Niamh Slevin

Heading out for one last tour before the summer festival season kicks off, metalcore heavyweights Atreyu and From Autumn to Ashes co-headlined a show at St. Andrews Hall in Detroit on May 12. Both bands lost a member recently, and each could use this tour to hone in their aggressive and engaging live acts before they have to step up their performances for the upcoming Ozzfest and Warped Tour.

As their name is taken from the children”s movie ‘The Neverending Story,’ one might expect to hear the complete opposite of what Atreyu brings to the table. This quintet brings a fresh new sound to the metal scene by blending singer Alex Varkatzas” ferocious scream with the added vocal harmonies of drummer Brandon Saller. As well as playing fan favorites from their album Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses such as ‘A Song for the Optimists’ and ‘Lip Gloss and Black,’ the band mixed in new songs from their upcoming release The Curse.

Though St. Andrews” audience barricade and raised stage greatly decreased the concert”s personal feel, the band reached out to their audience by diving into the crowd and passing the microphone to fans. Despite minor technical difficulties, the band found ways to keep the crowd entertained by belting out a riff from the heavy metal gods Slayer and cracking a few jokes. This performance also gave them a chance to introduce their new bassist, Marc McKnight, the ex-bassist of Nightfall. McKnight adds an unsurpassed level of intensity to the aggression of the band, and if it were not for the barricade in front of the stage, he would probably be ripping apart the mosh pits while pounding out bass lines.

With a more mellow tone and slower songs, From Autumn to Ashes showcases a softer side of metal music. Mixing hard-hitting and heavy songs like ‘Cherry Kiss’ and ‘The After Dinner Payback’ with emotional ballads like ‘No Trivia,’ they show off a wide range of of eclectic talent. Similar to Atreyu, Benjamin Perry leads From Autumn to Ashes, using his growling larynx along with the soothing vocal tones of drummer Francis Mark to create an ear-pleasing creation for metalcore fans. Even with the recent loss of guitarist Scott Gross, the band stuck together onstage and proved that although they”ve lost a member, they”ve maintained their passion and can still deliver an impressive live act.

The Atreyu and From Atumn to Ashes roared on throughout the sweltering, humid 80 degree heat and added more of their own musical fever into the muggy air. The bands” personal touches satisfied the crowd”s desire to feel close to the musicians; the barricades were merely physical walls, not emotional ones.

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