Wednesday May 22nd is a day that will be forever engrained in my mind as the day I got to see Soilwork and Hypocrisy. The show was an amazing one, and all of the bands there, with the exception of one, were excellent. Garden of Shadows, Single Bullet Theory, and Scar Culture were the supporting acts for the big two.
Garden of Shadows was the opening band, and I had never heard them before I went to the show. I will say this; they were AMAZING! The music was reminiscent of Dark Tranquilitys earlier music, but heavier at times, and the vocals were guttural. As I made my way to the stage, and I saw the vocalist, I was taken aback because it was a female vocalist and she easily couldve given any male death metal vocalist a run for his money. She sounded like the love child of Angela Gossow and Chris Barnes. And the music that the rest of the band was playing was somewhat technical, heavy, and melodic at the same time. They played a flawless set. I was a little disappointed that they were the first band though, because they were one of the better opening bands, and I missed part of their set. The next band to come however, was a big disappointment.
This band went by the name, Single Bullet Theory, and they were quite horrible. I do have to hand it to the vocalist though, he did try to get the crowd into the music, but they just werent very interesting. Between sets the vocalist would whine about how Linkin Park were pussies, and he would go off on a tangent about how they were true metal and everyone should go back there and buy their cd. He spent more time whining and bitching than he did playing. The guitarists of the band were quite talented, but the music just wasnt very good. They were a homeboy hardcore band and the singer was a Warrel Dane wannabe. He could sing fairly well, but he was way too arrogant, and the music just wasnt interesting. Once they finished their set of crybaby whininess, the next band took the stage.
This band was Scar Culture, and I have to say, they are quite excellent live. It was during their set that the first mosh pit of the night broke out, and yours truly jumped right in, but it was only a small mosh pit; Three people at most. Scar Cultures vocalist was excellent. His screams were powerful, and consistent, and despite having only one guitarist, the band sounded great. They were tight, focused, and they provided a much needed adrenaline rush to the crowd. Scar Culture was easily the most brutal band there, and they tore it up. Each sonic assault pounded the crowd more and more, and paved the way for the frenzy that would ensue during Soilworks set.
Soilwork came out onto a dark stage, with flashlights in hand, and "Star Wars" music playing as they each came onto the stage. Then they blasted out with their first song. The entire crowd was driven into a frenzy, and it was one big mosh pit. During this chaos I managed to push my way up to the stage, and I got to see Soilwork play only inches from my face. It was an amazing feeling, and all the new stuff that they played sounded excellent. The quality was almost the exact same as it is on their cds. Henry Ranta blasted away on his set while Peter Wichers and Ola Frenning were wailing away on their guitars. Bjorn "Speed" Strids vocals were superior live. His voice never gave out, and never wavered. He switched from rough vocals to clean with the greatest of ease, and did so perfectly. His clean voice is very powerful live, as is the rest of the band. The highlight of their set was when they played The Chainheart Machine. The crowd went into a completely chaotic frenzy. Everyone was headbanging, screaming along, and thrashing about while the Soilworkers pounded out the song. All in all I would say that Soilwork played the best that night. They even managed to top the headliners of the show, Hypocrisy. My only letdown with Soilworks set was that they didnt play anything from Steel Bath Suicide. I was hoping to hear Sadistic Lullaby", but I was glad just to be there for their show. Not only are they great musicians, but also they are great guys, and definitely care about their fans. After their set they shook hands with the many fans, including myself.
Now it was time for Hypocrisy, and they did an excellent job. They opened with one of my favorite tracks from the self-titled disc, Fractured Millennium. Peter Tagtrens voice was superb! Each scream and each growl he conjured up was pure perfection. He didnt miss a note on his guitar as he sang either. The music sounded perfect as well, and Lars Skozes drumming was incredible. Hypocrisy played through songs from every album, even the new one, and I must say, even though I hated Catch 22, I loved hearing the songs from that disc being played live. Those songs are much better as live pieces. Hypocrisy had a great deal of variety in their set, and they closed for the first time with The Final Chapter. They later came back on stage for an encore performance of Roswell 47.
With the exception of Single Bullet Theory, every band that played Jaxx that night was excellent. Soilwork stole the show, but Hypocrisy didnt go without a fight. The entire ordeal was just pure satisfying metal, and I cant wait until each of these bands come back. Anyone who has ever said that metal is dead would have easily been proven wrong that night. The metal was alive and well, kicking ass, and taking no prisoners.