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Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Adema, Steromud and Systematic
Friday Oct 5, 2001 / Hollywood Palladium /  Hollywierd, Ca
Live Review by antiGUY

What a week, it started with Linkin Park, Staind and the Deftones continued with Lit and their young protégés Handsome Devil and could only be topped by this bill, Disturbed, Drowning Pool, Adema, Stereomud and Systematic. They don’t call it Rocktober for nothing! 

When I first heard about The Music as a Weapon tour I was stoked. I caught Disturbed’s intense set at Ozzfest and was blown away.  Unfortunately, two of the bands I really wanted to see, Systematic and Drowning Pool, had to pullout of the Southern California Ozzfest appearance at the last minute. I had a chance to talk with Steve and C.J. from Drowning Pool backstage but what I really wanted was to see them in action. Their debut album “Sinner” was one of only a handful of releases that saved 2001 from being a total bummer. It’s old school meets nu-metal sounds have been a major part of the antiMUSIC soundtrack this summer (Dr. Fever may disagree but I’m working on him). They became an overnight sensation with their single “Bodies”. If that song didn’t grab you don’t worry it’s the other tracks like “Sinner”, “Tear Away”, “Reminded” and “Sermon” that makes their debut album one of the best releases of the year. I had one friend, Jack, who hated “Bodies”, so I lent him my copy of “Sinner” so he could hear ALL the songs before writing these guys off. Long story short, after hearing the entire CD Jack refused to relinquish it and I was forced to buy another copy. I didn’t mind because I hate seeing people write-off a band that I’m enthused about based only on their impression of one song. One of the guys from Wind-Up told me at Ozzfest that the success of “Bodies” come as a surprise, they didn’t expect the single to catch on like it did. They thought that the second single “Tear Away” would be the hit song, thus proving you never really know what’s gonna happen in rock-n-roll! 

I am utterly dismayed that Systematic hasn’t become big stars in their own right. Their debut “Somewhere in Between” is easily one of the best metal debuts in recent years. These guys have superstar potential written all over them, if only their record label could put a little more muscle behind promoting them. Granted they are signed to a vanity label (The Music Company owned by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich) but Elektra who distributes the label also handles promotion for their artists. Elektra might be wise to steal a page from the Wind-Up playbook. The overnight success of Drowning Pool can be partially attributed to the intense grassroots level promotion Wind-Up put behind the band with a concerted effort to gain early coverage for them in both large and small magazines and webzines. The results speak for themselves. 

Ok back to the show… Disturbed didn’t screw around when putting this tour together, when they say music as a weapon they mean it. They packed their army with some of the hottest up and coming metal and nu-metal bands on the scene. The end result is a mind blowing night of in your face music that started strong and never wavered as it propelled you from song to song, band to band, banging your head like there was no tomorrow surround by a sea of humanity caught up in the moment and the outpouring of raw emotion that was coming from the stage. 
 

Systematic

Those who were smart enough to get to the Palladium early and wade through the multi-point security check (They went as far as not letting people in with lighters and packs of cigarettes! Yours truly among them. ) witnessed an incredible set by Systematic. The band played an intense set of songs from their debut album to the half filled auditorium. The crowd loved every minute of it.  Vocalist Tim Narducci makes his reputation with raw talent and a voice that matches the range and dynamics of Chris Cornell; few modern metal signers can touch him. Adam Ruppel doesn’t subscribe to the recent overblown use of drop tuning. He focuses his guitar chops on straight ahead metal musicianship, proving he knows what it means to be a lead guitar player instead of a three power-chord junkie.  Together they form one of the most compelling music duos since Perry and Tyler. 

Systematic caught the crowd off guard when they closed their set by invited Drowning Pool’s Dave Williams onstage to help sing the band’s current single “Beginning of the End”. Systematic set the pace for the night and let those in attendance know that they were in for a few hours of unadulterated heavy rock.  Systematic Photo Gallery .

Stereomud

This was my first exposure to Stereomud and I like the crowd was duly impressed. Vocalist Erik Rogers held sway over the audience with his rambunctious stage  presence as guitarist John Fattoruso and the rest of the band crunched out songs like their current single “Steppin Away” and “Pain”. 

Stereomud was formed by former Stuck Mojo bassist Corey Lowery (Brother of Sevendust's Clint Lowery) and drummer Dan Richardson of Life of Agony and Pro-Pain fame, so you know these guys can rock. It’s plainly obvious after seeing them play together that with this group they’ve found a perfect chemistry between the members as they create a viable new interpretation of metal, breaking some of the unspoken rules of the game and getting away with it. 
Stereomud Photo Gallery
.

Adema

After witnessing Adema live, I have an entirely new perspective of the group. They take their album tracks to a whole new level with a store of limitless energy and a world class stage presence.  This is not to say I didn’t like Adema’s debut album from Arista, it’s just that the CD failed to distinguish itself from other recent “nu-metal” releases in my opinion.  But the band’s high energy, letter-perfect performance of those songs live has caused me to take a second look at the group and reevaluate my initial lackluster opinion of them. 

Frontman Marky Chavez established an easy rapport with the audience as he worked the entire stage. Some may write him off as a copycat of his half-brother Jonathon David of Korn, but Chavez clearly holds his own on stage. A large moshpit formed in the middle of the auditorium before the band finished their first song, so you could tell the fans were into it. The duel guitar team of Mike Ransom and Tim Fluckey provided thundering powerchords. While bassist Dave DeRoo and drummer Kris Kohls pounded out the bottom end of songs like "Giving In" and  "Blow It Away".  By the time the band left the stage, the temperature in the auditorium reached a fevered level as sweat drenched fans literally packed the hall to the rafters. 
Adema Photo Gallery .

Click here for Part II including Drowning Pool, Disturbed, Contest info, related links and Fan Speak
 


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