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Written by  Brandon McCarthy

It takes a lot of strength and courage to rip the heart from your hate. If anyone is the Master of It, that would have to be my all-time favorite metalcore outfit Trivium. They just know how to take all the anger the one collects over life and flip it into something cathartic and affirmative. During the pandemic shutdown, I was filled with a lot of anger due to shows being cancelled. Trivium tamed the beast inside me (or made it even stronger) with back-to-back releases, What the Dead Man Say (2020) and In the Court of the Dragon (2021). Following a successful tour where they opened up for heavy metal legends Iron Maiden, the famed Orlando metalcore unit set out on their own tour, the Deadman and Dragons Tour. Tagging along is the eccentric progressive metal outfit Between the Buried and Me and deathcore greats Whitechapel, and their final stop was Los Angeles’ famed Wiltern. Ironically, the first time Rabit shot at the Wiltern was when Trivium performed. We consider this show a reunion of sorts.

First up was Whitechapel who took to the stage and immediately swung their death hammer at the audience. This is the 2nd time this year I have seen them, the first being at the Observatory where they opened for Cannibal Corpse. At the Wiltern, they were still in beast mode. Frontman Phil Bozeman continues to take guttural singing to whole new level, the realm of legendary. What makes Whitechapel that more vicious is the triple guitar attack of lead Ben Savage, rhythm Alex Wade, and third player Zach Householder. When all three of these virtuosos of the riff perform together, the world is thrown into chaos. Bassist Gabe Crisp blast beat the shit out of the rhythm while touring drummer Brandon Zackery shook the venue with his crashes and wails. Spreading the word of death metal from their latest album Kin, the Tennessee natives rocked the venue with “I Will Find You,” “Anticure,” “Lost Boy,” “Orphan,” “This is Exile,” “A Bloodsoaked Symphony,” and “Doom Words.” After that performance, Whitechapel would have to notify the audience’s next of kin because they killed it.

Following Whitechapel’s stunning set, the LA crowd was introduced to something different, Between the Buried and Me. This group is known for splicing avant-garde, progressive, and technical death metal together to create a sound that redefines the word “eclectic.” Frontman Tommy Giles Rogers crosses the threshold between a peaceful harmonizer and a monstrous screamer. In between playing the keyboards and singing, the longtime vocalist was a burst of hot energy on stage. The way lead guitarist Paul Waggoner solos are very cutting edge as he adds jazz fusion melodies with his progressive metal riffs. His style is like a cross between John Petrucci, Joe Satriani, and Pat Metheny. Bassist Dan Briggs is a wizard on his instrument as he too adds jazz flavor to the progressive, avant-garde beat. Drummer Blake Richardson and rhythm guitarist Dustie Waring round it out with some white-hot riffs and beats. Promoting their 10th album under the Sumerian Records banner, Colors II, Between the Buried and Me opened our minds to the mysterious with “Sun of Nothing,” “Revolution in Limbo,” “Extremophile Elite,” “Never Seen/Future Shock,” and “The Future is Behind Us.”

After witnessing an extensive set from BTBAM, Trivium stepped out to explain what the dead men say. To warm up the crowd, the PA played Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hill,” and that gave the metalheads of Los Angeles their second wind. Following “IX” came “What the Dead Men Say,” where frontman and rhythm player Matt Heafy, with all his might, belted out hellacious screams and harmonious vocals. He was also very engaging with the crowd, encouraging everyone to be louder than the Montreal crowd. Lead guitarist Corey Beaulieu riffed vicious licks and solos while at the same time roared with tenacious strength. Bassist Paolo Gregoletto is still a brute as his fingers plucked away at the beat, proving to me why he is one of my favorite metal bassists. After going through so many drummers since Travis Smith’s departure, I feel Alex Bent was the missing ingredient needed to carry Trivium into a new era. His technical precision makes him a deadly weapon behind the kit. Trivium’s set was special as it featured a bit of everything. From “Into the Mouth of Hell We March,” “The Sin and the Sentence,” Amongst the Shadows & the Stones,” “The Shadow of the Abattoir,” “In the Court of the Dragon,” “To the Rats,” “The Heart From Your Hate,” “Shogun,” and “In Waves,” it was a captivating thing to witness.

Like always, Trivium was thunderous as they showcased their banging metal. While I did see them at the Iron Maiden show in Anaheim earlier this year, they dazzled and razzled their way into our metal souls. While it would make sense for Whitechapel to be an opener for them, Between the Buried and Me was a weird choice as an opening. Regardless, they too brought it. After that night, it is safe to assume the heart from my hate has been completely removed. To Trivium, Between the Buried and Me, and Whitechapel, I salute you. Horns up!!!


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