Album Review – Violent Life Violent Death / Sadness Rains EP (2019)

Charlotte, North Carolina’s own Metalcore institution returns with a venomous new EP, sounding as heavy, acid and violent as usual.

Owners of the best EP of 2018 as per our humble Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2018 with their amazing release Come, Heavy Breath, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Metalcore unity Violent Life Violent Death is back in action this year with another heavy-as-hell EP entitled Sadness Rains, highly recommended for admirers of the music by Every Time I Die, Zao and The Dillinger Escape Plan. Furthermore, if there’s one thing that really helps Violent Life Violent Death sound so cohesive from one release to another is their immaculate lineup, still formed by Scott Cowan on vocals, Joseph Benham and Joey Park on the guitars, Justin Campbell on bass and David Holquin on drums, building a solid and interesting connection between albums.

A cinematic intro morphs into the band’s characteristic austere sonority in Choke, with Scott firing his infernal gnarls manically while the rest of the band blasts sheer obscurity and hatred through their instruments, not to mention how Joseph and Joey will pierce your skin deep with their riffs. And it looks like Violent Life Violent Death decided to venture through much darker paths in their new EP, as Love In Violet begins in a mournful, somber way before exploding into high-octane Metalcore led by David’s frantic beats and fills, sounding as sharp and visceral as it can be; followed by the title-track Sadness Rains, another bestial display of modern-day Metalcore and Deathcore that will inspire you to slam into the pit, with Justin’s bass and David’s drums generating a rumbling ambience perfect for Scott to roar like a demonic entity. In Hissing Tongue the band sounds even faster and more demented, with the stringed trio Joseph, Joey and Justin being on absolute fire throughout the entire song, providing Scott all he needs to thrive with his evil vociferations and, therefore, resulting in what’s my favorite of the five songs. And last but not least, Pray concludes the EP with huge dosages of brutality, rage and darkness, with Justin extracting tons of groove form his bass while Joseph and joey fire crystalline but utterly venomous riffs from their axes.

In a nutshell, Sadness Rains, available for a full listen on Spotify, might not be as impactful as Come, Heavy Breath, but it’s just as heavy, vile and aggressive, keeping the band’s core essence burning bright and pointing to a healthy future for this American band that’s already more than just a promise. Having said that, what are you waiting for to follow them on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel and grab your copy of Sadness Rains from their Big Cartel page or from the Innerstrength Records’ BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon (or simply click HERE for a list of all places where Sadness Rains is available)? Now after a trilogy of ass-kicking EP’s by Violent Life Violent Death it’s time for those talented metallers to release a full-length opus to blow our minds with their rage and electricity, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: Love In Violet and Hissing Tongue.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Innerstrength Records

Track listing
1. Choke 3:56
2. Love In Violet 4:25
3. Sadness Rains 2:40
4. Hissing Tongue 2:13
5. Pray 3:38

Band members
Scott Cowan – vocals
Joseph Benham – guitar
Joey Park – guitar
Justin Campbell – bass
David Holquin – drums

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Concert Review – Gojira (Metropolis, Montreal, QC, 10/21/2016)

And Gojira melted the spinal cords of all metallers in Montreal with the scorching magma flowing from their kick-ass neck-breaking music.

OPENING ACTS: TesseracT

gojira-fall-2016If you can move your neck, feel your back, walk and breathe normally, that means you didn’t attend the pulverizing performance by French icons Gojira this Friday at the neat and well-located Metropolis in Montreal, Quebec. Who cares if it was only 8 degrees outside and raining nonstop? It was a night of heavy music played to perfection, which means no weather could stop us metallers from leaving our places and head to the venue to bang our fuckin’ heads to the most important metal band in the history of France. Very few times I’ve seen such flawless interaction between band and crowd, a night that will forever be kept inside our hearts and remembered as the night Gojira beautifully conquered “La Métropole du Québec”.

