Shadows Fall, Acacia Strain, Battlecross
410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, Ontario, M4X 1K2
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Legacies become forged through consistency.
Relentless reliability is intrinsic to longevity in the music business—or any other business for that matter. No giving up is allowed. No promise can go unfulfilled. If people can depend on you, they’ll believe in you and stick with you until death. Since forming in 1994, Grammy award-nominated hardcore and metal stalwarts Hatebreed have constantly crushed with every subsequent album. Their six full-length effort and first for Razor & Tie, The Divinity of Purpose, proudly upholds that tradition cast in almost two decades of blood, tears, and flames. It’s everything fans have come to expect from the Connecticut-based quintet—Jamey Jasta [vocals], Chris Beattie [bass], Wayne Lozinak [guitar], Frank Novinec [guitar], and Matthew Byrne [drums]—and more.
Be prepared to witness their flame rise high once again…
The Divinity of Purpose began to take shape in 2010. The band had welcomed back original guitarist Lozinak for 2009′s covers set, For the Lions, and their self-titled fifth effort the same year. During a two-year tour cycle, they expanded their global stamp through performing to rabid crowds in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America. In addition, they ravaged the U.S. and Europe alongside the likes of Five Finger Death Punch and Lamb of God as well as on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival twice. However, they collectively decided to amp everything up for album number six.
“We were going for a bigger sound,” affirms Jasta. “We reintroduced Wayne on the last album. He’d never been on a full-length record with us, and it felt like we had to prove ourselves again. We also tried to do things outside of our comfort zone musically on Hatebreed. This time around, we played to our strengths as a band and gelled incredibly. The riffs had to be really heavy, memorable, and catchy. The rhythms needed to be pounding. I went back into drill sergeant mode vocally. I focused on saying what I had to say and got in and out. The music makes its point and leaves its mark. It’s a tight snapshot of the last two years.”
In order to capture that snapshot, the group focused its assault during an intense and rigorous period of pre-production at home. Maintaining an impressive work ethic, they spent time honing their patented sound into an even more uncompromising and unbreakable beast. Co-produced by the band, Zeuss [Suicide Silence, All That Remains], and Josh Wilbur [Lamb of God, Avenge Sevenfold], The Divinity of Purpose sees Hatebeed at their most fierce and fiery.
Take the first single “Put it to the Torch.” An avalanche of guitars pummels alongside staggering rhythms and a distinct bass wallop. Jasta roars with uncontainable intensity proclaiming, “Here’s your apology. Here’s to burning out and here’s to fading away. Fuck you both. I just put it to the torch.”
About the song, he divulges, “We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we wanted to make something heavy and aggressive with an old school vibe. We’ve faced an unusual amount of toxic energy over the past couple of years. It’s important that you turn that negativity into a positive. That’s always been the message of the band from day one. We can bottle that negative energy and use it as fuel. Sometimes, it gives you that push.”
Speaking of a “push,” “Honor Never Dies” steamrolls ahead with a propulsive riff and inspirational reflection on those who have served America. With a massive hook and deep meaning, it’s also a fitting tribute to any fallen hero.
“Those lyrics came about right after my grandfather passed away,” Jasta explains. “When I visited him in Veterans Administrative Hospital back in Connecticut, I’d see all of these vets & war heroes with purple hearts and other commendations hospitalized. The nurses told me a lot of those guys never get visitors. Some die alone in a hospital bed with no family or anyone else around. I’d spoken to some of them before my grandfather died. Luckily I got to be with him before he passed. I had to put that feeling into a song and now some of what I’ve taken away from that experience lives on through this. It’s not just about our vets or my gramp but anyone who does something in service of others, they may not get the glory but their honorable actions live on through the people they help.”
The title track also encapsulates something very crucial to the Hatebreed ethos within the framework of another explosive anthem.
The frontman confesses, “Music has always been my purpose. When I became a father, my life had new purpose. Sometimes, you find an initial purpose, and then you find a new purpose as you grow as a person. When you find something you love that gives you fulfillment, it can be an almost divine experience. That’s where we are going with this.”
In 2012, they also found the perfect partner to release the album in Razor & Tie. Hatebreed instantly felt home on their roster. “Heavy music is in a great place right now. There’s a groundswell coming, and Razor & Tie understands that and is on the cusp of it. They’re all people we’ve been friends with too. It’s onward and upward for us right now.”
