There are a few things that I enjoy more as a photojournalist than getting massively surprised when documenting shows of bands that I am not familiar with. Let’s be real, you can get there and be sorely disappointed, it’s happened to all of us in this profession. Fortunately for me, the performance of NARCOTIC WASTELAND and ACCEPT at the Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville this week was one of my favorite shows of the year, as both bands hit the stage hungry for blood and ready to give their all.
NARCOTIC WASTELAND hit the stage first, and boy, did they deliver. I was unaware the band was formed by Dallas Toler-Wade (long-standing 18-year member of the brilliantly Egyptian-themed metal band, Nile), who started Narcotic Wasteland while he was in between tours with Nile. He started writing music that was a little more similar to things he was doing in a previous band and since then he has completed writing for the third album and is currently finishing up the recording process. The band’s stock in trade is a convincing blend of thrash, death, and black metal with a hearty dose of punk for good measure – all of the above led by a dual guitar attack – sprinkled with counterpart melodies that bring some traditional heavy metal vibes to their music recipe.
Blasting through an 8-songs set-list that honestly felt too short, these guys sounded huge and impressed me like the real deal, engaging the audience with full-throttle riffs, punchy bass lines, and relentless drums (“You Will Die Alone”) while at the same time effortlessly moving through a diverse musical landscape that ranged from neck-breaking riffs (“Bleed and Swell”) – that reminded me of the times where Metallica could write some really good thrash metal anthems – , to whiplash-inducing fast metal (“Introspective Nightmares”) to infectious arena metal with ear-worm metallic choruses, like the personal favorite and opening salvo “Pharma Culture”, sporting a melodic interlude that reminded me of early Flotsam and Jetsam. A band to keep well in your radar if you like metal composed and executed with gusto and accurate precision.
NARCOTIC WASTELAND Photo Gallery:
Following the NARCOTIC WASTELAND heavy metal legends ACCEPT stormed the stage, backed with the experience of their more the 4 decades in the business. Some bands that have been in the game for as long as they had, tend to focus immensely on their hit material even though it might be largely out of date. Nevertheless, ACCEPT are certainly not resorting only to their old hits. Obviously, their set list cannot lack staples like “Metal Heart” or “Balls to The Wall” – both played well later in their 19-song selection – yet the heavy metal collective led by the larger than life persona of the incombustible guitarist Wolf Hoffman really showed everybody that newer cuts like “Zombie Apocalypse” and “Symphony of Pain” can surely rub elbows in the greatness department with staples like “Fast as a Shark” or “I’m a Rebel”.
Mark Tornillo have proved himself time and time again to be a skilled and charismatic front-man; and their modern and diverse songwriting categorically showed why ACCEPT continued to be committed to the spirit of classic, pure heavy metal, disregarding musical trends, and having a blast during the process. I can only hope they continue touring the States more and more and manage to become as popular here as they are in Europe.