WHO: Slaughter Survivors Tour with Conducting from the Grave, The Contortionist, Scale the Summit, Rings of Saturn, Volumes, Structures
WHERE: The Key Club
Better than... Warped Tour
Slaughter Survivors Tour, a blatant spin-off of the Summer Slaughter Tour, is essentially a group of bands that for whatever reason were not invited or were unable to join the Summer Slaughter Tour. Headlining was Conducting From the Grave and The Contortionist, support talent included Rings of Saturn, Scale the Summit, and Volumes.
Patton Oswalt once said, "All about coulda, not shoulda," and that's a perfect way to explain the first five bands. There was an assortment of well-trained musicians with chops to spare but none of them had control of their skills. This is not a bash, not at all. These are incredibly young players with incredible talents, and the potential on the Key Club stage last night is overwhelming to think about.
Structures and Volumes opened the night. The Canadian-based Structures is hardcore band with only progressive tendencies. Volumes, a technical groove metal act consisting of classically and jazz trained members, seemed to be the crowd favorite as far as the openers went.
Bay Area-based Rings of Saturn are a newer act that seem to still have a few moving parts. They formed in 2009, and there is a clear Oceano influence in their sound. They welcomed fans to jump onto stage and encouraged those unfamiliar to come forward.
Around 10PM Scale the Summit descended onto the stage, like white-winged unicorns to save the day. They were beautiful, the culmination of the potential the opening acts have if they continue to work. Scale the Summit claims Houston as homeland, however the band met and formed seven years ago while the members attended Musician's Institute in Los Angeles. Incredibly tight musicians, the instrumental group is clearly influenced by the likes of Dream Theater. With a solid drum beat, two guitars and one bass guitar (among them 20 strings), the group created a dream sequence-like experience.
The Contortionist hail from Indianapolis. You know, that place with the 500 mile race with lots of left turns and some straight-aways. The Contortionist have a few things in common with the famous race- volume and speed, perhaps. But the core structure of The Contortionist's super heavy tracks are very different from the repetitiveness of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's track. They are a less polite, less graceful group than Scale the Summit; they're wrapped up in a raw power, punk rock-like package, but the most notable thing about The Contortionist are their builds. These guys would build each song until the crowd was bursting at the seams.
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California natives Conducting From the Grave closed out the evening with immense power. They brought the good old American death metal. In black jeans and plain black t-shirts, they windmilled their way through their set. They formed in Sacramento in 2003, parted ways in 2005 and regrouped in 2009 signed to Sumerian Records. They've undergone minimal lineup changes considering the hiatus, replacing only vocals (now with Mikey Powell) and bass (now with Phil Williamson).
All of these bands are part of the popular trend in metal of combining a group of young and hyper talented musicians who could easily land studio gigs. The show ranged from a display of "look what I can do" to absolute mastery of songwriting.