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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Appleton’s No Tomorrow Festival Gathers Metal and Hardcore Greats

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Appleton, Wis. is kicking off the summertime music festival season with the sonic equivalent of a punch to the face. No Tomorrow Festival, taking place June 14 and 15 (with a pre-show occurring Friday the 13), brings together some of the heaviest hitters from across the country. If you’re into metal and hardcore—and any and all of their associated sub-genres—chances are you’ll find something you like on at least one of the bills.

Topping the Saturday night bill is Sheboygan thrash metal legends Morbid Saint, who are gearing up to release a new album by the end of the year. On Sunday night, Eyehategod and Ringworm share headliner status, with both seminal bands touring behind excellent new albums. Eyehategod’s self-titled album serves as a worthy follow up to 2000’s Confederacy of Wasted Lives, while Ringworm’s Hammer of the Witch does little to mess with the band’s potent mix of metal and hardcore. In their defense, musical maturity might be hard to attain when your lead vocalist continues to go by the moniker “Human Furnace.”

Yet the band most likely to steal Sunday’s show is Appleton’s Wartorn. Their latest album, Iconic Nightmare (Southern Lord, 2013), conjures up the spirit of such crust-hardcore acts as Tragedy, His Hero is Gone, and From Ashes Rise. Cuts such as “Unfinished Blueprint” and “Permanent Blackout” marry outright brutality with intricate guitar lines and a hint of melody to create songs that are actually quite catchy. Other bands fest-goers won’t want to miss include In Defence (Minneapolis), Dead Church (Detroit), and Madison’s Mellow Harsher, whose take on thrashcore out-Infests Infest.

A number of Milwaukee acts will also be making the trek to Appleton. Hardcore acts Holy Shit! and Short Walk will play Friday’s pre-show, while local favorites Enabler play Saturday night, in support of the recently released La Fin Absolue Du Monde, their first album on The Compound record label. Picking up where 2012’s All Hail the Void left off, Enabler’s newest material, rooted in vocalist/guitarist Jeff Lohrber’s inventive riffs, lays hooks and grooves on top of their punk-infused brand of metal. Yet songs such as “Balance of Terror” find the band willing to experiment. Here, bassist Amanda Daniels takes over on vocals, and her haunting, almost ghostly voice pushes the song into territory currently being mined by such acts as Kylesa and Baroness. It’s an exciting new direction for the already well-established band.

Saturday’s show will take place at Shark’s Club & Billiards, 310 N. College Ave. Sunday’s show, along with the Friday pre-show, will be held at The Bottom End Bar, 2828 North Ballard Road. See https://www.facebook.com/events/1375400349390084/ for more information.