On Wednesday, November 20 The Saloon, located in the NC Music Factory in Charlotte, N.C., saw the debut of Camori accompanied by other Charlotte locals Luna’s Lament and Descendants of Chaos, as well as Greensboro, N.C. progressive metallers Hephystus. Camori was formed out of the ashes of a former Charlotte outfit Absoulute Convixtion, initiated by vocalist Corey Tossas. Having reformulated and reconfigured, Tossas sought to bring his unique brand of metal back to the scene and brought along some rather fitting musical bedfellows along for the ride.
Descendants of Chaos (DoC) were first up on the bill and they came ready to move the room. These Charlotte natives not only warmed up the crowd on this chilly Wednesday evening, they lit them aflame with their spicy guitars and dynamic vocal diversity. The energy that these guys put out is powerful and attention-grabbing. Vocalist Michael Caito-Kurshid pierced The Saloon with this deep gutturals and balanced clean screams. DoC ripped through their set with the kind of ferocity and groove that gave way to hints to DevilDriver and Mudvayne-esqe influences at times. On top of their commanding sound, the band had a compelling presence about them. Although dressed like the garage band/guys next door, but with all the fire and drive of stage seasoned performers. As their set went on, they barreled through song from their repertoire like “Sleepwalker,” “All I Can Give,” and “My Own Mind.” At times booming with rolling drums and chaotic breakdowns and then other times screeching into the higher vocal registers accompanied by smoother yet zesty guitars, DoC made for an impressive opening to the evening’s event. So enthralling was their performance, the question then became: can the other acts really beat this?
The ladies of Luna’s Lament, although down a few traditional members, persevered and made the show in spite of the absence. According to vocalist Morgan Riley, the band opted to find some stand-ins for bass and drums (or in this case bongos) in an effort to fulfill their obligation to the show. This dedication led to Riley and guitarist Kim Karnes to adjust their usually hard rock, electric set to acoustic. Being the first time catching these ladies, the change up to acoustic was a bit of a surprise and initially a fear. There are some bands that really only work well electric and especially in the world of hard rock and metal, making the shift to unplugged can be a harsh one for some bands. Fortunately, this was not the caw with Luna’s Lament (LL). Despite having some tuning adjustment issues with Karnes’s guitar occasion, LL seemed to have bridged the gap from all electric to acoustic with very little difficulty. You really don’t know a band until you hear them stripped down to their barest elements and on this night, The Saloon really got to know LL. To accompany the toned down performance Riley’s dress and demeanor was that of an earnest and approachable songstress rather than an atypical “rockstar.” There was no hair whipping or writhing onstage, but rather a woman with a microphone and job to do. Their intriguing and vibrant set consisted of some of their own originals like “Shadows” and “Save My Head,” as well as two covers which included Korn’s “Thoughtless”- which was impeccable (and I usually hate covers).
Hephystus brought a little of their powerhouse progressive rock down from Greensboro, N.C. and ignited a sonic spark in the crowd. On the advent of their latest album release, Fragmenting Shadows, Hephystus was primed and ready to play the new material to a new crowd. The band exhibited incredible energy as they powered through a set that consisted of a mixture of newer songs as well as songs from their last release, Burn The Page. In true prog rock fashion, the balance between the heavy and the melodic was tuned just well enough in all the right places. Songs like “Choices,” “No Compromise,” and “This Is Goodbye” sizzled with incendiary string work and electric vocal dynamics. Watching these guys work, you can tell they have a real fire in the gut, passion for what they do. Despite the spatial limitations of The Saloon’s stage for the lively quartet, they still individually managed to work the hell out of their separate sections. One way to know if you’ve witnessed great live music is if you have a visceral reaction to it- your head bobs and foot taps involuntarily, your heart beats faster, or your stomach tightens in excitement. This is the effect Hephystus will have on you, and you will love them for it.
Finally, the men of the evening, Camori made their way to the stage and proceeded to make a debut and introduction to remember. Opening with a hard-hitting and racing song titled “Blackest Night,” Camori made sure to keep pace with their predecessors and maintain the excitement of the evening. With a sound that demonstrated an amped up, hardcore melodic metal inflexion, the guys wound their way through a twisted set that was comprised of songs exhibiting a wide range of influences from A Perfect Circle to Rage Against The Machine. The self describe “sci-fi metal” band was intensely focused on stage, each man meticulously honed in on their performance. Vocalist Corey Tossas made quick work of interacting with the crowd and attempting to crank up the energy of the room. His vocal range was surprisingly vast considering the nature of his previous work with Absoulute Convixtion, but on this night he was leaping from one end of the vocal spectrum to the other, varying from clean singing to screams to occasionally deep gutturals. Like Luna’s Lament, Camori attempted a cover as well; this one was System Of A Down’s “B.Y.O.B.” While mostly energetic, emotive and engaging, Tossas had explained earlier that he was still battling the remnants of an illness, which was likely to blame for the occasional off moments. Overall, Camori delivered a charming and gripping performance, and line-up, that spiced up what would have been an otherwise dull and listless Wednesday night.
You can find out more on all the bands through their social media pages via the links throughout this article. You can also check out the photo gallery of Scott Grube a.k.a MetalWarlokk Photography here and see all the lovely men and women that rocked The Saloon that night. Remember to click subscribe here to get instant update on more music news!