Friday, May 22, 2015

Haste the Day at Irving Plaza

Jimmy Ryan (left) and Stephen Keech
Christian metalcore band Haste the Day formed in 2001 in Carmel, Indiana, and derived its name from a lyric in the 19th century hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." Haste the Day self-produced its first EP in 2002 and in 2004 released its debut album in the band's old high school cafeteria. The group disbanded in 2011, reformed in 2014, and released its sixth album, Coward, on May 19, 2015. The band presently consists of most of the musicians who ever played in the band: vocalists Jimmy Ryan and Stephen Keech; lead guitarists Scotty Whelan and Dave Krysl; rhythm guitarist Brennan Chaulk; bassist Mike Murphy; and drummer Giuseppe Capolupo.

Haste the Day's reunion tour consists of only four dates, launching tonight at Irving Plaza. As the band alternated between old and new songs, the personnel on stage changed. As the band opened with the title track from the current album, the line-up began with the newer members, Keech, Chaulk, Whelan, Murphy and Capolupo. Two songs later, as Haste the Day launched into the older "Fallen," Ryan, the band's original singer, came on stage to audience cheers. Krysl later played guitar on a few songs as well. Even Janell Belcher of the opening act, the Ember Days, sang on one of the songs. Despite all the traffic flowing on stage, Haste the Day turned in a very cohesive 17-song package covering highlights from its history. The high energy music was razor sharp, dense and bombastic, pleasingly contrasting aggressive breakdowns with softer melodies and guitar leads. Nevertheless, the critical spotlight largely fell on the exchange of vocalists, who sometimes reinterpreted the catalogue when both sang, barked, growled and screamed on the same songs to form a sonic wall. No one knows if this all-hands-on-deck lineup will ever reoccur beyond the current four concerts, but the uniqueness of tonight's event was a fitting celebration of all that Haste the Day has been.

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