Animals As Leaders and Periphery Bring Djent to the Wiltern

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Powell Boyer

Thanksgiving is a time that we should all be thankful for the things we have and the people we have in our lives. For me, I am extremely thankful for my mom and dad, who have always been behind me and encouraged me to pursue what I am most passionate for. I am thankful for the friends I have made down the line, both in Orange County and Los Angeles. Lastly, I am thankful to have heavy metal in my life, and have the ability to write about it with Uncivil Revolt. Thanks to this splendid little magazine, it has helped me secure some big shows this past year, including seeing Animals As Leaders and Periphery at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, Calif. Matt was unable to join me this time around, so I called upon a friend, who wanted to test her skills with the camera, Powell Boyer, a fellow writer and interviewer with Death By Metal STL. We were extremely excited to see the reigning kings of djent metal.

First band to start the show was Astronoid. They are a young group from Boston, Mass., who are like Dream Theater if they went thrash. With a combination of thrash, shoegaze, and post-metal, Astronoid has this unique sound, whose songs deal with the themes of outer space. Vocalist Brett Boland is very harmonious, when sings and he plays mean guitar licks along with Casey Aylward and Mike DeMellia. Add in drummer Matt St. Jean and bassist Daniel Schwartz, and you have this amazing band that is heavy, with a mystical quality to their presence. They released their first LP last year, Air, and all their songs from “Resin” and “Up and Atom” were met with enthusiasm. The crowd responded toAstronoid very well, and I feel they are going to be around for a while.

Full Astronoid slideshow below:

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Periphery was next to rock the stage. This is a progressive metal group that has helped revolutionize the djent sound. Spencer Sotelo wowed the audience with his amazing voice, both with tenacity and harmony. What makes this band unique that night was that there is no official bassist, just 3 guitarists (Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen, and Mark Holcomb) riffing shit up. The triple guitar attack these guys provided gave me major goose bumps. Drummer Matt Halpern was a major force behind the drum kit, with outstanding speed and accuracy. A majority of their set list came from their latest release, Periphery III: Select Difficulty. With songs like “Motormouth,” “Marigold,” “Graveless,” and “Remain Indoors,” Periphery lit up the room with a great performance. “Marigold” stood out to me as the best song of the night. I cannot wait to hear what they will bring to the table next

Full Periphery slideshow below:

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Considered to be one of the best instrumental metal groups out there today in my mind, Animals As Leaders took to the Wiltern. Right off the bat, they blazed through the fans with their electric performance. Tosin Abasi is a remarkable talent. I loved watching his fingers do their work on the frets. He was recently nominated at the Loudwire Music Awards for Best Guitarist, and it was not a fluke after watching him. He is lightning fast with the guitar riffs, as if he is possessed by the sound he has created. Bassist/guitarist Javier Reyes dazzled the audience with his fingering as well. Put him together with drummer Matt Garstka, with his ridiculously badass pounding, and both of them were in a rhythmic motion along with Abasi. From “Tooth and Claw” to “Arithmophobia,” “The Brain Dance,” and “Ka$cade,” Animals As Leaders sent our minds into a state of euphoria. The music transported us into a different world. My favorite was the closer, “CAFO.”

Full Animals as Leaders slideshow below:

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During the show, Powell and I met some interesting characters along the way. She decided to take their pictures, and capture the brotherhood and excitement the fans were experiencing that night. We also ended up at the after party, where we mingled with different fans from different parts of the globe, including Abasi and Sotelo. I also got to hang with dUg Pinnick of King’s X and KXM. Some of the fans we befriended included Rhian Paige, Greg Irvin, Pat Sanchez, Robyn Racicot, Zander Reddis, Aleksandra Liikala, Ben Lerner, and Alec Schneider. Hanging helps remind me that with fans, these bands would not be around today.

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That night was definitely a night I would never forget. Not only did I get to see 3 extraordinary bands, but I also got to go to an after party, meet some new interesting people, and work with a new partner. Powell handled her assignment like a pro, and I would like to thank Death By Metal STL for letting her work with me. Djent is a subgenre of metal music that is on the rise and does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. Heavy metal that night was at its most creative. To Animals As Leaders, Periphery, and Astronoid, I salute you. Horns up!!!

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