Act of Defiance, Allegaeon, InAeona – November 13, 2015 – Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn, NYMonday, 16th November 2015
Catching Allegaeon back in April (one of my first shows of 2015), it seemed appropriately fitting to bookend the year with Allegaeon once more in the live setting. Initially Act of Defiance, Allegaeon, and TBA, it was a rather pleasant when it was announced that Boston’s InAeona would be the opening act – an act I’ve tried to catch a few times but ended up missing for varied reasons.
InAeona hit the stage at around 9PM for this three-band billing. Much like seeing their now-labelmates So Hideous, the live experience of InAeona is all about atmosphere. All the lights vanished to start, with the band using a large amount of fog alongside blue and white stage lights to provide a rather fascinating presence. It must be said that the band has a great sense of lighting and utilizing it to enhance their performance. Adding to the atmosphere was the very emotive playing of guitarist/vocalist Bridge Laviazar and bassist Dave Soucy. You could practically channel the energy coming off of Laviazar as she belted out the lyrics. Playing a short set of songs, some highlights included “Ghosts,” “Soldier,” and “Bright Black,” among others. Not exactly a visceral experience (as would be had for the remainder of the evening), the best post-metal takes you out of the moment and makes you feel as if you on another plane, which is exactly what InAeona accomplished on this night.
Next up was Allegaeon. Currently making the rounds with new vocalist Riley McShane (of the massively underappreciated Son of Aurelius), it’s good to see that the band hasn’t lost a step since vocalist Ezra Haynes unfortunately left the band. Opening with a fantastic one-two punch of “Accelerated Evolution” and “Secrets of the Sequence,” it’s quite clear that Allegaeon has continued to better their live act. The goofy and fun guitar antics of Greg Burgess and Michael Stancel continue to be a highlight of the Allegaeon live set (as is their phenomenal playing skills), and it seems that McShane has already found his place within the group: not being a stranger to wildly dancing around during guitar solos, and going so far as to limbo beneath the team of Burgess and Stancel at one point. Not to mention his strong range of growls and screams, which were quite enunciated and powerful. The band’s ten song set included a solid bunch of cuts, such as “Behold (God I Am),” “Tartessos (The Hidden Xenocryst),” “Our Cosmic Casket,” “1.618,” and “Biomech.” But the clear treat would be that of their new song that is currently being road-tested, “Grey Matter Mechanics.” A lot of playful guitar going on with that one, and a good indicator that album number four will continue to push the band forward. If only they could catch a break (they had some pricey road woes earlier in the day) – this is a band that everyone should experience in the live setting.
Closing out the evening was Act of Defiance, a new band notable for the established members in its ranks: guitarist Chris Broderick (ex-Megadeth), drummer Shawn Dover (ex-Megadeth), bassist Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall), and vocalist Henry Derek (Scar the Martyr). Playing the entirety of their debut album, Birth and the Burial (though not in order), it’s easy to see why these established players have such a reputation. Broderick just has this essence about him – watching him stand on stage and just shred was a sight to behold. Well worth the price of admission. The rest of the band didn’t slouch either, with Derek enticing the crowd and getting them involved. The band’s material lends itself well to the live arena, offering a blend of European and American metal that’s hard to really categorize (not really spot on but Nevermore is a good comparison in some regards). One thing is for sure, with the talent involved here, they’ll be taking the live venues by storm as we move into 2016.