By Brent Michael, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: The Orpheum, Tampa, Florida–November 10, 2018
Are you looking for a nice relaxing night out, some gentle melodies, articulate and sensitive vocals with enormous range, and some amazingly intricate arrangements of harmony and instruments? If so, then GTFO! We got hard, driving, thrashing, testosterone-drenched, pounding drums and shredding guitars, and guttural screaming vocals that will give your nightmares their own nightmares! Frenzied energy exploding from the stage and oozing from the pores of the crowd, a wild pit of human vipers bent of mutual destruction, beer and who knows what other liquids sloshing across the floor as said vipers nonchalantly smash and crash into each other in the central pit! You want sissy music? Go somewhere else, ya pussy!
Traitors hit the stage with a bang, whipping the crowd into an ever-growing mini-frenzy of anticipation. After a half-hour or so of sludgecore metal, the lead singer politely asked the audience not to come up on stage and grab the guitarist’s microphone, to which someone replied “Fuck you,” resulting in a verbal tussle and an ejection by security. Now that’s entertainment! There are at least three bands with the name Traitors; this Florida-based one consists of Tyler Shelton – Vocals, Alan De La Torre – Guitar, and Stephen Arango – Drums. For this night or tour, whichever, they also borrowed a guitarist from The Agony Scene, who continued the eardrum assault, but caused a bit of confusion because their Facebook page only lists three members. And I wish they hadn’t asked the lighting guy for “minimal lighting,” because it definitely made it harder to get photos that were not blurry, dark, or excessively grainy!
As mentioned previously, they were followed by The Agony Scene, metal meisters from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Formed in 2000, the band now consists of original member and lead guitarist Chris Emmons, original bassist turned vocalist Mike Williams, rhythm guitarist Brian Hodges, and bassist Jay White. I’ll note that if your thing is old school metal-style vocals, none of these bands is for you. All the bands have vocalists from the growl and scream school of vocals, so fans of Motorhead will feel more at home than fans of Judas Priest or Led Zeppelin. The energy was definitely building as the co-headliners took the stage!
Fit For An Autopsy
Jersey City, New Jersey spawned Fit For An Autopsy in 2008. Current members include Joe Badolato – Vocals, Will Putney – Guitar, Patrick Sheridan – Guitar, Tim Howley – Guitar, Peter Spinazola – Bass Guitar, and Josean Orta – Drums. This deathcore six-pack wouldn’t seem to fit in a place called the Garden State, and ironically they’re not fit for an autopsy, because they moved around too much for any medical examiner! Although, like many bodies being autopsied, there was a piece missing! Apparently one of the three guitarists stayed behind for this show/tour, or maybe he just got stage fright, it’s a mystery! I’m suspecting it was Will Putney missing, as he’s both in another band and a successful producer, mixer, and engineer for other bands, but it’s just a guess. The band certainly didn’t let his absence slow them down any!
Last, but certainly not least, Unearth was unleashed on the crowd, and earned their position as headliner. Energetic is an understatement for this crew, they spent the entire set in constant motion! And their fans are so appreciative, they built them a fansite! Not just another band out of Boston, the band’s core has been together since 1998! Trevor Phipps – Vocals, Ken Susi – Guitar, and Buz McGrath – Guitar, have been together since the beginning, though Nick Pierce – Drums – has been around since 2012, and Chris O’Toole – Bass – joined in 2014, the band meshed well both instrumentally and in choreography, keeping the stage in a frenzy of controlled madness as well as bringing the crowd to a peak of excitement! The band had plenty of material to draw from, having put out a new album every 2-4 years, and much of that live energy has been captured on the Alive from the Apocalypse DVD, which went gold in Canada and debuted at #13 in the US. Released in 2008 as a two-DVD plus bonus CD set, the Unearth historical legacy was examined in the documentary portion of the DVD. “After an awe-inspiring 15 [now 20!] years of blazing trails and dominating stages, Unearth is now institutionalized as a relentless force in heavy metal, standing the test of time with consistently triumphant creative output, tireless road warrior resilience, Blue Collar style workmanship and a resolute determination to deliver the goods.” Couldn’t say it better!