Warbringer, Lazarus A.D., Diamond Plate, Landmine Marathon @ The Complex 11.1

Posted November 4, 2011 in
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Following strong performances from Diamond Plate's classic heavy metal thrashers and Landmine Marathon's swift, high energy hardcore ensemble, Lazarus A.D. started their sound check to a nearly empty venue. Small enclaves of black-jacketed punks gathered at the sides of the club, loosened up from the opening bands, and having a good time. It was a pretty frigid night out, but these fans braved the icy weather and poor attendance, warming up by moshing as hard as they could. Some of the musicians stepped down and into the crowd, cheering their tour-mates on and making the whole night a pretty excellent, exclusive thrash session with some great bands. Virtually everyone present was getting into the music, and as Jeff Paulick shouted his last checks into the mic, everyone in the venue migrated to the stage, cheering the band on as they introduced themselves and began to play.

Dan Gapen and Alex Lackner laid down rapid, heavy riffs with incredible precision while Ryan Shutler pounded out a continuous thrash beat. The crowd pumped their fists in unison, responding in full force to the hearty performance. When they announced “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” shouts of fierce approval rose up from the crowd. The band executed the song flawlessly, and their unique fusion of death and thrash metal got everyone up on their feet--nobody but the security guard was sitting down, and even he was getting into it, nodding his head and tapping his foot, even raising his fist with the rest of us. Throughout “Last Breath,” the crowd swelled into circle pits driving people to the edge of the floor. The general feeling was incredibly positive and energetic, and the crowd gave them some well deserved applause after their set.

Once again, the heavy crowd concentration dispersed into the meager groups off to the sides of The Complex. Warbringer's set was short, and the band circulated through the gathered masses, which were steadily growing with the arrival of a few newcomers, clearly excited for the Ventura, California band. Slowly, people started staking out spots on the stage. Andy Laux fiddled with his bass for a while, riffing as he nodded up to the sound crew. Then, the rest of the band charged onto the stage, while the crowd pushed close to listen. Opening with “Living Weapon,” a fast, brutal single from Worlds Torn Asunder, the venue surged with activity. Security got lax, and at the behest of vocalist John Kevill, moshing commenced in full force. The old-school thrash sound was irresistible, and the crowd responded with frenzied shouts of “Warbringer!” between songs. Kevill was constantly at the edge of the stage, screaming his vocals directly into the faces of the front row, which were lined with grins and grim, determined headbanging faces. One of the stage lights seemed broken, casting light that looked like a faint bolt of lightning across the back of the stage, an appropriate tribute to the thunderous power of furious shredding.

The crowd was still thin for Warbringer's set, but I doubt that's how people will remember the show. During “Shattered Like Glass,” the floor erupted into a swirling mosh melee taking up the entire area from the stage to the bar. “Living in a Whirlwind” lived up to its name, summoning an enormous crowd-swallowing circle pit in the middle of the venue, a crazy mass of raised fists and banging heads. By the end of “Combat Shock,” one of the greats off their 2008 album War Without End, everyone in the place was battered and sweaty, looking at each other with punch-drunk smiles. War came to Salt Lake City that night, and it was fun as hell.
Warbringer Lazarus A.D.