Updated: Feb 25, 2019
On Wednesday, February 6th, two legends of modern metal descended on The Foxx Lounge Rock Bar & Hotdoggery for a sold out show held by PureGrainPromo Events. With local support from Barrie-based Dead Beyond Fear (see recent interview for more!), this was a show that I will never forget. I first heard Unearth’s track 'The Great Dividers' off their 2004 release The Oncoming Storm about 14 years ago, and have been hooked ever since. The opportunity to see these bands in a smaller, intimate venue like The Foxx Lounge is rare, and those who attended fed off the intense energy provided by the up close and personal experience.
As Dead Beyond Fear took the stage, the venue was already pushing capacity and the energy in the room was tangible. DBF was facing a big challenge as local support for two massively popular bands, and they showed nothing but confidence and determination throughout the set.
Their first song, ‘Wish’, begins with a slow, melodic build-up and mirrored the anticipation of the crowd in front of them. After building tension, they erupted into a heavy metal onslaught laced with slow, devastating breakdowns. Slowly, the fans moved closer to the stage as DBF delivered their second song and the inspiration for their name, ‘Dead Beyond Fear’. The whole band exuded confidence and fed off the growing energy from the audience. As they moved into their third song, ‘Empire of One’, bassist Marc Lambert and vocalist Phil Ross exchanged brutal screams that only added to the immense power of their sound. DBF showed everyone in attendance exactly why they earned a spot on this coveted bill, combining musical influences of each member into a set that was diverse in sound, heavy yet melodic, perfectly executed, and truly unforgiving.
In the end, Dead Beyond Fear won over the crowd and made their hometown proud. I have never seen them so tight, so energetic, and so driven. They left the stage to deafening cheers from the audience and with smiles on their faces. There was little doubt that DBF would pull off a set to remember, but even then they exceeded the expectations of everyone, including themselves. I was able to talk with them after the show to get their thoughts on a truly incredible experience, which can be found below after the show review.
It wasn’t long before the stage was reset for Washington D.C. natives Darkest Hour. Formed in the mid-90s, they have spent nearly 20 years building up a reputation as one of the biggest names in modern metal music. Their latest release, 2017’s Godless Prophets and the Migrant Flora, garnered rave reviews and showed that even on their ninth studio album these metal veterans show no sign of slowing down.
They opened their set heavy and fast with ‘Knife in the Safe Room’, instantly creating a mosh pit that consumed half of the venue. I have never seen Darkest Hour live before, and I was amazed by the energy, crowd control, stage presence, tight sound, and lighting production throughout the set. Mixing in old favourites with new hits brought diversity to their set, giving the fans a memorable performance in a smaller, more intimate venue. Each song brought a new element while maintaining an overall “heaviness” laced with melody and shredding guitar solos.
I would highly recommend seeing them live if you get the chance, because even though I am not very familiar with their discography, their incredible performance is one of the best I have seen at The Foxx Lounge (or anywhere for that matter) in a long time.
Apart from my friends in Dead Beyond Fear, Unearth was the act I was looking forward to the most. As I said, since being introduced to their 2004 release The Oncoming Storm, they have been near the top of my list of bands I want to see live. Despite the fans absolutely tearing it up for Darkest Hour, there seemed to be no lack of energy or excitement as Boston natives Unearth took the stage.
Amidst a dramatic light and fog show, their opening song was ‘Incinerate’ from their new album Extinction(s), released a few months ago on Century Media Records. Beginning with a riff that is reminiscent of early 2000’s metalcore (grindchords and all), ‘Incinerate’ opened into a moshable assault that had people chanting along and set the tone for the headlining set. The venue was absolutely packed, and Unearth delivered a raw energy and power that only a band of their longevity and stature could. Playing songs from their new album as well as older hits such as ‘Zombie Autopilot’ and ‘My Will Be Done’, their set had something for seasoned and newer fans alike.
With The Foxx Lounge quickly garnering a reputation for hosting big-name bands like Cancer Bats, The Flatliners, Seaway, Pkew Pkew Pkew, and The Creepshow, it was an incredible experience that you simply wouldn’t get at a festival or stadium. Worth mentioning is the circle pit that nearly took up the entire square-footage of the venue. Those who fell were picked back up immediately and highlighted the importance of community and respect in the local music scene. I anxiously waited, hoping to hear those three magic words – “The Great Dividers”! When the time came for Unearth to announce that it was their last song, my gut told me that this was it. After nearly 15 years I would finally get to experience the song that got me hooked live! Sure enough, the song began and the crowd went nuts. It was four minutes of utter chaos, and as the proverbial “dust” settled, every person who attended the show left with a smile on their face.
Unearth playing 'The Great Dividers'
Post-Performance Thoughts from Dead Beyond Fear
With the show over and the venue slowly emptying out, I caught up with a few members of Dead Beyond Fear to get their thoughts on what was certainly a night they will never forget. Drummer Chelsea Rena described her experience on stage:
“I felt focused. So focused! It took a lot to try to ignore the incredible reaction from the crowd. I was honoured to be representing Barrie and a good time. The feedback has been so reassuring and after so many years in different bands, being recognized for something like this is amazing.”
Vocalist Phil Ross stated:
“I wanted the crowd to enjoy [the set] and feel like we do playing it. I couldn’t help but smile, it felt amazing, and the circle pits… It’s just great to see people reacting to something I am so passionate about.”
Bassist and backing vocalist Marc Lambert said:
“I looked at the crowd, it was the biggest show we have played, and the energy was just fucking awesome! I feel like the crowd fed off our energy and we fed off of theirs. After we got off stage the energy was still pouring out and so many people came up and said great things. There was so much positivity… an amazing response.”
Written & content by: Chris Harrington
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