A prediction I made a year ago seems to be coming more true every year and that’s that trap music will be the foundation of music’s future, in this case it’ll be heavy metal which trap will reinvent. I’m talking about trap metal, trap punk, trap-core, emo-trap and industrial trap. All these newborn styles are being spearheaded by a handful of young men at the beginning of their twenties, notably the man(e) who sold out the Roxy, Echo, and 1720 on a three-day tour bender to conquer Los Angeles, that man being Ghostemane.
One might think that trap would have trouble being embraced by the true metal bands its competing against but with support from death metal heavyweights Gatecreeper, it would seem metalheads are fans of trap and trap-heads are fans of metal. Or maybe both are just fancy crazy….
As always, Gatecreeper destroyed the Roxy, just as they do any venue they have the chance to play. They are clearly the best young death metal band around, having opened for every landmark American of the genre with a sound that is undeniably classic death but brings about a fresh, nuanced approach by blending in hardcore, groove, and rhythm that any music fan can understand. The stage dives and mosh pits were impressive but only a precursor to Ghostemane, who provoked enough insanity in the crowd and onstage that metalheads should’ve been taking notes.
After a stirring set by Gatecreeper and a moment to smoke while the curtain was down, Ghostemane’s DJ graced the stage in front of a set-up that looked like a demon-gate out of World of Warcraft. The DJ spun various trap classics throwing in some nu metal too. What hit hardest had to be his brief tribute to Lil Peep which included “Witchblades” and my favorite, “Beamer Boy”.
Wavy Jone$ graced the stage next to lay down some thick, dirty trap and get the audience ready for Ghostemane. Once he was finished, Ghostemane’s macabre crew of players, each wearing a mask, took to their instruments as the mane himself arrived and the audience exploded before him.
What makes Ghostemane so good is his seemless transitions between trap, to metal, and industrial. Within each genre, he harkens some of the greatest frontmen. He can growl death metal the guttural vocals, he can rap quickly and proficiently enough to impress an underground head, and he can take the microphone with as much dark charisma as Trent Reznor. I would bet those early Nine Inch Nails shows for Pretty Hate Machine felt like this Ghostemane show at the Roxy. The energy was volatile, intense, and unpredictable.
The ring of fire mosh pit revolved at an incendiary pace all night. The stage dives kept clashing against the audience in waves, without end or mercy. People were trap-dancing to metal like they were one and the same. Ghostemane represents as much a revolution in sound as an evolution in scene. The metal kids were always down for hip hop, this was just the proof. Many darknesses from now lies a future in which metal is reborn and shoots out the womb with face tatts.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Rodney Campos