» Blog Archive Sekond Skyn, Life of Agony Keeping Rock/Metal Alive -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

DSC08509 (2)We keep hearing the whole argument that “rock is dead” because the industry isn’t selling like it used to. I don’t agree with that statement at all, but what’s obvious is that every rock band today that you come across needs to step up the game a little bit more. Instead of trying to duplicate Nickelback’s success or whatever it is Shinedown is doing, bands should at least be focusing on better songwriting to give the genre a bit of a kickstart. Life of Agony, who are no strangers to both the metal and rock scene, pulled through NJ on the release tour for their new album, A Place Where There’s No More Pain, and with this particular show they managed to bring together bands from across the board for one hell of an entertaining show.

DSC08366 (2)Kicking off the night, Brooklyn’s own Anaka took to the stage. Credit must be given when it’s due because Anaka were immediately working the crowd to their advantage. Being veterans in the Brooklyn scene, Anaka were ultimately professional in their stage show, giving the crowd just enough breathing room in between songs before the band would go right back in for the kill with another song. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and Anaka are doing a fine job playing bare-boned heavy metal.

Perhaps 10, maybe 15 minutes, Sekond Skyn were up, one of New Jersey’s long-standing hard rock bands. If anyone’s seen them before, you knew what to expect, but all the people who were experiencing this band for the first time (Myself included) were in for a surprise. The same “if it ain’t broke…” mentality applies to Sekond Skyn, but the trick this band employs is that the songs have an ebb and flow to them, coupled with an active and engaging stage performance adds more than enough to separate Sekond Skyn from the rest of the crowd.

DSC08499 (2)The best thing I can compliment the band is how every song managed to stand out from one another. Given the short set length they were allotted, most bands would just play as quickly as possible, fit as many songs in, and all of that usually ends up in the band on stage overwhelming the audience. The opposite is at play here, with Sekond Skyn winding in the audience with surprise after surprise, switching it between song tempos and overall different feels to respective songs. Diversity is something that’s always appreciated, and when you can make a thirty minute set feel as impressive as a headlining one, you know you’ve got a good thing going.

DSC08567Dramatically changing up the pace, touring act Sworn Enemy took the stage with the same, hardcore “no bullshit” attitude I typically mention and admire. Being the heaviest band of the night, Sworn Enemy took no prisoners with an incredibly deadly set, made better by a guest appearance by Danny Schuler of Biohazard. The band commemorated this moment by announcing they had recorded a cover of a Biohazard song, and having Schuler join them on stage made the moment all the more special.

This led up to Life of Agony, which was indicated by the massive swarm of people making their way into the room. After vocalist Mina Caputo took to the stage, the band exploded into “River Runs Red” and the room followed suit. Crowd surfing, intense mosh… the works, essentially. Caputo was quick to make the set as intimate and close as possible, often throwing herself over the on stage monitors and reaching a microphone out to the crowd for her fans to sing for her. Sporting a David Bowie shirt and channeling her inner Ziggy Stardust, Caputo owned a large portion of the stage, but not without drawing her fellow band members into her on stage antics.

DSC08639 (2)Guitarist Joey Z. was given proper time in the spotlight, too. Taking moments right before breakdowns or heavy-hitting moments in the songs, he would often explain “Oh man, I love this part!” into the mic, right before providing some screamed backing vocals to add some more weight to the performance. Life of Agony have a reputation for wild shows, and this one was nothing different at all. Playing to the fan favorites as well as a few deeper cuts and selections from the new album, the band surely closed out the night on a high note.

From overly impressive and enjoyable opening acts to an energetic and lively headliner, Life of Agony had a strong bill to match their impressive set. We can argue whether or not rock and metal are dying, but one thing’s for certain is that there’s still bands crafting quality music and giving 110% in their live show.

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