Switchfoot & Relient K look for America at The Tabernacle Oct. 30

Switchfoot’s Looking For America Tour rolled through Atlanta October 30, with co-headliner Relient K. Fans of both bands packed the Tabernacle early to get a good spot to enjoy the show featuring the veteran Christian rock bands.

Relient K took the stage amidst a backdrop of a two-story house, a BBQ grill, coolers and a gigantic bison to the tune of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” getting the crowd in the Halloween spirit. The band out of Ohio has been together now for an impressive sixteen years, releasing its eighth studio album Air For Free in July. Lead single from the new album, “Bummin’,” started off the night with front man Matt Theissen all smiles as the audience sang the words back to him. Though the band has gone through several line up changes over the years (Theissen and guitarist Matt Hoops are the only remaining original members), Relient K’s sound has remained the same fun, upbeat punk/rock as its always been since the release of 2000’s self-titled album. Old school Relient K got some love early in the set with “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” but Air For Free dominated with “Runnin’,” the fun sing-along “Mrs. Hippopotamuses’,” and “Mountaintop.” Relient’s set also included a couple of Halloween songs, “Halloween in Owatonna,” and “Halloween Blues,” before ending the night with fan favorites “Be My Escape” and “Sadie Hawkins Dance.”

Switchfoot hit the stage next amid soft blue lights with guitarist/singer Tim Foreman launching into “Holy Water,” the first track on the band’s new album Where The Light Shines Through, before being joined by his brother/lead singer Jon Foreman. Where The Light Shines Through is Switchfoot’s tenth studio album, but the band only continues to get better with time. If there is one word to describe seeing Switchfoot perform, it would be uplifting. Foreman is the type of songwriter that is not afraid to be real and raw in his lyrics and it pays off with the earnest and hopeful message of this new album. That message resonated and was plain to see in the faces of the fans as they sang along with him as “Meant To Live,” the band’s breakthrough single from 2003’s The Beautiful Letdown, filled the speakers. Foreman left the stage (for the first time of many) to sing personally to several lucky fans during the performance, even crowd surfing several times and holding the hands of people in the crowd. Switchfoot is able to connect with fans in a way that is rare, but comforting and encouraging, as if they were old friends and confidants to everyone in the audience. “Stars” took fans back to 2005’s Nothing Is Sound, before new songs “Where The Light Shines Through,” and the gorgeous “I Won’t Let You Go,” kept the set going. The highlight of the night was an intimate, acoustic version of “Hello Hurricane,” during which all the members of the band gathered around a single microphone, encouraging the audience to light up The Tabernacle with their phones and sing along. “If The House Burns Down Tonight,” “The Sound,” and “Where I Belong” ended the set, but the crowd demanded an encore that came almost immediately with “Float,” “Live It Well,” and the band’s most beloved song “Dare You To Move.”

Relient K

Switchfoot

CD Review: “Slaves to the Grave” by Rigor Mortis

There are some bands in the metal genre that have attained cult status. Old school Texas thrash outfit Rigor Mortis is one of those bands. Although the group only released two proper albums in their 30 year history, the band’s 1988 self-titled debut album is a thrash gem. Twenty-six years later, the band has released its final record Slaves to the Grave. It is a tribute to late guitarist Mike Scaccia, who recorded the guitar tracks before his death in December of 2012. It is also a proper send off for an underrated but heavily respected band. The band released the record themselves and raised the money through IndieGoGo.

The album opener “Poltergeist” has the signature manic, crossover sound that Rigor Mortis is known for. Vocalist Bruce Corbitt sounds just like he did 25 years ago, with his fast lyrical recitation and gravelly voice. Mike Scaccia’s guitar work is incendiary with a razor sharp riffs and plays a beautiful, yet haunting guitar lead as the song ends. The thrash attack continues on “Rain of Ruin.” Again, Scaccia gives his all on this track with a fiery guitar solo and neck snapping riffage. Drummer Harden Harrison breaks out a d-beat, showing the band’s hardcore roots. The relentless “Flesh for Flies” rages like a swarm of killer bees. The take no prisoners mentality is abound on this track and the riffs engulf the track like a category five hurricane. The Iron Maidenesque “The Infected” is a maze of technical musicianship. The speed picks up on “Blood Bath,” easily one of the fastest tracks on the record and one of the longest at 6 1/2 minutes. The song twists and turns like a crimson river before culminating with another soulful guitar solo. The eerie, gloomy atmosphere of the instrumental dirge “Sacramentum Gladiatorum” is another high point, with its foreboding guitar passages. The final track “Ludus Magnus” pays homage to the Great Gladitorial Training School. What better way to end a record than to go out like a warrior? The militaristic drumming drives the track as Corbitt describes the training and rigors of Rome’s mightiest fighters. The track is triumphant and excellently concludes the final chapter of Rigor Mortis.

