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Live Nation & Knitting Factory Presents

In This Moment: HALF GOD/HALF DEVIL TOUR

Events

Oct 27 Fri
In This Moment: HALF GOD/HALF DEVIL TOUR7:00 PM | Doors: 6:00 PM
Revolution Concert House & Event CenterGarden City, ID
All Ages
Buy Tickets $32.50 - $62.50

In This Moment

Throughout history, art rejoices and revels in the wisdom of women. 

Within a deck of tarot cards, the High Priestess serves as the guardian of the unconscious. In Greek mythology, the old oracles celebrate the Mother Goddess. William Shakespeare posited portentous prescience in the form of MacBeth’s “Three Witches.” On their sixth full-­length album Ritual, In This Moment—Maria Brink [vocals, piano], Chris Howorth [lead guitar], Travis Johnson [bass], Randy Weitzel [rhythm guitar], and Kent Diimel [drums]—unearth a furious and focused feminine fire from a cauldron of jagged heavy metal, hypnotic alternative, and smoky voodoo blues.

It’s an evolution.  It’s a statement.  It’s In This Moment 2017…

“It’s like we’re going into the next realm,” asserts Maria. “I had a conviction of feeling empowered in my life and with myself. I always write from a personal place, and I needed to share that sense of strength. I’ve never been afraid to hold back. Sometimes, I can be very suggestive. However, I wanted to show our fans that this is the most powerful side of myself and it’s without overt sexuality. It’s that deeper serious fire inside of my heart.”

The group spent two years supporting their biggest album yet 2014’s Black Widow. Upon release, it seized their highest position to date on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #8. Simultaneously, it clinched #3 on the Hard Rock Albums chart and spawned a series of hits such as “Sick Like Me,” “Big Bad Wolf,” and “Sex Metal Barbie”—all cracking 8 million Spotify streams each and topping Rock Radio. Meanwhile, the band’s signature smash “Whore” crossed the 20-­million mark.

Following a high-­profile summer 2016 tour with Korn and Rob Zombie, the duo began writing. Then, Maria visited Salem, MA for the very first time with all the women in her family quite appropriately during Halloween.

“We were really tapping the energy there,” she says. “We were honoring each other. I was seeking inspiration and experience to inspire me in this album. I was trying to find a lot of truth in myself. I loved Salem. I was blown away by how visually beautiful it is. The history of the witch burnings is fascinating. It was a special ceremonial journey.”

Galvanized and inspired, Maria and Chris returned to Kevin’s stronghold to complete recording. In an atmosphere of candles, crystals, incense, and a cackling fireplace, they expanded their aural palette once again, welcoming a doom blues bombast into the sonic fold.

“We always want to grow and evolve,” Maria adds. “It was a chance to get a little more serious.”

That progression shines through the first single “Oh Lord.” A minimal drum and handclap echoes as Maria’s wild incantation takes hold. Guitars shiver and shake as the frontwoman delivers an undeniable refrain.

Maria leaves off, “I want everybody to be unafraid of who they are and not worry about what the rest of society says. Be strong. Be loud. We love our fans deeply. I hope everybody feels that love and powerful in who they are.”

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Of Mice & Men

They’ve hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock and Independent Charts and No. 4 on the genre-spanning Top 200. They’ve racked up over 153 million Spotify streams, 20 million YouTube views and close to 5 million social media followers. They’ve shared stages with artists such as Metallica, Linkin Park and Queens of the Stone Age and not only held their own, but won over new fans in the process. They’ve played hundreds of shows for packed-house-crowds around the world, released three studio albums to critical acclaim, and recorded tracks that have blanketed rock radio airwaves. Their sound has broken through obstacles of language, distance and culture. For most bands, such achievements usually mark the summation of a long career– if they’re lucky.

But Of Mice & Men have accomplished all that and more over the course of a mere five years. And while those feats make for one helluva resume, what makes this band really matter is that they’ve never stopped pushing themselves to go further. As a result they continue to reach dizzying new heights, the latest being Cold World, an album that raises the stakes of what a modern day heavy rock band is supposed to sound like

Biography

They’ve hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock and Independent Charts and No. 4 on the genre-spanning Top 200. They’ve racked up over 153 million Spotify streams, 20 million YouTube views and close to 5 million social media followers. They’ve shared stages with artists such as Metallica, Linkin Park and Queens of the Stone Age and not only held their own, but won over new fans in the process. They’ve played hundreds of shows for packed-house-crowds around the world, released three studio albums to critical acclaim, and recorded tracks that have blanketed rock radio airwaves. Their sound has broken through obstacles of language, distance and culture. For most bands, such achievements usually mark the summation of a long career– if they’re lucky.

But Of Mice & Men have accomplished all that and more over the course of a mere five years. And while those feats make for one helluva resume, what makes this band really matter is that they’ve never stopped pushing themselves to go further. As a result they continue to reach dizzying new heights, the latest being Cold World, an album that raises the stakes of what a modern day heavy rock band is supposed to sound like.

