California thrash gods Heretic brought a full onslaught of West coast rage to the Token Lounge in Westland,MI with Seeds of War and Hate Unbound.

Awaking Astraeus opened up the show with a display of frantic mayhem that touched a post-hardcore nerve. This was the bands first gig and they took to the stage with gusto. Their sound is reminiscent of Pierce The Veil. Their frontman was an explosion of energy as he prowled the stage and screamed with a depth of anger and angst swimming in a black pond of crushing intensity. While these guys may be a little rough around the edges, they had fierce determination that can take you far.

There was something very compelling about a band that can kick into a hard and heavy groove. Dragsaw can hit a hook ridden groove like the best of them. There was a resemblance to Pantera and Black Label Society mixed with Corrosion of Conformity. Guitarist Dan Lyjak played with soul mixing in a bluesy feel to his solos while retaining a metal bite. Bassist Mike Schneider and drummer Brandon Carl brought a weighty depth to the bottom end while Phil Winkler scorched the ceiling with his vocal delivery.

With menacing demonic growls conjuring the depths of Hell from not one, but two vocalists, Severing The Need, delivered a punishing set of death metal for the audience at the Token. Ike and Kraic are big men with even bigger vocals. They stalked the stage wreaking havoc with growls and shrieks from the grave. The overall sound of the band was in the vein of Obituary and Suffocation. These guys were not afraid to have some fun as they played a little tune called “Titties and Beer.” Who says a death metal band can’t have a sense of humor?

Hate Unbound were coming home after a brief tour with Seeds of War and Heretic. The road had put a razor edge on their sound. The delivery was intense and technical. In addition to playing the soul blistering songs “Suicide” and “Revolt and Destroy,” they launched into some new material that showcased the bands tight execution of technical metal with hooks. The cover of the Rolling Stone’s “Paint It Black” made a classic song even better with a powerful metal coating.

Seeds of War hails from Long Beach, California and brought the metal battle field to Michigan. These guys brought a hybrid metal attack that mixed the technical aspects of Lamb of God with the sledgehammer riffing of Hatebreed or Sworn Enemy. Seeds of War kept the energy level high with a non-stop barrage of music. Vocalist Craig Grimes was a whirlwind on the stage as he used every corner to engage the audience and brought the music up into the audience’s faces. The guitar solo by Eric Chavez was dynamic while conveying melodic themes to each song. Joe Ziegler (drums), Kevin Bowman (bass), and Donnie Copley (guitar) laid down the law with relentless riffs and a pummeling rhythm.

The evening of metal climaxed with the mighty Heretic from Los Angeles, California. These masters of  the art of thrash originally started back in 1985. Founding members Brian Korban (guitar) and Julian Mendez (vocals) merged with Hirax/Reverend alumni Stuart Fujinami (guitar), Angelo Espino (bass), and Dave Chedrick (drums) to revitalize Heretic and continued to bring their brand of thrash metal to the masses. There was no shortage of energy from the band on stage. Julian Mendez was a commanding presence and had an outstanding vocal range. Brian and Stuart traded explosive lead solos that flew from their fingers in a blaze of glory. Angelo was all over the stage and added much to the energy of the show. The double bass work of Dave Chedrick kept the driving riffs hammered to the floor. Fans of Exodus, Havok, or Death Angel would find a new friend in the music of Heretic. They put on an outstanding show and proved that metal music is forever.

Heretic
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Seeds Of War
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Hate Unbound
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Severing The Need
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Dragsaw
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Awaking Astraeus
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Token Lounge
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About The Author

Chuck is a native Michigander. He grew up in Detroit, and later Pinckney. He now calls Ann Arbor home. Running is in Chuck’s blood. He has run several marathons and numerous other races. His favorite race is Dances with Dirt in Hell, Michigan. Chuck was first exposed to photography in 7th grade. He has been a photographer ever since, honing his skills shooting landscapes and most recently concerts. In addition to experiencing music from behind the camera, Chuck is a musician in his own right. He has been playing guitar since his teen years. He played in Detroit area metal band, Battalion, recorded two independent releases, and toured. Today when not covering concerts, you can find him online at his blog, Life In Michigan.

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