God Forbid, Silent Civilian
Orlando, FL • May 14, 2006
Ill Niño‘s “One Nation Undivided Tour” disturbed Orlando just after supper on a quiet Mother’s Day evening at Downtown Disney. With a show time that barely allowed me time to drive to the House of Blues straight from work, I missed the first two bands of the bill ( Eyes of Fire, and Bleed the Sky) entirely. Arriving with just enough time to say a quick “hello” to the guys in Silent Civilian before they hit the stage, I slammed down a quick beer and headed for my own private pit- alone at the foot of the stage, the sole photographer on duty… excellent.
The Los Angeles extreme metal band which features former Spineshank vocalist Jonny Santos on the mic’ as well as the guitar, Silent Civilian impresses a rather modest crowd with there speedy chords and the pulsing beats of drummer Chris Mora. Channelling both the classic metal Gods as well as the cross breeds of the post-90’s metal/punk/hardcore genres, SC blast through a set of songs from their recent debut, Rebirth of the Temple. The verses are a full-on attack of adrenaline, with the choruses sliding ever so slightly into the melodic harmonies of the new metal trend (don’t make me say “metalcore”). Their performance appeared to satisfy both the classicist and kids with the Underoath t-shirts.
By 8:15 the floor had swelled, with fans giving New Jersey’s God Forbid the attention you’d expect for the band on the top of the bill. Frontman Byron Davis has a gritty bellowing vocal that is every bit as forceful as his sturdy frame. Like SC (and about 30,000 other bands I could name) he occassionally slips into a emo-friendly whine at the chorus, but we’ll just blame that on the times and wait for the trend to leave the genre like hairspray and spandex. Musically the Century Media band is a smashup of Swedish metal and American metalcore. It’s not the most original sound, but they do it better than most.
For Ill Niño, even the opening bands have found their way out into the common space. Behind the transfixed crowds bandmembers including Santos and Davis can be seen watching the Brazilian but based in Jersey band’s set and chatting with friends and fans. Onstage vocalist Cristian Machado leads the sextet into a set of Latin flavored metal while he simultaneously defies gravity with the swinging of his ass-length dreads. The South American sound isn’t in the ballpark of Sepultura in the days of Max Cavalera, but it could swing in the same league as Soulfly. Heavy sounds, a tribal vibe, and a commanding presence, Ill Niño capture the audience to a degree that seemed to surprise even them.
“We’ve played Orlando a lot over the years, but never have you made us feel so welcome!” said Machado toward the end of their set.