January 29th was yet another Sonoma County Metal party for all those who showed up to the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa, CA. The bill was a local selection featuring Shadow of Eve, Damascus, Hellbender, Oden Sun and Thought Vomit. Also, I do believe the Arlene Francis Center was a great place to host a metal show such this one.
Upon arriving at the venue, I noticed that the metal maniacs were already hanging around wearing their metal shirts and looking ready to mosh around. I mean, Thought Vomit was playing, so if there was not a mosh pit people would have been asking for refunds. Of course, they would be the band to turn the place up side down and I shall talk about that later in this article.
Starting off the show was the young up and coming act, Shadow of Eve. Unfortunately, due to the crappy parking situation in the area around the Arlene Francis Center, I missed half of Shadow of Eve’s set. Though the portion of the band’s set I did catch was impressive. I remember when I first saw them back in October of last year. They put on a strong show for a young band. Their performance at the Arlene Francis Center was quite enjoyable. The band sounded tighter and the songs are starting to take form. The riffs are straightforward hard hitting in style and they even incorporated some epic dual guitar leads. If they keep working on those type of guitar compositions and coming up with catchy heavy metal songs, I believe they will become another solid act in the area.
Second band of the night was Damascus. Their vicious style of death metal is fairly simple, yet soul crushing at times. The band’s vocalist had really good stage presence and his range was massive. Some of his growls were unforgiving in nature and added to the band’s overall sound. I thought the guitar work by both guitarists was solid, however, I felt like the riffs were at times repetitious. Also, some of the leads were getting drowned out by the other instruments. Still, the energy that the band conveyed connected with the audience and people were getting more aggressive in the pit.
Before the third act, Hellbender, I decided to check out the outside patio area of the venue and catch up with some friends. I noticed as I was in the patio area that people from other bands in the area were passing out flyers for their upcoming shows and networking with their fellow metal comrades. This is just another reason why the Sonoma County Metal Community is so tight and supportive of the scene. Returning to the venue floor area Hellbender was smashing away at a wicked sounding jam. The brutal quartet threw out intense riffs and bombastic rhythms that got the people banging their heads and spilling their beers on my shoe. The high point of the band’s set in my opinion was when they cranked out a bad ass cover of Mötley Crüe’s, “Live Wire.” People were singing along whether they were young or old and the band did a great job handling such a classic song.
Oden Sun came up next and I was glad to see them live again. This was their CD release show for the EP, “Impeding Doom.” The band is composed of veteran musicians who play a killer style of traditional metal. Singer Lance Ozanix always provides an epic touch to the band’s set and was with sword in hand as he took to the stage. The guitar playing of both Julian Kidd and Jason Wright was spot on and the riffs just delivered in relentless fashion. I think the new songs sound really good and the band’s veteran presence is something to take note of if there are any young bands looking to improve their sound and stage presentation for that matter. Watching Lance walk around giving evil facial expressions during guitar solos and waving a sword in the area to the Norse Gods is definitely an exciting live experience.
The final band of the night was Thought Vomit, a band who I have seen often in the past year and is never an act to disappoint. I think the only thing disappointing was how some of the fans were hanging back during their set, because Thought Vomit simply destroyed during their performance. The people up front started pushing and moshing right away when the band cranked out, “Wreck Shop.” Singer Spencer Clark took advantage of the wireless mic by running through the crowd in a state of complete euphoria. Guitarist Chris Meyer shredded away and would even walk off stage and into the crowd during songs. Jordie and Clay held down the rhythm section and injected more aggression into the Thought Vomit sound. Some other enjoyable songs of the night were, “Punk’s Brutal Retaliation,” and “This is Your God.” With fans falling over after too much moshing and beer, the band closed the set with a brutal new track that will hopefully get recorded soon so more people can hear it.
At the end of the night, I think everyone had an enjoyable time and the scene once again showed support for the talented acts who took to the stage at the Arlene Francis Center. No matter if it was a young band like Shadow of Eve, or a veteran group such as Oden Sun, the music kept the crowd going and always wanting more. Sonoma County Hardcore and Metal alive and kicking with more shows to come, so try to make your way down!
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