While Spring continues poking its head out, and the weather finally warms, bands continue to heat up as they tour the US and beyond. April’s showers were in full effect with rain clouds overcasting the New York City skyline, but the real storm was brewing inside Terminal 5 on the West Side on Friday, April 12th. Savannah, Georgia’s Baroness and San Francisco, California’s Deafheaven were gearing up to end their 2019 spring tour, not with a whimper but with a thunderous bang. Starting March 8th in Houston, Texas, the two bands along with supporting act Zeal & Ardor had been making their way across North America delivering three distinct flavors of metal for live crowds to take in.
Zeal & Ardor
With the lights set low, avant-garde metal act Zeal and Ardor came out to the already packed venue. Celebrating the colossal success of their most recent album, Stranger Fruit, the group are one of the most unique acts out there today. Guitarist Manuel Gagneux, Denis Wagner and Marc Obrist shared vocals for a group continuing to gain steam. With the three different, distinct voices working in harmony, fans were quick to take note. The low lighting the group used enhanced the whole act as it put the entire focus on the music.
Joining the three vocalists, Tiziano Volante and Marco Von Allmen lend their talents on guitar and drums respectively. Baroness’s Nick Jost performed double duty for the night, subbing in for Mia Rafaela Dieu on bass for the opening act. Much like the band’s multiple vocalists, the musicians behind them show inspiration from several different genres from blues and gospel to black metal and melodic death metal. Never does any part of their presence feel out of place or unwarranted, every part a piece of the puzzle required to make their sound theirs.
For those wanting to get a taste of Zeal And Ardor’s live show, the group released a live album dubbed Live In London earlier this year. The album dropped during their tour with Deafheaven and Baroness and features four previously unreleased tracks along with their headlining performance at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, London in its entirety. The group shows no sign of slowing down this year with festival appearances, headlining shows and a tour with Behemoth all on the horizon for 2019. Zeal And Ardor entertained the New York City crowd with: “Sacrilegium I”, “In Ashes”, “Servants”, “Come on Down”, “Blood in the River”, “Gravedigger’s Chant”, “Waste”, “Don’t You Dare”, “Devil is Fine” and finally “Baphomet.”
While fans certainly weren’t standing still during Zeal and Arbor’s set, Deafheaven’s brand of post-metal was quick to open up the moshpits. Led by the unrelenting vocals of frontman George Clark, the group proved to change the tone of the night. These Californian metallers delivered a high energy performance, which immediately turned the dance floor into a war zone as they treated fans to tracks off of last year’s release, Ordinary Corrupt Human Love.
Heads banged through the band’s newest track “Black Brick,” which was unleashed early in the set. Guitarists Shiv Mehra and Kevin McCoy, bassist Chris Johnson and drummer Daniel Tracy never failed to keep up as Clark ran from one part of the stage to the next, belting out lyrics to tracks including their Grammy Award-nominated “Honeycomb” which had run for Best Metal Performance earlier this year.
Deafheaven’s entire performance seems deadset on getting the crowd into a fury in the best of ways. Never slowing down and never letting up, don’t be surprised to see Deafheaven’s name once again on a Grammy ballot one day soon. Deafheaven rocked Terminal 5 with: “Brought to the Water,” “Black Brick,” “Honeycomb,” “Canary Yellow,” “Worthless Animal,” “Sunbather” and “Dream House.”
As the light rain turned into a full storm outside, Baroness were gearing up for their own storm within the walls of Terminal 5. A simple stage set-up, just large amplifiers bearing the group’s name, was enough to get fans excited for the headlining act. Earlier the same day, the band took to social media to release the album art for their heavily anticipated album Gold & Grey. Nick Jost took to the stage on bass for the second time of the night along with Lead Vocalist / Guitarist John Baizley, Drummer Sebastion Thomson and Guitarist / Backing Vocalist Gina Gleason who added an immense aspect to the group after the 2017 amicable departure of Peter Adams.
The mosh pits that Deafheaven had created were still in good form along with the occasional crowd surfer now joining the fray as Baroness gave fans a taste of what’s to come on the upcoming album along with hits fans had known and loved. Baizley and Gleason quickly showed to be a perfect match on stage both through their prowess on guitars as well as their vocal chops. With Gold & Grey marking the first album since Gleason’s addition to the group, spotlights were put on tracks “Borderlines” and “Seasons.” Fan favorites were littered throughout the rest of the set before the band thanked those in attendance and closed with “Isak.” No need for an encore on this night, as the group had left it all on the line through their fourteen track set.
While this night marked the end of a two-month tour with Zeal & Ardor and Deafheaven, Baroness took no time announcing a summer tour, dubbed the Gold and Grey Tour. While New York City might not be on the agenda, New Yorkers can look forward to shows in Huntington, Long Island and upstate in Poughkeepsie’s The Chance. Baroness left Terminal 5 in ruins with a setlist including: “A Horse Called Golgotha,” “MorningStar,” “March to the Sea,” “Green Theme,” Chlorine & Wine,” “Borderlines,” “If I Have to Wake Up (Would You Stop the Rain?),” “Fugue,” “Seasons,” “Eula,” “Ogeechee Hymnal,” “The Sweetest Curse,” “Shock Me,” and “Isak”.