Venue: The Forge – Joliet, Illinois
Special guests: Shattered Sun, Wings Of Severance, The Unlawful, Kildare
Date: March 15, 2018
Reviewed by Michael Juvinall – Horror Patch
All photos copyright by Michael Juvinall
The notion of a “Supergroup” doesn’t impress me much. These days the term is a marketing gimmick and it’s used way too often to both sell records and get people in the door. You must already be something special to begin with to be a “name” in a supergroup. A good example of this would be…Damn Yankees. That band was called a supergroup, and they were. With a lineup that consisted of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent of The Amboy Dukes.
With that being said, thrash metal Act of Defiance is also labeled as a “Supergroup”. Why might you ask? Because the band features two former members of Megadeth who both quit that band on the same day and helped start Act of Defiance. Oh, and a former member of Shadows Fall. This to me does not constitute a supergroup. Ok, enough of a supergroup rant, on to the show.
The first act of the night was a band named Kildare, out of Chicago, Illinois. Kildare is a three-piece rap band that had no business being on a metal bill. I was up front doing the photog thing when they started playing and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Now, I don’t begrudge rap music…wait, yes, I do, I hate it! I was almost pissed off that I had to listen to 30 minutes of rap before the metal bands came out. “What was this shit” kept going round and round in my head.
Anyways, they played for 30 minutes, which was about 25 minutes too long. If I could give them zero pentagrams I would, but my rating system starts at one, so that’s what I’ll give them, one pentagram!
Next up was the female-fronted metal band The Unlawful. This band is out of Bradley, Illinois. These guys (and girl) were a welcomed change from the previous train wreck of a band. Their lead singer, Alyce was impressive and had a dynamic vocal range. She was belting out songs and didn’t even need a mic. As for the rest of the band, they were decent. Not too heavy, but more akin to a good hard rock band. Nothing really impressed me that much except their lead singer, who was great. They played for a quick 30 minutes.
2 ½ Pentagrams!
Following The Unlawful was Wings of Severance. These guys are a heavy metal band out of Fox Lake, Illinois. I have not heard of this band previously, but they weren’t too bad. Vocalist used clean singing mixed with death growls from the guitarist. Their guitar sound was heavy, and they played well. Their songs weren’t my favorite and they all pretty much sounded alike. This is a young, up and coming band but with more experience, they might turn out to be pretty good.
2 ½ Pentagrams!
Texas extreme metal outfit Shattered Sun was up next and a welcome relief from the previous three groups. These guys were the real deal and it was finally time for some heavy ass metal at The Forge! Shattered Sun has been in existence for about seven years and they have finally perfected their own sound in the metal community. They have an energy about them that many bands don’t have. Lead singer Marcos Leal is an imposing figure behind the mic and to me, reminds me a lot of Chuck Billy of Testament, which coincidentally is the band’s co-manager.
Their sound is very heavy and many of the songs are melodic with aggressive riffs throughout, and hooks that stick in your head. They’re not perfect, not every song was prime material, but they had more likable than not. I was pleasantly surprised by Shattered Sun, this is a band I will be listening more to. They played for 30 minutes.
3 ½ out of 5 Pentagrams!
Finally, Act of Defiance took the stage! This group is based out of Los Angeles, California. They are a young band in the fact they have only been together since 2014 but not young as far as experience. As I mentioned earlier, they are considered a supergroup. The band was founded by guitarist Chris Broderick and drummer Shawn Drover, both of Megadeth who quit that band at the same time and founded Act of Defiance. They have two albums under their belt via Metal Blade Records. I have really enjoyed their album music. They are a thrash metal group with a lot to offer. Coming from a band like Megadeth, you must be good, and they are. They recruited Matt Bachand on bass and lead singer Henry Derek, who are both quality musicians.
I was really anticipating seeing this band live, but you know, they didn’t blow me away as I was expecting. I was expecting a clinic on thrash metal but didn’t live up to my admittedly lofty expectations. Don’t get me wrong, technically they are tight as hell, but something sounded off to me. Let me try to explain. Firstly, I was not a huge fan of Frontman Derek. He wasn’t great on their albums and was even less so in a live environment. Their stage presence was uninspiring, maybe they were tired, maybe they had a bad night – who knows.
The band wasn’t bad by any means, these guys are experts at what they do. Chris Broderick on guitars was impressive, and man can he play. He can give Dave Mustaine a run for his money. They were heavy and showed why they were out on their own headlining shows. I will have to see them live again to understand if it was just me nitpicking or not. Act of Defiance is for sure worth a ticket to see.
3 ½ Pentagrams!