Any time female fronted metal band In This Moment comes to town, it’s always a hot ticket. This time however, the band are the headliners, and expectations for their Half God/Half Devil tour featuring veteran rockers Gemini Syndrome, Avatar, and Motionless in White are high. The bands have been packing venues coast to coast, and their appearance at Albany’s Palace Theatre was no different, as fans of all the groups showed up in support of their favorites.
Up first was Gemini Syndrome, who sauntered out amid a sea of orange and green. The raspy roar of vocalist Aaron Nordstrom filled the theatre as the band played some of their hits including “Eternity,” “Pleasure and Pain,” and their most well known track, “Remember We Die.” It was prior to this performance that Nordstrom reminded the crowd that we all face eventual mortality, so we should act as if any moment could be our last. “Take care of yourselves and each other,” the singer instructed the crowd, echoing the positive message that is present in a majority of their songs.
Next it was time to Hail the Apocalypse with Swedish melodic metal band Avatar. Dressed in their matching sideshow apparel, the boys stormed the stage with every ounce of enthusiasm they could muster. Those unfamiliar with the five-some were wowed by their eclectic attire and charismatic showmanship. Fans like myself were delighted to find that the band didn’t just play tunes from their latest release ‘Feathers & Flesh,’ but rather a collection of tunes from their catalog including fan favorites “Paint Me Red,” “Let It Burn,” and “Bloody Angel.” The boys ended with “Smells Like a Freakshow,” a song that accurately reflected the mood of the crowd following Avatar’s jaw dropping performance.
Motionless In White were next to take the stage, which had been decorated with a variety of candle filled altars. (Fitting, considering the name of the tour.) The pulsating bass and drums dominated the arena, a the band played through a roster of songs including “Unstoppable” and “Dead As Fuck,” which was lovingly dedicated to the ladies in the crowd. Speaking of ladies, the band brought with them a candy throwing, faux gun toting ghoulish girl to help get the crowd pumped. The highlight of the set was undoubtedly the System of a Down cover of “Chop Suey,” which the entire audience sang harmoniously along to.
Finally the moment many had been waiting for arrived. The heavy curtains of the theatre pulled back to reveal a ritualistic, revamped version of previous In This Moment tours. Decked out in religious robes and attire, the members launched into their biggest hit, “Blood.” With the mere flick of her wrist, front woman Maria Brink expertly commanded complete control of the audience, belting out song after song with her beautiful, bold vocals. Costume changes ensued after each song, with Maria and her “Blood girls” going from homicidal nurses for “Black Widow,” to Maria having enormous wings for “Burn” and later a sexy black latex gown for “Adrenalize.” The band also debuted a brand new song called “River of Fire.” The song packed a powerful punch, featuring a devil-went-down-to-Georgia meets ‘A Star-Crossed Wasteland’ feel that the audience really connected with. Fans of ITM are definitely going to want to look for this song in the future, as it’s sure to be a single for the next album. We would also be remiss without mentioning that the Albany stop was a homecoming for Ms. Brink, who proudly declared that her family, including her 97 year old grandfather was all in the audience, proving that it doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 97, rock and roll knows no age limits.
In all, the Half God/Half Devil show is one of those rare, talent-packed tours that music fans live for. When else do rock fans have an opportunity to see four of the biggest names in metal, all of whom could be headliners in their own right? Seeing Avatar alone was well worth the admission, thanks to their mind blowing delivery. Furthermore, both the music as well as the visuals take center stage, creating a feast for almost all of your senses. So while the tour may be Half God/Half Devil, it was 100% pure metal and 100% Must See.