November 18, 2008

Concert Review: The Red Chord w/ Overcast, Burning Human, Ruin, Architect - Poughkeepsie, NY 11/15/08

Back in the early to mid-1990's there was a band in Boston that was tearing up the metal scene with their own brand of music. Unfortunately, they did not seem to have much of a future, with little label interest. So, it goes without saying but I will anyway, the group disbanded to pursue their dreams in other avenues. It paid off, at least for a couple of them, as they are now members of bands that have made it to the national stage. Now, a decade past their expiration date, doors were reopened for them to mount a reunion. This tour is part of the fruits of their labor. But before we can get to the rest of their story, there are a few other bands to check out.

When I got inside The Chance Theater (great place to see a show if you have the chance), Architect was about halfway through their set, so I did not get the full impact of their set, but what I did see I was definitely intrigued by. I am not sure what I would classify them as, there are so many different genre labels and fans tend to be rather touchy about them, but I have seem referred to as technical metal and mathcore (which I consider to be acts like The Dillinger Escape Plane). I guess that sounds about right. The five-piece brings a highly layered sound to the stage with some speedy lead breaks, heavy riffs, and a generally aggressive attitude. I particularly liked the involvement of four members in the vocal duties.

Ruin was next to take the stage playing their blend of death metal with a touch of hardcore. They were a solid stage presence, although I cannot say they were all that memorable. Frankly, no sooner had they left the stage I was onto something else. It is not that they were bad, as I recall a solid half hour of heavy music that helped get the smallish crowd going, but in the end, I do not feel the drive to find more of their music. I wish them the best.

Next up was Burning Human, a death metal act hailing from Troy, NY. Much like the main act I was looking forward to this fine, rainy, night of metal, Burning Human is a band whose most active years were back in the 1990's. They saw their fire begin to smolder and the group broke up, sending their members in other directions. One of those members did make it to the big stage, he is drummer Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall. With the Shadows Fall taking a break following the touring cycle for Threads of Life the time was right to stage a reunion. The quartet reunited, gained a fifth member and have been signed, their debut record is due Spring 2009. In any case, this was my first time seeing (and hearing) the band. They put on a solid set of old school death metal. This is not another -core band, but honest to God death metal. Solid, heavy, and definitely infectious. The crowd really began picking up here. Highlights of their set included "Self-Inflicted Crucifixion" and "Chemical Experimentation." This is a band to keep an eye on.

Now, they are not the headlining band, but this next band is the one I was most interested in seeing. This brings me back to where I started. This band whose expiration date had passed (not unlike Burning Human) found new life. They quintet reunited, re-recorded much of their old material and hit the road. The band is called Overcast. They are led by Brian Fair of Shadows Fall on vocals and also feature Killswitch Engage's Mike D'Antonio on bass. These guys just flat out rocked. Yes, the songs a re a good decade, if not more, old, but they hold up and sound great now. This was also my first experience with them as I have been lazy in picking up the CD. They took the stage and just tore it up. Heavy, groove filled, catchy, and just flat out good. I also think that Brian's knee-length dreads could qualify as another member of the band.

Overcast did not disappoint. Actually, I take that back, as they had to relinquish the stage after playing for just half an hour. I could have easily listened to them for a lot longer. Judging by the crowd reaction, they felt the same way. Now I need to go get a copy of their release.

On a side note, earlier this year Shadows Fall was supposed to perform at this same venue, but had to cancel due to low ticket sales. I found this to be unbelievable, I mean it was SHADOWS FALL! Where was everybody? Anyway, now I have gotten to see two members of that band in earlier acts on the same night. I know, not earth shattering, but I found it to be a curious little note.

The headlining act is a band that I have been aware of for some time but had never taken the time to listen to. When The Red Chord took the stage, the still small crowd got hit with a jolt of energy as they took to the floor, fists and feet flying in all directions. The grindcore act ripped through 45 minutes of amped and accelerated metal. It was complex, brutal, and definitely gets your attention. They are not the best I have heard in this style, but are certainly an act to keep an eye on. Tech metal freak outs, heavy skull-crushing riffs, vocals to rip a throat raw, the perfect way to close out a night of metal.


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