INVERTIA: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 17th, 2013

Metal Army caught up with experimental Black Metal Industrialists INVERTIA by email recently for an interview. Collaborators Dave and Tim discussed the making of their new album, the meaning of the band name, how the group works together, the current USBM scene and much more.

 

MA: Tell us about the making of your new album?

 

We recorded it at Tim’s studio, it took about a year to write & record it. It was easy. First we did the click track, then we did the guitar, then another guitar.

 

 

MA: What does “Invertia” mean?

 

The everyday struggle, putting up with it, people’s bullshit, subtext when they talk & stupid fucking opinions. More or less.

 

MA: What is “Oppressive Industrial Black Metal”, and what about mixing these two sub-genres together made you think it would work so well?

 

When Dave first heard GODFLESH he didn’t know what industrial was but he knew that was the type of music that he wanted to make. Tim was heavily influenced by early 80′s synth bands like HUMAN LEAGUE & DEVO, then later NINE INCH NAILS and MINISTRY, that’s where he was coming from. It makes sense that we both naturally arrived at Industrial Black Metal when we first began collaborating. After we finished, a friend called it oppressive so we used that.

MA: Your press notes refer to Dave as ‘Analog’ and Tim as ‘Digital’. What do these two designations actually mean and how do you typically write together?

 

When you listen to it, all of the analog sounds that you hear (AKA guitars & vocals) that’s Dave, and all of the keyboards, drums & samples are Tim. The writing process is fairly equal as we talk about what the song needs, what works & doesn’t work & how it should be arranged etc. Dave typically writes the lyrics once the song is completely recorded.

 

MA: Who or what are some of the bands’ top influences?

 

TONS of influences but here’s a few names: KILLING JOKE, MYSTICUM, later DODHEIMSGARD, ANAAL NATHRAKH, DARKTHRONE, THE RESIDENTS, BLACK SABBATH. GEORGE CARLIN & WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS influenced the lyrics. Also, The new Sonic Youth album is pretty good.

MA: I see that your album is available on Bandcamp for streaming and purchase. Do you think websites like Bandcamp hurt or help an independent artist share his music?

 

Share or Sell? It definitely helps an artist to share their music, selling music is a completely different story. That said, we love the exposure, we didn’t get into this for the money, its a total loss!

 

MA: Speaking mainly about the current USBM scene, why do you think there are so many unique and experimental bands right now?

 

The core of it, the Norwegian & Swedish bands, is over. So now, like any other genre, it’s going to progress. There’s true black metal, so why wouldn’t their also be untrue black metal? That’s what happens with music, it evolves and blends and a hybrid forms from it, and every once in a while something completely new comes from it, and a new genre is formed. That’s when a band will become influential & becomes like a family tree. That’s not us, but it happens. It’s evolution.

 

MA: Any plans for the band to play live or tour again?

 

No.

 

 

Interviewer: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

Bookmark and Share

MIKE CLARK OF WAKING THE DEAD: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 14th, 2013

Metal Army caught up with MIKE CLARK of WAKING THE DEAD at the New England Metal And Hardcore Fest XV. Mike, of course is famous for his twenty-five year stint in SUICIDAL TENDENCIES as the chief songwriter of classic albums How Will I Laugh Tomorrow, Lights Camera Revolution, Art of Rebellion and Suicidal For Life, and many others. Mike is now leading his own band as a front man, and singer for the first time, as well as playing lead guitar too. We hung out in the bands van and chatted about Mike stepping out on his own, starting over, being out on the road, writing and recording his next album, and what the future holds for WAKING THE DEAD.

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LAINA DAWES: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 5th, 2013

 

LAINA DAWES has written possibly the most important book about metal ever with her recent tome, What Are You Doing Here?: A Black Woman’s Life And Liberation in Heavy Metal, (Bazillion Points). Although informed by her personal experience, Dawes uses examples from many other important figures in breaking boundaries for women of color in heavy music, but also music history, sociology, and psychology to highlight injustices and explore how changes can come about. Dawes was in New York City for the book’s release fete in her honor, when she caught up with Metal Army’s Lynn Jordan, whose own career touched upon as one of the subjects of the book.

 

 

MA: The book touches on several issues, but what is the main thing you want folks to take away from it?

 
LD: I’ve gotten the response, “that is my story” from a number of people. It was important to document the similar experiences that a lot of black women into the extreme music scene had encountered. I think a lot of people felt that they had no one in their lives whom they could express either how excited they were to be involved in whatever musical scene they were in, or admit how negative experiences affected them. Because of that I hope that this book provides a voice for those who do not have the ability to have conversations surrounding these issues in their everyday lives.

 

MA: You’ve collected so much information from so many people and sources. Would you write a “WAYDH II” or do you think that this book took the topic as deep as it could go?

LD: I think that a WAYDH II would be centered on what I mentioned above – more of a non-North American perspective. I think that there would have to be some work done, in order to ensure that the same issues that were discussed in the first book are not duplicated in the second, or if they are, what are the differences? In terms of race and racism, there certainly would be, but it is something that would really need to be thought out. I think I would also love to provide more suggestions about handling yourself in the music industry – more suggestions from industry folk, and more perspectives from men.

 

MA: You write that women in Metal in general as marginalized as much as possible and how attempts of addressing that are mostly shallow and exploitative. Considering the depths you plumbed with WAYDH, would you ever consider writing another book just about women in Metal to help reverse that trend?

 

LD: Good question! The key is, is that society has to change. Some of the current issues, like magazines who post scantily-clad women metal performers are doing it, not only because they are misogynist, but because there is a demand for it. Some men want to see women in that light, and some women have no issue with representing themselves like that. The metal community is reflective of the attitudes that exist in the larger society. Does that go against what metal represents to us lifers? A community of people that want to feel and think differently from the larger society? Yes, but realistically we cannot help but bring the outside ‘in.’ The music is the most important thing, but we cannot help ourselves in bringing in our own personal baggage into the community.

Laina Dawes

 

MA: SKIN of SKUNK ANANSIE wrote the forward for the book. Can you divulge the names of other ladies that you would have liked to have done it if SKIN declined?

LD: No other women came to mind! I was focused Skin because she meant so much to me as a black woman and as a fan of heavy music. In hindsight, SUZANNE THOMAS, an LA-based guitarist and singer would have been really cool. She was in a band called PMS – the first black and female metal band and she has a lot of stories to tell. Not being able to interview her properly for this book is a big regret of mine.

 

MA: I have to say, that I was so happy that you mentioned BESSIE SMITH, who I am distantly related to (she was reportedly my great-grandmother’s cousin and they knew each other from childhood). The story about her facing down the Klan was powerful stuff and made me proud! Did reading the stories of these hardened, fearless women make you want to delve even deeper into American Blues music, or not so much?

LD: There is still so much for me to learn about African-American blues music and culture. I referenced Blues Legacies and Black Feminism by Angela Davis in WAYDH and that’s where I found that story about Bessie Smith. Obviously that story and of course, Smith resonated with me and represented what I see in some of the contemporary women performers: Strong, forthright and unafraid to show their emotions onstage. One of the issues with this book is I wished I could have delved in more deeply, but I was really enthralled with the lyricism, in which these women first referenced issues that even to this day, are seen as controversial to put into words. sex, lust, addictions and in some cases lesbianism or alternative sexuality.

 

MA: I don’t recall that you interviewed any White male Metal musicians or at least any from a prominent band. Was that by choice, or did they decline due to the subject matter (or not respond at all)?

LD: Oh no! I interviewed JASON NETHERTON from MISERY INDEX. I absolutely love his band, but more importantly, I wanted to talk to him as he grew up in DC and his lyricism, which is pretty socially progressive. They are a political band and I thought that he might have some interesting to say. I did want to keep the voices in the book as ‘black’ as possible as it was important to let their opinions be heard, but a couple of my melanin-challenged brothers, like Scott Alisgou who runs Clawhammer PR, were just as important to give a different perspective.

Forgiveness is also a path to freedom: Laina and Phil Anselmo at this years’ Maryland Deathfest.

 

MA: Who are your favorite bands right now, and what drew you to them?

LD: Right now? I’m loving the new DARKTHRONE album, THE UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE. It’s such a great nod to trad metal, which I grew up on. I’m also digging INTER ARMA, the new CATHEDRAL album, CAR BOMB, NAILS, ANCIIENTS, and VÖHL.

 

MA: You give much respect to JOYCE KENNEDY of MOTHER’S FINEST, NONA HENDRYX and TINA TURNER. Did they decline to be involved, not respond, or did you purposely not approach them because you wanted to focus on the more current group of Black Female Metal musicians?

LD: No, I actually reached out to both Joyce and Nona and didn’t get interviews. Tina Turner? I decided not to pursue that, as I was pretty sure she would not want to talk about the early years. But the music that she and Ike Turner created – the early stuff, is pretty hard!

 

MA: Bazillion Points, which publishes Metal/Hard Rock focused books, proves that Ian Christe is fearless as a music fan and supporter. What were his thoughts about the book when you approached him with it, and what is his feelings about it since it’s been published?

LD: Luckily Ian was and is, supportive. From the beginning he thought it was a great idea and if it wasn’t for me knowing that despite all the early and pretty awful drafts he had my back, this book wouldn’t be what it is. Not a lot of people were supportive. I think that they thought I was nuts.

 

MA: Non-Blacks have the tendency to think that a book such as this alienates or upsets people rather than bring them together. Do you think that non-Black people will ever grasp the concept that doing things, such as writing a book like yours?

LD: Another fantastic question. I think that we have to get to a place where we say, ‘who gives a shit?’ I would be lying if I didn’t want this book, or the work that the Black Rock Coalition does to make an impact on the larger society, but I think it is time to stop waiting for an acceptance that might not ever come. We need to provoke change from within, encourage young black folks or people of color to just ‘be’ themselves. Do what they want and be who they want to be instead of conforming to what the majority thinks they should be. I’m admittedly on the fence as to black-centric TV stations. I’m pretty disgusted with BET, as they do not represent the majority of black communities in North America, but on the other hand, it is impossible to do so. We all have such different perspectives on things, it is a disservice to lump us into a monolithic entity.

 

 

You can buy this book and other great books about metal from Bazillion Points, here on their website.

 

By Lynn Jordan

Bookmark and Share

BATTLECROSS: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

May 24th, 2013

Metal Army interviewed Gumby from BATTLECROSS right before they hit the stage at this years’ New England Metal and Hardcore Festival XV. He discussed the pressures of being an up and coming band, their forthcoming album on Metal Blade Records, crowd funding, working with touring drummer Kevin Talley and much more!

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: NEW ENGLAND METAL & HARDCORE FESTIVAL XV

May 24th, 2013

The Palladium, Worcester MA

Day Three:

 

Day three put the HARD in New England Metal & Hardcore festival this year. This was the No Sissies Allowed day. Observe.

Opening ceremonies were conducted by Seattle’s TO THE WIND, and they put on a good show, however unremarkable. Nothing bad to say, though I haven’t any accolades to shower upon them. After them, a whole big space of my doing nothing but bothering people and flexing my superb awkward swagger until THE GREENERY, a Long Beach skate crew whose singer has a bone to pick with the concept of stages, because separating yourself from the crowd is not punk.

The Greenery’s new album “It’s Looking Grim” drops in June.

Too fast, too furious, and it’ll make you wanna act a fool. The Greenery play a mix of Thrash, Hardcore, and straight up balls-out Punk that has the speed of CEREBRAL BALLZY, the rousing hardness of “Rotting Out”, and the obsession with boarding that connects the two. I certainly wouldn’t mind catching them again. One fun thing I learned from this set was that I may or may not have found the singer’s MOTORHEAD hat, which apparently went missing and was so painful of a loss that he dedicated a song to it. I invoke finder’s keepers law and am justified in my acquiring of this killer headgear.

I heard a bit of racket being made downstairs by Australia’s BEYOND THE SHORE, and went down to see what was up. Apparently the once passable I KILLED THE PROM QUEEN impersonators have taken a turn for the worse and don’t even bother trying to sound remotely interesting. That and a crowd of 20 people not throwing down to the chugs was enough to make you flaccid. Taking the stage after them were WAKING THE DEAD, a passable Crossover Thrash act, but nothing that made me rethink all of my once held notions of how it should sound.

WAKING THE DEAD is led by MIKE CLARK (ex- ST/NO MERCY)

Heading back upstairs, I intended to see what all the fuss surrounding WARHOUND was about. Seamlessly melding Hip-Hop and Hardcore can be done, and has been done. Just look to bands like CANDIRIA for an example of how to do it tastefully and with a steaze indefatigable. Warhound on the other hand, while not necessarily bad at what they do, take the more thuggish extreme of hip-hop, and not exactly the “Wu-Tang ain’t nuttin’ ta fuck wit” type, either. It’s certainly heavy and has that bounce, but the attitude is more funny than anything, even though you can tell they come from the mean streets of Chi-town and are un-ironic in what they’re talking about. For fans of DEEZ NUTS? (Editor’s note: Deez Nuts has fans?)

Following the hardest ever were TURNSTILE, who are also respectably hard, despite their name being a random object. I guess they like trains. They sure know how to get a crowd going, and even got some glorious pile-on action, which is a sign that the kids dig it. Following that was THICK AS BLOOD. By now you’ve probably realised I spent the majority of my day upstairs. It was more fun there, is all. Florida’s not a happy place. Just look at all the Death Metal bands that have come from there, as well as these hatemongers that got some fools crowdkilling early on. Music is passion, it’s true. I got a fist to the eye just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I gotta say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it’d be. That set the tone for a fun set, oddly enough, even if Turnstile had a bigger draw, resulting in an oddly vacant floor in comparison. I got down. Local boys SWORN IN came on next and played a lot of heavy stuff, which makes sense since they have yet to write anything that isn’t. My seeing these guys was a long time coming, and I’m glad I finally got to. In a more packed setting, I imagine it would be far more satisfying, though their heaviness that errs on the side of a djent feel and the eternal wellsprings of anger held by their vocalist is massive enough when there’s room to practice your spinkicks.

I decided against my better instincts to go peek at THE PLOT IN YOU(terus). Generic trash, throw it away. I stand a greater chance of getting a nosebleed drinking a glass of water at home than I do standing in a The Plot In You pit. Luckily Remembering Never, though I’d not previously heard them, obliterated the thoughts of that horrible experience from my mind with their OG Metalcore swag. Having gone on a hiatus some years back, apparently it’s quite exciting that they’re doing things once more, and having seen them in action, I can say for sure that they’re a much needed breath of fresh air in a world where Metalcore means anyone suffering through a break-up. Clean sections sparingly used between punishing breakdowns, circle-pit parts that didn’t sound forced, and of course, the abundance of quotable lines that give the audience cause to shout along with all of their might. It’s inspiring, I say. For fans of Ligeia who are sad that they’re dead and drunk.

Most of the early day on Day 3 was deathy hardcore bands and deathcore bands like I DECLARE WAR.

Speaking of hiatuses (hiatii?) TRAPPED UNDER ICE made the announcement that they would be going on one in August of this year. I, not being a fan, am not taking the news too hard, but their legions of loyal pit warriors made this one count, with mic-rushes galore and rugged pit antics for those truly unafraid to emerged bruised in the name of Hardcore. TUI til they die. I’m sure they’ll be missed, but they’ll be back, and probably to more intense crowds than before. Whether or not they’re Metallica fans is a question we’ll have to wait to see answered definitively at another time.

 

SICK OF IT ALL sold a special tribute shirt to NEMHCF co-founder Scott Lee.

Thus concludes the upstairs portion of this programme.

After getting a little poster signed by SUICIDAL TENDENCIES (fo’ free, bless their hearts), it was time to witness some endless circles made by our favourite speed metal drunks in D.R.I.

Hey Harold…I’m pretty sure Van Gogh wants his ear back, man.

 

How much can one really say about D.R.I. that doesn’t just boil down to “Ahh it was fast and people were running around!”? Because that’s basically what it is: an explosion of pure Crossover enjoyment that not even some fool wearing stripes and acting a fool (the wrong way, mind you) can ruin. They didn’t invent the circlepit (I think), nor did they invent the skanking run (or did they?), but since both are so synonymous with them, it was of course what one may expect to be the main flavour on this mosh smorgasbord.

LOU from SICK OF IT ALL….. still undisputed!

New York’s finest in SICK OF IT ALL are the ones that I personally attribute a lot of the modern day tuff guy hardcore to, but by Jove they’re fantastic. Old boy Lou hasn’t aged a day in their 28 years as a band, it’s incredible. Looking and sounding just as fresh as on record, the band delivered prime cuts like “Just Look Around” and “Step Down” like it wasn’t no thang. Sick Of It All was the rallying cry for all of the dads in the building, as the bald and aged among us were out in full force, circling as though this was their final day on Earth, and throwing down harder than some of the kids upstairs. It’s a sight to see, the geezers out to play. Sick Of It All? Nah, I could go for a couple more songs, please. It was all over too soon, but luckily the cycos in Suicidal Tendencies were up next for all of us who have a bone to pick with your polite society.

 

You still can’t bring them down………

SUICIDAL TENDENCIES are the reason why Punks and Metalheads are on friendly(-ish) terms today, so thank them whenever you see a guy in a SLAYER shirt and a guy in a cut up CIRCLE JERKS shirt in the same pit not punching one another. They and D.R.I. essentially paved the way for Crossover and Metallic Hardcore of all types, so it’s a pretty big deal that they are once again sharing the stage. MIKE MUIR has aged physically, but his voice and attitude towards life have thankfully remained ever fresh and relevant since their self-titled LP released in ’83. Still cyco after all these years, anthems like “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow If I Can’t Even Smile Today?”, “Possessed To Skate”, “I Saw Your Mommy”, “You Can’t Bring Me Down”, and of course, the almighty “Institutionalized” still have the same punch that they did when they were first penned. The new line-up hasn’t changed a thing as far as their energy goes, as they’re just as vital as the group of youngsters that initially formed the band. The mini-speeches Mike made between songs were at once inspirational and wide-eyed and had a touch of the lunacy that attempting to play by everyone else’s rules brings on a free-thinking mind. I don’t exaggerate when I say I could listen to MIKE MUIR spoken word on how to subvert societal norms with the same interest as I would HENRY ROLLINS describe his interactions with strangers. Fuck with life regularly.

 

It seemed like half the crowd was on stage for the big finish.

In all, New England Metal & Hardcore Festival XV was a massive success. Hundreds, thousands even, from all over the world, including a crew that came all the way from Japan just to see Terror, all united in their love of heavy music. It’s a wonderful thing, and I wish all shows were this grand, if not quite as expensive. But fuck it, I got in for free because I’m cool. Cheers, fuckers.

Bookmark and Share

IMMOLATION: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

May 23rd, 2013

Metal Army caught up with Robert (Bob) Vigna, of legendary New York death metallers IMMOLATION. He chatted extensively about their new album Kingdom of Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast), his relationship with Ross Dolan, working in the studio, Par Olofssen’s artwork, and the upcoming Decibel Tour with Cannibal Corpse and more. We thank Bob for his time and applaud IMMOLATION on their twenty-five years as a death metal institution.

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: NEW ENGLAND METAL & HARDCORE FESTIVAL XV

May 23rd, 2013

The Palladium, Worcester, MA

Day Two:

 

Due to the sheer volume of bands and out of consideration for the eyes and souls of any readers, I won’t get into great detail with any band that kinda sounded like all of the other bands or that I don’t particularly like. Or in some cases, missed either because I chose to because I’m boss status or various circumstances. Also, hello again.

This show got started with SAVING GRACE, who are a Christian (obv.) band from Australia that play some form of hardcore that is heavy. You can get down to it with relative ease. Following them were yet another Christian crew, albeit a little heavier, both sound and weight-wise, under the moniker THOSE WHO FEAR. They provided a little anti-sermon, which is much appreciated so you know you’re not being judged. Totality was neatly sandwiched between the two, but their unremarkable sound and downright silly pit action that resembled enthused leprechauns circling a pot o’ gold bore their almost being left out of this review entirely. Sorry, guys.

A time skip and a jump later, FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY came out and encouraged the pitters and sinners to act a fool. One of the few true Deathcore bands currently existing as a legitimate combination of blasting Death Metal fury and Hardcore pit ignorance, FFAA have a lot to be proud of. For starters, they got to play the pre-party with REVOCATION, THE ACACIA STRAIN, and ABIOTIC to name a select few goodies. They can also be proud of the fact that they’ve got fans in both the Metal and Hardcore crowd going hard in the pit for ‘em as though the differences are non-existent. The set was spot-on, with cuts like “The Jackyl” and “The Conqueror”, and even a few new songs, ringing true and clear despite Nate Johnson’s apparent throat problems following an incident where he nearly swallowed his own beard. Hence, babyface Nate. Following these beasts were EAST BEAST, an up and coming crew of aggressors from (wild wild) Western Mass. Heavy, pissed off, but maintaining a sense of fun, I hope East Beast goes places with their churning breakdowns and rousing two-step sections.

 

The next band I witnessed, GLASS CLOUD, is well on their way to success, despite their part in the controversial “djent” movement. Boasting the guitar talents of TONY DANZA TAPDANCE EXTRAVAGANZA‘s (RIP) own Josh Travis, they’ve already got one musician that’ll provide the heaviness and dexterity that’s needed for a band of their type. Luckily the rest of the band is able to pick up their own slack, with tight drumming, tastefully layered melodies, and delectable clean vocals to go with the standard shouts and growls. I dug it. What I didn’t dig was the sound mix during TÝR, and unfortunately these otherwise fierce Viking warriors were sounding rather dull and neutered. I couldn’t stand to hear it for more than a minute and ran outside to socialize.

 

TYR played great set suffered from a poor sound mixi

Freeing us from the hordes of noisy Norsemen were THE CONTORTIONIST, bereft of their usual singer, Jonathan Carpenter (not to be confused with the director of The Thing, of course), but it mattered not, since the equally talented singer of LAST CHANCE TO REASON, MICHAEL LESSARD, stepped up to fill in while the band searches for a new singer, presumably American Idol style. Replacing Jon Carpenter, even temporarily, is a job that would make anyone short of BTBAM‘s TOMMY ROGERS nervous. Despite the pressure to stay on key during the melodic sections of “Geocentric Confusion” and “Holomovement”, he cut through them with the same ease as he would during “Programmed For Battle” or “The Linear”. Spot on, you couldn’t tell the difference, aside from his apparent nervousness on such a large stage. The band as a whole remained professional and broke it down with the heaviness we know and love (that breakdown in “Oscillator” gets more massive every time I hear it live), and regaled us with tales of space and the inner workings of the mind. Marvelous, would repeat.

BATTLECROSS played upstairs, banged heads.

Sadly not all progressive/technical Metalcore acts cannot be as rousing of the spirit as THE CONTORTIONIST, as their peers WITHIN THE RUINS so gladly demonstrated with their show of brute chugs and going-nowhere-fast noodles. They weedled too much on “Creature”, they attempted to even it out on “Invade” by adding in some random chugs, and “Elite” is just much more of the same palaver. It’s not impressive by any means, but it isn’t terrible, so I’ll just stick them with a solid “meh”. AFTER THE BURIAL are a band that has drawn many comparisons to the WtR crew, but I feel that their style and panache entitles them to the chugging and weedling that other bands simply cannot master. I eagerly anticipate their new album to be released on Sumerian Records later this year. The band simply cannot fail as a cohesive unit, blending polyrhythms with a mind-bending ease, crafting dizzying melodies and mosh parts with equal verisimilitude, and of course, lyrical splendour that lends to great quotability. From the brutality of “Berzerker” to the more heartfelt hitters “Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You”, they get the crowd moving in a way that WtR can’t; with passion. BORN OF OSIRIS were the final flagbearers of prog-leaning Metalcore for the night, playing a set almost exclusively made of songs from their most recent outing, The Discovery, the only exceptions being oldies (but goodies) “Rosecrance” and “Empires Erased”. Some sound difficulties made the second one difficult to recognize until some way through, but hey, it’s a killer tune. The fact that The Discovery is just about a perfect album saved the set from being wearisome, as playing only material from one release is often a bad move for any band to make, but hey, like I said, it’s perfection in sound.

 

ENSIFERUM took the stage next, but not feeling in a very folky mood, I made my way upstairs to let the Vikings return to the battlefield once more, and check out ALPHA & OMEGA. One particularly awesome thing I saw was FitFo’s guitarist Pat Sheridan tearing it up in the pit like a monster programmed to kill mercilessly. Other than that, not much to say. Following them were everyone’s favourite tuff guy crew to love/hate, the infamous TERROR. Boasting equal parts old-school Thrash circle-pit riffs and breakdowns to get stangry to in a flat-brim sports cap, Terror have been damn near unstoppable since their inception in 2002. Sure, SCOTT VOGEL may have (unnecessary) beef with THE GHOST INSIDE, and may have dissed Refused on their reunion tour needlessly, but there’s no doubting their power to get a crowd going. The stage was as full of rabid fans that were at once tearing at one another and sharing the space, shouting every word without fail, and also knocking out fools that weren’t with the program. The staff’s completely helpless when a band with TERROR’S draw plays upstairs, and that’s the Lord’s truth.

 

TERROR’s “Live By The Code” is out now on Victory Records.

 

 

THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN wrecked the stage and themselves.

While I did not physically spectate THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and instead mucked about upstairs, what I heard was their normal grinding technical Calculatorcore fury, punctuated by mellow moments that provide eyes for an otherwise blind hurricane of extreme music outpouring OPETH played a really long set of cool songs with growls this time. Two and a half hours. I have no words for it, except damn that shit was dope.

JONAS RENSKE from KATATONIA

 

OPETH brought back the growls and the heavy songs!

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: NEW ENGLAND METAL & HARDCORE FESTIVAL XV

May 20th, 2013

The Palladium, Worcester MA

Day One:

 

This year marked the fifteenth anniversary of the famed New England Metal and Hardcore Festival. The festival is held annually at the Palladium in Worcester Massachusetts. Back in 1999 it started out rather small with only fifteen bands on one day. This year founder Scott Lee and the rest of the crew went all out with over fifty bands for a whole weekend.

The Festival was split into two areas; downstairs was occupied by the metalheads while the upstairs belonged to the hardcore crowd. The funny thing about this was that the bands I witnessed upstairs often sounded similar. While this was not a bad thing, it was different from the different strains of metal being blasted down below my feet. The crowds themselves even appeared to respond to the music in different ways. For instance, the people upstairs either stayed in one spot or did some of their best karate type moves in a pit close to the front. Downstairs there were people up against the rail headbanging with some jumping around. The real mosh pits would come later in the evening.

 

The big names started to play around quarter of four. Relative newcomers HOLY GRAIL took the stage at this time. In my review of Ride the Void back in January I gave them an A for creating an album that’s nearly flawless from beginning to end. The live performances of those songs certainly didn’t disappoint either.

BLACK BREATH came on next. The audience seemed to enjoy the set since it was obviously the kind of music they had come for. However, they did not seem as excited as they had been for HOLY GRAIL. The band was best described as having elements of thrash and death metal.

 

The first thing that those who have never seen SHADOWS FALL before notice is lead singer BRIAN FAIR’s lengthy dreadlocks. With a style like that concertgoers knew they were going to get a lively performance. Out of all the bands that had played, their set made the most use of lights.

 

Dave Witte crushes it live for MUNICIPAL WASTE!

