Imagine the tenacity and determination of the Norse sailors of old who braved unfathomable oceans to seek out their dreams, no matter the cost.  Now fast forward to Tuesday, March 11, 2014 with four hard-working metal bands traveling across the Atlantic North America.  This is The Absence tour with support from Infernaeon, From The Embrace, and The Mirage Theory.  The same tenacious determination driving these bands to bring their art to those fortunate to witness the mayhem at the Token Lounge in Westland, Michigan.

Brighton, Michigan’s own Corpse Machine opened the show as local support. The band took the stage with vigor and dealt a healthy dose of death metal.  Drummer Dave Prokopp flew on the drums; he must go through skins like there is no tomorrow.  Brad Gasparotto hammered the bass with authority and Matt Prokopp was an imposing force vocally, as well as on the guitar.

For some reason, I would not think of Puerto Rico as a home for metal, yet I was pleasantly surprised to hear Puerto Rican band, The Mirage Theory.  Progressive in nature with the bombast of melodic death, the band crushed the stage like a wave.  Guitarists Cesar Adames and Giovanni Melendez were mesmerizing in their deft explorations of the fretboard.  Truly gifted players in my opinion.

Davier Perez (drums) and Daniel Rodriguez (bass) were superlative in propelling the band through their set.  They are the bedrock upon which the band forged their unique brand of progressive metal.  From acerbic screams to sober intonations, Jan Michael Vega vocals spanned the spectrum.  He engaged and captivated the audience.

Jon Jon Viguie was like Jimi Hendrix on the keyboard providing showmanship and an abundance of musical talent.  Definitely support this band and check out their new release, Origins!

Tampa, Florida is known for breeding death metal of the highest caliber.  From The Embrace is no exception.  Supporting their new release The Sun Betrays Us To The Night, the band struck the stage with ferocity.

On his own, Nick Marrero is an instrument of destruction.   His vocals enveloped and consumed those in attendance at the Token Lounge.  Nick captured the attention of the metal faithful attending the show and did not relinquish his grip.

A bonfire of notes blazed with the guitar work of Trey Hawkins and Antonio Glass.  While Ghaith Khder and Taylor Halpin provided fuel for the fire with their drum and bass work, respectively.  This band was intense and spot on in their performance.

Melding a blackened death from the swamps of Florida, Infernaeon took the stage in a fit of rage.  The band features drumming excellence of Jeramie Kling (The Absence) and stalwart guitar playing of Steven Harger and Taylor Nordberg.  The music convulsed under the screams of vocalist Daemon.  The only bummer was that Daemon was sick and the band had to cut their set short.  Be sure to check out their latest release, The Cancer Within!

As fantastic as all the music had been through out the night, I was here to see The Absence!  In my book, this band ranks up their with ‘At The Gates’.  When I heard Riders of The Plague, I had finally found a release that rivaled ‘Slaughter of The Soul’.  Listen to their new single Oceans and join me in awestruck wonder.

Patrick Pintavalle is a maestro on the guitar and it was with sheer joy that I was able to witness his playing live.  His lyrical solos add complexity and richness to The Absence’s music.

I was thoroughly impressed with the fretboard sorcery of Taylor Nordberg who was filling in for Per Nilsson on the tour.  He can flat-out play!  There needs to be a word for beyond shred (triturate maybe).  It was like hearing a Dali painting unfold before you.

Miles Neff (bass) and Jeramie Kling (drums) define the rudiment of sound, which is The Absence.   Their work is a glorious reverberation, which envelops your soul.  Evoking triumphant and splendid sagas that would make Odin weep, Jamie Stewart led the staunch metal crowd at the Token through song after song.  Including my all time favorite Absence tune, The Murder!

The entire band was brilliant.  They even invited their fans onstage with them to rejoice in all things metal.  What better way to celebrate the gift of music than with the fans that greatly appreciate the blood, sweat, and beers that make it all possible.

A huge thank you to Jason Stocky, the manager for The Absence as he took me back stage to meet the guys in the band and bought me a beer as well!  Cheers!!  Go see this tour and enjoy some fantastic music that will set your soul ablaze!

The Absence


From The Embrace

The Mirage Theory

Corpse Machine