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THE METALSUCKS SPONSORED TYRANTS OF EVIL NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2010 RIPS NYC A NEW ONE

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Marquee at the Nokia Theatre in Times Square, January 22, 2010. Photo courtesy Ken Pierce of Piercing Metal.

Although I’m not entirely sure how old the dudes in Mutiny Within are, if you told me that they weren’t even born yet when Exodus released Bonded by Blood, I wouldn’t be surprised. But that’s cool, ’cause I also wouldn’t be surprised if you told me that they were cranking Arsis in high school, the way James Malone was almost certainly cranking Amott’s recordings with Carcass when he was in high school and early A.E. a little later, and Amott was almost certainly cranking vintage Exodus when he was in high school.

My point is this: this Tyrants of Evil tour has four generations of bands. It’s like a living, breathing codification of the history and ideals of this particular sect of the metal world. None of the two bands sound the same, exactly, but there’s a clear through-line to be drawn from the oldest to the youngest. There’s something incredibly cool about that.

Which must be why the Nokia in Times Square was packed with a wide spectrum of fans when the tour rolled into Times Square this past Friday night, and why those fans seemed to arrive early and stay late.

No joke. I was pleasantly surprised how many people had already filled the venue when Roadrunner upstarts Mutiny Within hit the stage around 7:30. That’s pretty early, especially for a Friday night in New York. But I’ve seen headlining shows at this same venue with fewer people. And the kids in the front – ’cause let’s be real, moshing and barrier pushing are a young man’s game – were rocking out. Hard. The old farts in the back didn’t seem any less impressed, even if they expressed their admiration with a slug of beer and a horns in the air instead of shoving their neighbor or running in a semi-synchornized circle. Mutiny Within don’t even have a frickin’ album out yet, but they put on a show like they have ten.

Next up were Arsis. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard this band sound so good. Everything they played, from new single “Forced to Rock” to an abridged version of the already-classic “A Diamond for Disease,” sounded immaculate. Watching Malone and co-guitarist Nick Cordle and bassist Nathaniel Carter play in perfect unison without ever hitting so much as a sour note is one of the those things that makes me believe in power of the human spirit. Seriously. What was once just three men is now a perfect machine that can take noise and turn it into something that our ears actively seek to hear. That’s beautiful.

Now here comes Exodus. EXXXXXOOOODDDDDUUUSSS. I wonder what it’s like to be Gary Holt or Tom Hunting. When they looked down from the stage in 1985, they saw a bunch of teenagers tearing the room apart, made rabid by the sound of their music. When they look down from the stage twenty-five years later, they see… the same thing. It must almost feel like because the fans aren’t aging, they aren’t aging. It must feel like they’ve discovered the fountain of youth. But they’ve earned it: this band has managed to stay relevant over the course of three decades, which, as some of their peers have learned the hard way, is no small feat. The fans barked along with “Bonded by Blood” with as much passion as they did “Children of a Worthless God.” Exodus are anything but a legacy act.

Then, of course, came Arch Enemy. I’ve probably seen Arch Enemy live more times than I’ve seen any of their tour mates live, and they’re one of those bands where their live act just never gets old. They just crush it every time, incite bloodthirst every damn time. This was one of those performances where the energy in the room really was palpable. The set list was selected from across the band’s entire discography, and everyone in the room seemed to know the lyrics to each and every song. And the band fed off that energy and gave it back tenfold: Angela Gossow raised her invisible oranges to the sky, as though she were holding electricity in her hands, and if one of the Amott brothers had set his fret board on fire, no one would’ve blinked.

It was a killer show from start to finish, and, as I said, it felt as though the room was packed the entire time. This tour is a document of metal’s past, present, and future. Do not miss it.

-AR

Get remaining dates for the Tyrants of Evil North American Tour here.

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