A night of frenzied neckwrecking and skullcrushing was visited upon the shoulders of Vancouver metalheads last week, at the hands of touring New Jersey progressive metal prodigies and thrash masters, Symphony X and Overkill.
Whatever can be said of New Jersey’s legacy as a hotbed of American culture in the 20th century, its stalwart metal bloodline remains vital in the post-millenial era without pandering to changing trends (or endorsing ski equipment.) If either band can be said to stand behind anything, it is clearly a strong work ethic, as both bands – established over 20 and 30 years ago respectively – delivered energetic performances which would put musicians half their age to shame (Overkill vocalist Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth joked that the band is like an aging boxer that doesn’t know when to quit).
With studied showmanship and flair, each group performed a balanced set of new material and crowd-pleasing classics (Overkill’s “Skullkrusher” being a personal highlight.) Symphony X vocalist Russell Allen delivered visual drama via his two trademark theatrical masks, and Blitz’s Jersey banter (“I’m the boss!”) guaranteed a captive audience throughout Overkill’s roughly ninety-minute set. Nevertheless, the show seemed to end far too soon, and one hopes we will see Jersey’s finest again before long.
And now, the photos (click to enlarge)!