Altermatum are an up and coming metal/alternative rock band; or, in the words of frontman Bryan Dockery, “metal with an alternative twist.” Dockery (vocals, guitar) founded the band in 2008 although the current lineup has only been together since 2011. Aaron Hill (lead guitar), Shawn Pepper (bass) and Rhett Harkin (drums) complete the lineup. They are currently playing shows around the Knoxville area and are working on releasing an EP by the end of 2012.
I recently had the chance to check out Altermatum at a venue called The Birdhouse in Knoxville. The first thing I noticed was the attitude these guys bring to the stage. They are all about the music but their stage presence spelled out F.U.N.
They started out with an Intro but it quickly swung into “Quicksilver Preachers,” a heavy, yet catchy tune and a perfect way to open the show. The stage at the Birdhouse is not very large but they made the most of it with their energy and emotion. All of their jumping, running around and crowd interaction kept up the excitement. Crowd interaction is a main point of focus for me, I always want to see how well bands interact with their fans. I see way too many bands that just show up, stand around on stage, play their instruments but seem to ignore the crowd. Altermatum came out with fiery energy and throughout the entire show they played it up for the crowd. This was very well-perceived by the crowd and believe me, there was much head-banging going on during the show.
“Parasite colony” is a fast paced tune with an almost Nirvana-esque feel to it. The live version was exceptionally well-performed. The speedy tempo does slow a few times before the music completely drops for a moment while Dockery repeats “I don’t wanna live today” several times before it explodes in a full on assault of drums and melodic guitar. Speaking of guitar, the talent of the dual guitarists is never in question. Their energetic stage actions never interfere with their playing, they really know how to put on a devastating show!
They blazed through a couple of other tunes, “Seduction” and “This Is The Life” but I believe they saved some of the best for last. The band released their first single, “Slip Away,” in February 2012. It’s a nice alternative tune that has gained recognition and airplay on several local and internet radio stations. The live version is even better. Six songs into the set and the band’s energetic stage presence was still in full force. A very powerful and moving song, “Slip Away” is definitely one of my favorites and hearing it live will make you an instant fan.
They ended with “Divided Memories” and Dockery’s vocals are really turned loose on this tune. You can feel the emotion throughout the entire song but especially in the later stages as it develops into a brutal and angry ending.
You can check this band out on Facebook or Reverbnation but if you want the true experience you should go to a show and experience them live. These guys are super-talented and they bring an excellent flavor of alternative rock and metal to the local scene. It’s very exciting to see them already moving up in the scene, especially considering the fact this lineup hasn’t been together very long. Hard work and dedication are paying off for these extremely talented musicians. They have appeared on Knoxville’s local rock station 94.3 the X as the featured artist on the “Local X,” a show that promotes and features the most talented local bands in the Knoxville area. They also received much acclaim when they appeared at Wallypalooza, a huge, four day musicfest in March 2012.
Overall, I have to say I was excited and blown away by the performance they put on live. This is a band on the rise; they have a serious attitude about their music and yet have the energy and emotional involvement with the crowd to put on an exciting, enthralling and fulfilling show for them. It may be early but I see great things coming up for Altermatum.