SOULFLY / KATAKLYSM / INCITE / ALUKAH
Date: 14th February, 2019
Venue: The Forge
“What is the best way to celebrate Valentine’s day, if you have Metal running inside your veins?” Cheesy, right? Well, one is allowed to step on the land of cheesiness for time to time, so let’s finish what I just started; the best celebration for a couple is going to a Metal show… Although, come to think of it, sharing a steamy show having the pedal to the Metal is the best way to celebrate any occasion, so please have that in mind for future chances. Joking aside, this touring package is a dynamite waiting to explode, and even though I did not arrive to The Forge early enough, I managed to catch a couple of songs from the ALUKAH set that was full-on. To make things even better, the band had some fans among the audience, and the mosh-pit was warming up really good. I love when supporting bands try to make the most of their onstage time and put their A-game forth, and this is exactly what happened, so my ears had just been primed for INCITE. Great job, guys!
You’ve got to love how the Cavalera family works together, showcasing the work-ethics every Metal band should be at least aware of. Richie was manning the merch table during the ALUKAH set, having a down-to-earth attitude that unfortunately is not a common thing nowadays. You see, some of the young bands like to have their head in a fluffy cloud believing that respect is not earned but given. Anyways, this is not a lecture, so I better stick to the facts. Yeah, five minutes after 9pm, INCITE stepped onstage with the title track under belt from the recently released fourth LP, “Built To Destroy”. The vein-popping Thrasher was the best way to introduce INCITE to those who had no previous experience of Richie’s band. Just like in the album, the band sounds to have made big improvement strides and therefore, looks and feels more like a solid lineup, especially when compared to past live shows. There is a level of confidence that I believe was missing in previous shows, and one of the things helping to this direction is that Richie has his own way to interact with the audience. It is not all about screaming your lungs out to the mic, but making eye contact and on occasion physical contact with the audience that feeds off the onstage energy. The song-triplet from the new album ended with the groovy “Resistance” and the slightly slower tempo gave me the chance to observe Dru Tang’s precise riffing, Lennon’s wide stance bass-playing and Christopher’s “the-drum-skins-are-my-enemy-and-I-will-destroy-them” performance. That’s right; this was a solid performance from a solid lineup that seems to know exactly how to behave onstage. “We like old school moshing and stage diving, mother fuckin’ Illinois” were the exact words inviting everyone to join in to the moshing festivities that were already going strong. Once again, I have to give credit to the young audience inside The Forge that showcased how you can have some clean moshin’ time without disturbing the older demographics (yeah, myself included).
The band’s new album got the lion’s share from the setlist and to be honest I am glad it did because every song sounded awesome, and compared to the older material, made it clear how much the song-writing has improved. The massive rhythm section of “Backbone” turned the heat up a notch and “Leech” kept it going strong. By the way, the riff on this one is a killer. “Are you ready for KATAKLYSM?”, asked Richie before dropping the curtain with an oldie; “The Slaughter” sounded absolutely fitting to give the final push for The Forge audience into the moshing pit which seemed ready to welcome KATAKLYSM on stage.
01. “Built To Destroy”
02. “Ruthless Ways”
04. “Up In Hell”
08. “Savior Self”
09. “The Slaughter”
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I will admit that I had lost track of KATAKLYSM some albums ago, but this was not some conscious decision. For some reason, this band fell off my radar and I can only blame myself for this. Yes, this conclusion comes in hindsight because the KATAKLYSM set that night in Joliet was amazingly tight. Without any bells and whistles (aside from a taped intro), the Canadians hit the ground running (not literally) with “Narcissist”. The always friendly face of Maurizio showed up and started growling the lyrics like it was in the middle of the set. The same happened with the metalheads in the pit who started the festivities exactly where INCITE left them. There was headbanging on and off stage with the groovy rhythm section being the perfect reason to do so. The melodic riffs of “The Black Sheep” put on the spotlight how KATAKLYSM have evolved their sound by adding some catchy parts, but without dismissing the Death Metal ferocity. Soon enough, there were crowd surfers reaching the photo-shooting area but no one got hurt and hence was super fun.
“We are KATAKLYSM”, said Maurizio and then he added, “for those who don’t know us, we need to rectify this. Chicago has been my home for the last 15 years”, proving the special connection the singer has with Illinois. He then dedicated “Guillotine” to everyone’s worst enemy (ies). “Joliet, here we come!” he said and got exactly what he was looking for; a nice and sweaty mosh-pit that was already occupying the main stage area. Good stuff! Maurizio acknowledged the audience’s most energetic participation and then went on to admit that he skipped a song from the setlist. That was easily rectified as KATAKLYSM hit us like a ten ton hammer with “10 Seconds From The End” that was rightfully dedicated to the old-school fans. Damn, those groovy parts sounded awesome all the way through. “It is an honor being invited by Max to this tour”, the singer said but he did not waste any more talking energy and kept the Death Metal flowing with “As I Slither”. Like I said, I felt bad for missing a couple of albums from KATAKLYSM, especially after blowing my ear drums off with the ENTOMBED-like opening riff of “Crippled & Broken” before flooring the gas pedal with some fast snare drumming. Maurizio dedicated the setlist closer to his wife who is pregnant, and I think he said she was present that night. Before letting “Outsiders” do the rest, he added “we are together for one reason and that reason is because we love outsiders”. That’s right, people; the Metal scene does not know of discrimination and is a safe haven for all of us who do not feel like fitting to the norm, and this was the best way to end another killer supporting set before the almighty SOULFLY.
