Hatebreed

The New Haven, CT-based Hatebreed got together in 1993 for the purpose of creating a "back to basics" hardcore band with heavy, metallic guitars, screaming vocals, and 30-second songs. Consisting of Jamey Jasta (vocals), Lou "Boulder" Richards (guitar), Chris Beattie (bass), Sean Martin (guitar), and Rigg Ross (drums), Hatebreed had the chance to play throughout the East Coast while sharing the stage with the likes of Entombed, the Deftones, Slayer, and Napalm Death. By 1997, Victory Records released the quintet's debut full-length, entitled Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire. The group signed with Stillborn/Republic/Universal for 2002's Perseverance and 2003's Rise of Brutality. Supremacy arrived on Roadrunner Records in 2006, featuring new guitarist Frank Novinec (who'd previously spent time playing with Ringworm, Terror, and Integrity). Mike DaRonco - allmusic.com

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."

Acacia Strain

Lately, the metalcore subdivision has been running out of real estate as eager young talent squirm to find a spot within. As such many groups have been trying to push its boundaries to fit their artistic desires. Some opt for a more experimental direction, while others amplify specific aspects of the genres design to gain recognition. Springfield, Massachusetts' own The Acacia Strain have chosen to make their trek down the latter path. Though they have always followed along the same trail such luminaries as Converge and Burnt By the Sun helped to pave, the time has come to enhance that heaviness tenfold. This sextet have done just that, thrusting "3750" into the public's eye with the horrific urgency of a steel train leaping the track to embrace an orphanage. Having escalated their aural madness to a degree unimaginable by those weak of heart. 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.

Blood-soaked fragments of tribal grind, Swedish death & New England hardcore burst forth from The Acacia Strain's slipshod stitching, exposing a myriad of influences which explain how such a monstrous creation came to exist. The group have clearly made a conscious decision to cut back on the length of their songs, as the material found on "3750" is more direct and focused while retaining the dance-pit grooves. While Ben Abert's drumming is rather nondescript and Bennett's screams are often reduced to static roars, the impending aura of doom that seeps into the group's carapace acts as a acceptable cover for Adam Dutkiewicz' surprisingly muddy production. Though The Acacia Strain still function within the constraints of the metalcore genre, they make the most of the situation, pumping out some of the heaviest music the style has seen in some time. Even so, with such a limited amount of material this glorified EP barely whets one's appetite. Though listeners may find their plate empty all too soon, The Acacia Strain will already be coursing through the blood stream, making "3750" a virus worth spreading.

Battlecross

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 As I Lay Dying, Six Feet Under and more.

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Hatebreed with Shadows Fall, Acacia Strain, Battlecross, Valkyrie,

Thursday, September 26 · Doors 6:00 PM at The Chance