Impending Doom: Calling Out Nashville and Conquering As Headliners
Band Photo: Within The Ruins (?)
According to Michael Caine's character in the film, "The Dark Knight," some men just want to watch the world burn. In the world of heavy metal, that's kind of a cool line. Actually, that's a really cool line. It's not even that far from the truth for some bands. Some bands like to express their disenchantment with the world and how they'd like to snuff it out like a cigarette butt. Others like to reflect the world in their music, showing it for what it is without passing judgment. Some bands take it one step further and command that we change the world. Impending Doom is not one of them.
On the evening of July 6th, Impending Doom brought back to Nashville's Rocketown a different message: Change yourself. Disregard the world, because it will fail you. Some bands just want to tell you that the world will burn and you shouldn't be part of it. As it turns out, during my interview with vocalist Brook Reeves and some of the band before the show, Impending Doom is about as literal about that as can be. They were joined by fellow bands Within The Ruins, Erra, The Plot In You, and To Each His Own.
While waiting outside the venue, noticing the general age range of about 15-21 years old, a 15-year old with glasses and a white metal shirt struck up a conversation with me. He proceeded to tell me about Erra, the first band he had ever gone to see before, and how they "combine a progressive edge with a djent style." They also let him check out their guitars after that show. Oddly descriptive, smart, and good-mannered, this kid was a good example of the crowds these bands draw and the way they treat their fans. These aren't the slacker-stoners, the rowdy dumb drunks, or the I'm-too-self-aware-to-have-fun hipsters. These are good kids who love loud music.
California-based To Each His Own opened the show around 7 PM in the smaller white-brick venue of Rocketown. I'm tempted to refer to the band as "Boat Shoes," seeing as how each band member had on a pair of comfortable slip-ons. The kids in the crowd began hardcore dancing and moshing early on as the band churned out a quick set of precise and shred-ridden tunes. The band members looked young and tiny, but packed a real adventure into their set. Their lead guitarist didn't look more than 19 years old, but was already pulling out right hand tapping bits across four strings like it was nothing.
On a tight schedule, the boys of Erra rolled onto stage after the set to load in and were ready to go in no time. Like a gorilla, the lead vocalist marched out on stage looking ready for a fight. Coincidentally, Rocketown had discouraged fighting just before the band's set, also poo-pooing crowd-surfing and stage-diving. The kids still had their fun as Erra gave a solid performance. While I had a hard time deciding if their stage-right guitarist was a girl or not, the crowd behind me was going nuts with their ninja kick-dancing.
After some food from the middle of the venue (the cafe is conveniently placed between the stage and the exit, enticing you with hot dogs and pizza), The Plot In You took the stage. The lead vocalist looked like a skinnier version of Tommy from Between The Buried and Me with his grey pants, white shirt, and brawler cap, so I was ready for some death-core, having not heard their music before. In actuality, it was more metalcore. The band had a bunch of fans up front shouting the lyrics as the vocalist stuck it into the crowd.
Within The Ruins were second to last to perform, but were easily a crowd favorite. The drummer's kit was custom, lined with orange and green along with a throwback drawing of The Joker from the Batman comics on the kick drum. As only a four-piece, the band still managed to whip the crowd up into circle pits at times. The bassist was dripping so much sweat from playing so technically that it was a small wonder that his bass pickups weren't corroded to death. More fans also knew the lyrics and would occasionally bum-rush the front, jump up on someone's shoulders, and scream them back at the band.
Not to be outdone in terms of energy, Impending Doom brought staging and lights to accent their performance. For the final set of the night, the band played "Chaos: Reborn," "There Will Be Violence," "The Serpent Servant," "Anything Goes," "Deceiver," and the crowd favorite "More Than Conquerors" among a few others. In the middle of the songs, vocalist Brook Reeves would clarify the confrontational stance of his lyrics and remind everyone about why their band name is what it is, calling them to turn to Jesus. Their daily dose of apocalyptic talk filled, the crowd surged.
With more headlining dates to come, these bands are taking their rampage through the east coast, clockwise on to finish with Texas and New Mexico.
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