Heat in 7
Apr 17, 2001
Southern California
Onward Record Release Show

Tarzana, CA
February 17, 2002

On a cool, chilly Sunday night in the valley the record release show for Reawaken the new second album by Onward took place. This would mark the second time I would see Onward and I was highly looking forward to it. Reawaken is an excellent album and I really wanted to see the new stuff live.

The first band of the night was Artisan. Unfortunately, I arrived late so I only got to see 2 songs by them. One was "Good Bye", a complex, long, heavy and at times softer composition. I also enjoyed how Mike Bear (bassist), Ana Greco (guitarist) and Perry Grayson (guitars) all took part of the vocal duties. I was highly impressed by the musical abilities of all the band members especially drummer Matt Conley, who was an absolute animal behind the drum kit. Then the last song was introduced in memory of Chuck (Death/Control Denied and Paul (Exodus) and then Artisan starts doing an excellent cover of "Pull the Plug". So with just two songs I was highly impressed with Artisan and I really wished that I could have seen their entire set. Hopefully, I will be able to see them live again.

The second band was Dreams of Damnation and it features ex-Dark Angel guitarist Jim Durkin, bassist Charlie Silva, drummer Al Mendez and vocalist Loana dP Valencia. They played a highly energetic, raw and passionate set. Their style is old school thrash and it was totally unrelentless. The drumming and bass were frantic and were really pounding my eardrums and the screeching and blazing guitars were phenomenal. It was all tied up perfectly by the singing of Loana. For the first couple of songs the microphone of Loana was not turned up high enough so it was hard to hear her singing but that was fixed eventually. She definitely has a very harsh way of singing, think Angela Glassgow from Arch Enemy. They also impressed me a lot and I hope to catch them live again.

Prototype were the next band and this is one band that you have to give it up for their perseverance and drive to get their name out there. I constantly see guitarist and singer Vincent Levalois posting on bulletin boards announcing news about their band. If any band deserve a major record deal its Prototype. This marked the third time seeing them and I simply love their style of music. I guess I could call them a progressive/power metal band because they showcase those two music styles in their songs. The arrangements are technical but not too overly complicated but the riffing, the music in those songs are aggressive and heavy. The singing of Vince is also extremely unique. I haven’t heard anyone sing the way he does. They played a bunch of tunes from their new album Trinity and overall rocked as usual.

New Eden was next and I had seen them once already and that first time I wasn’t too overly impressed by them. The main reason was because of former vocalist Tony Devita. I just didn’t like the way he sang. His style reminded me to much of James Rivera of Destiny’s End who I don’t like to much and if I can’t like the singer then usually I really don’t like the band. So this time around, the band enlisted Armando Vega for the singing duties and while I still didn’t completely warm up to him, I feel that he is a much better singer than Tony and a better fit for the band. Their style of playing falls under American power metal just like Steel Prophet but closer to Destiny’s End. It definitely is unique and different.

It was finally time for the main attraction of Onward and lets just say that they didn’t disappoint and totally rocked the house! Guitarist Toby Knapp is an absolute monster in guitars! Seriously, this guy is the real deal and makes it look so easy. Riff after riff and solo after solo, he couldn’t be stopped. It was an honor to see him play. Vocalist Michael Grant has great charisma and stage presence and one of the best voices in metal. Drummer Jon Pereau keeps things rolling along with no problems, pounding those double-bass drums, and bassist Chris Payette mostly stayed in the background but also did a phenomenal job. The set consisted of songs from both Evermoving and Reawaken. Some of the memorable moments were "Witches Winter Eternal", "The Last Sunset", "Reawaken", "My Darkest Room", "Onward" and "Clockwork Toy" (Loudness cover featured in the new album). When they finished their set, the crowd kept asking for more and Michael said that they didn’t’ expect that so they weren’t ready to do another song but they went ahead and did a great cover of Uriah Heep’s "Bird of Prey".

Overall this was an excellent night of metal, it has been a while since my last metal show, so I was definitely looking to head bang and get crazy and all the bands did not disappoint.

Onward Website
New Eden Website
Prototype Website
Artisan Website