By Wes Lytz
Images By Alma Reed
Oh baby! Light The Torch stopped by Nashville’s Exit In, their first stop on a roughly year long journey of world domination with almost everyone that’s been anyone in the metal scene in the past 10 years.
Tennessee metalheads unite as all three opening bands were local acts sourced from throughout the Volunteer state. Knoxville’s Absent From The Body got things off to a brutal start. May the headbanging commence.
Nashville’s 3 Minutes To Live went up next as some light vertigo begins to set in among the audience. 3MTL makes full use of their wireless systems and joins the audience on the floor for the last song. The crowd and band gather in as much of a circle pit as you can have while still playing instruments and respecting the distance of the instrumentalists.
Bass player Abraham Martinez reminds us that second to the quality of the musician’s song is the illustriousness of the musician’s hair. His windmill headbanging impresses, requiring several feet in diameter of clearance and creating a light vortex capable of knocking over your half full beer if you were foolish enough to leave it nearby and unattended.
Feeling my aqueous humour begin to effervesce, I take a seat and eagerly await one of my favourite bands of the last year go onstage. It’s 10pm on a Monday night and the crowd has noticeably thinned.
Light The Torch is another supergroup combining forces like Voltron to churn out the hard-rocking notes. Front man Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage fame (one of my all time faves) has one of the best voices in metalcore and can deliver in a live performance. His mere presence onstage has idolatrous Sunday school dropouts breaking both first and second commandments. Mr. Jones is endearingly candid with an intimate Nashville audience, making small talk and expressing gratitude in between songs.
Guitarist Francesco Artusato (All Shall Perish) eschews the token shreddy 64th note solos and complex time signatures in favor of hookier verses and choruses. Focusing on melodies and songwriting pays off in the end. Other metal band’s fast eyelash scorching solos and intricate riffs tend to get drowned out by the bass and drums in the live indoor environment leaving the fans who know the songs relying on perceptual restoration to fill in the gaps, and those that don’t twiddling their iPhones.
Ryan Wombacher (Bleeding Through) schlaps the bass with aplomb and is surprisingly skilled as a backing vocalist. Singing harmonies and background growls with Mr. Jones takes some vocal chops. Lest we not forget the backbone Mike Sciulara (Extinction AD) driving the rhythm and nailing the double kicks with atomic precision.