In today’s music scene, “Metalcore” is a dirty word. These days people hear it and think of uninspired, sub-par quality clone bands on Rise Records. However, it was not always this way. Ten years ago, in 2005, three adolescents that called themselves The Fall of Troy released an album titled “Doppelganger” and it was a masterpiece in Metalcore.
If you are unfamiliar with heavier music, The Fall of Troy are a trio from Washington that formed around 2002 while they were in high school. The band was known for blending elements of post hardcore and speed metal. Vocalist and guitarist Thomas Erak is a musical savant, playing incredibly fast and complex riffs over heavy, hardcore influenced rhythm and bass sections.
In recent years, the band has been less active. They disbanded in 2010, and Erak went on to do a stint playing guitar for Chiodos. In 2014, The Fall of Troy played some reunion shows playing each of their albums in their entirety each night, before announcing a totally independent comeback, free of labels and suits. This brings us to the evening of September 23rd, 2015. The Fall of Troy are on a full U.S. reunion tour, playing their iconic record, “Doppelganger” in its entirety. On this night, the band took the stage at Detroit’s historic St. Andrew’s Hall.
The band took along two special guests on this tour. The first of which is a band called Slothrust, a female fronted alternative rock trio with Burger Records ties. If you are into early Weezer or Pixies, they are probably up your alley. I found that their angsty garage band sound had potential, and was fairly well realized, but I personally felt that Slothrust were a little out of place on this tour. Still, quite a few people showed up to the show to see them and were very pleased with what they got.
The second of the two supporting acts was a band from Ireland called And So I Watched You From Afar. These three guys blew me away. No vocals, save for the occasional gang vocal chants, just pure musicianship. These guys really know how to orchestrate and arrange a song, and boy are they talented musicians. These guys can shred. Their music is entrancing and will take you on a trip through time and space at the speed of sound. A special surprising treat I was not expecting at this show. They really got me ready for The Fall of Troy’s performance.
Now it was time to experience the show everyone had been eagerly waiting for, for the last 5 years. The Fall of Troy took to the stage and wasted no time getting to the shredding. No need for introductions, just three guys coming out onstage, and got right down to business.
The band powered through the first handful of songs on Doppelganger without stopping to take a breath. Erak’s guitar playing is as face-melting as any fan would come to expect. Watching the band play almost bummed me out. As an aspiring musician, I almost wanted to just give up music because there is just no way I can ever play the way they do.
The crowd was just giving just as much as the band was throwing at them. I spent the majority of the show at the barricade, constantly being shoved against it, and my ribs were feeling it the next day. Multiple circle pits, and all-out mayhem ensued non stop the entire show. The band was feeding off the crowd as the crowd fed off the band. The energy was going back and forth like cataclysmic tennis. I had not seen so much headbanging since Metallica came to town.
When the guys finally decided they needed to take a breather, the banter was pleasant and genuine, and made for some good laughs. Bassist Tim Ward paid respects to legendary and recently defunct Detroit venue, The Magic Stick, and shared a story about his tooth he chipped at their last Detroit show and how he did not want to fix it so he could remember Detroit, which-as a local- was awesome to hear. It’s always great when a band genuinely appreciates the city they play in- it adds that much more to the show.
The banter was brief and the band jumped right back in without missing a beat. They threw in a couple other popular songs in the mix for good measure as well. The rest of the show was just as energetic as the first as the band never seemed to break a sweat. Damn near tirelessly, they pounded in every riff, every solo. The talent and precision the band played with was unmatched. They are truly the band that metal has been missing. The band closed with the final track on Doppelganger, “Macaulay Culkin” and bid Detroit farewell.
This was truly a night to remember for Fall of Troy fans in Detroit. We all got to witness the long-awaited return of one of our favorite bands playing their seminal record. The band is back and better than ever. The band has not missed a step whatsoever. The Fall of Troy are back to remind fans of heavy music that it’s not about uninspired breakdowns and bad haircuts, it’s about the jams! If this tour comes to your town, make sure you do not miss the opportunity to catch this band perform. (Johnny Athey)