Drowning Pool Rattle Club Red Mesa, AZ 2-24-16 w/ Audiotopsy & Murder FM

Drowning Pool Rattle Club Red Mesa, AZ 2-24-16 w/ Audiotopsy & Murder FM

Texas based Metal band Drowning Pool continues to carve their way forward as a force to be reckoned with twenty years after their formation. Traveling a long hard road, including the tragic death of their original vocalist Dave Williams in 2002, surviving members Guitarist C.J. Pierce, Bassist Stevie Benton, and Drummer Mike Luce display the boxer mentality of fighting their way through adversity. Having been joined by a handful of vocalist since Williams’ passing, Jason Jones from 2003 to 2005 and Ryan McCombs from 2005 to 2011, it seems the band has finally found their man within Jason Moreno. Taking to the band’s family-like attitude, Moreno has been adopted by the Drowning Pool alumni as well as their fans. Now in 2016, the band returns with their sixth overall studio album, Hellelujah. Their second with Moreno, the first being 2013’s Resilience, the latest effort solidifies Drowning Pool as one of the elite Heavy Rock bands around today. In support of the new record, they take to the road for the Hellelujah Tour with support from Audiotopsy. Begun on February 11th, the run wraps up on March 13th, and on Thursday of February 24th, it made a stop in Mesa, Arizona at Club Red. A night that would also include opening acts Murder FM, along with Eyes of Ivory, There Is No Us, and Paradiso Falls, it was a Rock-n-Roll show that jump-started the weekend a day early.

Coming in from the heat of Phoenix, AZ, Paradiso Falls began the journey of Metal. Formed in mid 2014, influences, according to Lead Singer Diego Hoyos, “span pretty wide,” but they channel the likes of Metallica, Pantera, Trivium, Amon Amarth, and The Black Dahlia Murder. The charismatic Hoyos brought the sounds of Nu-Metal, mixing well with Drummer Ian Elliott, Bassist Fabio Velazquez, along with wailing riff bearing Guitarists Nathan Cates and Tim Vurich. Performing “Beginning of the End,” “Under the Blood Moon,” and their title track of their album, “Through Seas of Ashes and Bone,”  this relatively new band set the tone for the evening as Metal rockers banged their heads and flashed the primordial sign of Rock-n-Roll during their set.

Next was Las Vegas, NV based There Is No Us. According to Lead Singer Jim Louvau, this show was going to be the first time in thirteen years that Andy Gerold (formerly of Marilyn Manson and Ashes Divide), Guitarist Jared Bakin, and he ever played a full show together. With that in mind, as the members of There Is No Us took the stage, there were not any tell-tale signs that they not played a full set together as they picked up and ran with their Armageddon style march of a lost and weak humanity from the start.

Their sound was tight, the emotion dramatic as Louvau resonated that side of prophetic, jaded emotion in lyrical context and persona. If one were to try and describe the band, their sound is akin to a Metal/Death Punk regalia. Instrumentally, there is no other nuance other than the Metal, Hard Rock licks that only Gerold delivers. Lyrically, their songs are striking pieces about the human race as they played “In Violence We Trust” and “Farewell To Humanity.” There Is No Us is an unmasking built on the lack of social and the emptiness of acceptable human condition. Founded in the ram-shackled glitz of the Sin City lights, this full performance together of There Is No Us put on a show to cut up society. Be sure to check them out for a kickass band on the rise.

Bringing in an Industrial/Alternative side of Metal with a twist of Gothic theatrics was Eyes Of Ivory. Also from the city of Phoenix, this band consists of Katavian Coven (vocals), Dylan Ewing (guitar), Robbie Sedano (drums), and Shawn Styles (bass). With one self-titled EP and a recently released single, “Precursor,” from their forthcoming album, the band Eyes of Ivory engaged the crowd as Katavian dressed in the attire of a battered old suit and scruffy, delusional makeup. Interaction with their fans was predominate throughout their set as Katavian sang “Love, Peace, Chaos” while jumping down from the stage, starting a mosh pit. The song “Hushabye Scream” brought an incredible chill, while “Apex” rocked a more melodic sound of what they are capable of. Eyes Of Ivory possess a Metal sound that bites, scratches, and claws, so be on the lookout for them.

Keeping the show moving, Dallas, Texans Murder FM are a band with a big buzz surrounding them. Signed on with Famous Records Global, they released their debut album, Happily Neverafter. An album many are still talking about months following its release, it features a remix from Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee and guest appearance from Evanscene’s Drummer Will Hunt. Above all, it would seem the combinations of Norman Matthew on vocals/guitar/programming, Matt X3ro on guitar, J6 on bass, and most recently joining the fold as of 2014, former Wednesday 13 drummer Jason “Shakes” West  have been the key to create a strong and deep following. Together, they have honed their skills and focus first on establishing a firm fan base in their home state of Texas before hitting the surrounding tour liners, which has been very successful for them. The list of touring one-offs and line-ups have included Black Veil Brides, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, The Used, Trapt, and more. Now Club Red were their next place to conquer.

Growling low, “Machine Gun Kisses” sought out the night and created an immediate presence. As their set went on, it became evident that Murder FM were bred to give a heavily influenced Metal sound with a twist of the Post-Grunge, as well as brought a full regalia of dark and heavy Rock. Included in the performance was their well-known “We The Evil,” a track fully driven by the force of guitar battles, riffs, hooks, and vocals. Matthews himself showed to be a dark force of sound with superior skill and vocal development that spills the intensity of what Murder FM are about. A completely tight package, simply put, Murder FM rocked. This band has it all; lyrics, vocals, instruments, attitude, fun, and connection needed to continue growing their fan base. They will also be opening the final date on the tour March 13th in El Paso, TX to welcome their friends home.

As direct support for the evening, the interesting new all-star band Audiotopsy came next. Forming in early 2015 and signing on with Napalm Records, the Alternative Metal/Post-Grunge band consists of Guitarist Greg Tribe (formerly of Mudvayne/Hellyeah), Drummer Matthew McDonough (formerly Mudvayne), Vocalist Billy Keeton (formerly of Skrape), and Bassist Perry Stern. Together, they unite everything from the bands that came before them to create their own brand of Hard Rock on their 2015 debut album, Natural Causes. Catching on all over, the band has shared the stage with the likes of All That Remains, among others, and picking up a spot on the Hellelujah tour seemed to be a perfect fit.

Their solidification was set as Audiotopsy produced solid hooks and stingy riffs, all within the framework of their 12-track debut album. Coming out to perform songs like “The Calling” and “Disguise Your Devils,” Audiotopsy immediately grabbing everyone’s attention. The long, lean Stern worked the room with his thick basslines and Keeton’s voice led their sound as the crowd felt the powerful connection on other tracks such as “Burn the Sky,” and “Darken the Rainbow.” Meanwhile, there were many fans which constantly reached towards Tribbet’s guitar and he gave them all they wanted as McDonough kept the percussion rock solid and heavy. Overall, Audiotopsy put on a performance that created a Grunge-like, dark atmosphere that was flawless. Sadly, due to the flu that overtook Keeton, they were recently forced to bow out of the remaining dates of the Hellelujah tour, but not to worry, they will be back soon.

It was now after midnight and the crowd gathered tight next to the stage as the time had come for Drowning Pool. Having not visited the state of Arizona in some time, even though it was late into the night, the faithful fans were eager to see the band again. After a relatively quick stage change, Drowning Pool came out ready to go.

Immediately giving a shot of energy to Club Red, Moreno, in his stance and body language, took over the room. With his distinctive voice, he commanded attention as the skies of raw Metal opened within the first songs “Drop,” “Push,” and “Sinner.” Matching his passionate delivery, Pierce and Benton stomped and moved across the platform as Luce punished the drum skins. It was a display of a well-rounded band that were not only tight, but enjoying what they were doing. Diving forward with songs like “Think,” “One Finger and a Fist,”  and “37 Stitches,” the audience was enthralled deeply.

Keeping their intensity level high, they went into new songs such as “By The Blood,” as many fans were screaming along the words. As Moreno stripped off his Hellelujah Tour hoodie and stood with his back towards the crowd, Benton leaned into the fans, igniting an immediate response like a fifty-ton mega bomb blowing as the set would go on to include “We Are the Devil” and “Feel Like I Do.” Of course, they also offered older classics such as “Pity,” “Tear Away,”  and “Step Up” to a sea of cheers. Then, the sixteen song set came to its end with the song which put Drowning Pool on the map fifteen years ago, the hit “Bodies.” A triumphant closing, Club Red went wild and fans showed appreciation as Drowning Pool bid them goodnight.

Drowning Pool showed they are not going anywhere, except to become a bit louder, crazier, and better than ever. Mastering the core centralization of heavy Rock, with heartfelt lyrics and memorable riffs, they put on a scorching set. With an album like Hellelujah, they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon, and they more than likely will take the tour deep into 2016, if fans are lucky.

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Song River
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Song River has over thirty years combined experience in photography and writing, from music to politics and everything in between. She is the owner of CowGirlZen Entertainment, a registered business that focuses on photography for both musicians and families, and also offers PR/social marketing/bios/press. Currently a photojournalist for several music magazines and a publicist/A&R for High Road Publicity. In her downtime, you might find her helping the homeless, volunteering to aid the elderly, hiking in the desert mountains, taking care of her family, cooking new dishes, gardening, beach combing, amateur astronomy, and traveling with her Nikon by her side at all times.

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