A point of excitement for most was when thrashers MUNICIPAL WASTE took the stage. With a sense of humor like front man TONY FORESTA’s, who wouldn’t have a good time? To add to the fun of their set, it all ended with a shower of confetti. They were the only band of the night that could get away with it.

 

The most honored bands of the night started with an act that many argue should be part of the Big Four: EXODUS. Aside from having KIRK HAMMETT having been a member at the band’s beginning, they are also one of the bigger thrash bands to have come out of California. One reason why they may not be a part of the Big Four is that they don’t sound too similar to the bands that do make up the group. It may also be because they’ve had some major complications in their history. Despite it all, fans were calling out for them while the stage was being set up. During their set tables and seats were shaking like an earthquake was taking place. Song choices such as “War is My Shepard” seemed appropriate given how everyone felt about the Boston manhunt occurring that day. They played with constant energy and had a blackout at the end for a strong effect.

 

ROB DUKES of EXODUS

 

As they said it themselves, EVERY TIME I DIE was there to provide the pure hardcore portion of the evening. They didn’t seem to generate as much excitement as EXODUS which made it tough for them to follow the act. Fortunately the audience’s energy gained as the set progressed. The players didn’t let the audience’s lack of initial enthusiasm affect them. In fact they were almost constantly jumping and headbanging in sync. Their act finished with them getting the audience to join them in a good old “U.S.A.” chant. Although I wasn’t familiar with them I appreciated their song choices and titles such as “Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space.”

 

JAMEY JASTA and HATEBREED put on a great set!

 

There was a bit of wait for HATEBREED to come on but fans still had their energy. Attendees knew things were getting serious when a personal banner was used for their set. Although HATEBREED is considered hardcore by many I heard enough metal in them that qualifies them as walking the line between the two genres. They were certainly harder than most of the other bands that played that day. Right from the start the crowd was jumping. It was impressive to see the band manage to fit twenty songs including “In Ashes They Shall Reap”, “Destroy Everything”, and “Everyone Bleeds Now” into their hour long set.

 

ANTHRAX played all of the seminal “Among The Living” album.

 

When the banner for ANTHRAX’s Among The Living was revealed the crowd instantly became excited. As promised, the band would play through the entire album but not each track consecutively. This year the album is celebrating its 26th anniversary. Some of the well known tracks from it are “Among the Living”, “Caught in a Mosh”, “I Am the Law”, “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)”, “A Skeleton in the Closet”, and “Indians”. All these songs are reasons why many claim that it is the best ANTHRAX album. It is also considered their breakthrough and is currently certified gold. “I Am the Law” is notably based off the character Judge Dredd just as the man from “Among the Living” is based off of the main villain from Stephen King’s The Stand. “Indians” and “Caught in a Mosh” have always been audiences favorites to get their mosh on and who can argue with them? It seemed like the show was almost too big to be playing a venue the size of the Palladium.

 

JOEY BELLADONNA of ANTHRAX

 

ANTHRAX fans know that big news was made fairly recently when longtime lead guitarist ROB CAGGIANO left to join VOLBEAT. For this appearance JON DONAIS of SHADOWS FALL filled in. Besides that, ANTHRAX didn’t play any differently than before. front man JOEY BELLADONNA still jumps around the stage like he’s in his 20s. Songs that were not from Among The Living included “March of the S.O.D”, “T.N.T.”, “Madhouse”, “Got the Time”, “I’m the Man”, and “Antisocial”. It was fairly surprising for them to do the STORM TROOPERS OF DEATH cover but a real treat for anyone who’s a fan of the band. “T.N.T” was a recent AC/DC cover from their newest album Anthems and a lot of fun. It would’ve been nearly impossible for them to leave without playing the others.

 

SCOTT IAN and ANTHRAX closed out day one with a great show!

 

One of the highlights of the set had nothing to do with music but more of why the community of music is so great. An audience member had thrown a Red Sox hat at guitarist SCOTT IAN. He then asked the audience if they knew how hard it was for him to put it on considering he’s from New York. He did anyway and stated that it wasn’t about being a fan of a certain team but coming together in a time like this. All agreed and the band played on.

 

By Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: INVERTIA

May 16th, 2013

Invertia (Self-Released)

 

The rise of USBM’s popularity the last few years comes in many shades of gray and black within the once tiny genre. The voice of creativity of coming from new bands, both underground and mainstream has been impressive to say the least. Of course, all of these developments may cause some “trues” to lose their shit, and scoff at such a notion that any deviation from the original harshness from the fjords of the hinterlands deserves a lambasting. Hailing from New England, INVERTIA doesn’t conform to what black metal should sound like. Rather, they have created a clever blend of contrasting styles that seem to work together, irregardless of what the hipster purists out their may think.

 

 

INVERTIA call themselves Oppressive Industrial Black Metal, and they are most certainly not fucking around. After the wash of discordant sounds that opens up “Facility of The Feeble”, your ears are assaulted with music that lives up to the lofty self-proclamation. Careening, angular guitar riffs are matched with a scowling gravely rasp and straight up blasting drums. The song is over the top in every way that is good, if you are a fan of this music. “All Systems Fail” comes next and sounds like the bastard child of GORGOROTH (old) and some of the better lo-fi jaunts AL JOURGENSON has taken us on for the last thirty odd years with his different groups. The chorus is one of the more grim, yet undeniably catchy ones I have heard in a long time. There is a definite current of industrial flavor throughout these tracks, but never so much that it obscures the honesty of the writing. The band is also capable of some great sonic detours in the form of musiq-concrete, effects and sound-scape type stuff that really works well in context. The band is led jointly by DAvE, responsible for the “aNaLoG” part of the sound and TiM, who manages the ‘DiGiTaL’ side. Tracks such as “A Glowing of Gray” and “Situation Manipulator” are the true synergy of these two elements. “Crimson” is my favorite track on this album and the riffs are just technically insane and rough sounding all at once. The guitar solo is brief, but outstanding too. “Embracing the Grim” has a really old school BM tone and urgency, but also a thread of modernity to it. As if BLAKE JUDD had never discovered psychedelia, or IHSAHN had forgotten he knew prog rock. “Beasts of Prey” is another strong track that almost has an old-school death metal feel to it, but then the chaos kicks in brings you back to the center of kvltness. Other top tracks are the harsh “Perpetual Alert”, and the trippy epic finale, “Blasphemy Be My Name”.

INVERTIA is definitely a band we’ll be keeping an eye on to see what they come up with next. You can buy their music from the band in many places, such as their Bandcamp page.

 

GRADE: B+

 

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

TOMMY VICTOR OF PRONG:THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

May 31st, 2012

Metal Army spent some time chatting it up with PRONG front man Tommy Victor regarding the bands’ new album Carved Into Stone (Longbranch Records/SPV). Tommy is never one to hold back on any topic, so he candidly shared his feelings about the band, recording, past successes and failures, other notable projects and people he’s worked with and a look back his career.

 

 

MAA: Please tell us about the making of Carved Into Stone.

TV: It was a long process. It started about two years ago writing the material, maybe even longer than that. I had some stuff on my computer I was fooling around with out of the initial five songs I started with, maybe one little part made it on to the record. Tony (Campos) came in and we did a couple of tours together, we were writing on the road together at Motel 6′s or what have you. Then we made a demo with Alexi (Rodriguez). We got up to fourteen songs and then up to twenty-five songs and more demos. We did a last pre- production demo before we did the actual recording, kicked a whole bunch of songs out, rearranged somethings in the last ten days before we went in the studio with Steve Evetts. We knocked out twelve basic tracks, eleven made the record. From twenty-five songs completely written down to eleven on the album! In the studio everything was done on the grid, like it was done back in the 90′s where we just played it live, all the basic tracks. It wasn’t a computer record at all. There’s no samples, no drum replacement, no quantizing, no cut and paste on any of it. It was just preformed. That’s what was so grueling for me. I was working on MINISTRY records where you’d lay a riff down and they’d cut and paste it a couple of times, ya know and bam bam! That why people have been doing since people started using Pro Tools and digital technology. Steve had me play every little thing, it was all dialed in precisely, the solos were designed, there was no improvisation. Same thing with the vocals, they’re completely doubled exactly and harmonies done without the use of Melodyne, etc.

 

MAA: What’s it like working with Steve Evetts?

TV: He’s an extremely hard worker and I needed someone like that to kick me in the behind because I’m getting older and stuck in my ways and he directed me to be more clear with the vocals and that was one of the big main reasons we got him for the work he’s done. I was really impressed with the vocal sound and the way he was able to get great performances. At first I thought he was a lot of using technology to do it but he was like ‘No! I get the guys to sing this stuff, the way it is’. I was like ‘Oh wow! Ok he’ll take a crappy singer and make him sound golden. I’m not saying I’m a crappy, but I needed work and he was great on that aspect of things. I knew he could get the guitar sounds and drums and the actual sounds together. Until we actually got in there I didn’t know how he was doing it. Everything was done outside the box. The only difference between then and back in the 90s was its on a hard drive rather then tape. Other then that everything was external and done really pure. Having a little bit of engineering experience, I really appreciated that. We talked about that right before we went in. He’s done like ninety records and his repertoire is unbelievable. We needed somebody broad based. He’s worked on THE CURE to THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN it’s just a broad base of that. He’s unbelievable. He’s a genius all business it was strict work. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, but it was really hard, strict work.

 

PRONG in 2012: Alexi, Tony and Tommy.

MAA: You have been critical of your own output at times. How does this new album stack up to the history of PRONG?

TV: I thinks its one of the best ones, I mean it doesn’t have the cutting edge impact that Cleansing did where we were going in a new direction for heavy music in general. It isn’t anything ground breaking, but I think it’s up there in the quality of songs are up there with the best we’ve ever done. That was important for me. I wouldn’t know where to start to try to break any ground anymore, it seems like everything’s been done. So with that in mind, it was a matter of just getting the best songs we could possibly put together in reflection of the previous PRONG records, without going off in a complete different direction like we did with Scorpio Rising for instance. Where I think it failed, it wasn’t the right time. We didn’t work at it as hard. I just had a batch of songs I was just fooling around with. This wasn’t like that. This was much more intense. We put the work in and let the chips fall where they may. I feel this is one of the most hard working efforts I’ve ever done as far as PRONG goes. As far as anything really.

 

MAA: Carved In Stone has a lot more thrash feeling and a lot more lead guitar playing on it. Was that a conscious decision?

TV: It was conscious decision. I felt if the solos meant something or were designed properly, that was something I had the energy to work on. I was never been the kinda guy that practices and sits around figuring stuff out. It’s just been when I’m forced to do that like learning like with either MINISTRY: Mike Scaccia’s guitar parts or in DANZIG: with Glenn, John Christ and Todd Youth’s parts. I felt my chops got better. So I was able to do some solos that weren’t a bunch of noise or something that was completely off the cuff. I didn’t wanna do that. We had the option to design some solos that were precise that are actually part of the song, again. I wanted it to be a guitar record and a song record, rather then relying on haphazard routes like loops or other things to get more dynamics.

 

 

MAA: Between your work in DANZIG and MINISTRY would you say one or either have a reverse influence back to your work in PRONG?

TV: Not at all! PRONG is a completely different entity, it’s its own mindset. I don’t really listen to a hell of a lot of stuff. It all comes from the heart, really. I’m not out there scouring the charts or delving into countless hardcore metal records to find influences, I don’t have he energy to do that. I’m not being a snob, I just don’t have the time and energy to do that. I don’t want to do that or bring in any other project I’m involved in. I worked on the last two DANZIG records and Glenn has his own way of arranging stuff. Then with Al, I mentioned with his process, is highly computer oriented and I didn’t wanna do that either.

MAA: Where do you get your lyrical inspirations from?

TV: I think its in personal troubles and a way of coping. I try to find a way to deal with emotions. Then I have opinions too, so its a combination of those two things. There’s also some strict writing on this album, which is more like story lines. Like with the single, “Revenge Best Served Cold”, that is something completely outside. The title track also has a universal element to it where I feel there’s an external power that enables PRONG to still survive. Some outside force that is from the future, from the present and the past. Something paranormal. Then you get the angry ones like list of grievances. Then you have a song like “State of Rebellion”. I have a close friend who’s always talking politics with me. I try to leave these type of things to my songs a little bit. But when I’m hanging out or something I just don’t wanna hear about it. Let’s just ‘watch the game’ and shut the fuck up!’ That’s what that’s all about. I’m over it, ya know? I’m old school. I was brought up to never talk politics or religion with people. I’ve learned the hard way not to do that. (laughs) It’s not necessary.

 

Know your history.

 

MAA: Looking back did you know at the time that Beg To Differ and Prove You Wrong were going to influence so many other bands?

TV: For years I didn’t really see that. People have been saying that for a long time, its mainly people in the press. We’ve toured with younger bands, I don’t wanna name names, but the attitude we got was ‘Who the fuck are you guys?’ I mean completely unfamiliar with PRONG and didn’t like us. I almost feel like I’ve gotten more of that attitude out there then any congratulations. But on a personal side, I had to re-investigate the early PRONG records recently and I listened to Beg to Differ. I haven’t heard it in years! I was like ‘oh my god!’ How did this thing come about? It’s bizarre to me. I don’t know how that really came together like that. It’s like that song “Carved Into Stone”. It was something outside myself made that happen. I have not a clue! I wasn’t even really playing guitar that long when PRONG did that record. Its bizarre to me the things that go down. It wasn’t even calculated. On a personal level, I’m happy with the discography, but it’s not like I go down the street and people are ‘Oh Tommy!” I don’t hear it that much. It’s mainly press people, but other bands, they either don’t recognize it or they don’t know. If anything about the past, like when I was forced to re-investigate Beg To Differ, I just kinda of zap it into the void. Like anything in the past, I think everyone needs to do that, its like a personal psycho-therapy in a way. It’s all good. I don’t have any bitterness towards anything, maybe at one time I did. It’s been so worn out, I just have a different attitude about that stuff.

 

(Special thanks to Tommy Victor, PRONG and Freeman Promotions)

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

MNEMIC: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

May 30th, 2012

Just in time for the release of MNEMIC’s new album Mnemesis (Nuclear Blast), Metal Army America caught up with vocalist Guillaume “Frenchy” Bideau. Guillame was nice enough to answer some tough questions about the long layoff between albums, changes in the lineup of the band, concept albums and influences.

 

 

(Special thanks to Frenchy Bideau, MNEMIC and Nuclear Blast)

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: STORM CORROSION

June 1st, 2012

Storm Corrosion (Roadrunner)

 

Many years from now when nerds everywhere look back at the year 2012, they will fondly remember it for many things. Will it be remembered as the year for geek movies like The Avengers, Prometheus, and The Dark Knight Rises came out. IPhone 5 perhaps? Or maybe when Diablo 3 was released? The Facebook IPO? Nah. It will go down at the year MIKAEL ÅKERFELDT and STEVEN WILLSON put out their long teased about Storm Corrosion album. It sounds neither truly like OPETH or PORCUPINE TREE which were the groups that brought these great artists together. Nor does it sound too much like Wilson’s solo high quality work. While there are hints of the talents and styles of each titan, the blend of the two is something new, if not unexpected. It is definitely not the progressive rock masterpiece fans (amd I) have dreamed of and that likely is either a plus or a minus depending on your taste.

 

The album as a whole is more like a series of emotional peaks and valleys rather than the bombastic riff fests these two are better known for in their earlier, more metal-related careers. “Drag Ropes” begins as a somber affair sonically with some gentile keyboards and guitar. ÅKERFELDT’s chant like delivery of pastoral chords sets the table mysteriously. When Wilson’s voice comes in later it is magical. They contrast and compliment each other well as they have for years. There is also some interesting guitars that resemble neo-folk sounds almost like a movie sound track. In fact it does almost sound like the sound track to one of the past Diablo games. Trippy! Further along the music draws you into a mantra like chant like classic music cannons. Not only are these masterfully done parts of songs, the melody’s will stick with you for days. Some sparse drumming is provided by PORCUPINE TREE ace Gavin Harrison and the track fades back to the beginning after some interesting restrained guitar solo/synth parts. Overall the production is as neat and crisp as you could imagine from this pairing. The title track is next and even though is never gets beyond a hush volume wish, it can be described best as epic and jazzy. The lyrics are thoughtful and also as delicate as the performances. Wilson’s voice leads first with his partner in crime second. Their jazz harmonizing is on a special level. Wilson in particular shows off a surprising amount of soulfulness vocally without falling prey to a rote blues style that another might try. The guitar and keys interplay is again intricate and tasteful. There is a bit of early GENESIS/PINK FLOYD style music-concrete in the end of the track that adds some horror movie tension. “Hag” is almost like listening to two different songs A-B tested against each other. Åkerfeldts’ voice leads here and you have another piece that builds up into something special. From a eerie, creeping tone poem into a bit of a waltz the track definitely takes you out of yourself. You wonder what the faint laughter is about in the background. Fancy dinner party or insane asylum. You never know with these guys. “Happy” is anything but happy sounding. It is very sad and foreboding even with the la-Dee-dah vocalese at the end adding a ray of hopefulness. “Lock Howl” is an all instrumental piece that also sounds like the soundtrack with no movie. Without falling into a gallop beat, it definitely has the feeling of the road traveled, rhythmically and sonically. The final cut, “Ludjet Innan” is a spacial, shoe gazer that will even call to mind good 1980s Brit pop! More great guitar work and peaceful bass and drums. The tones just call to you with remnants of 60s and 70s psychedelic references. Although there is no ceiling on what these fellows can do, it is their stylistic and musical choices that really make this album a winner. It is about as far from metal as they can get collectively. But if you, like them, love great song writing and story telling, this album is for you.

 

STORM CORROSION- Men at work. Photo by Naki Kouyioumtzis © 2012

 

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: FEAR FACTORY

June 4th, 2012

The Industrialist (Candlelight)

 

FEAR FACTORY have managed to remain one of the most original and endearing bands for better than twenty years and it hasn’t been through luck. The bands’ temerity to survive in the face of many up and downs within the band and with in the music industry as a whole has been remarkable. The main appeal of the band, besides the music, has been the ability to tell stories full of drama and context. In a world softened by the convenience of incredible technology, somehow never respecting the inherent danger that comes with it, the band has been a commentator on humankind’s potential folly. Continuing the man versus machine theme they have explored on every release, The Industrialist is the most fully developed story the band has ever produced and it is a great platform for the compelling music that comes with it.

Starting off with the title track, there is a noticeable difference sonically between 2010′s Mechanize album and this new release. Mechanize was thrashy and had solid songs, but was missing something for me in the mortar that held it together. This album sounds like the classic FEAR FACTORY sound albums from the 1990s. That is pretty weird to even type that since I am a huge fan of Raymond Herrera, who is still not part of the the current incarnation of the band. I have felt like his absence was hard to overcome in general. Perhaps in an attempt at getting back to the pure essence of the music, DINO CAZARES and his collaborator John Sankey (DEVOLVED) programmed all of the drums, bringing in some of the original essence of the style. GENE HOGLAN fans, please don’t send me hate mail, I love “The Atomic” clock as much as anyone. I just felt he wasn’t the right fit for the band. It’s more about power over precision, but it does make a difference in their sound. On the album the beats are punishing and fit perfectly with Dino’s patented superhuman, staccato down-picked riffs. The first song also sets the table for the story, masterfully laid out with BURTON C. BELL’s brutal vocal performance and harbinger of doom lyrics. The overall story is not so new, but as far as recurring themes go you can’t go wrong with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming sentient and then trying to eradicate its masters. “Recharger” is another slice of primo, old school FF. Cutting riffs, sinister beats and crafty keyboard work set the stage while Bell shreds his vocal lines. The chorus is great, and Bell reminds us how he was one of the originators of modern metal singing, switching up his brutality and adding melody with ease. The bands’ secret weapon is also back on board in Rhys Fulber (FRONT LINE ASEMBLY), who is as integral in the producer’s chair as one can be. “New Messiah” is just a beast of a song. It could have come out at any time in the bands’ career and has some insanely good riffs in it. It’s almost a breath of fresh air in this day and age to hear this track with its great synth work, key changes and dynamic chorus parts. When Bell screams “Future. Begins. Now.” you really feel the passion and pain of his delivery. This will be a great song to hear live. “God Eater” moves the story along dramatically with an eerie keyboard/guitar riff that may be partly inspired by one of the greatest horror themes ever. Even if it wasn’t a conscious nod, it definitely fills your ears with dread. “Depraved Mind Murder” sounds like the late 1990′s version of the band, unrelenting and harsh. “Virus of Faith” delivers more of the same vitriol and punch as earlier tracks. This cut also has some of Dino’s best stop on a dime rhythms, another key to his unique style. Other top tracks include “Difference Engine”, and “Disassemble”. This is definitely the best album under their moniker since Archetype (even if they won’t acknowledge that) and certainly right in line with the bands finer work from their heyday. I suddenly have the urge to watch a The Matrix Trilogy marathon and you will too!

 

Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares: Together stronger than all.

GRADE: B+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

CANDLEMASS: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 4th, 2012

After listening to the phenomenal Psalms For The Dead, I decided to hit up Leif Edling to discuss what the future holds for the band as it’s been said that this will be their final album. Read on to find out more.

 

 

 

MAA: So first off, I just heard the new album and I must say it was phenomenal. Was it intentional that you guys kept an overly classic tone that is reminiscent of the late 80’s/early 90’s or did it just come out naturally?

LE: We tried to make an album that didn’t sound like Death Magic Doom. We knew we couldn’t/shouldn’t copy that one so it aimed for a classic touch for the final CANDLEMASS album.

 

MAA: I read that you guys won’t be splitting up, but that you won’t be making anymore albums. What exactly does this mean? Will you still be playing live?

LE: Yeah…we will be concentrating on the live shows in the future. We can’t just keep on recording and recording…we have nothing left to prove so this is the last one.

 

MAA: Are there any future tours or one off shows in line for CANDLEMASS? Is there anything special you plan to do as a send off?

LE: We will play some shows this summer. There will be a small tour with Angelwitch in the autumn. I’m sure there will be plenty of shows next year and the year after that. Then it’s the 30th anniversary….

 

 

MAA: So what was the 25th anniversary of Epicus Doomicus Metallicus like? Tell us a bit about what you guys did and how you prepared for it.

LE: We rehearsed alot before the shows and Johan did a great job I think. We played in Stockholm, Roadburn, Athens and on the 70 000 tons of metal cruise. Fantastic gigs. Such amazing reception!!

 

MAA: I know that Doomology was released only a couple years ago, but there are some rumors that there are still unreleased tracks. Is this true? What are (if any) future plans for CANDLEMASS releases?

LE: More tracks? We just released a 5 cd collection of unreleased stuff! Should be enough to keep everybody happy for a long time I think! I’m sure there will be a dvd from the “Psalms” tour, but after that I don’t know.

 

MAA: So what’s the status on KRUX? Do you plan on bringing them back live since CANDLEMASS will be on semi-hiatus?

LE: Well… KRUX just released an album 6 months ago and CANDLEMASS will still be active, so I don’t think there’s need for another album with any of the bands for a long time. Both bands are playing live. You’re not rid of me just yet :)

 

MAA: Are there any other musical projects that you will be a part of in the coming years?

LE: Have no idea. I will be busy with CANDLEMASS so I don’t have any other projects planned. I know there’s talk about a C-mass documentary but so far it’s just discussions.

 

MAA: To address the elephant in the room, what is the reason behind CANDLESMASS’ hiatus? Will there be any chance of studio albums in the future?

LE: No more studio albums, but lots and lots of gigs for as long as we enjoy ourselves. We love to play and we love this band, so there’s definitely a chance you’ll see us soon at a festival or in a club not too far away.

 

By Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: ROYAL THUNDER

June 6th, 2012

CVI (Relapse)

 

Female fronted hard rock band ROYAL THUNDER break out of the Atlanta metal scene with their full length album debut CVI (Roman numeral 106). They formed in 2007 and released a seven song EP in late 2009. The four piece group has a bluesy, psychedelic feel to them that garner them comparisons to LED ZEPPELIN and BLACK SABBATH. Many of CVI’s tracks are haunting and possess the doom that both of those legendary bands had earlier in their careers. This correlation suggests that ROYAL THUNDER have a long career ahead of them.

I was instantly drawn in by the opening track “Parsonz Curse”. The title is clever and humorous because the singer/bassist’s name is Mlny Parsonz. In a sense, Parsonz places a curse on the listener of not being able to resist falling in love with her voice. This is the song that reminded me the most of early SABBATH’s sound of doom and ended being my favorite of the album. Some other tracks that stuck out to me are “Blue”, “Sleeping Witch”, and “South of Somewhere”. The two things I loved about “Blue” were the background vocals and the jam-like feeling to it. It reminded me of some Zeppelin tunes because of the way Parsonz sings throughout the track and the way she phrases her words. “Sleeping Witch” is the only song on the album that also appeared on the 2009 EP. The song sounds similar to THE MOODY BLUES’ “Nights in White Satin” and has that slightly eerie feel to it. At around the 1:50 mark though, it crashes into becoming a heavier tune. Finally, “South of Somewhere” captured my attention because it started with the sound of wind chimes; an interesting way for a hard rock band to begin a song. The guitars in the sound are similar to the ones heard on the last MASTODON album The Hunter. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that both bands come from the same area/scene.

Overall, I really enjoyed the album. The songs are of various lengths and although many exceed the five minute mark, none feel too long. No two songs are the same but that doesn’t mean they don’t all belong on the album. They flow together quite nicely and the listener never feels bored. I believe we can expect great things from ROYAL THUNDER in the future.

 

GRADE: B+

by Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: THE CORY SMOOT EXPERIMENT

June 5th, 2012

When Worlds Collide (Metal Blade Records)

 

 


The late Cory Smoot A.K.A. Flattus Maximus recently passed away while on tour with GWAR in late 2011. But before he passed away, he recorded an album that was originally titled Religion Is Fiction. The album was going to have notable singers from the Richmond, VA metal scene doing vocals on different songs, but due to scheduling conflicts, he ended up recording all vocals himself and renaming it When Worlds Collide.

Right away, you can hear the awesome riff fest this album will offer in the initial shredding on “The Blood Red.” It’s a straight up heavy metal track, with slight elements of groove thrown in. The initial verse sections are reminiscent of late 90’s/early 2000’s heavy metal (no I’m not talking about nu-metal) in terms of how the music is written. One thing that makes this track stand most of the others is the awesome quality and originality of the riffs provided.

Sure to become a favorite among the metal community, “Religion Is Fiction” is a groove metal masterpiece. While it’s really short at only two and a half minutes, the guitar riff that’s played throughout the song is another excellent example of Cory’s uniqueness with his song writing. Another notable aspect is that he basically keeps the same riff throughout the song, but implements different patterns to make it a completely badass track.

If there’s one song that has the closest relation to GWAR, it would definitely be “Mandatory Purgatory.” From the song title alone one can get the correlation, but after hearing the semi-thrash metal song and the lyrics to the song, you can immediately see it. Dave Brockie lends some vocals on this track as well, which helps explain the similarities even more.

Overall, after listening to this awesome album, it stands as the perfect swansong for Cory Smoot.

RIP Cory, thanks for the excellent memories.

GRADE: A

By: Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: NACHTBLUT

June 6th, 2012

Dogma (Napalm Records)

When I first heard the genre term dark metal, I wasn’t really sure of what to expect. Maybe a black metal/gothic blend of music. Instead, I guess you can classify dark metal as a blend of gothic/symphonic heavy metal with evil and menacing black metal-style vocals. Overall, this isn’t a bad genre and I’m now a fan of something new.

