Heavy Metal was present in a big way this past February 2nd when some of the biggest and most respected acts in the scene hit the stage at the Gramercy Theatre. Ringworm, Black Crown Initiate, Iron Reagan, Exhumed and Voivod all came out in support of Napalm Death for a night of full of adrenaline pumped moshpits.
Iron Reagan hyped up the crowd with the shouts of lead singer Tony Foresta (also of Municipal Waste). Fellow members Landphil Hall, Mark Bronzino, Rob Skotis, and Ryan Parrish all brought their own unique energy to the set. Parrish on drums added the thrash element to the bands sound while having two guitarists (Bronzino and Hall) gave it an extra heavy element. The bands fast, heavy and short songs brought out a bursting energy from the crowd. The quintet might have been the most energetic of the night and left a pleasing impression on the audience.
The brutal Exhumed was next, with their own sound they like to call “Gore Metal”, a genre which revolutionized the death metal scene in the early 90’s. The genre, while still being death metal, incorporates a horror theme with its “gore” lyrics. Lead singer Matt Harvey brings a certain kind of sophistication to the scene. With 25 years in the business, not only does he have an extensive vocal range and impressive guitar skills to show for it, but he also exudes confidence with the way he can control the energy from the stage. While announcing the bands new release, (which is a re-recording of their album Gore Metal in celebration of the albums 25 year anniversary) Matt Harvey half jokingly apologized for re-releasing the same record. Although their songs might be 25 years old, the audience continues to show enjoyment and support for a band who continues to hold strong.
The almighty of Progressive-Metal, VOIVOD came out shortly after with their own unique style dubbed “Space-Metal.” From the beginning of Voivod’s career, the band brought a new sound to the thrash metal genre, through their album, Killing Technology, which helped expand the Progressive-Metal genre tremendously. The continuous use of different time signatures within the same songs (mostly contributed by their drummer, Away) and spontaneous guitar riffs, might make it hard for listeners to comprehend. Though this unique approach to writing music is what contributed to the formation of their very own genre, Space-Metal.
Although highly underrated, the bands influence in music today cannot be denied, nor can their originality. Out of all the bands of the night, Voivod was the only one to bring the progressive metal element into the mix. While it was a bit hard for fans to start moving within the crowd, perhaps because of the bands sound, there were some true Voivod fans present who showed their support for the band by singing back their lyrics. Until finally the entire crowd began chanting along with the band, screaming “VOIVOD!” at every chorus line of their song self-titled “Voivod.” Even after 32 years, the band continues to remain original within the metal scene.
The headliners of the night, Napalm Death, came out to a fuller crowd and cheering fans who had been waiting for hours to see them perform. Napalm Death may be amongst the most respected and acclaimed metal acts in the scene today. Their lengthy career span, critical acclaim on each album release and their credit for redefining the grindcore genre, has put them at the top amongst some of the biggest acts in metal. Not only does their music hold substance in terms of skill, but their consciously aware lyrics are often politically driven which make them stand out amongst the rest. Fans recognize this and gave them their full energy and attention, while creating a huge moshpit within the crowd. Napalm Death very humbled thanked the rest of the acts and fans for their continuous recognition and support.