November 25, 2023 – What better to wrap up your Thanksgiving festivities than with some METAL!? This past Saturday we got to see UNDEATH, DARKEST HOUR, EXODUS, and FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY tear up the House of Blues stage. It was truly a delight of a lineup, each band really bringing it in their own ways.
Starting off the evening was NY’s Undeath. As I mentioned in the promotional piece for this show, I caught these guys open up for Thy Art is Murder earlier this year, and this time, much like the last time, they left me speechless. These guys bring a special energy to the shows that can knock you on your ass whether you’re a fan of death metal or not. They’ve got the perfect amount of aggression to kick off these metal bills they’ve been on and it’s hard to believe they’ve only been around since 2018. I am very interested in seeing these guys climb the ranks and eventually blow people’s minds with their own big headline tours!
Next up for the night we’ve got DC’s Darkest Hour. The guys have been hard at work with new music lately and it was exciting to see these guys bring that passion and energy to the stage again. All of the guys could be seen running back and forth across the stage their whole set. Darkest Hour are very much one of those bands who truly vibes back and forth with the crowds they play in front of. I saw the same fast paced energy 5 years ago, and I saw it again on this run. It’s this kind of energy transference that really shows you why they’ve stood the test of time for the last twenty some years. Even with their newer music, I stand by my stance that these guys are a bridge between metalcore and death metal. It’s relatively easy for fans of each genre to find something they like with Darkest Hour’s catalog, and with their performances.
What can we say about Exodus that hasn’t already been said?? I had only ever gotten to see Exodus perform one other time before this- on their run with Testament for The Bay Area Strikes Back tour last year. Once again I was eager and excited to see these thrash legends play this stage. Afterall, thrash still stands as my personal favorite genre. Much like other genres like this, sometimes things can get monotonous and repetitve but Exodus is one of those bands who’s steadily broken some of those molds both with their albums and with their live performances.
There’s this cheeky energy between Zetro and Gary Holt that I just can’t help but smile at in these moments. Several times through the set Zetro can be seen pointing and showing off how cool Gary’s shredding is. Playing a collection of their bests mixed in with some of their newest absolutely brutal material, it really made for possibly the highest energy set of the night. Obviously we got bangers like Blacklist and Bonded By Blood, but R.E.M.F and The Beatings Will Continue from Exodus’ last record, Persona Non Grata really was the perfect sprinkle of old v new material. Exodus closed out their set with The Toxic Waltz, and Strike of the Beast. Exciting news from Zetro talking about more new material and more touring next year. It’s pretty clear that there is no stopping in sight in the Exodus camp!
Maybe it was just me, but it felt like some of the venue cleared out a little bit after Exodus left the stage. This is honestly not all that surprising to me. As a fan of both thrash metal and deathcore, I am a little bit of a unicorn with my enjoyment of both. It’s not typically usual for thrash metal fans to be into deathcore at all, so Fit For an Autopsy saw a slightly thinned out crowd for their set. I can definitely appreciate the attempt to bring these two different genres together, but I don’t think it worked as well on this day as maybe other days. (I’ll also blame lame metal elites a bit. Some of them out here are pretty bad.)
Closing out the evening for us was New Jersey’s Fit for an Autopsy. I found this band last year while browsing through a new release rack at Zia Records. I absolutely fell in love with “Oh What the Future Holds”, and was eager to see these guys bring their brand of deathcore to the stage. Vocalist Joe Badolato is easily one of the best voices in the deathcore realm these days and I was excited to see all of these mastered elements in a live setting. The guys performed almost every song from their latest release, and if I closed my eyes, I would have thought I was sitting in my car listening to the record with the volume maxed out. (Not an unusual occurrence for me in the slightest. Don’t worry, my ears are mostly okay.)
Nick Arthur from Molotov Solution was brought up mid set to perform Iron Moon. Do you guys have any idea how many times I’ve seen Nick guest spot with these bands, both local and otherwise? So many times. It’s always wonderful to see him show the Vegas scene that he’s still got the chops to hang with the best of them. Energy and the mosh pit stayed high as the set went on, phone lights filled the room for the final two songs of the set, Far From Heaven, and Two Towers.
Overall another successful night of metal here in Las Vegas and I look forward to seeing and hearing all that’s to come for the bands on this bill!
Live photos by Courtney Ware for ZrockR Magazine 2023. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.