This year marks the tenth anniversary of metal label Sumerian Records, which is celebrating by having a hell of a bash. The record label, notable for bringing us progressive and technical metal luminaries throughout the past decade, was founded by Ash Avildsen, already known for his work as a booking agent.
Most labels might throw a big show to celebrate, but Avildsen is a unique figure in the world of metal. More than perhaps most record-label execs, he gets the mind-set of a fan. He understands what the listeners would like.
With that in mind, it would seem he realizes that most would feel left out by just one concert commemorating the anniversary. So instead, this year Sumerian Records is sponsoring a full-length tour to showcase some of its greatest acts.
This show will hit Houston on March 5 at Walters and features three of the best bands ever to play “Sumerian-core.” First headliner Born of Osiris has been a Sumerian OG since their first EP, in 2007, The New Reign. They've been crafting ace technical death metal since, slowly becoming more progressive and incorporating new features like clean vocals and EDM influences on new records like Soul Sphere.
Veil of Maya, the second-billed band, signed with Sumerian for their breakout record The Common Man's Collapse in 2008. They've grown as a band since, despite multiple lineup changes, the most recent of which brought them new vocalist Lukas Magyar, who has comfortably incorporated his fantastic clean singing into the band on their newest album, Matriarch.
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The third, After the Burial, is an especially significant choice for this tour. Many doubted the band could go forward after last year's tragic suicide of founding guitarist Justin Lowe. Far from being done, the band has come back strong with their latest album, Dig Deep, to celebrate the life of their fallen bandmate. They originally signed with Sumerian for their own breakout, Rareform in 2008, and now are embarking on their second major tour since rebounding from the loss of Lowe.
Erra and Bad Omens, who signed with Sumerian in 2014 and 2015 respectively, will open the show. The two progressive-metal projects have been going for a while, but their signing with Sumerian and opening slots on this tour should bring some new acclaim and publicity to them. Given Sumerian's track record, it's definitely worth showing up early to check out the newcomers, who could just be headlining by next year.
This is going to be a can't-miss tour for any metal fan, especially those of the genre's more technical side. Even still, all these bands bring the heavy riffage and breakdowns metalheads love moshing to, whether they love prog or not. We're just lucky that Sumerian realized a show this big couldn't be contained in one city or one night.
Sumerian Records' 10 Year Tour, featuring Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, After the Burial, Erra and Bad Omens, stops by Walters Downtown Saturday evening. Doors open at 6 p.m.; see thirdstringproductions.com for details.