Extreme shows always bring out the best in people. There’s a common misconception that metal and punk shows are dangerous due to mosh pits, yet the mosh might be the safest place at any show. The same principle held true in the sweaty bowels of the Regent Theater in downtown LA as both Sheer Mag and Power Trip played some of today’s most exciting and blood pumping metal.
The crowd present was more or less the norm for a metal show, with your usual long-haired, heavily tattooed men clad in combat boots and metal tees. What did break the mold, however, was the very existence of Sheer Mag. Female vocalists are rare among metal acts, and female vocalists for a throwback glam/power metal band are even rarer. Yet this unique occurrence and the strong ’80s sonic aesthetic of the band was more than enough to tide the crowd over.
By the second song, the place was practically giddy. Instead of the typical moshing there was a group of metal heads happily bobbing along to the Def Leppard-esque jams being pumped loud and heavy through the speakers. As mentioned earlier, Sheer Mag was a bit of a black sheep at the show; while the appeal of their style was undeniable and recognized by the crowd, there was a lower level of energy than is typical for a metal show. This is to be expected, considering the two openers were among the heavier genres of metal and likely overamped the crowd that showed up earlier to the show. Their set was short and sweet, but despite the general lethargy of the crowd, they were clearly well loved and provided a much-needed break for the punishment that would be Power Trip.
Those unfamiliar with Power Trip should know that just like Sheer Mag throws back to classic ’80s metal, Power Trip play a heavier, more raw, rock-focused style of metal that you might hear gracing a biker bar. Power Trip announced their presence with “Crucifixation,” immediately kicking into a vicious, unrelenting up-tempo guitar riff with a chest cracking bass hit and consistent powerful drumming. The center of the track had a classic guitar solo, but the highlight was the massive circle pit that broke out on the main floor of the show. Everything about the band was unrelenting, from the music all the way to the lead singer constantly egging people to join into the mosh.
Energy-wise, the crowd was significantly louder than they were for Sheer Mag, which makes sense considering they were the headliner, but the uptick in engagement was incredible. Each moment of the show had people clinging to the music as if it were the only thing keeping them alive. Onstage the music was threatening to overwhelm the audience; the bass drum was just below the required volume to crack a sternum, and the high pitched guitar flairs had dogs barking from more than a county away.
A standout moment of the show was when they played their hit track “Soul Sacrifice,” leading to the audience positively erupting into the most violent mosh pit of the night. Throughout the whole show, the strongest constant was the unyielding energy and vocals of Riley Gale, whose voice didn’t falter for a single moment despite the intensity of his screams. Their insane energy was kept up right until the moment they closed the show with a flawless performance of “Manifest Decimation,” which was met with raucous cheers and even more aggressive moshing. Power Trip plays the type of metal that everyone should listen to, and much like their music, the show is a finely tuned machine of brutality that is more than capable of delighting any metal fan.
Metal is commonly seen as a genre that isn’t for everyone. On the surface, it seems scary and unwelcoming, but just below the surface is an unexpectedly inclusive environment of people who just want the volume at eleven. Anyone with ears should go out of their way to listen to Power Trip and Sheer Mag’s latest entries, then catch them on tour. This is metal for the common man, a populist movement that is louder than a jet engine, impossible to ignore and well worth paying attention to.