I only wish I could understand the lyrics, but the opening track “Dogma” is a good sneak peek as to what the album itself holds in store. After a more uplifting symphonic opening, it gets more gloomy when Askeroth starts with a truly evil sounding line. The music has a deep and somber overtone, but I feel that the symphonic elements don’t exactly match the core of the band. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad in any way, but it’s a lot different than what’s out there today.

With a much bigger atmosphere than the previous track, “Der Weg Ist Das Ziel” is slightly slower to allow more room for the orchestral elements to shine forth beyond the guitars and drums. It’s got some catchy guitar riffs that are pretty dang heavy, but not a whole lot of progression to be heard. Askeroth has such excellent shrieks and screams that serves as the strongest point of this band by far.

Going for a more synthy approach, “Mordlust” has a lot of it compared to the other tracks. The vocals are also stepped up with this track as well. They are belted out faster than the tracks preceding this one. The orchestral elements are almost non-existent in this track, which proves to be a welcome change of pace. It’s my personal favorite on the album.

This album is for anyone that is open minded to a lot of different genres to mix together. Not for the faint of heart.

 

 

GRADE: B

by Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

KAI HANSEN: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 5th, 2012

Metal Army America caught up with heavy metal legend KAI HANSEN to talk about his new project, UNISONIC. The group reunites Hansen with his former HELLOWEEN band mate/singer MICHAEL KISKE for the first time in twenty-five years as a writing partner. Their debut, self-titled album is out in America after being released this spring in Europe and Japan and is a must have for fans of old-school heavy metal, power metal and rock. KAI was very gracious with his time and covered a lot of ground with us, so it was a really fun interview.

 

 

 

 

 

(Special thanks to KAI HANSEN, Earsplit PR and Eagle Rock Entertainment)

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes.

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: MARYLAND DEATHFEST X- DAY 1

June 6th, 2012

Preshow Power And Violence: Thursday

I’m sure I have now experienced something like the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca or a trip to Africa. It was hot, dirty, dangerous, and invigorating all the same. You feel like home in that place, even if the road and destination are fraught with potential dangers and complications. Those things don’t matter when you’re at Maryland Deathfest, because if you can simply sit in the parking lot and still have a blast just watching all the interesting people walk by and talk to those who are either tanked, injured, stoned, or just that special kind of crazy. So before I actually delve into the bands that played, since I only had a 3-day pass, I’m gonna ramble about my experiences just being there.

Let me just state for the record that if you’re at all interested in Punk, Metal, Hardcore, or any of their various offshoots, this is a trek you need to make at least once while it’s still happening. Baltimore is a beautiful city, though the people in it are all nutter buggers, so try not to get raped, stabbed, or dragged into the wrong party is all I can say. Get there while it lasts, because while there is a low risk for a murder or serious injury, I’m sure that the non-rock’n'roll folks in Baltimore would love little more than to see crazy bullet belt Satan worshipping spikey brats not crawling around their town one weekend a year. Though I must question how they haven’t wised up to the fact that every year for the last 10 years, there’s been some huge gathering of Rock’n'Roll kids in their town, and still have to ask what we’re doing. I blame it on widespread amnesia and easy access to crack. The further down south you go, the more lit up the adult video stores are, and your chances of running into a legitimate Red Light District, complete with a Hustler Club, increase exponentially. It’s a bit refreshing to see that the sordid underbelly is not quite the underbelly, but exoskeleton of everyday life in this city. With one or two murders a day, a city’s definitely got to show unwary travelers the places they’d like to skirt around.

 

As for the atmosphere of Baltimore at the time, just seeing so many people in a city at once who at least shared something in common with me was probably one of the most unreal experiences I’ve yet to take in. Just being able to stand outside the Sheraton where I was staying and be able to stumble across gaggles of people who shared musical interest without having to look very far is something that must be seen to be believed. Being only a few blocks away from the epicentre of a common goal of enjoying yourself and some of the finest music to grace this blasted blue ball was a gift that was worth way more than the $150 admission. You had your long-haired Metalheads wearing the usual black shirt and random pants, your Thrashers with the bent back bills, bullet belts and patch jackets, Black Metallers with insane jackets blanketed in Satanic filth, fuzzy Crusties with their dogs and shirts that they seem to have worn down to a fine sheet of bare cotton, dogs left unattended by the aforementioned crusties, old school Metal/Punk dudes that had seen it all since before many of us even learned to draw breath, people that didn’t even appear on the outside to be into metal or punk, a guy in a chicken suit, etcetera etfuckencetera. I really need to go to this more often, it’s just phenomenal how many different crowds come together without the animosity that occurs at your random local gigs.

On Thursday, I simply sat outside the Sonar, nothing more, just drank in all the different people and whatever they were wearing or not wearing. I talked to people from my town, people from Chi-Town, people from all over the damn place, all with their own unique look and feel, all with backstories and unique tastes. From the Mexican punk kids covered in patches from all the spectres of politically dissenting simplicity, to the guys who showed up in little more than a Metal t-shirt and jeans but were still fascinating, to PowerDave, the insaniac of a retro Thrasher, you got a vibrant rainbow of people to hang out with. Watching the front doors of the Sonar never gets tiring, with people flooding in and out constantly, with things to say about every band, be they good or bad. I hear AGALLOCH absolutely killed it, and EYEHATEGOD were no slobs either, having played “Sister Fucker” loud enough to hear clearly from the lot across the street. I’ve heard no reports about the other bands, nor do I care, because if I wasn’t there, I can pretend it never happened and be happier that way.

Post-show parties never failed to bring in some interesting people, whether it was them doing coke, bringing some herbal remedies, or brew fit for kings, it was a nightly sampler of indulgence good for the soul. Be careful, however, to find your limits. I’m going to stay as far back from mine as possible, so as to avoid blacking out and not remembering the wicked dumb things I say the next day and having to clean up after myself alone. Despite a few technicolor hiccups on Wednesday night, all went well in the Bacchanal celebrations of Metal might.

by Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: KREATOR

June 17th, 2012

Phantom Antichrist (Nuclear Blast)

 

Proving that they get better with age, long-running German thrashers KREATOR are back with a kick ass new album. It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise to most observers since the band has been one of the most consistent bands of any group to come out of the early 80s that are still kicking around. For most of their thirty years in the business, they have been a leading light of the global thrash metal movement and we don’t that too lightly here at Metal Army. These guys are not going through the motions. They are at a creative peak and actually still write meaningful, killer, heavy music.

Kicking off album number thirteen with a calm intro, the track gives way to a regal, rocking announcement fit for an army. “Mars Mantra + Phantom Antichrist” is in typical form for KREATOR: a smoking lead off track that you envision them opening up a concert with. You can just picture them just laying the crowd to waste with this song. Mille Petrozza is ageless as a riff master and a vocalist. Riffs that sound classic and fresh at the same time will definitely resonate with the listener. Lyrically, Mille is also in typically great form. When 75% of the lyricists in metal show little artistry, context or poetry in their words, Petrozza doesn’t need to lean on obvious choices to express himself. Whether its rebellion, politics or controversial issues, KREATOR always has concise, anthemic words to sing/scream along with that are crystal clear. The combination of all of these things makes for a masterful table setter for the rest of the album.

“Death To the World” may have a meat and potatoes title, but the song behind it is massively clever. Great, aggressive riffs and melodies topped off by cool beats make this another standout early track. There is a cool breakdown and a fiery solo followed by a great harmony-lead part by Petrozza and Sami Yli-Sirniö. “From Flood Into Fire” switches things up with a cool half-time power groove beat to nod your head to. The album is full of sick grooves, which only serves to make the thrash parts that much better. Other than a brief, chilled out interlude, the song crushes big time. They is a sweet guitar solo in it too, the kind you’ve come to expect from this band. “Civilization Collapse” is so harsh across the board; it might be the album’s best song. Great songwriting and inspiring choices musically. “United In Hate” starts of with a deceptive classical guitar piece before unleashing holy blazing hell. Shredding solos, right-hand down-picked riffs and machine gun double-pedal work by Ventor Reil make it work. Ventor keeps getting better album after album. Another strong track is “The Few, The Proud and The Broken”. Superb melodic guitar lines, a marching drum pattern and more great sing-along chorus parts. There is even a slightly prog-rock break down at one point that is a neat left turn for your ear. Mille continues to astound! Key and tempos changes, shifting solos and top of the line playing make this a can’t miss. It’s almost like the kind of song you wish some of the older thrash metal bands from the 80′s were still writing. “Your Heaven My Hell” introduces some moody dynamics and vocals with smooth walking bass lines by Christian Geisler. This is all before the big chorus explodes and the song kicks into another gear entirely. “Victory Will Come” is another fast jam, tailor made for the circle pit, while the album closer “Until Our Paths Cross Again” is another mini-epic full of a range of emotions. This album is among the best work of the band, not just in this era, but in their entire history.

 

KREATOR in 2012: still making essential albums.

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes.

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: WESTERN MASSACRE

June 18th, 2012

Freedom Through Violence (Self-Released)

 

One of the reasons metal is one of the most vital forms of music is that the permutations of sub-genres is never ending. The seed of a new style often begins as a kernel of an idea in one kid’s mind, sitting in his room wood-shedding. From there bands form around incorporating new approaches to existing ideas and influences to craft new music. Such is the case with WESTERN MASSACRE and their delivery which is described as “death groove”. The brutality of CANNIBAL CORPSE and JUNGLE ROT mixed with the mood and attitude of PANTERA, LAMB OF GOD or SEPULTURA is what we found on their full length Freedom Through Violence.

From the first notes of “Steel Casket” one thing is clear, these guys can bring the heaviness. Harsh guttural vocals fill your ears with dread while down-tuned riffs pummel your brain. Not only does this song have great sense of rhythm, but has a melo-death influence that many of the bands coming out of the Massachusetts scene tend to have. The band is as unrelenting musically as they are catchy, as proven by the hints PANTERA-esque southern licks that pop up here and there. Guitarists Kyle Leary and Chad Hoag shred all day long and will give the guitar geeks much to talk about. The second track “Brazilian Carnival” brings more of the same wrought iron chords and savage beats. Drummer Jeff Greene does a nice job behind the kit of blending his syncopated, off-time hits and fills with his impressive double bass work. For a band to make this match of styles work and be tight, the drummer has to hold it down and Greene does so at all times. Vocalist Matt Lentner seems like he’s gonna tear his own throat out on occasion, channeling Satan with is crazy high screams. The end of the song has a mosh part/outro solo/last riff motif is one that many bands would envy writing. “Facelift” starts off with more of the tough-guy mosh parts, but then adds this unique textural guitar theme that blew me away. From there you get a straight ahead face melter worthy of most modern metal bands. Once again you have two guys on guitar praying to the alter of DIMEBAG DARRELL at times with inventive playing, and slick ear candy. “Roadhouse” sounds like the bastard child of LoG and a beastly deathcore band, complete with sick blast-beats and scream along chorus. To change things up a bit “Blood and Stone” opens with a solid thrash riff, before transforming all HULK-like into a brutal deathcore song. Even bassist Nate Larsen gets to step out of his supporting role and throw down some tasty riffs. Next comes their eponymous song, full of galloping riffs and blind raging fury. Other top tracks on the album include “Defector” and the final song which is the epic title track. By cleverly writing original songs with this much brutality and flavor, this is a band we will be hearing from for a long time. You can buy their album from their website here.

WESTERN MASSACRE-Killer music makers.

GRADE: B+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: WHITECHAPEL

June 19th, 2012

Whitechapel (Metal Blade Records)

Enter the third chapter of WHITECHAPEL with the brand new self-titled album. While the last two albums were pretty much strictly brutal deathcore and Somatic Defilement being a grind album, this album sees the band venturing into melodic death metal territory while still retaining the extremely heavy deathcore elements that have made them such a big name in music today. From the piano driven opener of “Make It Bleed” and the melodic sections of “(Cult)uralist,” to the conclusion of “Possibilities Of An Impossible Existence,” this album captures the band at their intense peak that most (myself included) thought they couldn’t top after A New Era Of Corruption.

With “Make It Bleed,” they use a vastly different template than before. There are a lot of guitar solos that all create a dark and somber mood, which plays off of the aggressive parts of Phil Bozeman’s intense vocals and Ben Savage’s technical guitar leads. Everything just sounds much more cleaner and refined than ever before, partly due to the addition of new drummer Ben Harclerode (ex-KNIGHTS OF THE ABYSS) behind the kit. His playing is very different from Kevin Lane’s as he progresses between the different sections of each song like it’s nothing.

There are so many highlights on the album that it’s near difficult to pick favorites. One of them would have to be “I, Dementia.” This track is easily the heaviest track on the album and one of the few that is pure deathcore. But just saying that it’s deathcore doesn’t properly give it the room it deserves because it’s nothing like they’ve written before. It can be added that it goes at more of a doom metal tempo as well. While the progression isn’t near as experimental as the other tracks, this proves the point that sometimes less is truly better. It never hurts to have a more minimal and straightforward track like this one that is sure to be a live staple in their future.

Another real stand out track is definitely “Dead Silence.” This track further instills this new era of Whitechapel that will be cemented in metal history forever. This is where the instruments play center stage and throw the listener into a cataclysm of sound. When the three guitars all seamlessly play brutal and intense riffs alongside the dedication of Ben’s drumming, it shows that not only did this band record the best album they’ve ever done, they are serious about it. You can just feel the emotion through the insane riffs alone. While Phil did nothing short of a stellar job, this song has enough strength to be a full on instrumental track.

GRADE: A+

By: Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: ARCHITECTS (UK)

June 20th, 2012

Daybreaker (Century Media Records)

One thing that sets ARCHITECTS (UK)’s new album Daybreaker apart from the others right off the bat is the upgraded level of technical riffs. It still has that old school hardcore meets modern metalcore edge, but with a dose of SiKth added in. “Alpha Omega” is a prime example in this, with the composition of how the riffs are arranged and played. This entire album is a huge step up in terms of song writing. The experimentation that must have took place for these recording sessions must have been a lot of fun.

The melodic parts are better than before. Sam’s clean vocals are much more in tune on the new album, but his screams seem a bit lacking on the first few songs. “Daybreak” is a better example of his screams than the first few, sounding as though they come out more naturally without much exertion force. To scream like that makes everything sound much better. The music is straight metalcore until you get to two thirds of the way in, which goes off into a slightly atmospheric transition that is unlike anything they’ve really done before.

This album really isn’t my cup of tea, but I can see all of the good things this album represents. But overall, this album is balls to the wall metalcore with a few moments of outside elements that completely throws off the balance of the aggression, such as the track “Even If You Win, You’re Still A Rat.” Give it a listen and check them out. If you’re into metalcore, then this is the album for you.

GRADE: B-

By: Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: IHSAHN

June 19th, 2012

Eremita (Candlelight)

 

Delivering his fourth solo album, former EMPEROR front man IHSAHN continues to defy both convention and in some cases his legion of fans. Admitting that he has long left the confines of traditional metal, black metal or other types of music, his vision allows him an outlet of total artistic freedom. Naturally some fans pine for the glory days of old when he led EMPEROR through their ground breaking career, shaping the genre of Norwegian Black Metal for legions of admirers and imitators. Then again, if you have made it this far with him you know the music coming from this man is not just unpredictable, it is down right impossible to categorize.

 

“Arrival” kicks off the proceedings with the sounds of shovels being dragged on the ground, possibly in a graveyard or a roadside quarry. Launching into the song, you are met by a driving rock beat and some interesting choppy rhythm guitars. IHSAHN’s initial vocal stylings are indeed the howling, blackened madness of old and it made me smile to hear it. Keyboards augment the riffs greatly and when the chorus hits, Einar Solberg of prog metallers LEPROUS takes over. His voice soars over a glorious melody and compliments IHSAHN greatly when they sing together, IHSAHN covering the lower register. This is one of several great collaborations on the album like DEVIN TOWNSEND and JEFF LOOMIS. The song also features a terrific, trademark shredding solo from the master as well. Drummer Tobias Ørnes Andersen helps keep the beats hectic pace up, but under control. “The Paranoid” again, strikes high on the heavy meter with spiraling licks and blast-beats. These chaotic moments are tempered with occasional moments of gentle guitar interludes in the style of classic progressive rock. The riffs are stout and definitely rough enough for most metal fans. The chorus is a neat little slice of melodic heaven, with great vocals punctuated by poetic lyrics. “Introspection” sounds like its title and is a slowed down, contemplative piece at first. You are lulled into a false sense of peace before the crushing second verse and pre-chorus comes in with alternating death vocals and clean singing parts, provided expertly by DEVIN TOWNSEND. The combination of these two leading lights of the genre is terrific. As a singer and a great instrumentalist in his own right, there is little IHSAN cannot achieve and this proves it. “The Eagle And The Snake” also touches on many styles. Jorgen Munkeby (SHINING) lends his saxophone to the rhythm section, giving musical brass balls to the chords. Shirting in and out of dynamic changes in an instant the entire track is an emotional workout. There is a breakdown, complete with sax solo that is mind blowing. Bringing things down a notch and falling into a chill, but heavy groove is “Catharsis”. A great mid-album break from the mania of the other songs. “Something Out There” reverses that feeling and is borderline insane. Death metal, tech death, prog and even jazz influences all collide to create a unique track that still works as a song. Key and tempo changes abound. After a short interlude ,“Grief” comes “The Grave”. Although “The Grave” holds many of IHSAHN’s more modern musical aspects in it, it is ungodly harsh and the most “black metal” sounding track he has done in a while. It is so grim and sad, that it is bound to make the old school fans smile (when no one is looking) under their corpse paint. It is no surprise that themes on the album touch on life, death and coping with loss since Nietzsche on the album cover. “Departure” closes the album out with a sweeping, heavy and majestic track fully of little surprises. Not the least of which is IHSAHN’s wife Heidi S. Tveiten (STAROFASH/IHRIEL/HARDINGROCK/PECCATUM) who’s vocal turn is revelatory. The deluxe edition includes the track “Recollection.”  This album does not just comprise the new work of an old master, but another chapter in his ever rising legacy.

 

IHSAHN: Still one of the most powerful forces in heavy music.

GRADE: A+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: DYING FETUS

June 19th, 2012

Reign Supreme (Relapse)

 

In a perfect world DYING FETUS would be a much bigger band than they are. Granted they didn’t pick a moniker when they were starting out based on commercial viability. Still, I used to get mad years ago when I would meet some fellow metal heads and they didn’t know this band to be one of the leaders of all of death metal. In the years that have passed since then DYING FETUS has continued to stay consistent and make great music, despite having to watch other bands rise in popularity, headline festivals and sell more records. Not that the band gives two shits about that either. They just do what they do year after year: they make some of the best, most brutal music on the planet.

 

I first heard “Invert The Idols” on the bands’ spring tour and it blew me away with it’s sick musician ship and speed. Consider this is one of the best bands in the genre and fast what they do naturally, and that prior statements gets some context. Right off the bat the production sounds miles better than their last album, which sounded pretty good. The drums sit in the pocket with all the sick vocals while guitar and bass sound evenly balanced and clear. Many death metal bands prefer crude production, but I have always appreciate that the FETUS guys are musicians who care about the how their albums sound. The opening sweep picking riff will take the wind out of you while you try to process it. The song is blisteringly fast and over in a blink at just over two minutes. Similarly “Subject to a Beating” is another mind-blowing blast-beat laden romp. This time both John Gallagher and Sean Beasley share the vocal leads and compliment each other like never before. They both veer back and forth between the growled indecipherable vocals and then clearer, understandable ones. Mostly, they use their voices as extra instruments like many vocalists in the style. Some of the riffs on the album pack in all types of scales and licks performed with a precision not usually possible at these inhuman speeds. Prog is not a word I tend to think of when discussing this band, but there are definite proggy moments on this album. As a trio they have never backed down from being great players. “Second Skin” is another fast crusher that has elements of music beyond standard death metal styles. This album has some excellent groove parts on it too, which the band hasn’t over-used like just about every other band. “From Womb to Waste” begins with what is surely the sample of 2012: “It’s not my fault I’m pregnant and I love drugs. Who cares? Fuck the baby. Let it die!”. The grinding beat of the song and the mean riffs give it a sinister, eerie effect. Drummer Trey Williams has been at the forefront of death drummers for ages, but doesn’t often get mentioned in the year end lists. He is tight at any tempo and whether it is using choice fills on slow beats or insanely fast parts, he is as strong on record as he is live. “Dissidence” sounds awesome with its manic opening and both vocalists unleashing a howling scream. The song is more like a classic FETUS cut, when they were a little more hardcore influenced (don’t you dare call it deathcore). I love the head-nodding beat and the straight up chord changes too. “In the Trenches” is similar to start out with a straight a head chug. Gallagher puts together one of the best guitar performances of any album this year. “Devout Atrocity” again makes with the acrobatic riffs and scales. The fact that Beasley not only can keep up, but holds his own in the bass department is admirable. There is a neat stomp-groove part that recalls both OBITUARY and BOLT THROWER at one point, both key influences on the band. Gallagher opens “Revisionist Past” with a sick lead guitar solo before the preposterous tempo kicks in and the song becomes a gnarly blur. I can’t wait to see the YouTube videos popping up for bands trying to play this one! The final song is “The Blood Of Power” and is a fitting end to such a great album. The song has bits of everything that makes them great, including more stellar axe work. Underrated no more, DYING FETUS has ascended the mantle of the greats of death metal, whether the average fan knows it or not.

 

If you are still sleeping on DYING FETUS, just kill yourself.

 

GRADE: A+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: CHELSEA GRIN

June 20th, 2012

Evolve – (Artery Recordings)

 

CHELSEA GRIN, a deathcore outing from the land where fun goes to die (also known as SLC, Utah), has grown (in)famous since their Cesarian section birth in 2007, which divided the Extreme music listening world in two camps: Those who loved CHELSEA GRIN and dug their chugtastic formula, and those who wished an untimely death upon GAZA’s fellow townsmen. I remained impartial, since they haven’t proved themselves worthy of capital punishment, just court jesters in the realm of Deathcore. Boasting two albums and an EPs all in 5 years leads to a lot of rushing, recycling and no time to actually, y’know, write good songs. A challenger by the name of Jason Richardson, hailing from Progressive Deathcore contemporaries BORN OF OSIRIS has joined the ranks, playing guitar better than Ziggy. Could this be the redemption this band needs to go from drab to fab? Could the title of this EP be a  sign that they’re done writing the same breakdown over and over, and are willing to push their limits to uncomfortable, but ballsy places? Let’s begin, and mind your head.

The Second Coming” opens up with some cheesy strings, and a breakdown that sounds as though it was written for BORN OF OSIRIS’ newest release, The Discovery. In fact, the keys, synth accents, and twinkles that decorate the breakdowns like hood ornaments on a tank are telltale signs that Mr. Richardson had a lot of say in how this album was written. It’s almost a note-for-note clone of something that came from BORN OF OSIRIS’ more forgettable tunes, but that’s still a major step up for CG, who were once content to write the wimpiest breakdowns known to deathcore. Speaking of breakdowns, I’d be a fool not to mention that those have actually improved vastly. Where they were once monotonous interrupted chugging, on this track they allow more room for the low end to come in and provide punch. I always said CG would be better if they wrote heavier breakdowns at least. Maybe they read my Christmas letters.

Up next is the track that was released as a promotional tidbit to get everyone excited, “Lilith“. Having heard this when it came out, my feelings were mixed, as this track starts out directly aping their peers SUICIDE SILENCE in every arena, from the vocals to the tempo of the riff and drums that kicks in at about 50 seconds. It’s a bit of a drop in quality for the time being, until Alex’s clean vocals came in. Yes, you heard that right, and if you hadn’t already checked it out, do so at once. Like their pals in ALL SHALL PERISH, BRING ME THE HORIZON, and EMMURE, they’ve decided to break the vocal monochromaticism and inject some soul. Surprisingly enough, they’re not too bad, and the sweep behind them is well written, and not stolen from an earlier song, like so many of them are. Overall, they were wise to put this track out first, even if it doesn’t display the proficiency they keep locked away tighter than a Mormon virginity.

S.H.O.T.” immediately opens with a jumpdafuckup, proving old habits die hard. Shortly after that nonsense they come back to the BORN OF OSIRIS worship, only to run headfirst into another everybody-fuckin’-bounce, and repeat as needed for pain. CHELSEA GRIN have always liked to tease with being able to play their instruments but then subsequently ignite a bro mosh. This track toggles from melodic technical noodling to wifebeater chugs. Take my pick as to which I liked better.

The opening breakdown to “Confession” sounds like it was written for them by a collaboration between No Time To Bleed-era SUICIDE SILENCE and OCEANO. Pure laziness takes the stage here with some left/right trade-offs and a of sweeping behind the plainly bored breakdown. Following that is what I swear is a splice from the beginning riff of AFTER THE BURIAL’s “Berzerker”, and then another uninspired frat boy chug. Remember, kids, CHELSEA GRIN are actually decent musicians, they’re just part of this ADHD generation. I’m only reviewing an EP, but it feels like that moment in the middle of an album where the band seems painted in a corner of their own good ideas. Vocalist Alex’s vocals aren’t usually particularly good, but it feels like he’s half-assing this song. I can practically hear them phoning in their lunch order by the end.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is CHELSEA GRIN’s pop song (quite literally), and once again, we’ve made The Discovery our main course, gentlemen, and women. Can’t forget the women, that’d be sexist. From this track I get an odd J-Rock vibe, namely bands like D’ESPAIRSRAY and PHANTASMAGORIA, as well as that of a Christcore band by the name of FOR TODAY when they start getting hymnal. It gets a bit repetitive at around the 3 and a half minute mark and if it were shorter, it’d be a perfect celebration of their… evolution. After that is a remix of “The Human Condition”, which is a track I never particularly cared for, and if anything it just sounds even worse, so not exactly essential listening. I suspect they only threw it in so the album would end on a heavier note, but sometimes, like the time honoured sport of coitus, it’s better to go out soft.

THE VERDICT: Ripping off others more talented are in their field and stumbling on gold is what some do best. Just ask Jim Theis.

Thug Lyfe.

 

GRADE: B
By Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese
Bookmark and Share

THE METAL ARMY DEBATE: RELIGION IN METAL

June 20th, 2012

Welcome to the newest feature here at Metal Army America, one we’re really excited about! Two of our esteemed writers will tackle a controversial subject in metal and debate each side of an argument. Each topic will be examined like an experiment, analyzed philosophically and pontificated on like …..like a pontiff! (Editor’s note: bad pun intended, sorry.) Well, maybe if that pontiff was Papa Emeritus of GHOST! A thoughtful debate between Metal Army America writers on topics concern metal music, its culture and the fans is what we are aiming for. These debates won’t always be as simple as pro versus con since issues like these are rarely cut and dry. Our hope is you will read these blogs and join in the conversation (respectfully, always) with us here in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

And…. here….. we….. go!

 

RELIGION AND METAL:

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes: I have always been fascinated with the role religion plays in music, specifically metal. BLACK SABBATH was really the first band I learned of as a child who exploited people’s fears of religion in their music. This was pretty potent to the listener when their use of the tri-tone (“The Devil’s note”) was heard in their first recorded notes ever,  gave birth to metal. They had songs about Witchcraft and Satanism, while constantly warning against the false righteousness of the other side. Original black metal bands like VENOM and CELTIC FROST were outwardly evil sounding and promoted The Devil as the enemy of normal society, and the prowess of the occult over anything else. This has influenced everything that has happened in heavy music in the last thirty years.