02. “The Black Sheep”
03. “Thy Serpents Tongue”
05. “10 Seconds From The End”
06. “As I Slither”
07. “The Resurrected”
08. “Crippled & Broken”
09. “The Ambassador Of Pain”
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Two solid sets led to the headliner of the night that were the one and only SOULFLY. This band has been on a winning streak always giving 100% onstage with awesome albums under the belt. This goes hand-in-hand with Max’s rejuvenated energy that is in plain sight if you have been following him for quite some time. I remember there were shows that even though were quite solid, showcased a disconnected Max who was lacking the clarity he now possesses. I am sure this is partly due to getting clean from booze, although the cause for this effect is not really important. What is important is how healthy he looks and how his energy drives the rest of the band to do more and get connected with the fans in a unique and honest and helluva way. You feel this the moment this band steps onstage, swifting into the highest of gears and keeps this momentum intact from start to finish. Each time I see Max live, I get the same feeling like I am part of a tribe – or maybe it is more fitting to say, part of a family.
With his favorite camo-pants on, Max showed up along with the rest of the band and skipped the warming up altogether hitting us hard with “The Summoning”. Marc Rizzo sounded the charge with one of this trademark roundhouse kicks without missing a single hit on his guitar. On stage right, there was Mike Leon who seemed equally pumped to get the show going while in the back another member of the Cavalera family was blasting the drum skins; Zyon has improved his drumming and I think he has earned his spot behind the drum-kit. As expected, the bodies started flying once more and I have to give credit to the venue’s security guys who kept everyone safe throughout the show. Crowd-surfing wise, this was about to be a long night with waves of metalheads keeping the spirits as high as possible. “Thank you very much! Let’s go back to 1998” said Max and let the Thrash groove of “Fire” do the rest. Don’t you love the tribal sound of this one? Oh yes, and it is so fitting for live shows as it sets the pace for more moshing. This one was followed by the vein popping “Porrada” that brought along more mosh-pitting sweaty action. SOULFLY and The Forge audience were in the zone and there was no stopping; “let’s go back to our first single, everybody say “bleed”!”, said Max and it sounded like everyone screamed their lungs off saying exactly this. The pairing of this one with my favorite “Plata O Plomo” was the icing on this thrashin’ cake; “Pablo Escobar, rei da cocaína” gives me goosebumps every time, and I wished Max would use more Portuguese lyrics because they fit great to his groove. Like I said, he was in a great mood that night and used his ability to connect with the fans in his own and unique way. If you don’t know what groove means, then you should spin “Prophecy” and see how the smashing rhythm brings your blood into boiling. “You know what to do; destroy this place”, simply added Max, with “Ritual” and “Dead Behind The Eyes” being the perfect soundtrack to do so. More sweaty bodies were making their way to the front rows, topping off the SOULFLY experience. Marc got into the spotlight during the awesome guitar solo for “Dead Behind The Eyes” making me think that he is an underrated guitarist and maybe his feet-to-the-ground profile has something to do with this.
“Babylon” and “I And I” kept the shit going and as Max said “we are doing a little bit of everything” trying to fit as many songs as it was humanly possible in the time given. Just before “Rise Of The Fallen”, Marc did a guitar solo and it was great to see Max taunting him to do more (remember; I already said about this band being more like a family, didn't I?). “This belongs to you”, Max said before “Back To The Primitive” and I hope the song’s lyrics resonated with everyone inside The Forge and it was great to hear everyone singing the “fuck all your politics, we got our life to live, the way we want to be” lyrics, especially from those of the younger generation. This took us to the first and only encore of the night and before leaving, Max said: “Illinois, I salute you. Here’s the deal; if you want more, you have to scream”. Of course, there was screaming, no need to debate this, and soon enough there was the SOULFLY, SOULFLY chant. “No” restored the moshing and headbanging action to the same level before the break, but unfortunately also meant that we were getting closer to the end. Max invited three kids onstage and it was great hearing him asking for a round of applause for “the young generation of Metal”.
For the last song of the night, Max asked from everyone to sit down just to jump at the right moment. Of course this is part of the “Jumpdafuckup” ritual, and even though I did not see as many people doing so as I wanted, I got the goosebumps remembering how this went down in 2009 at Belgium’s ‘Graspop’ where thousands of metalheads followed Max’s lead... A couple minutes into this jumpin’ song, “Eye For An Eye” grabbed the reigns and led us to the end. But before doing so, Marc, Zyon and Mike delivered a crazy instrumental cover of “The Trooper” and I am sure if they kept going, then the crowd would have been doing the singing. This nice twist put the lid on another performance from the heart by SOULFLY who keep the groove and the shit going, putting the word ‘Metal’ in capital and bold letters. Until next time, tribe!
P.S.: The SOULFLY football (‘soccer’ for the US metalheads) chant should become a stable!
01. “The Summoning”
02. “Under Rapture”
03. “Fire” / “Porrada”
04. “Bleed” / “Plata O Plomo”
07. “Dead Behind The Eyes”
09. “I And I”
10. “No Hope = No Fear” / “Umbabarauma”
11. “Rise Of The Fallen”
12. “Back To The Primitive”
15. “Eye For An Eye” / “The Trooper” (instrumental IRON MAIDEN cover)
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