Album Review :
Stronger Than Hell Tour (Allentown, PA)

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A few friends came into town this past weekend so that we all could hit up the Stronger Than Hell Tour in Allentown, PA. It is quite amazing how all the details came together because these friends are limited to Saturday shows which never seem to work out. Oddly enough for once things did work out and all of them could go, so we met up on Saturday afternoon and drove just a bit over 2 hours to what hopefully would be an extremely enjoyable show.

Thankfully the crowd wasn’t huge! The last time I attended a show here it was for Underoath and when I arrived the line was all the way around the city block. I hate being packed like sardines into a small club so it was nice that it wasn’t a sell out. Due to my planning, and a pizza place across the street to waste time, once inside it only took a few minutes before Advent took the stage. I had been looking forward to seeing these guys despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy their album as much I had hoped to. They delivered pretty much exactly what I expected but the crowd was not into it. The hardcore kids were the extreme minority at this show and it showed. Just a few kids were attempting to dance. I felt bad for the band because hardcore bands feed off of the crowd. Regardless of the lack of crowd participation they put on a quick but solid set.

The Famine took the stage next and flew through a good portion of their recently released debut, The Raven and the Reaping. They were tight and easily the heaviest band of the night. The crowd began to stir a bit more during their set and the band did their best to encourage movement. As their set continued the crowd did begin to get into them more. I was very impressed with the band’s show. Nothing too crazy or out of the norm. No dancing around or jumping or anything of that sort. Just flat out, knock down metal.

Oh, Sleeper were the band that really got the show started. It’s safe to say they gained a good number of fans. They were all quite lively and the crowd responded well. As with the other young bands that opened this tour they played a good portion of their debut on Solid State. I didn’t expect this band to be as good as they were but I definitely will be seeing them again. This is a band I’d highly recommend seeing live if you get the chance. Definitely an up-and-comer on the label!

Many people were probably in attendance because of Living Sacrifice. It certainly was the seller for me, although I probably would have attended regardless. This wasn’t my first time catching them live as I’d seen them anywhere from 3-5 times before (hard to remember how many Cornerstone sets). They played a great mix of tracks from all their Solid State releases. Highlights were “Enthroned“, “In Christ“, and “Symbiotic“. I was hoping to hear one of the new tracks live and also to hear “Reject” once again but unfortunately that didn’t happen this time around. They were as fun to watch as I remember years back and I’m really excited for their upcoming full length due out in early 2009!

This was my first time seeing Demon Hunter. I can’t say I’m terribly familiar with all of their material but I knew them enough to like them. After watching their set it made me wish I knew all the lyrics. They were by far the surprise of the night for me! The band was extremely tight (although the music isn’t terribly intricate) and the vocals were dead on. They played quite a few songs from the new album and most of the favorites from the past ones as well. The crowd really surprised me here as well. Most of them knew the lyrics and were singing along. They often carried the songs as the mic was held over them. I didn’t realize that DH had so many dedicated fans up here but apparently they do. If I wasn’t a fan already this show would have won me over. It’s too bad they don’t tour because they definitely could get on some bigger tours and gain fans.

Overall it was a great night and one of the better shows I’ve been to in years. If you can check out this tour before it ends I recommend you do.