By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez
Liquid Metal DJ, Jose Mangin, put together Affliction’s Metal Night for two purposes: to listen to kick ass heavy metal music, and give back to the fans who support the music. Most of the groups that perform personally know Mangin and they are more than happy to slay the crowd with gut-retching metal. The first one I attended featured Once Human and Kyng, and it was one of the best shows I have ever seen. It took place in the Constellation Room of the Observatory in Santa Ana, Calif. For a small show, it was filled with raging metalheads ready to cut loose and let their ears ring. Another Metal Night took place and it was even more headbanging than the last one. While the previous concert had a main performer in the big room, this was the only show being played there that night, which made it even more perfect. Featuring Soulfly and Incite, the Cavaleras came to town to fill our souls with metal.
FULL SLIDESHOW OF FUSED BY DEFIANCE BELOW:
Opening up the night was L.A.’s own rap metal band, Fused by Defiance. They brought an extreme viciousness to Metal Night with their brand of funk/rap rock. Clearly influenced by Rage Against the Machine, frontman Ryan Cheek (Cheeks) channeled his inner Zack de la Rocha, by spitting out rhymes that were filled with aggression and drive. Some of their songs dealt with rebellion against the government and feelings about war. With the song “Paint It Red,” it suggests how we hold the power of change when Cheeks tells the fans “They want to paint it red, but we got the brush.” I was really intrigued by the dual guitar work of lead Kevin (Kevo) Cordero and rhythm Alvaro (Al) Padilla. It was like watching Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and System of a Down’s Daron Malakian join forces to play blistering licks. Cheeks brought overwhelming charisma, rapping and jumping off the stage. The best tune was “Against the Wall,” which had a rip roaring groove performed superbly by bassist Jonathan (Jon) Sigala and drummer Edwin (Ed) Daboub. Fused by Defiance definitely fused the fans together with passion.
FULL SLIDESHOW OF THROWN INTO EXILE BELOW:
Thrown Into Exile came next. Another band out of Los Angeles, Thrown Into Exile brought speed and moodiness to Santa Ana. This is the group that started to instigate the mosh pit for the evening. Headed by vocalist Henry Derek, these guys were nothing but raw power. Derek does excellent job singing songs that explore loneliness, pain, and feelings of despair, which are evident in tunes like “No Words” and “Song For the Lost.” His voice is so potent and emotional, suggesting he has a strong understanding of the pains that everyone goes through, at some point in life. Guitarists Mario Rubio and Ray Sanchez were like Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King of Slayer up there, just pure shredding maniacs. The fans started banging into each other, letting out all there angst in a positive way. Thrown Into Exile was outstanding in keeping the party going.
FULL SLIDESHOW OF INCITE BELOW:
Following Exile, the fans were demanding some more skull-crushing rock ‘n’ roll. Phoenix, Arizona’s own Incite was more than willing to bring the crowd another course of metal. Vocalist Richie Cavalera brought the fans to their feet and dominated their minds. His screams were so brutal; I could not help myself but sing along with him, even though I did not know all the words to the songs. “No Remorse” and “Stagnant,” off of their newest record, Oppression, are already classics with the fans. Incite’s combination of groove metal and thrash metal were a lethal dose to the fans’ ears. They had a good mix of tunes from their entire catalogue, from The Slaughter (“The Tyranny”) to Up in Hell (“False Flag”). Guitarist Dru Rome was a speed demon on the frets. Bassist Christopher “EL” Elsten rocks the beat with a metallic crunch, and drummer Derek Lennon Lopez wails at the kit like a beast. The mosh pit was more aggressive than before, only this time I joined in on the chaos. I just could not help myself. Richie has come into his own, like father like son.
FULL SLIDESHOW OF SOULFLY BELOW:
After Mangin gave away a guitar signed by all the bands, he got the crowd to chant for the main attraction: Soulfly! Soulfly! Max Cavalera and his merry band of outlaws walked onto the stage, and delivered a fistful of metal adrenaline. He has got one of the best voices in metal to this day. After 20 years as a group with ten albums under their belt, the offspring of Sepultura still knew how to bring heavy metal to our souls. Playing like a monster on the drums was Max’s own son, Zyon, who just kills it. There was another great mix of songs that have come from almost every album they have done. From “Masters of Savagery” to “Seek N Strike,” they gave the fans a fine cocktail of heavy metal. Bassist Mike Leon is still new to the band after replacing Tony Campos in 2015, but he held his own and delivered booming bass riffs. The true star of the performance was lead guitarist Marc Rizzo. When the band left the stage so he can perform his solo, his fingers were like lightning, so fast and boisterous that our ears rang with joy. Rizzo is one of the best metal guitarists I have ever seen, next to Kirk Hammett and Dave Mustaine. Mangin was asked to join in on the song, “Frontlines,” and he nailed it. They closed the show with a one-two punch combo with the classics “Jumpdafuckup,” and “Eye For An Eye.”
Fists were in the air, beer was on the ground, our bodies bruised from the mosh pit, and our necks were whiplashed. All in all, it was one of the best nights to be a metalhead! Soulfly electrified the fans, while Incite delivered chaos in a good way. The Cavaleras are an institution in the world of heavy metal. Fused by Defiance and Thrown Into Exile are worthy groups who I see becoming bigger in the future. Mangin and Affliction Clothing delivered yet another bombastic night full of excitement. I cannot wait to see who they bring to the line up next time. To all the bands that performed, I salute you. Horns up!!