Two of Northeast Pennsylvania’s heaviest exports teamed up for a bone-crunching homecoming at Scranton’s New Penny last Saturday night.
Opener Ruination, from Binghamton, N.Y., along with Beyond Fallen and headliner Threatpoint, back home for their first local show in several weeks, literally shook the walls for a combined three-hour metal meltdown that descended upon the 100 or so lining the New Penny’s oval bar leading into its back room.
Ruination featured a very dark, bottom-heavy sound that they will commit to tape on a new album due in July, with a powerful groove reminiscent of Machine Head, augmented by tortured screams akin to Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe. The band showed its sense of humor early to the somewhat noncommittal faces in the crowd by prefacing aural assaults like “Bleed the Wound” and “Killing Spree” with wisecracking anecdotes like, “This song is about how we used to be Collective Soul back in the ‘90s.”
Beyond Fallen opened with the thrash-laden “Mask of Deception” from their 2005 “Lost in the Shadows” album, seguing into “Enemy of an Open Mind” from 2007’s “Mindfire.” The consummate metal frontman, Joe Karavis, was in fist-pumping form, several times inciting the crowd with, “Are you alive?” and later engaging the gathered about how he’d heard someone request Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.”
Highlights of Beyond Fallen’s set included the dual-guitar instrumental “Fields of Honor,” which showcases the band’s trademark melodic sensibilities, as well as the brand new track “Hatecrown,” which was performed for only the second time. The song is one of Beyond Fallen’s most savage new creations, running through several tempo changes, and according to Karavis, it will possibly appear on the European release of the band’s current EP, “Machines of Corruption.”
A frantic cover of Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades” was a favorite, with the familiar frontline of local headbangers showing their approval (led by one character known as “The Mayor of Metal”), soon followed by the thrash juggernaut “Concrete Lucifer,” Karavis closing the song with a flurry of maniacal laughter.
Threatpoint continues to prove why it’s gaining momentum both regionally and nationally, with a show that’s equal parts choreographed professionalism and animal viciousness. After lighting up faces with covers like the heaviest take on Heart’s “Barracuda” that you’ll ever hear, and a propulsive channeling of rage for Coal Chamber’s “Loco,” Threatpoint gave its originals a sense of meaning by frontman Chris James’ eluding to, “This is how we do it on the road; they don’t open the door, you kick it down,” before launching into “Never Say Die” off their “Dead to Rise” debut.
This show was the official introduction of second guitarist Matt Gosselin, joining Alex Olivetti on six-string, the tandem looking inspired as they locked into cuts like the extreme aggression of “Shades of Hate,” James prefacing the song with, “This is how we feel about life.” James, decked out in leather studded armbands and packing a florescent green microphone, looked every inch the metal miscreant, growling his way through new recording “Collapse,” to be included on the band’s new disc tentatively due this summer, and “Another Black Day,” often journeying to the front to perform a syncopated headbang with his guitarists.
Several taped introductions gave Threatpoint’s show a much larger feel, like the “Gremlins” sound effect that led into drummer CJ Krukowski’s solo and a pipe organ effect that began “Pave the Way.” A fog machine gave the show a true event feel.
You can’t possibly get any tighter at the local level than Beyond Fallen and Threatpoint, two bands that deliver arena-ready shows, more often than not in a space no bigger than your living room.