Review: Metal reigns on Trespass America Tour

The inaugural Trespass America Tour, which slammed through the Glens Falls Civic Center on Wednesday

The inaugural Trespass America Tour, which slammed through the Glens Falls Civic Center on Wednesday night, certainly left no style of metal unexplored, and no modern metal fan unsatisfied.

From thrash to hardcore to groove and even a bit of pop, the seven bands on the tour, led by Los Angeles’ Five Finger Death Punch, powered through six hours of headbanging goodness. The crowd may have been small, relatively speaking — filling maybe half of the arena — but the enthusiasm from bands and fans alike made the show larger than life.

The crowd had been waiting for Five Finger Death Punch all day, and the band made them wait a little longer, with an intro tape of “100 Ways to Hate” stoking anticipation. But once the five piece ripped into “Under and Over It,” they didn’t let up for the next hour-plus. The group touched on all three of its albums, paying particular attention to last year’s “American Capitalist,” early on, with the title track and the suicide lament “Coming Down” being two of the strongest performances of the evening.

Lead guitarist Jason Hook definitely deserved the MVP award for his guitar heroics. His solos, from the searing blister punctuating “Burn it Down” to “American Capitalist’s” pyrotechnics, showcased the kind of technique and fearless experimentation missing from most of today’s metal bands.

Other highlights included a surprisingly thunderous cover of “Bad Company.” Immediately following, vocalist Ivan Moody dragged a chorus line of young kids from the audience onstage for an up-close-and-personal view during a crushing performance of “White Knuckles” — and a game of “Ivan Says” mid-song, for good measure.

The band closed its main set on a high note with the muscular “War is the Answer,” having already worked the crowd into a frenzy.

Perhaps more than any other band on the bill this evening, Killswitch Engage had something to prove. After a 10-year absence, original vocalist Jesse Leach has returned to the fold, and judging from the band’s nearly hour-long set, it was the right decision. Leach snarled and growled his way through Killswitch classics such as set opener “Rose of Sharyn” and centerpiece number “My Last Serenade,” where the entire band showed off its impressive range.

Of note was a new song, “No End in Sight,” coming on a new album tentatively due out next year — the track’s riff was predictably heavy, but the chorus may just be the catchiest the band has come up with. A thrashing cover of Dio’s “Holy Diver” closed out the set on a high note.

The five other bands before the main headliners all succeeded, to varying degrees, in riling up the slowly growing crowd. Detroit five-piece Battlecross kicked off the festivities shortly after 5, with a set short on nuance but with plenty of energy to spare. Like many opening bands at the Civic Center, Battlecross had to rise above less-than-adequate sound, which rendered some of the more intricate riffs a sludgy mess.

God Forbid, from New Jersey, upped the ante with a stronger melodic presence courtesy of frontman Byron Davis and guitarist/vocalist Doc Coyle. The two had their best moments in “Equilibrium,” even locking into some harmonies before Davis went back into Cookie Monster growls for the song’s crushing choruses.

Up next was Emmure, whose groove metal tendencies shifted the evening’s mood ever so slightly. Again, there was practically zero nuance (how could there be, when almost every riff played relied on a single note?) but the band’s energy kept the crowd’s interest through such pounders as “Sunday Bacon” and “10 Signs You Should Leave.”

Pop Evil truly switched things up with their set, bringing a more traditional rock vibe to the proceedings that was fairly well received (even if the band killed the mosh pit). The group was at its best on “Monster You Made,” the first ballad of the evening, which also gave lead guitarist Dave Grahs a chance to strut his stuff on the fingerboard. Heavier moments included the snarling “Broken & Betrayed” and set closer “Last Man Standing,” with an anthemic fist-pumping chorus courtesy of frontman Leigh Kakaty.

The night truly kicked into high gear when Trivium took the stage shortly after Pop Evil. From set opener “In Waves,” the band’s tight chemistry and instrumental prowess was immediately apparent. Best of all was “Torn Between Scylla and Charybdis,” an epic-length metal suite that included growling, foot stomping sludge, anthemic hooks and a melodic bridge with some nifty guitar heroics thrown in for good measure.

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