Written By- Tiffany Mitchell
Metal, Macabre and a Beautiful Nightmare:
It was a dark and rainy night outside Rams Head Live in Baltimore. The bite in the air paled in comparison to the chills you got thinking about the night’s lineup for The Half God/ Half Devil Tour. I mean come on, Gemini Syndrome, Avatar, Motionless In White and In This Moment; all have headlined tours recently, and all have sold out shows, but putting them all together on one stage, has got to be one of the greatest tour lineups this year. With another sold out show, fans poured in, filling floor to third level balcony. I have seen a few of the bands on the roster, but a few I have not. What I’ve been told from others intrigued and excited me, but what I experienced that night, well … how do you describe the indescribable? How do you expect the unexpected? Two words: mind blown.
Everyday is a new dream.
We take for granted all the beauty in our life.
It’s not supposed to be that way.
With all the torment and the struggle and the strife.
It’s up to all of us to see the light again.
Vocalist Aaron Nordstrom looked celestial dressed in all white. The bright light shining behind him shrouded him in a glowing aura. Mesmerized by GS’s effortless performance, with hands held high, die-hard fans sung every word like they were praising a higher power. Concluding with “Stardust,” off their first album Lux, Gemini Syndrome executed a powerful performance, and could have taken the night on alone. After the set was over, Brian “Steele” Medina returned to greet fans. He gave hugs, took photos and started branding people with a big rubber stamper donned with the GS logo. Hands, faces, arms and even foreheads were stamped. A few fans even discussed making it a permanent tattoo. You can’t get more dedicated than that.
The next band to conquer the congregation was Avatar. Think Stephen King’s It, meets early days at the big top. Clad in carnival striped yellow and red attire, vocalist Johannes Eckerström steps it up a notch wearing a long black trench and top hat, with a cane to tie it together. What’s so scary about a carnival, you ask? Well nothing, until you add the black diamond-shaped makeup around the eyes and sinister grin to match. “Hail the Apocalypse” echoed boldly through the room and the house went wild. All the way from Gothenburg, Sweden, metal knows no boundaries when it comes to these guys. After the release of their May 2016 album Feathers & Flesh, Avatar is known as one of metal’s most sought after bands to perform with. Playing stages and festivals all over the world, whether it be for a group of 20 or 10,000 fans, they gave every ounce of themselves to each person attending. As hardcore followers with painted faces send hair whipping shockwaves through the room, Avatar commands the stage like magic. I have seen this band a few times, and am in awe every time at their freakish, fantastic, and oh-so metal musical abilities.
The next set of players to send shudders through your soul, Motionless In White, has been tearing through the planet, and once again they’ve come back to Baltimore to rip shit up. There is no denying that when MIW is in town, tickets sell out fast and you better come prepared. I myself have never missed their show; after all, they are one of my favorite bands. Dressed in all black, on a platform lit with candles and jack”o”lanterns all a glow with radiant orange light, Motionless In White started the set with “A-M-E-R-I-C-A.” The barricade rocked against the horde, as the mosh pit heaved to and fro. As the audience jumped with fists held high, the front row whipped their heads up and down with neck snapping ferocity. Next they played a recent released track off their album Graveyard Shift, set to release on May 5, 2017 called “Loud (Fuck It).” Although the song has had mixed reviews, this house was 100 percent super pumped to hear it. Sweat drenched bodies and one song later, “Reincarnate” was chosen to end the set. With no intention of slowing down, the masses remained wired and ready to throw down till the last note. As I joined in to sing one of my favorite songs, I couldn’t help to sing my loudest at the best verse:
There’s one thing you forget
You can’t make me play dead
I’ve swallowed your bullshit
You make me fucking sick
Give me a reason
I won’t bite my tongue
I am not afraid spineless
A dominion of nothing is all you will reign
You laugh but what did you create
Bitch you give a fucking aspirin a headache.
As the walls shook from foundation to support beams, that was one hell of a set, one hell of a show. But what came next, was beyond what I could have imagined, even after being told what to expect.
In This Moment was a new discovery for me, and I had to scratch my head in confusion at the fact that I have missed out on this band for so long. As I stood outside the photo pit, I watched a huge cloth with a black widow printed on it drop from the ceiling. Built to shield fans from seeing the magic being created behind it, the music began and strobes illuminated shadows behind the cloth. I felt anxious and excited as I waited for the big reveal. The big cloth was removed, the music stopped and the pyro cannons shot off as pink and yellow lights. Partly shrouded by heavy fog appeared a church like setup, complete with cross adorned iron gates. Among the stairs leading upwards sat a woman dressed in gold with four dancers dressed in black, their faces painted with crosses. The woman sitting was the wickedly beautiful and talented vocalist Maria Brink. ITM pushes the limit, leaving fans old and new astonished. To the left was backing vocals and lead guitarist, Chris Howorth, and to the right was bass player and backing vocalist Travis Johnson, both outfitted in black leather, white paint and hollowed out eyes. To the rear was drummer Kent Diimmel, clothed in the same fashion, equally ominous, menacing, and dangerous. Combining songs from albums Blood and Black Widow, the night’s set list was raw, dark and dirty. Heavy infectious riffs, foreboding melodies that cause spine tingling, hair whipping reactions, no one can prevent. If you stand still and silent at an In This Moment show, you must be lifeless. The stage scenes and ensembles changed with every song, leaving nothing to be desired. Claws, blood and butcher knives were just a few props used, and ITM’s goal to provide shock & awe, did so with an almost worship-like admiration. Ending the night with a scene out of a girls private school, Maria stood at a podium, with a pointer in one hand and a dunce cap replaced with the word “WHORE” painted on, she said “worthless, stupid, fat, ugly, dirty little whore.” “You see this is what I was told as a young girl, that I was absolute shit and that I would amount to absolute nothing at all.” So you see, this song is about rising above other people’s perceptions, and about who we are and who we are supposed to be.” As the song “Whore” began, the crowd broke out into screams and whistles, and In This Moment drove every ounce of this song home, to the hearts of those who have suffered the same. One thing I can say about ITM, is that every song played was performed with passion, emotion and unadulterated fearlessness.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. This lineup was one of the best lineups this year so far. Four great bands under one roof came out, put on a perfect set, killed the crowd and left everyone spent and satisfied. If you didn’t get a chance to catch the Half God / Half Devil Tour, I hope I was able to give you some idea of just how awesome it was. If not, and if you haven’t had a chance to check out each band, do so with the quickness and you won’t be disappointed.
In This Moment- Half God / Half Devil Tour 2017
Half God / Half Devil Tour- 2017