Friday night, March 16, 2018 The Dank Memes Tour pulled into the Southside Pittsburgh and left an indelible impression.  Headliners Rings of Saturn brought along heavyweights Allegaeon and Nekrogoblikon to round out an impressive line-up that also featured up-n-comers Entheos and Gloom.  In a completely packed Rex Theater, each band took turns attempting to melt the faces of the crowd and keep a metal party atmosphere rolling long into the night.  Rings of Saturn is an American deathcore band from the Bay Area, California. The band was formed in 2009 and was originally just a studio project, however, after gaining a wide popularity, the band formed a full line-up and became a full-time touring band. Rings of Saturn’s music features a highly technical style, heavily influenced by themes of alien life and outer space. They have released three full-length albums, with their latest, Lugal Ki En, released in 2014 and peaking at 126 on the American Billboard 200 chart.

That being said, Ian Bearer’s vocals are hard to describe, part high, part low, all intense and indiscernible without a lyric sheet.  It seems that either you love the vocals or you hate them.  Obviously, founder Lucas Mann loves them, having found Bearer on YouTube singing Whitechapel covers.  Judging by the pack to the gills Rex Theater, it’s safe to say that the majority of the crowd loves them. But it’s guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker
playing that was the highlight of the band and their sound Friday night (Lucas Mann was not on tour).  He does not play at warped speed, he plays at ludicrous speed like it is no effort at all while being technical, clean, and riff-laden.  The fact that a three-piece band (no bassist and drummer Aaron Stechauner) can produce that amount of sound is impressive.

[check out photos below]

The craziest response of the night goes to Nekrogoblikon.  Some audience members wore goblin ears, a lot of others their tour shirts, and all of them went goblin-shit when the band came on.  With extremely dark lighting and that brutal attack of technical death sound, Nekrogoblikon were not messing around.  Vocalist, Nicholas Scorpion Von Doom, immediately launched into the aggressive “goblin” driven lyrics as guitarist Alex “Goldberg ” Alereza, keyboardist Aaron “Raptor” Minich, bassist Aaron “Zoot” VanZutphen, and drummer Eric “Rainbow” Brown played an extremely tight set highlighted by fan faves.  But of course, the fan fave is John Goblikon, the goblin spokesman who comes out to dance with the band and wreak havoc.  One may interpret it as a gimmick, but it really is such a fun part of what the band does.  The recent video for “Dressed As Goblins” is just one example of their hilarious marketing.  Welcome to Bonkers is due out next month and can be pre-ordered here.

Hailing from Larimer County, CO, ALLEGAEON has been slamming the road before they hit the studio in Denver, Colorado with producer Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation). Album number five is nearly written, and the band even unveiled a new song as part of their set, ‘Extremophile(b): Evolution’.  ALLEGAEON released their Proponent For Sentience full-length via Metal Blade in 2016. Produced by Dave Otero, the album is a musically complex, intelligent, and absorbing concept record that can rightfully sit alongside the true greats of the medium. With a lyrical arc rooted in science-fiction yet uncomfortably encroaching upon the reality of the present, it captures the Fort Collins, Colorado natives at their most ambitious and accomplished, pushing the boundaries even further than on their three previous critically acclaimed full-lengths. (To preview and purchase Proponent For Sentience, visit: metalblade.com/allegaeon).  Recently, Allegaeon released a single for their cover of Rush‘s “Animate”. That single can be heard online everywhere, including Spotify HERE.

In 2015 Allegaeon replaced original vocalist Ezra Haynes with Riley McShane and their trajectory has been nothing but upwards.  Add to that the success of “Gray Matter Mechanics” and the cover of Rush’s “Subdivisions”, and there is nothing but positive vibes happening for the band.  Their live set is the icing on that cake, for they assault the audience with a barrage of technical melodic death metal combined with lyrics that are discernable and varied, and the energy of a pack of hyenas.  But these guys have a sense of humor as well, particularly noticed when McShane danced to the disco tunes before their soundcheck was done, and of course the band mascot “Myles” in a crab outfit along with vocalist of Entheos, Chaney Crabb, dressed as what looked to be, well, a piece of poop.  Allegaeon is a must-see live band that backs up their recording prowess.  The highlight of the set was indefinite: “Gray Matter Mechanics”, a song that mixes genres like a bartender mixes liquor at a trendy nightclub.

