November 16, 2015 Blessthefall Excite The Emporium Patchogue, NY 11-6-15 w/ Stick To Your Guns, Emarosa, Oceans Ate Alaska, & Cane Hill
When many first heard the news of the To Those Left Behind Tour set for the Autumn of 2015, the first thought that immediately arose was, “When do tickets go on sale?” A natural reaction for Metal fans, the bill comes packed with a lineup featuring Cane Hill, Oceans Ate Alaska, Emarosa, Stick To Your Guns, and headliners, Blessthefall. With a balance of some of the scene’s most adored and some of its most promising acts, the tour kicked off October 20th and winds down just over a month later on November 22nd. Stopping in some towns the bands had never played in the past, on Friday, November 6th, the village of Patchogue would be hosting at The Emporium, nestled just off the main strip. Building a line down the sidewalk for those anxious to get inside, the fun was just about to begin just as the sun was setting.
New Orleans’ Cane Hill began the night with a set of punishing heavy music. Consisting of Elijah Witt (vocals), Bemo Barnett (guitar), James Barnett (guitar), Ryan Henriquez (bass), and Devin Clark (drums), Cane Hill have been pounding the pavement since their inception a few years ago. Recently signed to Rise Records, the band released their self-titled EP on October 23rd and were about to light up Long Island in their first appearance in the area ever.
Performing songs like “Oxblood,” played at a seemingly impossible pace that blended elements of varying musical styles, allowewd Cane Hill to wow the crowd with their wide ranging talents. Going into the single “Time Bomb,” a driving lead on guitar was featured along with angst-ridden vocals swaying between gruff screams and a thick sound, immediately having everyone’s attention. A funk-based rhythm and spaced out effects gave the song an engaging mixed sound of power Metal with Hip Hop elements. Then there were songs like “Screwtape,” which found the band laying down a classic Heavy Metal riff with vocal phrasing reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine while incorporating a dizzying mellowed-out break that eventually took off into pile-driving Noise Rock. While giving a very brief set as opening support, Witt and the band clearly dominated in a fantastical way that will surely gaining them a lot more attention in the months to come.
Next was Oceans Ate Alaska, coming out of Birmingham, UK. A member of the Fearless Records family, Oceans Ate Alaska has been together for four years now, and aim to bring an emotional experience to listeners. Delivering violent, guttural vocals paired with intricate guitar work, Oceans Ate Alaska create a unique sound that blended Death Metal and the sounds of Classic Rock beneath the crazed vocals. Consisting of James Harrison (vocals), James Kennedy (guitar), Adam Zytkiewicz (guitar), Mike Stanton (bass), and Chris Turner (drums), Oceans Ate Alaska’s debut record, Lost Isles, was released back in February. Gracious for the chance to show North American cities what they are all about, the band came out with many at The Emporium curious what to expect.
After an intro of “FourThirtyTwo,” they went immediately into the cut “Blood Brothers,” starting with a guitar lead that sounded like it came out of an English pub in 1972 and then quickly turned fast and heavy coupled with punishing blast beats on drums by Turner. Moving along quickly, “High Horse” took to the sounds of classic Industrial Rock with the intense delivery of Harrison, and made for a menacing soundscape. Light touches on guitar by Kennedy and Zytkiewicz were slyly interjected throughout, making for an appealing mix of raw power and subdued melody on the track as well. Having everyone wanting more, “X-ray Eyes” was heavy on shrieking, but also featured straight-ahead singing of Harrison, making for an endearing blend. A start-stop riff on guitar with syncopated drumming moved the song along with a sound that, despite it being downright bouncy, did not seem out of place with such a powerful band as the sheer force took over. As the band closed their set with “Clocks,” the audience applauded in appreciation, and some even made their way to the merchandise stand to meet members or purchase a copy of Lost Isles. Having rocked New York City two days earlier on a special headlining gig, Long Island was also won over by Oceans Ate Alaska, assuring they will return again.
Moving the night right along was Lexington, Kentucky’s Emarosa. A band which has sustained their share of upsides and downs, stability was found when Bradley Scott Walden took over as lead vocalist in place of Jonny Craig. Now in 2015, Emarosa are a cohesive unit with Walden, Guitarist ER White, Keyboardist Jordan Stewart, and Bassist Will Sowers supporting their 2014 comeback record, Versus. Spending the Summer on Vans Warped Tour, Emarosa drew some of the biggest crowds all tour long, proving they are a band fans are glad to be see back for good.
Lightening the mood up ever so slightly, they eschewed the guttural vocals for straight ahead Hard Rock/Heavy Metal sounds kicking off with “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play.” Featuring a fast-paced backbeat on drums by touring member Branden Morgan (Misery Signals) on drums imparted elements of Alternative Rock with post-Grunge Hardcore for a dizzying sound that meandered between the light and heavy, making for a well-crafted number. Playing on with songs like their latest single “Mad” and “A Hundred Crowns,” Walden had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he expressed vivid feeling in each note he belted out. Then, on “Say Hello to the Bad Guy,” more plaintive vocals were featured as the music escalated to a wild ride that started off with a slow burn, and eventually took off into an all-out rager before coming back down for a dreamy outro. This came right before the thunderous tune “American Déjà Vu” with a blistering riff by White and touring guitarist Matthew Marcellus (formerly of This or the Apocalypse), as well as more soaring vocals. Letting their personality shine through each song, Emarosa wrapped up their set with 2008’s “Set It Off Like Napalm,” and Versus’ “1996 on Bevard,” which had everyone cheering in excitement. While the showcase may have seemed too brief for some, Emarosa are sure to return again soon.