img_1842Before we get to the Armageddon generated by Gojira, let’s talk about the opening act, British Progressive Metal/Rock band TESSERACT. Founded in 2003 and having released three full length albums and a few EP’s, including the 2016 EP Errai, The band formed by the talented musicians Daniel Tompkins, Acle Kahney, James Monteith, Amos Williams and Jay Postones provided the fans at the venue a very professional and technical performance, but that didn’t mean it was exciting. Quite the contrary, their whole concert felt like one endless 45-minute song so tiresome it was. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between songs, and I was about to fall asleep after just a few minutes. Well, there were many fans that had a good time during their concert, but for fans of old school stuff like Slayer, Pantera and Anthrax, for example, the concert never really clicked. They are all awesome musicians, especially Amos with his brutal and thunderous bass sounds, but overall they sound like a less metallic version of the latest (boring) album by Dream Theater. If you enjoyed the concert that’s fine, I respect it, but we must admit there were tons of other better choices to warm up the crowd for the main attraction of the night.

Setlist
Phoenix
Concealing Fate, Part 2: Deception
Concealing Fate, Part 3: The Impossible
Of Matter – Proxy
Of Matter – Retrospect
Dystopia
Survival
Of Mind – Nocturne 

Band members
Daniel Tompkins – vocals
Acle Kahney – guitar
James Monteith – guitar
Amos Williams – bass
Jay Postones – drums

GOJIRA

img_1843After TesseracT was over I was feeling so bored I chugged a beer to see if that would wake me up, but I didn’t realize that wasn’t necessary because when GOJIRA started, they needed less than a second to make my blood boil again with excitement. I’m pretty sure they are considered the active volcano of their hometown Bayonne in France, in special after the release of the marvelous Magma earlier this year. When the heavier-than-hell Only Pain kicked off the concert, that’s exactly what every single person present on the floor section felt: a lot of pain in their entire bodies caused by the demented circle pits that started right at the first notes played by Gojira, and that madness didn’t stop until the very end of the night.

After that spine-crushing beginning, Gojira showed no mercy for our souls and blasted three songs made in the depths of hell aiming at destroying our necks, the amazing The Heaviest Matter of the Universe (obviously played by one of the heaviest bands on the entire planet), and their two newborn classics Silvera and Stranded. Yes, they played those three in a row for our total delectation. Not that after that it wasn’t heavy, because they only played brutal material, as for example the bestial Backbone, but that initial sequence was memorable. The only moment of peace was during Terra Inc., but that didn’t last long because Wisdom Comes came crushing our souls like there was no tomorrow. There were beer flying all over the places, fists and horns in the air, pure anarchy and tons of screaming and headbanging. I was just sweating like a wild boar, with my Pantera T-shirt, my pants and even my underwear soaking wet with my own sweat, with many other people’s sweat and with a considerable amount of beer.

img_1851I really don’t know what to say about the rest of their setlist as everything was superb, like for instance the demonic Oroborus and Vacuity. Perhaps the moment where the connection between band and fans reached its peak was during the stunning circle pit generated by the melancholic hymn Pray, a song you don’t usually expect to see that type of aggressiveness coming from the crowd. Or maybe it was when bassist Jean-Michel Labadie threw himself into the crowd in wat can be called an “enhanced stage-diving” as he was still holding (and playing) his low-tuned ax? Anyway, brothers Joe and Mario Duplantier, as well as Jean and guitarist Christian Andreu, were absolutely flawless with their instruments, captivating everyone with their powerful performances during the entire concert. Furthermore, Mario’s drum solo even made me forget how boring drum solos usually are, just for you to have an idea of how good he was.

Well, it’s already Sunday night, I’m back to Toronto and my neck still hurts to the point I have to move around like the old Robocop from the 80’s, but it’s that kind of pain we all love to endure after such an incredible concert of first-class heavy music. I might be getting old for the level of devastation brought forth by Gojira in Montreal, but you know what? The day I cannot get into a pulverizing mosh pit like that, the day I don’t consider the pain in my body caused by a Heavy Metal concert a good thing, I’ll call it a day. Merci beaucoup pour cette nuit incroyable, Gojira! À bientôt, j’espère!

Setlist
Only Pain
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
Silvera
Stranded
Flying Whales
The Cell
Backbone
Terra Inc.
Wisdom Comes
Drum Solo
The Shooting Star
Toxic Garbage Island
Pray

Encore:
Clone
Oroborus
Vacuity

Band members
Joe Duplantier – vocals, guitar
Christian Andreu – guitar
Jean-Michel Labadie – bass
Mario Duplantier – drums