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Publication: Syracuse New Times
Author: Novak, Jessica
Date published: December 22, 2010
Language: English
PMID: 58875
ISSN: 0893844X
Journal code: SYNT

On Monday, Dec. 27, Stillborn Fest will be coming through Syracuse, bringing a seven-band blowout including A Life Once Lost, Hatebreed and Thy Will Be Done to the historic Lost Horizon venue at 5863 Thompson Road. Though A Life Once Lost has played in Syracuse more than 10 times before, guitarist Doug Sabolick is excited as ever to make the return trip. "Our shows in Syracuse have always been awesome," said Sabolick. "Besides the cold."

ALOL has toured extensively on and off since they formed in 1999 just outside of Philadelphia, Pa., and has released five albums to date. They are hoping to drop the next in spring or early summer of 2011.

The band took a slower approach to the making of their latest CD. For starters, they stopped touring in 2009 after performing heavily to promote 2007's Iron Gag. The group has spent the last year and a half writing, recording and perfecting the new album.

"We're nearing the end, but it depends on how you look at it," said Sabolick. "We're working on the rough drafts and have everything written and recorded, but now we'll rerecord it."

The Syracuse show, the first date of the Stillborn Fest tour, marks one of ALOL's first returns to the stage after their hiatus. The group came back to the live scene in October at CMJ, the College Music Journal's Music Marathon, an annual festival held in New York City. ALOL headlined a metal showcase at Club Europa in Brooklyn and played with Car Bomb, This or the Apocalypse, Baptized in Blood and Last Chance to Reason.

Although CMJ is important and well-known in the independent music festival circuit, Sabolick noted that it was more of a private party showcase than a fan-filled show like ALOL's previous performance at the annual South By Southwest showcase in Austin, Texas. ALOL has also performed on Jagermeister Music tours, "The Sounds of the Underground" and Ozzfest.

The band, which also features Robert Meadows (vocals), Robert Carpenter (guitar), Justin Graves (drums) and Mike Sabolick (bass), has kept a fairly consistent member lineup throughout their more than 10 years of touring, writing and recording and is excited to perform with the bands of Stillborn Fest 2010.

"It's our first time doing the tour, though it's been going on for at least five years," said Doug Sabolick. "We've played with Hatebreed at Ozzfest, and we took Thy Will Be Done on tour, but we're excited to be a part of this tour. It should be fun."

It will also be heavy. The bands of Stillborn Fest bring hardcore and metal to the stage in an intense, fast-paced way. ALOL's driving guitar riffs and forceful drums paired with intense, screaming and growling vocals combine for a deep, heavy sound. Sabolick promises their live show to be just as direct, saying audience members can expect, "an assault on all your senses. We have a pretty unrelenting light show and it's really, really loud and primal."

The other Stillborn acts will require similar attention, as Hatebreed notoriously demands crowd participation. Another band with a rich history, Hatebreed has been performing since 1994 and has appeared at Ozzfest four times. Despite battles with record label and member changes, the rockers have also managed to produce five studio albums, not including 2009's For the Lions, a collection of covers of some of Hatebreed's favorite artists including Slayer, The Misfits, Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags and Sepultura. The Connecticut band has also been nominated for a Grammy and performed alongside groups including Iron Maiden, Children of Bodom, Slayer, the Deftones and Avantasia throughout several tours and festivals.

The other bands playing the Lost come from a variety of locations, but bring similar musical themes. Ghost Ship is a Syracuse-based outfit and Nine Round hails from nearby Seneca Falls. The World We Knew travels from Long Island, Hate Your Guts comes from Hamden, Conn., and Thy Will Be Done has its base in Providence, R.I.

Other stops on the tour will include Crocodile Rock in Pennsylvania, The Chance in New York City and Webster Theater in Connecticut, although some of the band lineups will change throughout the four dates.

Although A Life Once Lost has also shared the stage with other impressive acts including Throwdown, As I Lay Dying, Lamb of God, Clutch, Opeth, Strapping Young Lad, High on Fire and The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sabolick still stood firm in his excitement for this gathering of the Stillborn Fest 2010 tour. When asked if he had any more to add, he paused for a moment and simply said firmly, "Just come out to the show. It's gonna be cool."

The Lost Horizon's doors open at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 27, with the music commencing at 7 p.m. Tickets, available at for $13, at The Sound Garden (310 W. Jefferson St.) are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. For information, call 446-5534.

-Jessssica Novak

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