Aristeia, Wrath of Vesuvius, Bad Taste, Ænimus, Sisyphean Conscience, Among Our Own, Cobalt Café, August 4, 2013
What happens when touring bands collide? A summer explosion of progressive death metal that will leave you reeling – especially if you are lucky enough to witness the sonic devastation within the walls of the Cobalt Café. A Sunday night in the otherwise sleepy Canoga Park burst alive with a ferocious energy, and you could hear the mighty fury all the way down at the other end of the block. One touring package featured two bands with unusual monikers – Ænimus and Sisyphean Conscience – it was fun watching peeps try and pronounce the names at the door, but after seeing these amazingly unsigned entities live, these are the types of performances that establish ardent fans bases. Mediaskare sub-label Rite of Passage Records was represented by the later appearances of Wrath of Vesuvius and Aristeia. And as for local talent, Among Our Own and Bad Taste were on the bill to demonstrate the dynamic metal presence to be found within the City of Angels. And now on with the show…
Among Our Own
Among Our Own took to the Cobalt stage at the early 7:15 hour, awakening the metal Gods and setting the pace for what would be a night of tremendously punishing in-your-freakin-face metal. A newer band on the local music scene, there is a good deal of promise to be found in this talented Los Angeles based band. The sonic offering was four songs – Mind of a Maniac, The Crucifix, The Phoenix, and Face Of A King – displaying a good deal of ambitious and drive. The collection of musicians clearly possess a varied display of musical styles, featuring Timothy Tran on vocals, Erick “Anarchy” Unzueta on guitar, Jesus Melgar on bass and vocals, and Chapi Zamudio on drums. At first look, one definitely witnesses a band who could aspire to conquests above and beyond the local music scene. They need to remain focused and committed when performing live, because when they are in the midst of unleashing their venomous songs, these guys are on fire! You can bet Highwire Daze will be checking out this band again in the future, and so should you!
The first of the touring packages were now about to take the stage. And after witnessing their sets, one has to ask just how in the hell Ænimus and Sisyphean Conscience remain unsigned entities? Relapse or Metal Blade should come a-calling on both these bands immediately! First things first, as it was time to meet up with the progressively technical artistry of Sisyphean Conscience. Stumble upon the pronunciation band name if you must, but this Portland, Oregon based outfit is sure to leave you breathless. Fans of acts such as Veil Of Maya and Periphery are destined to uncover a lifelong favorite when encountering the chaotic reveries of Sisyphean Conscience. Performing selections from their independent release entitled Eternalites, it was abundantly clear that these talented musicians from the Pacific Northwest were mesmerizing the Cobalt Café attendees. The superb, tighter than hell musicianship was courtesy of Taylor Gorman on vocals, Blaine Brun on guitars, Austin Haag on bass, and Garrett Haag on drums. When the closing refrains of Claptrap engulfed the room with its relentless refrains, one could easily see that Sisyphean Conscience had conquered the City Of Angels.
If you were physical exhausted after witnessing the stunning live show of Sisyphean Conscience, try imagining yourself as SC’s drummer Garrett Haag. Pulling double duty as the fill-in for Ænimus, it was back to the stage for Garrett, who is somehow managing to pull off two high energy sets for the entire tour! Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Ænimus live presentation is staggering, literally spilling off the Cobalt stage and onto the floor with a fiery vengeance. Performing songs from their just released Transcend Reality magnum opus, Ænimus take the listener on a wild journey with a colossal barrage of sound that is wondrous to behold. Highlights of the set included Convictions and The Awakening. The dual guitar assault force of Brian James (Deebs) and Sean Swafford send it all into the cosmos while bassist Seth Stephens and aforementioned drummer Garrett Haag make up an absolutely tremendous rhythm section. And right in your face unleashing an unearthly barrage of guttural growls is Matt Wills – together the Ænimus crew is ready to take on the big leagues. Fans of The Faceless and Born of Osiris must absolutely explore the vast caverns of the rapturous Ænimus and prepare to be thoroughly captivated.
Is the show over after being assaulted in the face by two brilliant technical death touring collectives? I should think not! Three more bands to go, including an appearance by a brand new local band who goes by the wonderful name of Bad Taste. Performing hardcore anthems with a decidedly punk rock influence in tow, Bad Taste presented the Cobalt crowd with a slice of heavy music that left quite an impression. Songs such as No Hope, This Is Hell, and Hail Mary absolutely raged, clearly presenting an exciting group ready to make an indelible stamp on the local music scene. I was unable to find a Facebook page on these guys, but judging from these humble beginnings, there is to be a lot of Bad Taste and killer tunes to found within the clubs of Los Angeles and beyond. The audience they brought it were enraptured by what this dynamic Bad Taste on the rise. Stay tuned!
Wrath Of Vesuvius
It was now time for the next set of touring acts to perform – both were based out of California and on Rite of Passage Records. First up was the mighty Wrath Of Vesuvius from Manteca / San Jose, whose exhilarating set absolutely sent the room spinning. Their explosive debut full length recording for Rite of Passage was released on July 23rd, and within a live setting, Wraith Of Vesuvius unleash the good with a fierce sense of conviction. Highlights included heavier than hell renditions of Regarding Unity, Swarm Of Locusts, and Somber Silence. One notices right away the ferocious performance of front man Trevor Peeples, taking over the stage like a man possessed by otherworldly influences. The guitar work of Marcus Vasquez and Jeremy Larsen is imaginative and compelling, both axe men delivering the technical riffs with a magnetic force. The powerhouse rhythm section is driven into your face courtesy of bassist Taylor Preston and drummer Joseph Serrano. A remarkably solid performance from a band headed straight up into the technical metal stratosphere. Be sure to witness the Wrath Of Vesuvius while they are still raging within the smaller venues.
Headlining the evening was Aristeia from right here in the San Fernando Valley, closing everything out on a wildly aggressive note. The pit went into overdrive as Aristeia launched into their own vibrant brand of metal and hardcore. Performing songs from the forthcoming Rite Of Passage debut Demoralization Of The Luminary, Aristeia’s set was over the top and through the Cobalt roof! Aristeia may be flying under the radar at the moment, but expect the band to gain a good deal of fans of notoriety, especially if their exciting live shows are indicative of greater glories ahead. The resourceful Aristeia lineup consists of Jordan ‘Kirby’ Ibarra on vocals, Hugo Vasquez on guitar, Tyler Lozano on guitar, Hugo Carreon on bass, and Mark Pacheco on drums. Such an incredible response from the audience, who even at the late hour, kept everything intense either by singing along fervently or slamming it out on the Cobalt floor. And thus ended another raging night within the wilds of Canoga Park. This memorable night was courtesy of the folks at Twohearts Promotions!
(Review and Photos by Kenneth Morton)