Imminent Sonic Destruction guitar wizard and vocalist Tony Picolli celebrates 40 years of this awesome gift called life with a heavy metal extravaganza.
Tony Turns 40 – A Heavy Metal Birthday
Note: The following may or may not be true. Only Tony knows for sure.
Thirty-nine years ago, an escape pod from a dying world, some 6.66 light years from Earth, landed in a cornfield north of Detroit, Michigan. Inside this pod was found a child of no more than one year in age. The child’s infectious smile and dazzling curly locks infatuated the Picolli family, who raised this small boy as their own. They named their son Tony.
The Picolli’s soon learned that Tony was gifted. Not only with an unparalleled vocabulary and ability to incite laughter in the most curmudgeonly of folk, but this boy was also a fretboard wizard. He played the guitar with the passion of a god. Later, DNA tests would reveal that fellow survivors Steve Vai, John Pettruci, and Steve Morse were cousins of Tony. They all had come to us from the now lost world of Shredopia. Tony harnessed his powers for the good of mankind and joined forces with similarly advanced musical humans in the band called Imminent Sonic Destruction. On Saturday night, they gathered to celebrate the birth of the guitar Jesus in the temple of the Token Lounge in Westland. This celebration would be a heavy metal extravaganza for the ages.
Kicking off Tony Picolli’s birthday extravaganza is Gravebloom. This band brings all the furious technical mayhem of death and metalcore into a brilliantly focused shockwave of sound. Their music reminds me of The Red Chord, After The Burial, and Unearth with vehement vocals, a scathing rhythmic onslaught, and masterful guitar pyrotechnics. Every song was like witnessing a series of explosions interspersed with moments of melodic introspection. For something completely different, Tony joined the band for a cover of “Them Bones” by Alice In Chains. They nailed this classic grunge tune with ease.
Classic heavy metal is alive and well, thanks to the outstanding music of Theandric. If Iron Maiden and Queensryche somehow morphed into a single elite unit of metal warriors, the result would be Theandric. The band unveiled new tunes, “Arcangel” and “Dry Bones,” which are definitely carved from the solid melodic cloth of their debut album, Flight Among The Tombs. However, the new tunes are a shade darker, highlighting expressive vocals, muscular rhythm, and deft guitar solos. Theandric paid homage to Tony with a supercalifragilistic medley featuring a bit of walking with Pantera, a shout out to the working men in Rush, and did I hear a bit of Judas Priest in the intro? This was a grand performance from one of my most favorite metal bands.
With a killer drum kit, a laptop, and a projector, Brucifer unleashed a progressive metal hurricane of awesome sauce at Tony Picolli’s birthday extravaganza. Staying out of the spotlight, Bruce of the aptly named Brucifer worked wonders behind the drum kit. He let his intricate and mesmerizing music with associated visuals take center stage. Each tune was teed up with an Adult Swim snippet adding laughs to the musical mastery. The visuals were as extraordinary as the music. Especially gripping was the music and video for “The Process of Elimination,” with its disturbing psychedelia. I’d love to see Brucifer team up with Devin Townsend for a tour.
It has been a hot minute or two since I’ve witnessed the joyfully brutal and technical assault of Hate Unbound. The band continues to refine and perfect their blend of technical aggression and expert rhythmic demolition. What makes Hate Unbound’s performance on stage so compelling is that in the midst of the crushing metal music being played, the band is smiling and having a great time. The music says, “We’ve come for blood!!”. The band members’ expressions say, “We are here for the beer!”. I’m pretty sure I heard a few new tunes, which hopefully means a new album from Hate Unbound is on the horizon. In the meantime, watch their Facebook page for upcoming gigs and go have a blast.
Imminent Sonic Destruction
As advertised, Imminent Sonic Destruction put on a hell of a performance to celebrate Tony’s birthday. Going back to their debut album, Recurring Themes, ISD started their set with the epic “Breaking Through.” The band sounded outstanding (shout out to the Token sound team). ISD is similar to Hate Unbound in that they are insanely talented musicians who play demanding music effortlessly while having the time of their lives on stage. It is great to watch Scott (guitars) cast a raised eye over at Tony (guitar/vocals), or Pete (keyboards) give a nod toward Pat (drums), and of course, see Bryan (bass) being Bryan.
You may ask, what surprises did ISD throw into the mix for Tony Picolli’s 40th birthday bash? First off, they brought Pete up front to handle vocals on their cover of “Master of Puppets” by Metallica. While there were a couple of hiccups, it was furious fun. Friends Tony Asta (Finality / Battlecross) and Kevin Wrobel (Lady Luna and The Devil) teamed up with Imminent Sonic Destruction for “The Core” from the band’s latest The Sun Will Always Set. Kevin added monstrous death vocals, and Tony Asta delivered a soaring guitar solo. For one last treat, ISD welcomed Jaimi Magyari on stage to provide her magnificent vocals on the cover of “Xanadu” by Rush. They played this song perfectly from start to finish. Surprisingly, Tony Picolli did not fuck up the solo this time around.
Happy Birthday Tony!
Imminent Sonic Destruction wrapped up their set with another one of their prog epics called “Nightshade.” The happiest of birthdays to you, Tony! You are a fabulous person. Thank you for pulling us all together for a great night of metal. It was a ton of fun to catch up with old friends talking about photography, music, and beer. A big thanks to the awesome staff at the Token Lounge for keeping us all hydrated and happy.
We’ve got more pictures of Gravebloom, Theandric, Brucifer, Hate Unbound, and Imminent Sonic Destruction in our galleries. Please take a peek and let us know what you think. Leave a comment and show some love by sharing this post.
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