Valentine’s Day. Well, there are not too many possible descriptions for how people can feel on that day. Either they are in great relationships and are blessed with cool significant others who went with them to see Hellyeah, Devour the Day, and Like a Storm, or they are in rough relationships and their significant others are furious over being brought to a kick-ass metal show. Possibly they have nobody and decided to go to see some brutal bands only to project their frustration in the pit on an unsuspecting individual. Whatever the scenario, to put it simply, those in the mile high city of Denver, Colorado who missed the aforementioned bands at the Valentine’s Day Massacre on Saturday, February 14th missed out on one hell of a metal show. Blazing through the town to the Summit Music Hall, this tour was taking no prisoners, and with a sonic boom, it proceeded to get metal fans into a fury of pits and head banging mayhem.
Originating in New Zealand and founded by brothers Chris (vocals/guitar/didgeridoo), Matt (vocals/guitar), and Kent Brooks (bass/vocals/ keys), Like a Storm is slowly making its presence known to US audiences, achieving five straight weeks with a number one single on SiriusXM Octane and tirelessly touring the country. Having shared the stage with bands like Alter Bridge and Creed, among many others, this time around they changed up their genre of touring mates to broaden their audience even more. Granted, while their style may be vastly different than that of Hellyeah, they truly fit the bill for the night. Rattling out hard rock tracks like “Never Surrender” that got the crowd going, their melodic side still shined through and demonstrated that this band is anything but afraid to take chances. The highlight was even more gutsy, as they jumped into their cover of Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.” The whole crowd knew the track word for word and let it be known. Mixing in their latest single, “Wish You Hell,” from their forthcoming album Awaken The Fire, they closed out their set with hit “Love the Way You Hate Me.” Like a Storm is a band with nothing short of pure determination and hard work in their corner. Those with a diverse artistic palate should check out Like A Storm and watch out for the release of their new album February 24th.
When one door closes, another opens; this often used cliché is perfect for a band like Devour the Day, which formed immediately after the demise of Egypt Central. Clearly unwilling to give up on their dreams after years of hard work, former Egypt Central drummer Blake Allison and bassist Joey “Chicago” Walser began Devour the Day. With Allison taking the lead on guitar and vocals, Walser on bass, and touring members Ronnie Farris on drums and David Hoffman on guitar, Devour the Day are a force to be reckoned with. Having been a part of the second leg of the Hellpop Tour in 2014 with In This Moment, the band aroused even more excitement while re-releasing their debut album Time & Pressure around the same time. Garnering a cult like following across the country from their relentless touring, the band combines a nice mix of aggressive guitars, melodic hooks, and inspiring lyrics. Bringing grit from the start of their set, they brought the house crashing down with their massive sound with songs like “Respect,” “Blackout,” and “You and Not Me.” The band made their feelings clear to the audience: “We are not one of those bands who are okay with you standing around; we want you to move,” and they certainly provided the soundtrack for the fans to get moving to with other tracks like newbie “Faith” and fan-favorite “Good Man.” While, granted, the band could be labeled Metal, their sound was more of a fine balance of Alternative, Thrash, and a tinge of Stoner Metal. No matter what you label it, Devour the Day have tremendous potential as they march into the future holding a good grasp on crafting high quality songs.
To say the night closed out with a bang would be far too much of an understatement for Hellyeah’s set. Many in the past have tried a crack at the whole “supergroup” concept, but they’ve fallen short. Hellyeah, on the other hand, is not suffering from the usual issues that befall the other guys. Their sound is all its own. It’s likely that marketers are going to push the band due to its members’ past involvements with other superstars in the genre: vocalist Chad Gray worked with Mudvayne , drummer Vinnie Paul played for Pantera, and guitarist Tom Maxwell for Nothingface. However, this band is a whole new beast. Every album from their self-titled 2007 freshman release to one of 2014’s best albums, Blood For Blood, has demonstrated with clarity that this band is forging their own path and the artistic bond between the band members is nothing to be trifled with.
Kicking things off with “Hellyeah!” and “Matter of Time” paired with the visual of the band on stage made one realize the lyrics are anything but posturing. Hellyeah is not asking to be the band that kicks the listener’s ass; they ARE the band that is going to kick the listener’s ass. With a massive amount of energy, the band jumped into its newer track “Sangre por Sangre (Blood for Blood)” as a bloody faced Chad Gray emerged and let loose on the audience. Mixing up older tracks like “War Within Me” as well as “Band of Brothers” with 2014 hard-hitters “Moth,” “Cross to Bier (Cradle of Bones),” and “Say When,” the band sounded like a well-oiled machine showing no signs of slowing down. The pure brutality of the new material off Blood for Blood was almost eclipsed by how intense it is live. Wrapping up the battery with crowd-pleasers “Cowboy Way” and “You Wouldn’t Know,” Hellyeah’s performance was everything anyone could have asked for and then some.
Hellyeah is a band that has only gotten better with time. Perhaps it took them a few albums to really hit their stride, or perhaps Chad Gray and company finally said to hell with what others want or except; this is who we are, and we are proud of it. The Hellyeah tour moves through the beginning of March, so do not miss a chance to experience it. If anyone is truly carrying the torch for Metal, this is the band carrying it.