Psychotherapy Sessions Tour Wraps In Epic Fashion Englewood, CO 8-26-23

The therapeutic power of music is one that does not just heal, but helps brings people together. It is not only the power of songs like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” to rally a stadium full of screaming sports fans to root for their favorite team, but also everything from the fury of tracks like Mudvayne’s “Dig” from their 2000 album L.D. 50 pushing you to get in that pit and unleash your frustrations. It is also the groove of Coal Chamber’s “Big Truck” from their 1997 debut album getting you to push down on that gas peddle a little harder while screaming along to the lyrics. Or it is loosing one’s mind while watching GWAR decapitate some of society’s most nefarious characters, covering you in stage blood all to the soundtrack of “Horror of Yig” from 1990’s Scumdogs of the Universe. Whether it be the ladies of Butcher Babies reminding you who the “bad bitches” are with their crushing cover of “Best Friend,” or Nonpoint piercing your psyche with “Bullet With a Name,” this summer’s Psychotherapy Session Tour had more intensity than your average electroshock treatment.

Looking back, it is hard to believe it has been in a little over a year since Mudvayne has returned to the stage, Singer Chad Gray had stated that the initial run was to gauge the fans’ desire to see the band, and after countless sold out shows and some festivals it was clear fans were damn well ready. It could not have come at a better time, with political unrest growing, kids struggling with their mental health, division amongst the people, and overall a dismal economic time so many need a positive outlet. So when Mudvayne announced a lineup featuring Coal Chamber, GWAR, Nonpoint, and Butcher Babies the fans knew this was not going to be your average tour.

A tour that kicked off in late July, and garnering rave reviews, huge crowds all over the U.S. came to check it out. With audiences as unique and diverse as the lineup itself, this was a tour for just about everyone in the Metal community. That in mind, the wild run came to a grand conclusion on August 26th in Denver, Colorado at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre… and it was one hell of a send off.

Kicking off the party was the Butcher Babies. A respected named themselves, it makes you realize that every band on this bill easily are headliners in their own respect. This factory really drives home that this lineup was put together to give fans one of the best musical therapy sessions of the year. Together now over a decade, Butcher Babies have been on a fast track to the top; even their 2013 debut album Goliath hit the Billboard charts and they were just getting started. A credit to their sound and hard work they were no strangers to the charts in the years to follow. Not an easy feat in this day and age, but with albums like 2015’s Take It Like Man and 2017’s Lilith would could blame fans?

Fronted by Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepard, these ladies could easily sing you a beautiful melody and then in the same breath unleash the most brutal of deep growl hardcore vocals to give soundtrack to your nightmares. Topped off with some of the most infectious riffs which they got Denver rolling to with their first song “Red thunder” from their double album release in July, Eye For an Eye…/…’Til the World’s Blind. The song’s intensity with the band’s onstage presence had the audience in a frenzy already. Additionally, the precision of Ricky Bonazza on bass, Chase Brickenden on guitar, and Blake Bailey on drums was simply put as surgical.

The band wasted no time jumping into the cover of “Best Friend,” getting the pit moving and the headbanging in full swing. Granted it was a shorter set with mainly material from the new albums, but who can complain when its tracks like “Last December” and “It’s Killing Time Baby!”? As the band closed out with one of their fan favorites “Magnolia Blvd.” the band reminded fans the importance of watching out for their own mental health, sticking true to the theme of the whole tour.

The therapy sessions were only getting started as Nonpoint hit the stage in an acrobatic fury to the song “Victim” from their 2000 debut album Statement. Looking back, Nonpoint began their music journey in 1996 out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL blending sounds of Metal, Rap, and groove that not only has seen them garner chart recognition but landing on tours with a vast array of artists from Mudvayne to Hed PE.

As Nonpoint came crashing down with their net song “Dodge Your Destiny” from their most recent album, 2018’s X, the energy was in full charge as the band headbanged, flung their bodies, jumping, spinning kicks, etc. That in mind, someone should really have these guys cover Carl Douglas’s “Kung Fu Fighting” because they were certainly living it on that stage. Singer Elias Soriano vocals and energy proved he was not the type of singer to stand still, and yet never misses a note, complimented by bombastic beats of Drummer Robb Rivera, bass and jump kicks of Adam Wozoszyn, and the insane guitar works of Rasheed Thomas and Jaysin Zeilstra. 

Moving along, they transitioned to one of their staple tracks with “What a Day,” as they were greeted to the audience unleashing a pit while singing to every word. The band also played their new single “A Million Watts,” even fans who had not got a chance to check it out went absolutely insane for it and left anxious for a new album. As Nonpoint closed out to their classic track “Bullet With a Name,” fans gave them everything they had… but they had plenty left in the tank for the mighty GWAR who was next.

