Devil You Know, O.N.I., Hallow Point, Our Transfixion, Skydweller
Fubar, St. Louis, MO
April 27, 2016
Just as the New Wave of American Metal movement was kicking off in the early 2000’s, Massachusett’s Killswitch Engage found themselves without a vocalist after Jesse Leach abruptly left the band. After trying several different vocalists, including Phil Labonte of All That Remains, KsE adopted then-Blood Has Been Shed vocalist Howard Jones into the fold. As it would later be known, he disliked the band’s sound when he first heard it, but soon realized that the band had chemistry that’s hard to find in the industry and found that some songs were actually really good after digging deeper into them. After several years of non-stop touring and three Killswitch Engage albums through Roadrunner Records, Jones left the band at the beginning of 2012 in order to stabilize his type 2 Diabetes that had been worsening up until that time due to the extensive touring schedule.
After a break from music and the hectic touring lifestyle, Howard joined guitarist Francesco Artusato (All Shall Perish) and drummer John Sankey (Devolved, Fear Factory and Divine Heresy) on a new project dubbed Devil You Know. Rounding out the lineup is Ryan Wombacher (Bleeding Through) on bass guitar. Thus far they’ve released two albums and, on April 27, 2016, the band graced Fubar in St. Louis, Missouri with their presence for an intimate Wednesday night performance. Starting off a night of metal madness were a few local Saint Louis hidden treasures. The first of the night was Skydweller, who I unfortunately was not able to see. However, I bought their 5-song EP Initial Contact after the show and next time I see them on a bill I will make it a point to catch their performance.
The first band I was able to see was Our Transfixion. I had met the singer, Sabastian Neudeck, while standing in line at The Ready Room, waiting to get into the Sumerian Records 10th Anniversary Tour. Check out my review of that show here. Our Transfixion reminds me of a young version of another NWAM band: God Forbid. I believe this to be the highest of compliments because the metal world has been waiting for a new God Forbid to come along. The intensity that Dallas and Doc Coyle brought to live shows with their feverish guitar-playing and the way their clean vocals meshed with Byron Davis’ harsh vocals is something I’ve missed since they split up several years ago. I look forward to Our Transfixion’s new material as they strive to solidify their place in the Saint Louis metal scene.
Next up was Hallow Point, another local metal band poised to make some noise in the Midwest metal scene. The band has recently won an online battle of the bands voting competition and will be playing the Jägermeister Stage at KC Rock Fest, whose headliners include Disturbed, HELLYEAH, Ghost, Sevendust, Trivium and more. They have crafted a unique blend of heavy, melodic music by fusing aspects of classic heavy metal with many exciting elements from the modern era. Their most noticeable influences include Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, and Trivium. Hallow Point has been hard at work for the past several months on their follow-up to their first release, Veil of Reality. Before the last song of their set, they paid homage to Howard Jones’ Killswitch days with a cover of “When Darkness Falls”.
Joining them on their “Make America Metal Again” tour as direct support is Oni, a progressive metal band that asked Artusato to provide a guest solo on a new track. The band describes themselves as “a combination of Dream Theater and Slipknot” with “metal-pounding riffs played by passionate, talented musicians”. The band incorporates a Xylophone at the helm of their madness, harmonizing with the lead guitars for a unique sound reminiscent – to me, at least – of Liquid Tension Experiment/Trio meets Unearth. It was an interesting live show to sit back and take in from a distance. The Xylophone player went absolutely nuts during their set. They put on one hell of a live performance.
Finally, at about 9:30PM the band of the night, Devil You Know, took the stage. They pummeled through their set at lightning speed, only stopping a few times to change out instruments as Howard Jones entertained the small crowd with random thoughts that came to his mind. He had fun with hecklers as they yelled out songs they had to know the band wasn’t going to play (i.e. “Holy Diver” and “Eye of the Tiger”).
Consume the Damned
Embracing the Torture
Seven Years Alone
A New Beginning
Stay of Execution
Crawl from the Dark
A Mind Insane
The Way We Die
Shut It Down
Overall, it seemed as if the band wanted to play their normal set, get out of there and move on to the next city. Howard even referenced Saint Louis’ reputation of recent touring band gear-snatching incidents. Nevertheless, they put on a great show for those of us that were there to support them on their first headlining tour, and I hope to see them on a big package tour in the near future.