On Stage: Allegaeon ready to rock Philly

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


Whenever Allegaeon comes to the area for a show, metal music fans get excited.

Allegaeon plays a smorgasbord of metal music that rattles the rafters and usually tours on a bill with several top-flight metal acts.

When Allegaeon played the Voltage Lounge last year, the band was on a bill that included Rings of Saturn, Entheos, Neckrogoblikon, Lorna Shore and Gloom.

On October 31, Allegaeon will bring its “Apoptosis Tour Pt II” to MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com). The show will also include a trio of opening acts — Paladin, Inferi and IATT.

The current line-up of Allegaeon features Greg Burgess, lead guitar (2008–present); Michael Stancel, rhythm guitar (2013–present); Brandon Park, drums (2013–present); Riley McShane, vocals (2015–present); and Brandon Michael, bass (2017–present).

Allegaeon has released five albums – “Fragments of Form and Function” (2010), “Formshifter” (2012), “Elements of the Infinite” (2104), “Proponent for Sentience” (2016), and “Apoptosis” (2109). All five are on Metal Blade Records.

Judging by the album titles, this is not a typical gloom metal band singing about anger-fueled rebellion, animal mutilation or the impending end of the world.

Allegaeon plays a wide variety of styles – mostly within the realm of metal music. The band plays death metal and incorporates technical expertise and a sense of melody without sacrificing the heaviness inherent in death metal.

Listeners can hear many influences, including prog-rock, thrash metal, classical music and prog-metal. Lyrical themes are both heavy and intellectual – stem cell research, alien life, evolution, physics, artificial intelligence, cryonic experimentation and biology.

“We’re a melodic death metal band that experiments with a lot of different genres and influences,” said McShane, during a phone interview Monday afternoon. “There’s something for everyone.

“With Allegaeon, a lot of metal fans can find something to identify with. Our song structure is pretty straightforward. Technical fans also can find a lot to like. But the foundation is always death metal.”

“Apoptosis” dropped in April and the band has been touring ever since.

“We recorded the album in November and December last year,” said McShane. “We tracked at Flatline Audio in Denver with producer Dave Otero. We’ve always worked with Dave. He’s a phenomenal engineer.

“We approached the writing differently with this album. The writing was different because we were on the road. So, it was more organinc and less formulaic.  Instead of trying to write an album, we just wrote.”

The result was that the band wrote a powerful album with songs that fit together perfectly.

According to McShane, “Thematically, this record is all about contrast, and the music reflects that perfectly. The vocals are heavier than ever, but there are also more clean sections. The drums are faster than ever but also more dynamic, and the guitar playing is lower and slower than on most previous albums, but also provides long, melodic and beautiful sections throughout.”

Allegaeon got its start in northern Colorado in 2008.

“We’re still based out of Denver,” said McShane “I live in Escondido, California, our drummer lives in Illinois and our bassist lives in Northern California. But Denver remains our home base.

“I was living in Santa Cruz and was in a band called Son of Aurelius and we had an album that was Greg’s favorite album ever. Allegaeon needed a vocalist so Greg hit me up.

“With every member change, the foundation of Allegaeon’s sound is kept intact but each new member brings something new to the table. I was really excited when Brandon Michael joined the band because he has such a versatile bass style.”

The definition of   the word, “apoptosis,” is “the death of cells which occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism’s growth or development.”

“Our album ‘Apoptosis’ is all about new cells replacing old cells,” said McShane. “It’s the idea of the old with the new. It’s about how we’ve grown over the years. There are also lyrical themes of science like we’ve always used.

“We took the music in a heavier direction but also in a more melodic direction while maintaining the same strengths we’ve always had.

“But you have to be careful. You can’t take to many hard-left turns. You don’t want to lose old fans, and, at the same time, you don’t want to make the same album over and over again.

“But, like I said, the foundation is always death metal – melodic and technical. I don’t think that will ever change.

Video link for Allegaeon — https://youtu.be/UfwkhX803JI?list=PL287EF95A4FFE743F.


