Arch Enemy with Exodus: Live Review
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
February 9th 2010, House Of Blues, West Hollywood CA: The House Of Blues had a great vibe tonight with a mix of the old school metal heads obviously here to see Exodus, and the younger crowd for Arch Enemy. The line was quite long by the time the doors opened, at 7 o' clock. Thankfully for all the fans me included, the rain had relented for the time being so it was probably easier to stand and wait out there than I had expected it to be.
The first band of the night was Mutiny Within from New Jersey. Their music was really good and the stage presence wasn't bad either. I always see entire shows rather than just the headline band, in the hope that may be I would discover a great band doing so, as the case was with the likes of Mantic Ritual, Warbringer, Lazarus A.D and Holy Grail. This was another such night! The songs had some tight guitar riffs and most of them were fast and heavy. The vocalist Chris came off as a good frontman. Their debut CD comes out on February 23rd and I recommend everyone to check it out.
Arsis from Virginia, were the next band to hit the stage. I would define their music as a combination of melodic death metal and thrash, something similar to what Skeletonwitch play. Deliberately or not, they gave me quite a Scandinavian sort of feel in terms of their music, looks and overall stage mannerism. I personally love this kind of music and found myself head banging at full speed pretty soon after they started playing. The response from the rest of the crowd was pretty good as well. They made good use of the 30 minutes allotted to them. My favorite song was the one before last, 'The Promise Of Never'. So this was another band I hadn't heard of before this show and I can safely say that it was worth the time spent watching the first two bands tonight!
Next was the band I was waiting most to see. The mighty Exodus!! I simply love these guys and what they do with their music, remaining true to their original stlye and belting out flat-out thrash albums one after the other. I feel that over the years they haven't been given as much credit as they should have. For me they are right up there with the so-called "big four", one or two of which don't even deserve to be in the big four anymore. I would even go on to say any mention or discussion of thrash metal, or any thrash metal line-up is never complete without Exodus. If you're a thrash metal fan and you don't like Exodus, I don't get it!
They opened with the ultimate Exodus anthem, 'Bonded By Blood' and it was time for the crowd to get those heads banging and the circle pits going. I have seen very, very few bands that can get the crowd as pumped as much as Rob Dukes and his band mates do. They followed it up with the epic thrasher 'Iconoclasm'. This song sounds great live as it has everything a song of this genre should have. They brought out one amazing song after another, including 'Lesson In Violence', 'Children Of A worthless God' and 'Piranha'.
Their show had been so amazingly brutal even up to this point that I was feeling the energy draining out of my system with every single bang of the head and every scream along with the chorus. From among the rest of the songs, 'Dethamphetamine' and 'War Is my Shepherd' were the ones that got us singing along at our loudest. Talking of loud, I felt the crowd was pretty weak to begin with but began to get involved as the set went on. Rob Dukes even commented, in his typical style, that the fans in San Francisco were better.
Other than the songs I already mentioned, they did a couple more and ended the set with 'Strike Of The Beast', the famous Wall Of Death included. In one of the last couple of songs, a girl got on the stage and dived into the crowd, showing how its done, and she was none other than Loana from Exodus's label Nuclear Blast, a friend of mine. She definitely helped get the crowd moving. In terms of the set it was a pretty standard one and this is what they've been playing for the last year or so, but it was a great selection for a supporting slot and the fans enjoyed every minute of it nonetheless, that's for sure. I simply cannot wait for their new album that's coming out soon. Three cheers to the amazing guys in Exodus! \m/ \m/ \m/
The headliners Arch Enemy hit the stage after a little wait, at 11.10. They opened with 'The Immortal' and 'Revolution Begins'. The crowd was close to dead during these songs, probably because they were still recovering from the Exodus attack. Things got better with the song 'Ravenous' as frontwoman Angela addressed the almost-packed crowd for the first time. This is one band whom I had been waiting to see since forever and I was glad to finally get to see them, from the front row too.
They did a couple more songs including 'My Apocalypse' before Angela talked to the crowd for a good 2 or 3 minutes at least. She thanked all the bands on the last show of the tour and said, 'Since we have a thrash band Exodus on the bill, we have to play this song for you' and they proceeded to play 'Silent Wars' which is one of the best songs on the 'Anthems Of Rebellion' album. Daniel Erlandsson, who is an ever-awesome drummer, brought out his solo for us next. It always a good thing when bands have confidence in their drummer to include a solo in the set. More importantly, the drummer himself should be confident and feeling good about it, something that Daniel sure did right.
One of my favorite AE songs 'Dead Eyes See No Future' was among the next few that they played. Soon came the guitar solos, first featuring Chris Amott and then his brother Michael. Some people would say they should have played two songs instead, but if your guitarists have the ability to solo, what's wrong in including it? After the solos they closed out the main set with 'Dead Bury Their Dead' and the ultimate AE anthem 'We Will Rise'. They came back with the encore performance of the songs 'Snowbound' and 'Nemesis'.
It was pure delight to see Angela's intense performance from so close to the stage and the Amott brothers were every bit as good as I had expected them to be. Sharlee's bass was heavy and loud and as I already mentioned, Daniel was a beast on drums. A word on the crowd, they didn't lack in terms of energy for the most part, but I heard from friends after the show that there were a lot of hopelessly wasted idiots in the middle rows who were too wasted to care about or understand the music, were ruining the pits and weren't letting Angela speak. To these people, I would just say this. Leave us fans alone and take yourselves somewhere else, some place that has more people of your kind.
Well other than that, it was an excellent show with four great bands. I honestly thought Arch Enemy wouldn't match up to Exodus, but they did to a large extent although for me Exodus was the best band of the night. I know for a fact that Arch Enemy has a lot of haters who say that the band doesn't make good music and there are people who decided to pass on this show because they hate Arch Enemy, even if they like the other bands. To you people I would just say you missed out a good band and a good live show!
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