Fallen Captive opened the show, but it was clear before they started that this band was the main event. The Agora was filled to capacity as Mitch Pivarski (vocals), Jim Bergmann (guitar), Jay Verbic (drums), Brian French (keys), Mike Tata (bass), and Rob Warmuth (guitar/vocals) enthralled the audience with their own brand of Cleveland metalcore. Note-perfect clean vocals by Warmuth provide the perfect contrast with Pivarski’s articulate unclean vocals, adding an operatic element that is indisputably captivating. The music is complicated and tracks go through movements from one segment to the next. The bass is crisp and clear, drum fills are impeccable, and the keys bring an element of surprise and drama to each composition. Dual guitars provide a complete sound in soft, lilting melodies that transpose to thundering guitar riffs, effortlessly leading the listener through each shift. The artists are precise, performing with faultless timing and responding to the energy of their audience.
Music provides a 360 view. It is all in the interpretation, which is different for everyone. From their newest release, The Damage a Man Can Do, Fallen Captive takes an introspective look at life and the diverse ways we experience music. Consider the lyrics from “Hanging in the Balance” that say, “For far too long I’ve ignored reality/No longer can I ignore the consequences of ignoring reality/It’s time to face the music/There is nothing more I want to see/Than everything from sea to sea.” A fellow metal music lover told me this song was about the end of a relationship and being able to go on. I was convinced the song was about trying to be who you are expected to be, but giving up in the end to follow your heart. Pivarski, who authored the lyrics, actually wrote the song after the loss of a loved one, as a tribute to the memories they shared. Warmuth states, “When we came up with the idea for the album (The Damage a Man Can Do), we thought it should be completely open to interpretation. It could be any sort of damage, like emotional, physical, or environmental—wherever you mind goes when you hear it.” None of us are wrong, because all three perspectives describe a point where life is ‘hanging in the balance’.
Motivation is the key to growth. Tata explains, “Music does more things for so many people in a different way.” He finds inspiration for his music by working at The Agora Theatre, which allows him to bring new ideas and larger crowds to the venue. Bergmann found that anticipating the show and audience reaction motivates him to give the best performance. He finds that moshing, crowd surfing, and stage diving add to the excitement of live shows, driving the musicians to give their finest effort on stage. I believe he is right on point. The music of Fallen Captive left me breathless. As I watched the following bands, my thoughts kept straying back to a lyrical phrase, or musical passage from their set. I tore open the CD on my way to the parking lot, so I could listen again on my way home. I am fascinated that the music was made for me to disseminate, as I wish, and find my own meanings. The music of Fallen Captive is all about me…and you…..and the guy beside you. It is about everyone.