There’s something that happened at the Worcester Palladium that may be the best thing I’ve witnessed in many many years. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time with lead up, let’s dive right into this perfectly orchestrated amoeba of chaos.
First up, Fit For An Autopsy. Quick 30-second backstory. I haven’t seen FFAA since New England Metal and Hardcore Fest back in 2014, so needless to say, I was looking forward to this tour from the jump. I got to the Palladium with plenty of time to spare to catch every part of this show. And low and behold, so did everyone else going to the show. As I’m waiting for line with close to fifty people at the Will Call booth to get my ticket and photo pass, I inevitably missed the first four songs of FFAA. Sad face. That being said, what I did catch was phenomenal.
Loud. Precise. In your face. Five words sum up their set. I had to basically use guerilla tactics to get the few shots of their set that I did because I missed the first three songs of the set (we music photographers only get the first three songs to get our jobs done). But once they finished their set they were right over at their merch stand doing photos and autographs. Afterwards, the band members were, being fans of all the other bands on the tour, were out in the audience enjoying the rest of the show with everyone else.
Next up, Terror! Another band that I haven’t seen since 2013 at New England Metal and Hardcore Fest (Go figure!)
Terror, early 2000’s Los Angeles hardcore. Five dudes going ape-shit to music that would make even your mama wanna mosh! Having not seen these fine gentlemen in six years was pure flashbacks for me. Playing a solid mix of old and new, there was something here for everyone.
Next to grace the stage was New York’s own legendary Cro-Mags. This band effectively created the framework and genre as a whole of “Hardcore Metal”, fusing underground hardcore and abrasive thrash metal into one cohesive style of music that Hatebreed, in particular, comfortably sits within. They blew up onto the stage with an energy that you wouldn’t expect out of a group of guys in their mid-50’s. While in between songs they kept interacting with the audience and showing their gratitude for fans being there for them since the very beginning, 1981, 38 years y’all.
Tampa, Florida. Home of Death Metal pioneers, Obituary took to the stage in truly haunting fashion after Cro-Mags. Bit of a backstory for these fine gentlemen. Obituary was the very first show I ever shot. Our fearless Ghost Cult Magazine leader, Keefy, called me on the night of my 23rd birthday and asked if I wanted to shoot a show for him. I jumped at the chance and, obviously, said yes. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this now. I still remember that show vividly. Obituary and Strong Intention- ahhhh, memories.
Anyway, back to the present! You could tell that these guys were the main reason some people in the crowd were here in the first place, and to be honest, when you are one of the bands that founded Death Metal as a whole AND just played 70,000 Tons of Metal this past February, you garner a crowd wherever you go!
The stage filled with smoke, like, A LOT of smoke. Another New England photographer (Evil Robb Photography), myself and the other two photographers there were all hiding our noses in our shirts trying to breathe through it all. Once the entire venue was filled with enough smoke to make it look like a Phish concert, Obituary took the stage. And with that, I was brought back to 2013 at the, now closed, President’s Rock Club in Quincy, MA. The songs, attitude, brutal tones coming out of the amplifiers, the demonic growls of vocalist John Tardy, everything felt like home. They didn’t interact too much with the audience, but that only helped add to the evil and monstrous mystique of the band’s stage presence.
And now, the reason we’re all here. Bridgeport, Connecticut’s own Hatebreed!! This band has helped me through a LOT in my life. So seeing them for their 25th Anniversary Tour was an (almost) religious experience. I’ve seen these fine gentlemen multiple times, but this one was special.
Once the excitement was built up to the point where the Palladium was ready to burst with unbridled energy, Hatebreed strolled on out, quite literally. Jamey Jasta, being the family-friendly Jigsaw that he is rolled out onto the stage on a custom built beach cruiser bike. I simply can’t with this guy!
Once Chris, Wayne, Matt, and Frank all bum-rushed the stage after the bike was taken off the stage they jumped right into a setlist of 19 songs. A little bit of everything from all albums, everything from “Under The Knife” to “The Concrete Confessional”.
Remember how I said that this concert was an almost religious experience for me? I wasn’t kidding, I cried 4 different times during this set. Between “To The Threshold”, “Smash Your Enemies”, “As Diehard As They Come”, “Before Dishonor”, and a bunch more. It was a veritable cornucopia of hardcore classics and empowerment anthems.
Closing out the night with “This Is Now”, “Destroy Everything”, and “I Will Be Heard”. I was a blubbering mess by the end of this show. Solely for the fact that this band means more to me than pretty much any other band I’ve ever seen live, seeing them come so far from playing dive bars in New Haven Connecticut all the way to being 25 years into their career and not having slowed down at all just brings a twinkle to my eye and makes me excited to see what they have down the road to bring to us.
So in closing, if you have a chance to see this tor anywhere on its route through the country- GO SEE IT!! Hardcore and death metal may sound like they go together like ice cream and soy sauce but believe me when I say that it is, in fact, the noisiest Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you could ever experience in your life- and it is beautiful.
Long live hardcore. Long live Hatebreed. Remain diehard!
My name is Smallz and I approve this message!
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY CHRIS SMALL