Home / Headline News / Live Review + Gallery: Metal Injection Festival (Day 2) with Testament, Machine Head, Fear Factory and more at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA (09/17/2023)

Live Review + Gallery: Metal Injection Festival (Day 2) with Testament, Machine Head, Fear Factory and more at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA (09/17/2023)

The inaugural Metal Injection Festival took place over the weekend of September 16th and 17th in Southern California at two different locations with 15 bands. The mighty Cavalera headlined night one at The Observatory in Santa Ana with Exhumed, Incite, Fueled By Fire, and Dead Heat. Night two was twice the bands with twice the metal at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Bay Area thrash metal legends Testament headlined the main stage and put on a killer set dusting off tracks they haven’t played in years like “Musical Death (A Dirge)” and “Do or Die”. The mighty Machine Head and Fear Factory showed why they’re not going anywhere soon and put on an amazing performances. The metal community was out in full force supporting Metal Injection and the man who put this all together, Mr. Frank Godla.

The night began with Los Angeles locals Agriculture and they didn’t waste any time giving the crowd a taste of their medicine. The ecstatic black metal quartet was full of energy and blasted through their set playing their entire debut self titled album plus the track “The Circle Chant” off 2022’s  EP with the same name. This band definitely set the tone for the rest of the festival and got everyone pumped up for the rest of the night. Thrown Into Exile, who are also from Los Angeles, started things off on the second stage in the Parrish room and it was packed. The band has gone through some line up changes in the last few years, with Mario Rubio be the constant member, and they’re still going strong playing heavy songs that gets you moving and singing along. “Beyond the Grey” and “The Mourning” from 2020 was performed to perfection along with a new song called “Doppelgänger” that hasn’t been released yet. These guys put on one hell of a set, be sure to see them live if you’re in the LA area.

Whittier’s very own thrash metal kings Exmortus followed on the main stage and blew peoples minds with their talent and love for shredding. They began with two tracks from their latest album Necrophony, “Oathbreaker” and “Mind Of Metal”. “Slave To The Sword” off their 2014 album with the same name was next followed by another new song “Storm Of Strings”, which covers Yani and Vivaldi at the same time. These guys are self proclaimed nerds and are into such things as classical music, the Evil Dead movies, The Lord of the Rings books/movies, and medieval weapons just to name a few influences that they incorporate into their music. They ended the night with “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)” and fan favorite “Metal Is King” with singer Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez hitting that high note perfectly. These guys are no joke and a must see anytime they play.

San Fernando’s Upon Stone was up next on the second stage and ripped through some heavy tracks as more and more people filled the small dim lit room. Their high energy and melodic death metal sound was pure bliss for everyone’s ears and soon enough there was a mosh pit taking over the entire room. Playing their tracks “Onyx Through the Heart”, their latest single released in July of this year, and “To Seek and Follow the Call of Lions” this quartet made a huge impression on all the metal heads in there and was talked about the rest of the night. These guys are just getting started with releasing music and hopefully we’ll get something new in the near future.

Spirit Adrift, the musical creation brought to life by mastermind Nate Garrett, was the first band on the bill from outside of California. Nate formed the band in 2015 in Mesa, AZ and now they call Austin, TX home. The main room was as full as it could get as the band walked out on stage. Nate put his guitar on and gracefully said “everybody get moving, this is a f^*king heavy metal concert”. The crowd went nuts and put their hands in the air as the doom metal track “Sorcerer’s Fate” started. Everyone was head banging along to the crunchy riffs and powerful choruses produced by the band. Their songs “Divided by Darkness”, “Give Her to the River”, and “Ride Into the Light” kept the mosh pit(s) going and electrified the audience into a metal trance.

CONTRACULT Collective from Los Angeles was up next in the Parrish room and the trio played some industrial metal tracks which had a Nine Inch Nails vibe to them. Their sound and strobe lights bounced off the walls and into the pit and fans were moshing and continuing to have fun. Vocalist Svart utilized a theremin during the set and it added a layer that synced with the crunching sounds of Culprit’s guitar. Their set included a couple dedications as well, first was “My Episode” dedicated to anyone struggling with mental illness, and the other was a new song titled “The Process” dedicated to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA. They closed out their set with another new track “Dissolve” and there wasn’t a single body standing still throughout the room.

Fear Factory who hails from Los Angeles was up next on the main stage and the venue was packed. They had a special set ready for the Southern California crowd and were about to play a few songs they haven’t played live in ten plus years. The first half of their set they played tracks from their 1998 album Obsolete including “Edgecrusher” which saw Orange County’s Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through join them on stage for a crushing performance. For the first time since 1999 they played “Freedom or Fire” and “Obsolete” and it sounded amazing. Guitarist Dino Cazares played his custom Obsolete guitar and showed why he’s still one of the best riff masters in the business. The distinct sound that he’s produced throughout the years has been a constant force in the metal community and with Fear Factory’s current lineup it seems that new music is just around the corner. The second part of their set they played songs from their 1995 masterpiece Demanufacture including “Self Bias Resistor”, “Zero Signal”, and “Replica”. The floor of the venue was one giant mosh pit while new singer Milo Silvestro proved that he has what it takes to take on a role that has been established throughout the lasts twenty five plus years. Bassist Tony Campos was all smiles while performing and drummer Pete Webber sounded as good as a machine with his lighting fast playing style. This new line up is here to stay and hopefully we’ll get some new music in the near future.

