REVIEW: Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony Live at the Chase Center

A Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony review was written by a band kid.

Full disclosure: I’ve known about Metallica since they were a four-line advert in the back pages of physical rock magazines. My first year of high school Kie C. gave me a mixtape of No Life Til Leather and Kill ‘Em All in the band room. I. Was. Hooked. Master of Puppets was released and I played it non stop. I learned to play the entire album on my flute, by ear. My first Metallica show was in 1986 when they opened for Ozzy. I was front row. That was my place for the next thirty-three years and nine countries consisting of 60 shows. It’s a lifelong love affair. Continue reading

Gyre- Morai

Gyre - Morai album cover 2015

If you don’t know who Gyre is already, no worries. You’ll know them soon enough.

This potent New York/New Jersey quintet musical abilities suggests that they grew up on a steady diet of Metallica’s …And Justice For All, Mastodon’s Leviathan and near an open vat of gamma radiation. They like to pummel and thrash while keeping a high standard of technical proficiency.

Formed in 2011, these tri-state area dudes have stayed busy as Morai is their third release in that 4 year span. While Morai is technically an EP, its 36 minute run time and wall to wall cramming of riffs make it feel more like an LP. ‘Manifest’ gets to a running start with punishing groove and hounding pace that has recalls Gojira or Sylosis. It’s immediately followed up by ‘I Release’ which is the kind of thrash exercise you would’ve expected from Trivium if they hadn’t been led astray by commercial success and polished David Draiman productions.

If Gyre is about anything, it’s about that shred life. Whenever a song feels like its losing momentum you can count on Juan Soaz and Chirag Bhatt to come in and make it rain exquisite leads and solos. Title track and album closer ‘Morai’ takes a while to get where it’s going, but once there it’s quite a bit of fun as Soaz and Bhatt work effortlessly of one another. And that’s not to say that bassist Ian McCartney doesn’t get his licks in as you can appreciate his work in the mid-section of ‘Behind the Eyes.’

The clean singing can run the gamut from adding a new dynamic layer (‘Manifest’) to feeling completely unnecessary (the tail end of ‘Morai’). Actually the vocals as a whole are the department where they sound the least confident. Frontman Ying Chee’s growls are serviceable, but feel undistinguishable from so many other howlers in the game today. I’d certainly like to see the vocals be on par with technical wizardry from the other players in future releases.

While some small shortcomings keep it from being truly elite, Morai is a strong metal showcase from a very young band. The kind of effort that lets you breathe easy regarding the future state of metal and forget those who fell short of their potential.