August Burns Red brings the 10th Anniversary Leveler Tour to Denver, Colorado, at the Fillmore Auditorium. Opening for August Burns Red (ABR) is fellow metalcore acts, Fit For a King (FFAK), ERRA, and Like Moths to Flames (LMTF). Sunday night, fans packed into the Fillmore Auditorium for a metalcore festival. Metalcore is the fusion of the energy of punk music and grunge with melodic death metal. This was my first metalcore concert in over seven years. The power and vibe from the bands translate into jumping, moshing, and crowd surfing atop outstretched arms from the crowd. The dark stage was set with three risers located at the front of the stage for the bands. Various lights were set for a fun light show sync to each song.
Every band performed a blistering quick set with incredible death growl vocals combined with absolutely on-point complex guitar arrangements. LMTF crowd was a bit calmer because people were still coming in. There was plenty of moshing and crowd surfing for ERRA, FFAK, and ABR. I was happy to only be in the pit for the first three songs as security moved around to help the crowd surfers land safely.
Openers, Ohio’s Like Moths to Flames established the sonic foundation for the evening. The classic metalcore band played a short six-track set of newer and older songs alike. Among the four bands who played tonight, Like Moths to Flames is the most straightforward metalcore band. The quick 35-minute opening felt like a freight train running out of control, taking the crowd for a blistering ride. Chris Roetter is the definition of the harsh death growl metalcore vocalist.
They started with “The Worst in Me” from their debut album, When We Don’t Exist. Highlights of the night included “Habitual Decline” and “The Anatomy of Evil,” from their 2020 album, No Eternity in Gold. They also played their new single “Preservation of Hate” from the upcoming EP, Pure Like Porcelain. The hard-hitting three-minute headbanger “Preservation of Hate” single has all the metalcore elements: distorted guitars, chaotic vocals, and pounding bass drums mixed with ferocious breakdowns. Like Moths to Flames ended their brief set with “Bury Your Pain.”
Chris Roetter – Lead Vocals
Jeremy Smith – Lead Guitar
Zach Pishney – Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Evans – Bass, Backing Vocals
Roman Garcia – Drums
1.) The Worst in Me
2.) Habitual Decline
3.) I Solemnly Swear
4.) Preservation of Hate
5.) The Anatomy of Evil
6.) Bury Your Pain
The next to the Fillmore stage was the progressive metalcore band ERRA. They consider their style “melodic-ambient.” The crowds were ready for some moshing and crowd surfing. JT Cavey has some of the best screaming vocals tonight. The exchange of vocals between JT’s harsh vocals and guitarist Jesse Cash’s clean vocals are spot-on.
ERRA’s eight-track set consisted of five tracks from their 2020 self-titled. Highlights include the headbanging opener “Gungrave” and the mosh-heavy “Breach.” The fast-paced set ended with the popular “Snowblood.” A progressive Tool-like groove track against Cavey’s harsh vocals and Cash’s clean vocal chorus. The single is prototypical ERRA. They strike a balance between melody and heaviness with progressive experimentation. They put on a hell of a show and pique my curiosity on their recent self-titled album.
Alex Ballew – Drums, Percussion
Jesse Cash – Guitars, Clean Vocals
Sean Price – Guitars
J.T. Cavey – Lead Vocals
Conor Hesse – Bass
2.) Scorpion Hymn
4.) Eye of God
7.) Vanish Canvas
Texas metalcore Fit For A King (FFAK) was next. Fit For A King is founding member drummer Jared Easterling with vocalist Ryan Kirby. They have bassist Ryan O’Leary who also delivers the clean vocals. Bobby Lynge and Daniel Galley provide the guitars and backing vocals. FFAK did not disappoint, providing the packed crowd with their signature classic metalcore show. They are touring in support of their 2020’s album The Path. The highlight of the FFAK was watching bassist Ryan O’Leary dancing and swinging his bass around.
The first half of the set started the deathcore sounding “Stockholm,” “Locked (In My Head),” and “Breaking the Mirror” from The Path.“Locked (In My Head)” is a divergence from Fit For A King signature chaotic sound. It’s a melodic song with clean vocals from Ryan O’Leary and Kirby with fewer harsh vocals and breakdowns. This was followed by the pop metalcore track, “When Everything Means Nothing.” Kirby’s screams and O’Leary’s clean vocal duet was the highlight of this song.
