Photos and Review: Chris Besaw
This past Tuesday, November 23, with seasonally cold temperatures in full effect, the Rec Room in downtown Buffalo was a hot spot to check out some up-and-coming metal and hardcore bands. The bill featured the Iowa-based metal band, Vended, with support from Omerta, Hazing Over, and Pale Hell.
The first band to take the stage was the Buffalo local hardcore band Pale Hell. It was my first time seeing Pale Hell and I will admit from the moment they took the stage; they had a very intense, old-school hardcore vibe to their performance. Charles Sanfilippo, who doubles down on vocals and bass is both charismatic and a force to be reckoned with. Sanfilippo sings with such fury and emotion. You would never guess the band had not been onstage in close to two years. They were firing on all cylinders and did not miss a beat. A few songs that stuck out were a song about rapists who make excuses for their actions called, “Force Fed” and their current single “K.Y.M.” Overall, I enjoyed their mix of the old school, heavy hardcore and look forward to seeing them again in the future.
Up next was Pittsburgh natives Hazing Over (formerly Shin Guard). They did a great job keeping the crowd’s energy going. They may have had a lineup and name change but they still bring some high-energy hardcore music. Hazing Over is currently on tour in support of its current release Pestilence. Vocalist Owen Traynor’s stage presence along with Shantanu Vyas’s heavy low-end bass and guitarist Cody Walsh’s riffs round out the band’s sound. For fear of sounding like a broken record, this was another first for me and I was not disappointed. I look forward to seeing them again!
After a brief set change and some flood red lights, the stage was set for the Houston-based Nu Metal band, Omerta. Omerta is currently on tour with Vended in support of its latest release Hyperviolence which was released in 2020. The band brought rage and energy to the stage fitting of the album title, blending elements of hardcore, nu-metal, and hip hop. Despite the violent lyrics, this combination worked quite well. Fans really got into “Shitlord,” “Hyperviolence” and the favorite “Garbage.” After an intense and brutal set, the band took leave to make way for the evening’s headliner.
The moment the crowd had been waiting for, headliner, Vended! Composed of Griffin Taylor (vocals), Cole Espeland (guitar), Connor Grodzicki (Rhythm Guitar) Jeremiah Pugh (Bass Guitar) and Simon Crahan (Drums), Vended is currently out on a brief winter tour in support of their highly anticipated release What Is It// Kill It. From the moment the band took the stage, vocalist Griffin Taylor grabs your attention and does not let up. He works the stage like a seasoned pro. The band hammered through songs including, “Burn My Misery,” and “Bloodline.” The Buffalo show was the final stop on the tour. Vocalist Griffin Taylor asked the audience “has anyone heard our new EP? If you have not, get out there and pick it up because it helps us get back into the studio and record more music for you all.” The timing could not have been more perfect because the full EP was released just a mere 12 days prior and has been drawing great reviews and praise.
I was fortunate enough prior to their set to meet and chat with the guys backstage and despite their menacing look and makeup, the band was very welcoming and happy to chat about their plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, spending time with family, and getting back to work. Even with a sore throat, vocalist, Griffin Taylor in true professional form belted out a killer set with the band backing him up all the way. Their set concluded with their hit single “Antibody” to which the band invited tour mates, Omerta, Hazing Over, Pale Hell, and the audience on stage to sing along, mosh and just join in for the conclusion of this incredible tour.
After the dust settled and the house lights came on, the bands and crowd began dispersing leaving behind the remains of one hell of a show. I must admit I was not sure what to expect going into this show but afterward, I was happy I got to see a bunch of bands I have not yet seen before but look forward to seeing again in the future.