The Scumdogs of the Universe were back in town, and the slew of fans in the very front with white t-shirts was proof for that. After all who in their right mind goes to a metal concert with a white shirt on other than a GWAR fan aching to have the guts of GWAR’s latest victims staining every inch of fiber? Since 1984, when GWAR was unleashed on the rest of us earthlings, they have been murdering, smoking crack, screwing, and churning out some of the best metal fans could hope for. Albums like their debut Hell-O in 1988, 1990’s Scumdogs of the Universe, and 1994’s This Toilet Earth have become a must on every metalhead’s collection.

Strolling onto the stage was Sawberg Destructo looking for GWAR to destroy them, much to his dismay they came up behind him and to the soundtrack of “Hail, Genocide” from 2010 album Bloody Pit of Horror, they proceeded to bring out Bonesnapper and joined him to kill Sawberg. GWAR jumped right into their next song “The Cutter” before bringing out everyone’s favorite dictator Vladimir Putin. Appropriately the band proceeded to chop up Mr. Putin to the sounds of “Mother Fucking Liar” spraying screaming fans in blood. As the band closed out with their cover of AC/DC’s “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” one look over the sea of fans up front showed all those white shits were all blood soaked and adorned by happy spectators to the carnage.

With the classic “Mr.Sandman” playing, fans knew it was time to make their way to the pit as Los Angeles veterans Coal Chamber were returning to Denver for the first time in fourteen years. Formed in 1992 by Frontman Dez Fafara and Guitarist Meegs Rascon, Coal Chambers were one of the first bands to the Nu Metal scene in the late ’90s; bringing a unique groove and horror imagery it was insane how quickly they took off.

Just like a good history lesson with a sledge hammer, the band kicked off their set with the classic track that started it all “Loco.” Dez’s vocals were on point along with the precision guitars of Meegs, to the beats of one insane Drummer Mikey Cox, and punctuated by the bass grooves of Nadja Peulen. From here they wasted no time getting into the next track “Fiend” from 2002’s album Dark Days, and despite three kick ass bands that demanded all the audience’s energy, they still had more than enough to go insane for Coal Chamber. Then, as Dez turned to Meegs and asked “Hey Meegs have you seen my motherfuckin keys?,” the audience knew damn well what time it was; it was time for “Big Truck” and that familiar intro riff kicked in getting the put ready for another round.

While their debut album was definitely the bones to Coal Chamber, many would say Dark Days was the meat to it, so fans were overjoyed to also get tracks like “Drove” and even the cover of “Rowboat.” Lastly, Coal Chamber got the crowd of control one last time for their groove infected track “Sway” where hands were in the air and bodies were bouncing as the hypnotic sound got them in full motion.

At this put deep into a night of Metal, the crowd was fully ready to give everything it had to Mudvayne. Hailing from Peoria, Illinois in 1996, 2000’s L.D.50 maybe labeled as a ‘Nu Metal’ album, but it was always so much more than that with truly progressive and complex compositions, and the one of a kind vocal styles of Chad Gray made it one of best bands to come out of the era. After five epic albums and countless tours the band took a rather long hiatus, many are aware Gray joined forces with legendary Pantera Drummer Vinnie Paul to create HELLYEAH.  As mentioned, a little over a year ago Mudvayne reformed and hit the road for a tour which proved not only were they ready for the band to return, the band found their fanbase had exponentially grown even in their absence.

Back for more, as the curtain dropped the band unleashed their song “Not Falling” from their second album 2002’s The End of All Things to Come. Again, it cannot be overstated even after the last few bands, the pit was going and crowds were singing every word. Not giving the fans a moment, the band jumped into another track “Under My Skin” from their first album. As the band still stuck with the first album on the track “Internal Primates Forever” the perfect harmony between Bassist Ryan Martinie and Drummer Matthew McDonough were on full display, along with the cherry on top with Greg Tribbett’s crunchy riffage this was Mudvayne at its best.

As the band slowed down for a moment to play the melodic masterpiece “World So Cold” Gray made his way to the audience and as he stood on the barricade he sang with the fans in a moment of true connection. Finally as they descended toward the end of their set, and the tour as well, Mudvayne were joined on stage by Heidi Shepard of Butcher Babies for “Dig?” Through the music and the themes of most of the dialogue with the crowd, mental health was a big factor to the tour; so it was very appropriate to conclude with “Happy?” Powerful, it was a reminder to the fans that “the world is far better with you in it, than not.”

While this tour maybe over it is highly recommend getting out there and seeing each of these bands for your own mental health. After all, one thing they showed is for a few hours is they can provide you a good time with no worries, no differences, but just Metal and the pit.

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