May 2, 2014 Protest The Hero, Battlecross, The Safety Fire, & Intervals Tear Down Revolution Music Hall Amityville, NY 4-6-14
Early 2014 has been quite a beginning for progressive metal bands touring North America. One of the most talked about touring packages was the Protest The Hero, Battlecross, The Safety Fire, and Intervals tour. Laced with a list of promising bands from across the globe, the tour started on March 1st in Buffalo, NY. Greeted by a sold out crowd, the tour came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday April 6th at Revolution Music Hall in Amityville, NY.
First upon the stage were Ontario, Canada band Intervals. Formed in 2011, this young band has been making their mark by consistent touring with some of the scene’s elite such as Between The Buried and Me and Tesseract. Originally consisting of Aaron Marshall (guitar), Lukas Guyader (guitar), and Anup Sastry (drums), the band added a vocalist for the first time in 2013 by the name of Mike Semesky. After the addition of Semesky, the band began work on their first studio album and released it on March 4th titled A Voice Within.
Opening with the aggressive instrumental track “Alchemy”, Intervals grabbed this room’s attention immediately. Marshall’s passionate leads hit all the right notes as the set went immediately into “Ephemeral”. Semesky’s voice was full and fitting to the music as the band blasted through their five song set concluding with “Moment Marauder”. Tight, technical, and most of all heavily melodic; this young band is a gift to the scene and should not be overlooked.
Next up were UK band The Safety Fire. Together now eight years, this five-piece band consists of Sean McWeeney (vocals), Joaquin Ardiles (guitars), Derya ‘Dez’ Nagle (guitars), Lori Peri (bass), and Calvin Smith (drums). Releasing their newest album, Mouth of Swords, has sent shockwaves to fans as one of the best among the genre in 2013.
Taking the stage like an unstoppable force of energy, they opened with “Red Hatchet” leading into “Mouth of Swords”. With ear tingling time changes and precise technique, this band played like a unified machine. Enthralled by the material, McWeeney’s voice reached out passionately with a great mix of harsh and clean vocals. The audience remained immersed in the music as it concluded with “Glass Crush”. The Safety Fire has blossomed in grand fashion over the years and could be ready to take their place among the top bands in the progressive scene.
Adding a shot of diversity to the bill next were the metal band known as Battlecross. These Michiganians mix death metal with thrash metal and describe their sound as “Blue Collar Thrash”. Signed to Metal Blade Records, their newest album War of Will (2013) has grabbed people by the throat and refuses to let go. Spending a lengthy amount of time on the road over the past year, the band has played on some of metal’s best tours including a spot on last year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.
There was an overwhelming sense that this audience knew exactly who Battlecross were, and more important were ready to party with them. Roaring with fury, they began with “Force Fed Lies”, “My Vaccine”, and “Beast”. Kyle “Gumby” Gunther belted out some of the most intense growls, showing no sign of fatigue from start to finish. The room was in bliss as everyone sang, danced, crowd surfed, and moshed. The combined thrashing of Tony Asta and Hiran Deraniyagala’s guitar work was brutal yet highly clarified at the same time. This was an elite experience in thrash metal as songs like “Ghost Alive” and “Flesh and Bone” rained down on the crowd. It must be noted how impressive the bass work of Don Slater was and the amazing ability of touring drummer Shannon Lucas (formerly of Black Dahlia Murder). Battlecross concluded with “Push Pull Destroy” and left an impression branded on Revolution Music Hall.
Having their neck snapped by Battlecross, this room was nowhere near ready to call it a night. Hailing from Ontario Canada, the guest of honor, Protest The Hero were ready to blast off. Consisting of Rody Walker (vocals), Luke Hoskin (lead guitar, backing vocals), Tim Millar (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and newest member Mike Ieradi (drums); this energetic bunch have been recognized as a leading force. Full of talent and ambition, their latest album Volition (2013) won 2014 Juno Award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year. Now it was time for the band to take Long Island on and end this tour with a bang.
Taking off with “Hair-Trigger”, the chaos began. Vibrant and bursting with melody, Protest The Hero did not let up through a twelve song set highlighted by songs like “Clarity” and “A Life Embossed”. Walker exhibited a wide range of vocal ability, often making the audience feel like they were on a roller coaster filled with pitch perfect tones. Complimenting Walker’s clear singing ability was a colorful personality which riddled the audience with jokes. Walker spoke of the weeks gone by on the tour and told stories about the bands adventures together. These personal recaps are some of the many perks of attending a closing tour, and there is no doubt this audience loved it.
The set marched on with powerful songs such as “Mist”, “The Dissentience”, and “Bloodmeat”. Hoskin’s lead guitar work was so smooth combined with Millar’s timely rhythm it felt like a dream-like experience hearing the two dazzle the room. Protest The Hero knew exactly how to keep their fans on their toes and concluded the breathtaking set fittingly with “C’est la Vie”. The band showed dedication to their craft and did not let down even after the month long tour. This was a show for the ages filled with animated emotion expressed by Protest The Hero as well as the sold out crowd.