In This Moment and Devour the Day cover Pittsburgh with \’Blood\’

New York based metalcore heavyweights In This Moment are still out on the road in support of their 2012 release, Blood, and headlining the 2014 HellPop II tour. The band hit the road hard at the beginning of the year with tour mates Butcher Babies, Devour The Day, All Hail The Yeti and Before The Mourning.

The tour made a stop at Pittsburgh’s Club Zoo and, despite the utter lack of forward or spot lighting and a dismal sound system that the club should be ashamed of, every band on the bill managed to put on one hell of a show with each band’s energy spilling forward into the next, with that raw energy and momentum building to the epic climax that was In This Moment.

Kicking things off, was Los Angeles upstarts Before The Mourning, who pounded out short but brutally intense five-song set with unwavering passion.

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Lead singer Adam Ryan prowled the stage with a confident swagger, that channeled the spirit of Black Flag-era Henry Rollins himself and female guitarist Nikki Stringfield absolutely owned her portion of the stage. She is not only a rare beauty, but has the ability to shred with the best of them. They had an overwhelming crowd response and a steady flow at their merch booth all night. Expect to hear their name again in the near future.

Also from Los Angeles and next up on the docket was throwback to the caveman days, All Hail The Yeti.

Their sound is a unique blend of early blues and classic stoner rock mixed with elements of bands like Acid Bath, Eyehategod, Pantera, Mushroomhead, Down and vintage Motley Crue that sets them apart from almost every other band out there.

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That caveman mentality, combined with the band’s mammoth sized sound and penchant for hunting, witch craft, the occult and pagan chants, is obvious not only in their prehistoric stage set that is littered with animal skulls and pelts, but in everything they do. Their Cro-Magnon-inspired set was highlighted by pummeling tracks like “Abscession,” “Everglade Razorblade” and fan favorite “The Art of Mourning.”

Memphis, TN natives Devour The Day were next and did a fantastic job revving the frenzied crowd up with a high octane, powerhouse set of unrepenting hard rock. The band rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the now-defunct Egypt Central in late 2012 and has been out on the road in support of their debut album, Time & Pressure ever since.

Their aural soundscape is a sonic sucker punch similar to Faith No More with brutal metallic breakdowns. Bassist Joey Walser is a maniac with a captivating stage presence and was atop of everything from the monitors to the stage amps while frontman Blake Allison worked the crowd like a seasoned vet, holding them in the palm of his hand.

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He informed the carnivorous crowd that “This next song is about bitches,” before ripping into “Move On.” Allison then asked “Are you still with me…Then let me hear you scream,” which the fervoured crowd did all too happily. He went on to say “All you Mutherfuckers do me a favour, front to back, side to side, everyone get your hands in the air. On the count of 3, let me see you go fucking crazy.”

The countdown triggered a moshpit melee of epic proportions and closer and clear crowd favorite “Good Man.”  At its conclusion, he had the rabid fans scream In This Moment repeatedly before inviting everyone to join them at the merch booth, which many fans gladly did.

Butcher Babies took things into next level-shit territory and from the very first second they took over the stage, the crowd of impassioned onlookers went next-level crazy. Insanity erupted almost instantly as the waves of crowd surfers rained down on security who could barely keep up.

At the same time, the overstuffed crowd stuggled to get a pit going but with nowhere to move, it was nearly impossible. That didn’t stop them from trying like hell and that determination and momentum could be felt no matter where you were standing. The crowd swelled, ungulated and pulsated to such a degree, that there were times when entire groups of people were taken off their feet, helpless in the surge.

The band slammed into opener “I Smell a Massacre” with focused aggression and guitarist Henry Flurry laid out lethal layers of metallic hooks while the rhythm section of bassist Jason Klein and drummer Chrissy Warner pounded out an emotionally charged, hardcore musical backbone but it was hard to take your eyes off of the two captivating frontwomen, Heidi Sheppard and Carla Harvey, who currently had total control of the crowd.

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The pair frequently took time to talk to the now-hyper fans and every single one of them did exactlly as the two metal goddesses instructed. Make no mistake, these ladies are much more than just raw beauty and sexuality- They both have the vocal chops and command of a crowd to back it up.

The two lovely ladies stopped before closer “Axe Wound” to say they would be at the merch booth and bar after the show meeting, greeting and drinking, and told fans to stop by and see them.

Almost everyone there took them up on their offer, with fans stopping by to talk, get pictures, have things signed and have a drink with the two frontwomen all night long. This band is on the cusp of being the next big thing.

At last, the moment had finally arrived, that moment being In This Moment and they did not disappoint. Their stage show is a massive visual spectacle presented in the theatrical form of a Brodway play or opera. Complete with a costume and set change after every song, stage dancers, props and tons of fake smoke coming from beneath the stage and from smoke guns and cannons to help set the mood.

The stage went black as “Black No. 1” by Type O Negative filled the loudspeakers.

The madness had begun.

Maria Brink slowly took the stage amid layers of thick smoke and brooding red lighting and proceeded to deliver what may well have been the performance of her lifetime.

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This was after just coming off of two weeks of cancelled shows due to strep throat, a true testament to her unwavering comitment to her deeply devoted fans and her unmatched talent and prowess as one of music’s best female vocalists and performers.

She is flanked by her partner in crime, Chris Howorth on guitar; He and the rest of the band looked like post-apocalyptic zombies and spent the night lurking in the shadows.

The band wasted no time and tore relentlessly into fan favorites like “Adrenalize,” “Beast Within,” “Burn” and a version of N.I.N. “Closer,” that rivaled the greatness of the original.

Closer “Whore” came off with a stage presentation just like the video and encore, “Blood,” reached a fevered climax, including the out-of-this-world chant of “We Want Blood!”

-Eric Hunker