It’s been a long road to The Divinity of Purpose. Along the way, the band racked up sales of over 1.1 million records worldwide. They garnered a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Metal Performance” for “Live for This”, and they’ve appeared at prestigious festivals including OZZfest, Download, and Wacken Open Air multiple times. Among numerous chart successes, their first-ever live DVD, Live Dominance, debuted at #1 on the Billboard DVD chart, while Hatebreed hit #4 on the Billboard Indie chart.
Right now, Hatebreed’s heart is beating stronger than ever, but that’s nothing new. “Hatebreed has always meant the same thing to me,” he concludes. “We maintain that anger and frustration, but it’s not aimless. There’s positivity to releasing that energy. It has a cyclical power. The fans that really vibe off it created everything we have. We’ve done things we dreamt of as kids because of our hard work and because the fans have gotten us to this global level. They give us purpose to make the most impact with our records that we can.”
It’s another chapter of Hatebreed’s legacy.
Before the so-called "New Wave of American Heavy Metal" was even a ripple, Shadows Fall were there. Emerging from Springfield, MA in 1995, this D.I.Y. band ultimately found legions of fans, worldwide fame, two Grammy nominations, and even a song on Guitar Hero. Of course, none of this came from luck. Instead, hard work and musical innovation have been the forces propelling Shadows Fall, continually revealing ever more of this band's greatness. They are beyond simply best-in-class; in so many ways, Shadows Fall – with their unmistakable, seamless blend of metal and hard rock - have grown to help define the very essence of modern aggressive music. With Retribution – the band's fifth full length and follow-up to 2007's critically acclaimed Threads of Life – it's no surprise to find Shadows Fall once again taking bold steps in their quest for constant evolution. It starts, of course, with the guts of Retribution – the sound. "With each album we've gotten a little more confidence to really let all of our influences show," says vocalist Brian Fair. "We're unapologetic about the old-school metal and the 80s influence, as well as the thrash and the melodic death metal." And Retribution – with music production by Zeuss and vocal production by Elvis Baskette - surely has that thrash-metal bedrock which has long served as the foundation of Shadows Fall – but there's more. "We've really taken some songs all the way," explains Fair. "The brutal parts are a complete, non-stop assault, and the rock-influenced songs go all the way within that rock direction. A song like 'Picture Perfect' - the chorus is more Journey or Def Leppard than it is death metal," laughs Fair. "There's really no holding back when it comes to our songwriting. Once the floodgates open, we go all the way." The result is Retribution - a collection of songs that showcase the versatility and vision of this band that only seems to get better over time. But the evolution of Shadows Fall is not limited to their music. Atop the shifting grounds of an unpredictable music industry, they've found even more opportunity to try new ideas. "We learned everything from the ground up," says Fair, reflecting on more than a decade of experience and lessons learned. "We've gone through the independent metal world to the major label world, and have come to realize that, given the way things are now, it's all about the band re-taking the control of everything: music, business, ownership, publishing. Everything."
The Acacia Strain have always followed along the same trail such luminaries as Converge and Burnt By the Sun helped to pave. These New England sons have unveiled their Prosthetic Records debut with intentions of attracting fans of Zao, The Red Chord and Unearth through sheer force.
Though the group has been a stalwart champion in the Northeast underground, never have they sounded this intent on serving up purely hostile malevolence. Led by Vincent Bennett's festering growls and a three-tiered guitar assault, this album claws and tears with vicious savagery. Such a punishing frontline ensures violent waves of thick metal sludge, yet even more agonizing are the drawn-out breakdowns, often eclipsing the very songs they emerge from. Lethargic and sludgy, these crushing upheavals in the metallic veneer also appear to be attempts at offering up a "Nothing"-era Meshuggah vibe, but these time signature overdoses comes off as indulgent and unnecessary. Also interspersed throughout are moments of reflective dissonance, though these sample-ridden interludes are a brief respite from the ongoing carnage The Acacia Strain demonstrate. "Halcyon" is the one exception as it touches the opposite end of the metal spectrum, embracing atmospherics over muscle, and it is the only delicate moment on an album otherwise engorged with testosterone.
A sonic metal assault that leaves audiences pumped with adrenaline, Detroit’s BATTLECROSS triumphantly return as one of the true champions of American Heavy Metal with their devastating sophomore release, War of Will. Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios with famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, the sophomore effort from Detroit’s newest soldiers of steel will soon prove as one of the most impressive follow-up releases, destined to become a heavy metal classic for fans of all sub-genres. “War of Will triggers a strange Déjà Vu while feeling completely brand new” says Levi.
