With a winter that just won’t quit in Upstate NY, it was a warm reception for bands at Trickshots Billards in Clifton Park on Saturday March 28. Thanks to Joelggernaut Productions, Trickshots has been getting quality heavy music shows for some time now, and this was no exception. The crowd topped out close to a couple hundred strong for the night, and was eager to receive the musical offerings from all the bands on the bill
The show kicked off with the return of local heavy rockers, Black Iron Prison. Dual guitar assaults weaved in and out of precision rhythm section work. The band recently welcomed back their singer Eli Hargrave (ex – Skeletons In The Piano) to belt out guttural screams and wavering melodies alongside longtime guitarist and vocalist, Todd Hildebrandt. Eerie melodic passages were peppered into the heavy riff rock of each song to set the mood right for the entire night. After the show, I got the chance to talk with Eli, and he revealed the band is currently working on new material for an upcoming recording.
Next to take the stage was The Final Sleep, from Albany NY. Huge sounds and even larger talents permeate this band, and washed over the growing crowd. Jeff Andrews (ex-Held Under/IronWeed) does double duty as one of the three guitarists in the band, as well as the main vocal of a three part harmony. He continues to bring his unique blend of Slayer-like growls alongside high octave melodies that hearken Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. The band played through their set with few stops, creating a fevered mood of heavy music that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Epic songs laden with mountaintop guitar solos and intricate time changes make their music not only fun to listen to, but incredible to see performed in front of you.
Purifier, also from Albany, rounded out the local talent on the night. This band has been working hard to bring their brand of doom and sludge metal to the area, and fully delivered at this show. Rich VanEgghen towers above the crowd even off the stage, and his presence is enhanced as he belts out the band’s signature tunes. They had a stellar sound for the five piece, and that was largely due in part to the quality sound engineer’s the club has to offer. Purifier is part of the local record label family, Magnetic Eye Records, and their music can be purchased there.
The main event, Gospel of The Witches, took the stage to a rabid crowd, all vying for a spot right in front of the stage. A few LED candle holders adorned the back of the stage, and an ominous air surrounded the stage as the members took to their instruments. The band was born as an idea from Karyn Crisis (ex-Crisis) and guitarist Davide Tiso (Ephel Duath), as they laid down the framework for the album Salem’s Wounds in a haunted house in Italy. With material written, the band filled out with touring members: bass and vocals Ross Dolan (Immolation), guitarist Bob Vigna (Immolation) and drummer Charlie Schmid (Vaura).
Upstate New York is incredibly lucky to not only get one of the two shows this band is performing after releasing their album on March 24, but was able to witness the FIRST show ever from this lineup performing the songs of Gospel of the Witches. You could tell the happiness exuding from Davide as the band ripped through an amazing set. Many people in attendance were fans of Karyn from her Crisis days, because that band made sure to play the Upstate New York area a lot. Talking with Karyn before the show, she expressed her love of this area. “One of the things I love about this area is the interesting mix of bands. They have all different types of influences, and that comes through in the music here. There are really open minded people, really creative people, so it was more of a community thing as well. There are always stellar musicians to play with, and a lot of good clubs with a lot of heart, that are all about the music. There is a very cool community of people to speak with, and share with. That is something very special I found about this area.”
The band was eager to play through their material, and tracks like “Mother” and title track “Salem’s Wounds” shone through as epic offerings from an incredible project. Karyn sang and screamed with equal measure, and the musicians all held their own. Bob lived up to his nickname (in certain circles) as the “magician”, playing heavy guitar riffs with flair and passion, igniting the crowd as the music drove forward. The band is working on finalizing a full tour or two, so stay tuned to their Facebook page. You can purchase Salem’s Wounds through Century Media, or in stores like Best Buy or Amazon.