Concert Review

HATEBREED, CROWBAR, AND ACACIA STRAIN PROVE METAL WILL NEVER DIE IN PITTSBURGH

All photos AWELDINGPHOTO ©2018

Hatebreed continued their anniversary party with a Spring 2018 leg of dates, featuring support from Crowbar, The Acacia Strain, and Twitching Tongues. Jamey Jasta of Hatebreed said,  “We had some a great time on the first leg of the tour that we decided to add another batch of dates with some more of our favorite bands to play with! See you soon.”  Well, they are some of our favorite bands as well, and last night in Pittsburgh (Millvale/Mr. Smalls) the slew of brutality proved why bands such as these have survived.

Hatebreed is not just a band, it’s an institution.  The band out of Connecticut has been slaying audiences since 1994 and churning out amazing pieces of music all along the way, including 2016’s The Concrete Confessional, an album that is just as relevant and heavy as anything they have produced.  Vocalist Jamey Jasta hits the stage like he is getting pumped up for a fight and his energy never seems to wain, feeding off the circle pit and the clamoring arms and hands toward the stage.  It’s a sight to see for sure, even to those of us who have witnessed it countless times (we are lucky in Pittsburgh).  Just a few dates into The 20 YEARS OF DESIRE & 15 YEARS OF PERSEVERANCE TOUR, the band (other members: Chris Beattie (bass), Wayne Lozinak (guitars), Frank Novinec (guitars), and Matthew Byrne (drums)) put on quite the show with a nice mixture of old to new material.  Highlights were definitely “Empty Promises”, “Before Dishonor”, and of course, “Looking Down The Barrel of Today”.

To have Crowbar grace Pittsburgh twice in six months is just an absolute blessing.  Kirk Windstein and company are the best at the NOLA sludge metal sound, or Doom core, and it shows.  Even people who had never witnessed Crowbar before were blown away and that the sound system was cooperative at this venue (unlike Diesel) was a bonus.  Windstein is like a powerhouse, he is a man who has been doing this for 35 plus years (Crowbar itself has been around since 1989) and is very grateful for each day he continues to do so.  The fact that he is so willing to interact with fans (BTW thank you Kirk and Robin!), he’s humble and is just plain fun to be around, making it all the better.  He may describe the band (Windstein -guitars/vocals, Matt Brunson – Guitar, Tommy Buckley – Drums, Todd Strange- Bass) as old and fat sometimes, but they act like anything but.  Crowbar was definitely on last night, just pounding out the tunes and keeping that slow grind artistry that only they and Down do so well.  The 13 song set was tight and the band looked to be having a blast, their energy infectious.  We can only hope we get to see a lot more of Crowbar in Pittsburgh in the future.

Acacia Strain are savages, meant in the best of ways.  They take no prisoners onstage and have built a reputation for their live show, and for good reason.  Never having had the pleasure of witnessing them due to the rest of our staff always requesting to cover them, this was a rare treat.  Original member and vocalist Vincent Bennett is like a man possessed on stage.  Jumping around, spitting water, making goofy faces, and that voice…oh, that beautiful grinding deathcore voice.    Kevin Boutot- drums, Devin Shidaker-lead guitar, Griffin Landa- bass, and Tom “The Hammer” Smith, Jr. -guitar round out the lineup and throw maximum effort into every beat and riff.  Astounding to watch, barbarous to hear, and captivating to follow, there are just so many reasons the band has continued to thrive since their 2001 inception.  The most bizarre event happened before their set though.  As Bennett called for a particular fan to come up front and center, it turns out his girlfriend was there with a nice black ring, waiting to propose.  Unusual yes, and that is exactly what he said…congratulations.

Southern California-based metal/hardcore outfit TWITCHING TONGUES opened the evening.  TWITCHING TONGUES are touring in support of their latest full-length Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred, recently issued via Metal Blade Records. A title derived from a quote by famed social philosopher Eric Hoffer — Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life” — Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred reflects the band’s mentality in approaching the record: paying homage to those who supported them while belligerently responding to their detractors. With “failure” as a core theme driving Colin Young’s lyrics, it also features his first foray into the political arena, motivated by the contemporary political climate. Directly inspired by film scores, the record has a strong epic feel, the band realizing their vision of having the music flow like a story being told. While still maintaining the same levels of aggression that have traditionally characterized previous offerings, Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred features more immediate and memorable melodies that evoke the sound of 2013’s In Love There Is No Law.

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