Unearth @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (10/30/2008)

Unearth was really showing the world that they had what it takes to keep this Metal business exciting with the delivery of their latest album “The March”.  They’ve honed their craft through relentless touring and proved that they are not just another Metalcore band by any stretch of the imagination.  Tonight’s sold out show would find them at The Fillmore NY with special guest openers Whitechapel, The Acacia Strain and Protest The Hero.  To learn more about the night just scroll past the logo.

Logo - Unearth

Artist: Unearth
Venue: Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: Protest The Hero, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel
Date: 10/30/2008
Label: Metal Blade Records

To be honest I had felt rather “showed out” by the time this gig had come to my attention and with it being the night before Halloween I was thinking about chilling out at home as opposed to following the other Metal legions into the fray over at the Fillmore NY this evening. One could hardly blame me based on the month featuring shows from Kamelot, Yngwie, Bodom, Amon Amarth and a few other notables already under my belt but since I am a sucker for a good old fashioned Metal time, I had to do my best to get the strength and be on point. The original setup for the night was that Gwen Stacy would be kicking off the Metal mayhem but for some unknown reason they were not on the bill which I learned the day before the NYC show. I wasn’t exactly sure about what happened and joked to friends that perhaps the Green Goblin was to blame for this but in the end I discovered that this was based on their parting of the ways with their singer. This left only four bands for the show which is fine by me considering they are Whitechapel, The Acacia Strain, Protest The Hero and of course the headlining Unearth. Here is how the insane proceedings took place for those of you who didn’t get into the room. Whitechapel was on first and with the Gwen Stacy cancellation would be going on just a little bit earlier than they had anticipated.

Whitechapel: I had some background on the band Whitechapel already as the band of young Metal masters had opened up the festivities that were to be found on the Summer Slaughter tour that blew through town and at this very same venue back in late June of this year. They only performed for about thirty minutes that night but the intensity and drive of their material made one well aware that they had the power to remain relevant in this scene for a long time to come. Tonight would be a lot of the same from the band and its nice to see that they have only built upon the momentum that we saw them introducing to their growing fan base that night. There is nothing run of the mill going on in the band Whitechapel as they deliver a three lead guitar assault that one doesn’t always find in bands such as this. They would deliver tunes from their Metal Blade Records debut “This Is Exile” and it’s a high recommendation if you enjoy exciting breakdowns and great riffs. Good luck guys, you still have a ways to go to make some impact but you are surely on the right track. The Acacia Strain was coming up next and since I had never seen them before I was pretty excited about it.

The Acacia Strain: Before the band came on to the stage the crew technicians placed a couple of risers on the stage and this at first worried me thinking that the band was going to propel themselves over our heads and into the crowd. Hey, this stuff does happen from time to time, just check out a Dillinger Escape Plan show if you don’t believe me. Fronted by singer Vincent Bennett the band was performing as the second group up and coming off as if this was a headlining gig of their own. This Prosthetic Records recording artist was a four man assault force and was engaging their crowd to be just as intense as they were. It was non stop action from the moment that they hit the stage and when they were officially “into it”, the audience responded in kind by beginning the crowd-surfing and mosh pits. I really enjoyed them from guitarist Daniel Laskiewicz to drummer Kevin Boutot and felt that when they come around again that I will definitely be in place to see how that goes over. Their newest album came out a couple of months ago and is entitled “Continent”. The interesting release has a number of songs named after villains from pop culture mediums like comic books and science fiction movies.

Protest The Hero: A first for me again would come with Protest The Hero who started off their very groove-oriented Metal set to a decent show of response from the audience. It was a very different vibe from that of the last two bands and hence made the night a little more interesting. The guitar work is solid in the band and the drumming is on point working with the bass rather well. It’s more of a Progressive Metal outfit without any long and unnecessary technical adventuring in every single tune. Lead singer Rody Walker has a good voice and sometimes growls while at other times delivers a decent falsetto. What struck me as interesting was how he made a point to chastise the fact about how during their first few songs that a bunch of photographers were there and how happy he was that they were gone since they were not a pretty boy band who could count on these images being up on said photographers MySpace pages. Being one of said photographers I have to say “get a grip on yourself dude” because the business of Rock and Roll is keeping in public attention and while you might have found it annoying to have people taking pictures of you while you are playing for a couple of numbers, just think of what it will feel like when no one is there to do this. The music industry is a fleeting thing and this could very well happen someday so enjoy it while it lasts. The band is signed to Vagrant Records and I had never listened to them before this evening and had to say that I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a full release sometime in the future. They have a headlining band capacity to them and it might be cool to see what kind of bands they bring around as their own support. Now it was time for Unearth and believe it or not, the Fillmore NY was absolutely packed to the doors.

Unearth: I had seen Unearth on several shows in the past and I had to admit that while I loved what I heard on their latest album “The March”, I really never expected to find an event of theirs sold out in advance of the night. It’s not meant as a slight to them, because I have seen some legacy road warrior acts who only sell out their shows sometimes and at other points you wonder who might have missed the memo about the show. A giant Unearth banner was set up in the back and from the moment that the lights went down this night was on and the crowd was rushing the stage and making the photo pit barrier strength be tested again and again. Fronted by Trevor Phillips who sported a hoodie this evening and looked rather menacing, the band delivering a number of excellent tunes in true aggressive fashion. Like I said, I had caught them on a number of high profile shows such as Dimmu Borgir and Slayer and had to say that tonight I felt that this band was at their very best. The composition of the set list was wisely spaced with new stuff and established band classics such as “Giles” and “This Lying World”. No one would argue about the strength of the new material in the live sense and that is always a good thing to see going over well. If the new music sounds lame in concert, it will bore the crowd and there was clearly none of that going on this evening. I had to say that the length of the set was rather displeasing and with only twelve songs making it up the band was done before we knew it. Still, the crowd seemed to be loaded with energy and not at all disappointed. There was even one kid in a neck brace banging his head so hard that I feared it was going to come flying at me at one point. While I am not a doctor by any aspect, I think it is safe to say that this injury of his is going to take a little longer to heal than he might have been told.

In the end I was happy that I had come out for this gig because it was great to see all the bands hungry to entertain their mass amount of fans and it was also a nice lead in to the madness of Halloween night that would overtake the city and find me at a performance of the one and only Misfits……..

PTH Set List:
1. Goddess 1
2. Bloodfart
3. Dissentience
4. Nautickle Me
5. Limb From Tim
6. Palms Shred
7. No Stars
8. Goddess 2
9. Sigourney Throne

Unearth Set list:
1. Endless
2. This Lying World
3. My Will
4. Zombie
5. Crow Killer
6. Giles
7. Bloodlust
8. Sanctity
9. Anonymous
10. Dividers
11. My Heart
12. Black Hearts

Official Website: http://www.unearth.tv
Official Website: http://www.protestthehero.com
Official Website: http://www.acaciatrain.com
Official Website: http://www.whitechapelmusic.com

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