It’s been years since I’ve seen Chimaira or Unearth live. When I saw them last, it was early in their career, yet they’d already made a significant name for themselves in the American metal landscape. My Dad (and on occasion Mom) often made the thirty minute drive to Hartford, CT twice a night shuttling my best friend and I to metal and hardcore shows. They were troopers about it and never said no, which I’m eternally thankful for. These days I drive myself to and from shows, and I’m a lot further south than I used to be, but the magic of a great metal show is still there. I’d been excited for weeks leading up to Chimaira, Skeletonwitch, and Unearth making their way through Austin, and I was not disappointed.
I was one of a few to have arrived early, and my punctuality was rewarded with being able to catch Austin’s own Killing In Apathy. I knew nothing about them going in, and was pleasantly surprised. Their brand of unrelenting, high energy metalcore was killer. I picked up a copy of their EP, “Transcend The Architect”, and it’s just as good as their live show.
Las Vegas’ Molotov Solution came on next as the room slowly started to fill up. Supporting their latest release “Insurrection”, they were good, although it seemed at moments that Nick Arthur was having a tough time getting the crowd into it. They kept chugging away though with pounding death metal riffs and some of the heavier breakdowns I’ve heard in recent memory.
Skeletonwitch, whose newest album “Forever Abomination” has been at the top of my list of favorite 2011 releases, was up. They’re the ultimate metal band: big dudes, big beards, drawing inspiration from the great thrash bands that came before them, yet incorporating so much more into their music to set themselves above your typical modern thrash band. They delivered the most brutal set of the night, and for 30 minutes terrorized the ears of everyone in that building (and we were all better off for it). I had high expectations, and they hit them and then some.
At this point in the night I’d have been satisfied if that was the end of the show. Finishing the night off with Chimaira and Unearth was icing on the cake. Once Mark Hunter took the stage, I was kicking myself for not having seen them in so long. They were even better than I remembered them. At this point, Emo’s was filled up and the atmosphere was overwhelming. I handed my friend my beer, and decided to try my hand at the mosh pit. It took all of 15 seconds for me to hurt my knee, twist my ankle, and get the hell out of there. I apparently forgot for a minute I wasn’t a teenager anymore. After my embarrassing showing in the pit, I slunk back to my group in a tamer part of the crowd. Chimaira continued their set despite my injury (unbelievable, right?) and I continued to love every second of it. This is the last tour for guitarists Rob Arnold and Matt DeVries, and I’m glad to have gotten to see them one last time before their departure from the band.
Co-headliners Unearth closed out the night with authority. They’re not a groundbreaking band that’s going to bring something to the table that you’ve never heard before, and that’s ok. They’re solid, know what they want to accomplish musically and do it well. Like the other four bands on the bill, they were supporting a new album, “Darkness In The Light”. For a band that I’ve seen a few times before, their evolution continues to impress me. I left the venue with absolutely nothing to complain about (except my leg) and while I liked every band that played, I would argue that Skeletonwitch stole the show. I’m crossing my fingers they come back around soon, and as a headliner with a longer set time.
– Submitted by James Whelan, Music Design