Trivium are currently on leg 2 of a massive co-headlining tour with Devildriver (with direct support from After the Burial) in support of their latest full-length release, Vengeance Falls. The co-headliner has been going since early September and now leg 2 of the tour continues on through December 15th, ending in California. This leg of the tour swapped out Sylosis, who had been opening for the lineup until an unfortunate RV crash in late September, for Providence, RI’s Thy Will Be Done.
I was fortunate to catch the tour as it made its way through Nashville, TN on November 25th to pack the 500-capacity venue, Exit/In. The venue is great for metal shows as a fan, but as a photographer it’s a real challenge because there is no barrier to allow for movement in front of the stage, or for protection from those moshing behind. I only mention all this because I got there a bit too late to fight my way up front and photograph Thy Will Be Done, who put on a great opening set, despite being relegated a criminally small portion of the venue’s already small stage. These gentlemen always put on a fantastic show, and have seen a lot of airtime on Sirius XM recently. TWBD are definitely a band to look out for in the coming year!
After the Burial took the stage next, playing to an audience that seemed to have never heard of them. Within the first 30 seconds, it was almost entertaining to see all the people I’d overheard asking “who’s this next band?” standing with their mouths agape or headbanging furiously to the grooves of ATB’s opening track, “My Frailty” from 2011’s In Dreams. Things never slowed down in their set, with the band even treating fans to two new tracks, including the massively catchy (and awesome, in my opinion) “A Wolf Amongst Ravens” and “Anti-Pattern” from their upcoming release, Wolves Within (out on December 17, 2013 via Sumerian Records). ATB closed their six-song set with “Aspiration” off of 2008’s Rareform. They put on a hell of a show, I can’t help but think that touring with the likes of Trivium and Devildriver has helped them improve live, and playing each night before an audience that is mostly new to their music can only be a good thing to help further their career.
Dez Fafara and the guys of Devildriver were up next and played a lengthy 13-song set that featured a lot of fan-favorites, like “Clouds Over California,” “Not All Who Wander Are Lost,” “Dead To Rights” and more, but also included four tracks off their 2013 release, Winter Kills. Dez may be getting up into his late forties, but you wouldn’t know it from the performance he gave that night, Devildriver probably had the most energetic set of the evening (though to be fair ATB had no room to move and TWBD had even less!) and some of the most violent moshing too. I’ve seen the band play a few times, this was by far the best I’d seen them, and seeing such a massive band in so in so intimate a setting, with Dez right up in my face was probably the coolest thing ever. The strangest part of their set (but also one of the coolest) was their cover of AWOLNATION’s “Sail”–a song I would never have imagined any metal band, let alone Devildriver, making listenable, let alone making it slay like they do.
With Devildriver loading off the stage, everything up to this point would have already made for a great night, but there was still the last act of the evening, the mighty Floridian metallers, Trivium! The band hit a fog-covered stage and delivered the opening notes of “Throes of Perdition” and were greeted with a collective roar from the audience, which almost immediately began to form circle-pits. A grinning Matt Heafy, flanked by his face-melting comrades, put on a performance that far out-shined anything I’d ever seen from them before. Although Matt couldn’t move like Dez had in Devildriver’s set (due to his guitar duties), he and the rest of the group were in their usual playful form–you can always count on the guys in Trivium to make the goofiest faces while playing, and tonight, Matt seemed to be channeling his inner Miley Cyrus (For those interested, you can see several photos of Matt sticking his tongue out below).
Musically, saying they were tight in their performance would be an understatement. They blasted through material that included everything from “A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation” off of 2005’s Ascendancy, “Becoming the Dragon” off of 2006’s The Crusade, and the title track off of 2011’s In Waves, to new tracks, “Brave This Storm” and “Strife” with ease. The highlight of their set though, was hearing the band play the title track, “Shogun” off of their 2008 release–yes you read that right, they played all 11+ glorious minutes, and did so flawlessly. In fact this is he first US tour in which they have been playing this song, and as Matt said on stage, that night was the first time it’d been played in the city they where they had recorded it, Nashville, TN. In typical Trivium fashion, their set closed with a the fan-favorite track, “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr”, leaving a satisfied crowd of metalheads to head home and recover from their inevitable bang-overs over the next few days (I’ve only just gotten over mine and it’s been a week!). I can’t stress enough how amazing this tour is. There is not a single band on the lineup that doesn’t put on an awesome set, and Devildriver and Trivium seem to be in their prime on this one. If you can make it to any of the remaining dates of the tour do it. You won’t forgive yourself if you let this pass you by.