There have been a lot of great shows so far this year but Tuesday night was my first time at a metalcore show in a long while. Metalcore is one of those genres that I hold near and dear to my heart. I’m not the type to listen to it all day, every day, but, I will never pass up a chance to see it happen on a stage in front of me due to the sheer power and passion that comes with these shows. That was exactly the case as the sold-out Varsity Theater on Tuesday night as We Came As Romans’ tour rolled through town.
Canadian metalheads Brand of Sacrifice wasted no time in laying down the law on Tuesday night. They leaped into their set with an undeniable sense of power, fury, and passion. Although I was supposed to be doing photos of this band during their first three songs, I felt like I spent more time with my camera just held in a stationary position in front of me while my jaw hit the ground. I really can not explain to you the amount of power that came with this band. If it helps explain it at all, by the third song, the band had the sold-out audience doing a pretty epic wall of death. I know that a wall of death is a little cliche these days and it’s as if everyone is doing them but the fact that the opening act was able to pull off a pretty respectable one just within a couple of songs of their set really says a lot about Brand of Sacrifice’s set.
The vocals are this band is absolutely insane. From growls to screeches, everything was intense and stood out among the heavy instrumentation happening throughout the thirty-minute set. It was truly a flawless performance but, more importantly, flawless sound. It felt like I was listening to a recording if I’m being quite honest and it has been a long time since I have experienced that with a live metalcore band. I don’t know what is in the water in Canada these days but I was sold on Brand of Sacrifice and am already craving a return performance from them.
There for a while, it felt like Erra was here on a monthly basis and I sadly took advantage o that. It’s not that I got sick of seeing Erra live, more that I just always knew they would be back soon. Well, that caught up with me and Tuesday’s show was actually their first time back in the Twin Cities in around four years. Erra is not a local band– they are actually from Alabama– but they kind of feel like hometown heroes in an odd way. Minneapolis just seems to have claimed this band as ours and that was made evident by the way the audience was so involved in their set on Tuesday.
Throughout the forty-five-minute set, audience members were seen truly having an emotional and religious experience. With hands in the air and mouths wide open, there wasn’t a moment throughout Erra’s set where the energy and admiration floating from the audience to the stage faltered. Another thing that never faltered was the talent on stage. Much like the music of Brand of Sacrifice, there were times throughout Erra’s set when I had to remind myself that I was watching the band perform right in front of me, not just listening to a recording. Okay, that’s dramatic. Obviously I know they were right in front of me because they were giving off loads of energy but I think you get what I’m trying to say here.
Whereas Brand Of Sacrifice’s music was just straight-up heavy and intense with little rest, Erra’s music focuses a bit more on the beauty of the progressive metal scene. The balance that this band has found between intense screamed vocals and beautiful melodic vocals is truly something that sets them apart from other bands in the scene. Although the audience was eating it all up, it was clear that they were ready to push and shove their way through the heavier parts, and by the time Erra ended their set with “Snowblood”, the audience had turned into a sweaty mess in a gorgeous way.
Both Brand of Sacrifice and Erra make for hard bands to follow up but if anyone was going to do it, it was We Came As Romans. Much like Erra, I feel like I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen WCAR live but I will absolutely keep coming back as long as they do. This Michigan metalcore act has been around for decades having gotten their start back in 2005. Since then, they have been notorious for their huge live shows, endless amounts of energy during said live shows, and their well-produced and rehearsed music.
I got exactly what I expected from WCAR on Tuesday night– a flawless show full of plumes of smoke, energy, and love that floated back and forth between the audience and the stage. This band has been through a lot including the tragic death of a member and it’s clear how much the fans respect them for carrying on after that. I caught one mention of Kyle Pavone (the member who passed) and instantly felt a heaviness take over the entire audience. It was a beautiful yet tiny moment in a night full of emotional power but one that will absolutely stick with me.
Although I love metalcore music live, as I mentioned, it’s not something that I listen to on the regular so I sadly do not know enough to tell you what songs the band played on Tuesday or even how old they were but I can tell you that every song seemed to be hitting the audience just right. I know that the band did play some tracks from their new release ‘Darkbloom’ due to them announcing the tracks but I loved that, beyond that, I never would have noticed they were new songs. The sound was the same as it always has been with WCAR– loud, powerful, and aggressive and the audience responded the same way as if it’s a song that meant everything to everyone.
I’ve been to a lot of amazing shows but I think I forgot how in love I am with this scene in particular and how badly I needed a good ol’ fashioned metalcore show.