Divine Heresy/ Alabaster Morgue/ In the Wake of Suffering/ Hell's Eden 7 November 2007 The Black Sheep Colorado Springs, CO By Ryan Starr On the second of November I came back from yet another deployment. This time I was gone for six months. Now if you thought the three months of metal abstinence I mentioned in my Demiricous review sounded bad, then you understand that six months of no shows was torture. But even though I was in serious need of a fix, I have to admit was a bit skeptical about going to this show. If any of you read the General Metal discussion board, you probably saw my thread about Divine Heresy. I had never heard of them before seeing this show listed on my favorite venues website. And the responses I got from the forum regulars didnt help things much either. As a matter of fact, the only reason I decided to go was to see the local bands and say hi to some familiar faces. But you know what, Im kind of glad I went, because Divine Heresy werent as bad as I thought, but I still have some complaints, and Ill get to that at the end. First on the bill were local slam death metal band Hells Eden, who were featuring a new line up since I last saw them, to include a new a new guitarist and drummer, both of them just kids, and a new lead vocalist. Now one thing I love more than anything in the world is to see kids getting involved in music and playing live. And they did a great job. Guitarist MacKenzie Millis kept up with the more experienced Jimmy Ernst with no problem. Actually, Kenzie is the better showman of the two. Drummer Tanner Griffin did a good job laying down the rhythm. And although his drumming was somewhat rudimentary, he does a great job setting a groove to pretty groovy metal. He probably couldnt keep up with a band like Cryptopsy, but he doesnt need to. Hells Eden is about mud stomping and fist slamming death metal, where groove and heaviness take precedent over technicality and brutality. And overall I think they succeeded. Next were a grind band I had never heard of before, and they go by the name of In the Wake of Suffering. What we have here is some pretty standard grind, similar to Nasum. When they got on stage I was almost certain they were going to be bad, they just had that goofy look to them, like they didnt belong at a metal show. But I was pleasantly surprised. The songs were well written and everything came over the PA semi-clearly. Probably the most interesting part of the set was when the bass player broke his E string mid song. Now instead of stopping mid song, he toughed it out and tried to down tune the rest of the strings and figure it out on the fly. And kudos to him for adapting to the situation. After the song was over, Viktor of Alabaster Morgue leant him his bass so they could finish the set. After some minor adjustments, which actually bothered me because you shouldnt mess with a persons settings, they got back into the set and finished strongly. The band actually sounded better with the Warwick leant to him. It just goes to show that gear DOES make a difference in how a band sounds. If you use crap gear, youre going to sound like crap. Third up were local heavyweight Alabaster Morgue. Everything about this band is polished and ready for the big time. Theyve got the look, the attitude, and the sound to be seriously considered by someone like Century Media or Nuclear Blast. Theyre brand of modern gothic black metal reminds me of an Americanized Cradle of Filth. Now that may not appeal to most of the readers on this site, but make no mistake about it, these guys are solid and they care about their music. They have excellent musicians, especially Viktor, who lays down some great bass work. But there is one member of the band that bothers me a bit, and its their singer. The rest of the band creates a great energy and he doesnt do anything with it. If he only got a little more involved in the set, no label could ignore them. Also, I think his screaming voice is a bit too high, but that may come down to personal taste. None the less, I think the one thing standing in this bands way of making it big is the singer. Lastly we have the band nearly everyone was there to see, Divine Heresy. Divine Heresy features Fear Factory guitarist, and metal heavyweight Dino Cazeras. Now keep in mind that I had never heard these guys before the show. Not so much as a sample track on Myspace. They started off the set strongly. Both Dino and Joe Payne, the bassist, laid down some great metal and judging by their activity on stage, they are very passionate about the music. But then something happened that I didnt expect. The singer, Tommy Vext, opened his mouth and absolutely killed everything. How could something so good end up being so bad? Its not that hes a bad vocalist, although his clean singing voice leaves a bit to be desired, his hardcore style just doesnt fit the band. If they had a proper metal vocalist, this band would be amazing. Also, if their front man didnt pirouette and act like a fool on stage, it would probably go a long way at making them look better. Tommy certainly is the black sheep in this band. But even though I was completely turned off by his performance, the rest of the crowd seemed to dig it. And in our free market society, the majority get what they want. But dont think for a second Im going to enjoy it, or write good reviews of it. Oh, and incase you guys were wondering, they did play some Fear Factory tunes. As a matter of fact, they played a song that Dino hadnt played live since the last time he was at the Black Sheep back in the late 90s. He also admitted that that he put a sizeable hole in the stage at that show while jumping around, which isnt hard to believe, considering his girth. So there we have it, another solid metal show at the Black Sheep. And even though the show wasnt perfect, I would still call it a success. The people got their metal and I got my fix.