Written By | Rita Harper
Soul grasping, heart thumping, rebellious freedom would be the only way to describe the intense, spellbinding experience that was the Soulfly showcase brought to Masquerade Hell side on February 6th, 2019.
I arrived to the venue site to eager fans waiting outside more than an hour early of the scheduled showtime. Showgoers are chatting amongst themselves about their excitement for the upcoming show. As I walk around eavesdropping on conversations, I meet a wonderful mother and son who have attended the show together. This free-spirited mother and son assured me that Soulfly was for everybody, regardless of color, origin, or nationality.
After a quick wait, the doors are opened and everyone rushes inside to get the perfect spot for the experience to come.
Walking inside, you can see how the name of this venue, (Masquerade Hell) was coined. It is a grungy, dimly lit space adorning hellish features that perfectly compliment a concert showcasing heavy metal bands. As we await, the lights are finally brought to a neon colored dim and the first opener of the night makes their appearance.
Tombstone Blue, being the first act brought the electrifying energy needed to get the crowd going. The lead singer bellows powerfully and emotionally over the mic as his guitarist and drummers play along harmoniously. They perform with high intensity that is felt amongst the crowd, and this momentum was kept for each song performed. Their high energy is synced perfectly with each other, which transfer to the crowd, and as I scan the room, everyone is nodding along in a trance. As they exit, I’m sure they took a new set of fans along with them.
The next band to the stage, Prime Mover, brought an equally high-energy performance, just as the group that preceded them. Wearing Scottish kilts, and golden masks covering their faces, they brought energy that immediately commanded the room. The guitarists passionately strum low chords while the lead singer exhales mid pitched vocals to the mic that sound like a form of released tension. They perform a few songs that showcase their dynamic ability, and this mysterious group makes their exit and we await the next performance.
After a brief wait, the next band Chaoseum makes the stage. Hailing from Switzerland, this quartet’s appearance is as intriguing as the music. Their faces are decorated in bruised skeleton like face paint, and they have a demeanor that demands attention to their talent. The beautiful lead singer has a voice that is somehow pain releasing and soulful, as she seamlessly integrates her voice with her band mates instruments. They perform songs that are both enchanting and energetic, and with this theatre like performance engage the crowd for the entirety of their set. They leave the stage and immediately go engage with the crowd, greeting them personally and quickly high fiving and give hugs before their exit.
The next group would have to be my favorite of the night. Phoenix Arizona’s own Incite. A heavy metal band whose politically charged lyrics and intense performance style solidifies them as a top tier heavy metal band. The heavy strumming and intense drum patterns had the entire crowd in a carefree rage. During their performance, you could feel crowd’s energy come to an electric rise, as the lead singer bellows angrily into the mic. As they continue to perform, the energy in the room is coming to a climax, and I turn around to see a mosh pit forming in the middle of the crowd. After showcasing a few more head banging, circle pit forming records, they throw farewell gifts in the form of instrument pieces and depart from the stage.
The last opener of the night, Canadian death metal band Kataklysm, were the perfect choice to grace the stage right before Soulfly. Performing under blue and red neon lights, the guitar players strummed with passionate movements, while the lead singer emotionally connects with the audience while crooning. During certain parts of the performance, the lead singer comes down on knees singing powerfully into the mic, close enough to the crowd to make a personal connection. After an amazing showcasing of their talent, they leave the stage and make way for the headliner of the night.
There is a brief intermission, and you can feel the rush of excitement through the room for the arrival of SoulFly. With the slightest inkling that their presence might be near, the crowd burst into cheers for the group of the night. The lights in the room are cut with a brief pause that is filled with screams from fans yearning for Soulfly.
Finally the stars of the night make their appearance under green and blue neon lights. Soulfly wastes no times going into fan favorites. With their mix of tribal and heavy metal, they perform with passion as their fans watch and jam along in excitement. They go into classic spiritual records such as “Prophecy”, and instruct the crowd into a circle pit. After a few more riot inciting songs are performed, Soulfly bids the crowd adieu. My first heavy metal showcase experience is brought to a close, and to my surprise I enjoyed every moment, and left a fan of most acts.
Soulfly, along with 5 amazing heavy metal bands, rocked the Masquerade Hell to the core.