Paladin, which is billed as a power metal band, is a hard-hitting quartet featuring Taylor Washington, Guitar/Vocals; Alex Parra, Guitar; Andy McGraw, Bass/Vocals; and Nathan McKinney, Drums.

The band, which formed in 2015 in Atlanta, just released its debut album, “Ascension,” a few months ago on Prosthetic Records.

“Ascension” immediately entered the U.S. Billboard charts upon its May 17 release at the following positions — Billboard Hard Music Albums #35; Billboard Top New Artists Album #40; Billboard Independent Albums #88;  and Billboard Digital Albums #182.
Incorporating an array of influences from 1980’s metal to melodic death metal into its blend of power thrash, Paladin is on a mission to bring some European flavor to the US metal scene with “Ascension.”

“This is our first tour in support of the album – and our first real tour in general,” said Washington, during a phone interview Monday from a tour stop in Orlando, Florida. “We went on a short run in August. And, we played ProgPower this year.”

ProgPower USA is a progressive, power metal, and progressive rock festival held annually in the United States since 2001. Its most recent edition, “ProgPower USA XX,” was held at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia from September 4-7, 2019. Paladin is now on a 17-day nationwide tour.

“We recorded ‘Ascension’ at Matt Smith at Theocracized Studios in Athens, Georgia. The studio belongs to Matt Smith, who is in a band called Theocracy. We co-produced the album with Matt and then he mixed and mastered it.

“Matt, who is Theocracy’s vocalist, plays keyboards and guitar. He is a great producer and a great musician. And his style of music is similar to ours.”

Paladin has its roots in Atlanta in 2015 when Washington and Parra were looking for a new vehicle for their music.

“Paladin came from the ashes of another band in Atlanta,” said Washington. “I was playing guitar and Alex was playing bass in a metal band called Sybaritic.

“That band broke up and some of us kept going as Paladin. I started doing vocals and Alex switched to guitar. That was four-and-a-half years ago. We’ve gone through two lineup changes since then. Nate has now been our drummer for four years and we have a new bass player.”

Paladin now has a stable line-up and a well-received new album.

“Certain thematic elements run through the album,” said Washington. “There is the theme of duality – light vs. dark…good vs. evil. There is also a running theme of positivity and perseverance.”

Video link for Paladin — https://youtu.be/U_X2L2ixbXA.

The show at MilkBoy Philly, which features Allegaeon, Paladin, Inferi and IATT, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $18.

Othr upcoming shows at MilkBoy Philly are American Dinosaur and Sun Parade on November 1, Adam Flymo Birch and the Vershions on November 2, Funk You on November 3, Ida Mae on November 4, JJ Wilde on November 5, and Blockhead on November 6.


Huntertones is a high energy horn-driven group founded in Columbus, Ohio and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. On October 31, Huntertones will be sharing the bill with Great Time at World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com).

The band’s signature sound is a marriage of inspired improvisation and adventurous compositions that meld jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and rock. In addition to covering a wide range of genres, the versatile group is known for the ability to shift from a dynamic six-piece ensemble to an unconventional trio featuring saxophone, sousaphone, and beat-boxing.

The current Huntertones line-up features Dan White, Saxophones; Jon Lampley, Trumpet/Sousaphone; Chris Ott, Trombone/Beatbox; Josh Hill, Guitar; John Hubbell, Drums; and Adam DeAscentis, Bass.

“We tour the states pretty regularly – festivals, rock rooms, jazz clubs,” said White, during a phone interview last week from his home in Brooklyn.

When Huntertones play shows in Michigan, a bit of caution is needed on the part of the band.

The biggest and most intense rivalry in major college football is the one between the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University. The Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys rivalry pales in comparison.

The members of Huntertones met at The Ohio State University and got their start playing house shows at their Hunter Avenue apartment.

“Chris and Jon were both in The Ohio State University Marching Band,” said White.

