By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
Any time Trivium comes to town, you can be sure that I will be there. They are arguably one of the best heavy metal groups around. Relying heavily on their skills in thrash, groove, progressive, metalcore, and melodic death metal, Trivium is a true pioneer band in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. They have just hit the road once again to celebrate their 2017 accomplishment, The Sin and the Sentence, with Swedish metal pirates Avatar and metalcore rockers Light the Torch. Unfortunately, Trivium leader Matt Heafy had to leave the tour due to his wife giving birth to their twins. However, in a once in a lifetime event, Light the Torch’s Howard Jones and Avatar’s Johannes Eckerström took over for Heafy’s singing duties, giving Trivium loyalists an experience they will never forget at the House of Blues in Anaheim.
Light the Torch was originally known as Devil You Know, but had to change it for legal reasons when one of their original members, drummer John Sankey, left the band. That did not stop Jones from continuing his quest for metal superiority. He was a force of power when he screamed and sang into the microphone. Having just released their latest LP, Revival, Light the Torch certainly lit up the House of Blues. Not only do they bring intensity to their set, but also added a melodic touch. Guitarist Francesco Artusato delivers fearsome riffs, while bassist Ryan Wombacher and new drummer Mike Sciulara continue their melodic dominance I have been hearing on the records. From “Bitter End” to “Safety of Disbelief,” “Consume the Damned,” “Embracing the Torture,” and “This is The Way We Die,” fury filled the air thanks to Light the Torch.
Full Light The Torch slide show below:
The fans entered into a strange foreign land where Swedish freaks and kings live in harmony. Welcome to Avatar Country! This group has been around for quite some time, but they recently have been developing a grand reputation for their death and groove metal combination. This metal circus troupe is headed ringleader Eckerström. Full of charisma, energy, humor and freaky wonder, Eckerström led the Anaheim crowd to headbanging glory, despite having a cold. Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström each took turns delivering commanding solos. They each have their own unique style, and when they come together, they are overpowering. Drummer John Alfredsson crashed and wailed with awesome force, while Henrik Sandelin’s fingers tap danced like crazy on the bass. Having released Avatar Country early this year to rave reviews, Avatar turned the House of Blues into a madhouse for metal freaks. Each song was heavy and catchy, from “Hail the Apocalypse” to “Let It Burn,” “Get in Line,” “The Eagle Has Landed,” “The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country,” and “Smells Like a Freakshow.” Thanks to Avatar, we were all honorable freaks of the night.
Full Avatar slide show below:
Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills” played over the PA, and the fans sang in unison to it. Once it was over, Trivium made their triumphant return to Anaheim with Jones on the mic. Kicking things off with “Betrayer,” Jones sang with all his might. YouTube personality and musician Jared Dines took over for Heafy on guitar for the remainder of the tour, and he fucking slayed it. Note for note, line for line, he was on point with every riff and solo Heafy would play. Lead axe man Corey Beaulieu was a mean force of nature, picking away on the strings with such vigor. After “Beyond Oblivion,” Jones stepped off for a little while so Beaulieu and bassist Paolo Gregoletto could share lead vocal duties on “Into the Mouth of Hell We March” and “Like Light to the Flies.” Not only is Gregoletto a powerful bassist, but he is a very effective singer. Both he and Beaulieu carried each lyric with valor. Alex Bent continues to ravage on the drum kit. This is my first Trivium show seeing the same drummer from the previous concert.
Jones came back out, feeling refreshed and ready to conquer once again. When Trivium started to play “Until the World Goes Cold,” they surprised the fans by bringing out Atreyu vocalist and drummer Brandon Saller. Both he and Jones sang in perfect harmony. Saller also had his own solo spot with “The Heart From Your Hate.” What was a true spectacle to watch was when Beaulieu and Dines both riffed at the same time in perfect sync. From “Sever the Hand” to “The Wretchedness Inside” and “Down From the Sky,” the metalheads of Anaheim gave Trivium their undying veneration. After a brief break, they returned with Eckerström, who was the best choice for the songs “Strife” and “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr.” Jones finished out the night with the crowd favorite, “In Waves.”
Full Trivium slide show below:
The night was full metal followers who had one of the best times of their life. Each band filled the fans ears with earth-shattering heavy metal. It would have been even better if Trivium played my favorite, “Kirisute Gomen” from Shogun, but it was still a riveting performance. Jones and Eckerström stepped up for Heafy, and I believe they did him proud. As always, I am counting down the days until Trivium heads back to Orange. On a personal note, I want to send a congratulations to Matt Heafy and his wife, Ashley, on the upcoming birth of their children. To Trivium, Avatar, and Light the Torch, I salute you. Horns up!!!