Old-school thrash meets new-school post-hardcore meets metalcore on this fairly impressive road outing. MTV2 has done a hell of a job of reanimating the Headbangers Ball
. Sure, they play some dross (Powerman 5000, Static-X), but they blast plenty of serious stuff, too (Hate Eternal, Slayer). It's the show the modern metalhead needs, and the three headliners on this tour are shockingly hard-edged for an MTV-affiliated enterprise. Shadows Fall is one of the most retro-conscious acts around; they play as if death metal never happened. Half of The Art of Balance
sounds copped from Anthrax's Among the Living
. Lamb of God, on the other hand, is the future of metal, and it's bleak and ugly. As the Palaces Burn
is fast, complex, heavy, and painfully hard at once -- impressive, but sometimes so merciless it's hard to withstand. Killswitch Engage is probably the most easy-on-the-ear of the three bands, but that's hardly calling them pop. Their metalcore sound has hints of melody and some non-barking vocals, but still offers plenty of punishment. This tour proves once again that metal's underground is coughing up most of the interesting music in America right now.