusive Coverage)
Back in September Asking Alexandria announced headlining “The From Death to Destiny Tour”. Joining the Brits for the ride are For Today, Emmure, All That Remains, and Sevendust. This is a metal tour, which amongst the widest variety of rock and roll, you wouldn’t dare miss. On Veterans Day this past Monday November 11th, the tour buses of this star-studded lineup stopped at The Starland Ballroom in Sayerville, NJ. This is one of the many big shows the venue has booked since reopening in September. It was closed down because of the catastrophe Hurricane Sandy brought upon the east coast. Now they are bringing the reckless and relentless Asking Alexandria to New Jersey to share the intensity and annihilation in a more positive way.
The show began with Sioux City, Iowa Christian metalcore band For Today. Much like their fellow statesmen Slipknot, For Today has broken out of Iowa making a name for themselves as a metal band. With their Prevailer EP and latest single ‘”Fight the Silence” released in 2013, and adding their work ethic since 2005; rising to higher levels is surely imminent. Wasting no time the boys got the crowd up of their feet and moving within the first tracks including “Fearless” and “Under God” off the 2012 album Immortal. Mattie Montgomery (vocals) engaged the audience with some motivational statements keeping a positive vibe going. As an opener they had an abbreviated set of 6 songs, but they made the most of their time and made their presence be known. These guys bring forth an intensity with the mix of Ryan Leitru’s clean vocals and Montgomery’s harsh, yet holy, screams it would compensate for missing church the past Sunday! Fans can reportedly look forward to a new For Today album in the coming year.
Next to hit the stage was Connecticut bred, New York residing, deathcore nu metal band Emmure. Since 2003 their controversial rap roaring lyrics have grasped many followers attention. Emmure is certainly not for everyone, but good sounding music makes you want to throw your devil horns in the air as it cannot be ignored. With 7 albums under their belts including their most recent Slave to the Game (2012), another is most likely on its way, so worry not! Lead man, Frankie Palmeri, stormed onto to stage with an unexpected fury. With the intense blunt assault of tracks like “4 Poisons 3 Words” and “Solar Flare Homicide” The Starland Ballroom was under a hardcore attack. The guys kept that intensity going the duration of their set providing their dedicated fans with something to cheer about.
After two bands of the more core persuasion opened the flood gates, All-American original Massachusetts metalcore rockers All That Remains hit the stage. This would be the 2nd time in the past 3 months All That Remains would grace the stage of Starland Ballroom; the first being at Rock Of Allegiance back in September. Since 1998 lead vocalist Phil Labonte has been on the grind making a name for himself, even performing touring vocals for Killswitch Engage in early 2010. A lot has changed for Labonte and his band over the years within their sound; moving to a more melodic singing and metal structured song style. One thing has not changed though and that is the sheer guitar driven intensity lead guitarist Oli Herbert brings.
As the band emerged from backstage with “Down Thru the Ages”, fans lit up instantly with excitement. As they rocked out songs, some may say they are heavy metal perfection; with a more different yet touching and personal approach. “What If I Was Nothing” had such a classic rock love song feel that even the heaviest metal fans should be able to respect and appreciate. Never shy to express himself, Labonte perfomed to the crowd freely. To close out their set they had a few numbers for the crowd, and they undoubtedly have come to expect, in “Six” and “Two Weeks.” All That Remains left everyone’s blood boiling and wishing there was just a little more left, but the show must go on with two more bands to bring a volcanic eruption. Rest assured All That Remains will be back around this neck of the woods sometime in the future again soon.
First of the remaining two were Atlanta, GA favorite sons Sevendust. At the head is vocalist since 1994, Lajon Witherspoon. The band has withstood changes midway through their career only to be all reunited with guitarist Clint Lowery. A band of friends, Sevendust has quite the rock n roll story to tell over the past 19 years. It always seems they find themselves in the mix of rock and metal’s premier tours and festivals, and justifiably so. Sevendust always seems to draw a large crowd, and because of their longevity, they always seem to bring a diverse audience to the mix. It was interesting to see the unification of youth and maturity mesh into one on and off the stage with the wide range of age and experiences of bands involved.
You could tell right from the start Sevendust had an immense amount of energy bottled up and they were just itching to play all night. As always, Sevendust ignites a crowd with their driven sound in which it seems everyone sings along with. Witherspoon, a humble down to earth man, addressed the audience expressing his gratefulness that Sevendust had the chance to play shows with such age diversity to get their name out and music heard by a new generation. Now 9 records deep after the release of Black Out The Sun in March, these guys are showing no signs of slowing down and are bound to provide this younger generation of rock and metal fans with something to discover. From the opening of “Splinter” to the closing climax of “Face to Face”, Starland Ballroom was barely left standing from the performance. Due to personal family matters Sevendust will be departing from The From Death to Destiny tour after their performance in Memphis, TN November 15th. From the family at Cryptic Rock we wish them well and know they will be back again very soon.
Asking Alexandria’s story is very complying, going from rising metal stars to icons in the industry in such a short period of time. They now have the world by their grips and a future paved with gold. The titles of their 3 albums all leading up to this point seem to translate to their life experiences. From Stand Up and Scream (2009) forcing their way into the industry, to Reckless and Relentless (2011) referring to life and hardships on the road with no regrets, to finally From Death to Destiny (20013), sustaining the abuse of it all to points of near death and fulfilling their destiny to becoming worldwide heavy metal icons. So many bands talk about what Asking Alexandria does and can only dream of doing it at the rate they have. Nobody can keep up with the pace. Front man Danny Worsnop shared with the crowd how they lived in a Wal-Mart parking lot for months just down the road from the Starland Ballroom and their personal connection with the venue and the state of New Jersey.
When they came out on stage it was as if a meteor shower poured onto the The Starland Ballroom and it rained the opening of “Don’t Pray For Me.” Such adrenaline flows through your veins when you watch them perform and you want to just let it all go. You just want to stomp your feet, throw your fists up, and bang your god damn head. Whether it’s the simultaneous head banging from guitarists Sam Bettley, Cameron Liddell, and Ben Bruce or lion roars from the king of the jungle himself, Danny Worsnop, you are always left so satisfied and exhausted yet dying for one more song. They played a number of new songs off of From Death To Destiny which all sound great and received positively. Some of the highlights included “Don’t Pray For Me”, “Run Free”, “Killing You”, “The Death Of Me”, and closing out the set with “Poison”. Once it was time to conclude the set with “Poison” the witty Worsnop so nonchalantly states “This is our fake last song, we’ll be back in about 40 seconds.” And sure enough a generous 3 encore was played including “Welcome”, “Closure”, and “The Final Episode”. No, Asking Alexandria’s set couldn’t end without one of the tracks that started it all for them in “The Final Episode”. Already excited, Worsnop encouraged everybody to lose their minds and all the crowd surfers to make their way to the stage at once. At last the volcano of energy building up all evening had erupted.
“Run free and wild,
Lose your mind,
This world’s yours for the taking,
Scream it loud,
This is my life!”
This excerpt from the leading single, “Run Free”, off From Death To Destiny sums up Asking Alexandria and shows exactly how their ideology has lead them to this point in their career.
Written by Austin Sausele