American bands like EXODUS, SLAYER and POSSESED were the next generation bands to reference it heavily, often pitting Christianity against metal as a whole. Most of the old-school death metal bands, when they weren’t fixated on gore, were quite blasphemous (hats off to you DEATH & GLEN BENTON!). Being anti-religion of any kind is enough to get you censored and threatened with jail in most societies, just ask NERGAL of Behemoth or the guys from WATAIN. From church burning Norwegian bands in the 1990′s to modern Neo-folk/Pagan Metal, your favorite Norse/Viking metal bands, modern black and death metal bands and even the recent “occult rock” bands all use religion to attract fans, draw endless topics for songs and define themselves.

“Jesus, you say? I don’t believe we’ve met.”

With all the energy spent on hating Jude-Christian values, there is a flip side rarely talked about by fans. If religions didn’t exist, what would they be angry at? I’m sure there would still be plenty of shitty things in the world to sing about if there were no religion. Personally, I can enjoy the music of bands like THE CHARIOT, FOR TODAY, and MY CHILDREN MY BRIDE who use their music as a platform to promote their beliefs, even if I find the on stage preaching distasteful. They certainly have a right to do it, as does NILE to talk about ancient Sumerian beliefs, as does CHTHONIC does to discuss their historic religious culture in a modern political context. It’s all good to me and makes a more interesting world of heavy music to listen to and write about.

 

Dave Williams: Since being handed this assignment, I’ve been struggling somewhat with my potential approach. For those who know me only superficially, my position should seem obvious. My feelings on religion (Christianity in general) are quite public, and I play in a band that exists solely to question/attack the theistic masses.

 

Was this a good thing or a bad thing?

 

That said, there is the part of me that very strongly believes that music’s true purpose (particularly in the case of metal, hardcore, punk, and any other ‘rebel’ music) is the unbridled expression of our passions, regardless of what those might be. As members of these subcultures, we have always been beacons for free speech, and to draw lines as to who should be allowed to say what seems rather hypocritical…

However, then there is my true stance on this matter: Metal (and again, hardcore/punk/etc) was born as a reactionary position against the purveying herd mentality of the Western hemisphere (and has obviously expanded its scope quite significantly since), and part of that mentality, undeniably, is the pox upon our species that is Christianity. For eons, the befuddled masses have commandeered and swept countless cultures and histories under the proverbial rug, and the co-opting of rebel music as a form of ‘praise’ is simply another example of the slow, steady trampling of the world’s beauty beneath the lumbering feet of a billion filthy, bleating sheep.

(I should mention that my feelings on the presence of other ‘religions’ within the genre are not quite as strong. Granted, this is inevitably somewhat personal as Christianity simply hits closer to home, but as I attribute nearly all of the modern world’s ills to the spread of the Christian disease, any counterpoint is at least slightly welcome)

To melodramatically drive my point home, I leave you with this: To me, metal is the Cerberus-guarded gates that separate true humanity from celestial, dead-eyed lunatics. Metal is the fucking nails that bind their fictional savior to the planks that adorn a billion fools’ walls the world over. Simply put, metal is a pure expression of freedom (in an entirely non-patriotic, non-nationalist sense), and spiritual surrender is its fundamental opposition. Follow Metal Army contributor Dave Williams at: his website and on Twitter.

What’s your opinion? We’d like to know!

 

 

 

 

 


Bookmark and Share

HELP SAVE A LEGENDARY STUDIO!

June 20th, 2012

The only thing we love at Metal Army America more than metal is a good cause. This one involves rallying around a studio that is a living piece of music history. PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS in Ithaca, NY was the birthplace of countless crucial albums in the early days of Thrash metal under the supervision of famed producer/owner Alex Perialas. For nearly forty years the studio has stood as a monument to one man’s vision, talent and helped lay the foundation for the sound of many classic underground and hit records that is still emulated today. The press release tells the rest of the story:

 

“PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS, launched by Perialas in 1974, has recorded artists from BAD RELIGION, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, OVERKILL, AGNOSTIC FRONT and BRIAN WILSON to local favorites THE HORSE FLIES AND DONNA THE BUFFALO, as well as student projects. PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS, as well as student projects. PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS is a pinnacle in the local area, being that local musicians do not always have the ability to travel to New York City, Los Angeles, etc. to record their albums. Located directly next to the Clinton St. Bridge, which is undergoing heavy construction until November, the building is at risk of being condemned as a result of the project, stirring alarm among the local and online community.”

“This is one of those things that is a state and city project where they’re replacing a 70-year-old bridge and its right in our footprint, if you will. With the building of this new bridge, there’s a chance that if they aren’t careful, they could do damage to the studio,” states owner Alex Perialas. “I’m currently working with the administration to land on an amicable solution to the situation. This has been a landmark facility for years. We pretty much created a style of music here that people had never heard of before. It would be a shame to lose such an integral part of music history due to this temporary construction.”

“In many ways, both the mayor’s and the common council’s hands are tied, given that the construction on the Clinton St. bridge is federally funded. Earlier this week, supporters of PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS launched an online petition to help save the historical building. Thus far, over 550 people have signed. You can sign the petition at this location.”

For more information on PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS, visit this website: www.pyramidsoundstudios.com

 

After you go sign that petition- check out this video from TESTAMENT, who recorded several albums at PYRAMID SOUND STUDIOS.

Bookmark and Share

RICHARD CHRISTY: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

June 22nd, 2012

A while back we caught up with metal drumming legend Richard Christy to discus his band CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, his lengthy career in metal and of course to reminisce about his time with CHUCK SCHULDINER and DEATH. Richard was really down to earth, gracious and humble. He deflected most credit or praise about himself and instead talked up his peers and band mates. Since CWOTD is playing The ORION Music And More Festival this weekend and the Death To All Tour also kicks off today, we thought it was a good time to share this lengthy chat.

 

 

MAA: At what point of making the first record did you know you would do a follow up?

RC: As soon as we were mixing the first album I started writing music for the next one. I always knew we were gonna do several albums. This was something I came into this as a long term project. I didn’t wanna do just 1 album and that be it. It’s something I believe in and I love jamming with Tim, Steve & Jason. Its really something I looked at as a long term thing and also Metal Blade was really excited about us doing several albums with them so as soon as we finished mixing the first one, cause I was so inspired by the process of the first album with how well it turned out, so I jumped right into it. I knew by writing that early into the process while mixing the first album, I knew I’d have plenty of time to write something better and more epic then the first album.

 

 

MAA: Did you set out to write a more musically challenging second record??

RC: Well I definitely knew I wanted it to be longer, cause that was one of the only complaints I heard about it the first album. They loved it but it was very short, they were bummed out there wasn’t more music. Which is a good thing! It kind of left them wanting more. But this time I wanted people to have plenty of music where they couldn’t say ‘oh, it finished before I was ready for it to’ so I wanted to make sure it was a much longer album, but at the same time make sure the songs were really good. We weren’t putting in music just for the sake of it being a longer album. I wanted to make sure that we did it right and luckily, because of me writing the music while mixing the first album as I did, we had plenty of time and everything flowed really well.

 

MAA: What is the difference between Jason Suecof the producer versus Jason Suecof the band mate?

RC: He was the first person I called to be in this band. I’ve know him since ’99 and we’ve been jamming together ever since we met. Actually we’ve been writing music together right around that time he was building his studio as well. I know how amazing of a musician he is in addition to being an amazing producer and I was excited that now here’s a band that he can play guitar AND produce! People get to hear what a shredder he is and he has got such an amazing ear for music I really excited he’s a well known producer now. I always knew there was something special about him his a really talented guy. He’s a massive part of the sound of this band.

 

MAA: Are their any modern metal drummers you appreciate and follow?

RC: Absolutely!The drummer for JOB FOR A COWBOY (Jon Rice) is incredible! The drummer for THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER (Shannon Lucas) is amazing! There’s so many great drummers these days and it’s amazing that drummers are still pushing the boundaries of what drumming can do. George Kollias from NILE is one of my all-time favorite drummers and when you watch him, it doesn’t even seem humanly possible some of the stuff he’s playing. I remember meeting him when he was a young kid when DEATH played Greece and now he’s an incredible drummer. It’s inspiring to see how far he has come and there’s also a lot of drummers I admired growing up that are still incredible like Dave Lombardo & Charlie Benante. I saw The Big 4 show at Yankee Stadium and they were just amazing! There are so many great drummers still doing it. Mikkey Dee is still amazing in MOTORHEAD and a lot of the drummers at the Drummers’ Collective where I rehearse. I’ll walk by a room and hear a drummer shredding and I almost wanna go in and ask them who they are and what they do, but I don’t wanna interrupt them. (laughs) It’s really cool to see younger drummers being influenced by people like Pete Sandoval (MORBID ANGEL) and people who also influenced me.

 

MAA: I was at The Big Four too. I think Charlie Benante just keeps getting better!

RC: Dave Lombardo too! He did the “Angel of Death” drum solo and added this really cool snare thing that blew me away! It’s 10 or 15 seconds longer than on the album. He did this thing with the kick and the snare (imitates the sound of a complicated drum fill) that blew me away. It’s cool and inspiring that no matter how long you’ve been at it, you can still improve and get better. So watching guys like him and Charlie Benante, that inspires me.

 

 

MAA: You did limited touring on the first album. Any chance we will see the band hit the road more to support the new album?

RC: Yeah, were in talks to do some shows this year and hopefully we can make everyone’s schedule work! It is tough and I totally understand that. That was one of the things I took into account when I formed this band. I didn’t want one or two members of the band waiting around for everyone else to do something. I choose guys that have jobs and are as busy as I am. So we totally understand that if someone has some kind of scheduling thing where they do a show or tour. Hopefully we’ll have some announcements very soon. Were talking about doing some festivals in the US and Europe and hopefully some in South America and Japan (Editor’s note: this interview took place before ORION Music Fest was announced). I’d be totally psyched if we could do a ton of shows!

 

MAA: What do you think of the DEATH reissues?

RC: I love them! The Human one is incredible! There’s a lot of stuff that Sean (Reinert) does on the remix that you couldn’t hear in the original mix. A lot of tom stuff that comes out, like in the chorus of “Flattening of Emotions”. I love that they’re (Relapse) re-issuing these albums, it just sounds amazing, especially the bass! I was glad they turned the bass up on Human! The bass is incredible on that album, but you can hardly hear it on the original mix. It’s cool that Jim Morris has went back and remixed those albums. They sounded incredible back then but now you can hear so much more of it, there’s way more textures in it.

 

Richard played on TSOP album and two live albums with DEATH.

 

MAA: Who is a better boss Chuck or HOWARD STERN?

RC: Oh, they’re both awesome bosses. Its an honor it be involved with two of my idols and you know, I can never really compare them. I mean Howard I’ve been a fan of since 1993 and Chuck I’ve been a fan of since 1990 when I first heard Spiritual Healing. I’m very fortunate to be involved in both and it’s two totally different spectrums. One is music and one is entertainment and so I’m very lucky that I’ve had both as bosses. I’d never be able to choose, I love them both. They’ve given me so many great opportunities and I’m very thankful.

 

MAA: Do you ever think about your legacy in the history of metal?

RC: I’m very honored to be have played in the bands I’ve played in and to have toured the world with like DEATH, ICED EARTH, DEMONS & WIZARDS and INCANTATION. I’m very lucky when I was in my 20′s I got to travel the world and see a lot of stuff and have fun and play a lot of big shows. It’s amazing when I think back, but at the same time I wanna keep looking forward and not settle on things I’ve done. I look at people like PAUL MCCARTNEY, who puts out new albums. He’s a guy who’s pretty much the most influential person in music ever, him and JOHN LENNON and he’s still writing music and putting out albums. He still loves it and he has the passion for it and he doesn’t settle on what he’s done. That’s kinda of how I look at it. I’m thankful for what I’ve done, but now I wanna keep doing more. With CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED, I’m lucky enough to be able to write the music and the lyrics and before I definitely had a say in what I was doing in the bands I was in before. For this band I’m able to even write the riffs and things like that. It’s a totally new thing for me and I’m really excited by it. I’m honored by all the bands I’ve ever played with. Everyone always asks me what my favorite drumming performance of mine is and its definitely The Sound of Perseverance by DEATH. I was practicing five hours a day when we recorded that album and I was at the top of my game. I don’t know that I’ll ever be that good again. So I look at the album, when somebody asks me what is my proudest moment in drumming and it is definitely that album.

 

 

Chuck was Richard’s best friend, a legend and a great cook!

 

MAA: Do you have any good Chuck stories to pass along?

RC: He was such an incredible person, he was my best friend. He had such a great sense of humor and people always want to hear a funny Chuck story. There’s so many stories I have of Chuck its hard to choose a favorite. I just love the stories of us just writing music and practicing at our rehearsal space in Orlando. There was this guy named Dave who owned the place, he was a big furry, harry guy. He would walk around in a robe with nothing under it and Chuck & I would just laugh every time we would see this guy. He lived at the rehearsal space where we rented. We’d go down and pay our rent and he’d be in this hot tub. (laughs) We’d go to Chuck’s after practice and Chuck was an amazing cook, and he also made homemade beer. He made some of the best beer that I’ve ever tasted. I have so many good memories of us doing that and watching Saturday Night Live, then listening to some vinyl albums. He had such a huge collection. We’d listen to amazing stuff like RIOT, IRON MAIDEN and WATCHTOWER. He was just a fun guy, he had an awesome sense of humor. He loved his family very much. I still stay in touch with his family. There’s just too many memories to whittle it down to one. He really was just the most talented musician I’ve ever met, he was my best friend and I miss him every day.

MAA: Thanks for sharing that!

RC: You’re welcome. He was really humble too. He was a metal fan as much as anything else. I remember us getting to meet KING DIAMOND in St. Petersberg, Florida years ago. We were such huge KING DIAMOND fans. Chuck had never met or seen KING DIAMOND before. I hadn’t met him either, although I saw MERCIFUL FATE live before. And Chuck knew Andy LaRocque, so he was gonna introduce us right before the show. I have an awesome picture of Me, Chuck, Andy and KING DIAMOND. I remember that night, it was so cool. Chuck was just as nervous as me to meet him. It was like two legends meeting for the first time and for me to be a part of it, it was amazing. There was another time we were going to play Italy for the first time. When Chuck walked off the bus there were like 200 kids waiting for DEATH to arrive. It was like THE BEATLES had showed up. Chuck thought it was really neat! Then we walked a couple of blocks to eat, these kids followed us and chanted Chucks name the whole way in the street. Then all these kids pressed their faces against the window of the restaurant. Chuck got a real kick out of that! He was a metal fan as much as he was a metal legend.

MAA: Thanks for being cool and thanks for your time!

RC: I’m just like every body else, I’m just a metal fan. I’m no different then anybody else, everybody is equal as far as I’m concerned.

 

Richard is rumored to be appearing at the New York date of the “Death To All” Tour on 6/28.

 

(Thanks to Richard Christy and Metal Blade Records.)

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

THE DEATH TO ALL TOUR BEGINS TONIGHT!

June 22nd, 2012

 

SickDrummer.com, Perseverance Holdings and our friends at Relapse Records are among the sponsors of the DEATH TO ALL TOUR which kicks off tonight in that most metal of cities San Francisco, CA. The tour celebrates the life and music of CHUCK SCHULDINER of DEATH. With DEATH and later CONTROL DENIED Chuck blazed an innovative trail in music and has been followed by nearly every death metal that followed in his shadow. This is not an exaggeration, but widely acknowledged and not just by his peers and loved ones, but by many bands both from yesterday and the present. Performing music from a career spanning set list with be an all-star group of Chuck’s former band mates and giants of death metal like GENE HOGLAN (Individual Thought Patterns/Symbolic), SEAN REINERT (Human), STEVE DIGIORGIO (Human/Individual Thought Patterns), Scott Clendenin (The Sound of Perseverance), PAUL MASVIDAL (Human), Shannon Hamm (The Sound of Perseverance), and Bobby Koelble (Symbolic). Handling vocal duties will be by Steffen Kummerer of OBSCURA and Charles Elliott of ABYSMAL DAWN/BEREFT who are both greatly influenced by Chuck. Some of the guest artists who will join certain shows are RICHARD CHRISTY of CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED (ex-DEATH), Alex Skolnick and Chuck Billy of TESTAMENT, Paul Ryan of ORIGIN, Craig Locicero of FORBIDDEN, Travis Ryan of CATTLE DECAPITATION,Trevor Strnad and Ryan Knight of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and Emil Werstler of DAATH/CHIMAIRA. GORGUTS will open most of the shows.

 

Not only will this be a celebration of Chuck’s life, but will help make a lasting impression for the future at every show. Each night is a benefit show to raise awareness for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund which provides support to career musicians in need of support while facing illness, disability or age related issues. This cause hits especially close to home for Chuck’s family and friends and one he’d gladly support. Please come out to this rare opportunity to pay tribute to a legend, see an amazing collection of talent and hear some songs that haven’t been performed anywhere since DEATH was active as a band. Please come out to support this tour and support live music, especially underground bands.

 

DEATH TO ALL 2012 TOUR DATES:

6/22/2012 – The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA

6/23/2012 – House of Blues – Los Angeles, CA

6/26/2012 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL

6/28/2012 – Irving Plaza – NYC, NY

6/30/2012 – The Beacham – Orlando, FL

*Postponed until 2013* 7/01/2012 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA

*Postponed until 2013* 7/03/2012 – House of Blues – Dallas, TX

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: GOJIRA

June 25th, 2012

L’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner)

 

There are bands happy to exist in metal eager to carve out a little niche for themselves and stay there. There are bands that spend their careers catering to the whims of their fans or changing to gain a wider appeal. GOJIRA is a band that does neither of these things, yet somehow manages to be in the elite of artistic ideals, yet maintain a growing, popular following. I prefer to think that all credit due for this goes to the band, rather than the changing tastes (for the better) of the sweaty masses of metal fans. No matter, GOJIRA has crafted another masterpiece album that again defies convention and changes the course of heavy music. Just as they have done with each release of their career.

 

L’Enfant Sauvage translates from French as “The Wild Child”, but the title is not meant in a strict literal sense. The feral nature of humanity and their constant affect on their surrounding world is closer to the real concept of the piece and it is in that savagery that the music and lyrics are represented to the fullest on this album. All of the colors and emotions that make up the struggle of life, become articulated from the intro seconds until the very last notes ring out. The opening track “Explosia” comes with the trademark sound of the band intact. Syncopated riffs, over the top drumming and vocals that have brutality and melody together seem like they are in the DNA of these guys. Then there is the little hook of the repetitive harmonic lick that flows in and out of the song. Double time blast beasts, swinging grooves and impressive guitar work really punctuate this great opening salvo. The title track follows next and is equally harsh. Intricate melodic riffing captures your ear and I doubt anyone can hear this song and not bang their head in agreement to the beat. The early star of the album is drummer Mario Duplantier. As expected, he has turned in one of the top drumming performances of 2012 on this album. Of course in tandem with the talents of his brother Joe, they are the driving force behind the band. “The Axe” is another face melting track with a stellar main riff, top-flight vocal lines and deep lyrics. I can just envision entire crowds screaming along with the chorus live. In the same sense of the best modern metal bands, GOJIRA doesn’t need to rely on guitar solos to express different themes, they just come up with textural guitar work to bring in other flavors and sounds. “Liquid Fire” brings more of the same power and majesty you are accustomed to. To offset the driving beat and impressive guitar work is the return of the vocorder heavy lines that dotted the bands’ other releases. This brings in the prog influence which always goes hand in hand with their sound. This shows that you don’t have to get softer to change sometimes, just weirder.

 

When the band is finally done kicking your head in from four tracks in a row of punishment, “The Wild Fire” changes things up. With a whimsical tapping riff and a light beat, this little interlude warms your ear up for what comes next. “Planned Obsolescence” might be the best over all track on a perfect album. GOJIRA makes potentially raw chaos sound coherent with clever writing, tempo changes and dynamic sweeps in the singing. The interplay of the guitar parts between Joe and Christian Andreu is also sublime. Intense and full of little surprises, this is the best kind of writing elite metal bands have to offer. “Mouth of Kala” grinds out riffs and pummels, but never plods tempo wise. In addition to the standard rough hewn verses and sing-along chorus parts, there is a cool mellow section that lulls you into a chill space before decimating you again. “A Gift of Guilt” switches things up once again with a slightly lighter chorus and more tapped out central riffs, which is another Duplantier perfected technique. The verses are a heavy as anything that has come out this year on a record. “Pain is a Master” is another killer tune too. “Born In Winter shows the true prog face of the band. This is a track that could pass for a TOOL or even a new RUSH song if you didn’t know what band it was. For any other band this could be a misstep, but again and again this band takes chances that ultimately pay off. More than half the track is gone before a massive chorus comes in, but when it does, it rules. Bassist Jean-Michel Labadie, often the unsung hero of the group gets to shine here and on a few other tracks with his tasteful playing and thick tone. “The Fall” closes out the album in epic style. Brutal vocal flourishes are blended with yet another powerful, modern dirge of a riff.

Singular in vision, particular of taste and supremely talented; GOJIRA is nearly unrivaled in modern metal excellence.

GOJIRA: Heavy as a unique and heavy thing.

 

GRADE: A+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: HUNTRESS

June 26th, 2012

Spell Eater (Napalm Records)

 

HUNTRESS is currently located in Highland Park, California, and has been signed for less than a year.  However, they have shared the stage with several high profile acts within metal.  HUNTRESS has previously appeared alongside TURISAS, ALESTORM, HOLY GRAIL, and DRAGONFORCE.  Front woman JILL JANUS was a Manhattan DJ for years before helping create HUNTRESS.  Janus is joined by lead guitarist Blake Meahl, rhythm guitarist Ian Alden, Drummer Carl Wierzbicky, and bassist Eric Harris.  Harris is the former bassist for SKELETONWITCH, and Wierzbicky is formerly of DARKBLACK, while Meahl and Alden played for Southern California band PROFESSOR.

As someone who spends way too much time on the feminist blog Jezebel, I was curious to see what they “were all about.”  Looking at the promo photos of Janus makes it obvious that she is supposed to be the entrée of the band. The other members of the band are her side items.  They are the lukewarm baked potato, a piece of Wonder Bread, slightly wilted iceberg lettuce, pie with Pillsbury crust.  The members of HUNTRESS have been interviewed as saying they define themselves as “straight up heavy metal,” but, in actuality, they are straight up repetition.  Once you’ve heard the title track, “Spell Eater”, you have a good idea about what the rest of the album is about.  ”Spell Eater” is the first track, and, without a doubt, the “radio single” of the band.  It is catchy and energetic, with fast tempi and chugging instrumentals.  In fact, HUNTRESS likes chugging guitars so much that they included them on almost every other song.  If the guitars weren’t chugging, they were tremolo picking in duel harmonies.  The drumming got the job done, and that was it.  ”Senicide” follows the title track and contains another orderly musical bundle of a catchy intro, verses, and a chorus.  I know that vocalists have certain keys that they prefer to sing in, but HUNTRESS used the key of D minor on every song on the album.  By the time one gets to “The Tower”, all of the musical ideas are repeated one more time, because why not? It could be concluded that they have no plans on sounding like the next OPETH, but the variety of tempi, rhythm, and instrumental technique in Spell Eater was too narrow.  According to their website bio, Janus was an opera singer during her teens, but her vocals nowadays are far from ideal.  As someone who has taken pedagogy classes in classical voice, I found her voice strained; my larynx hurt for her.  It may be very difficult for Janus to continue doing vocals as a touring band several years from now.  However, I must applaud them for their energy level.  Though I would not go out of my way to listen to this album, it made a decent soundtrack to my morning run.  Videos of the band reveal that they would be a fun live band to see.  Thrown into a tour package, I would find myself saying “why not?” and bobbing my head along silently to their set.

The bottom line:  HUNTRESS has sparing moments of catchy songwriting, but doesn’t exhibit the creativity to make this an album something to revisit years later.

GRADE:  C+

by Rachel H.

 

Bookmark and Share

KING DIAMOND – THE GRAPHIC NOVEL!

June 26th, 2012

We do not own the copyright on this extremely kickass piece of art!

 

Have you ever listened to MERCYFUL FATE  or a KING DIAMOND album and thought the amazing story telling in those songs would translate to a kick ass graphic novel? Well you are not alone! Graphic artist Mark Rudolph had this same idea and from there it grew until it became a full-fledged project. Entitled Satan Is Alive: A Tribute To Mercyful Fate is a result of a fascination with the band an a love affair with metal music. Not only is this a really cool idea, with the KING himself playing shows again and mounting a comeback, this will be essential for fans to own.  To fully bring it to life, Mark has started a Kickstarter campaign so he can properly produce the book in a form worthy of the awesome content. He has not only recruited some of the top artists in the field but also a who’s who in the metal world to bring his vision to life. With just under a week left to the campaign, Metal Army America decided to touch base with Mark, whose art you have no doubt seen in fine publications like Decibel in the USA, Metal Hammer UK, Marvel Comics and other places about the project.

 

MAA: What inspired you to create the SATAN IS ALIVE project?

MR: I had just adapted an H.P. Lovecraft story into a comic and really liked the process, so I was listening to Mercyful Fate drawing one day and thought “these lyrics would make a rad comic.” A few emails later, I drummed up a lot of interest and it just kind of exploded. I’m mostly known for my metal-related illustrations and I’ve always wanted to do a “metal” comic, so this kind of satiated everything in one book.

 

MAA: How did you begin assembling the talented writers and artists?

MR: I met Tom Neely last year at a show in Minneapolis and briefly discussed the idea with him and from there it snowballed. I started emailing people and before long I had amassed a pretty impressive list. Even artists I’ve never met before seemed to be really into the idea and no one said no. This whole project is a visual tribute album to Fate and it’s clear in the art, that there is a lot of love in Satan is Alive.

 

MAA: Why raise money at all to produce physical copies and why choose Kickstarter as a platform?

MR: Physical books still mean a lot to me. As much as I like technology, I like the immersive experience you can only get from a printed book. I am offering PDF copies as well, but the goal is to have nice offset book. I’m using Kickstarter since I’ve had good luck with it in the past. I think it’s a great way to get niche projects funded without forking over all the money yourself. Like my last campaign, I had nearly the whole book completed before I even started the fund raising. I think that’s an important step to let potential backers know you are serious and not just throwing out ideas and hoping some will stick. I think that’s a lousy way to use the service. As of this interview the project is already several hundred dollars over our goal with 7 days to go.

 

MAA: What are some of the reward tiers you are offering for backers?

MR: Original art, hardcovers, co-publisher, retail bundles, prints and commissioned art. I try and keep it related to the book and not just “extra junk”. The book is the most important part, so I feel the incentives should enhance the book if anything.

 

 

MAA: I believe metal fans will be most familiar with your illustrations in Decibel Magazine. (your cover with DANZIG riding a wolf in 2010 is still my favorite issue). Where else can people see examples of your work?

 

MR: Haha! Thanks. My site cvomics.com has a ton of examples of my work (also portfolio and store), but I also do monthly illustrations for Metal Hammer UK and I’ll have an 8-page story in Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever #2. I’ve also done a bunch of merch design for bands like COALESCE, HELLMOUTH, BEAST IN THE FIELD and many others.

