Shadows Fall, Acacia Strain, Battlecross
410 Sherbourne Street
Toronto, Ontario, M4X 1K2
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
An institution can be relied on. Its foundations don’t shake due to the winds of change or tides of trends—no matter how volatile, omnipresent, or tenuous.With steadfast determination, drive, and dedication, Hatebreedcement themselves as one of heavy music’s strongest institutions on their seventh full-length offering and very first for Nuclear Blast worldwide, 2016’s The Concrete Confessional. Since 1994, the Connecticut quintet—Jamey Jasta [vocals], Chris Beattie [bass], Wayne Lozinak [guitar], Frank Novinec [guitar], and Matthew Byrne [drums]—has risen to the ranks of hardcore and heavy metal elite with a GRAMMY® Award nomination, main stage slots on festivals, and countless fans worldwide. 2013’s The Divinity Of Purposeearned their highest entry on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #17 with impressive first-week sales in excess of 17,000. When it came time to return to the studio after two years on the road, Jasta and his cohorts clung to the bedrock on which their legacy stands firm.“There’s nothing better than loud amps in the face, cranked up riffs that hit you right in the chest and lyrics that spark a new thought and give you a charge,” he declares. “That’s our musical DNA. We could just be who we are. We don’t need to incorporate whatever the trend is. We can just be Hatebreed. There are some new highlights to the game, but you know it’s us.”The Divinity Of Purposebrought them to new areas of the globeas the headlinedfestivals in the UK, Finland, Norway, Germany, andEastern Europe andlanded a slot on Ozzfest Japan. They would perform at Poland’s Woodstock in front of 400,000 people. Stateside, the band supported longtime friends Black Label Society in the winter of 2015 and then got the opportunity to bedirect support to Slipknot on a Spring 2015 run in between festival appearances at Rock On The Range, Welcome To Rockville, and more as well as Motörhead's Motörboat with Slayer and Motörhead.“Riding into this album, I realized we could play with bands of every genre nearly anywhere without deviating from who we are,” continues Jasta. “The Motörboat was another real career highlight. We played this exclusive event with some of our chief influences. We got to literally chart new territory.”Returning home in the Fall of 2015, they entered the studio with longtime producer Zeuss [Rob Zombie, Soulfly]. Immediately, they channeled the spirit that’s long defined their signature sound. By January, the record was mixed by Josh Wilbur [Megadeth, Lamb Of God] andprimed for ignition.“We had a really good vibe in the studio,” he says. “The record is a snapshot of this time for us.”It also reflects what’s going on outside. The opening track and first single “A.D.” fuses together torrential thrashed-out guitars, double bass drums, and Jasta’s immortal growl before an incendiary lead. The singer dissects what the American Dream means in a climate of upheaval. “Fight fire with fire, you’ll see everyone’s burning,” he screams. Think of it as “Vote With A Bullet” or “Holy Wars...The Punishment Due” for the Instagram age.
“It’s a mirror of both sides of the story whether it’s what you believe in the media or what you actually see,” he explains. “Musically, it came together quickly. It’s about all of the frustrated feelings that come out when I turn on the news. So much of our attention is focused on the wrong areas. People want to one-up each other with better clothes and cars, and it’s all bullshit. Nobody goes to the grave with any of that stuff. It’s not all instant gratification. What exists on the phone and computer isn’t what exists in real life. What is the American Dream anymore?”The machine gun chug of “Looking Down The Barrel Of Today” proves equally uplifting and undeniable. “I wanted something to get crowds pumped up,” he admits. “So many fans will tell us, ‘Your records help me get through my life.’ I needed to encourage this cyclical power to get up and face the day. You either make the best of today, or you’re done in by it.”“Something’s Off” carries an ominously lyrical bass line into a guttural chant, showcasing Jasta’s chilling vocal dynamics in the process. “I’ve written songs about depression, alcoholism, and falling back into destructive patterns,” he says. “However, I never felt like I could really put my finger on what anxiety is. It’s not just social anxiety but this unexplained feeling of unease, like I’m in a fog. I’ve felt it occasionally since I was in grade school. You can’t control when it happens. Heavy music has kept that beast at bay—in addition to exercise and experiences with my family. I had to confront it directly in the lyrics here.”Elsewhere, “Remember When” and “Slaughtered In Their Dreams” juxtapose visceral lyricism with a searing sonic backdrop as chaotic as it is catchy. Through and through, The Concrete Confessionalis classic Hatebreed.In order to transfer this message to the masses, the band inked a global deal with Nuclear Blast. “They’re world-renowned mainstays in the metal community,” he smiles. “We get to be in the company of career bands we look up to.”Hatebreed have come a long way from the East Coast’s storied nineties underground scene. Their journey has seen them achieve a 2005 GRAMMY® Award nod in the category of “Best Metal Performance” for “Live For This,” sell over 1.2 million records, and land a #1 debut on Billboard’s DVD Chart with 2009’s Live Dominance. Moreover, they’ve annihilated audiences from Mayhem Fest to OZZfest Japan and Download Festival to Wacken, Hellfest, and beyond.Now, The Concrete Confessionalfits right into the bold, bloody, and beating heart of the Hatebreed institution.“The title had to be something that was heavy and hard, but also vulnerable and honest,” Jasta leaves off. “Heavy music is this cleansing, therapeutic, and cathartic experience for so many. You’re there, the guitars are crushing you, and someone’s screaming their head off—sharing their pain and aspects of their life through words, poetry, or songs. There’s nothing like it. You confess you have negative thoughts, and you purge them. For however long you’re at the show, there are no bills to pay, issues to deal with, or problems holding you back. You can be free.”
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.