On Friday August 5 a very full evening of bands played Oddbody’s in Dayton, Ohio as the summer heat drenched outside as much as in. Starting early evening eight bands played the bill. Omeni, Forces of Nature, Watch Them Rot and Epikist handled local support while One Day Waiting started the nationals with Fire from the Gods, Doll Skin and headliner Otep.
Xenia’s Omeni started everything. With elements of Hatebreed and Lamb of God they slammed through the opening set. “Addiction” officially turned on the interior crowd heat, setting par for everything to come with high decibels, guttural vox and hot, sweaty interaction.
Dayton’s finest ear pummeling export Forces of Nature went on while the sun still shined its apocalyptic rays. The face ripping began with the traditional loud bitch-slap opener “Magnus Lee.” It was sizzling outside, enough for a stake and bake with Vlad in the “Forest of Corpses.” Two minutes of pure pile-driving self-hate followed as poor sweet Mary, mother Mary, wallowed in what she’s become. Not even a loud screaming guitar could cure her pain. “Midnight” came noisily like a song conjuring up long dead, buried bones forced back into contorted movement. With mid-evening’s twilight, “Devices” steadily pounded the eardrums with thrash groove and lethal intentions providing a mosh medley of pace and speeds.
Watch Them Rot made the trip from Athens and didn’t leave without making an impression. Vocalist Brandon Bohlen went out of his way to win the crowd over. From wide wicked-eyed adrenaline soaked in your face singing, jumping the barricade, moshing in the crowd while singing and generally running amok, literary throwing himself into the performance. Even handing off the mic for impromptu guest vocals while throwing down in the crowd.
Meanwhile, on stage… drummer Chris Bailey, bassist Larry Moyers and guitarists Seth Weaver and Rob Lyons were in full e-motion-al combat mode playing the battalion battle anthems to Bohlen’s blitzkrieg, metalcore mixed with thrash hammering guitars.
Starting with “Life is what you make It” for better or worse, as Bohlen took center stage and flight. Don’t take tomorrow for granted. “This Pain Begins” began with the hardcore tribal bass beats and drums of trenched combat. Bohlen left the pipes scathed and scalded on “To Honor Death is Divine.” Loud screaming metal played with prog/doom influenced pace. Live life to the fullest in whatever you do especially at a sweat soaked metal show because when the reaper comes, your “Time is Up.”
Dayton’s Epikist began in 2010 beginning with the opening melody of pummeler “The Last Straw” reminiscent of early Maiden. Combining BLS with Korn “Panic Mode” got groovy, moody, irritable and anxiety stricken in a good way. “Stand Tall,” stood dirty, crunchy and unrepentant with pride as guitars wailed around it.
The tour began with Hudson Valley NY’s One Day Waiting. Their first night with Otep, they graced the stage, young in age, forming in 2013. Playing tunes from their EP, The Key. With wide, multi-genre range of influence per member they’ve supported Saving Abel, Soil, Pop Evil, Saliva, Trapt, Buck Cherry and Avatar among a list of others.
Playing their version of alt rock “Fear Itself” had a strong hard rock melody with Chrome Division vocals. “Worse than Death” came out rocky, raspy with tastes of modern rock and a bass bounce leaving a shiny, dirty smile. Like a hardcore Nickelback with better songs and built in pit potential. With vocalist Tyler Kray having a passing resemblance to a young Paul Di’Anno you couldn’t help but think early Maiden at times.
“K.L” almost had an electronic club vibe at first mixed with a Korn delivery. They slowed it down with “Circle of Glass’s” reflective perspective then pulled out a cover for the “Bodies.”
Austin’s Fire from the Gods turned Oddbody’s into the loudest hardcore house party this side of Dayton. Best stated by vocalist AJ Channer “There’s nothing more beautiful than a room full of metal heads.”
Conjuring up images of P.O.D., Rage Against the Machine, Sevendust and Gears. They injected street flavor into rapid body movement and thudding and thumping metalcore into guitar strings and drum sticks. The one handed, two finger salute began.
Promoting new CD Narrative dropping August 16 they started with the street knowledge, blood, sweat, tears and desire of “Excuse Me” setting the pace for their six-song set. With hip-hop influence and reggae artistic spirit they tried out new upcoming tunes “Diversion” and “Public Enemy” among others, as the crowd bounced and banged along. Channer and company were happy and proud to test the crowd’s endurance, finishing with older tune “Pretenders.”
Direct support from Phoenix, the teen punk rock ladies of Doll Skin came on with multi-colored hair to match the music. Discovered in Scottsdale by Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, ranging from 16-19, they could be this generations Runaways or Go-Go’s. Blending high energy performance with pop, punk and rock, sporting an old-school MTV vibe though none were probably around when they played videos. They’ve already opened for a who’s who of the punk, metal scene including Social Distortion, Metal Allegiance, John 5, Doyle, Hellyeah, Halestorm and Five Finger Death Punch.
Vocalist/guitarist Sydney Dolezal resembled a punk Britney Spears and bassist Nicole Rich could be a young Jane Wiedlin.
“Half Way Jinx” started everything with a devious “Red Mind” following. “Wring Me Out” knew no age limits on dealing with love and relationships. Dolezal let the pipes out on the high powered “Let’s be Honest.”
“So Much Nothing” was about anxiety depressants and taking the good stuff out of the medicine you need to work.
They continued with the Mad Max inspired fury chanting I live I die with “Furious Fixation,” finishing with the fast paced punk energized jam of debut video “Family of Strangers.”
The stage’s war paint decor was wrapped in orange light, baby’s heads, and banners with the loyal tribe of Otep gathered close to the stage waiting for the ritual to begin. She appeared, baptizing the room with open flame as the night’s main riot began. Waving the LGBT flag high Otep came out swinging, “Battle Ready,” as the crowd bounced in appreciation. Masked Greek God built Ari Mihalopoulos played along to the goddess’s rapid fire sermon. The Doom Generation began after a quick wardrobe change into street gear, led to an open house full of middle fingers with “Zero” f–ks given to the judgers, haters and trolls of the world. She welcomed everyone to the mean spirited society spread “Control Machine,” clutching the spiked clubbed solution.
This song is called “Apex Predator” she whispered. Another world is possible, we are unstoppable. The revolution is coming. In Lord of the Flies fashion she used “The Donald’s” plastic head as a perfect political platform for “Lords of War” giving him the Cannibal Holocaust treatment. She followed suit with the political piggy’s spinning the swine 360 at will during “Blood Pigs.”
The fight for equality and “Equal Rights, Equal Lefts,” has progressed, don’t deny yourself personal freedom, come on out. Love is love. There was one chance left for everyone to lose their minds and have one last live “Confrontation.” The revolution and revolt of the status quo, brought the show to a close.
Images by Mike Ritchie
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