The band’s most bravely vulnerable album to date, Cold World marks the first time vocalist Austin Carlile has ever written candidly about his experience with Marfan syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder can affect everything from the heart and blood vessels to bones and joints.

The condition demanded Carlile undergo three major surgeries in the past year—an ordeal he followed up by quitting all pain-relieving and mood-stabilizing medications in the midst of making the new album. “It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever gone through in my life,” Carlile says. “But when I came out the other side, I had such clarity and energy and spirit, it opened up a whole new world. It made the album mean that much more to me.”

The Southern California-based quintet (Carlile, vocalist/bassist Aaron Pauley, guitarist Alan Ashby, drummer Valentino Arteaga and guitarist Phil Manansala) recorded Cold World with producer David Bendeth, who they worked with on 2014’s Restoring Force, which hit No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and No. 1 on both the Billboard Top Independent and Top Rock Albums Charts. 

Working in Bendeth’s studio, the band began recording while Carlile was still recovering from his recent surgeries—including reconstructive hip surgery, the removal of cartilage from his rib cage, and “having a dural sac in my brain repaired because fluid from my head was leaking into my spine.” To their credit, the band held it together, not just surviving, but thriving in the studio as they channeled their emotions into a sound that cut through the darkness like a light on the road ahead.

“Writing the album, there were a lot of days when we’d jam for seven or eight cathartic hours,” recalls Pauley. “There was a sense of getting back to what music felt like when we were kids and falling in love with that all over again.” 

On Cold World’s first track “Pain”—whose beautifully twisted video instantly generated more than 2 million YouTube views upon posting—Of Mice & Men merge blistering riffs and barbed rhythms with the brutal reality of Carlile’s condition. “People who have Marfan syndrome and similar disorders—it’s a very painful beast for them,” says the vocalist. Adding that “everyone you come in contact with is going through some type of pain,” Carlile asserts that “Pain” is meant to encourage compassion and empathy. “The next time you feel yourself judging someone, remember that person could be going through something worse than you,” he says of the song’s message. “Instead of being hateful or projecting something negative, maybe you can think about doing something to help them.”

Another intensely personal track, “Like a Ghost” finds Carlile and Pauley trading off vocals in a soulful exploration of desperation and redemption. “Whether it’s because of addiction, depression or something else, there are a lot of people in this world today who don’t know how to take love,” says Pauley. “The song’s about how important it is not to give up on those people, and to remind them that it’s okay to feel loved.” With its ethereal guitar tones and graceful melody, “Real” reflects on what Pauley refers to as “staying strong when people are trying to turn you into something you’re not.” 

At the album’s emotional core is “The Lie,” which features an appearance by Cassy, a 14-year-old fan diagnosed with brain cancer. The band first connected with Cassy through the Living the Dream Foundation, and arranged for a visit upon hearing the news that her condition had worsened. They spent the day with Cassy and her family, then brought her to the studio for a preview of the new album (she was the first person outside of the band, producer and engineer to hear the record). They asked if they could record her handclaps and added them to “The Lie,” an epic track that finds Carlile venting his frustrations about the medical system and “calling out the 1% for not taking care of the people they should be,” he explains. “Now Cassy’s name and the sound of her clapping hands are on the record,” says Carlile. “It’s something that captures that moment and that relationship forever. When we think about everything we went through to make this record, that’s something that we’ll never forget.”

When it came time to select album art for Cold World, drummer Tino Arteaga came across the stunning black and white imagery of 68-year-old Italian photographer Roberto Kusterle and in particular, a stark, hypnotic image of stone-like bodies huddled together. Within days, the band was granted permission to use the photo. “I was studying the image and realized there was a third person in it, who you can barely see because the other two are sheltering him (or her),” says Pauley. “That’s really what this record is all about—that we live in a cold world, but we can find warmth by sheltering each other.”

The band shares an intense bond with their fans, which they chalk up to an insistence on bringing straight-from-the-gut honesty to each and every track. “There’s a magic element to music that you can’t ever gauge or quantify but that everyone can understand,” says Pauley. “Even the most extreme music will bring people together.” And with Carlile’s “becoming so sober and getting to the point of feeling everything” during the production of Cold World, the band ended up creating their most uncompromising and ultimately most cathartic album yet. 

“It’s hard to feel these things, and it sucks waking up in pain every day, and it sucks when the only energy you have all day is to play a show,” says Carlile. “But I prefer it that way. I’d rather feel the pain than feel nothing at all.”

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Avatar

A dark, twisted circus sideshow that’s built around bombastically grooving melodic death n’ roll is swinging forward with captivating glee, mesmerizing merriment and the plundering power of lethal pirates toward those brave souls who hand over a ticket to be torn by Avatar and their Black Waltz, the fourth album and first proper American release from the Swedish masters of mayhem.

Within Avatar’s diverse songs, a steady focus on the fluid and organic power of the riff (recalling the thunderous foresight of heavy metal’s original wizards, Black Sabbath) takes flight combined with an adventurous sprit veering off into the astral planes of the psychedelic atmosphere conjured by pioneers like Pink Floyd back in the day. 