 

MAA: Any final message to the fans contemplating a donation to SATAN IS ALIVE

MR: With all the recent interest in metal history (Look at Bazillion Points, Choosing Death, etc) I wanted to add to that rich wealth with something totally different. If I really devoted the time, I’m sure I could write a book about a band or a genre, but being more of a visual guy, I thought doing a visual love letter to one of my favorite bands would be more apt. I can’t really think of another metal-related anthology book that’s filled with such a diverse group of artists either. I really need to thank everyone involved that’s made this book possible. If I did it by myself, it would have been about 30 pages and not nearly as rich. With the whole group it feels much more metal!

 

Mark Rudolph has many works in print, including this book!

 

You can learn more about the project and donate on the Kickstarter page.

 

 

 

 


Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: AHAB

June 27th, 2012

The Giant (Napalm Records)

The thing about funeral doom is that it takes some facet of the sheer terror, bleakness, and beauty of existence and stretches it out into a swelling, breathing mass of pure sonic depressiveness and introspection. As for nautic doom, the sole purveyor of which seems to be Germany’s AHAB, with the possible addition of SEAHAG, it strives for the same effect, but replacing outright despondency and depression with epic tales of nautical beasts and seafaring melancholy that might well be interpreted as metaphors for the unrelenting loneliness, travails and isolation of modern life. AHAB’s latest full-length, The Giant, follows 2009’s The Divinity of Oceans with another mournful, slow, and doomy effort, crawling along like a man whose lungs are filled with salt water, the last warm touch of euphoria and the grim realization of the end striking all at once.

AHAB’s music conveys the subtle yet massive, tempestuous power of the seas. Tracks like “Further South” come on slow and unassuming, calm yet despondent, with a clean, ringing guitar tone and thoughtful sung vocals that look into the endless deep blue that gives way to black. The sound is expansive, moving into low, croaking gutturals and bludgeoning, distorted sludge and chug—the danger lurking just below the surface. Still, it remains introspective, returning to the mournful clean vocals, like OPETH on a doom trip mixed with the almost subsonic gutturals of LOSS.

“Aeons Collapse,” at the long end of AHAB’s spectrum at over 12 minutes in length, though most songs hover around the ten minute mark, begins with haunting whispers that draw into a tortured yell, like a lost man calling out for rescue, trapped within endless time falling in on itself. The shouting becomes half-sung in places as chords ring out, bent and dissonant, basic but powerful. AHAB utilizes a strong economy of riffs. If something is worth saying, it’s worth taking your time to say it—maximum impact, minimum waste, even in an epic. The glassy clean guitar tone plays off the guttural lows that echo as though captured in a subsurface cavern, while minimalist lead work adds depth. The sonic quality is pristine, and the plodding drums are given room to hiss and boom because the room is there in the music’s slow, viscous crawl.

There’s a touch of MY DYING BRIDE in the clean vocals as well, as can be heard on “Deliverance.” Then “Antarctica the Polymorphess” slogs through the mire of the depths, taking us from dark to light, bottom to surface, with a song as a story of tragedy, horror, and lament that is hugely moving. Everything is given ample space to develop, as it could be three to four minutes before the vocals are even brought in. “Fathoms Deep” brings more of the same, with a passage not unlike the Twilight Zone theme at the song’s halfway point, and another take on the guttural vocals—a vibrating growl rather than the usual croak.

Folk harmonies take over at the beginning of the title track, the album closer, which captures the slow swell of the oceans, desolation, the unknown, with glistening clean guitar highs like sun reflecting off dappled waters moving into slow, sludgy lows. The Giant is music to lose yourself in the infinite possibilities of Challenger Deep, or to close your eyes with the headphones on and contemplate the slow descent to the Marianas Trench. There’s a long way down to go, and the nautic doom of AHAB plots the endless course.

GRADE: A

by Joe Reviled

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: BENT SEA

June 27th, 2012

Noistalgia (Self-Released/Tankcrimes)

 

With drums & guitars done in Cleveland OH, bass guitars in Vancouver, BC and vocals laid down in Tel Aviv, Israel; this is truly an internationally made album and band. Dirk Verbeuren (SOILWORK) is doing double duty with the guitar, it shows he’s more than just a drummer. He wrote the damned album! DEVIN TOWNSEND laid down some solid bass lines & Sven De Caluwe (ABORTED,SYSTEM DIVIDE) well, does what Sven does! The band has since added SHANE EMBURY from NAPALM DEATH as the new bassist for the next album, which they are already working on. Originally self- released last fall, it will be re-issued this summer by Tankcrimes in a special package. It’s grindcore at its best. Clocking in at 17 minutes long, it gets to the point on every song. Let’s check out Noistalgia right now.

 

If you get the physical CD, the booklet has one sentence introductions to each song, just so you’re not misled by anything. From songs about blast beats like “Blast Beat Barrage” and technological advances in“Digital Disaster”, you are also treated to all the social commentary you’d expect since this is just one big ole love letter to the genre. It basically says that in the name of the title track, “An homage to grindcore and noise”. As fun as short songs are, I do wish the song “In One Word” was longer. I would’ve loved to hear what other band names they could have tossed in there. Based on just the bass line alone, “Sustained Idiocy” just makes me want to punch something. Dirk’s SOILWORK band mate Sylvain Coudret, comes in and throws a cool guitar solo in your face on “Dead Meat”. “Fool for Life” is the longest track (4:06) and gives the album some added weight. It ends with a lovely rendition of “Bullshit Propaganda” in honor of the mighty EXTREME NOISE TERROR.

They managed to cram this album full of greatness in a short amount of time. I’m not sure if throwback is the right description for this, but this does make you remember the early days of grindcore (only with better production- thank you Devy!). With Noistalgia, BENT SEA came, saw and kicked ass. Not only did I like it, I bought it!

 

GRADE: B+

by Ojayy Cordy

 

 


Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: MARDUK

June 28th, 2012

Serpent Sermon (Century Media Records)

I was never really much of a fan of MARDUK until I heard this black metal masterpiece. Serpent Sermon goes down as one of the greatest black metal albums I’ve ever heard. From the collected chaos of the first track “Serpent Sermon” right down to the downright old school rawness of “World Of Blades,” this album showcases all that is good in the black metal universe.

Amongst the onslaught of blast beats and more down tuned tremolo picking, “Serpent Sermon” certainly owns the right for the album namesake. Mortuus’ vocals are gritty and menacing as always, providing the mood of the album. Blast beats are abound, and when the music slows down it stays heavy and satisfying. Which brings me to another aspect of why this release is superior to most other black metal releases. The clean tone of the guitars really bring out the very best sound throughout the whole band.

In ways I cannot properly explain, the intro for “Souls For Belial” has a retro tone that makes me think of late 80’s metal. But after that, it heads into a blast beat marathon that puts most other drummers to shame. The guitars don’t really do too much here except provide extra background sound for the vocals and drums, which are the centerpiece in this song. But then the thrash kicks in and is turned up to eleven on “Into Second Death” that sounds like old school CELTIC FROST if they took all and any groove out of it (think “Return Of The Eve” twice as fast). But the guitars stay at the backup post in the song, which I think should have been shown off a lot more.

Regardless of my gripes with the guitars, the core of this album is true and well done black metal. The guitars aren’t meant to be flashy or technical in any way, it does the job of providing the brooding atmosphere of which black metal is to be made by blast beats and menacing vocals. This album is a must have in any fan of black metal. It’s time to take down the “false” black metal and replace with this Serpent Sermon majesty.

 

Grade: A

By: Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: PRIMATE

July 3rd, 2012

Draw Back a Stump (Relapse)

 

It’s happened a million times before. Bands head out on tour together a few times, or play some local shows side by side, and before you know it a couple members from one band and a couple members from the other utter the inevitable: “We should totally do a project together!” Where it goes from there could be any number of directions, but it often boils down to a common two.

The first and most likely destination is nowhere. Everyone goes home, sobers up, and forgets about their drunken expressions of utter devotion to the new undertaking and professions of unleashing fresh fury upon the scene. Second is somewhere, but nowhere good. The new best band mates for life get together and mash their collective influences into a genetic mess of a new genre that even the proud new progenitors don’t like.

But when members of MASTODON, BRUTAL TRUTH, THE DESPISED, and OTOPHOBIA get together, there is a third option. Everyone puts all that other B.S. aside and gets down with some good ol’ fashioned dirty punk and grind. BRUTAL TRUTH’s KEVIN SHARP (vocals), MASTODON’s BILL KELLIHER (guitar), along with MIKE BRENNAN (guitar), DAVE WHITWORTH (bass), and SHAYNE HUFF (drums), are the parts that make up the sum of PRIMATE, a punk and grind super group for people who pierce their eardrums with an ice pick at the mere mention of the term super group.

Draw Back A Stump, PRIMATE’s first full-length, sets the basic, belligerent tone with the title track. Sharp’s maniacal ranting on the tenets of Chaos Theory leads into punked-out pinch harmonic grind riffs spewed forth alongside raw, venomous hatred. But considering the grind pedigree of PRIMATE’s front man, this album is far more punk than grindcore. “Global Division” follows up the initial offering with some hardcore and d-beat with southern inflections, understandable given the band hails from Atlanta. The lyrics are typical socially conscious but no less poignant punk fare—“A world of confusion/We live in delusion”–and Sharp does have a knack for the vocal hook that’s immediate and timely.

Kelliher and Brennan let their southern flags fly in their lead work from time to time, but this is no twangy SKYNYRD love fest. It’s hardcore punk bombast and fist pumping pogo all the way with clean production, four chords, and five lifetime’s worth of scene credibility wrapped up in an airtight and ferocious package. Sharp is always Sharp, whether he’s emitting tortured screams or his one-of-a-kind gruff and honest delivery. Songs like “Silence of Violence” seem to have a bit of Euro-crust influence to them, with semi-melodic hooks and thick, memorable riffs. “Drinking and Driving,” a BLACK FLAG cover, the longest track on the record at just under three minutes, is faithful to the original. PRIMATE’s guitar duo perfectly captures GREG GINN’s acid jazz punk leads while Sharp channels the acerbic anger of HENRY ROLLINS.

There are quick blasts of all out rage to be heard as well, like the 46-second “Get the Fuck off My Lawn.” A more appropriate song title for a group of aging punkers I couldn’t imagine. Metallic moments like the lead riff on “March of the Curmudgeon” rear their ugly heads from time to time as well. Though the band has a Mastodon member in its ranks, there’s nary a progressive hint to be heard.

All in all what we have here is a fitting tribute to classic punk, d-beat, and grind sounds that doesn’t attempt to Mastodon plus Brutal Truth equals some kind of bastard child of beardo progressive rock and angry politico grind. The PRIMATE boys have left their regular gigs at home for this one, for the most part, and decided to make something entirely new, the kind of hardcore they probably all crank in the den in the wee hours once the little ones have toddled off to bed. It’s not breaking any boundaries, but it is a warning shot across the bow of punk gone safe from an old guard that is nowhere near ready to be referred to as the old guard with anything less than the right amount of respect, and they have earned it anew with Draw Back a Stump. Get the fuck off my lawn indeed.

PRIMATE: A super-group that for a change, is really super!

GRADE:A

by Joe Reviled

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: MNEMIC

July 4th, 2012

Mnemesis (Nuclear Blast)

MNEMIC has always had a little engine that could story, at least when discussing the band with fans, that’s the impression I have always received. The comparisons were always there, well they’re o.k. but they’re no IN FLAMES, or no KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, or any other metalcore giant you could think of. All of their previous outings showed you glimpses of what the band could do, but it was as if they could never kick things into 5th or 6th gear to put them over the top. That is until the released Mnemesis.

This album is solid start to finish; there isn’t one weak track on it. It runs a little over 43 minutes, and before you know it, it’s over. Very few albums do this to me where you listen to it, and before you know it, the album is over, leaving you wanting more. As usual, you’ll probably have some fickle purist think otherwise, but this album was a pleasant surprise, as I did not expect to enjoy it as much I have.

The album kicks off with the track “Transcend”, and it starts a trend that can be heard on this album, continuous infectious melody that carries over from one track to the next. GUILLAUME BIDEAU pulls off one of the strongest vocal performances to come out this year. He paints each song with strokes of harsh and flips things with straight forward clean vocals. Where most contemporary bands would stick to generic guttural vocals, and throw in rudimentary, paint by numbers chorus on each track, each of the songs on Mnemesis really stand on their own, and could have easily been the leadoff single, instead of “I’ve Been You”.

The album takes some chances here and there, which is what puts it over the top. The track “There’s No Tomorrow” is a song 99% of the current metal crop would be hesitant to put on their album. The track is a mix of FEAR FACTORY, BAUHAUS, FAITH NO MORE and perhaps even a splash of JANE’S ADDICTION. Although a lot of bands will cop to certain influences, it’s one thing to say who has influenced you, and another to say, “screw it, this track kicks ass, it’s going on the album”! If more bands did this we wouldn’t have all of the monotonous drivel, cash in on the latest fad copycat bands that are thrown at us all of the time. Some detractors will think, well it isn’t as if MNEMIC is reinventing the wheel, they’re not, but who in the last 20 years has? At the end of the day the music needs to be strong, entertaining, and memorable. I do believe they’ve covered that with this album.

MNEMIC: You may in fact call it a comeback!

 

Mnemesis is highly recommended to anyone that is remotely interested in a band like IN FLAMES, and been disillusioned with their last few albums. This is in no way Clayman, but it is the strongest album in this sub-genre to come out this year. It is chock-full of melody, the right amount of keyboards, heavy detuned guitars and bass, and a tasteful amount of drumming that varies from complex double bass patterns to simple straight forward playing to fit and propel the mood of each song.

 

GRADE: B+
Victor M. Ruiz

Bookmark and Share

MISS MAY I: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

July 4th, 2012

Miss May I have just released the already critically acclaimed new album At Heart, so we decided to hit up lead singer Levi Benton to talk about what the album is about, the meaning behind the music video for “Hey Mister,” and about the current trend of metalcore today.

 

MAA: I’ve heard the latest album At Heart, and I actually really liked it. With your blend of metalcore and thrash music, it appeals to two different demographics. How did you come about incorporating this kind of genre crossover?

LB: We’re all fans of older metal bands like ALL THAT REMAINS, IN FLAMES, SLAYER, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, and we would be listening to them while writing our albums. Out of us five guys, none of us listen to the same metal bands. So there’s some  ’Oh, I like this but will they?’

 

MAA: So you guys are able to throw in a bunch of different metal influences all in one package!

LB: Exactly. There’s not a lot of metal bands nowadays that are influenced by the newer stuff. We grew up listening to this type of metal, so we incorporate the best out of it and write something new.

 

MAA: What exactly is the song “Hey Mister” about and how does the music video tie in with the songs meaning?

LB: Well “Hey, Mister” is about growing up with no father figure. It was difficult writing that because I felt that no one has ever really wrote a song about that and I know people can relate to it. The video was cool, the script was written by the directors. The whole story is about how I’m looking for a father figure, but it’s obviously dramatic with the island and stuff. The island is supposed to represent a dream and when I follow those two people, they are supposed to be angel-ish. The big, robed guy at the end is supposed to be the father figure. At the end of the song, I talk about it doesn’t matter that I didn’t grow up with one and that I didn’t need him to be the person I am now.

 

MAA: Who was it that directed it?

LB: Thunder Down Country Productions.

 

MAA: On top of that song, by the album title I would think that At Heart is a very personal album. What sort of other life experiences did you draw upon when writing for this album?

LB: It was really cool to write this because it was the first time I wrote from the heart. I just felt like a lot of metal bands exaggerate too much and a lot of their lyrics are overwritten about the same things like “Oh I hate this.” It was nice to go approach this record and think “This is stuff I actually went through.” It was easier to write about, like there’s parts about how I grew up and problems with money, friends, and all real stuff.

 

MAA: What are some of your personal influences that make you want to keep recording and touring extensively like you do?

LB: I’m really influenced by AS I LAY DYING. I like that they never really did anything different, they’re just a really good metalcore band and they focus on being good live. Now that’s what we focus on within the MISS MAY I camp. No matter if we don’t sell a lot of merch or a lot of kids don’t come to our shows, as long as we’re good live and keep playing, that’s all that really matters.

 

MAA: What was is like recording with legendary producer Machine (LAMB OF GOD, CHIODOS, PROTEST THE HERO, IMPENDING DOOM)?

LB: It was awesome, he’s a crazy guy. He made us all better musicians by pushing us really hard, opened my mind up, and broke through a lot of barriers I didn’t know I had. His whole thing with me was that to not just put lyrics on a CD, but to make people feel it. That really kicked my butt, but the finished product came out awesome.

 

MAA: In the future, would you consider re-releasing the Vows For A Massacre EP and the 2008 Demo?

LB: I would actually like to do that! We get a lot of feedback from people wanting to hear that older stuff. We wrote those when I was in junior high. Listening back, I always think ‘Man, that part sounds way cooler than the more recent version.’ It would be nice to do a throwback like that.

 

MAA: So let’s say you guys were approached by the Punk Goes guys to cover a song. What would you do?

LB: I would do “Call Me Maybe.” I love that song hahaha.

 

MAA: As popular as that song is, I’m a little surprised that no one has covered it yet.

LB: No one has done it and MISS MAY I wants to be the first to do it!

 

MAA: When you guys are on the road, what is the road fuel of choice?

LB: I like Subway. Everyone likes Mexican food. I get heartburn because I’m a baby. I know Subway sounds cliché but there’s so many options you can never have the same thing twice.

 

MAA: What sort of advice could you give other bands in terms of preparing for extensive touring like you guys do and to keep it all together?

LB: You have to stay level headed. You can’t go out there thinking you’re the best band out there because you’re not. There’s so many other bands out there that are going for the same thing. I think people get so big headed about it and it just comes back and bites them in the ass. Be happy with who you are because, well, you got the best job in the world.

MAA: Any last words for the fans who came out here to Warped Tour to see MISS MAY I and to the people who haven’t heard At Heart yet?

LB: It’s the first album we’re actually proud of all the way through. There’s no barriers on it, it’s just metalcore all throughout the album. Old school hair whips and circle pits.

 

By: Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: IDES OF GEMINI

July 5th, 2012

Constantinople (Neurot Recordings)

Los Angeles hard rock trio IDES OF GEMINI make a strong debut with their album Constantinople. The group consists of vocalist SERA TIMMS (BLACK MATH HORSEMAN), guitarist J BENNETT and drummer Kelly Johnston. Timms and Bennett are the founders with Johnston being added to the mix later on. Bennett also writes for the prominent metal magazine Decibel. Although IDES OF GEMINI is simply a side project (for now?), there is much to enjoy with this debut.

Timms’ vocal style is comparable to that of KYLESA’s Laura Pleasants (especially when compared to their track “Forsaken”). There is a slight monotone and accent to Timms’ ghostly voice. This creates a similar sound and phrasing to that of NICO from THE VELVET UNDERGROUND. A good example of this can be heard in the track “Slain in Spirit”. The opening track “The Vessel and The Stake” was well chosen. Timms’ voice gives the listener the feeling of getting taken on a journey or falling down a rabbit hole. Lines such as “I’m going down” and “I’m descending” support and match the sensation. One notable track is the second one in: “Starless Midnight”. Interestingly, it sounds somewhat like it could be off one of THE CRANBERRIES’ albums. This is due to the way Timm phrases her words and how the background vocals tend to echo. It may also be a result of how Bennett’s guitar seems to interact with and support Timms’ voice at certain points. Another standout track appears about halfway through the album, “One to Oneness”. There is a defiant and bold presence coming from this track with Timms delivering lyrics such as “I am the truth”. This appears to be a theme throughout the album.

Overall, the album seems to go by quickly. This could be the result of songs that flow seamlessly. It is easy to get lost in the album. The listener feels like they have just started only to find that they are hearing the final track. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It works to the band’s advantage in a weird way; the listener is left wanting more. There is sure to be more to come from the group with a solid debut like this.

Although the album doesn’t blow the listener away, Constantinople is an easy album to listen to repeatedly and we can expect to hear more about IDES OF GEMINI in the future.

 

IDES OF GEMINI: Sucks you in rather than blows you away.

GRADE: B

By: Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: PERIPHERY

July 5th, 2012

Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal (Sumerian)

 

 

Few bands have come along on the metal scene that have changed the game like PERIPHERY has in the last few years. Along with ANIMALS AS LEADERS that have paved a new ground by combining progressive rock, math metal, MESHUGGAH’s patented riff style and other forms of music like jazz fusion influences to completely change the palate of what modern metal can be. Of course our denim vest clad brethren will hate this for being to “core” or melodic and whatnot. Still, it is refreshing to see the evolution of a band that is just scratching the surface of what it can do. This is likely the first of several releases by the band in the near future as they are said to be sitting on two more albums worth of material.

 

In many ways Periphery II features somewhat of a new band. What started out as a project in uber guitarist/producer Misha Mansoor’s bedroom has blossomed into a full, living monster of a group. In particular the additions of guitarist Mark Holcomb and Adam “Nolly” Getgood on bass/production have bore much sonic fruit on top of the impressive, layered approach the band already had with their writing. “Muramasa” crushes out of the starting blocks as the opening track. Massive guitars and drums pound you as vocalist Spencer Sotello’s melodies soar over the din. “Have A Blast” really starts to separate this album and the band from its peers. Starting off with cello and violin riff and some programed synth sounds, the track is not unlike most of the bands’ older material. Prog, djent and even some death metal blast beats rock the otherwise sunny sounding melodic track. Sotello’s amazing tenor voice glides into the upper registers easily and his screams are often terrifying. What really sets this song apart is following the breakdown is a stupendous solo from shredder supreme GUTHRIE GOVAN. If you don’t know his name, go YouTube one of his videos and pick your jaw off the floor later. “Facepalm Mute” leans heavier on the death vocals and bruising riffs which will interest heavier music fans. Songs like “Ji” and “Scarlet” will have you smiling from ear to ear and are pretty up-tempo ragers. There are many bands with three guitar attacks, but few have the thoughtful writing for three voices like Mansoor, Holcomb and mainstay Jake Bowen. “Luck As a Constant” features more insane beats from Matt Halpern, who lays down a phenomenal performance overall. “Make Total Destroy” is the single and is as heavy as it is harsh. The small section of death metal people who enjoy this song will gravitate to this track in particular. “Erised” has a guest appearance by DREAM THEATER’s JOHN PETRUCCI uniting these modern prog heads with the last generation of prog metal’s heroes. Another great guest appearance is made by Wes Hauch, recent addition to label-mates THE FACELESS. This another, mostly brutal track with fantastic thematic motifs, twist and turns. Sotello again joins the upper echelon of vocalists of the sub-genre like TOMMY RODGERS, Rody Walker and ex-TESSERACT singer Elliott Coleman. Other top tracks include “Ragnarok” and “Masamune”.

 

 

GRADE: A

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: STRONG INTENTION

July 6th, 2012

Razorblade Express (PATAC Records)

 

Give them the Maryland seal of quality while the ink’s still wet, fellas, because that state can do no wrong as far as quality extreme music. From the Deathgrind virtuosos MISERY INDEX, to the indomitable DYING FETUS, and the fast growing Hardcore act COKE BUST, it’s safe to say that STRONG INTENTION will naturally follow suit and be awesome. the only thing I’d change about this release is the cover art, but that’s a rant I’ll save for someone more judgmental than I. SI have been around since the mid-nineties, but mysteriously haven’t gotten as big as their  aforementioned contemporaries. Something went highly amiss, as their mixture of CHARLES BRONSON/SPAZZ style Powerviolence with the new-school Thrash sound that’d find a home on the latest TOXIC HOLOCAUST joint, alongside a hearty dose of Southern fried Sludge should have hooked this godless country by the nose.

This EP immediately opens up with its title track, a Sludgy number with Mike Williams of EYEHATEGOD infamy performing the bulk of the vocals. It dips in and out of a Thrashcore inflected MAGRUDERGRIND vibe, which is honestly something I didn’t think that Mike Williams would ever sign up for, being accustomed to muggy, heroin induced grooves that can only be properly born south of Virginia. Mike’s on top form as far as sounding angry and acrawl with various diseases, so this change of speed actually suits him, and I’d like to see him (and any other willing Southern Metal vocalists) try it more often.

“Messiah Whore” begins immediately with the musical equivalent of artillery rounds entering your home while you sleep. Here they also showcase a bit of Death Metal influence as well as their dirty brand of what I’ll dub Grindviolence, with punishing blasts and sporting a riff that sounds not unlike some I’ve heard on EXHUMED’s Anatomy Is The Destiny. The breakdown is highly reminiscent of some I’ve heard by MISERY INDEX, which is not odd, as bands in that area seem to swap sounds as bored teenagers sexually transmitted infections.  A solid track overall, and probably one of the standouts.

“Holes In The Wall” boasts a more straightforward Crossover style; think of the vocalist of BANE if he jammed with the band members of PUNCH and MUNICIPAL WASTE. The riffs that kick in at the very end are probably the most melodic thing to happen on the album, as they point towards SI’s ability to lock into killer grooves.  I was a bit sad to see this track end so abruptly, as it promised a bit more variation from a mental nailbombing, but instead leads to the next track.

Mike Williams appears also on “3rd Space Gorilla Generator”, which is a title that shall give me nightmares for years to come. Pure DADA. This one’s a bit more by the numbers Hardcore, with the vocals being more like Jay Randall of AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED. Aside from a small Sludge section where Mike steps up to the mic to howl in pain, it’s pure circle-pit mayhem.

“Rat Factory” continues the vocal tradition of the last track, which gives me the impression that either the vocalist’s larynx morphed over the course of the EP, or someone else stepped in due to an unfortunate neck-related incident. Curious indeed. This track is the second shortest, but packes a helluva punch, with a breakdown at the end that could knock down buildings.

“Slaughter Intelligence” is quite similar to the last track, but ends much more abruptly at only 54 seconds as opposed to “Rat Factory”s even minute. It makes me almost go against my very instincts, which aren’t a fan of the slow, 3-4 minute down-tempo tracks that Hardcore influenced bands usually toss in, often at the end of their releases, but this band actually made me hunger for one. Yes, EPs are short, but this was almost demo length, and was the equivalent of being given a handy when you expected whole night in Paris. That was gross, and I sincerely apologize.

The Verdict: It becomes more of a teaser than an actual appetizer for an album, but overall it’s still a sweet treat from the balmy climes of Maryland.

 

 

GRADE: A-

Sean Genovese

Bookmark and Share

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

July 10th, 2012

Metal Army America spent some time chatting with Michael Gilbert, guitarist and songwriter for American thrash metal legends FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. The band is hard at work on their forthcoming album, Ugly Noise due out later this year. They are using a unique platform to produce and deliver their new album, using the social media crowd-sourcing channel Pledge Music to bring their music directly to their fans. Michael shared with us the thought process of using this means to make an album, the state of the music industry in 2012, the progress of making new music as well as a few surprises sure to raise some eyebrows and open some ears.

 

 

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: ORION MUSIC AND MORE FESTIVAL

July 10th, 2012

 

 

DAY ONE: 

So thanks to a crazy amount of traffic and hotel getting to most of Saturday was missed. When got there in time for most of CAGE THE ELEPHANT on the Fuel stage. Then it was time to head to the Damage Inc. stage for SUICIDAL TENDENCIES! I’ve NEVER seen them before and holy hell, were they good! Everyone in that band is a beast! Especially the rhythm section of drummer Eric Moore (T.R.A.M.) and bassist Tim Williams. Kicking it off with “You Can’t Bring Me Down”,  they set off a steam rolling crushing set, playing hit after hit up until it was time for an INFECTIOUS GROOVES mini-set with Robert Trujillo on bass. It made the hassle of getting there well worth it!

 

Over thirty years in the game and Mike Muir of S.T. and INFECTIOUS GROOVES still rules.

 

 

 

I got to check out KIRKS CRYPT. A little museum of Kirk Hamments’ horror memorabilia collection. From vintage posters to painting and full sized costumes and masks. It made me very jealous! It To top it off, Linda Blair was there as well! I look forward to October for the release of his book, TOO MUCH HORROR BUSINESS about this collection. I caught most of ARCTIC MONKEYS headlining set on the “Fuel” stage, and boy are they very British! Granted they are, but still, they reminded me of BLUR and OASIS mainly. A good chunk of the crowd dug them a lot. 

 

Then it was time for METALLICA on the “Orion” stage….

 

Whaddya mean no “Orion” at Orion Fest?

 

Starting with Hit the Lights” they ran through four more songs as the warm up to playing the entire Ride the Lighting album. After a brief and kick ass intro video, they came out ass backwards! No, really! They started withThe Call of Ktulu all the way to Fight Fire with Fire”. I Enjoyed “Fade to Black” and “Escape” the most. They came back with a nice three song encore of “Battery, “One” and Seek and Destroy. To much grief from a lot of people about no OrionThe song, famously attached to the late CLIFF BURTON, for which this fest is named for. I guessed they’d save it for tomorrow.

 

Kirk shared his horror collection and then some guitar solos.

 

 

Set List:
Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
The Four Horsemen
Sad But True
Hell and Back
The Call of Ktulu
Creeping Death
Escape
Trapped Under Ice
Fade to Black
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ride the Lightning
Fight Fire With Fire
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman

Encore:
Battery
One
Seek and Destroy

 

DAY TWO:

 

THY WILL BE DONE tore it up early on day two.

 

Now due to a lil health issue, I had a short visit to the ER that morning. As a result I missed GHOST, Oh well, would’ve been weird to see them in the daytime anyway. Some bands just work better at night. I was really bummed to miss LANDMINE MARATHON. I’ve wanted to see them for awhile.

 

Bummed I missed this band. I heard they were awesome.

 

So when I finally arrived I caught BEST COAST, like with ARCTIC MONKEY’S it was nice to hear something a little different and mellow. I got to see this cool new band called THE TRUJILLO TRIO, on the “Vans Skate Ramp”. Robert Trujillo & Family put on a dirty, crusty, grindy, punk rock show. I hope something gets released soon!

 

Robert Trujillo was a triple threat this weekend.

 

It was good intro to the insanity for THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER! I ended up pitting my ass off throwing crowd surfers left and right. Haven’t really done that a in awhile, holy cardio workout Batman! It felt great!

 

Ripper Owens and CHARRED WALLS OF TH DAMNED were amazing!

 

I had to sprint across to the “Frantic” stage to catch the first show of the year for CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED! Ripper Owens’ and Richard Christy’s unstoppable juggernaut! They were awe-inspiring to watch. Then back to “Damage Inc.” for the headlining set from SEPULTURA! They are in the midst of a tour over in Spain, but flew in just for this. The pit felt like a UFC match and some douche was decked out in gloves and a mouth guard. It was a rough pit. Now musically, this band is amazing! DERRICK GREEN has been in this band long enough that I forgot someone else used to sing for them. New drummer Eloy Casagrande, that kids a monster! He even broke a bass pedal. after that I checked out the sick car show there while AVENGED SEVENFOLD closed the “Fuel” stage. They like fireworks and pyro just at much as METALLICA does. 

 

AVENGED SEVENFOLD likes to blow shit up!

 

After a cool video intro, METALLICA started of the set with “Hit the Lights” and “Master of Puppets”, like last night, then went to “Fuel”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Shortest Straw” before starting “The Black Album” (Metallica) in reverse. I don’t know what it was, but “The Black Album” just sounded better then Ride. Mind you I haven’t heard this about in over ten years. They just sounded tighter on this material. The encore this time consisted of “Blackend” and “One” and then a James spoke about the festival and dedicated the last song to Cliff, “Seek and Destroy” wait what!? Not “Orion”!? What the hell!? This is bullshit! That’s some of the comments I heard around me. My best guess as to why no “Orion”: maybe it’s kind of a bummer to play it and they didn’t want to end the festival on a downer. 

 

Set List:
Hit the Lights
Master of Puppets
Fuel

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Shortest Straw
The Struggle Within
My Friend of Misery
The God That Failed
Of Wolf and Man
Nothing Else Matters
Through the Never
Don’t Tread On Me
Wherever I May Roam
The Unforgiven
Holier Than Thou
Sad But True
Enter Sandman
Encore:
Blackened
One
Seek and Destroy

 

 

Day two was more enjoyable than Day One, overall.

 

All in all, it was a great family festival. It was really good seeing kids there. I’ll most likely bring mine next year. There was enough different musical styles to keep everyone happy and it was worth the long trip to Atlantic City. I want to go back again so  lets hope for an Orion fest in 2013!

(Special thanks to Evil Robb Photography for the extra live photos!)

by Ojayy Cordy

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

METAL ARMY SONG STREAM: TITANS EVE

July 10th, 2012

 

TITANS EVE brings their brand of thrash metal to the masses this summer!

Canadian thrash metallers TITANS EVE are dropping their new album later this week and Metal Army America is bringing you an exclusive album stream! Life Apocalypse is being released by the band and they are going on the road supporting the mighty ANVIL on a tour beginning later this month. You can hear the track “The Abyss” below and pre-order their album here. They are even giving away a free shirt with the pre-order so jump on this deal and thrash it up!

 

TITANS EVE: On tour with ANVIL:

July 30, 2012 – The Exchange – Regina, SK w/ ANVIL + guests
July 31, 2012 – The Odeon- Saskatoon, SK w/ ANVIL, Untimely Demise, Lavagoat, Agony Spawn, Caym
August 1, 2012 – The Scott Block – Red Deer, AB w/ ANVIL, Day One
August 2, 2012 – The Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB w/ ANVIL + guests
August 3, 2012 – The Distillery – Calgary, AB w/ ANVIL + guests
August 4, 2012 – The Sapphire Lounge – Kelowna, BC w/ ANVIL
August 5, 2012 – The Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC w/ ANVIL, Skullhammer, Dead Asylum

 

Bookmark and Share

IWRESTLEDABEARONCE: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

July 11th, 2012

While at Warped Tour, I thought I would stop by and interview the insane group known as iwrestledabearonce, a band that seems to draw criticism and adoration all at the same time. Read on to find out more about their movie, what goes on behind the scenes of writing, and the story behind the now infamous black metal prank. (Editor’s note: this interview took place before Krysta Cameron dropped off the Warped Tour and Courtney LaPlante replaced her).

 

MAA: The unique insanity you all bring to the table of metal is loved and hated by thousands of people. Yet in the end, you all have fun doing it. How is it you all decided on doing things like throwing in fucking seagulls on “You Know That Ain’t Them Dogs’ Real Voices” and a choir in “Deodorant Can’t Fix Ugly?”

IWABO: Sometimes it’s the basis of a song. We’ll put something dumb in it and build around it. We’ll get done with a song and think “You know what needs to do right here? Seagulls.” We were really drunk when we came up with that. It’s just, lots of stuff happens when you’re high, but even if everyone in the band is totally sober, we can sit and think of crazy shit.

 

MAA: High on life haha. So why is the new album called Ruining It For Everybody?

IWABO: Because it’s what we do. It’s like you said before, people either love us or hate us, so we just give in to the hate and try to make it funny. We read reviews sometimes and we will see “It’s ruining metal, it’s fucking it all up, you’re ruining it for everybody.” So we figured, welp, Ruining It For Everybody. We always say that too, like if someone does something stupid, we just say “Well, thanks for ruining it for everybody else.” The actual coining the album of that name was a Jeff Foxworthy skit. I just like how a bunch of people think a few guys and a girl who care about nothing more than giving people high fives are “ruining it for everybody”.

 

MAA: Are you considering putting out more remix releases like you did for It’s All Happening?

IWABO: I think so. When we did the original remix album for It’s All Happening, it was like no one was really doing them yet, and now it’s like a huge thing, so I don’t know. We’re the kind of assholes where once something starts catching on, we are just like we don’t really feel like doing that anymore. But at this point, our band has a good eighteen or so remixes for the fans, so I think we may be good for now. We might do a couple more honestly pretty soon.

 

MAA: Have you wrote any new songs since releasing Ruining It For Everybody?

IWABO: Yes. We never really put things together until the very last minute, I swear to God. We don’t finish songs until we’re literally recording for the record. The last record we did ourselves, so it was like “oh, nothing wrong with doing guitars at four in the morning.” It wasn’t a tight schedule or anything like that, so it wasn’t stressful. We tour together so damn much, it’s really hard to piece together everything. It’s easy to write on tour, but not to really record or put together anything. We will write out little ideas on our computers and email them to each other, then someone else will take it and, say, put guitar on it. By the time we get into the studio, we have all these parts. Now to put them together. But we can work well under pressure. Most bands that can’t need to discover medical marijuana.

 

MAA: What is the song “It Is Bro Isn’t It” all about?

IWABO: The lyrics or the title?

MAA: Both.

IWABO: The title is an inside joke among us, like most of our other songs. It’s just that people go around and say bro all the damn time like “Hey bro,” or “What’s up bro?” So the song title just makes fun of that. But even we say bro all the time, so we feed into our own jokes. So were always making fun of stuff, but we make fun of each other a lot as well. Lyrically, you would have to ask Krysta. I think it’s about robots or aliens enslaving humanity or something like that. That song is the most screaming song, I guess, so we’re not too sure what it’s about haha. I know the words she’s saying, I just don’t know if she’s actually saying them. But she will say it’s open to interpretation, so when someone comes up and says “I love this song, it’s about this and it helped me through so much” and we’re just like “What the fuck? Cool, it’s great it helped you out, but that’s not what the song is about.”

 

 

MAA: How did that whole black metal prank come about?

IWABO: We just thought it would be funny. Jeremy Saffer, a photographer whom we’re good friends with, was like “I got it. I have a bunch of gauntlets, leather, and shit,” so we just got together and did it. Everybody does photos that are, for the most part, really lame and cliché. Everyone is looking up or to the side, against a wall or an old building, and there’s only so much you can do. Another reason was that we were looking at a book of his and we just said “Wow, you do all of these brutal death metal bands and then you have us doing the lamest shit.” So we thought that we should do photos like this, and why not? Why can’t we wear this shit? Do we have to be a black metal band? Image doesn’t matter and black metal people are so funny about that. They’re supposed to be the complete opposite of having any sort of image and going against society’s norm. I mean, how long do you take in putting on that paint and leather? I’m not dogging on it, but don’t give a fuck about what everyone else does. We all love our moms and we all drink beer. There might be some of that in our movie…

 

MAA: Yeah, tell me about the movie? When is the release of that expected and what will it contain?

IWABO: It’s the most offensive movie ever made. The most swear words you will ever see in a movie. A lot of nudity, and a lot of shameful things that we’re on camera doing. But I will say that it’s all acting… It’s not real, I’m doing it for my “career.”

 

MAA: Yeah, that’s what they all say bro ahaha.

IWABO: I mean, look at Brokeback Mountain. Look how good Heath (Ledger) did there. *Steven to Mike* which means that you’re going to die after or before the movie is released. I forgot where I was going with that, now all I can think about is Brokeback Mountain. Clown from SLIPKNOT is in the movie, he’s actually in it for a good bit. We built the sets, tore them down, and even used those multi-thousand dollar “red cameras” that are all the hype now. So it will be Blu-Ray quality. The acting is questionable.

MAA: When will it be released?

IWABO: We don’t have an exact date yet, but it will be in the fall. Probably…

MAA: Any last words for the fans and people who came out to see you all live?

IWABO: Thanks. Come by the merch tent and get a high five. If you give a shit about our band, then that makes you awesome.

 

by Ridge “Deadite” Briel

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: SEXCREMENT

July 12th, 2012
Sloppy Seconds (Comatose Music)

SEXCREMENT’S new album Sloppy Seconds from Comatose Music is a solid production. Mixed wonderfully by fellow Massachusetts musician Eliot Bayless (REVOCATION), it’s not too clean. You can hear dirt on it that adds to the party vibe of it. At first listen, these Boston boys reminded me a lot of the old Maryland boys DYING FETUS’s early efforts with some CARCASS melodies and harmonies sprinkled on top. Their über-sarcastic song titles are only part of the fun. With songs like “Heard it Though the Rape Vine” and “Well Hungover”, I was expecting parody. Thankfully it wasn’t the case here. They even manage to toss in a little bit of cowbell and it fits perfectly.

 

These guys are all good players, but the bassist Blue Spinazola (DYSENTERY/PARASITIC EXTIRPATION), stands out the most. It’s always nice to hear interesting bass in this type of music. You can hear a little taste in the second song, “Chemical Handcuffs”. Keep an eye on that guy, he’s the bands’ secret weapon. The song intros are really funny and make you guess what they’re gonna do next. They give you the standard death metal basics, but include some non-typical breakdown sections as well. This means really good, odd-time signatures. I found this album highly listenable and I’ll probably look for their first release from 2007, Genitales from the Porno Potty too. If your up in Boston or they’re playing your way, I say go check them out. If they can pull off live the energy they capture on here, you won’t be disappointed.

 

SEXCREMENT: Some bands’ photos look like they ought to be memes.

GRADE: B

Ojayy Cordy

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: C.O.C./TORCHE/BLACK COBRA/GAZA

July 18th, 2012

At The Middle East Down Stairs, Cambridge MA

Now this here show I wasn’t expecting to be too off the wall, since it’s the Middle East, a venue that has become infamous in my mind for its almost telepathic no mosh policy. Why the fuck wouldn’t you move when GAZA‘s on, dammit? Inb4 jokes about GAZA being in the Middle East. Hailin from SLC, Utah, these punks make Sludgecore interesting. The trick is to add some angular mathematics, a healthy dose of schizophrenia, and a genuinely formidable sound/stage presence combo that’ll make the nonbelievers sing “Hallelujeracunt!” while devolving into an orgy of violence. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, this venue is full of squares, and if you’re looking to punch someone in the nose, go to the Palladium. It’s still great to see that Jon’s mannerisms have only gotten more insane, with him at a few points abandoning his microphone to infiltrate the crowd and bellow from within, and even before that he had jumped down into the crowd area to get more of a “punk rock vibe goin”. Attaboy. While many audience members looked confused or scared at Jon prowling around menacingly while the band continued to blast their warning message to everyone’s unready ears, I and the other GAZA fans took delight in knowing what would happen. From dragging his microphone along the ground to create an odd homemade doomy ambiance to him sounding like a raving, drunken preacher denouncing the world’s ills, it had all the hallmarks of a great GAZA performance. The only problem was that about five out of however many attendees seemed to enjoy being touched, pointed at, yelled at, or generally graced with the chest of (since Jon’s always taller than everyone) a monster. The new material promises to be as punishing, if not more so than previous outings, and if they ever do decide to go soft, it’d still sound like fellow Sludgecore band IMBROGLIO’s ugly little sister on heroin mixed with gunpowder for extra kick.

 

BLACK COBRA

Following these titans were a relatively smaller band, both in size and I dearly hope influence, BLACK COBRA. Since they drove me damn near to drowsiness with a lack of actual songwriting dynamics and also-ran performance in general (or maybe their songs actually were that badly written), then I’ll make my review the same. Suck it. And the guy in the white BARONESS shirt who was actually into that band can suck it too. I’d assumed they’d be boring because of their name, and it saddens me to know I was right.

 

TOCHE played an inspired set as the penultimate act.

 

TORCHE broke the monotonous smoky fuck cloud created by the cobra with their mixture of heavier than thou Sludge Metal and a poppy sensibility that can only come from being from the flowery state of Florida.They have somehow found the exact right balance between heaviness and melody, perfected by similar bands such as Canada’s BISON B.C. and Boston boys THE PROSELYTE. Like frosting on a supple cake, they know how to perfectly accent their songs with interesting elements so you actually feel like you’re participating in the listening experience. People reacted well to TORCHE, as they’ve been here several times and have built up a small but dedicated base in Boston, including some non-Metal folk, which just goes to show their versatility. Here’s to hoping TORCHE keep up the great work as the superheroes of Stoner Pop.

 

 

Mike Dean is leading the current incarnation of C.O.C.

Raleigh’s own CORROSION OF CONFORMITY have been around a long time, and can actually claim that the birthing of Crossover Thrash and some of the popularity of Sludge Metal belongs to them, which one of their new songs, “The Doom” seems set on demonstrating. They just put out a new album, and recently came around recently in support of CLUTCH, who are also dirty old men who like their drink. If you’re from the South, it’s impossible to be Edge. C.O.C. might be some low-down dirty dogs, but their music is actually quite technical and dare I say… mildly Proggy, and is nowhere near as lazy as a good dose of Southern heat normally puts bands anywhere below Virginia. With this odd combination of technical Crossover and groovy Sludge, one who’s not all too familiar with them may just look in awe at how they can stand with their bodies being about 65% liquor and dirt, and then be awed at how they seamlessly go from one style to another.   by Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese   It’s clear how they got to be so influential, because it causes a reaction in the vagina of every lesbian. A couple of girls who I’m sure had never seen each other before that night decided to bust out some PG-13 action for all to see. It was… peculiar to say the least, but there were no children around to complain, since this band’s for grown folk. Go see them and hopefully you’ll score too.

 

Reed Mullen is back and killing it behind the kit and on vocals.

 

Woody Weatherman shreds!

 

Review by Sean Genovese with photos by Echoes In The Well.

Bookmark and Share

CONTEST TIME! TRESPASS AMERICA FESTIVAL GIVEAWAY

July 13th, 2012

 

 

Are you going to the TRESPASS AMERICA FESTIVAL? It starts tonight in fact! The show figures to be one of the coolest tours of the summer and with the help of our pals at Victory Records, we are giving away some merch to some enterprising fans. Watch the videos below of these two Victory bands on the tour and come back Monday at 12 noon EST to our Facebook page and answer a trivia question about it. Log on to www.trespassamerica.com for tickets and more details. Dates for the Metal Hammer Trespass America Festival are as follows:

 

Tour Dates:

7/13 –Broomfield, CO @ 1stBank Center

7/15 –Billings, MT @ Metra Park Arena

7/16 – Bismarck, ND @ Bismarck Civic Center

7/17 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Sioux Falls Arena

7/19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom

7/21 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County Expo Center

7/22 – Waterloo, IA @ McElroy Auditorium

7/24 – Lubbock, TX @ Lonestar Amphitheatre

7/25 – Belton, TX @ Bell County Expo Center

7/27 – San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum

7/28 – Beaumont, TX @ Ford Pavilion

7/30 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena

7/31 – Evansville, IN @ Ford Center

8/01 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion

8/03–Battle Creek, MI @ Kellogg Arena

8/04–Rochester Hills, MI @ MeadowBrook Amphitheater

8/05–Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion At Nautica

8/07–Syracuse, NY @ SRC Arena and Events Center / Onondaga Community Center

8/08 – Glens Falls, NY @ Glens Falls Civic Center

8/10 – Scarborough, ME @ Scarborough Downs

8/11 – Montreal, QC @Parc Jean Drapeau Festival

8/12 –Toronto, ON @ Downsview Park

8/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE

8/15 – Hartford, CT @ Comcast Theatre

8/17 – Worchester, MA @ DCU Center

8/18 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

8/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing – Festival Pier

8/21 – Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheater

8/22 – Knoxville, TN @ Knoxville Civic Coliseum

8/24 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Katt Fest – OKC Zoo Amphitheater

8/25 – Rio Rancho, NM @ Santa Ana Star Center

8/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theater

8/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium

 

Here are the two bands on the tour that figure in our contests. Study these videos well for a chance to win cool prizes starting next week:

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: BURY TOMORROW

July 17th, 2012

The Union of Crowns (Nuclear Blast Records)

 

BURY TOMORROW are a promising five piece Metalcore band hailing from England who are sure to gain widespread recognition with the release of their second album, The Union of Crowns. This is their first album with Nuclear Blast Records. The band’s debut album came out in 2010 and they have been touring on and off for the past two years. Even with all their touring, they have been able to create a quality album.

Clean vocalist Jason Cameron sounds like a Metalcore version of DAVE GROHL of FOO FIGHTERS. If the listener did not know otherwise, they might mistake Cameron for him. He and screamer Daniel Winter-Bates share the vocals rather evenly, giving a balanced feel to the songs. The album starts off strong with the track “Redeemer”. It puts the listener in the thick of the story and instantly immerses them. The band echoes the leading track in the final song, “A Curse”. This is cool because this allows the album to be played in a sort of continuous loop. “A Curse” is also a standout track because it has the epic feel that a concept album ending needs. The listener can imagine it being played as a finale for a live show. Overall, there is not a single track on the album that would be considered bad. They get stuck in your head easily and are made to be listened to repeatedly.

The band’s sound is comparable to metalcore heroes AS I LAY DYING. Although this is not a bad thing, it does not set them very far apart from other metalcore bands that go for that same sound. Listeners can tell that there is a story to the songs involving a crumbling kingdom but the plot line is not necessary for the listener to enjoy the album; it is only part of the fun. The songs flow seamlessly into each other (namely “Sceptres” into “Vacant Throne”) which means the action never stops and the listener does not feel bored at any point. They’re all ideal lengths too; none hit the five minute mark and do not fall below the three minute point either. It is definitely an album that any fan of Metalcore needs to hear.

If things continue to go as well as they are for BURY TOMORROW, we may have some new Metalcore luminaries; they just need to emphasize their difference from the rest of the pack.

 

BURY TOMORROW: The future of metalcore, today.

GRADE: A

By: Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

TOUR DIARY: TITANS EVE

July 16th, 2012
TITANS EVE is an up and coming thrash metal band from Canada.  We have been following the band’s exploits lately, like when we streamed their new song last week. They dropped their new album Life Apocalpyse, and are busy playing some big warm up shows and gearing up for their summer tour with thrash/rock godfathers ANVIL and another with KILL DEVIL HILL. Vocalist/guitarist Brian Gamblin has shared some of his thoughts in this exclusive diary for Metal Army America about opening up for KORN in their hometown of Vancouver, B. C.

TITANS EVE played a big hometown show opening for KORN. Photo by Rock 97.7fm  Grande Prairie, AB

 

Getting to the Encana centre arena in Dawson Creek B.C and seeing 3 large tour busses parked outside of the big bay load in doors was quite the site as we pulled up to our first Arena Gig. There was a wave of excitement that hit us all as we pulled into our loading bay because in just a few hours we would be sharing the stage with the band KORN!Once we had parked the Van a group of staff members began helping us load our gear to sound check (holy shit this must be heaven) where we could hear KORN going through some of their new tracks!!! After getting shown to our room where beer and water was supplied (killer) we warmed up for the gig. Then before you knew it the lights went out the crowd roared and we played our new tunes from our up coming album Life Apocalypse to a very supportive crowd. After KORN’s amazing set the band wished us well and we headed back to B.C to prepare for the ANVIL tour!

 

Brian Gamblin of TITANS EVE. Photo by Rock 97.7fm Grande Prairie, AB

 

TITANS EVE opens for KORN. Photo by Rock 97.7fm Grande Prairie, AB

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: VESPERIAN SORROW

July 16th, 2012

Stormwinds of Ages (Path Less Traveled Records)

VESPERIAN SORROW is a symphonic black metal band out of Austin, Texas. It is comprised of Donn Donni on Vocals, Kristoph on both Drums and Keyboards, William and JZD on Guitars, Justin M on Bass, and Subverseraph on Keyboards. They have supported acts such as MAYHEM, and have released four albums since their 1998 inception.

Ya know, it’s odd work reviewing symphonic black metal in the middle of July. When I finished the first listen of this album, I found it hard to believe that the album had been written in Austin, and not a Scandinavian wasteland. Stormwinds of Ages is an album that gets the job done, and nothing more. It’s like in high school and you had the option of an honors English class or the general class. An “A” in the general class is good, but an “A” in the honors class is exceptional. If you love symphonic metal, then go ahead and give the album a shot.

I’ve listened to the album numerous times, and there still hasn’t been a moment where the light bulb went off in my head. As a symphonic black metal band, it’s hard to compete with bands like DIMMU BORGIR or EMPEROR being in your genre. Stormwinds of Ages starts with the track “Sangui Vitam Est,” and it’s your stereotypical, instrumental, minute long opener track. The rest of the album is what you’d expect: fast paced music with synthesizer keyboards. I suppose I’ve been spoiled in the genre’s potential because DIMMU BORGIR used the Prague Symphony in their recording of Deathcult Armageddon. Cheesy keyboards in 2012 symphonic metal just can’t cut it, especially knowing that Austin has a wide variety of fantastic musicians in the area. The songs as a whole are decent. My favorite song on the album is “Eye of the Clocktower”, with some pretty good riffy stuff. Each instrument in the band fits together, creating a dense “wash of sound” to listen to. Occasional glimpses of clean vocals give the album a power or folk metal feel. Despite the lack of innovation in the album, it is still something I would listen to if I were in the mood for this genre.

The Bottom Line: Stormwinds of Ages has occasional glimpses of “Oh, hey, this is cool,” and then more of what you’d predict in a Symphonic Black Metal album.

 

VESPERIAN SORROW: Scandinavian sounds from deep in the heart of Texas.

GRADE: B

By Rachel Hacker

 

Bookmark and Share

METAL ARMY SONG STREAM: MIKEYNYHC

July 16th, 2012

 


 

Straight off the streets of New York City comes MIKEYNYHC who brings a lot of old-school New York Hardcore sensibilities and flavor with a new feel to the game. The new album is aptly titled “In Memory of Every Yesterday” since the material reflects the artists’ past. Some songs are strictly hardcore and harsh, while others are more melodic and mellow. All of it is as real as it gets. MIKEYNYC represents the work of a lifer who has many tales to tell that anyone from the school of hard knocks can relate too.  Check out the awesome song “Set Me Free” and join his Facebook community to follow this release.

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: KITTIE AND THE AGONIST

July 17th, 2012

Kitties Will Come Out And Play As Girls Just Want To Rock Out:

 

Good all girl bands and female-fronted bands are hard to find. When one appears and attempts stardom, they are by far judged more than any ordinary band—a clear target for ridicule because of gender. Nonetheless, out of many there is always that certain one that stands out the most and is perhaps accepted for whatever reason.

 

KITTIE rocks The Grove Of Anaheim!

 

Since their 1999 debut, the Canadian all-girl metal band KITTIE have struggled with a definite lineup and staying relevant in the airwaves. However, more than ten years into the game, they haven’t stop attempting to stay relevant and provide fans with their version of angry riot girl nu-metal. Their sixth studio album I’ve Failed You, made it to the lower half of Billboard’s Top 200 last summer selling 3,000 copies in it’s first week of release—numbers that couldn’t impress post-thrash metal fans and critics—making the album another forgettable album in KITTIE’s discography. Some of the tracks dance around over production in a mix of 90’s girl power nostalgia. Not to completely bash on these girls, they are better live than they are on paper.

Bassist Trish Doan recently rejoined KITTIE after Ivy Vuijic left the band.

 

To a surprise, their last tour in the States, satisfied fans. Although, the all-ages tour that happened this past Spring disappointed in ticket sales, KITTIE did kick some ass and demonstrated to the 100 or so kids that were at The Grove of Anaheim at the end of April that they can still put on a good show. Lead singer, Morgan Lander’s vocals live are more powerful and aggressive than they are on record—where it sounds like a more of desperation to be unique than genuine. Such songs like “We are the Lamb”, which is featured in I’ve Failed You, shows the effort these girls are capable of and really highlights their skills as musicians in a venues atmosphere.

 

Morgan Lander of KITTIE kills it live.

 

Hailing from the same nation as fellow tour mates, THE AGONIST represents a fresher twist to the female-fronted metal. Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz has the ability to really sync in her growls with the perfect melody. Her strong persona compliments her low, powerful growls and clean, sweet singing voice. The crowd’s reciprocated the energy the quartet had on stage during the show in Anaheim. As an opening band, THE AGONIST proved that female-fronted nu-metal bands are not dead. Overall, THE AGONIST knows how to use their talents to the extreme, using the stage to show off their skills that translate through powerful breakdowns and memorable melodies that leave a crowd wanting more.

 

THE AGONIST gives their all to the crowd.

Both bands will continue to make some kind of impact to their devoted fans—perhaps, a small staple in metal history. KITTIE is currently resting after the tour ended in May. In support of their latest release, Prisoners, THE AGONIST is on tour throughout Canada and the US for the summer. Until the next unforgettable female band comes along, these bands will continue to rock and roll.

 

Vocalist Alissa White-Gluz is one of the most complete singers in metal today.

 

By: Cynthia Jo

Bookmark and Share

CAN’T MISS TOUR ALERT: HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE/GATES OF SLUMBER

July 18th, 2012

This summer has already provided quite a few high profile tours that should not be missed. One tour you might not have heard about, but you will kick yourself for missing is the HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE/GATES OF SLUMBER jaunt. Beginning tonight in the great metal city of Chicago, all holy hell will unleash when these two bands team up to murder eardrums, destroy stages and blow minds. You have the sick, monolithic Doom of GATES OF SLUMBER matched perfectly with the Old School Rock and all out tuneful folk, Thrash and Doom of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE.  Thank the gods of all that is metal and Brooklyn Vegan for sponsoring this party! This tour promises to deliver some zero compromise, free of excess bullshit great music. So you better get your sorry ass there with no delay if this tour is coming to your town. RAGE NOW!

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: BARONESS

July 20th, 2012

Yellow and Green (Relapse)

 

Another stunning masterpiece album cover by John Baizley.

Another of the most anticipated albums of 2012 dropping this summer is by BARONESS. I have been a huge fan of the band since before they were popular so I will admit I have been excited for this album like a little girl getting a pony on her fifth birthday. After 2009′s Blue Album blew up and catapulted them to the top of every taste makers lists (it ranked #2 for me that year, by a nose behind MASTODON’s Crack The Skye), I didn’t have to rave about this band that few knew about anymore. Usually two things happen when a band reaches this level: they plateau and disappoint or they rise to the occasion and deliver a masterpiece. Rest assured, BARONESS has done the latter and then some.

With a sweeping double album, Yellow and Green has continued the journey the band has been on for several albums. Although the songs are still full of spirit and vitriol and packed with Olympian guitar work, musically the band has moved away from metal and potatoes Sludge influenced Prog-rock. What they have done is transform their sound, without constraints and wrote flat-out brilliant songs. They may lose some long time fans in the process, but similar to MASTODON and OPETH, this has been a long time coming. Some songs rage and others ebb and flow gently. All of them have a character and a soulfulness lacking in a lot of today’s music. Tiny details, amazing little bits of genius carefully put into the tracks that make each listen more rewarding. It is the sound of a band fully gelling, although defined and led by John Baizley’s creative fire

 

Yellow… is the more uptempo and rocking side of the two, but not in strict terms. After “Yellow Theme” sets the table as many BARONESS records have done before you have the rollicking singles like “Take My Bones Away” and “March To the Sea”. Without the use of metals’ clichés of over-driven amps and palm-muted chords, these songs stand on their own, and still damn heavy. Still, the beauty of the album is in mellower, but deeper cuts like “Little Things” and “Twinkler” that will be a treat for your ears and heart. Heady and emotive like all the greats: QUEEN, THIN LIZZY, late-era LED ZEPPELIN or early psychedelic-era PINK FLOYD, these albums took you on a mental journey into mystery the first time you heard them. “Cocanium” is a straight out 70′s Pop-Rock delight that could have been at home on a JOE WALSH or STEVE MILLER album. Gritty, mature and possessing dynamite bass lines and keyboard parts. Baizley actually played all of the bass on the album too since new bassist Matt Maggioni hadn’t joined until late in the writing process. Whether it’s the catchy “Back Where I Belong” or the transcendent “Eula”, every song has goose-bump inducing moments from both Baizley and Peter Adams in the guitar work.

 

Green… is very interesting by itself. I listened to the entire album together many times already, but Green has its own merits alone too. It’s not a case of one side being rockers and the other a chill out. Quite the opposite. Both albums have their different tones and timbres. “Green Theme” is actually a little less somber and more up beat than the earlier side intro song. Drummer Allen Blickle might have had to hold back a little more overall than his usual ferocious attack, but it may very well be his best playing of his career. “Board Up The House” has wonderful dynamic range as does “Mtns. (The Crown &Anchor)”. Baizley’s philosophical story telling gets an additional boost from some harmonized vocal lines that will make you think of THE BEATLES. “Collapse” is another gem of song craft also. “Stretchmarker” is soft and introspective while “The Line Between” is one of the hardest songs of the set. “If I Forget Thee, Lowcountry” puts a dreamy end to the opus. Yellow and Green is not only the perfect soundtrack to summer, it is the best album of this mighty bands’ career.

 

BARONESS sheds the typical trappings of metal for something more.

GRADE: A+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ROUND TWO: TRESPASS AMERICA FESTIVAL MERCH GIVEAWAY!!

July 20th, 2012

 

 

TRESPASS AMERICA FESTIVAL is underway and reports say the shows have been killer!  We are continuing to celebrate by giving away more band merch! Victory Records were supercool enough to team up with us and give away some merch to some enterprising fans. Watch the video below of this amazing Victory band and come back Monday at 12 noon EST to our Facebook page. Answer a trivia question about the video and you might win! Log on to www.trespassamerica.com for tickets and more details. Dates for the Metal Hammer Trespass America Festival are as follows:

 

Tour Dates:

7/13 –Broomfield, CO @ 1stBank Center

7/15 –Billings, MT @ Metra Park Arena

7/16 – Bismarck, ND @ Bismarck Civic Center

7/17 – Sioux Falls, SD @ Sioux Falls Arena

7/19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom

7/21 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County Expo Center

7/22 – Waterloo, IA @ McElroy Auditorium

7/24 – Lubbock, TX @ Lonestar Amphitheatre

7/25 – Belton, TX @ Bell County Expo Center

7/27 – San Antonio, TX @ Freeman Coliseum

7/28 – Beaumont, TX @ Ford Pavilion

7/30 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena

7/31 – Evansville, IN @ Ford Center

8/01 – Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion

8/03–Battle Creek, MI @ Kellogg Arena

8/04–Rochester Hills, MI @ MeadowBrook Amphitheater

8/05–Cleveland, OH @ Jacobs Pavilion At Nautica

8/07–Syracuse, NY @ SRC Arena and Events Center / Onondaga Community Center

8/08 – Glens Falls, NY @ Glens Falls Civic Center

8/10 – Scarborough, ME @ Scarborough Downs

8/11 – Montreal, QC @Parc Jean Drapeau Festival

8/12 –Toronto, ON @ Downsview Park

8/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE

8/15 – Hartford, CT @ Comcast Theatre

8/17 – Worchester, MA @ DCU Center

8/18 – Newark, NJ @ Prudential Center

8/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing – Festival Pier

8/21 – Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheater

8/22 – Knoxville, TN @ Knoxville Civic Coliseum

8/24 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Katt Fest – OKC Zoo Amphitheater

8/25 – Rio Rancho, NM @ Santa Ana Star Center

8/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theater

8/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Palladium

 

Here is the remaining band in our contest. In this video is the clue you need, to answer the question, to get some free merch! Got it? Good!

 

 

Bookmark and Share

CAN’T MISS TOURS: SUMMER SLAUGHTERRRAAAAARRGHHHH!!!!!

July 20th, 2012

Sorry about that headline. I tend to get a little carried away. SUMMER SLAUGHTER to some fans of more extreme and interesting bands is THE tour of the summer this and every year. The line-ups are consistently good and the sponsors do a bang up job in my opinion. This years’ line-up does not fucking disappoint! The tour begins tonight! I’m super stoked to see EXHUMED and motherfucking GOATWHORE early in the day. You better not be late to this one folks. These guys could be doing their own headline tours or playing to thousands in Europe nightly. Call out sick from work or whatever you do with your days between shows, but get there early. Next JOB FOR A COWBOY is gonna crush it big time. Then I like how three of the modern metal bands in a row step up in VEIL OF MAYA, PERIPHERY and THE FACELESS. The new album from THE FACELESS’ is gonna drop on 8/14, right in the middle of the tour! Sick! You all better buy that shit and not download it you pack of crims. Then in the co-headliner spots you have BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME and the impeccable CANNIBAL CORPSE. A little something for the Prog nerds and the Death Metal old-schoolers. CANNIBAL is going to gut their audiences musically and I for one cannot wait because they are one of the best bands of all time live. Get your tickets now and not the day of because apparently some of the shows have been selling out.  For more details check the tour Facebook page.  See you there!

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: TREPALIUM

July 23rd, 2012
H.N.P. (Klonosphere/Season Mist)

 

All the way from France, with their fourth release, H.N.P. or “Heic Noenum Pax” courtesy of TREPALIUM, which is also a pretty nasty torture device. The cover art by HICHAM HADDAJI kicks ass, but sadly this album is not as bad ass as the cover. If the goal was to cover as many bases as possible, mission accomplished! Everyone involved in this album are good players, I have no problem with that it’s just what they’re playing, I get the feeling I’ve heard it all before. They’re a Heavy-Groove band with a little Prog thrown in to make it more interesting. Then there are parts when they sound like a weird MESHUGGAH, STONE SOUR, PANTERA mash-up.

 

The vocals of Keke remind me of DEZ FAFARA of DEVILDRIVER and GARY MESKIL of PRO-PAIN. The guitar players, Nicolas Amosse and Hurun Demiraslan are good, but when it’s solo time they show they went to FREDRICK THORDENDAL (MESHUGGAH) school of guitar soloing. The rhythm section is doing their job well and there is good use of keyboards too. The only problem I found is the lack of cohesiveness in the songs. Everything sounds all over the place. It’s like an old mix tape in the styles these guys cover.

 

Everything’s pretty standard and mid-tempo grooving hard rock tunes. It’s a good clear production. Maybe too clean. The first, and title song is not a bad opener. It has some good Prog elements in there. Then out of nowhere comes “Let the Clown Rise”, blast beats and all the death metal nuggets you’d expect, but it just sounds out of place. There is a nice full on instrumentation with “Raining Past” and it’s not too long either. They end the album with a pretty solid cover of “I’m Broken” by the mighty PANTERA. It’s always nice to hear something besides “Walk” covered. Overall, it just sounds like too many other things and not one solid voice. I get what they were trying to do and hopefully next time they’ll hit it on the nose.

 

GRADE: C+

by Ojayy Cordy

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: VINTERSORG

July 23rd, 2012

Orkan (Napalm Records)

 

VINTERSORG may be small, but they are mighty. The central heartbeat behind this band is ANDREAS HEDLUND- composer, keyboardist, vocalist and guitarist. Accompanying him on guitar is Mattias Marklund.This Swedish duo has released nine studio albums to date, since 1994. You may have seen Hedlund, who goes by the nickname, “Vintersorg,” fronting other bands such as: OTYG, BORKNAGAR, HAVAYOTH, FISSION, CRONIAN, and WATERCLIME.

 

In the world of classical music, my music teachers have encouraged me to always look up the translations of any non-English words in my music. Knowing all translations written into music gives a musician a much better idea of what kind of emotions they wish to portray. Thankfully, Napalm Records provided me with rough translations to the song titles for Orkan. The band name itself means “Winter Sorrow.”

The album titles read as follows in English:

1. “Ice Ages” (Istid)

2. “Out of Stardust We’re Born” (Ur Stjarnstoft Ar Vi Komna)

3. “The Polar Night” (Polarnatten)

4. “The Mire” (Myren)

5. “Hurricane” (Orkan)

6. “Mercy of the Ocean” (Havets Nad)

7. “Northern Light Visions” (Norrskenssyner)

8. “Prisioner of the Primal Weather” (Urvadersfangen)

 

Hedlund did a great job portraying the song titles through music. I have always appreciated how well-written Scandinavian metal can sound as frigid as the landscape it was written in. Orkan has a tasteful hybrid of progressive metal, folk metal, and a sprinkling of black metal. If you’re a nerd for complicated music like me, then this album is the one for you. Vocals soar above intricate instrumentals, and the keyboard playing is remarkably good. Every song on the album brings a new musical idea. There is no filler music on the album, and my ear was always surprised at what musical idea was going to happen next. With the unforeseen number of delays seen in releasing Wintersun’s album Time, Orkan is the album that could give Time a run for it’s money. My personal favorite track on the album is “Prisoner of the Primal Weather (Urvadersfangen)” and the beginning of that track has been stuck in my head all week. The only thing that would make this album better is if it came with a cute Swedish boyfriend and a vacation in Stockholm.

 

The Bottom Line: Orkan is the album that will challenge your folk metal collection.

GRADE: A

by Rachel Hacker

 

Bookmark and Share

CONVERSATIONS FROM THE CRYPT: MIKE MUIR

July 24th, 2012

In the first of a new series of interview segments on Metal Army America, we bring you Conversations From the Crypt! We’ll be doing a series of interviews that are more in-depth and longer than our typical pieces usually are. Last fall we caught up with hardcore punk and metal legend CYKO MIKE MUIR. As the front man of the ground breaking SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, the funky and fun INFECTIOUS GROOVES and other projects like CYKO; he has influenced several generations of the most important bands. All of his projects have new releases in the works for 2012 and beyond, including extensive touring in Europe and their recent appearance at the Orion Music and More Festival in June. We interviewed Mike about the excellent collection he released last fall- CYKO MYKO: The Mad Mad Muir Musical Tour Part I, but we covered a host of other topics too. He gave a lot of perspectives on his career in this wide-ranging chat.

 

MIKE MUIR performs with ST at the recent Orion Music and More Festival in New Jersey. Image by Evil Robb Photography.

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: PHOBIA

July 24th, 2012

Remnants of Filth (Willowtip)

There are certain bands whom you wouldn’t mind seeing take a stylistic left turn every once in a while. PHOBIA is not one of those bands. Helmed by SHANE “THE PAIN” MCLACHLAN” for over two decades, PHOBIA has made a long, successful underground career out of melding Hardcore Punk and Crust with their own brand of pioneering and unrelenting Grind. Through over twenty releases, the formula has largely remained the same, and it’s a formula that works, so why tinker with the recipe and fiddle with the knobs? As those in the grindcore scene so succinctly sum up so many of their online postings these days on everything from culinary matters to tour recaps, GRIND! And grind Phobia does on its latest album, Remnants of Filth.

Grindcore reviews can get dicey because, for the most part, grind is grind. You’ve got your slow, building intros that dive bomb into million-mile-an-hour blast beats, trading off low growls and indecipherable shrieks, D-Beat and punk bridges between the blasts, and exhibitions of that snotty punk attitude and sense of humor here and there. PHOBIA displays all of these ingredients in short order throughout REMNANTS OF FILTH, all wrapped up in tight 60-seconds-or-less packages, for the most part, with a couple of outliers here and there. Delving in-depth into 30 or 45-second offerings almost seems farcical, as how does one describe one blasting track after another? The simple fact of the matter is that anyone who calls him or herself a fan of grind will like whatever PHOBIA puts out because they helped invent American grind, and have stuck steadfast to that which they helped forge from the beginning. What’s not to like for your average grind freak?

It is worth noting that the drum work of BRYAN FAJARDO is just about as precise and tight as grind drumming can get. This comes as no surprise when you peruse the man’s resume, which includes such other grind greats as KILL THE CLIENT, NOISEAR, and GRIDLINK. And speaking of NOISEAR, the track “Dementia Having Overdose” does seem to have a bit of that same angular, techy grind FAJARDO’s other band is so known for. Other tracks that stick out from the grind norm include “Submission Hold,” which has the closest thing you might ever hear to a breakdown in a grindcore song. “Resuscitate” is the album’s only true curveball, at about 175 beats per minute slower than the next slowest track on the record.

The rest of this disc focuses around the sped up punk riffs—punk to the core, but anything but sloppy and largely written by MCLACHLAN himself, according to interviews, and honest-to-goodness punk interludes that make up the PHOBIA grind blueprint. This is American grind pioneers doing what they do best, no more and no less. In addition to his rock solid genre-specific songwriting skills, MCLACHLAN also possesses a uniquely natural sounding voice despite oscillating between equally unnatural high and low ends of the spectrum. No matter how high or low he goes, his voice never sounds like it’s about to strain or as though his chords are about to go dry and slam together. A lifetime of screaming must teach a seasoned road dog a thing or two about that.

If there is any gripe with the album, it might be with the seeming over-dependence on movie samples within songs. Just let the music speak for itself; it can stand on its own without a cinematic counterpart. But Remnants of Filth is no doubt a crowd pleaser, with an ample amount of choruses that will allow the live audience to scream and bark along. It’s not an album that does anything other than stick to the standard PHOBIA helped invent. What else could grind fans want?

PHOBIA: If you’re happy and you know it….. oh nevermind.

 

GRADE: A-

By Joe Reviled

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA

July 25th, 2012

Malediction (Listenable Records)

 

Malediction was recorded at long time producer/guitarist Dan Abela’s Legacy London Recordings Studios and this is SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA’s best sounding release to date as a solo artist. Since the last album, The Corruption of Mercy there have been a few changes to the band. Mainly with a new drummer, Damjan Stefanovic and guitarist Azz Inferno. Sarah and the rest of the band sound like they’ve been together forever. If this EP was done to showcase the new blood, then mission accomplished. The cohesiveness they have in such a short time is pretty damn impressive. It makes me mad it’s was just three songs, I’m left chomping at the bit, wanting more.

On “Lies Define Us” SOILWORK front man BJORN ‘SPEED’ STRID joins the mix for a wonder performance. When he kicks in on the second verse, their voices compliment and blend together very well. With Damjans choice grooves on the chorus, Sarah and Speed sound phenomenal. It is probably my second favorite stalker-y song after DANZIG’s “Stalker song”. Martin Powell on keyboards (ex-CRADLE OF FILTH) does a fine job adding extra atmosphere to this whole project.

“When “It Catches Up With You” is the lone track sans guests. Sarah shines like, well a diva with her vast index of vocal ranges. Her style of singing comes off compelling and engaging. It’s more like she is a storyteller than just a vocalist. Bassist AblaZ has a pulsing presence underneath the melody, provided by Sarah. I can see a lot of people doing the Gothic two-step to this track at some nightclub somewhere.

With “This Is My Curse” another former CRADLE OF FILTH band mate and mastermind DANI FILTH, lend this vile vocals for this duet. It’s pretty awesome to hear their usual dynamic flipped around. With her on lead vocals, it’s really nice to hear them together again after a few years apart. The harmonies they pull off are some evil sounding wails. One second I feel I should be in a black robe surrounded by black candles and the next, covered in spikes ready to burn something down.

Lyrically, this is so accessible to anyone with a heart, it’s almost scary. The songs are all about various stages of love, but they don’t come off as cheesy or annoying. This is an EP of pure enjoyment. It is highly listenable, pun intended. If you’re one of the people who do not like female singers in metal, it’s your loss. I want to get my passport and go see SJD and her band live.

 

SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA leads the new lineup of her band.

GRADE: A+

by Ojayy Cordy

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: REFUSED AND OFF!

July 26th, 2012

Live At the House of Blues, Boston MA

The Pit Is Fucking Alive.

 

Let’s just start by giving a big round of applause to everyone who, despite the known presence of secret police in Boston who aim to stop people from having fun, made this night a show to remember. (Editor’s note: check our own take on the moshing ban in Boston here.) One of the most important Punk tours of the decade no doubt, with a touch of political and social dissent. Spit in the face of authority and let loose.

 

Starting off the festivities was OFF!, fronted by the legendary Keith Morris, some old balding dreadlocked bastard from bands you’ve never heard of including BLACK FLAG and THE CIRCLE JERKS, along with cast-offs from failures like ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT, REDD KROSS, and other stuff no one cares about. All joking aside, this here is a group of seasoned musicians who know what they’re doing. It usually helps your live show when you’re skilled, I hear.

The legendary Punk Icon himself: KEITH MORRIS of OFF!

In OFF!’s 45 minute (or hour) long set, I’m pretty sure they actually played almost every song in their two LP/an EP or four discography. This despite the fact that Morris, being an embattled veteran of the Punk scene as well as fairly aged, he’s seen a lot, done a lot, is fed up with a lot, and is unafraid to make a rousing speech the likes of which follower HENRY ROLLINS could have borrowed his style from. These elements come together to make a refreshingly old school sound that’s not dating itself.

 

Once they hit the stage and began setting up, I was apprehensive as to the energy level, and if my fellow crowd members would be willing to break free of the constraints so flimsily placed by the friendly neighborhood BPD. For the first few songs, there was a curtain of nervousness in the air as Morris and Co. bandied about, letting loose while the audience gazed furtively at itself, hoping that someone would make a move to break the metaphorical ice. It almost goes without saying that high energy Punk Rock goes a long way to bring about the emotional climate for rule-breaking and general not-giving-a-fuck-ness. By the third or fourth song, all pretense was dropped, and the circle pit was it.

In between bombardments by ancient Punk rhythms and seething vitriol, one could catch a glimmer of Morris’ humble nature, and his unwillingness to think himself higher than anyone despite the fact that he’s led a much more interesting life than your average punx. It’s this humility and good nature that leads to fans being able to get pictures and just have a nice chat with the man.

KEITH MORRIS and Metal Army America staff writer Sean Genovese.

 

 

About a half an hour before Umeå, Sweden’s own left-wing singer-songwriter gentlemen REFUSED officially began their set, the crowd began to notice that instead of random rock tunes playing over the stereo as normal, it was some odd low droning ambiance that put a disturbing atmosphere over the venue. It gradually grew louder with every passing minute, and when the time came, the crowd took its position, pointed directly at the stage where a large black curtain was draped over the band as they clandestinely set up. As the drone intensified, it began to resemble a long sustained guitar chord. With time, the ambient sound created a mixture of fear, anticipation, and a sort of battle readiness for the oncoming insanity. Lights over the stage, we realized, were panning ever so slowly down toward the crowd, practically turning in step with the increasing loudness of the ambiance. As the sound and lights swelled to full realization and the lights overhead dimmed, the crowd could see that the black curtain had REFUSED cut out of it as the light shone through.

The energy from OFF!’s set was great, but as soon as REFUSED opened with “Worms Of The Senses/ Faculties Of The Skull”, the floor became a veritable feeding ground where tooth and claw ruled the scene, and those who could not fight were destroyed in seconds. One thing about this show that was particularly amazing was that not only was everyone into it, but the sheer diversity of people attending who all just got it. There were Metalheads, -Core kids with swoopy hair, old school NxYxHxC looking guys, huge besweatered Hardcore bros with flatbill caps, dyed/bleached punx in leather jackets with skulls on them, you name it. To shout words of protest alongside a smorgasbord of countercultures is truly empowering.

 

 

The set was varied enough, considering their discography currently stands at five EPs and three LPs.  Though I am disappointed that they don’t play anything off This Just Might Be… The Truth (namely “Pump The Brakes”), their most heavy and straightforward release, I feel as though it ultimately wouldn’t mesh well with the material from The Shape Of Punk To Come and Songs To Fan The Flames Of Discontent, which lean towards a sort of Post-Hardcore/Experimental Rock sound, but have just enough heaviness and hard-hitting aggression to merit their place among the Punk/Hardcore greats of history. From the two-step swing of “Summerholidy vs Punkroutine” to the cannonading lyrical assault of “Refused Are Fucking Dead” (my personal favourite), and the turncoat anthem “Coup D’Etat”, all coupled with vocalist Dennis Lyxzén musing on how prophetic his lyrics of top-down oppression are in hindsight. It was all around a spectacular showcase of how Punk Rock is not just three chords and an angry British or Californian man shouting about the impending police state. Take some notes from the seminal volume Songwriting Tips For Anarchists, by U. Kuhnt, which simply contains the words “OPPRESSORS: FUCK OFF” in large, bold, red print, and listen to some REFUSED. You’ll be much wiser for it. In the meantime, should REFUSED repeat this tour, being fully active once again since 1998, and you for any reason missed this, your redemption shall come swift as an assassin’s blade under cover of night.

 

Someone lost a shoe in the madness of the mosh pit.

 

To whoever lost the shoe pictured above, I’m sure it was well worth the small loss. It’s silhouette stands out among the appeased horde cheering one of the most important Punk bands of modern times making its return like phoenices from ashes long forgotten, faintly resembling the shape of an axe, which I’ll allow you, the reader, to mark with some obtuse political symbolism. I’m stumped, if you ask me.

by Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese

Bookmark and Share

EPHEL DUATH: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

July 27th, 2012

Metal Army America interviewed EPHEL DUATH mastermind Davide Tiso via email. The on the eve of the release of a sprawling new EP, On Death And The Cosmos, Tiso shared a great many insights. The new EP sports an all-star lineup of some of the greatest names in all of metal which enabled Tiso to bring his grand vision to life. In the interview below he not only explained the concept of the record, but broke down each song to its lyrical bones, detailed how the new lineup came together, what the future holds for the group and much more!

 


MAA: Please discuss the concept behind the new EP On Death And The Cosmos?

DT: The main concept of On Death and Cosmos rotates around the idea of feeling rootless. The creative process this time started from a personal loss: that event marked me so deep not just because I’ve lost a person I felt very close to, but because together with his disappearance I feel I broke the bond with the place I’m coming from. At this point in my life I think I could live pretty much everywhere without feeling home sick. I have a “cosmos” of opportunity opening up in front of my eyes, and while this can be considered a positive things for a human being, the lyrics in the EP dig in the painful process of detachment from what for 30 and more years I felt were my roots. On Death and Cosmos holds together some of the lyrics I’m most attached to. These words erupted from me, and all three songs are lyrically tied together by the theme of Death and mourning, and the escape represented by the Cosmos.

After that loss I mentioned before, I felt in a terrible depression and returning to compose for EPHEL DUATH was the way out from that paralyzing state. Some days I was feeling so bad that I felt my mind getting take over by the spirit of my dead beloved, who was not accepting his death and wanted to keep living through me:

 

The opening song “Black Prism” pictures the hopeless search of oneself in the splitting process of spirit attachment.

“I lie between layers of perception

I’m neither here or there
Twice but still nothing
My image multiplies
While my sight plays dead and regress”

 

The song “Raqia”, the ancient Hebrew word for the English “firmament”, marks the pain caused by abandonment and the excruciating consequences of letting go.