Slaves to the Grave shows a band at its finest and final hour. Mike Scaccia’s amazing guitar work is captured in all its glory. The band plays at its finest and its most technical, always having fun and never sounding forced. This is metal the way it is meant to be played. Thank you Bruce, Casey, Harden and Mike for all you’ve done in the metal genre. Rest in peace, Mike, you are truly a gladiator.

Rigor Mortis can be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rigormortis25.

(Hed) Pe is ready to lead you into battle with ‘Evolution’

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By: Mary Lynn Ritch

 

(Hed) Pe makes heavy rap/rock/reagge infused albums like with color and detail. Each song on Evolution sounds different from the next without losing their signature sound.

Evolution starts off with tapping on a tribal drum in “No Way Out.” The drum sounds incredibly peaceful but before you believe (Hed) Pe has gone all spa channel on XM radio, Jaxson starts shredding on guitar. Towards the end of the song, Jared clearly screams “We’ve come such a long way” and it’s hard to believe those peaceful seconds were part of the same song. (Hed) Pe is back with a brutal vengeance that although different from previous records doesn’t veer off very far from their signature sound.

A major theme in Evolution is that the band has embraced their change in direction and if you don’t like it—then too bad. “There ain’t nothing else to lose because I’ve played too many games,” Jared sings as the band channels Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page’s guitar in Stairway to Heaven is channeled in “2 Many Games.” The band is prepared for any backlash for this sentiment in “There’s no Tomorrow” which sounds black metal infused. “The revolution is on the way,” Jared screams from the gut, “When the walls come down then I’m gonna be right there on the front line. Waiting on the right side on the front line like there’s no tomorrow.”

Other highlights from Evolution include “Never Alone,” “Let it Burn” and “One More Body” that will for sure get a crowd moving and into the pit. It sounds like a uprising led by the band as “One more body is screamed” followed by group vocals chanting “round em up” accompanied by the double base. “Lie to Me” is also an impressive reggae song with a modern twist on the genre.

(Hed) PE is releasing Evolution July 22–the first album the band has released in four years and is currently on tour. Guitarist Jackson Benge had the chance to speak with me about the new tunes, how it’s easier to work with an independent label, touring and performing at the 15th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos.

 

Are you excited about this new album?

Yea, this album is a little different than our previous work but we are all really proud of the finished product. I am glad to finally get this out to the fans.

 

What are the band’s biggest influences?

Black Sabbath, Beastie Boys and bands like Slayer to name a few. But with this new album you’ll notice there are some reggae songs because Jared is influenced by Bob Marley and we wanted to try something new.

 

I listened to “Only in Amerika” and “Evolution” and you guys also sound like you’re influenced by ICP?

A lot of people tell us that and it’s funny because we started gaining a Juggalo fan base. They’ll show up at our shows with their clown makeup and it’s really cool. Also, we’ve played at the Gathering of the Juggalos in the past and are doing that again this tour.

 

What is playing at the Gathering at the Juggalos like?

It’s three or four days at this big festival in the middle of nowhere. You can actually feel that welcoming, family dynamic in the crowd.

 

So you’d say classifying the Juggalos as a gang was an unfair assumption?

I think it’s absolutely absurd and ridiculous. The Juggalos are just following a band they like and I think it’s pretty unfair to label someone or think they are dangerous just for being themselves and liking a band. In every situation there are bad people that make others look bad. So if we went into every situation with that mindset there would be many groups considered gangs. You don’t have to like their music, but you can respect them as people by not judging them.

 

What is touring like?

It’s definitely not for everyone but I enjoy it. The band is spread out all over the country and we rarely get a chance to all be in the same state. It will be fun to reunite with them.

 

It’s not for everyone? What do you mean by that?

Well, we all have families and it’s difficult to leave them and go away for a few months on a bus that goes across country seeing different people every night. It gets kind of exhausting but at the same time, I love it.

 

Lets switch gears a little bit when you joined the band in 2004 you were signed to Jive which was a major label and now you’ve gone the independent route with Pavement. I’m noticing that is a trend amongst artists these days. Are independent labels better and cater more towards bands in your opinion?

Major labels are great for advertising but they have so many artists on board they can’t work closely with them. We like working with Pavement because they really pay attention to detail which we didn’t get with Jive. I believe the independent labels we’ve worked with have really gone to bat for us and helped us get the most from the work we do.

 

(Hed) Pe is currently on tour and Evolution will be out July 22 which can be purchased on iTunes. For more information and tour dates visit (Hed) Pe’s website or Facebook page.

 

(Hed) Pe Tour Dates

July 15 – Destin, FL  @ Club LA
July 16 – Orlando @ Bombshell’s Tavern
July 17 –  St Petersburg @ State Theater
July 18 – Ft Lauderdale @ Culture Room
July 19 – Jacksonville @ Aqua On The Rock
July 20 – Knoxville @ The Concourse
July 22 – Beckley, WV  @ Muncheez
July 23 – Thornville, OH @ Gathering Of Juggalos