“This fall, we collaborated with The Ohio State University Marching Band. They played one of our songs in their show. It was a tribute to our song ‘Togo,’ which is on our latest album.

“We’re all very aware of the intensity of the rivalry between the two schools. When we were still in Columbus, if we had shows in Michigan, we’d just say that we were a band from Ohio. If we were playing Ann Arbor, we definitely didn’t want to bring up our connection to Ohio State. Now, we’ve been living in Brooklyn for five years.”

The band started 2016 with a month-long tour of North America, South America, and Africa through the American Music Abroad program. They were selected by the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to engage international audiences, students, and artists from around the globe.

“When we moved to New York, we hooked up with American Music Abroad,” said White. “One of our first countries was Togo. We’ve done three tours with them altogether and we have another coming up this January. On our own, we’ve toured Japan, China and South Korea. And, we’ve spent the last two summers touring Europe.”

Considering all the travel Huntertones has done, it made sense to call the new album, “Passport.”

“All the international touring was inspiration for our latest album,” said White, who is a native of Buffalo, New York. “We picked up stylistic influences coming from different places. We were also influenced by the stories.

“We recorded ‘Passport’ in Jersey City at Kaleidoscope Sound. It has a nice big main room and that allowed us to play together live in one space. We recorded it December 2017 and released it last fall.

“We’re releasing a new single on November 8 called ‘Disco Tent.’ We recorded the track when we were out on tour. We’ll be going into the studio to record our next album soon.”

Video link for Huntertones – https://youtu.be/KRu6wugevy0.

The show at the World Café Live, which also features Great Time, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are The John Byrne Band Album Release Show on November 1, Superchunk on November 5 and Brendan James on November 6.

Come from Away

Now through November 3, the hit musical “Come from Away” is being presented at the Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333,www.kimmelcenter.org) as part of the Kimmel Center’s Broadway Philadelphia series.

The musical “Come from Away” is the uplifting – and true — story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the people of Gander, Newfoundland, the small Canadian town that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

It is set in the week following the September 11 attacks and tells the true story of what transpired when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, as part of Operation Yellow Ribbon.

The characters in the musical are based on (and in most cases share the names of) real Gander residents as well as some of the thousands of stranded travelers they housed and fed.

The music in the show is a marriage of history and culture in Newfoundland. It’s also married to a traditional Broadway sound.

Video link for “Come from Away” — https://youtu.be/Nwm1IVAbnXk.

“Come from Away” is running now through November 3 at the Academy of Music. Ticket prices range from $20-$139.


Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will have “LENNON LIVE – A Tribute to John Lennon” on November 1 and Open Mic with Vassal on November 3.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host “The Beatles Breadbasket” on November 1 and “Rofo Audio with Roi and the Secret People” on November 2.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Haxon, Pandemic, Relapsed, and Tachyon on November 1 and Steve Zinno, Nick Filone, and Ralph Pagano on November 2.

Living Room (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) will host Hot Club of Philadelphia on November 1 and The Peace Creeps on November 2.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Splintered Sunlight on October 31, Philly Bloco on November 1, Aztec Two Step on November 2, Live Dead ’69 featuring Tom Constanten plus members of Ratdog, Jefferson Starship on November 3, and Trigger Hippy on November 6.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will host Vilebred on November 1.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) will host Atlas Gray on November 1 and Dead Friends on November 2.

The Locks at Sona (4417 Main Street, Manayunk, 484- 273-0481, sonapub.com) will have Joseph Arthur on November 1, and Susan Werner with special guest Vanida Gail on November 2 and 3.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents The Hooters on November 1 and 2 and Home Free on November 6.

Annenberg Center (3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, https://annenbergcenter.org/events) will present Vox Luminis on November 1.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will have Swing That Cat on October 31, Tom Cotter on November 1, Marcia Ball on November 2, “Arrival from Sweden: Music of Abba” on November 3, Adrian Legg & Laurence Juber on November 4, All Star Tribute to the Flying Burrito Brothers on November 5, and The Outlaws on November 6.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will present Home Free on November 1.

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