Concert Review: Arch Enemy, DevilDriver & Skeletonwitch at the Palladium in Worcester, MA
Three days into the North American Khaos tour, Arch Enemy and friends hit the Palladium in Worcester, MA, on September 10, 2011.
Kicking off the night was Chthonic. The Taiwanese black metallers are a force to be reckoned with, capturing the crowd’s attention and keeping it throughout their performance. Aside from playing blistering metal influenced by classical Taiwanese music, Chthonic stands out due to their use of the erhu. The instrument is practically unheard of in extreme metal, but Chthonic melds it so well into their music and live performances that it feels like the erhu has always been there. Removing it would gut their sound! It should be noted that most male fans’ eyes were glued to the lovely bassist Doris Yeh during the set. She’s not just a pretty face, though; Yeh’s technical playing is truly impressive.
Skeletonwitch hit the stage next. The Ohio-based band brought their blend of blackened death metal and thrash to the forefront, whipping the pits into a frenzy. Their new record Forever Abomination hits next month, and fans got a taste of it with the new song “Reduced to the Failure of Prayer.” The rest of the cuts were evenly split between their previous albums Beyond the Permafrost and Breathing the Fire, with riffs that likely got stuck in everyone’s ears for days. Skeletonwitch’s energy didn’t waver for a moment, and that’s exactly what the crowd needed. There’s no such thing as a “slow” Skeletonwitch song, but would a crowd of extreme metal fans really want it any other way?
Capping the opening acts was DevilDriver. They were supporting their most recent release, Beast, and that’s a pretty accurate assessment of their live shows. Their hard-edged metalcore resulted in the most violent pits of the night so far, and the band’s earthshaking riffs throbbed through the floor like an army on the march. Frontman Dez Fafara took every opportunity to rile up the crowd, and the floor population swelled to epic proportions in no time. Of course, the real highlight of DevilDriver’s performance was Fafara ripping into the hardcore dancers for ruining others’ fun in the mosh pit. Serves ‘em right.
When Arch Enemy finally made their appearance, the venue was packed to the walls with eager fans ready to do some damage. One of their songs may be titled “No Gods, No Masters,” but Arch Enemy qualify as both in the realm of melodic death metal. Accompanied by a huge video screen displaying wartime footage, calls for revolution, and music video segments, the band absolutely killed. Paired up with complex yet catchy guitar attacks, vocalist Angela Gossow brings a passion to the music that few other growlers can match. Most of the setlist came from Arch Enemy’s latest album Khaos Legions, with standouts like “Bloodstained Cross” and “Yesterday is Dead and Gone.” For longtime fans, plenty of stone cold classics like “Ravenous” and “Dark Insanity” were thrown in for good measure, along with the scorching “Nemesis” as an encore.
Arch Enemy and their unholy trio of openers made this a night to remember. There’s plenty of dates left on the North American Khaos tour, so don’t miss out!
American Khaos Tour Dates:
Sep. 12 – Quebec City, QC – Imperial
Sep. 13 – Montreal, QC – Metropolis
Sep. 14 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix
Sep. 17 – Winnipeg, MB – The Garrick Center
Sep. 19 – Calgary, AB – MacEwan Hall
Sep. 20 – Edmonton, AB – Edmonton Events Centre
Sep. 22 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
Sep. 23 – Seattle, WA – Showbox
Sep. 24 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory
Sep. 26 – San Francisco, CA – Regency Center
Sep. 27 – Los Angeles, CA – Nokia Theatre
Sep. 29 – Phoenix, AZ – The Marquee
Sep. 30 – Albuquerque, NM – The Sunshine
Oct. 01 – Denver, CO – The Gothic
Oct. 03 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
Oct. 04 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues