January 27, 2014 Hellpop Tour II arrives at The Paramount Huntington, NY 1-19-14
With the massive success of 2013, In This Moment looked to ride the wave into the new year with the announcement of the Hellpop Tour II back in November. While the first leg of the Hellpop Tour featured a supporting cast of Motionless In White, Kyng, and All Hail The Yeti, the 2014 edition features Butcher Babies, Devour The Day, All Hail The Yeti, and Before The Mourning. Diversity is the spice of life and with this fresh line-up of bands; Hellpop Tour II was ready to sell out shows across the USA. On January 19th, a bitter cold evening in Huntington, NY, Hellpop Tour II rolled in to play in front of an amped crowd of all ages that congregated within the warm confines of The Paramount.
Not initially on the touring schedule for Hellpop Tour II, Before the Mourning was a late addition to the bill a week before Christmas, making for a nice present to a fresh crop of potential fans. Established in Los Angeles, CA two years ago the core of Adam Ryan (vocals) and Nikki Stringfield (guitar) has helped keep the musical fire burning while the addition of CJ Cussell (guitar), and Phil Gonyea (drums) have made for solid additions to the line-up.
Up first, Before The Mourning took the stage with a sense of urgency, combining blazing guitar riffs and an electrifying scale of vocals. Their sound can best be described as melodic heavy metal with emotionally driven singing. One cannot simply label them metalcore as there is much more going on here than sheer brutality. Ryan’s approach grabbed you with each word bellowed through his microphone, which speaks volumes for a relatively new band. With such a solid performance the crowd welcomed Before the Mourning with open arms affectionately applauding. This So-Cal band certainly has a bright future in metal, and this opening slot on Hellpop Tour could help contribute to more fan awareness.
Next up, also from Los Angeles, CA, were All Hail The Yeti. Held over from the first leg of Hellpop Tour in 2013, these guys are one of the hardest working young bands on the scene today. Back for the 2nd time to The Paramount in less than a year, the boys were ready to remind Long Island just who they are. Defying all metal genres their mix of southern rock and dash of metalcore is the right ingredients for heart-stopping music.
With a dark undertone surrounding the band’s persona, All Hail The Yeti took the stage with an eruption of sound. Vocalist Connor Garritty’s infectious growls, along with the splendid backing vocals of Nicholas Diltz (bass) and Craw NeQuent (guitar), immediately grabbed the audience’s attention. To go along with the thick sludge of metal being played, adding to effect, Diltz and NeQuent’s mic stands kept many attendants’ eyes peeled open, draped with a gator head on one and cow skull on the other. With songs rich in muddy guitar, drums, and bass a bone-chilling atmosphere expanded All Hail The Yeti’s set perfectly for the eclectic Hellpop Tour.
Hard rock band Devour The Day immediately followed with no fear, nor reservations, about who they are and the music they make. From Memphis, TN, Blake Allison and Joey Chicago rose from the wreckage of Egypt Central to form a new band created in their own artistic light. With Allison originally behind the drum kit in Egypt Central, he took on vocals and guitar in Devour The Day and hasn’t looked back since. Their debut album Time & Pressure was one of the most raved hard rock releases of 2013, making Devour The Day a band ready to explode.
As the guys opened their set with the track “Respect”, a positive response was felt immediately. Pumped up and rocking with every muscle in his body, Allison sang and screamed his heart out while Chicago’s bass playing jabbed you in the arm as he bounced around the stage like a beast. Keeping the set flowing with an array of their heavier tunes, Allison took things into his own hands by enticing the crowd to participate in the show and move around. It is one thing to simply play music, but it’s another to live it and Devour The Day does just that. If you missed the release of Time & Pressure in 2013 there is a re-issued edition out now with some remixes and bonus material.
While many metal shows are a male dominated crowd, this was simply not the case for this evening. One of the biggest reasons for the more gender diverse audience was Butcher Babies. Butcher Babies is fronted by Heidi Shepherd (vocals) and Carla Harvey (vocals), whose high energy delivery gives young women a sense of empowerment and confidence to say I can rock just as hard if not harder than any man out there. With a spectacular 2013 to their credit touring on Mayhem Festival and the release of their debut album Goliath (2013), it is safe to say their rise is becoming one fastest in metal.
The band took the stage with a force and intensity you felt in your chest with their single “I Smell A Massacre”. Shepherd’s roar set the tone for the remainder of the set with sheer brutality and a take no prisoners approach. Henry Flury’s guitar work thrashed through the venue while the pulse of Jason Klein’s bass pounded the floor. Shepherd and Harvey fiercely jumped side to side making sure to not leave out any fan reaching out over the barricade. With excellent stage presence, Shepard and Harvey’s vocals complement each other with a great mix of beauty and horror. The harsh tones bounce off the clear ones adding to the intensity of their sound and the whole live experience. Throughout the 10 song set the adrenaline rush was peaking in red. Fans relished in every song and not one fan walked away, not even to merely catch their breath from the chaos. Butcher Babies mean business, and judging by their performance the message has been heard loud and clear.
With Hellpop Tour II coming to a close, the grand finale was ready to take the stage. Looking back, In This Moment had an unpredictable 3-year stretch. On the precipice of the band dissolving, band leader Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth stared defeat right in the face and triumphed over it. Reforming, reinventing, and without compromise, In This Moment rose to a level unforeseen at any point in their career with the album Blood (2012). Showing no signs of slowing down, the band is making the most of their blaze to glory building one of the most loyal fan bases which will last for years to come.
As the fans clambered for In This Moment, the lights turned down and Type O Negative’s “Black No. 1” played over the speakers. The fitting goth opening dissipated into the haunting introduction of “It Is Written” leading into “Rise with Me”. As the dancers crept around Brink, a blend of ambient lighting filled the stage and the exciting “Adrenalize” lifted off. With sexually driven lyrics, the passion blended over into the performance electrifying the room. The set went on with a mix of new and old tracks including “Blazin'”, “Beast Within”, and “Burn”. With blood pumping ferociously through fans’ veins, Brink took things down a notch with the majestic “Into the Light”; a beautiful musical and lyrical song keeping all eyes affixed on Brink until the very last note.
The 11 song set closed out with their latest single “Whore”. With wonderful choreography by the dancers surrounding Brink, the emotion in her voice brought the track to life. You could feel the hurt, angst, and reality of the each word sung. While this would appear to be the end of the evening, the band did come back out for their fans with their hit single “Blood” as an encore.
While their stage show is elaborate with plenty of visual stimulation, In This Moment are much more than eye candy. Whether this was the first time fans were experience In This Moment live or their fifth time, one thing is clear and that is this band unified; working on all cylinders as a unit. In This Moment have uncovered a rousing formula for success and that is exactly why fans keep coming back for more.