Friday, August 5, 2011

Scream The Prayer- Milwaukee Review (from Sunday July 17th, 2011)

Post # 154
On Sunday July 17th, around mid-day, I set off for Milwaukee, pumped with anticipation for another great concert at the Rave. However, as I was about to hit the road I got a call that quickly darkened my mood. It was a call from the band Strych9Hollow, whom were the main reason I was making the trip up to Milwaukee in the first place. One of the band members informed me there was a major mishap unfolding and that their performance and set were about to be cancelled. I mentioned I was about to hit the road for the show, and said I'd meet them there, hoping they could work something out in the meantime.

Now somewhat discouraged at the thought of not getting to see my favorite independent, underground metal band from St. Louis perform, I proceeded to drive up to Milwaukee's Rave for the Scream the Prayer tour. My hopes were hanging by a thread. It was Strych9Hollow whom I was making the effort to see live. Of all the other bands on the bill, I had only heard of Norma Jean, the headliner. All I could do was cross my fingers and drive.

Arriving at the Rave brought more bad news; the event promoters had danced around the issue for a while, only to tell the band that there had been a big misunderstanding and they did not have a time slot available for them to perform. Thus Strych9Hollow were out of a gig, victims of the Art of Betrayal. The entire trip from St. Louis, MO to Milwaukee, WI.... all for nothing. Local bands beware: if you get a gig opening for big-name bands at the Rave in Milwaukee, make sure the promoters know what's going on and be triple-sure they will have a stage for you when you get there!

In spite of the scheduling fiasco, I at least got to meet & hang out with the band for a short while. Unfortunately they couldn't stay long. Without a stage to play on, and various members having to work their day-jobs the next morning (two states away no less!) they hit the road after the first couple bands had played. Before they left, I promised to interview them here on Heavy Metal 107. I felt it was the least I could do, since I had otherwise intended to make them the primary focus of this review.

However, what's done is done. I didn't get to hear Strych9Hollow play, but there were still about 10 bands on the bill. I figured I should make the most of it, so I settled into the crowd near the front barricade and got ready for some screaming heavy metal (this time of the Christian variety- I thought that would be interesting!) I wasn't able to catch the name of every song, and was not familiar with any of the bands, so I'll only be mentioning a few songs by name.

The first band I caught was I the Breather. They delivered an intense set of intense metalcore/hardcore metal. Very energetic performance. The crowd began moshing, just like any metal show. It was contagious chaos!
Check out: "Highrise"

Next came The Great Commission, from southern California. I would almost call them melodic Christian death-metal. Their line-up included a singer, bassist, drums, and 3 guitarists. One guitarist sang melodic backing vocals, and their female guitarist provided the death-metal backing vocals. Oh, and she was wearing a t-shirt that said 'Jesus Saves'... in Slayer font! Her playing seemed strictly rhythm. I think Jackie from Strych9Hollow could have played circles around her, though.
Check out: "Every Knee Shall Bow"

They were followed by Texas In July from Pennsylvania (don't assume Texas, just because of their name!) These guys were straight-up hardcore metal. Their music got the crowd pumped up and the adrenaline flowing! More moshing ensued...
Check out: "Magnolia"

Then came Close Your Eyes. They were still hardcore, but seemed to have a melodic side to them. They fit right in with the previous performers, and by now knew I was in for a great metal show!
Check out: "Wake Up!"

Now it was getting time some some of the bigger names on the bill. The Chariot came onstage next. More hardcore metal, more moshing, more chaos!
Check out: "The City"

War Of Ages was the next band to tear things up. Here is where I think I found my favorite act of the evening. These guys were more a metalcore band. Great riffs, hardcore screaming vocals. It felt to me like the crowd's energy rose even higher at this point. At one point one of the backing vocalists from The Great Commission joined them on stage for one song. Great mix of melodic and hard-core vocals! If you only check out one of the bands from this show, War of Ages is my top pick!
Check out: "Collapse"
and "Strength Within"

The penultimate band was Sleeping Giant. Though still heavy metal, they seemed to be the most melodic band of the whole show. Their vocalist also took the time to tell a few personal stories of pain and struggle between songs. He conveyed that he has come through adversity in his life, and thanked the Lord Jesus for saving his soul. At one point, between songs he said, "Well everybody, it's Sunday. Welcome to church!" It was certainly the most aggressive, loud, and heavy music I have ever heard at a service!
Check out: "Morning Star"
and "Eyes Wide Open"

The headline was Norma Jean, a metalcore/hardcore band who have been featured on tours as big as Ozzfest. Being the headliner, I was able to track down a Norma Jean set list online at!
Here's what I found:
-Disconnecktie: The Faithful Vampire
-The Anthem of the Angry Brides
-Blueprints for Future Homes
-Birth of the Anti Mother
-I Used to Hate Cell Phones, But Now I Hate Car Accidents
-Dilemmachine: Coalition, Hoax
-Falling From The Sky: Day Seven
-Bayonetwork: Vultures in Vivid Color
-A Small Spark vs. A Great Forest
-Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste (w/ one of the guys from The Chariot on backing vocals)
-Disconnecktie: The Faithful Vampire (song conclusion)

I hope this is accurate. I cannot vouch for this set list from memory. As I mentioned, I was not truly familiar with any of these bands prior to the show. However I did have a great, moshing time! Some of these bands I'll be sure to check out further for more happy headbanging. You should do the same!

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