Avatar has found a footing that combines the best of rock n’ roll, hard rock and heavy metal’s past, present and future into an overall artistic presentation that is thought-provoking, challenging and altogether enchantingly electric. With the grandiose showmanship of American professional wrestling, the snake oil salesmanship of early 20th century vaudevillian troubadours and the kinetically superheroic power of early Kiss, Avatar lays waste to lesser mortals with ease. Whether somebody gets their rocks off listening to Satyricon or System of a Down, they’ll find something suitably deranged here. 

“We’re in this weird field, caught in a triangle between extreme metal, rock n’ roll and what can be described as Avant-garde,” confesses Avatar vocalist Johannes Eckerström. The all-enveloping theme park vibe of the band’s music and visual counterpart means that, naturally, “it’s turning into something bigger.”

“I have been in this band for ten years. I grew up in this band,” Eckerström explains. “We’re somewhat veterans on the one hand. But we’re the new kids in the neighborhood in America at the same time.”

Avatar came of age as “little brothers” of sorts of the famed Gothenburg scene that spawned the celebrated New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal. The band’s debut album, 2006’s Thoughts of No Tomorrow, was filled with brutal, technical melodic death metal to be sure but already, “We tried to put our own stamp on it,” the singer assures. While the following year’s Schlacht still contained flourishes of melody, the unrelenting metallic fury reached an extreme peak. “Intensity was very important,” he says, with some degree of understatement.

Where to go for album number three? “We basically rebelled against ourselves,” Eckerström says of 2009’s self-titled collection. “We figured, ‘We can play faster and make even weirder, more technical riffs,’ because Schlacht was cool. But to take that another step would have turned us into something we didn’t want to be.”

Instead Avatar rediscovered their inherent passion for traditional heavy metal and classic rock n’ roll. “We decided to remove some unnecessary ‘look at me, I can play!’ parts and added more groove. We added a whole new kind of melody. It was awesome to be this ‘rock n’ roll band’ for a while. It was refreshing and liberating.”

Black Waltz sees Avatar coming completely full circle, returning to a more aggressive form of heavy metal but incorporating the lessons they learned while jamming on big riffs with album number three. “We finally came to understand what a good groove is all about and what a great fit it was for our sound,” notes Eckerström.
Tracks like the appropriately titled “Ready for the Ride,” the rollicking “Let it Burn” (which dips into some delicious stonerifficness), the anthemic “Smells Like a Freakshow” (a modern day twist of Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie) and “Torn Apart” are supercharged with a dynamic range of artistic showmanship on a near cinematic scale and it’s all stitched together by a driving bottom end.

While most European metal acts who dare attempt this level of musicianship, showmanship and attention to detail seem content to toil away in the studio and lock themselves away from the crowds, Avatar have excelled beyond their peers thanks in large part to their continued focus on road work. Careening to and fro on tour busses and airplanes around the world like a marauding troupe of circus performers, Eckerström and his mates (guitarists Jonas Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström, bassist Henrik Sandelin and drummer John Alfredsson) have forged the type of musical bond that can only be brought forth from massive amounts of time spent together on the stage, in hotel rooms, in airports and partying at the venue’s bar.

Whether on tour with bands like In Flames, Dark Tranquility or Helloween, playing gigantic festivals like Storsjöyra and Sweden Rock Festival or demolishing South by Southwest, playing live is what it all comes down to for this band. “That is the final manifestation of our art,” Eckerström insists. “Of course an album is a piece of art in itself, but mainly it's a means to reach the higher goal, which is doing these awesome shows. Touring is of the greatest importance.”
“We all just love the pirate’s life,” he admits freely. “Sailing into the city on this tour bus thingy, going to kick some ass, have that party and all the while meeting all of these people, entertaining them, encountering a culture that's not your own. We love that.” 

The want for this type of lifestyle goes back to early childhood fascinations for the good-humored singer. Reading about superheroes, watching Hulk Hogan on TV, getting exposed to Kiss – these were the first ingredients for what Eckerström would go on to create with the guys in Avatar and what has culminated now in Black Waltz. 

The frontman promises that Avatar will continue to create, to captivate and to experiment. There’s no definitive endpoint in sight. It’s always about the horizon, the journey itself. “As long as you're hungry as an artist, there are higher and higher artistic achievements. I love AC/DC and Motorhead and what they’ve established is amazing, but we don’t want to write albums that are kind of like the album before. We want to travel to a new galaxy, so to speak, every time.” 
The goal is always to conquer what came before. “That is what stays with you as a mentally healthy musician. Or maybe a mentally deranged one, I’m not sure,” the singer laughs. And part and parcel to that continued evolution will be the ever broadening expansion of the scope of Avatar’s worldwide presentation: Black Waltz and beyond.

“We have great visions of what we want to do and the things we want to give to people on a stage,” Eckerström promises. “These ideas, these visions, they require a huge audience. They require a lot of legroom to be done, so I want to get into those arenas, basically. I know we would do something really magical if we got the chance. This idea is one of those things that really, really keeps us going.”

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