Ottobar; Baltimore, MD; 08/27/04

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

    When I found about this show a couple of weeks back, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. I thought this was a pretty neat line-up of four great bands. I jumped at the chance to see these four acts and took care of business matters for attending the show before I headed off to New England to take care of some family business.

    As I was standing in line to get into the venue there was talk about how earlier in the week there was apparently some trouble with the show and whether or not it would actually go on as planned. Who knew? Luckily for me I knew nothing about this and the show went off as originally planned – sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Unearth played first which I thought was a bit odd. As you probably already know, Unearth combine old school thrash, Swedish melodic death metal, and modern metal influences into a comprehensive whole that is hard to ignore. Unearth ripped through a concise, blistering set that barely lasted thirty minutes, but was satisfying enough. 

Every Time I Die was the only band on the bill that I had not heard save for a few tracks on samplers here and there that I might have heard (and I certainly couldn't have picked their songs out if my life depended on it). Based on the talk I heard in various circles before the show Every Time I Die was probably the most anticipated band of the evening – the band did not disappoint. Despite my unfamiliarity with Every Time I Die I really liked what I consider to be their really smart version of 'metalcore.' To my virgin ears it had more in common with 'screamo' bands that standard hardcore or even metalcore. Also, Every Time I Die had the ability to keep the riffs fairly distinctive and draw from a number of 'normal' musical idioms that brought a little familiarity to the songs without being derivative of 'typical' music. The band's thirty-five minute set seemed to be criminally short.

Although I have reviewed a few Victory Record artists over the past few years until recently there was really only one band on that label that I cared about. That band was Darkest Hour – but I liked them long before they hooked up with Victory Records. However, recently I've begun taking notice of another band on the Victory roster – that band is Atreyu. I was semi-impressed with the band's debut "Suicide Notes & Butterfly Kisses" and was very impressed with the band's sophomore output "The Curse."

Atreyu hit the stage with a rousing rendition of "You Eclipsed By Me" and continued to run through songs like "Corseting," "Bleeding Mascara," and "Demonology And Heartache." What I like best about Atreyu is their ability to fuse hardcore, punk, metal, and rock sensibilities into their own blend of original and emotional music. And based on Atreyu's performance this particular evening I can say that their blend translates in the live setting just as well as it does on record.

The thing about seeing a band live is it allows one to see how the band interacts with its fans. Just as Atreyu's heartfelt lyrics seem sincere so too does the band's relationship with their fans. Throughout the band's fifty-minute set the crowd seemed to be very much into Atreyu – and Atreyu seemed to give just as much love and respect back to the audience. Overall, the crowd had an overwhelmingly enthusiastic and positive response for Atreyu and it was apparent that quite a few people were there to see Atreyu and Atreyu only as a quite a few folks left the venue shortly after their set ended. Atreyu's set for me was an impressive introduction to a great new band.

Lamb Of God closed the night's festivities. Quite frankly I'm running out of good things to say about Lamb Of God. Lamb Of God ripped through a lot of their best known and loved material; in fact, the set was not too different from the one the band played the year prior at the Ottobar. However, this time around Lamb Of God treated the audience to three new songs on the soon to be released new album "Ashes Of The Wake." One of these new songs, "Omerta," was performed live for the first time ever. A few technical difficulties with microphones kept things interesting for vocalist Randy Blythe, but seeing as he gets his cathartic release through the band's songs he took the mike problems in good humor. In my eyes Lamb Of God have maintained their title of the ‘reigning kings of American metal" and I think greater things are in store for the band.

Overall, this show was one of the most sonically and musically balanced I've ever attended. The crowd was young and the enthusiasm was overflowing and infectious. And despite the fact that the band's were playing on an OzzFest off-night with a long trip to Pittsburgh the next day the bands gave it their all and no doubt enjoyed their time to stretch out their sets to more reasonable lengths.

Hail to Eric and Samantha for their company and good cheer. Hails, too, to Eric's brother and Samantha's brother for their bold participation in the evening's events.

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Copyright © 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.