Concert Review: SCREAM THE PRAYER 2012 featuring Demon Hunter, Emery and more!
On the tour: Demon Hunter (Seattle, WA), Emery (Seattle, WA), Sleeping Giant (Redlands, CA / Salt Lake City, UT), mychildren mybride (AL/CA/MS/Switzerland), Close Your Eyes (Abilene, TX), Hundredth (Myrtle Beach, SC), The Great Commission (Riverside, CA), Gideon (Tuscaloosa, AL), Flawless Among the Fallen (Columbus, OH), A Bullet For Pretty Boy (Longview, TX)
The Attic, a “positive space” venue in Dayton, OH is an odd place. It shares a building with a thrift store and a Big Lots general store, and is located in Kettering, a suburb between Dayton and Cincinnati. One thing is certain though – it consistently draws big name bands in heavy music to the area, including the now legendary Scream the Prayer tour.
I arrived around 3:30 just in time for Artery Recordings’ A Bullet For Pretty Boy, who put on a four song set of standard synth-laced metalcore. The keyboard backed breakdowns were kind of cool, but they were overshadowed by the bands yet to come. Deathcore band Flawless Among the Fallen from Columbus played a quick set on a side stage, exuding an obvious Impending Doom influence. They’re nothing I would blast in my car, but I was able to appreciate the obvious talent of each band member – from the impeccably low growls to the intricate guitar and drum work. After this, a return to the mainstage for Alabama’s Gideon was called for. The crowd was into it, but these Southern boys weren’t really my taste when it came to straight up hardcore. Kudos to them for building a following and being unrelenting with their message, though.
Speaking of unrelenting, The Great Commission played next. This self-proclaimed heavy worship band played a set that was full of passion and audience participation, with their lead guy even instructing everyone to get on their knees at one point. Melodic hardcore band Hundredth played next, with a set that seemed short, even given the fact that the lineup was packed to begin with. The Mediaskare Records band showed influence from The Ghost Inside (told to me by a buddy accompanying me, who was also seeing them for the first time). I enjoyed the style, and will certainly check them out in the future. Wrapping up the warm-up bands was Close Your Eyes, playing with a new vocalist. Hits “Valleys” and “Song For the Broken,” both staples on RadioU, made appearances with the latter getting by far the best audience reaction.
The more intricate stage setups began with metalcore outfit mychildren mybride, who played a six song set laden with breakdowns, bass drops, and the first prayer of the evening (fitting, eh?). They aren’t out to be groundbreaking, but they were definitely the most fun band of the evening thus far. I especially enjoyed their performances of “Terra Firma,” “God of Nothing,” and “HEADSHOT!”
Scream the Prayer flagship band Sleeping Giant began their set with another prayer – this time with everyone’s hands raised at the same time. Vocalist Tommy Green chose to share personal stories and challenge the audience in between nearly every song, but those familiar with the band needn’t be surprised. All monologues were passionate, heartfelt, and served to bring the onlookers into a mindset of worship. Sleeping Giant embodies the term “spirit filled hardcore,” although they would probably shrug that off if complimented, instead directed that praise to their Creator.
A quick set change, and Emery was ready to plow through an eight-song set. “Scissors” and “The Cheval Glass” worked the audience back up, and “Butcher’s Mouth” and oldie “The Ponytail Parades” followed. Lots of audience participation unfolded, and Toby Morell can sing and shriek as well as ever. The balance of the set included “Studying Politics,” “The Party Song,” “I’m Not Here For Revenge” (one of my personal favorites from We Do What We Want) and their staple closer “Walls” complete with synth/screamer Josh Head suspended (or rather held up) by the audience.
A bit of a longer set change, and the lights darkened. Instrumental “Means to An End” was the soundtrack to Demon Hunter’s entrance, which segued perfectly into “We Don’t Care,” a classic midtempo Demon Hunter song. “The World Is a Thorn” revved everyone up and flowed without a pause into “LifeWar,” before vocalist Ryan Clark finally addressed the audience with gratitude. Classics “Not I” and “Undying” kept the oldtimers happy while newer fans enjoyed “My Destiny” and “God Forsaken.” The main set ended with “Not Ready to Die” before the inevitable encore. Power ballad “Dead Flowers” began the encore before the delightfully brutal “Storm the Gates of Hell” ended the set. “Tell me! HOW MUCH FURY DOES HELL HAVE?!” bellowed Clark as the audience responded with the breakdown-backed chant of “Hell hath no fury at all!” It’s a shame Demon Hunter doesn’t tour more often, as they are a veteran metal band in every sense of the word at this point that knows how to rock it, plain and simple. Thus, the huge metal tour came to an end and I was this close to being metal-ed out for awhile, albeit extremely satisfied.