w/ Born of Osiris, I See Stars, After The Burial, Upon A Burning Body, Bad Omens
The Regency Ballroom
San Francisco, CA
December 4, 2016
When most bands wish to celebrate something, they'll embark on a ten-year anniversary tour. Getting the routing and events coordinated for something of that magnitude seems to be a Herculean task. Now imagine trying to do a ten-year anniversary tour for a label, with six bands that highlight both emerging and top-billed artists that call the label home. Enter Sumerian Records, a record label specializing in heavy music across the board, founded in 2006 by Ash Avildsen. Since its inception, it's boasted artists that represent the vast spectrum of the metal community, from metalcore (Asking Alexandria), to post-hardcore (I See Stars), to deathcore (Veil of Maya). To celebrate the tremendous success that the label has received over the past ten years, they decided to pack together six of their best artists and put them on tour together, dubbed '10 Years in the Black', headlined by none other than who could be considered the band's most well-known artist, North Yorkshire, England's Asking Alexandria.
The six-band tour kicked off with a twenty-five minute opening set from Bad Omens, introducing the crowd to one of the label's most recent additions, and a great deal of energetic metalcore. For the amount of time that they had on the stage, they seemed to do a nice job of catching the crowd's attention.
Perhaps the most notable scene stealer of the entire show was presented in the form of San Antonio, TX's Upon A Burning Body. The band performed with the tenacity and intensity of a headlining band, grabbing the crowd by the scruff of their necks and making sure they heard them loud and clear. The crowd in attendance reacted the way they would to a headliner, opening up circle pits as wide as the GA floor and screaming the words back in unison when prompted.
After The Burial brought a treat to the San Francisco Bay Area with their traditional offering of intensifying "djent" and progressive metal. Adrian Oropeza was introduced as the new bass player of the band, and it should be noted that Oropeza is from right here in the Bay Area, previously performing with San Jose's own Aethere. The band were in top-form, and it was evident that the crowd loved it.
The next act, Warren, MI's I See Stars, was an act that I was completely sure would win over the crowd that was there to see the acts more on the "djent" side of the bill, but I must say that they appeared to do a splendid job of shutting up the naysayers. The metal/electronic based band opened with a track from their newest record, Treehouse, before leading straight into "Ten Thousand Feet", a highly revered track from 2013's New Demons. Pulsating electronic beats, high-pitched vocals, and chugging metal breakdowns reverberated throughout the walls of the venue, much to the excitement of fans in attendance.
I believe out of every band on the bill that evening, Born of Osiris was the one band I had never seen. Their music was by far the most aggressive of the evening, giving fans that one last dosage of energy before our headliners took the stage and laid it all out on the table for us. The band's deathcore stylings were an immense hit with fans, and the pit appeared to be constantly moving throughout the duration of their set.
By the time Asking Alexandria took the stage, fans were more than ready. Opening with "Welcome" and "Dear Insanity", the two starting tracks from their 2011 sophomore album Reckless & Relentless. While there was a general excitement throughout the venue, there was also a massive amount of anticipation as to what the return of original vocalist Danny Worsnop, known for being "on and off" in the band due to various personal issues, would bring. By the time the band kicked in, it honestly felt like a new band. I had seen them perform in 2013 on their "From Death To Destiny" Tour at the very same venue. While they sounded good, something was a bit off upon further re-examination of the show. The '10 Years in the Black' Tour proved that Asking Alexandria is a band that could have a healthy career in the rock industry and stick around for a very, very long time.
The band's set comprised of several songs off of Reckless and Relentless, followed by a journey into the material from their third record From Death to Destiny. Their most recent effort, 2016's The Black, was omitted completely from the performance (slightly ironic given that the tour was named partly after the band's record). With vocalist Denis Stoff out of the band (who recorded vocals and toured in support of The Black), it's likely that this material won't be seeing the light of day on stage. This is a situation that could be liked to Chiodos' omission of any material with vocalist Brandon Bolmer, who performed only on the band's third record Illuminaudio, before original vocalist Craig Owens returned to take his place.
With that being said, the material that was performed sounded immaculate, given that I've seen this band over the years give both spectacular and horrendous performances. It pleases me to see these guys in a new light, clearly enjoying what they're doing, keeping themselves under control, and playing heavy music the way it should be performed: loud and powerful. The band finished with four tracks from what could be considered their most coveted album, 2009's Stand Up And Scream. I thought the crowd was insane during the openers. When "Not The American Average Came On?" Forget it. Pure insanity.
Born Of Osiris
I See Stars
After The Burial
Upon A Burning Body