Kyng, a Los Angeles based stoner metal band, headlined the second stage in the Parish room. Singer/guitarist Eddie Veliz told everyone to have fun and had the audience grooving in no time with his crunchy riffs and catchy lyrics. Bassist Nick Shinz, who also plays bass for Havok and Job For A Cowboy, provided the low end and high energy while drummer Pepe Clarke kept the beat going behind his set. It was an amazing experience seeing the trio perform in such a small venue before they headed out to the Louder Than Life Festival in Kentucky just four days later to play for thousands of people. Kyng has four albums out and don’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, is there another album coming out in the near future? We’ll just have to wait and see. Next time these guys play in a city near you be sure to check them out!

Heavy metal giants Machine Head graced the Metal Injection Festival main stage and performed only for the second time this year in the US. They were going to embark on a North American run in the spring but had to cancel due to visa issues that was out of their control. Their only appearance in the states this year was at the Milwaukee Metal Fest in May and then they had to deal with the Blue Ridge Rock Festival that got cut short due to weather just a week before this nights show. Machine Head was ready to go nuts and give their all since they hadn’t played for a while and they definitely showed why they’re still on top in the metal world.

Opening the night with “Imperium” from their 2003 album Through the Ashes of Empires the opening lyrics ‘Hear me now’ shook the venue and had the entire crowd going nuts. Machine Head sounded as good as ever as they went straight into “Ten Ton Hammer” off 1997s The More Things Change… followed by the first single off their latest album OF KINGDON AND CROWN titled “CHOKE ON THE ASHES OF YOUR HATE”. Their new album, which was released in August of 2022, has be praised as a triumphant return to the top since their prior album Catharsis wasn’t received too well with fans and critics. Machine Head’s concept album proves that vocalist/guitarts Rob Flynn still has some tricks up his sleeve and that they’re here to stay. “Aesthetics Of Hate” off their grand opus The Blackening was next and the House of Blues turned into one giant mosh pit. “Old” from their debut album Burn My Eyes  was next followed by another new track “SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR”. Everyone’s favorite Machine Head track “Davidian” followed and none other than Mr. Chuck Billy of Testament came out and sang the “let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!” part. These guys were having fun on stage and the energy was pouring over into the crowd that was loving every second of it. They closed the night with the nine minute epic “Halo” before walking off stage into the unknown future. Let’s hope Machine Head are able to embark on a full scale tour in the near future so they can show everyone that the Bay Area giants are not going anywhere anytime soon.

Testament played a unique set on this night and came out swinging by starting with the opening track off of 1988s album The New Order titled “Eerie Inhabitants”. In fact, the first part of their set was most of the The New Order album excluding the tracks “Hypnosis” and “Nobody’s Fault”. Guitarist Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson shredded the night away as they went into the second part of their set that had them play their entire debut album The Legacy. A few of these tracks from the album haven’t been played live since 2015 like “Curse of the Legions of Death”, “Do or Die”, and “Apocalyptic City”. New drummer Chris Dovas didn’t miss a beat and performed as if he’s been with the band for years. These Bay Area thrash metal titians always put on a killer show and never hold back while performing. Their encore track “Reign of Terror” off of 2001s First Strike Still Deadly was played live for the first time since 2009. What an amazing performance and set by Testament at the inaugural Metal Injection Festival that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. It’s safe to say that this was a huge success and let us hope that this festival will return next year with another killer lineup and keeps returning year after year.

 

Agriculture

Setlist:

The Glory of the Ocean
The Well
Look, Pt. 1
Look, Pt. 2
Look, Pt. 3
Relier
The Circle Chant

Thrown Into Exile

Setlist:

Beyond the Grey
Send Me Below
Lower Self
Dagger Within
Doppelgänger
The Mourning
The Wronged

Exmortus

Setlist:

OathBreaker
Mind of Metal
Slave to the Sword
Storm of Strings
Death to Tyrants
For the Horde
Foe Hammer
Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)
Metal Is King

Upon Stone

Spirit Adrift

Setlist:

Sorcerer’s Fate
Barn Burner / Siren of the South
Hanged Man’s Revenge
Divided by Darkness
Give Her to the River
Ride Into the Light
Harmony of the Spheres / Astral Levitation

CONTRACULT Collective

Setlist:

WDYT
My Episode
Plunge
The Infirmary
The Process
Drown
It’s The Water
Dissolve

Fear Factory

Setlist:

Shock
Edgecrusher
Smasher/Devourer
Freedom or Fire
Obsolete
Demanufacture
Self Bias Resistor
Zero Signal
Body Hammer
Replica

Kyng

Machine Head

Setlist:

Imperium
Ten Ton Hammer
CHOKE ON THE ASHES OF YOUR HATE
Aesthetics of Hate
Old
SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR
Davidian
Halo

Testament

Setlist:

Eerie Inhabitants
The New Order
Trial By Fire
Into the Pit
Disciples of the Watch
The Preacher
A Day of Reckoning
Musical Death (A Dirge)
Over the Wall
The Haunting
Burnt Offerings
Raging Waters
Curse of the Legions of Death
First Strike Is Deadly
Do or Die
Alone in the Dark
Apocalyptic City
Reign of  Terror

 

About Charles Yozgott

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