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Metal shines in Chaos tour

The Taste of Chaos tour, originally slotted for the Ralph Wilson Fieldhouse, most happily was relocated to the Dome Theater in Niagara Falls, for what turned out to be an inspired showcase of modern metal bands.

The Dome, a beautiful room with excellent sight lines, great sound, easy outdoor access for smokers and a generally positive ambience, was the proper room for this multi-act lineup. It was a wholly positive experience, despite being sold out and stuffed; one expects shows of this nature, with this kind of turnout, to be uncomfortable, cramped, if not downright hostile.

This one was not. In fact, music lovers likely left the venue feeling that they got their money's worth, were treated right and experienced a well-paced show celebrating the best of the new metal hopefuls.

This was a Deftones show, through and through, at least as far as I could tell from a random sampling of folks in attendance, who ranged from kids to 30- and 40-somethings, all dedicated to the furthering of heavy music.

The Deftones strike a chord with listeners, based on their quite-interesting manipulation of sonic terrain, melodic components and the dark/light dynamics that define hard rock. And, for sure, the band stole the show on Friday.

But throughout, as bands rotated without interruption between two stages, the music retained an inventive edge, with only a few exceptions.

Heavy music -- modern metal, hardcore, emo-punk, whatever they want to call it this week -- is certainly populated by cookie-cutter bands, and all too often nonsensical riffs have replaced intelligent harmonic content, decent chord progressions and genuine melody. Some of that took place on Friday. But happily, the scale was tipped toward the creative.

Speaking to metal-lovers in attendance, I gathered that, in addition to the Deftones, the buzz bands on Friday were Funeral for a Friend, Story of the Year and Atreyu. That made sense; all of these bands played with energy, vitality and a desire to win the crowd over with a visceral approach to heavy music.

Thrice celebrated the release of its new album with a flawless, well-received set of tunes that sought to tread the line between melodic emo-punk and hardcore. While at times this felt like an arbitrary forcing together of chocolate and cheese, in general, the band's high-energy, power-chord riff-punk worked, and the crowd certainly ate eat it up.

A second stage, thrown together at the last minute to the side of the main stage on an elevated area normally used to seat VIPs, helped to suggest that this night was certainly unique on the Taste of Chaos tour, and the bands' comments backed this up.

Normally, this multi-act gig has been playing small arenas, and the bands all seemed to appreciate the relatively intimate club environment.

In all, this was an engaging evening of modern metal. Perhaps there's hope for contemporary heavy music after all.




Taste of Chaos

Featuring several bands, including the Deftones, Story of the Year and As I Lay Dying, on Friday night in the Dome Theater.

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