Metallica At University of Phoenix Stadium

August 4, 2017
6:00 pm
Phoenix, AZ
Metallica At University of Phoenix Stadium
Metallica At University of Phoenix Stadium

Formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica have become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold 100 million albums worldwide and playing to millions of fans the world over. They have scored almost a dozen multi-platinum albums, including 1991’s Metallica (commonly referred to as “The Black Album”), which is the best selling album in history of Soundscan scanning almost 15.7 million albums in the United States alone, and over 25 million worldwide. In October 2008, their latest album, Death Magnetic, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart and in 27 additional countries around the world. It was certified platinum in the United States just six weeks later. Metallica have also garnered numerous awards and accolades, including nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, and multiple MTV Video Music Awards. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. Metallica recently celebrated its 30th anniversary as a band last month, performing four shows at the Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco, CA, exclusively for members of their fan club, the Metallica Club.

One of the more successful and accessible metalcore outfits to come out of the early 2000s, Avenged Sevenfold endured changes both stylistic and internal during their rise from teenage troublemakers to mainstream success story. The members of Avenged Sevenfold (or A7X) were still attending high school in Huntington Beach, California when they formed their band in 1999. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for M. Shadows (vocals), Zacky Vengeance (guitar), Synyster Gates (guitar), the Reverend (drums), and Johnny Christ (bass) to make an impression with their aggressive hybrid of metal, hard rock, and punk-pop. The band made its official debut in July 2001, releasing Sounding the Seventh Trumpet on the Goodlife label before moving to the Hopeless roster for 2003’s Waking the Fallen. Warner Bros. took interest in the band’s aggressive sound and issued its breakthrough release, City of Evil, in June 2005. The album reached number 30 on Billboard’s Top 200, propelled in part by the Top Ten success of the single “Bat Country.” The accompanying music video was heavily rotated on MTV and Fuse, where live appearances also helped boost Avenged’s growing profile, and the band ultimately won the Best New Artist Award (though they were hardly newcomers) at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards.
As demand for their music increased, Avenged Sevenfold canceled their tour dates for fall 2006 and set to work on a fourth studio album. Boasting a grittier sound than previous releases, the self-titled/self-produced disc appeared in October 2007, debuting at number four on the Billboard Top 200 and spinning off the radio single “Almost Easy.” The album also fared well in England, where three songs cracked the Top Five of the U.K. rock charts, and Avenged Sevenfold helped support the release by touring North America on the Taste of Chaos tour. Released in September 2008, the CD/DVD package Live in the LBC and Diamonds in the Rough captured the band during a tour stop in Long Beach. In 2009, the band announced plans to begin work on its third studio release. That same year, drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan passed away at the age of 28, and in 2010, the band released Nightmare with replacement drummer Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater). In 2011, they recorded the song “Carry On” for the Call of Duty Arms: Black Ops video game, before releasing 2013’s Hail to the King, which featured new drummer Arin Ilejay of Confide, and reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200. Citing “creative differences,” Ilejay left the group shortly after the album’s release, and was replaced by Brooks Wackerman (Mass Mental, Bad Religion), who would man the kit for the band’s seventh studio outing, Voltaic Oceans. The band eventually dropped the release with no pre-empted promotion, and under a different title; The Stage in October 2016 following a live-streamed, 360-degree, 3-D performance atop the Capitol building in Hollywood. The record was their longest to date and was described by the band as a concept album exploring the themes of artificial intelligence. The 16-minute closing track “Exist” featured a spoken word appearance from revered astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. ~ Christina Fuoco, Rovi

It has always been hard to put a tag on GOJIRA, one of France’s most extreme bands the country’s musical pallet has ever known. But then again, the band has never really sought out such a tag, instead letting the music do the talking, preferring introspection and intelligence over preconceived notions and preexisting tags. Ever since the 1996 formation in town of Bayonne in the southwest of France, GOJIRA has been an ever-evolving experiment in extreme metal ultimately built upon a worldly, ever-conscious outlook with roots firmly-planted both in the hippie movement and an environmentally-conscious, new age mentality. This time, with The Way of All Flesh, GOJIRA harnesses a spiritual consciousness as well, but still culminates in a sound wholly heavy.

Originally dubbed Godzilla, after the scaly, green film star with an equally huge reputation as the newfound band’s sound, the brothers Duplantier – guitarist/vocalist Joe and drummer Mario – and fellow Frenchmen Jean Michel Labadie on bass and Christian Andreu on guitar, quickly released several demos, ultimately changing the band’s name and independently releasing the first GOJIRA album, Terra Incognita, in 2001, offering up a brief glimpse into the giant GOJIRA would eventually become through persistent hard work and years of toiling in the metal underground.

After the 2003 release of the band’s follow-up, The Link, throughout Europe and the subsequent live DVD release the next year, of the aptly-titled The Link Alive, 2005 brought the release of From Mars To Sirius, the band’s breakthrough release, garnering high praise and a North American release through Prosthetic Records in 2006. Fans of not only heavy, extreme music took notice, but so did the intellectual world, thanks to Sirius’ thoughtful and expansive inner examination of the world at hand and the consequences of humanity’s struggle to coexist without harm. The metal world was amused and amazed: much of it hadn’t yet seen an equally intelligent and pummelingly heavy release that was as expansive and open as it was dense and concise.

Following the immense praise of From Mars To Sirius and recurring trips across the Atlantic for North American touring alongside the likes of Lamb of God, Children of Bodom, and Behemoth among others, GOJIRA established its stranglehold on the extreme metal spectrum with a linguist’s touch, a lyricist’s finesse, and a crushingly heavy live show that left audiences astounded, establishing the band’s live performance as a spot-on recreation of the band’s increasingly adept and intelligent studio output.

While 2007 wrapped with GOJIRA again touring North America on the Radio Rebellion Tour alongside Behemoth to the best reaction yet, the dawn of 2008 saw a nearly 10 month wait for while the band assembled The Way of All Flesh, one of the year’s most anticipated records. This time revolving around the undeniable dilemma of a mortal demise, GOJIRA’s soundtrack to the situation seems fitting. Shifting ever-so-slightly from the eco-friendly orchestra of impending doom on From Mars To Sirius to the band’s new message of the equally uncontrollable inevitability of death, The Way of All Flesh melds the open and airy progressive passages GOJIRA has become famous for with the sonically dense sounds and bludgeoningly heavy rhythms that makes the band an equally intelligent force as it is unmatchably heavy.

Featuring a guest vocal spot on “Adoration For None” from Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe – one of GOJIRA’s most vocal supporters from their first moment making an impression in the Americas – and the now familiar Morbid Angel-isms of The Way Of All Flesh’s title track join the angular riffing more akin to Meshuggah on “Esoteric Surgery” and the epic, artful plodding of the nearly 10-minute “The Art of Dying,” showing that GOJIRA have indeed opened a new bag of tricks for The Way Of All Flesh, while not abandoning the sound that first showed a massive promise of potential on Sirius.

“It’s more inventive than From Mars To Sirius and at the same time more straight to the point,” GOJIRA frontman Joe Duplantier says of The Way of All Flesh. “The whole album is about death, death is like a step on the path of the soul. The mystery surrounding this phenomenon is just so inspiring, and death is the most common thing on earth.”

“This album is also a ‘requiem’ for our planet,” Duplantier continues. “We don’t want to be negative or cynical about the fate of humanity, but the situation on Earth is growing critical, and the way humans behave is so catastrophic that we really need to express our exasperation about it. It’s not fear, but anger. But we still believe that consciousness can make a difference and that we can change things as human beings.”

 

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