December 13 was the final date of the Tune Low Die Slow Tour featuring The Acacia Strain, Counterparts, Fit For An Autopsy, and Kublai Khan. I arrived just in time to catch my buddies in Degrader open up the show.
Degrader has been gaining great momentum here at home in Massachusetts. They recently won a spot to play on Souled Out Fest in New York back in October with Vanna, Sirens and Sailors, and other national and international touring acts. This show was easily the largest they’ve played in their career so far, with The Upstairs Palladium selling out. Degrader moved quickly to fit as many songs into their set time as possible notable crowd favorites being “The Void”, “Dead Presidents”, and “Zero”. Limbs started flying the moment they started playing with a large pit opening just behind me as a photographed. Vocalist Corey Mileski was generous with the mic allowing the crowd to grab it at almost any time and they took full advantage of it. The rest of the band headbanged away as people toppled over one another.
Having recently released their third album New Strength, Kublai Khan took the stage next. The minute the band began playing the crowd erupted into the most aggressive scene I have witnessed in my almost five years of photographing shows. The mosh pit, which more or less resembled a free for all brawl, extended wall to wall across the front of the stage. Fans even got up on stage to mosh their way across it before diving off into the crowd. Kublai Khan’s stage presence was powerful and demanded your attention with slamming guitar work and Matt Honeycutt’s raw vocal power. Ex Bury Your Dead vocalist Mat Bruso was even on hand to do his piece in “Life for a Life”. The band continued on into songs like “Balancing Survival and Happiness”, “Color Code”, and “The Guilty Dog” all while the crowd continued in it’s frenzy.
New Jersey metal outfit Fit For An Autopsy followed up. Having released their new album Absolute Hope Absolute Hell back in October the band took to the stage playing old and new material. The crowd behind me formed into a mosh pit as the band started into their set with the front row screaming lyrics back at the band. Counterparts vocalist Brendan Murphy was on hand for his piece in “Storm Drains” as the crowd lurched forward shouting back at him. Fit For An Autopsy continued on through “Tremors” and “Absolute Hope Absolute Hell” with vocalist Joe Badolato filling the room with his low, demonic growling.
Counterparts was up next opening with “Stillborn” off of their newest album Tragedy Will Find Us. The crowd surged forward pinning each other against the stage as they shouted lyrics back. People began to jump on stage to run across and jump off the opposite side and a large pit opened in the middle of the room. One of my personal favorites off of the new album, “Choke” was played and I have to say the spoken piece about halfway through is just as if not more crushing than on the album. The band continued on with their set playing more songs from their new album along with songs from The Difference Between Hell and Home like “Witness” and “Compass”. Throughout the set the crowd remained energetic as they toppled over one another to get to the mic. Finally, the band finished it off with the crowd favorite “The Disconnect”. Vocalist Brendan Murphy leapt into the crowd at the start before being carried back to the stage. The crowd followed him back and soon everyone was on the stage screaming the lyrics, surrounding Brendan and then it was over. The crowd dissipated and the breakdown of equipment began.
The Acacia Strain rounded off the night, finishing the tour in their home state. All hell broke loose as soon as the first note hit. The entire room split open and the crowd began folding in on itself over and over. The band cruised through a large setlist with songs like “Whoa! Shut It Down”, “Beast”, and “Send Help”. They paused the set and Vincent starred menacingly into the crowd saying “There is no God there is no Devil, there is no Heaven and no Hell, there is only you and me, and I will steal your soul” as they screamed it back at him. The Acacia Strain played straight into “Holy Walls of the Vatican” from there with the crowd belting every lyric back just as loud while throwing each other like rag dolls onto the stage. “Ramirez” was played later on with a similar reaction and even I was tempted to put my camera down and dive head first off of the stage. A slimmed down version of “Observer” was even played before The Acacia Strain ended the tour with “Tactical Nuke”. The stage diving and headbanging continued through the five minute song and soon the venue was clear.