C O L U M N S
Eviscera / Unleash the Archers / Azathoth
On occasion, I'll consider my own preference of metal show venues. I've been in
everything from theaters to basements to big stadiums. The Golden Pony is a decent-sized
club in Harrisonburg, VA, with two full bars and a professional sound stage with original
music shows. Tonight was three metal acts and two and a half hours of headbanging
heaviness. The original lineup was supposed to be a power metal double punch of Hibria
with Unleash the Archers opening, but sometimes Fortune is a tricky god that takes from us
with one hand and gives with the other. Due to circumstances with Hibria staying in the
U.S., they had to back out and the show became Unleash the Archers with Virginia bands
Eviscera and Azathoth.
Dressing the part in all black with sections of custom leather armor (to protect her forearms and shoulders from us, the crazed metal horde), Brittney commanded the center of the stage with excitable charisma. Aside from a few water breaks during slower passages, she was always in motion and in our faces or leaning way back to accentuate her jaw-dropping vocal wails. With foot on monitor, a lone wind machine kept her black 'n red/purple hair in continuous billowing mode when she wasn't whipping it about. She led the charge and we all fell in line as her iron army with fists and metal horns in the air. When the vein popped out on her forehead, shit was serious.
To answer some various social media comments questioning whether Brittney can hit the
same notes live that she sings on record--she absolutely can! Check out the brief,
arm-length away show clips below for a taste of her note holding and vocal vibrato. Or
open another browser tab and do a search for UTA live on YouTube. She is a phenomenal,
utterly stunning singer. With three guitars behind her at top volume, she needs to be. I
was truly only able to process her skills by later viewing the short video clips I shot
with my camera and I'm kicking myself for not having more.
An oft-overlooked member of any band is the drummer and Scott Buchanan deserves a lot of credit for his precision drum work. "I don't really try to play power metal-style drums", said the founding member whose playing was surprisingly closer to an extreme drummer with plenty of timing and rhythm changes that elevated the music past the simpler Euro-power metal out there. His illegible band logo shirt may have been a giveaway to what he does listen to and I believe a drum head was busted during a latter song.
Partway through the set, the crowd caught on to the music and every rivithead in the club came over to witness some epic battle metal from the far Western end of Canada. Seeing UtA live exceeded my expectations and if I sound very high on the group, it's because I am. This is a superb hybrid metal band with tons of potential. At times, it felt like I could've been standing there seeing '86 Helloween or '94 Blind Guardian; a band on the cusp of a much larger potential. Let's hope that a UTA live album or dvd is a consideration for the future...maybe a virtual reality concert...j/k, for now. Get on it, Scotty B! Look for UtA on tour now with fellow Canadian band, Crimson Shadows.
Brittney Slayes - Vocals
Scott Buchanan - Drums
Grant Truesdell - Guitar, Scream vocals
Andrew Kingsley - Guitar, Growling vocals
Kyle Sheppard - Bass
Frozen Steel, Hail Of The Tide, Test Your Metal, Tonight We Ride, Daughters Of Winterstone, Realm Of Tomorrow, Dreamcrusher, Time Stands Still, General Of The Dark Army
Headlining act and local legends, Eviscera, are a young band who formed in 2010 in Harrisonburg, Virgina. In August of 2011, they released their first full length album "Blood of the Ancients". Members of Eviscera have shared the stage with The Faceless, Veil of Maya, This Time its war, Neuraxis, Abigail Williams, Decrepit Birth, Fuck the Facts, Zoroaster, and more. They are only a three-piece, but they made quite a lot of noise reminicent of early In Flames or At The Gates...harsh music with a touch of progressiveness. Lead singer and guitarist Patrick Weatherholtz looked a bit like a young Phil Anselmo and the crowd often broke out into chants of Eviscera! Eviscera! Eviscera! I'd like to say more, but I was getting into a heated discussion with a couple glasses of liquid liver failure by then.
Patrick Weatherholtz - Vocals/Guitar
Eric Bange - Vocals/Bass
Jr Roberts - Drums
Andrew Albertson - Guitar
Unstable Affliction, Tomb of Rebirth, Cold Mountain Pt. 1, Harvester, Apolyon, The Beheading.
Eviscera, UtA, and Azathoth were one of those shows where everyone seemed to be having a great time and after each set the bands were willing to mingle about, take pics with fans, share drinks, and personalize all the merch sold. It was a dedicated crowd with the same interest--handbanging and having a blast.
To answer the question of what kind of show I prefer--I like aspects of all of them. But whether there is 6, 60, 666, 6,000 or 60,000 in the audience, I would trade all the flash pots and explosions in the world just to shake the hand of someone whose music had even a minor affect on my life.
Somewhere in a town near you, there are stars in the making that you can help raise up into the pinacle of the sky. Early Iron Maiden, early Iced Earth, early Pantera--they are all out there right now playing smaller venues. For less than the price of an album download today you might see one of tomorrow's superstars or at the least, a band that could become a legend in your own collection.
SUPPORT UNDERGROUND METAL!
[Other Maximum Metal Columns]
RANDOM ACTS OF METAL