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Rock and Shock Festival Day 2 - Worcester Palladium - 10/9/05

As I hadn't been to any concerts since this summer, I was greatly looking forward to the chance to catch one. I had first read that the International Extreme Music Festival was going to be there, and then they added in the Mnemic/The Haunted/God Forbid/Meshuggah tour as well and I couldn't very well pass that up. Unfortunately, for those that didn't know, the IEMF was plagued with troubles before it started, and encountered further problems throughout it's run. I literally got to Worcester not knowing who exactly was left on the tour at this point. I had really wanted to see Lilitu, Thine Eyes Bleed, Epoch of Unlight, and Nightrage, and all four of those bands had bowed out before the Worcester gig so that was greatly disappointing. Because it was an upstairs/downstairs simultaneous event, the troubled IEMF was placed upstairs while the Meshuggah package was downstairs. While the 4 disappointments did weigh in, they did allow me to view 2 bands that I was sure (due to timing) that I would not see: Atrocity and Leaves Eyes. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as both bands were definite hightlights for the night.

Atrocity was the first band of the night and I sadly admit that I had not heard one note from the band before that night. The songs were good though, enough that I went and ordered their lastest disc Atlantis first thing this morning. More than anything, they (along with Leaves Eyes) were fun onstage. The last two songs, "Cold Black Days" and a cover of Tears for Fears "Shout" were solid entertainment. Frontman Alexander Krull really knows how to work a crowd and his stage presence was probably the best I saw in a band that night. Next up was Leaves Eyes, a band that I listened to a few times but never really "got into it". In different ways than Alexander Krull, Liv Kristine was an equally impressive frontwoman. While Krull had more of a highly energetic and "metal" stage presence, Kristine had a very elegant and enthralling presence that was just as entertaining. Her vocals were incredible and sounded almost identical to what I had remembered on disc. They played songs from both releases (about equally I might add), with "Into Your Light" and "Elegy" being particularly memorable. While LE was a bit lighter than what a metal show was about, I once again found the performance to be quite fun and a great time. Both bands certainly made me a fan for life with their performance that night. Here's the unfortunate part: both bands played to an incredibly small crowd. There were more people standing downstairs waiting for the first performance than there were upstairs watching Atrocity (which wasn't many to begin with) and sadly, Leaves Eyes started playing with maybe 15-20 people standing in the audience, while the boring and dime-a-dozen metalcore band The Acadia Strain played downstairs to a significantly larger crowd. While it made for a very intimate performance with both bands for my case (being one of the ones standing front and center for both bands), it was disappointing that so many were there and missed such a great show.

Next up was Hell Within, another fairly "standard" metalcore band, but it beat going downstairs to watch The Esoteric. The upstairs numbers had improved by the time Hell Within was playing and they got the crowd going pretty good, though I wasn't particularly interested in their music (sorry Cuchulainn!). I headed downstairs for the night at that point, missing Manntis (thankfully) and God Dethroned, who I would have loved to seen but it was them or The Haunted.

Mnemic was my first band I caught downstairs and were good, though their last show was more energetic. I am guessing this was because the new frontman just started a few weeks ago! He did sound almost identical to the previous vocalist, so I'm sure they'll be back up to full force soon enough. They played a few more songs than their last peformance, including "Ghost", "Room 2.12", and "Deathbox" among others.The Haunted, whom I had just seen in July, were back and sounded just as fantastic as the last time. Peter Dolving is a bit strange onstage, but an excellent frontman and the music was tight. Unlike the last time, their sound was excellent and made songs like "Hate Song", "Abysmal", "Three Times", "In Vein", and "99" that much better. Their 45 minute set was a seemingly perfect amount of time, though a full headlining set would be great in the future.

God Forbid was next up and while they put on a good show as always, I'm really starting to get sick of seeing them live. I think I've seen them at least 4 times over the course of this year and I've had about my fill of GF in the live setting. They seem to quickly be turning into the Shadows Fall of North American tours (meaning they get on almost all of them). That being said, they did play more off the new album, including "Into the Wasteland", "Chains of Humanity" along with older material such as "Broken Promise" and "Nothing" from Determination. The headliner was Meshuggah, a band I've tried to catch for a good 8 years or so. I wish I had caught them a few years ago because it probably would have been better. While hearing songs like "Future Breed Machine", "Soul Burn", "New Millenium Cyanide Christ", and "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" was awesome, there was a definite lean towards the Nothing and Catch 33 album. They played a 13 minute bit from Catch 33 which all but put me to sleep and the Nothing songs were just as uninteresting live as on disc. Also, the sound was WAY TOO LOUD compared to the other bands that night and the guitars were so downtuned that you couldn't really distinguish the song if you hadn't heard it on disc. Going along with this was the complete lack of stage presence by singer Jens Kidman, who just did not seem like he was having a good time. Very little chatter with the crowd, and when he did, it felt forced. Not once did he mention what song they were playing, which irritated me due to the fact that the distortion made it impossible for me to distinguish the songs from Nothing. The one moment he did have was when he stated before going into "Future Breed Machine" that everyone had to take their clothes off before they could play it (it was the last song so everyone kinda knew what song was coming).

Despite the disappointment brought by Meshuggah (though I should have expected it), it was a great show with Atrocity, Leaves Eyes and The Haunted alone making it worth the $$ for me to drive out there.

October 10, 2005
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