What a spectacular week for bands this was! Even though I personally didn’t find much to see this week, I must say, I’m very impressed with the number of large up-and-comers the tour decided to release this week. Take a look and see who…
Band: Born of Osiris (All Dates)
Check Out: “Exist” from A Higher Place
Similar To: Whitechapel, Periphery, All Shall Perish
My Reaction: Compared to last year, those into the heavier types of metal have good reason to be disappointed so far. With Impending Doom only playing less than half the tour, and Chelsea Grin & After The Burial currently pulling their weight with full runs, there really isn’t much to write home about in terms of heavy metal this summer. However, this week, the tour has announced Chicago, Illinois deathcore quintet Born of Osiris to help level the playing field a bit. Previously going by the names Diminished, Your Heart Engraved and Rosecrance, the band has gone through their share of turmoil in the past nine years they’ve been together. However, through all the line-up changes and touring conflicts they’ve gone through, it seems the band’s luck is changing. Their 2009 release A Higher Place peaked on the Billboard 200 at #73, and their latest Sumerian Records release The Discovery placed at a respectable #87. With a full run on the festival this summer, it seems that Born of Osiris is raring to spread their music to the festival going public.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: It doesn’t take a genius to see that, based on reviews I’ve written over the past two months, I’m not particularly into deathcore (I gave After The Burial and Impending Doom a 4/10, while Chelsea Grin received a 2/10). However, after taking a good listen to Born of Osiris’ material (specifically A Higher Place), I must admit, I was quite taken by the technical precision the band displays in their music. There’s something that the band displays on their record that, even though I can’t put my finger on, I found invigorating. It’s aggressive, but doesn’t just try to beat you over the head with or try to be more brutal than their counterparts. With music this enjoyable, it’s pretty tough for me not to recommend Born of Osiris. As long as they get put onto one of the more reasonably sized stages, I have no problem recommending the group to any fan of the genre.
Band: Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (All Dates)
Check Out: “In Friends We Trust” from Something From Nothing
Similar To: A Day To Remember, Four Year Strong, Fight Fair
My Reaction: Destined to ride that line between brutal breakdowns and synth-laden pop-punk audiences, easycore Frenchmen Chunk No Captain Chunk is making it clear that their mission is to appeal to the masses of both genre’s fanbases. After signing to Fearless Records for distribution in the United States, these Goonies quoting smart-alecks have been showing their genre-collaborating chops for the better part of two years, tacking onto bills with everyone from Attack Attack to Chelsea Grin. Not only this, but after hearing about some of their onstage antics while on tour (using the Baywatch theme song as intro music, wearing a panda suit, etc), it only makes sense that they’d attempt to top themselves this summer.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: I’m all for experimenting with the limitations of a genre, as well as meshing different styles of music. However, I feel as if when Chunk was creating Something For Nothing, there was a linguistic miscommunication. Just looking at the lyrics for some of their music (“Hey dudes are you ready to / Understand why some of your friends are true”), you can tell there’s a gap somewhere between the United States and their Parisian counterparts. However, even given this, there’s still little doubt that a lyrical blunder every now and then will affect how they perform in a live set. So, even though the band may not be the best musically, they probably could still win over audiences this summer.
Band: Divided By Friday (6/16-7/3)
Check Out: “Growing Up” from Prove It
Similar To: Fall Out Boy, Panic At The Disco, You Me At Six
My Reaction: In a sea of punk and metal this week, it’s nice to see a little bit of pop showing up in the announcement. Given that there wasn’t a ton for the genre’s followers this week, it certainly seems that Laurinburg, North Carolina’s Divided By Friday will easily be able to sweep up any Warped-goers who’re looking for their chance to discover something new. Divided By Friday’s latest Hopeless Records release Prove It has many winning qualities about it, but probably the biggest compliment I can give is how it well it takes the best attributes from their alt-pop colleagues. Because the band’s lead singer/guitarist Jose Villanueva sounds strikingly similar to musicans like Patrick Stump and Brendon Urie, their material brings back a certain nostalgia had by those greats. I’m sure as the band continues to gain exposure, people will see the resemblance, bringing fairly large crowds to their two week stint.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: As I continue to delve into the band’s material, live performances, etc, I really do believe they have the potential to be the real deal. They have a sound that has great universal appeal, are on a label already known for showcasing great pop acts, and are in a position where they allow themselves to be corrupted into changing their style just yet. Also, something to watch for during their set: the album Prove It’s best track “Face To Face” features a cameo by other up-and-comer Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive. With all of this drive at the beginning of their career, one thing is becoming very clear: this is the time for Divided By Friday.
