March 3, 2015 The Contortionist save Long Island, NY from deep freeze 2-19-15 w/ Revocation, Fallujah, & Toothgrinder
Traditionally, the month of February is a pretty lean time for touring. Fortunately for fans, Progressive Metal act The Contortionist decided to take on the dreary snow-filled highways of the USA with their headlining tour that kicked off in their hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana on February 7th. Presented by MetalSucks, the month long trek featured support from Revocation, Fallujah, and Toothgrinder, dubbing it a lineup many fans are saying is great from top to bottom. The Contortionist vocalist, Mike Lessard, stated, “We’re excited to hit the road with all these amazing bands and play a ton of epic shows, we couldn’t think of a better way to start our 2015!” With all four acts having released new material in 2014, there is plenty to offer audiences as they made their way city to city. On Thursday February 19, 2015, the diverse Metal foursome found themselves right in the middle of their tour of the eastern U.S. and Canada, as well as in the middle of a cold snap that had held the region firmly in its frosty fist the previous weeks. The Revolution Bar and Music Hall in Amityville, New York was filled with eager fans who braved the arctic temperatures to get a look and listen to the exciting mixed bag of Metal.
Up first was local act out of Ronkonkoma calling themselves More of Myself to Kill. Perhaps taking their name from the 2002 Between The Buried and Me song, this Progressive Death Metal act consists of Kyle Young (guitar/vocals), Joe Velocci (drums), Jake Riccardi (vocals), and Tom Bosco (bass). Formerly known as The Night is Yunge, this band came together in early 2013 and, in a short time, they have come in first place in a battle of the bands competition. Now they have found themselves as direct support for The Contortionist and, during an opening set, certainly made the most of it. Combining Djent and Progressive styling, the young band show promise for a bright future. Keep an eye open for their EP due out soon.
Kicking off the festivities of the touring package was Toothgrinder, a New Jersey Hardcore band consisting of Wills Weller on drums, Jason Goss and Matt Mielke on guitars, Matt Arensdorf on bass, and Justin Matthews on lead vocals. Having just released The Schizophrenic Jubilee with Spinefarm Records on November 4, 2014, their energy was immediately on display as the band opened with their new single, “The Hour Angle,” in which Matthews urged the crowd closer, only to dive into them. This is the way the entire high energy set went. The band showcased their new release and even a couple of unnamed songs, concluding with Matthews climbing the rafters before pulling some lights and part of the ceiling down. No harm done, but the show was off to a great start. They are generating a lot of buzz out there, so keep watching Toothgrinder.
Next up was Fallujah, a Melodic Death Metal band from San Francisco, California made up of Alex Hofmann singing lead, Scott Carstairs and Brian James on guitars, Robert Morey on bass, and Andrew Baird playing drums. Fallujah is promoting their second, full length record, The Flesh Prevails, on July 22, 2014 by Unique Leader. The set began with atmospheric keys and guitars that give way to machine-gun double bass from Baird as they began the first track, “Starlit Path.” Next was “Carved from Stone” and “Levitation,” an interesting track with wispy guitars provided by Carstairs and James, and some solid, technical drumming from Baird. The crowd was all in as Hoffman demanded the crowd light their phones. They obeyed, resulting in Hoffman’s illumination as he took his own picture of the crowds light. They ended the set with “Sapphire,” the penultimate track on The Flesh Prevails and a crowd favorite. These guys have a strong presence and are worth a watch. Look for them in March at SXSW.
Boston, Massachusetts natives Revocation consist of David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo on guitars and vocals, Brett Bamberger on bass and vocals, and Phil Dubois on drums. They became Revocation in 2006 after they left their old band, Cryptic Warning, to start anew. The band released Deathless on October 14, 2014 on Metal Blade last year and have been killing it on tour since. They opened their set with title track “Deathless” from the new one before going back to “Dismantle the Dictator” from Existence is Futile (2009) and receiving the full support of the crowd. Then it was back to Deathless with, “Labyrinth of Eyes” and “Madness Opus,” a heavy beast of a track, before closing out with “Witch Trials.” As the fully committed audience churned a robust pit of approval, the band delivered an impressive performance. Revocation is on the cusp, one of many, with Deathless.
The time had finally come for the main attraction, The Contortionist, with everyone primed and ready to go. This five piece band has been building its fan base, repertoire, and road chops since they began in 2007. Made up of Joey Baca on drums and percussions, Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard on guitars, Michael Lessard on vocals, Jordan Eberhardt on bass, and Eric Guenther on keys, they are now supporting their latest album Language. Signed on to eOne Music, they have released three studio albums, three EPs, and use heavily syncopated rhythms, varied vocal styles, and technical musicianship to affect audiences wherever they go. Matching that with their themes of technology and science gives audiences a very interesting entity to witness live.
Taking the stage to a packed house of eager fans, having had their appetites only wetted by the tenacious openers, a roar of cheers erupted when each member walked out. The band, bathed in blue light, began with an atmospheric intro before exploding into “Flourish.” The crowd roared as Robby and Maynard showed both speed and precision on their guitars. “Geocentric Confusion” off of Intrinsic (2012) followed, beginning brutally before turning upward and even more engaging, vocally creeping into the melodic from the guttural, which then brought them to “Language I: Intuition” and “Language II: Conspire” from 2014’s Language, clear fan favorites. Showing a lighter, more musical side, “Language 1 & 2” feature airy guitars held together by an ever evolving, syncopated rhythm churning provided by Joey on drums and Eberhardt on the bass. The crowd quieted to hear every note and sang the lyrics when it was time. “Thrive” exhibited Eberhardt’s nimble bass work and Lassard’s smooth vocal range. Bringing up the intensity was “Contact” from 2010’s Exoplanet, moving from rapid, tight chops to spacious breadth, this song showed the bands complete control. “Exoplanet II: Void” bent and twisted time, while “Solipsis” turned it inside out. “Primordial Sound” showed great range. Keyboardist Guenther provided the ethereal base, while Lessard delivered a compelling vocal, drawing the audience closer with its nuanced, layered sweetness. “Oscillator” completed an intense set that drew from the band’s varied catalog.
The Contortionist came to New York and put on an amazing show filled with precision, intensity, technical artistry, power, and pure volume. In their short seven years of existence, they have managed to cover a huge amount of ground and produced music that is groundbreaking and binding. Their themes are provocative and their approach is focused. They have a formula that works and are unique in their category. Overall, this was a great night of Metal with some of the premier Metal bands touring today.