Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence.” Nowhere can this sentiment be felt more than in the world of music. When a band plays it’s easy to enrapture an audience for forty-five minutes. There’s the excitement of the crowd, the roar of the amplifiers and that wonderful feeling of getting lost and being transported away from the stresses of life. But what happens when the music is over? Do we “turn out the lights” as Jim Morrison famously stated? It really depends on the band. As Emerson said, it’s that feeling you’re left with once you return home that is the true measuring stick of a great band. When you wake up the next morning with the songs still stuck in your head and the energy of the previous night still reverberating through your body, you know you’ve seen something special.
On Friday, April 19, 2013, Core 10 took the stage at Malone’s in Santa Ana, California and delivered four decades worth of music in a forty-five minute set. Drawing on influences like hard rock, hardcore, punk, and heavy metal, Core 10 cross-pollinated the audience with a wonderful hybrid of musical genres that they have somehow managed to make all their own.
Hailing from Orange County, Core 10 consists of vocalists Duncan Nisbet and Sean Lenhoff, guitarists Brace Fredericks and Steve Regginitter, bassist Brian Milam, and drummer Paul Larson. Together, these six musicians each bring a unique blend of influences and talent to form the Core 10 sound, which can best be described as balls to the wall working man’s metal. On Friday night, Core 10 demonstrated their keen understanding of metal, taking the audience through the genre’s elaborate landscape. They played staple songs such as “Playground” and “Jump” which have a hardcore vibe that makes you want to immediately start smashing things. However, it was on newer songs such as “Your Own Victim” and “Creep” that Core 10 truly showcased what they are capable of. The dual guitar attack of Fredericks and Regginitter on “Creep” gives the song a cool NWOBHM vibe that is reminiscent of Judas Priest’s “Victim of Changes.” On “Your Own Victim,” Sean Lenhoff’s crooning parallels that of Danzig and Duncan Nisbet’s fierce vocal onslaught brings singers like Henry Rollins and Billy Graziadei to mind. Throughout the show Nisbet and Lenhoff leapt around the stage like a pair of Tasmanian devils while Paul Larson provided a classic metal backbeat that displayed his fluid yet aggressive craftsmanship. With songs that cover just about every genre of heavy music, Brian Milam’s gnawing bass lines kept a constant rhythm throughout the night. This was an impressive feat considering how much musical ground Core 10 covers during their set. Seeing Core 10 live is a bit like seeing a heavy metal encyclopedia come to life: the audience gets a bit of everything. Core 10 has steadily built up a devoted fan base of metal maniacs that are all too happy to “jump in the pit” and mosh it up.
Core 10 is every bit powerful and humble. They take the time to hang out with their fans after their shows and are generally grateful for every compliment, high five and fist bump they receive. They’re the kind of band that has a presence that sticks with you long after they’ve packed up their gear and gone home. It’s virtuously impossible not to find yourself randomly singing their songs for days after their show. Core 10 is on the rise and Orange County is truly blessed to be home to a metal band with a relentless work ethic backed up by excellent musicianship. If you haven’t seen Core 10, you’re missing out on one of the most original metal bands to come out in quite a long time.
INTERVIEW: COMING SOON