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ConcertsMachine Head & Arch Enemy at Nokia Theatre in NYC 9/22/2007

Posted on Sunday, February 10 2008 @ 20:15:38 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

It was called "The Black Tyranny" Tour and it would find two powerhouses in today's Metal world sharing a co-headlining bill. This blockbuster tour de force brought the ferocity of Arch Enemy and Machine Head together and both would be supported by Metal up and comers Sanctity and Hardcore stars Throwdown. The nomme de guerre of the tour would be a combination of each headlining bands newest album titles as Arch Enemy's Rise of the Tyrant was melded with Machine Head's The Blackening" to become one formidable phrase.

The early start would find me missing Sanctity tonight but they are a band who I am not worried about never getting the chance to see again as I hear their name so much and am finding a continually building buzz around them. With Roadrunner Records as the label behind them I am almost certain that bigger and better tours are going to be a part of their immediate future. Throwdown would come up second and present that "Old-School Hardcore" meets "Thrash Metal" type of vibe. While I always respected the NYHC sound I have to say that I was never its biggest supporter or fan. In those years I leaned to the straight ahead Metal side. They were going over pretty good and while this crowd was not truly their own they were playing to them as if this was a headlining show that they were in charge of. The crowd was beginning their surfing during this short set.

Arch Enemy: When it comes to blazing displays of Melodic Death Metal, Sweden's Arch Enemy are one of the most exciting bands on the planet today. They are continually breaking the barriers of Extreme and Melodic aspects of the genre and given the adrenaline rush that one feels when hearing them on album, you can imagine what the reaction is like during a live show. Fronted by the hellish intensity of Angela Gossow, they never seem to disappoint when they assault the stage. Tonight's show would not only find the group standing proud on their latest effort "Rise Of The Tyrant", but it would also find them welcoming back guitarist Christopher Amott back into the fold. Amott took a leave of absence to pursue other interests for a couple of years and now has come home to his band, his fans and his unique additions to the Metal. His Brother Michael kept strong in his absence and they called upon Fredrik Akesson to help out with some guitar. Now back at the full command they could get down to business as if no time had passed at all and the best way to describe Arch Enemy performing is to think of a steamroller going over you. It's heavy, thunderous and takes no prisoners. The new CD would be available to fans on the Tuesday following this Saturday evening show so it made more sense for the band to only perform a couple of tunes from it and then concentrate on their back catalog. These songs were largely unknown with "Blood On Your Hands" and "Revolution Begins", but each seemed to go over rather well. They delivered the goods tonight and got to a large number of tracks that I continually play such as "Nemesis", "We Will Rise" and "Dead Eyes See No Future". I admit that I felt it stranger that Arch Enemy would be the direct support for Machine Head as opposed to headlining the gig, but either way a full set was presented and no one left the venue disappointed. I am sure that with the new release we will find many more shows for the band coming up so keep checking your area listings for this information.

Machine Head: I almost hate to admit it but I was never a follower of Machine Head's back in the day. I had no critical dislike of what they were up to and it was more about my not being able to listen to everything that was going on in Metal. That would change with their blockuster release in 2007; the critically acclaimed album entitled "The Blackening". It was safe to say that this album is probably the best of their career and found them stepping up to new Metal ground, maturing, and overall delivering an album that was intense and worthy from beginning to end. It was an album that proved once again that Machine Head was not a band to be dismissed or taken all that lightly when it comes to the dolling out of the Metal. Their headlining of this "Black Tyranny" tour would be preceded by the band's appearance on one of the Heaven And Hell reunion tours and while they only got a thirty minute set it was able to introduce them to even more fans and that worked out just fine. The sold out show at Nokia Theatre was the perfect cap on such a stellar album but it would not come without some disappointment as bassist Adam Duce would not be part of the tour based on his breaking his leg during a dirt bike accident. His replacement for the shows would be Hostility's Brandon Sigmund and he was certainly holding his own tonight. When the band came on it was insanity from minute one until the show was over. The crowd surfers were everywhere and the bodies were spilling over the fences into the security staffs arms and many landed on the photographers and other journalists who got to tread dangerously close to the action for the first three songs. This crowd was so wild it seemed as though it was raining beers in many sections of the room. After six minutes I was drenched and I think my camera took a hit as well. I know that the brews at Nokia are at least eight bucks a throw but seriously folks don't be throwing them. They serve you so much better on the inside of the body. Singer, guitarist, Rob Flynn was in command tonight and definitely relishing the power and reaction that was coming off the audience up to him on the stage. He deserved it of course having been at this for some time. The insanity being witnessed by Flynn and Demmel from the stage had to add some additional fire to the performance they were giving and despite having this new critical album to present, they instead only played two numbers from it and allotted the rest of the time they had to their back catalog of albums. It was really a solid set and crushed the whole audience who were absolutely nothing less than maniacs tonight. Flynn spoke to the crowd a few times and even tossed them a few beers. It was one of those nights and I am glad that I was a part of it. If you haven't already, make sure that you get a copy of "The Blackening" and try to catch the band on tour when they return. You will not be disappointed but just be careful where you stand if you are among the more reserved Metal heads out there.

Ken Pierce

Arch Enemy Set List:
1. Intro
2. Blood On Your Hands
3. Enemy Within
4. Dead Eyes See No Future
5. My Apocalypse
6. Out For Blood
7. Revolution Begins
8. Ravenous
9. Dead Bury Their Dead
10. Burning Angels
11. Nemesis
12. We Will Rise

Machine Head Set List:
1. Intro
2. Clenching The Fists Of Dissent
3. Imperium
4. Aesthetics Of Hate
5. Old
6. Halo
7. Take My Scars
8. Descend The Shaded Of Night
9. Davidian
10. Outro

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