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Show Review: Rareform Across The Continent

Last night, Soulless Cult had the pleasure of heading to NYC's legendary Gramercy Theatre to catch one of our most anticipated tours of the fall: the Rareform Across The Continent Tour featuring After The Burial, The Acacia Strain, Erra and Make Them Suffer! This is already a massive tour package with some of the genres hardest working and longest running bands, but this tour is also a little extra special in the sense that it is celebrating the 10 year anniversary of not one but two albums put out by bands on the tour: The Acacia Strain released Continent on August 19th, 2008 and After The Burial released Rareform way back on July 22, 2008. To celebrate both bands now having decade-old records under their belts, they teamed up to deliver fans a seismic sized tour where they play both records in their entirety, plus a few extra tracks for good measure! Unfortunately, we weren't able to make it down to the venue in time to catch Make Them Suffer's set - which totally sucks because I've never gotten the chance to see them - but from what I hear, they absolutely slayed the stage and helped set the tone for the rest of the show as the boys in Erra took the stage and brought along their melodic yet breakdown-filled brand of metal. Quite honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of Erra (at least on studio albums) but I've seen them a handful of times live and I gotta admit: each time, they blow me away. They are super tight in their playing and really bring energy with them on stage to bring their music to life. At no point during any of their sets have I felt bored or unimpressed: these guys definitely deliver in their stage presence and I always have a good ass time watching them play, and last night was no different! As long as they continue to hop on tours that I end up going to, I'll always save some headbanging for 'em.

After Erra took the stage, the massive blow-up "T A S" letters began to fill with air and it was an indication to prepare my body to embrace my own death: The Acacia Strain was about to take the stage. I've been following these dudes since The Dead Walk was released way back in '06; I'll never forget a fellow show-goer showing me "Whoa! Shut It Down" while we were waiting on-line to get into a local show and being blown the fuck away. In the years since then, I've proudly seen TAS tons of times, and let me just say this: there is no band heavier, no band angrier, and no band more intense during their sets than The Acacia fucking Strain. Every single time they come to our beautiful city, their sets send people home bloody, bruised and at the very least sore as fuck, as the New York crowd is literally willing to kill each other song after song for these guys, and they know it. I've seen TAS play this particular venue numerous times and this was no doubt one of the more memorable ones ever. Besides the fact that Continent is such an iconic record for fans of this style of music, TAS just have a way of mixing heavy and angry music with good times and good hangs. They know not to take this shit too seriously and to have a good time, and it definitely shows in both their stage presence and off stage hangouts. The Acacia Strain brought down the fucking walls of the Gramercy Theatre last night, and it was a goddamn blast being in the middle of the chaos as the crowd lost their mind to some of the most classic Acacia songs in their history. TAS will forever be one of the hardest bands live, ever. Their set list speaks for its self, really: The Behemoth / Skynet / Seaward / Dr. Doom / Forget-Me-Now / Cthulhu / Baby Buster / Balboa Towers / The Combine / Kraken / JFC / Beast / The Hills Have Eyes / Tactical Nuke.

And of coarse, following-up to The Acacia Strain's epic, Godzilla-sized set was After The Burial - another one of my personal favorites. Celebrating a full decade since the release of Rareform, ATB came out and song after song, delivered their technical djent sound to a sold out NYC crowd. When Rareform came out, I remember everybody losing their minds because until ATB and Veil of Maya came around, nobody sounded anything like what they were doing. Rareform blew all of us away - and ten years later, it was having the exact same effect in that packed out room. From the fast-moving fingers of the guitarists to the pounding drums, Anthony's massive vocals, and the insane light show to go along with it, After The Burial proved once again why they have the legacy that they have. Their set was absolutely fucking sick, and kept the crowd going nuts between the headbanging and pitting. They beautifully played through Rareform, and just like The Acacia Strain, they brought along a few extra songs to keep the show going, and they definitely chose some fan favorites: Berzerker / Drifts / Cursing Akhenaten / Rareform / Aspiration / The Fractal Effect / Ometh / A Vicious Reforming of Features / Lost in the Static / Collapse / Your Troubles Will Cease and Fortune Will Smile Upon You / A Wolf Amongst Ravens.

To sum it up, Rareform Across The Continent turned out to be just as insane and fun as I figured it would be, and it is definitely not a tour to miss! All of the talent on this tour proves just how legendary this tour is and at least here in NYC, we had a night we will never forget for the rest of our lives. Make sure to catch this tour as it crossed paths with your city: dates can be found here!


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