Crush 'Em All Tour kicks off in Grand Rapids at The Intersection

Arkaik Clothing and Rockstar Energy Drink are planning to level 36 cities in September and October, and they're starting with Grand Rapids.

The companies have teamed to host the second Crush ‘Em All Tour, starting Sept. 21 at the Intersection and featuring the vehement death metal of Veil of Maya and the riff-and-thrash technical prowess of After the Burial. The two bands are both signed to Sumerian Records and teamed up to co-headline the first Crush 'Em All tour in 2009, but that isn't the only link they share.

"Immediately we became friends with them right from the very beginning of our band," said Justin Lowe, AtB guitarist, on VoM.

The two bands formed around the same time in 2004, and before each had any record to boast, they audibly ravaged cities the DIY way in 2006 by booking their own nationwide tour together.

"I believe that was called the ‘F*** Yeah' tour or something ridiculous like that. We did a full month of driving around the country by ourselves, getting on any show that we could possibly find," Lowe said.

Since then, AtB and VoM have significantly grown in order to headline Crush ‘Em All II under the same record label, receiving support from Misery Signals and Within Ruins along the way, and special appearances by I The Breather, Volumes, Struc/tures and Your Memorial. AtB played with Misery Signals in those same developmental years, between 2005 and 2006, in a VFW hall in Saginaw, Mich.

"That was one of the craziest shows we've ever played before. It was the first time we got to play with Misery signals," Lowe said.

The last time AtB performed at the Intersection was on May 22, 2011, opening for Norma Jean. Less than a week later, on May 28, AtB returned to a high school 114 miles away in Howell, Mich. and played Bled Fest with numerous other bands. AtB's last journey on the All Stars Tour sent the band through Michigan once more in August, and yet with the forthcoming Crush ‘Em All II, AtB won't "crush" Grand Rapids out of spite.

"I mean, the first show we ever played was in a garage, I believe, up in Bay City," Lowe said. "We definitely love coming there [Michigan], it's not bland by any means and the fans are great."

AtB hope to please said fans with a broadened set list for Crush ‘Em All II, utilizing the headlining status as an opportunity to tap into songs not yet performed live, many from the latest album, In Dreams, which is still celebrated as less than a year old as of November 2010. In Dreams spurred the release of AtB's first two music videos over this past summer for "Pendulum" and "Your Troubles Will Cease and Fortune Will Smile Upon You," and there are no plans to slow down soon.

"We already started writing for our next album, so when the Crush ‘Em All tour is complete, we're going to get back and we're going to hang out with our friends and family for a little bit and get started on the next album already," Lowe said.

Veil of Maya is also amidst tracking vocals for a new record proceeding 2010's [id], as confirmed by George Vallee at Sumerian Records. A deeper link than record label is thus established between VoM and AtB that attests their progress to co-headlining partners: an innate drive that will permit them to "crush" all other metal bands in terms of relevance if such effort persists.

"Booking our own tours and doing it ourselves like totally DIY with them then, and now, to be doing it at a much larger scale -- it feels really lucky to have that opportunity," said Lowe about VoM.