Kansas City, KS

Los Angeles-based metalcore four-piece Spades and Blades was up next, bringing a more refined, but no less heavy sound to the stage. Vocalist Jason Todd stood out immediately, perched atop a front-of-stage platform for the majority of the set, gripping the metal scaffolding which lined the low ceiling of the “rock bar” venue. His throaty shout pierced the thick instrumentation with welcome clarity, however the same unfortunately cannot be said for guitarist Justin Bullock’s cleanly sung choruses in songs like “Domination”. Whether it was the fault of the mixing, equipment, musician, or even listener positioning is unclear, but Bullock’s vocal lines were naught but a faint squeak among the pounding music. This barely took away from the band’s overall performance, though, as its highlights were numerous. Particularly enjoyable was bassist John Douglas’s wild stage dive, which concluded the enjoyable set in true metal fashion.

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Chicago, IL

Upon entering the pretty filled with mostly young faces Concord Music Hall , SPADES AND BLADES were tearing it up with the last song of their setlist. This type of vein-popping Metalcore is great for live shows but tells me nothing when played from the record. Sure, this might be my age talking but no matter what, everyone seemed to be enjoying this set to the fullest with a huge mosh-pit in the center.

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Worcester, MA

California’s Spades and Blades hit the stage next. A high-energy performance seemed to be just what the crowd was looking for to warm up for Soilwork, and Spades and Blades hit the spot. Some definite metalcore-isms to their sound, with the contrast between breakdowns and some harsh/clean vocal patterns (the guitarist does the singing). Vocalist Jason Todd was all over the stage, encouraging any and all crowd participation, and other members of the band got as close as possible to the audience to get them into as well, and much of the audience was keen to participate. The pit started to become more intense, with security having to come in and break up a fight at one point.

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Sauget, IL:

Next up was California act Spades And Blades. Formed in 2006, the founding members have actually been on the music scene since 2001, as a hardcore punk band named the Havoc; but, itwas decided that they wanted to form something different, a heavier project with a new life. They definitely delivered that with style, with their mashup of metal, hardcore, and hard rock leading to a more melodic metalcore sound in 2013, with the release of their EP, PROUD TO BE LOUD. After completing a successful tour in 2015, the band played several local shows in Southern California to support the release of the album THE END IS NEAR in February, 2016. After ten years as a band, the music industry is finally taking notice of Spades and Blades and their progressive metalcore style as a force to be reckoned with. My first thought after they started their set, without knowing much of the band history prior to 2006, I saw a lot of Henry Rollins influence in the singer, and now, knowing more about their hardcore roots, it all fits in. Either way, if you are able to catch them out on tour, Spades and Blades is a band you won’t regret showing up early or staying late for!

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Baltimore, MD:

Next up was Spades and Blades, a four-man band out of Los Angeles, CA. Cited as an LA Metalcore group, S&B pounded out riff-heavy selections from their latest album, ‘The End is Near’, such as “Domination” and “Isolation”. Vocalist Jason Todd tried to get a circle pit going but the crowd just didn’t bite. They still enjoyed a great fan response with the requisite jumping and head banging. Backed up by Justin Bullock on guitar, John Douglas on bass and Tommy Jean Stiles on drums, Spades and Blades dished out crunchy riffs and commanding melodies. Another band to keep an eye on.

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Tempe, AZ

From the moment the band started their first song, Jason Todd took command of the stage with his piercing screams and high energy stage presence. He often covered the stage, making sure he was giving attention to everyone in the crowd. At one point, without missing a beat, he jumped off the stage to embrace the mosh pit. Douglas was also very mobile throughout the set, running across the stage and balancing on any elevated platform he could find. Bullock and Stiles were equally charismatic. Stiles thoroughly looked like he was having a great time, and he always stayed in the moment with the crowd. In addition to playing heavy and aggressive guitar riffs with perfect precision, Bullock sang the clean vocals. His voice was just as solid as his guitar playing, and his vocals served as a good complement to Todd’s screams. The audience was completely engaged with the music. Fans pumped their Metal horns into the air and a sizeable mosh pit quickly ensued. By the end of Spade and Blades’ set, the audience was cheering and more than warmed up for Soilwork and Fear Factory.

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San Francisco, CA

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their historic “Demanufacture” album, Fear Factory returns to the Bay Area with a killer touring line-up featuring Soilwork, Spades and Blades  and Omnikage. Braving the Tuesday after work traffic, we made our way up to San Francisco for this killer show.

Opening the night we had Omnikage and their catchy mainstream Metal music. While not huge fans of their style, we managed to listen to a couple of songs and see that the band already begins to have a good USA following with some people headbanging at all times.

Next up we had Metalcore outfit Spades and Blades delivering a very intense set that had plenty of people in the crowd going totally crazy. As the band pummeled through their set, their on-stage energy was pretty solid and the crowd seemed to respond by cheering them on.

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