By Mark Gromen
How many times do we get to see the FIRST ever show by a band, let alone one that has some known entities? Former ARCH ENEMY six-stringer CHRISTOPHER AMOTT comes out from under his older brother's (Michael, ex-CARCASS) considerable shadow, having left sibling and the rest of that well known multi-national/Swedish based melodic death metallers. This was apparently a warm-up date for his Loud Park festival appearance in Japan, later in the month (October 27th). Strange venue and town for a debut though, as the corner North Star Bar is off the beaten path and not known for hosting heavy acts. Looking for a parking space, the drive around the maze of one-way streets that ensnarl the century old, and now defunct Eastern State Penitentiary, saw an army of squad cars and police in bulletproof vests investigating "something" only a few hundred feet from the entrance to the bar!
While the touring line-up will include former NEVERMORE drummer Van Williams (who's also behind the stool for ASHES OF ARES, Matt Barlow's new outfit) and Matt Bachand (SHADOWS FALL), tonight only featured Amott, guitarist Matt Wicklund (GOD FORBID) and two locals as the rhythm section. Amott now resides in Lansdale, a suburb of Philly (thus the locale), after marrying an American girl (cue, GRAND FUNK). The remainder of the "known" players will join him for live dates outside the region, the guitarist telling BraveWords.com, "I kind of have two bands: one local and one (inter)national." A Wednesday night show is the perfect time to work out the kinks, although the music had more in common with '70s hard rock or early '80s NWOBHM. What basically amounted to a dress rehearsal, saw the dual guitar foursome run through seven tunes that are slated to be issued via iTunes immediately, including: 'Sea Is Black', 'Holy Mountain', 'Dream Away', 'Calling Out', 'Lone Wolf', 'Tibet' and 'Nothing Is Nothing'.
Still the skinny, spiky haired dude from Arch Enemy, not sure he was thrilled to learn major international eyes would be reviewing their initial gig. Screaming 70s hard rock guitar, more about feeling than shred, he announced to the small gathering that Philly was now his home, "Yeah cheesesteaks!" 'Calling Out' proved to be the most metallic number, albeit still rooted in the '70s. Amott loves to play he lower end of the guitar neck, making faces with the unnatural noises it produces. Sure BraveWords.com will have plenty of opportunities to watch this band grow, but from Day 1, call us impressed!