Lorna Shore is an American deathcore band from Warren County, New Jersey  Formed in 2010, the group currently consists of vocalist Tom Barber, lead guitarist Adam De Micco, drummer Austin Archey, and rhythm guitarist Connor Deffley. They have released three EPs and released their debut full-length Psalms in June 2015 and their second album Flesh Coffin in February 2017 (Wikipedia).  Lorna Shore was immensely heavy and just as entertaining.  Barber’s voice is growling, low, and is reminiscent of a Harley Davidson rumble.  The band can be expected to make a bigger splash as they get exposure on tours such as this one.

Entheos’ lineup consists of Chaney Crabb, ex-The Faceless bassist Evan Brewer, ex-Scale The Summit guitarist Travis LeVrier, and ex-Animals As Leaders drummer Navene Koperweis.  Their set was packed with Dark Future [Spinefarm Records] may be the second full-length album from Entheos, but it feels like the first for the California quartet. As far as technical heavy music goes, the group’s powerhouse pedigree remains unparalleled. A veritable who’s who of the scene, Evan and Navene not only co-founded underground luminaries Animosity, but the bassist and drummer served in the ranks of The Faceless and Animals As Leaders, respectively. As Chaney, Navene, and Evan toured behind Entheos’s acclaimed 2016 debut, The Infinite Nothing, the lineup solidified with the addition of Travis—who had recently departed Scale The Summit.  Their technical prowess transfers live also and Crabb’s vocals fit perfectly like a puzzle piece, her voice is much like Alyssa White-Gluz with the reaction, ‘That’s a girl’…all meant as an extreme compliment.  They were extremely impreesive but the most impressive thing witnessed was offstage as drummer Koerweis took a lot of time to teach a fan how to hit some of those lightning fast rolls all while manning their merch booth.  It is interaction like this that makes the metal scene so tight-knit and like no other genre.

The Infinite Nothing earned praise from LoudwireMetal InjectionNew Noise Magazine, and more as the group toured with everyone from The Black Dahlia Murder and The Dillinger Escape Plan to Veil of Maya and Between The Buried and Me. Getting off the road, the musicians holed up in Navene’s apartment in early 2017 to begin writing what would become Dark Future together.

Tightly wound polyrhythmic guitars entwine with mind-numbing percussion, tempering technicality, groove, and space. Meanwhile, Chaney’s screams haunt and hypnotize before spiraling into an entrancing blast of fret fireworks.  Ultimately, Dark Future hints at what’s ahead for not only Entheos, but extreme music in general as it positions the band ahead of the curve in all regards.

Openers, Gloom, hail from DC and describe themselves as ‘blackened death groove’.  Metal Injection said of the band, “The band’s genre-bending brand of towering, savage blackened death groove is so overwhelming, so powerful that it’s guaranteed to do things to your head: get stuck in it, and completely fucking obliterate it.”  Gloom, started in winter of 2012, whose intention is to write concise, focused and diverse songs. With influences from Black Metal, Tech Death, and 90’s grunge, Gloom aims to bring their musical roots to bear with every track. Each member has played in a number of single genre bands but found the formulaic structures of subgenres to be boring and hackneyed. Several months after its founding, Gloom became a full-time band; releasing their self-titled EP on June 24th 2014 to critical acclaim from sites and magazines such as Loudwire.comMetalInjection.net, Terrorizer Magazine, Metalsucks.net and Gunshyassassin.com. In the Spring of 2015, Gloom set out on a 15 state tour and are currently preparing to release their full-length album, Solaris, in the winter of 2015.