With elements of upbeat thrash, European, death, and southern metal, War of Willbrings back the old school thrash, heavy groove, harmonizing guitars, epic guitar solos, dynamic death-style vocals and impressive bass work that made 2011′s Pursuit of Honor a fast favorite. Fans will appreciate another complete, yet more mature brutal assault with contagious hooks and choruses that will guarantee headbangability and the dynamic live show for which BATTLECROSS is best known.
Celebrated for their cross-over thrash/classic American heavy metal image and sound, and relentless enthusiasm for touring, BATTLECROSS entered Audio Hammer Studios in March 2013 immediately after a full North American trek with Sweden’s In Flames and a busy 2012. With an impressive list of top notch metal productions, the studio turned out to be the perfect fit for the young band. “The laid back atmosphere, mixed with the ‘deliver or be delivered’ expectations really inspired us to push ourselves to be the best during the production, and it really reflects in the lyrical content as well as the final product.” said Guitarist Tony Asta. “War of Will is exactly what it sounds like, a straight up heavy metal album, but we’ll let the fans be the judge.”
Titled to describe BATTLECROSS’ fast and furious climb in the two years since releasing their debut, War of Will challenges fans through its lyrical theme to push their limits in pursuit of their goals and to sacrifice all to overcome life’s obstacles and succeed—a message proven by the band’s quick ascent to breakout status from high-profile tours, heavy radio play, while drawing comparisons to the heavyweights of metal.
War of Will marks the first major session contribution by drummer Shannon Lucas, who contributes an upbeat thrash vibe with his precision and aggression best suited for the BATTLECROSS style. “Shannon is one of the true beasts of metal drumming” said co-producer Eyal Levi, “his skills are technically untouchable and combine that with a badass rising star of a band and we have the makings of a crushing record.”
The young band’s career kicked off what every metal musician dreams of: amazing album reviews from metal’s most respected publications for their 2011 debut on Metal Blade Records, Pursuit of Honor. Metal Assault named the record one of the most ‘complete heavy metal albums in recent times’ while receiving high praises from heavyweights Revolver, Decibel, Blabbermouth and others. With killer reviews across the internet and in print publications throughout North America and overseas (including band of the month in Metal Hammer Norway and Metal Hammer Spain), it should be no surprise that this blue collar, hard-work ethic that comes from the members of BATTLECROSS translates into a potent force on record as well as a high-energy live performance winning fans across the country on some of the metal’s highest profile tours.
The growing buzz over Pursuit of Honor positioned the band for opportunities that have proven to be stepping stones for what is expected to be a long and exciting career for BATTLECROSS, starting with a spot in a 2011 CMJ Showcase with Skeletonwitch and Kvelertak and the band’s first tour ever, an Eastern U.S. run with Rose Funeral and Diamond Plate. It was during this tour that BATTLECROSS was introduced to North America and became SiriusXM Liquid Metal mainstays with the single Push Pull Destroy, which spent over 30 weeks on ‘The Devil’s Dozen’ and reached the #1 most requested song for five weeks and to date, over two million YouTube views. Throughout 2012, satellite radio introduced singles ‘Breaking You’ and ‘Man of Stone’, together spending a total of 50 weeks on Jose Mangin’s popular metal countdown.
BATTLECROSS’ reputation for technical talent, humility and fan engagement earned the band the opportunity to continue their climb with an appearance at 2012 SXSW Metal Blade Showcase; tours with: Hate Eternal and Goatwhore (Winter 2012), Origin, Decrepit Birth, Cattle Decapitation on the Occupation Domination Tour (Spring 2012), Metal Hammer’s Trespass America Festival with Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage, and Trivium (Summer 2012), a headlining stage appearance at Heavy MTL, opposite System of a Down and high-profile shows celebrating Metal Blade’s 30th Anniversary with Cattle Decapitation, Gypsyhawk, Six Feet Under and more.
After a fist-pumping debut, impressive 2012 breakout tours, BATTLECROSS will continue their climb as one of metal’s most impressive new bands with 2013 appearances at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival, Orion Music +More with Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deftones and Suicidal Tendencies in the band’s hometown of Detroit and the 4th Annual GwarBQ with Municipal Waste and Corrosion of Conformity.
War of Will releases July 9th, 2013 just as the band heads out for the summer on the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Tour with Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Amon Amarth, Children of Bodom, Machine Head, Behemoth, Mastodon and more in what is expected to be the tour and album that will cement BATTLECROSS as an American Heavy Metal heavyweight, banging heads for years to come.