The second half of the set got back to Kirby’s signature death growls and the growing circle pit in the audience. It also features a wall of death in the audience during the song “Backbreaker.” This was followed by the popular track “Prophet” and the pounding double bass speed metal screamer, “Tower of Pain.” Fit For A King ended the blistering set with “God Of Fire.” “God Of Fire” showcases why they are one of the most underrated metalcore acts today. Heavy colossal guitars riffs mixed with ferocious breakdowns and death growl emotive vocals from Kirby. It was the perfect ending to Fit For A King’s set. It was also a teaser for what’s to come with August Burns Red.
Jared Easterling – Drums
Bobby Lynge – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ryan Kirby – Lead Vocals
Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary – Bass, Clean Vocals
Daniel Gailey – Guitars, Backing Vocals
2.) Locked (In My Head)
3.) Breaking the Mirror
4.) When Everything Means Nothing
6.) The Price of Agony
10.) Tower of Pain
11.) God of Fire
What the fans have been waiting for tonight. August Burns Red brings the 10th Anniversary Leveler Tour to Denver. Technical metalcore kings August Burns Red plays all thirteen tracks from the just re-release Leveler album in its entirety. The band’s current lineup has remained the same since the 2011 Leveler album. ABR consists of lead guitarist John Benjamin “JB” Brubaker, rhythm guitarist Brent Rambler, drummer Matt Greiner, lead vocalist Jake Luhrs, and bassist Dustin Davidson. The 2011 Leveler album has always been a metalcore fan favorite.
August Burns Red started with the pre-show song, “Chop Suey,” playing through the speakers. Boundless energy united the packed Fillmore crowd in anticipation for ABG. The first track was the instrumental “X,” followed by the standout track “Internal Cannon.” A fun, progressive song that combines elements of Salsa music with ABR metalcore sound. Plus, seeing Jake Luhrs doing some salsa dance moves is worth the ABR ticket.
Leveler is like a roller coaster ride. ABR playing Leveler live makes it even more intense. You can feel the highs and lows as the momentum swings higher and faster with occasional breakdowns. The brutal heaviness of Divisions and Cutting the Ties would be followed by “Pangaea.” This is the most progressive track off Leveler with a head-spinning guitar solo by Dustin Davidson. The major highlight of the show is Ryan Kirby of Fit for a King signing with Luhrs during “Poor Millionaire.” It was a treat to hear this live because Kirby had done guest vocals on the re-released album.
August Burns Red dumped everything they had in the tank throughout this performance of the entire Leveler album with endless energy and fury. But WAIT! After Matt Greiner’s drum solo, ABR regroups for a headbanging four-song encore. The intense “Bloodletter,” fan favorite “Paramount,” and “Defender” from 2020’s Guardians showcase the growth of ABR. They end the night with the classic “White Washed.” It gets absolutely everyone in the Fillmore jumping and moving. August Burns Red ends the night with a surge of energy and chaos.
Overall, this metalcore tour was nothing short of phenomenal. Fans got their money’s worth and more. These bands showed the metalcore genre is still alive and kicking. All four bands sounded great and played sets that fans loved—angry music with positive lyrics for happy people.
John Benjamin “JB” Brubaker – Lead Guitar
Brent Rambler – Rhythm Guitar
Matt Greiner – Drums
Jake Luhrs – Lead Vocals
Dustin Davidson – Bass, Backing Vocals
3.) Internal Cannon
5.) Cutting the Ties
7.) Carpe Diem
8.) 40 Nights
9.) Salt & Light
10.) Poor Millionaire
12.) Boys of Fall
14.) (Drum solo)
18.) White Washed
Hi, I’m a professional photographer based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I started to take photos at concerts because I get bored very easy and need something to do while watching a musicians or bands perform. So I started taking my point and shoot camera with me and recording what I saw and to show my friends. At first, the camera was just a photographic diary of my concert experience. But after a while I started liking the quality of my shots and concert photography became my hobby. I decided to post my pictures on instagram and facebook. I think fans liked what they saw and started to follow me. Concert photography became my passion and finally I asked All Music Magazine if I could take photos for them. They like my concert photography Instagram page and that opened the door to a whole new area – the photo pit. Now I am happy to say I’m chasing my photography dream – as a professional concert photographer.