Live Review: eOne Heavy Live! The Contortionist, Bodysnatcher, Enterprise Earth, Within The Ruins & Plague Years!
Hosted by Ethan Harrison from Great American Ghost, five bands on one live stream ticket for less than the price of a take away makes for a mouth watering prospect, especially as some of these bands have new material that has been released during the Great Plague which could be appearing live for the first time tonight and the variety in the line up means there is very much something for everyone. While the sets are live, the stream itself has been pre-recorded with each band chatting to the host after their time on stage and several different venues utilized. The show is sponsored by Downright Merch and Metal Sucks along with eOne themselves so while we suck down a Rockstar Juiced Energy Mango, make no mistake, s**t is about to get real heavy, real fast.
First up are Detroit Michigan quintet Plague Years who take the stage with Slayer and Suffocation shirts on and bring Death Metal influenced Crossover Thrash to the plate with “Play The Victim” and “Witness Hell” back to back from 2020’s “Circle of Darkness” setting the scene for the whole show. If you missed that one, it saw them reunite with engineer Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Enforced, Road Mutant) and Plague Years love a whammy bar drop solo, which is music to our ears. Tonight, the mix is on point and the rhythm section benefit as the band rampage through their set and while they’re not as animated as they would be in front of their usual drunken audience of Metal Heads crowd surfing, headbanging and stage diving, they are by no means lack luster. Each track is riff city with Tim Englehardt’s raspy dry throated vocals delivering the visceral hate of a man consumed by rage and the final solo of their set absolutely rips. Between the sets Harrison interviews each of the bands and Plague Years drop plenty of knowledge including sharing their love for OG Metal acts like Metallica, Slayer and Sepultura as well as their hate for playing their EP track “Infernal Torment” live [7.5/10]
Next up are Bodysnatcher who will be back in Europe as they join Within Destruction in September 2021 for the rescheduled “Yokai” headlining tour and the downtempo Deathcore Kings bring the slow pummeling rhythmic battery laden slabs of groove from the very start of their crushing set. It’s like getting hit over the head repeatedly by a concrete paving slab and loving every moment with breakdown after breakdown the stuff of legend. When Kyle Medina says “you’re going to want to get Grandma in the room for this one!” it’s a hilarious moment and “Consequence” is a real set highlight while “Twelve/Seventeen” goes off like a neutron bomb. Chris Whited’s backing vocals are so gnarly it’s unreal, his dedicated drum cam angle is a great watch, even through the light reflecting of the cymbals should come with a health warning. “Closer To Hell” closes out the set as four dudes in a blacked out venue start earthquakes across the globe with the sheer intensity of these cuts. During their interview with Harrison who they toured with during their last run it’s like old friends chatting away. The newest of these bands to sign to eOne, they may have just two singles but the last year has seen them go from 20k to 145k monthly listeners on Spotify which is remarkable [8/10]
We last saw Spokane, Washington Blackened Deathcore collective Enterprise Earth at Camden Underworld when they supported Rings of Saturn in February 2020 and a year on Dan Watson’s vocals are even more throat splitting than ever as he’s partially masked by a cloak that help protect his eyes from the blinding light show. One thing that’s really good about the Enterprise Earth live show is that they don’t cut the atmospheric introductions and the murky, darkness that swirls “Scars of the Past” in adds a haunting quality that raises the hairs on the back of your neck before the headbanging begins. Since 2014 they’ve been through so many band members that we hope this one has a chance to be more long term with Gabe Mangold, Rob Saireh and Brandon Zackey being incredibly tight tonight while new song “Foundation of Bones” is immense before “We Are Immortal” brings a wrecking ball to the venue. Mangold’s leads on “The Failsafe Fallacy” are eerily cool before the DJent thunder and jackhammer footwork rumble brings the downswings. Their interview brings the news that the band have an album in the works, self produced and recorded except for the drum which are being done with Jason Suecof (The Black Dahlia Murder, Death Angel, Trivium) in Florida and set for a 2021 release [9/10]
Westfield, Massachusetts Within The Ruins guitarist Joe Cocchi is on fire tonight, his barbed angular riffs bringing the DJent to Technical Metalcore while he constantly trades off with incredible leads. If it wasn’t for the fact they had six string bassist in Paolo Galang, you’d wonder how he was able to keep momentum. The hooks and video game leads are backed by thunderous rhythms with a frenetic energy that just doesn’t stop. Vocalist Steve Tinnon may have only been in the group for 3 years but absolutely nails the older cuts and set highlight has to be the jaw dropping “Enigma” which for the uninitiated references the theme music of both the Super Mario Brothers and Inspector Gadget. Resistance is futile. “Death of a Rockstar” raises the roof in the chat and the intensity, speed and accuracy of the guitar work simply doesn’t stop, “Hollow” bringing the 8-bit lead from Tetris with such fluidity that beggars belief. Their interview is hilarious; the story of Kevin “Drummer” McGuill buying a Smash Mouth record, taking it back due to an f word and then getting “Load” by Metallica and getting into Metal from there is just gold [10/10]
Progressive Metal Gods The Contortionist might be strange headliners for an event as heavy as this one but their lush textures are incredible and “Re-imagined” sounds huge thanks to a great mix. Really we need the Indianapolis Indiana collective at a venue like the Sydney Opera House or The Royal Albert Hall to get the best of them live, such is the richness of the sound that they create and while the chat calls for the heaviness of older works like “Primal Directive” the band instead transition into “Follow” from 2019’s “Our Bones” EP which is eerily beautiful before they get their wish with the schizophrenically eclectic “Geocentric Confusion“. It goes off like a bomb blast with the split personality of vocal contrast that Michael Lessard brings to it, the creepy synths painting over the more brutal guitar pasts before “Flourish” goes back even further with Tech-Metal riffs to die for. Lessard’s seamless transitions between unclean and clean vocal parts never fails to impress in the live arena and just as when we last saw them in support of Periphery on the “III” tour, they are spellbinding sonic perfection. The vocoder effects on “Integration” grab you every time, the odd time signatured guitars cutting a path to the unbridled joy that is both parts of “Language” performed back to back. The chat between Harrison and Lessard is an interesting one; 9 people rammed into a 15 seater van in the early days of touring sounds rough [10/10]