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Last Sunday, $25 and a 4 hour drive is all it costed for me to have the best experience of my young adult life. I attended the show at Skyway Theater, located in the heart of Minneapolis. The lineup was a tour merger including Animals As Leaders, After The Burial, NaveneK & Chon matched up with Veil Of Maya, Reflections and Erra. Being a homecoming for ATB and Reflections, I already knew the show was going to be nuts, and with the additions… it was a no brainer on making the trip.

Although I didn’t get to see Chon I heard great things about their performance. A great upcoming band who’s unoriginal style I absolutely love.

NaveneK was the first act of the night. I had never listened to any of his solo compositions but I was very familiar with Navene Koperweis when he was a member of Animals As Leaders. It was no surprise to me to see how blown away the crowd was. His pinpoint accuracy was a site to see and his rhythmic fills were exceptional. It takes a lot of balls to get on a drum-set alone in front of a crowd.

Erra was up second, and let me just start off by saying GODDAMN JESSE CASH HAS THE VOICE OF AN ANGEL. Although I’m not a huge fan of Erra’s repetitive melodics, they performed their songs amazingly with very passionate stage presence.

By now, my anticipation had grown so much that I needed Erra to finish asap. The best metalcore act in all of the land was next… Reflections. As soon as I heard the exotic intro to “Exit” my heart started racing. Shit was about to go down…and it did. A flawless performance by the most individually elite band you’ll ever see.

A speaker blew right before their set, but Veil Of Maya didn’t need 100% bass to get the crown moving in viscous circles. The first thing I did when I arrived at Skyway was high five Brandon so I was already stoked for their set. They opened with Subject Zero, which filled my heart full of joy…and supreme anger. Yay VOM.

Little did I know, but what I was about to hear next would blow me the fuck away. There’s one thing I need to mention before I go on and that is that Anthony Notarmaso is the most gifted range screamer in the djent metal scene. From the moment the first guitar was readied it was what I wish to hear when I go into the light. After The Burial’s down tuned sound is true beauty. They opened with their newest hit “A Wolf Amongst Ravens”, my personal favorite and from then on it was pure ecstasy.

Last but not least I was about to witness the greatest guitarist walking the earth. Tosin Abasi and Animals As Leaders played their instrumental masterpieces for an hour straight and the crowd was in love. One thing I did not expect was the masterful and unbelievably durable drumming by their new drummer, Matt Garstka. Teasing the crowd, they responded to the encore with 2 songs and that was the perfect ending to a picture perfect evening.

All the musicians that played were lights out and I’ve never been more proud to be a part of the metal scene than I am after that show.

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