» Blog Archive Fashionably Late to Metal Alliance 2017 -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews, Tours

DSC09564I’ve made the conscious effort to try and make it to the Metal Alliance tour for the past few years that it’s been an ongoing thing. Literally every year the tour has managed to make me want to attend, but life has a habit of getting in the way. This year, however, when it was revealed that Overkill and Crowbar were the main attraction, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. Overkill are a class act in thrash metal, and Crowbar are undeniably an unstoppable force, so add in Havok and Black Fast and you’ve got my attention.

Being “fashionably late” wasn’t exactly on my itinerary for this year, however. As a result, Invidia and Black Fast were missed on my behalf. I apologize to those two bands, in particular Black Fast, but it just seems like life didn’t want me to attend a Metal Alliance show. Regardless of the complications, however, things worked out and I made it inside just n time for Havok to take the stage. Squeezing through Irving Plaza’s crowd and making my way to the front, I was situated just in time to see Havok emerging from the sides and getting ready to work.

DSC09429I’ve been enjoying Havok’s music since the 8th or 9th grade, right around the time thrash metal was making a comeback and smaller bands such as them were rising up in the scene, but somehow had never seen the band live. Apparently I was missing a lot, as Havok was well sonically impressive, tight in both instrumentation and performance, and literally didn’t stop unless it was for sound clips to play in between songs. Knowing their set was limited, Havok knew they had to win new fans over, but when you’re on Metal Alliance and supporting Overkill, that’s easily done for a band like Havok. Unrelenting, Havok made quite the impression and made the long wait for a live encounter worth it.

Crowbar took Havok’s place with a quick set-up and transition of gear to the stage. Given roughly ten minutes, Crowbar came out swinging and upon their first few notes and got right to it. I typically enjoy when a band differs live than on the recording, as it helps make the live experience all the more unique; slightly different vocal styles and guitar tones generally help spice things up. Crowbar, DSC09486however, were almost a mirror-image of the recording While impressive, the true marvel of their set was actually feeling the music through the whole venue. After photos, I retreated to the upper balcony of the venue, and even standing up there I was feeling every guitar chug in my chest cavity. Crowbar is known for touting their heaviness, and while they’re undeniably heavy on the recording, feeling it is an entirely different experience.

The stage was essentially stripped down post-Crowbar, and with it techs swarmed the stage in preparation for Overkill’s oncoming set. I witnessed Overkill earlier this year, and they were undeniably impressive and amped up at their hometown show of that tour. I was curious as to see if that energy carried over to a New York show, and I wasn’t let down at all. The energy in the building went through the roof as Overkill took the stage, and as bodies were being shoveled over the railing and back into the crowd, the band didn’t allow that energy to die down across their massive and winding setlist.

DSC09546I said it before and I’ll say it again: Overkill have aged gracefully on CD, and that much can be said about their live show as well. When you’re on the Metal Alliance tour, it’s understandable to believe you’re a top-tier live act with the legacy to back it. Overkill is just that. In the past four or five albums, the band has modernized nicely and now stands triumphantly alongside the classic thrash bands and the newer ones as well. If anything, the high energy, the spot-on precision, and the massive setlist only prove that Overkill are titans in heavy metal, and a staggering 18 albums to prove it are all you need to know that Overkill are the real deal.

Despite the late arrival, Metal Alliance 2017 was worth all the years of anticipation. Finally getting to the tour was relieving, but being able to catch Overkill, Crowbar, and Havok back-to-back and bring their A-game was an astounding experience. Here’s to hoping Metal Alliance keeps it up every year, as if they keep delivering quality tour packages like this then they’ve got something great going.

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