As I Lay Dying, last night at the Beaumont Club

KC had its doors blown off by the metal quintet.


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In honor of 10 years together, As I Lay Dying dubbed its current tour "The Decade of Destruction," and it's apt, considering the way the metal quintet laid waste to the Beaumont last night. The band delivered a set of tightly coiled, absolutely relentless metal that reached all the way back to material from the start of its career. Just watching As I Lay Dying onstage was an exhausting task, and those in the audience who attempted to keep pace quickly found themselves at the back of the Beaumont's reaches, guzzling water and drenched in sweat. The intensity of As I Lay Dying is enough to draw converts from the metal realm, and the technical skill with which voices and instruments are wielded keeps them around as fans. The fact that this group has been drawing crowds this large on a weeknight is testament enough to that.

The As I Lay Dying stage set was an exercise in craziness. Obviously designed for a space with a slightly higher ceiling than the Beaumont's cozy confines, it left drummer Jordan Mancino towering over the rest of the band. Singer Tim Lambesis stands nearly 6 feet 2 inches, and the riser came to his shoulder. For a big stage, it would've been impressive. As it was, it just looked like overkill, combined with lights, fog machines and assorted other imagery. Still, despite the over-the-top pomposity of it all, you do have to consider that it is their anniversary — and, hell, past that, it's just nice to see a band put on a fucking show, rather than stand there stock-still, busting out technical metal.

Openers Of Mice and Men failed to engage me on any sort of level. I don't know how it's possible, but vocalist Austin Carlile managed to have a growl that was nasal and thin. It lacked the guttural element that makes metal like this work. The guitars buzz-sawed and the low end pummeled, but the tempo changes were lacking. You could hear a dropped beat or missed note nearly every time the band switched from chorus to verse. It improved as they went on, but the first few numbers from Of Mice and Men were rough. By the time they'd settled in, the screaming-frontman-with-crooning-backup-vocals-over-metallic-hardcore approach had worn thin. Maybe the band was having an off night — they certainly seemed to be tired. Still, this genre was played out by the time Atreyu released their second album, and I cannot understand why bands continue to flog this dead beast.

Kids in black T-shirts and athletic shorts? There must be a hardcore band on the bill. That band was the Ghost Inside, which was anthemic but skewed more toward Hatebreed-style hardcore than the youth crew, 7 Seconds material I favor. It's a personal preference, I realize, but it's not my thing. Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire pretty much satiated whatever yen I might've ever had for breakdown-laden mosh-pit anthems. The Ghost Inside did their thing well and managed to engage the crowd without resorting to too many cliches, which gives them a leg up on many of their brethren.

Iwrestledabearonce is — well, difficult to explain. The group draws from metal, jazz, electronica, and flat-out rock-goddess aspects to the point that calling it a metal band pretty much misses the point. Their songs shift tempo and meter so quickly that you could be moshing one moment, shaking your ass the next, and end up raising your hands like you were listening to worship music by song's end. Set closer "Tastes Like Kevin Bacon" pauses, blares the General Lee's car horn, and then goes into a breakdown. They didn't stop moving except to catch their breath and intro the next song. Frontwoman Krysta Cameron was the linchpin of a crew of furiously energetic musicians, making for a set impossible to ignore. Seriously: There were rock platforms on either side of the stage for the guitarists to climb and vamp while Cameron bent herself backward, wailing out lyrics.

Missed the first band, Sylosis, freezing my ass off in line with a lot of other individuals, most of whom had not thought to wear anything warmer than a hoodie. Lots of epic riffs and double kicks, which actually managed to get a smidgen of applause — although that may have just been people trying to generate warmth.


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