I recently had the pleasure of attending the Return To The Motherland Tour, featuring Arsonists Get All The Girls, Lionheart, The Contortionist, and Volumes. The one band missing was A Plea For Purging, which I didn’t find myself too disappointed over at all since I never really did get into them.

Whilst this tour ended a while ago, it’s still relevant thanks to AGATG having just released their new album Motherland, which we enjoyed. Not only that, but the first two opening acts are part of the Summer Slaughter Survivor’s Tour this summer, which I’m completely stoked for as well.

The first act Volumes were awesome to watch live. They brought all the groove and heaviness I expected and did not disappoint. They played four of the five songs of their EP The Concept of Dreaming, which included “Wormholes”, ‘Through The Trees”, “Starstruck”, and “Intake”. As a side note, they ditched that last breakdown in Starstruck I complained about in my recent review which was a nice touch. One of the singers’ voice was raw. I can’t remember which one, but he shared the mic often with audience members to make up for his lack of ability to perform at 100%.

The next act, The Contortionist, were the main draw of the show for me. I’ve drooled over Exoplanet since it was released, and finally having the opportunity to see my favorite tracks performed live was tasty. Of the delicious tunes played, the ones that stand out in memory are “Primal Directive”, “Flourish”, “Exoplanet II: Void”, “Exoplanet III: Light”, and “Vessel”. If you have a correction to this set-list feel free to inform me, as I’m not completely sure about the Exoplanet II and III tracks. The entire band played these songs to perfection, with all of the instruments sounding equal to if not better then being played on CD. Especially the guitars; seeing the riffs I marvel at while listening to them in my car were incredible to see live.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, the highlight of seeing The Contortionist was being able to talk to their lead singer Jonathan. If you ever see him at their merch booth at a show, I highly recommend talking to him as he is completely chill and down to earth. I had the opportunity to talk to him about music and other topics for at least a half an hour. I wish I had brought my video camera, as I easily could’ve transcribed the conversation into the format of an interview. But instead I can provide what was most memorable. When talking about music he mentioned that heavy music can be tiring to listen to all the time.

He then pointed out that it mostly just evolves, mentioning the transitions from metal and hardcore, to metalcore, to deathcore, and now to djent. I asked him what he’s mostly listening to right now, and he mentioned a lot of ambient music. Specifically an artist by the name of Brian Eno, which most of you have probably already heard at least once if you’ve seen the movie 28 Days Later, which featured the song “An Ending (Ascent)”. If you listen to other songs by Brian Eno you can begin to see some of the influence in Jonathan’s atmospheric moments played on the keys throughout Exoplanet. The difference is the addition of instruments, and the pace is much faster by comparison.

He also mentioned a particularly proggy tour involving The Contortionist and two other bands that may be coming up, but unfortunately we can’t reveal any details just yet – stay tuned!

I didn’t stay and listen to Lionheart as the violent hardcore kids were out in full-force, this time punching audience members. Bear in mind, there is one security gaurd, and while he’s physically built there’s only one of him. Plus, hardcore has never been my forte…

Finally, as for Arsonists Get All The Girls, I have nothing I can write about as far as the songs they played. Unfortunately, this venue’s monitors are absolutely awful, and this is the second time that by the time the headlining act has played the music and the vocalist’s screams are quite difficult to understand. Also, I’m not as familiar as I need to be with their material to remember what they played. What I can say is their lead singer is also an awesome down to earth guy. I talked to him for a good fifteen minutes, in which the band Structures came up as a point of topic. He did mention that he had heard some recently recorded material by them, and that their sound is now a little more concise with songs containing better, ironically, structure. Something to be desired if you’ve listened to their EP.

All in all, I had a great time. If you have the opportunity to catch Summer Slaughter Survivors Tour, or AGATG on an upcoming tour I highly recommend it.

– PC

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