Reign of Z, Frankenfest, Fish Head Cantina, Halethorpe, MD, October 29, 2017
Just under 3 years ago (has it really been that long?), at Flight of the Valkyries 6 in Baltimore, Maryland, I met a talented vocalist by the name of Zosia West. At the time, she was the frontwoman of a metal band from Pittsburg called Echoes Never Lie, and I remember being blown away by her voice and her stage presence. It was always my intention to see her perform live again, but… to my great disappointment… the stars never aligned and I was unable to ever see her perform with ENL after that night. Fast forward a few years to 2017 and I found myself watching an interesting development. Zosia had joined a new band called Reign of Z, consisting of herself and four other talented and dedicated musicians with years of previous stage experience. With Zach Cunningham and Steven Lords (Blink) on guitars, Stephen Berg on bass, and Amanda Blackwell on drums, Reign of Z brings a dark, heavy, and energetic brand of metal to the world, with an attitude set on nothing short of world domination!
Somehow, my band radar was offline, and I completely missed the initial announcement that Reign of Z was going to be headlining a day long Halloween music festival in the Baltimore area on October 29th. The festival was dubbed Frankenfest 2017 and consisted of eleven metal bands playing from early afternoon until late evening. The event was held at the Fish Head Cantina, a small to moderate sized venue in the outskirts of Baltimore that has a reputation for booking large national acts despite it’s relatively smaller size. As I only found out about this event at the last minute (read less than 24 hours), I was unable to free up my schedule to attend and cover the entire festival… My apologies to the bands that played earlier in the day. But I was able to (barely) make it on time to catch Reign of Z!
Despite arriving late, I was able to get a spot up front while the audience headed to the bar during the stage change. I was ready for a great show and Reign of Z definitely did not disappoint! But I never had any doubts, as I knew any band that Zosia was fronting was going to slay it onstage. In the three years since I’ve seen her, Zosia’s stage presence has only gotten better. She immediately took command of the stage and the audience and left no doubt we were in for a hard and heavy ride. The lyrics were delivered with just the right mix of clean vocals and death metal growls. The dueling guitars of Zach and Blink really brought the music to life and set the dark and macabre tone of the show. Amanda was an absolute beast on the drums, while Berg’s heavy bass groove rounded out the dark rhythms. One of the things that was very evident during the set, was that this band really enjoyed what they were doing and who they were doing it with. It’s always great to see a band that really synchs onstage and is having just as much fun as the audience. All in all, it was a stellar performance!
Reign of Z Set List:
Get Him Off
Whore and the Liar
Fuck the Pain Away
Whispers in the Walls
Pray for Her
Because there were so many bands performing, the sets had to be short… and the show was over all too quickly. But this is a band that is definitely on the rise, so I’m hopeful that I’ll see them again soon. There are current plans for Reign of Z to release an EP by January, with a more extensive touring schedule in 2018. You owe it to yourself to get out there and see them when they come to your area. This is not a band you want to miss!