October 21, 2013 Five Finger Death Punch, Escape The Fate, Miss May I, & Gemini Syndrome sell out Best Buy Theater NYC 10-12-13 (Exclusive coverage)
The Wrong Side Of Heaven Tour was assembled bringing 4 dynamically different metal bands together on one tour. Lead by alternative metal titans Five Fiver Death Punch the tour includes Escape The Fate, Gemini Syndrome, and Miss May I. Beginning over a month ago in Sacramento, Ca at the After Shock Festival the tour made it’s way through the great north west into Canada. On Friday October 12th the Wrong Side Of Heaven tour landed in Time Square NYC at Best Buy Theater. A sold out crowd lined up and down the block sporting their metal t-shirt uniform ready for an evening of blistering music.
Kicking off the evening were Los Angeles hard rock band Gemini Syndrome. In two short years the five piece band consisting of Aaron Nordstrom (vocalist), Rich Juzwick (guitarist), Mike Salerno (guitarist/backing vocals), Brian Steele Medina (drummer), and Alessandro Paveri (bassist) created quite a buzz. Fresh off the release of their debut album Lux a week prior to the Wrong Side Of Heaven Tour the buzz around Gemini Syndrome begins to get louder.
Their set opened with the heavy guitar track “Syndrome”. Nordstrom’s vocals bleed through the speakers as the guitar duo of Rich Juzwick and Mike Salerno thrashed loudly. Moving right along the guys went into the track “Basement”. With an addictive bass line provided by Alessandro Paveri and dark melody, the track rocked hard in a live setting. Showing their harder side they followed up with “Resurrection”. With a mix of melodic vocals and harsh backing vocals by Salerno the track won over the large crowd quickly. Their 7 song set rounded out in grand fashion with their killer tracks “Left Of Me” and “Pleasure & Pain”.
Gemini Syndrome possess the type of moody dark hard rock quality of some of the best of what late 90’s and early 2000’s had to offer. If you have not heard these guys or seen them live yet get out there and buy Lux and get yourself to see them live, you will not be disappointed.
Next up were Troy, Ohio’s own Miss May I. With roots in the metalcore scene, Miss May I started at a young age in high school and grew as friends and as musicians along the way. Impressively the band landed a record deal with Rise Records while still in high school! Now 3 records deep into their young careers, Miss May I has increased their chart position with each release. Their 2012 album At Heart peaked at 3 in hard rock ranks. With so much success already they find themselves with an opening slot on this massive tour.
As the killer guitar riffs chugged along, Levi Benton belted out one harsh vocal line after another. Balancing things out Ryan Neff provides clean melodic vocals throughout each track. Some highlights of their set were the catchy chant back track “Day By Day”, the emotional drive track “Ballad Of A Broken Man”, and melodic track “Masses of a Dying Breed”. Drummer Jerod Boyd blasted through some intense parts with ease and the entire band sounded as tight as a band which has been playing together for a decade.
Being a diverse crowd to begin with there was plenty of movement throughout Miss May I’s set, and why not with the intense performance these guys provided. Their 7 song set rounded out nicely with “Our King” and “Hey Mister”. Their set was definitely unique from other bands on the bill and provided shredding aggression. It will be interesting to see where the future takes Miss May I in years to come.
With already to opposite style bands already played next up were Las Vegas, NV rockers Escape The Fate. With a decade under their belt Escape The Fate is a band which has weathered many changes over the years. With the departure of their vocalist Ronnie Radke in 2008 the band found themselves at a cross road, either to call it quits or reinvent themselves. Founding members Robert Ortiz (drummer) and Bryan “Monte” Money (guitarist) took the harder road and recruited a vocalist in Craig Mabbitt. The reinvention saw Escape The Fate break away from their early metalcore sound and hone themselves in a hard rock machine. The transformation began in 2010 with the release Escape The Fate and in 2013 they released possibly their best record to date in Ungrateful.
Escape the Fate started things off with a bang rocking out the single “Ungrateful”. The mix of the heavy guitars provided by Monte and raw and emotional vocals of Mabbitt shine bright in this track in a live setting. The crowd cheered and were eager for more, and more they received. Next up was the rocking single off Escape The Fate (2010) “Issues”. Dedicated fans sang along with each word of the track and were treated to a follow up of “You’re Insane”. When Monte broke into his solo on this track the crowd erupted and energy leaves were at peak.
The band closed out their 6 song set with a “Goregous Nightmare”, “Until We Die”, and “This War is Ours (The Guillotine II)”. Old school Escape the Fate fans rejoiced at the sound of the set ending to the This War is Ours (2008) album track. There is no doubt that new and old Escape the Fate fans are uniting and celebrating the solid edgy rock band Escape the Fate has become.
With the stage already burnt down, rebuilt, burnt down, and rebuilt again by the opening acts Five Finger Death Punch were moments away. Over the past 8 years Five Finger Death Punch have become perhaps the biggest and most talked about band in all of heavy metal. With 4 successful albums, headlining tour after headlining tour, and an attitude unmatched by many, Five Finger Death Punch are not slowing down anytime soon.
The sold out crowd of 2,100 cheered loudly as anticipation ran high and “100 Ways to Hate” played over the speakers. Their set opened up with a series of relentless tracks including “Under and Over It”, “Burn It Down”, “The Way of the Fist”, and “Hard to See”. Ivan Moody engaged the crowd with his high energy intensity he is known for. It was at this point the band broke out the exhilarating track “Lift Me Up”. One could only wish the metal god himself, Rob Halford, was present to sing his part live on the track. Zoltan Bathory (guitars) and Jason Hook (guitars) combined for a 2 axe assault that sounded just as good live as they do on the records.
Midway through their set it was time for the traditional drum solo. Drum solos are something some people hate and some people love. The problem with a drum solo half the time is they break up the momentum of a show and usually go no where. Jeremy Spencer’s drum solo definitely entertained and showcased his incredible drumming abilities. With that said it transitioned smoothly into “No One Gets Left Behind” and the newer track “Battle Born”. Each track to follow shared similar intensity to the track prior. Moody’s ability to go from harsh angry vocals to soaring clean vocals is remarkable and it has been since his days in Motograter.
Moving along, the highlight of the 2nd half included one of the first hits for Five Finger Death Punch “Never Enough”. It was at this point the sold out crowd reached peak excitement. Moody’s animated facial expressions and hand gestures only add to the performance of this track and every other throughout the set. The band’s 16 song set closed out with the emotional tracks “Far from Home” and “The Bleeding”. You couldn’t help but feel your hairs on your neck stand up as Moody belted out the words to each word of these two powerful tracks.
Five Finger Death Punch never seem to disappoint in a live performance. It’s fun to watch these guys perform together and see the chemistry they have on stage. With the Wrong Side Of Heaven Tour winding down, sold out in NYC is clearly a testament to this band’s popularity. With The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Volume 2 out November 19th don’t be surprised if you see more of Five Finger Death Punch in the next few months.