Presented by the anime convention, Shumatsucon, Powerfest IV features headliner Automaton and showcases some of the best bands in the region.
Opening the evening was Amelia, Ohio-based metal group Solar Flare. Their hard driving, hair whipping thirty-minute set included a cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Bark at the Moon,” a song from an upcoming album about the Paris attacks, and finished with a ripping cover of Iron Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name.”
Overall their show was fantastic and a perfect way to open Powerfest IV. Solar Flare is Ethan “Loki” Jackson (lead vocals), Jake Decker (lead guitar), Dylan Taylor (lead guitar), and Jeff Ables (drums).
From Fort Wayne, Indiana, the progressive speed/thrash metal band, Zephaniah, was next to take the Powerfest stage. Featuring shredding guitars, off the charts vocals, and playing some epic original songs, Zephaniah came out blazing. Their thirty-minute set included songs off of their upcoming album, Reforged, due for release on February 16 and ended with “Flame of the Dragon” from Stories from the Book of Metal. The band certainly made a great impression on everyone at Powerfest; their set was impressive and a treat to see. Zephaniah is Logan Detwiler (vocals), Justin Zych (guitar), Shaun Cothron (guitar), Ian Bender (bass), and Cody Johns (drums).
Next to take the stage was Louisville, Kentucky’s own Stagecoach Inferno. Their more than 30-minute set started “Hammer and Tongs” from their upcoming album, A Town Called Atonement. Their set also included “The Dead and the Damned” and “How the West Was One.”
With the crowd cheering along, Stagecoach Inferno unveiled their promised surprise for the Powerfest crowd as they tore into a cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Riding the Storm Out” before ending their show with “Black Blizzard.” Stagecoach Inferno’s songs include classic hard driving heavy bass chords, raging guitar riffs, and hard hitting vocals; it was a great set of original music. Stagecoach Inferno is Hunter Correll (bass/vocals), Brennan Ray (guitar/vocals), Stephen Casciato (guitar), and Thom Hammerheart (drums).
From Madison, Wisconsin and dubbed “the most metal band on earth,” Lords of the Trident opened strong with “Sky Force.” Without missing a beat, they rolled into “Light this City” before Automaton singer, Duncan Batchworth III, joined them in singing “The Metal Sea,” a LotT pirate themed song. Their 45-minute set also included the epic “Knights of Dragons Deep” from their latest album, Frostburn, before ending with “Shattered Skies.” Lords of the Trident is Fang VonWrathenstein (lead vocals), Baron Taurean Helleshaar (lead guitar), Asian Metal (lead guitar), Pontifex Mortis (lead bass), and Dr. Vitus (lead drums).
The penultimate group of the evening was Cincinnati, Ohio-based blackened metal demons, Siegelord. Their 45-minute set included material from Ascent of the Fallen, their debut album released at the show. Unfortunately, Powerfest was bass player Warg’s last show with Siegelord. Before their final song, Warg took a moment to thank the crowd and his fellow band mates for all of their support; it was a great show moment. Siegelord is Sieven (drums), Ulfr (vocals), Warg (bass), and Therod (guitar).
Headlining Powerfest IV was Cincinnati’s own Steampunk metal band, Automaton. They dress in steampunk-themed costumes and play powerful, melodic songs. The band delivers a high-energy performance to an impressed crowd.
The Automaton set list included fan-selected songs from their album, A Bold New Horizon, including “Hot Off The Press” and “Maverick,” plus new songs including “Facings” and “Blanket of Night.” Automaton closed their almost sixty-minute set with a fan favorite, “Age of the Smokestacks.” The ended by calling all of the groups on stage to perform the encore song, “Rise of the Ruined Nation.” It was a fitting ending to an outstanding event by showcasing the local and regional music talent.
Automaton is: David J Sugarman aka Duncan Batchworth III (vocals), Ryan Carney aka Captain Luther Meade (guitars, vocals), Anthony Campbell aka Mechanic James O’Brian (drums), Isaac Grimwood (bass), and Kenny Knipe aka Professor Markus Wolverhampton (guitar.)
Not to be forgotten, Powerfest IV also carried a special meaning for many involved as it was dedicated to the memory of Connor McCauley. McCauley was the original bass player for Automaton, who recently passed away. He played in the first Powerfest with Automaton and left a lasting impression on many of those involved with the show.
The Powerfest IV is sponsored by the Columbus, Ohio anime convention, Shumatsucon. Their event is being held this March 11-13. More information can be found by following the Shumatsucon website.
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