November 3, 2016 Rock and Shock Keeps It Heavy Day 2 Worcester, MA 10-15-16
The second day of music at the thirteenth annual Rock and Shock at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday October 15, 2016 created a party-like atmosphere. There was no telling who was going to walk in next, as the crowd was filled with every age, from elementary school students to rockers euphoric for their youth. No pair was too peculiar, guys covered in face make up next to girls wearing flower crowns, the crowd was alive. With twenty bands scheduled to perform including All Hail The Yeti, Carnifex, Combichrist, Whitechapel, Suicide Silence, and Max & Igor Cavalera, to name a few, both stages at The Palladium had plenty to offer Rock/Metal lovers.
With many completely engulfed in the actual Horror convention at DCU Center, there were dedicated music lovers who made sure to be at The Palladium bright and early as doors opened at 3 PM. With a second stage featuring Break Thru Winner, Gravitation, Without Warning, Revenge Against God, and Acius, things were getting started. Over at the main stage, Swarm of Eyes, Begat The Nephilim, as well as Crackerman were playing overlapping sets. Then, around 5:40 PM, Canadian band Oni were about to begin. Along the lines of Progressive Metal, their sound came to life with Jake Oni (vocal), Martin Andres and Brandon White (guitar), Chase Bryant (bass), Joe Greulich(drums), along with John “D” (xylo-synth). Coming out to a positive response, they performed such songs as “Coast to Coast.” With a very diverse sound, they had heads banging and bodies moving to the music. Be on their look out for their new album, Ironshore, due out November 25th, and catch them on tour with Children of Bodom.
All Hail The Yeti
Staying at the main stage, All Hail The Yeti were directly following Oni. Recently releasing their new album, Screams From A Black Wilderness, this past April, All Hail The Yeti continue to blaze their own trail with story-driven songs. With Nicholas Diltz (bass), Ryan “Junior” Kittlitz (drums), Alan Stokes (guitar), and Connor Garritty (vocals), the band knew just how to get the crowd fired up as they played songs including “Daughter Of The Morning Star,” “Before The Flames,” and “After The Great Fire.” With chugging guitars and throbbing bass that ripped through the crowd, Garritty’s rough screams mixed with powerful singing filled the room with energy. For fans of Horror movies, All Hail The Yeti know how to offer hard-hitting Metal with compelling plotlines. Recently rounding up their tour with Max & Igor Cavalera, be sure to look out for more live performances from All Hail The Yeti.
Dead By Wednesday
Moving upstairs to the second stage, Dead By Wednesday was prepared to go on. From New Haven, Connecticut, Dead by Wednesday began their journey over a decade ago when releasing their 2005 debut album, Democracy is Dead, via Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed’s Stillborn Records. Since, they have been establishing themselves as a Heavy Metal force in vein of legends such as Iron Maiden. Currently comprised of Christian “Opus” Lawrence on drums, Michael Modeste on bass, Joey Concepcion and Marc Rizzo on guitars, along with Rob Roy on vocals, Dead By Wednesday came with the intention of rocking. Performing tracks such as “Break When I’m Dead,” from their 2016 album The Darkest Of Angels, the band sounded tight as the crowd indulged in the thrashing. Those still unfamiliar with who Dead by Wednesday are really should give The Darkest Of Angels a listen to see the diversity this band offers among a list of really cool guest appearances including Smile Empty Soul’s Sean Danielsen, former Exodus Vocalist Rob Dukes, and Candiria’s Carley Coma.
Meanwhile, back at the main stage, Extreme Metallers Carnifex made their entrance around the 7 PM hour. A band from southern California, Carnifex took the DIY approach when they began years ago and continue to build a following in the Metal community. Call their sound what you will, they play what comes from the heart and evidently that is pulverizing, unforgiving Metal. Consisting of Scott Lewis (lead vocals), Shawn Cameron (drums), Cory Arford (rhythm guitar/backing vocals), Fred Calderon (bass guitar), and Jordan Lockrey (lead guitar), they brought on a wall of sound opening with newer song “Drown Me in Blood.” Brutal, yet melodic, the song had everyone entranced as the set moved on with “Slow Death,” “Die Without Hope,” and closer “Hell Chose Me.” Often labeled Deathcore, as Carnifex’s Lewis states, this band existed long before that term was created. That said, anyone who loves their Metal heavy and potent should be awakened to the darken sound of Carnifex.
Making the trip back upstairs, another Rock and Shock alumni was about ready to go, and it was the Horror Metal act known as Kissing Candice. Dressed in cinematic Horror fashion, Joey (vocals), Dreamer (guitar/clean vocals), Nephew (guitar), Grippo (bass), and Pak-Man (drums) were an absolute perfect fit for this show. Making the trip up north from Long Island, New York, with them they brought a terror-filled set including songs like “Put ‘Em Up” and “Ghosted,” off their 2015 album Blind Until We Burn. Covered in theatrical blood, and behind masks, the mystique of the band proceeded them as their unholy, murderous, and violent Metal took over. Always up to something, they recently performed with Insane Clown Posse at Hallowicked in Detroit on November 1st, and they are bound to pop up somewhere else very soon.
