Concert Review: This is Where it Ends tour (Easter 2012, St. Louis, Mo)

This Is Where It Ends 2012 US Tour at Fubar

By Matt Albers

Easter Sunday is about the last day anyone would ever expect to see a death metal show, but this year it actually happened in St. Louis thanks to All Shall Perish’s headlining tour to support their latest album, 2011’s This Is Where It Ends. With them, All Shall Perish brought an unquestionably brutal and surprisingly diverse lineup of other extreme bands, both new and familiar. When the tour stopped at Fubar on Sunday, April 8, fans and two local bands experienced what could probably be described as the most brutal celebration of a Christian holiday since the release of the We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year compilation album.

Unfortunately, due to some error at some point in preparing for the show, the start time was pushed back. Now, this is of course very common to anyone who’s ever been to any type of concert before, especially an extreme underground show. But instead of the doors not opening on exactly the right time listed on the venue’s website or on the tickets (say, give or take 20-30 minutes or so) the doors didn’t open until OVER AN HOUR after they were supposed to. Rumors immediately began to circulate that there was an issue between All Shall Perish and Fubar on having the band hang a huge banner behind the stage, which did indeed ended up being hung. Whatever the reason, the show started extremely late and as a result, each band had to shorten their set by at least one song.

As if waiting outside the venue for over an hour in the unsurprisingly unseasonably hot early April Missouri weather wasn’t enough, the now many patrons were subjected to the local opening acts. And as any metal or even music fan knows, many factors are involved with booking local talent, which always runs the risk of having less-than-stellar acts opening for bands you may already be impatient to see (especially with this show). The first of the two local bands was At Night We Sleep, a band whose overall sound could probably be described as melodic deathcore. This band’s performance was energetic and eager for the crowd’s attention, but their sound was overall pretty terrible. While the guitar work was good, it was clear that a lot of the musicians were not on time together and their playing was very sloppy. The lead singer’s attempts to get the crowd into them by jumping offstage and into the pit to start incite moshing were met with little enthusiasm from anyone other than the few strong fans that were obviously friends of the band. Also, his all growling vocals sounded forced and unpolished, making it evident that he and the rest of the band were either trying to be just another trendy deathcore band, or just needed a lot more practice, at least before that night.

The second local opener, Substructure, was much more impressive than the first. This band had extremely technical musicianship combined with melodic song structure, making them a very unique progressive, spacey death metal band, especially within the St. Louis metal scene. Their music and performance was very strong, although they played along a pre-recorded synthesizer. This is an element that some bands use while others don’t, and while some fans find it tacky and unprofessional, others could care less and see it only as something that adds to the band’s sound, especially when trying to replicate recordings on stage. Despite a technical glitch

at the beginning of their set, Substructure put on a solid set that transgressed nicely to the first touring band on the bill, Indianapolis, Indiana’s The Contortionist.

Similar to Substructure, The Contortionist is a strong, up-and-coming progressive, technical djent/metal band. Unlike Substructure however, their lead singer – proficient in both growling and clean singing – also played keyboards live. Although they may be seen as yet another band riding the coattails of the success of Between The Buried And Me, something that made The Contortionist much more captivating and accessible was the average length of their songs. Showcasing songs from their full-length debut Exoplanet, The Contortionist proved that they don’t have to extend their songs past four and a half or five minutes just to make them sound overly huge and epic, but were able to condense their cosmic sounds and brutality down to reasonable-length songs that didn’t sound daunting.

While it may sound like The Contortionist may have been the most diverse group of the night, the next two bands may have trumped them. Next up was Sacramento, California’s Conducting From The Grave. Having toured with many different extreme metal groups before, this young quintet showed obvious confidence and excitement on stage, along with solid, tight sound and musicianship. A band has to have balls if their lead singer can shove patrons from the front row to get a mosh pit started, not to mention successfully. Conducting From The Grave clearly showed that they were not just another deathcore band, combining musical elements from traditional death metal, melodic death metal, and perhaps even more melodic metalcore.

The next band was probably the most outstanding band on the bill, Rome, Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse. Promoting their latest full-length release Agony, this band gained a positive American fan base after their time on the 2011 Summer Slaughter tour, and this showed in St. Louis. While most patrons at Fubar were well-engaged in all the acts on the touring bill, there were clearly fans of each particular band. But while the previous two bands brought out most of the scene hardcore and deathcore kids, Fleshgod Apocalypse brought out a more metal or even thrash-oriented crowd, while still keeping the whole audience engaged as well. Wearing their signature tuxedos and grease paint, the blackened-symphonic-technical-death metal quintet brought all their brutal energy despite being crammed on the tiny Fubar stage.

By this point, so much positive energy from seeing so many quality acts seemed to have left the crowd in a mild state of exhaustion. This led to the last two bands having slightly smaller audiences as some patrons left. The band providing direct support to All Shall Perish on this tour was San Diego, California’s Carnifex. Supporting their fourth and latest release, 2011’s Until I Feel Nothing, this band sometimes ends up sounding like just another deathcore band like Suicide Silence, but you can also hear a fair amount of earlier, classic, thrash-influenced death metal, plus a substantial amount of groove. Before closing with their epic title track to their previous album, 2010’s Hell Chose Me, vocalist Shawn Cameron proved to have a strong stage presence throughout Carnifex’s set, being the only person on stage that night to acknowledge that it was reassuring to see people come out to a show on a holiday (an interesting note considering Carnifex used to sell shirts that read “Hail Satan, Mother Fucker!” on the back).

As the night finally began to wind down, the night’s headliner’s, Oakland, California’s All Shall Perish took the stage to finish off the night on a high note. Despite admitting had just

smoked weed before the show and went onto the stage high, front man Hernan “Eddie” Hermida gave a solid performance throughout his set, both vocally as well as having great crowd control. Needless to say, the stellar guitar work from Francesco Artusato and Ben Orum soared strongly and triumphantly over and through the audience. Credit must be given to the tight, precise drumming of Adam Pierce, and bassist Mike Tiner made sure to make his presence known through his strong backing vocals and impressive double hand bass neck tapping. Playing songs chronicling their whole discography, and showing off plenty of songs from their latest masterpiece This Is Where It Ends, All Shall Perish’s already diverse sound and songwriting made sure to correctly cap off an equally diverse bill of tasteful brutality, making Easter Sunday 2012 one of the heaviest to remember in St. Louis.

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