As direct support of the To Those Left Behind Tour, Stick To Your Guns brought with them a ton of fanfare. Coming out of Southern California, Stick To Your Guns has been one that has stood strong for over a decade now. Releasing their fifth overall studio album, entitled Disobedient, in February of 2015, Stick To Your Guns followed with a killer headlining run that sold out many venues in the process with support from The Amity Affliction. Now teaming up with Blessthefall, Stick To Your Guns would be a perfect jolt of pure Hardcore to the lineup. With The Emporium floor now packed tight, Vocalist Jesse Barnett, Bassist Andrew Rose, Drummer George Schmitz, along with Guitarists Chris Rawson and Josh James came out with an undeniable buzz surrounding them.
Bringing the sound of old school Hardcore to the stage with a fiery set of aggressive music, they started with the song “Diamond.” An angry anthem dripping with pissed off vocals and pounding guitars, it was almost as if the band were dead-set on putting a choke hold on their audience. Playing on with songs like “Nobody” and “Empty Heads,” the assault did not let up. Then, an ethereal lead on guitar started “What Choice Did You Give Us” before quickly exploding into throbbing, crunching power chords combined with a downright catchy chorus, and rapid-fire drumming, making for an explosive combination.
Offering more favorites from 2012’s Diamond, they went into “Such Pain” and “We Still Believe” before more concentration on Disobedient with “To Whom It May Concern” as well as “Nothing You Can Do to Me.” Ingiting crowd surfers and an occasional stage driver with their unhinged energy, Stick To Your Guns kept it coming with the song “Amber” and a classic Rock riff and bellowing vocals on closer “Against Them All.” Throughout the final song, intricate guitar flourishes darting in and out, and the main riff was brought back throughout to temper the hyper-aggressive vocals of Barnett. Those who did not catch them on this tour will be able to see them when they hit the highway November 27th with August Burns Red, so keep an eye open for when they come to town.
By the time headliners Blessthefall took the stage, the crowd had been whipped into a frenzy, was drenched in sweat, seemed to be on their last legs, and desperate for a break, but they quickly sprang back to a manic state. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Blessthefall came together in 2003 and has been stalwarts on the Metalcore scene ever since. Gradually building a name for themselves with each passing album release, 2013’s Hollow Bodies topped a variety of charts and thus is their most successful record to date. Now following a blistering appearance on Vans Warped Tour this past Summer, Blessthefall returned with fifth overall studio record, To Those Left Behind. With the strong team of Elliott Gruenberg (guitar), Beau Bokan (vocals), Jared Wrath (vocals/bass), Matt Traynor (drums), and Eric Lambert (guitar), Blessthefall were ready to bring The Emporium a show they would not forget.
With a rousing adrenaline, the band began with the Space Rock effects laden opening of“Decayer,” which quickly took off into a thunderous song mixing hellish screams by Warth and straight-forward singing by Bokan. A real testament to Blessthefall’s abilities as musicians, their stage presence was equally as impressive as Bokan enticed the crowd to participate. Next was “Against the Waves,” which dove right into brutal Metal with a bevy of blast beats laying the groundwork for a propulsive tune that was long on aggression and short on niceties. The vocal inflections rode perfectly in time with the music and in between verses the classic Heavy Metal riffage was abundant.
Moving right along like a freight train, “What’s Left of Me” sounded like the soundtrack to a Zombie apocalypse with its haunting refrain of “We’re not dead” and thick, heavy sound of impending doom throughout. Having bodies moving all about the floor, the excitement level was through the roof as hands raised to the air, chanting along. The feeling continued with the ear-bending lead on guitar for “Walk on Water,” with an up and down riff that would make Randy Rhoads proud, proving to be a tour de force as it expertly melded atmospheric Rock, Classic Metal, and an aural vocal.
Midway into the show, “Up in Flames,” from To Those Left Behind again opened with a sonic lead on guitar before exploding into a smoldering Metalcore number. The dance between light and heavy was once again delivered with top notch expertise with equal parts ferocity and smartly crafted songmanship. Mixing things up, and offering listeners a good mix of their discography, “To Hell and Back” came next with its swirling vocals of Wrath and Bokan along with rapid-fire riffing that never strayed away from the heavy. This kept the crowd headbanging, moshing, and releasing their emotion through “God Wears Gucci” and “See You On the Outside.”
Changing things up, “Exodus” brought more Prog-Rock sounds on the intro and then had them join forces with a sped up riff creating a kinetic sound that was accentuated with military style drumming of Tranyor for a booming sound. Here, again, Blessthefall showed they could do it all as the song weaved in and out of a myriad of styles. A staccato riff heavy on distortion, clocking in at the speed of light, helped deliver set closer “Youngbloods” to a crowd that managed to match the band’s energy and intensity despite being deep into the third hour of the night. The refrain of “We’ll all be dead in the end” helped convey the sense of dread that the song carried with it, and as the ending section broke down with machine gun sounding runs on guitar, equally ear-popping drumming, before finally coming to a brief halt, the band exited the stage for a brief respite.
While the crowd screamed for more, they were certainly relieved to have a moment to catch their breath after a set teeming with relentless energy and fireworks. Giving that moment to recharge, Blessthefall returned for an epic encore of “You Wear a Crown But You’re No King.” The upbeat number smoothly and bombastically placed crushing riffs and vocals in all the right places of a briskly-paced Power Metal romp, having the crowd show its appreciation by begging for more.
Blessthefall has a reputation for consistently delivering a high-energy show packed with brutal sounds, masterful musicianship, and unbridled power. On this night, in the heart of Long Island, they delivered exactly what everyone expected and more. Put them in any sub-genre, the fact is, Blessthefall are one intense band with ear-shattering, tough Metal to be reckoned with. While the North American leg of To Those Left Behind may be wrapping up in just a week, fans hope Blessthefall will be back stateside in 2016 for more.