Band: Motionless In White (All Dates)
Check Out: “Immaculate Misconception” from Creatures
Similar To: The Word Alive, Black Veil Brides, Marilyn Manson
My Reaction: Emerging from the muck of a currently overcrowded metalcore scene, Scranton, Pennsylvania sextet Motionless In White is ready to stand out and make a name for themselves with a signature style. With lyrics as dark and controversial as their overall stage presence suggests, Motionless In White is quickly showing that nothing will stop them until they reach total domination of their genre. They throw down on enemies in “Immaculate Misconception”, burn their past loves at the stake in “Abigail” and envision their own demises in “Puppets (The First Snow”. As a result, this type of horror-related imagery and lyrical content has predictably gotten the group in hot water with parental protest groups. However, it’s very clear that the group couldn’t care less, touching on this issue in their latest video for “Immaculate Misconception”. As the band close into the final stages of supporting their 2010 Fearless Records debut full length Creatures, vocalist Chris Cerulli (or by his stage name Chris Motionless) and the gang are prepping for their first ever full length run on the festival this summer.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: By my guess, anyone who’s been even the slightest involved with the spike in popularity with the metalcore scene has already had their ear talked off about how Motionless In White’s music is certainly causing a stir for reasons of controversy. However, I feel that if the slightest bit of pressure were taken off of this factor, people could see how innovative the group is attempting to be. To be frank, it takes a lot to write about the things you hate, let alone so passionately and deliberately hateful toward them. Because of this, anyone who shares a similar gusto for anger and visceral emotion should be very excited for Motionless In White this summer. However, anybody that doesn’t may just as well skip them.
Band: Transit (All Dates)
Check Out: “I Think I Know You” from Listen & Forgive
Similar To: The Early November, Saves The Day, Into It Over It
My Reaction: 2011 was a great year for pop-punk. Excuse me, let me rephrase that…last year was an AWESOME year for pop-punk. With fantastic releases from The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, New Found Glory and Boston, Massachusetts’ Transit, a lot of my “Best-of” list at the end of the year ended up consisting of albums from this genre. For me, however, Transit’s Listen & Forgive is definitely one of the albums that stuck with me the most. Though it was only released in October of last year, it has slowly been climbing the “Most Played” tab on my iTunes account. After spending countless years of DIY touring, shifting labels and having a can-do attitude, the band has signed with Rise Records, which will surely help them gain a wide variety of fans, both of the pop-punk and indie-pop variety. With crisp, atmospheric musicianship and smart, honest lyricism from lead singer Joe Boynton, the band’s newest release will surely find a place in your heart by the time Warped Tour rolls into your town this summer.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Definitely. Like I stated earlier, Listen & Forgive really did a number on me when I first heard it last year. Within the album’s eleven tracks lie so much truth, inventiveness and desire to be more than just good enough. It’s the kind of album that five years from now will remain just as surreal and memorable as your first initial listen. Better yet, after I saw their set last year at Bled Fest, I can personally speak on the high levels of energy and entertainment they bring to their live performance. With both their material and their performing ability, I highly recommend seeing Transit. It’ll be one of the best decisions you’ll make that day.
Band: Wax (6/16-7/9)
Check Out: “Music & Liquor” from Scrublife
Similar To: Grieves, Blueprint, P.O.S.
My Reaction: Def Jam Records has had a long, illustrious career as one of the most respected hip-hop labels of all-time. Artists and groups such as Kanye West, Ludacris and Beastie Boys, for example, have made large impacts for the genre of hip-hop, thus shaping Def Jam Records into a monumental success. As for the future of this label, Washington D.C. native Michael Jones, a.k.a. Wax, could pave the way for forthcoming success. Taking influence from every artist from N.W.A. to Guns N’ Roses, the hip-hop up and comer has been actively touring for the better part of a decade, showcasing half a dozen different LPs. Now currently in support of his latest mixtape Scrublife, it is definitely clear that Wax is coming to make his mark on an already hip-hop heavy edition of Warped Tour.
Would I Recommend Seeing Him?: When taking into consideration that this year’s Warped Tour already has more than enough hip-hop to go around this summer, once again, the festival-going public must decide which rapper to decide to see. Given this, I find that Wax is somewhere in the middle ground; he really isn’t an artist you need to see, but not one you should avoid either. His music is pretty respectable in terms of production and lyricism, but I’m not sure yet whether his music will transfer to an energetic live set or not. So, overall, it depends on whether or not you feel Wax’s music is deserving of checking him out.
I’m very happy with the direction the tour took this week. Over the past two months, it seemed that no matter which bands got announced, there was always an inevitable sense of complaint. However, with this week, it’s refreshing to see that there are bands of every demographic being represented. Let’s hope the tour keeps up the good work over these next few weeks.