While the mighty Combichrist was preparing to take the main stage, at the same time, Oceano was closing out the second stage. From Chicago, Illinois, Oceano was born back in 2006 and, minus a brief break, have been going strong since. Consisting of Adam Warren (lead vocals), Michael Kasper (lead guitar), Scott Smith (rhythm guitar), Chris Wagner (bass), and Andrew Holzbaur (drums), the band continue to support their fourth album, 2016’s Ascendants. Filled with dark ominous heaviness, it is an album fans agree keeps Oceano headed on the right path. Completely amped up to see the band, when they finally made their appearance, the crowd went ballistic. Wasting no time, everyone was jumping along, and it became an unstoppable force of passion as the band played songs such as “Dead Planet,” “Descent,” and favorite, “District of Misery.” Perhaps the most intense crowd reaction of the night, Oceano’s fans were rabid from start to finish. Recently completing a run with Suicide Silence and Whitechapel’s co-headlining Straight Outta Hell Tour, Oceano are currently asking fans via social media where they should play in 2017, so go help make the decision.
The Rocking Dead
Now that the second stage was done for the night, everyone’s attention turned to the main stage as The Rocking Dead prepared to begin. A combination of many well-known Rock artists, The Rocking Dead have become a tradition at Rock and Shock year after year. In years past, the lineup featured Ace Von Johnson of Faster Pussycat, Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein from The Misfits, Randy Blythe from Lamb of God, Wednesday 13 of the Murderdolls, and Alan Robert from Life of Agony, among others. Still led by Johnson, 2016’s lineup would be studded with stars including a returning Alan Roberts joined by Max & Igor Cavalera, Headbanger’s Ball’s Riki Rachtman, That Metal Show’s Don Jamieson, Genitorturers’ Kriz DK, and Combichrist’s Brent Ashley. Presented by renowned Rock Photographer Jeremy Saffer, the mixed bag of musicians and personalities had a blast dishing out Classic Rock tracks that was raw and fun. A hit with the audience, everyone sang along, pumped their fists, and loved every minute of The Rocking Dead’s performance. As for Ace Von Johnson and Faster Pussycat, they have a list of dates lined up through early 2017.
Shifting back to the heavier side of Metal, Knoxville, Tennessee’s Whitechapel was set to begin around 9:30 PM. A band that seems to get better with age, Whitechapel’s 2014 album, Our Endless War, was perhaps their most complete and mature effort to date. Continuing that progression, and taking their sound to another level, 2016’s Mark of the Blade is even more complex and flexible. Led by Phil Bozeman on vocals, Zach Householder on guitar, Gabe Crisp on bass, Ben Savage as lead guitar, Ben Harclerode as drummer, and Alex Wade on guitar, as a collective, they took no prisoners as they blasted through a set that included songs such as “Mark of the Blade” and “Elitist Ones.” Keeping the adrenaline flowing, crowd-surfers came in waves as the band offered a killer set that wound down with songs such as “Possession,” “This Is Exile,” and “Let Me Burn.” A well-oiled machine dead set on precise brutality, Whitechapel put on one hell of a show. They now bring the pain to Europe on the Never Say Die! Tour with Carnifex and Thy Art Is Murder.
Given little time to catch their breath and recollect themselves, Suicide Silence was not too far behind Whitechapel. As if it was even possible, the crowd grew even more excited to see the now veteran band. Withstanding the tragic death of original Vocalist Mitch Lucker back in 2012, Suicide Silence have regrouped nicely with Vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida joining the fold in 2013. Touring heavily, and releasing You Can’t Stop Me in 2014, Hermida along with Guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun, Bassist Dan Kenny, as well as Drummer Alex Lopez are now set to return with a new album come 2017.
The idea of a new record in the corner of everyone’s mind, the energy was plausible as the band came out to play “Unanswered” followed by “Wake Up.” Igniting everyone to go crazy, jumping and throwing their fists in the air, the performance would also be highlighted by “Sacred Words” and a Wall of Death during “Disengage.” Graza, Kenny, and Heylmun were all headbanging while Hermida worked the stage through “No Pity For a Coward,” “You Can’t Stop Me,” and closer “You Only Live Once” as Lopez’s drums echoed through the air. A show-stopping performance, 2017’s new album cannot come soon enough.
Max & Igor Cavalera
As the night drew close, the guest of honor was about to start. Considered two of the more important figures in Metal, Max & Igor Cavalera, honor their heritage celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sepultura’s epic Roots album. A band which they not have been a part of since 1996, Max admits the departure was extremely difficult, one that almost resulted in him quitting music completely. Thankfully, he put himself back together and went on to form Soulfly, thus ushering in a new era of Cavalera styled Metal. Since Soulfly has been going strong and Max has dabbled in various projects including Cavalera Conspiracy with his brother Igor and long-time bandmate/friend Guitarist Marc Rizzo. So now, Max, Iggor, Rizzo, and Bassist Johny Chow took Roots to the masses on a fantastic month plus tour that was not to be missed. Max, an avid Horror fan himself, was no doubt more than happy to headline night two of Rock and Shock, and for that, Worcester was grateful.
Tightly packed, bearing flags with Max & Igor Cavalera, this crowd was hungry for some classic Sepultura. Good thing they came prepared because their expectations were exceeded as the band dished out the entire Roots album from start to finish. Basking in the glory, screaming the lyrics at the top of their lungs, favorites such as “Attitude” and “Ratamahatta” brought an energy that was contagious. As if the return to Roots was not enough, Max, Igor, Rizzo, and Chow returned for an encore that included Celtic Frost’s “Procreation (of the Wicked)” Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades,” and a blistering fast reprise of “Roots Bloody Roots” as a parting gift.
As the crowd poured out into the night, shaking with the adrenaline still pumping through their veins, many will more than likely envision this very event over and over again as an ultimate Metal experience. The last of the Metal showcases at Rock and Shock, the third and final night would belong to Twiztid and a list of talented Hip Hop based acts. That said, night two of Rock and Shock was equally mixed, but only with bands all providing their own take on the undeniable power of Metal.