“You may be as lonely as I feel

But the emptiness around you is cosmic
Immense
While mine
Mine tastes just like flesh”

 

Composing the lyrics of On Death and Cosmos I spent a great deal of time out at night, listening music, smoking cigarettes and looking at the sky. Considering the turmoil my life was in at that moment, writing new lyrics I was literally pushing my sight and my mind as distant as possible from that mess I was in. I wrote this way every time I got the chance and I started to feel a pretty strong comforting sensation while immersing my head and thoughts into the sky/firmament/Raqia entity. I read that warming feeling like the confirmation that my healing process was supposed to pass through that stage to get to the core of my pain and I kept going.

 

The closing track “Stardust Rain” is an ode to self-purification through inner death of senses.

“I am the black coat

Where stars hide in
I protect each of them
One by one
They keep shining to live
I let them burning to live
To my slow death I aim to”

 

This is probably the song I feel closer to. Everything in life has a positive and a negative power, I think that bad situations are the one that teach us the most: loss gives us the chance to readjust or even reshape ourselves during and after the mourning process. This positive chance offered by such traumatic experience is blurred out by the big dose of pain involved but I’m confident that each of us while suffering, on the long run, have the chance to know how much they are changing and self transforming day after day.

I changed for better while mourning: I was an unfocused and worse person before my grandfather died. His death brought some good to me, I had the chance to find myself again, and as I wrote inside the booklet of On Death and Cosmos: “It took one’s death to give life back to another”.

 

DAVIDE TISO leads EPHEL DUATH.

 

MAA: How did you go about recruiting such stellar talent to join the band?

DT: Respecting my music so much I try to set the bar pretty high for what concern the other musicians I involve with EPHEL DUATH. In On Death and Cosmos I’m lucky enough to be joined by my first choices in terms of drumming, bass playing, singing, producing and mastering. Thanks to the big support offered by Agonia Records and with a big dose of stubborness, this time around I was able to make the album I wanted with the team I wanted. Planning things right and way ahead of time we made the collaboration with MARCO MINNEMANN and STEVE DI GIORGIO possible. Both these musicians have a pretty tight schedule, but their enthusiasm, professionalism and commitment to the project made the difference. They found the time and the energy to learn my songs, compose and record their part, and they both did a wonderful job.

Having KARYN CRISIS at vocals is like a dream come true. I’m a huge CRISIS fan and I’ve been a fan of her since the very first time I read one of her lyrics. I’m extremely proud of having Karyn spitting out my words on a microphone and I can’t wait to have her record some new material.

To make this shine even more I choose to have the supersonic ears of ERIK RUTAN behind the mix board, and I have to say that I have never felt that connected with a producer before. Erik worked non-stop on this EP for weeks, and I found his work ethic to be frankly stunning. I consider Erik Rutan one of the key elements for On Death and Cosmos successful result and collaborating with him has been one of the best musical experience I had since I started this band.

 

DAVIDE TISO has truly found his muse in KARYN CRISIS.

 

MAA: Karen especially seems to fit the music perfectly. Did you write with her in mind originally?

DT: I composed the EP knowing that Karyn was going to sing it. There are some kind of voices that are like a slap in the face and some others that hit you directly in the stomach being that emotionally charged: Karyn’s voice has both these qualities. I think her voice fit the ED music extremely well. Karyn’s raw and cutting way of singing is able to bring the songs to higher emotional picks and I’m blown away by how effortlessly our two different musical backgrounds collapsed together in this EP.

 

MAA: Is the lineup going to be able to stay together to at least create the next full length album and tour?

DT: This lineup will record also the new album, Marco Minnemann is actually already recording the drums, he did 5 songs and everything sounds stellar so far. ED will return to play live once the full length will be recorded, but just if we will be offered the necessary conditions to do some good shows. To compose music is a very intimate process for me, vital I would say: I don’t do it for passion, I do it because I have to. To bring EPHEL DUATH live usually means to loose a lot of the artistic side of things, and having to deal with just the practical, and worse, side of music: promoters that don’t pay the fees, shows with lack of promotions, bad planned tours, a lot and a lot of expenses. I’m not interested in repeating that kind of experience once again. Returning to deal full time on EPHEL DUATH, I promised myself to not accept anymore compromises and to take decisions solely based on the band’s benefit. To play live in horrible conditions will not be an option for this band anymore. It would be fantastic to have this line up on a stage and I’ll work my ass off to make this happen.

 

 

KARYN CRISIS did this custom limited edition print for the new album

 

MAA: Do you think it is difficult for visionary artists to exist in the framework of “the music industry”?

DT: I would say that for long time it was pretty much impossible for a musician to deal with the music industry without feeling powerless. The whole music industry was in the hands of few greedy ones, now that whole mechanism is collapsing everyone seems to escape from it, trying to save the few money left and finally, the real stars of the game are returning back. Underground labels: small realities run by really passionate people, respectful of the bands and their music, that with labor of love and not the revenues in mind are putting together products with such quality and tremendous attention to details.

What it’s important now is to save the public. Probably what I am about to say could sound like a silly utopia, but I still think it’s important to underline how much the main public need to return to consider music as a form of art that have to be respected. Music is not supposed to be taken for granted, ready to be consumed and disposed with a click. Bands are not supposed to accept to spend their time begging for attention, bands should instead spend their time playing good music. I think that on the long run, quality music will keep being noticed, and it’s up to the bands to believe in themselves, creating unique music and stick to their vision. To compose honest music probably represents the only way to be musically dissident nowadays. I have faith that EPHEL DUATH’s public will keep supporting all the hard work and labor of love we put in this underground reality since day one.

 

MAA: What bands or artists do you listen to when you are looking for inspiration?

DT: Sometimes I listen to music to get some musical inputs, and I usually finish listening to death metal. This genre makes my brain feels very alert, there are so many nuances to capture here and there and I would say this is the kind of music I’m more fund at the moment. I like so many bands, the more dissonant the better, probably SUFFOCATION, HATE ETERNAL, AUTOPSY, DECREPIT BIRTH and CATTLE DECAPITATION are on top of my list.

 

Sometimes I listen to it to relax, and to get some unconscious inspiration, I like BARONESS, UFOMAMMUT, ZU, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, ELECTRIC WIZARD.

Sometimes I need music it to write lyrics: I try to enter in the “writing lyrics” mood at least once every week or two and when I do that, the day is gone: I usually finishing drunk and crying by myself in a park bench while joggers swing by. To write lyrics I usually put a song in loop, or I listen a part of a song in loop. I need heavy sorrowful music, but I never compose lyrics listening to EPHEL DUATH. Lately I have been writing listening to MONUMENTUM, AGALLOCH, CULT OF LUNA, NEUROSIS.

 

 

MAA: If you could book a festival for EPHEL DUATH to play with any bands of your choosing, whom would you choose?

DT: I would love to have EPHEL DUATH opening the festival so that I would be able to enjoy the other shows. Three stages, a Death Metal one with DECREPIT BIRTH, CATTLE DECAPITATION, SUFFOCATION and HATE ETERNAL as headliners. A Doom stage with DISPIRIT, UFOMAMMUT, AGALLOCH, YOB and PENTAGRAM as headliners. A main experimental rock metal stage with DYSRHYTHMIA, RUSSIAN CIRCLES, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, IHSHAN, BARONESS and REFUSED as headliners. $60 the ticket, not a bad festival!

 

(Special thanks to Davide Tiso, Agonia Records and Nathan T. Birk)

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY

July 30th, 2012

Ascending to Infinity (Nuclear Blast)

 

After 15 years of being a part of RHAPSODY OF FIRE, LUCA TURILLI and ALEX STAROPOLI amicably decided to part ways to move in different directions artistically. Due to the immense contributions both had made to RHAPSODY OF FIRE both LUCA and ALEX are continuing the work of their former band only on different branches with ALEX retaining the original name and LUCA now using LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY in order to release the new album Ascending to Infinity.

The album is a strong power metal record produced by LUCA himself and mastered by CHRISTOPH STICKEL with the end result being an excellently produced and beautifully arranged album. Power metal records can at times sound like one track broken into many parts, but little twists and subtle differences throughout this record prevent Ascending to Infinity becoming tired as the tracks progress. ALESSANDRO CONTI’s lead vocals have such and strength and range that when lent support by the choir produce a barrage of vocals that both compliment the underlying music and lend depth and strength to it.

Quantum X”, and the tribal beat that underscores it, opens the album. While a good track it is not as strong a start as the album arguably deserves. Hot on its heels “Ascending to Infinity” lifts the album up with faster paced percussion and more prominent guitars.

The next two tracks “Dante’s Inferno” and “Excalibur” are my favourite two tracks on this album. “Dante’s Inferno” starts with a slow, tension building lead up before launching into great guitar riffs and solos. “Excalibur” has stronger vocals with the lead and chorus building up to crescendos regularly through the track and creating what can only be described as an epic vocal sound. This track also has some good guitar riffs and solos on it, but perhaps not as good as those on “Dante’s Inferno”.

The remaining tracks continue in the vein of the largess of the vocals and guitar riffs shining through from the music underneath while managing to add their own variations, “Tormento E Passione” is the first track the keyboards take more prominence and the contrast of male and female vocals work really well. “Dark Fate of Atlantis” has a much more eastern and oriental feel to it, “Clash of the Titans” has musical parts that almost sound like battle scenes and the closing track, at almost 16 minutes in length, is an onslaught of sounds from eerie atmospheric music, to keyboard sounds and sinister spoken words.

Luna” is really the only disappointment to me on the album, the soft female vocals that start this ring clear, however, the overall sound of the track is more something that you would expect to hear in the background, for example in an advert. This is a shame as the remainder of the album really draws you into the music and holds its own in the foreground. The track does build to a stronger sound, but leaves you with the feeling it didn’t quite get there.

Luna” aside, Ascending to Infinity is an excellent album and fans of RHAPSODY OF FIRE, THERION and perhaps to a lesser extent BLIND GUARDIAN and some of DEVIN TOWNSEND’s more experimental work will really enjoy this album. The only things that leave this album just short of higher accolades is the track “Luna” being a lot weaker than the others and overall, despite the grandiose sounds and the sheer depth of the musical layering of vocals and instruments, it would be nice to see something a bit more ground breaking coming out of this genre.

 

LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY: Enduring….

 

GRADE: B+

by Maria Long

(Editor’s Note: you can follow Maria’s blog at Heavy Metal Bullet – www.heavymetalbullet.blogspot.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: MASTER

November 21st, 2012

The New Elite (Pulverised Records)

Metal sometimes takes a perverse sort of pleasure in watching its old guard falter and flail. The modern age of snark has us zeroing in with predator-like tenacity on the excess rolls of flab, the off-stage stumbles, and the off-cue albums of an artist’s latter years. That’s what we’re here for, right? To keep god-sized egos in check and remind everyone that musicians didn’t descend from Mount Olympus to rule over the earth with hammer, sword, and fist, they came from their parents’ garage, and are always one false step from heading straight back to it. However, there is no such pleasure in saying that MASTER, one of the venerable founders of Old-School Death Metal as we know it alongside MANTAS/DEATH and POSSESSED, has, Paul Speckmann forgive me, made an absolute bore of an album in The New Elite.

 

This album has all the hallmarks of D-Beat Proto-Death metal and primitive death/thrash crossover, and that’s not a problem. People live and die by that old school gallop, and it’s a certainty die hard MASTER fans will continue to do so no matter what any review says. Such is the nature of the back-patched crusty old school loyalist. The problem is that those same elements are repeated, much in the same way, throughout the entirety of The New Elite. The formula goes like this: D-beat infused Thrash intro and verse, perhaps a blast here and there, chorus, whammy bar solo bridge, chorus, a bit more d-beat inspired death thrash, and out. Repeat. Speckmann still has his trademark strained high end/mid-range vocal growl working well, and his lyrics are as angry and reality-based as they’ve ever been. He hasn’t gone soft, not by a long shot, he’s just made a comfort zone album full of clichéd titles such as “Rise Up and Fight,” “As Two Worlds Collide,” “Twist of Fate,” and “Out of Control” that are themselves filled with predictable progressions and solos from the tremolo bar academy of KERRY KING. The drummer stays in his wheelhouse from start to finish like he has a bad case of agoraphobia. It’s almost enough to make one check the play list to make sure it wasn’t accidentally set on repeat. From a man and a band that has give the world so much classic Death Metal over the years, it’s a disappointment, to say the least. The passion is there, but the delivery misses the mark by a wide margin, making for material better suited for a stop-gap disc or a collection of unreleased b-sides.

 

No one ever expected MASTER to be technical, and no one ever asked them to step outside the old school death metal box they helped create. But there’s a world of difference between keeping to a formula and wearing it out with needless, thoughtless repetition. There’s also a world of difference between relying on one’s strengths and turning those strengths into weaknesses by virtue of whipping them out every five seconds for all to bask in their rapidly waning glory. Is the entire album so similar that one song is nigh indistinguishable from the next? Almost. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to learn that this was an album on which the writing process was described as being incredibly smooth and quick—almost too easy in fact. It’s as though the band members got stuck in a particularly good DISCHARGE and EXPLOITED-laden old school death metal groove one day and banged out all these tunes in one shot, and were so excited at their unprecedented level of productivity that they simply decided to record all those songs as they were without actually listening to the playback once or twice first. No one can take MASTER’s place among the death metal elite, and one sleeper of an album isn’t enough to knock the band out of the Pantheon, but file this one under a career misstep for one of death metal’s founding fathers. Here’s to genuine hope against hope that the band is more thoughtful and successful the next time out.

 

MASTER: We still love you, even when you miss the mark, badly.

GRADE: D

by Joe Reviled

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: DETHKLOK

November 20th, 2012

The Palladium, Worcester, MA

 

After a setback on their last attempt to tour, DETHKLOK finally embarked on a North American tour supported by ALL THAT REMAINS, MACHINE HEAD, and THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. The band was touring behind their latest album, Dethalbum III which was released on October 16th.

 

Few can match TREVOR STRNAD’S energy live.

THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER started off the night rather strong and with great energy. That being said, they seemed the least engaging. They also moved around the stage the least but there also did not appear to be much room due to other bands’ equipment. The members worked with what space they did have. Out of all the bands on the bill, they seemed to have the least in common with the other groups in terms of style. This was largely because of TREVOR STRNAD’s vocal style. Another notable mark of their performance is that TBDM was without usual drummer Shannon Lucas, who has since departed the band. His replacement Alan Cassidy (ex-ABBIGAIL WILLIAMS) did a good job in his place.

 

Set List:

A Shrine to Madness

Moonlight Equilibrium

On Stirring Seas of Salted Blood

What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse

Malenchantments of the Necrosphere

I Will Return

 

 

 

Following act MACHINE HEAD was the thrashiest out of all the bands and had great banter with the audience in regards to them recently being deemed “undesirable” by Disney. They were also responsible for what was the most touching moment of the evening.  ROBB FLYNN shared with the audience memories of fallen friend MITCH LUCKER of SUICIDE SILENCE. He then called for a ten second moment of silence. It was clear the audience loved the group since they chanted “We want head” and “Machine fucking Head” after many of the songs.

 

ROBB FLYNN and MACHINE HEAD nearly stole the show!

 

Set List:

This Is the End

Imperium

Aesthetics of Hate

Locust

Halo

 

The final opening band ALL THAT REMAINS had the coolest stage setup. There were barbed wire fences around their gear. It appeared it came with a small technical difficulty: not all their fog machines were working. That did not hinder their set though. The kicked off with one of their biggest songs “This Calling”. Between songs PHILIP LABONTE talked about the days when the band was just starting out and playing gigs at The Palladium. It was nice to see some appreciation for the more local Massachusetts scene from them.

ALL THAT REMAINS is excellent live.

 

ATR’s Jeanne Sagan holds down the low end all night!

Set List:

This Calling
Dead Wrong
Six
Aggressive Opposition
Hold On
Down Through The Ages
Stand Up
Become The Catalyst
Some Of The People All Of The Time
Two Weeks

 

 

DETHKLOK! DETHKLOK! DETHKLOK!

Finally DETHKLOK, whom everyone had been waiting so long for, took the stage. They had an awesome opening video, that of gave an explanation of how DETHKLOK was “summoned”. Then the next video/song was the “Deththeme” which made it feel like the real Metalocalypse show. Overall, the performance had the perfect blend of comedy and music. One might go so far as to say it was better than the TV show. It was fun to see the videos accompanying the songs make references to other metal bands as the show tends to. For example, “I Ejaculate Fire” made reference to IRON MAIDEN’S Powerslave-era with a pharaoh character that looked just like Eddie. Other videos were shown that were created just for comedic purposes. There was an instructional video presented by Facebones on how to treat “the ladies” (appreciated by me of course). Even Dr. Rockzo made an appearance to “warm up the audience”. It was also interesting to listen to BRENDON SMALL switch between the voices of Skwisgaar, Pickles, and Nathan. After teasing the audience by having a skit where the band members try to decide whether or not to do an encore, two more songs were performed: “Go Into the Water” and “Crush the Industry”. Many audience members stated that they wished their other favorites had made it into the set, but no one complained about the ones that were chosen. All who had attended were ecstatic to have finally seen their beloved DETHKLOK!

 

BRENDON SMALL not only performed perfectly, he did the voices of the DETHKLOK characters- flawlessly.

 

 

GENE “The Atomic Clock” HOGLAN was phenomenal, as per usual.

Set List:

Intro Video
Detheme
I Ejaculate Fire
Hatredcopter
Tribunal Video
Dethsupport
Murmaider
Facebones/Lady Video
Andromeda
Awaken
Coffee Video
Rockso Video
Ghostqueen
CFO Video
The Gears
The Galaxy
Thunderhorse

Encore:
Go Into The Water
Crush The Industry

 

by Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: CAR BOMB

November 13th, 2012

W^W^W^W (Self-Released)

CAR BOMB is a Long Island Progressive Metal band whose sound is almost beyond normal description. Formed in the year 2000 by a group of guys with interesting/strange jobs and a DIY attitude beyond compare, they released their debut album Centralia in 2007, which affected audiences in the same manner as PIG DESTROYER‘s instantly memorable intro “Jennifer” from their album Prowler In The Yard. They were confused, or concerned, or shocked, or aroused, or all of the above. Its borderline insane THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN worship mixed with a good amount of what sounded like MIKE PATTON’s take on Free-form Jazzgrind, MESHUGGAH headfuckery, NEUROSIS inflected Sludge misery, and damn near impossible shifting from one tempo to the next. After relative silence following many failed tours and little-to-no recognition despite their work-ethic, CAR BOMB announced a new album in October with an unpronounceable title worthy of the brain haemorrhaging music they so flawlessly perfected. Having now heard it from start to finish several times, I cannot review it normally, it’s just impossible. Almost as impossible as the rehearsals and actually getting this album right must have been. So I present to you a Pitchfork-style review that takes the form of a short story, minus the pretentiousness, which should be an adequate enough accompaniment to the noises being made.

“The Sentinel”: A dream of a skyscraper-sized murderous typewriter and an infected supercomputer going on a murderous rampage and crushing people while they try to escape.

“Auto-Named”: A dream of an airplane disintegrating in mid-air, passengers either fried alive or torn apart by flying pieces of metal.

“Finish It”: A haggard engineer awakens, and immediately begins sketching blueprints for mysterious machines, crumpling up drafts and beginning anew, over and over while he keeps himself awake on increasingly powerful stimulants and cigarettes. He haemorrhages internally and vomits blood on his final draft and passes out.

“Lower The Blade”: The engineer dreams of falling off of a tall building in slow-motion, having hallucinations of odd landscapes and warping oceans and sunsets. He realizes that he is in a dream world and begins to panic as the illusions melt away to show others of steel frames bending in and out of their falling path. He sees himself right-side up in a void, stretching and warping before he finally hits the pavement in New York city.

“Garrucha”: The engineer awakens once again and begins to construct the mysterious machines that he drew. He becomes more and more paranoid and prone to hallucination and illness. Flashing visions appear of machines being built by other machines, all having no definite form. The engineer notices he has begun losing his teeth.

“Third Revelation”: The prototypes of the mysterious machines are made to calculate seemingly impossible mathematical formulæ, and show incredible learning potential. The engineer becomes more malnourished as he devises more formulae to feed the machines so they may continue to learn and become increasingly intelligent. The engineer feels excitement as his project nears completion. “I’ll show you how it’s done”, says he to no one in particular before he passes out once more.

“Recursive Patterns”: The engineer dreams of a world that consists of an enormous logic board and enormous levers draped in intestines and loose wires. He is chased by the enormous typewriters from his previous dreams, falls over the edge and sees nightmarish fractal lightshows.

“The Spirit Of Poison”: The engineer begins to up his dose of drugs, to varying effects. He manages to keep himself awake, but his internal organs are atrophying from a lack of nutrition. He frequently vomits blood and bile on his machines while working on them, never bothering to clean them. He goes into a frenzy and begins to smash his machines when they cease to function. He also destroys his blueprints and his backups and all the copies he can find within reach. The engineer collapses in a half-waking, half-dream state where he continues to vomit, and sobs, caught between the two worlds.

“Magic Bullet”: As the engineer fitfully sleeps, the machines are re-assembling themselves, following the blueprints and calculations the engineer had himself dutifully fed them. They adapt to their lack of knowledge, rapidly learning to build their own tools so they may better create themselves. They soon abandon the blueprints and improve upon the initial designs, and set their sights on the engineer who carelessly tried to destroy them as he lies in a pool of saliva and bloody vomit.

“Crud”: The engineer awakens to his machines coming to life and attacking him with an assortment of bladed weapons and lasers. He tries to hide from them, but it proves useless since they have built sensors that may track him despite obstacles. The engineer manages to escape his basement laboratory, and is nearly blinded by the sunlight. He runs from his condemned building and forgetting the fact that he hasn’t bathed or taken care of himself, tries to find help, but repulses all he comes near. He travels as far as his weakened body will carry him through the strange nameless city, tortured by hallucinations of giant machines and swirling patterns shifting in the sky, collapsing in an alleyway.

“This Will Do The Job”: The machines rampage through the city, one resembling a giant typewriter, others taking more mysterious and unmentionable forms, seeking the engineer, crushing and tearing apart all in their way. The engineer trembles in the alleyway, hoping that what he feels and hears are residual effects of the drugs. The machines find and capture him after knocking him unconscious, placing him in a containment unit that they constructed based on a blueprint they remembered. When he comes to, he sees thousands of similar units all housing a single person each, of varying ages, sizes, and ethnicities.

“The Seconds”: The machines take the engineer from the containment unit and force him to calculate many seemingly impossible calculations in the same way he once did to them. The engineer hallucinates not from drugs, but from sheer exhaustion and delirium, begins reliving all of his strange dreams and experiences in constructing the machines, drawing blueprints, remembering how once a simple curiosity in a brilliant mind led to the mechanical enslavement of mankind. He smiles grimly as blood trickles from a corner of his mouth and he dies, the drugs, sleep deprivation, and lack of nutrients finally catching up to him. The machines move on to the next subject. You can buy the album from the band here.

The Verdict: No one is safe.

CAR BOMB: A bunch of god damned stone geniuses.

Grade: A+

By Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese

Bookmark and Share

BOOK REVIEW: WE GOT POWER!

November 12th, 2012

By David Markey and Jordan Schwartz (Bazillion Points)

 

 

“We were young, the music was great, and everything was heavy.”

~Henry Rollins

 

I know this is hard to imagine, but there used to be no internet. There was no Facebook, no YouTube, no Google and certainly no Myspace or Bandcamp to find out about bands and learn about cool music. There was a lot less of an entire industry build around bombarding our senses with images and sounds about what was cool. We had to make up our own damn minds. Not only that; but we didn’t carry around little computers in our pockets that reach across the globe in seconds, connected by other, giant machines floating in up the stars. Even the best mediums of the times circa 1980s: radio, magazines, flyers, word of mouth and other traditional sources hardly covered underground music properly. Nope, you young padawan learners; back in the day we had ZINES! Glorious, home-made, straight out of someone’s bedroom, down to the newsstand or gutter and right into your greedy hands. Zines had heart and soul, man. Zines had character and many times, much better interviews and stories than the main stream mags because they just cared more. In my experience, people with a personal stake in a scene, just meant it was going to be better quality when you got it, no matter the style. The zines surrounding American Hardcore in particular are a testament to the last time the awfulness of commercialism didn’t pervade everything like a cancer and the music really changed the culture of the nation. I read a lot of zines, but being a pre-teen and not a punk, I only became aware of We Got Power! years after it’s untimely demise. However, from the look of this new retrospective book from the fine people at Bazillion Points, it was clearly ahead of its time.

 

 

We Got Power! Hardcore Punk Scenes From 1980s Southern California was lovingly put together by David Markey and Jordan Schwartz who were the co-founders other main contributor’s like Jennifer Schwartz other contributors and a who’s who of iconic names from the SoCal Hardcore scene. Bands of the day are covered in detail through incredible photos and essays reminiscing of glory days and shitty ways gone by. There are no rose colored glasses, so phoned memories no homogenized take on the time. Gritty, raw and real as real can get is the tone delivered on every page. Essayists include Markey and Schwartz, HENRY ROLLINS, CHUCK DUKOWSKI, DEZ CADENA, KEITH MORRIS, MIKE WATT, PAT FEAR, JACK BREWER, STEVE HUMANN, TONY ADOLESCENT, CAMERON JAMIE and LOUICHE MAYORGA just to name a few. The bands covered, some in better detail than anytime in my memory include BLACK FLAG, THE CIRCLE JERKS, WHITE FLAG, THE VANDALS, THE ADOLESCENTS, THE MINUTEMEN, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, THE GERMS, SACCHARINE TRUST, CIRCLE ONE, THE GUN CLUB, RED CROSS/RED KROSS, THE DEAD KENNEDYS and JELLO BIAFRA, JFA, THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS, SOCIAL DISTORTION, THE GO-GOs, VOX POP, GOVERNMENT ISSUE, FIREHOSE, THE DESCENDANTS, YOUTH BRIGADE, WASTED YOUTH and countless more.

As great as the writing and the photographs are, they only tell half the story. The complete history of We Got Power! The publication makes an appearance in the last hundred or so pages of the tome. Full color reprints as well as the unreleased “666th” issue look amazing and in perfect detail. This is the real payoff to me, preserving this as a document forever, as a record of those days. I have met a lot of punks who identify with those times, those bands and that scene as much as any other and it’s easy to see why when you hold this book in your lap. I think my favorite pictures in the book or not just the stunning youth of all the players in intimate settings, but the real people living in the natural landscape of California of the day. Young, angry people who were living in the moment. Idyllic scenes of urban waste, depressing strip malls with tags, the left over 70s duress of economic strife, of the status quo destroyed and the realized (faux) American Dream of the Baby Boomers come undone. Graffiti on the walls and defiant, smart-ass, but especially smart kids displaying true intellectual and spiritual rebellion that goes beyond haircuts, tats and boots. Today’s kids could learn a lot from these words and these images on how to really a movement was really born and cultivated, not just how to dress the part when it’s convenient.

 

 

 

 

 

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: IRATA

November 6th, 2012

Vultures EP (Pig08pig/Silver Records)

Ah, now here is a band who will really melt your face off and collapse your head in. With so many cookie-cutter scene bands with cookie monster vocals, it’s hard to cut through the unbearable dross and find good new music. You may be wondering if anyone really knows the way to rock anymore? IRATA from Greensboro, NC (or just known as ‘the boro’, as my friends from down that way tell me) not only know the right way to rock; they are fully unconcerned with the trends of today. This two-man operation make raw, unrelenting rock music that grooves when it’s supposed to, crushes when it needs to and will leave you wanting more.

 

Many bands are doing the two-man, spartan style approach these days, most notably BIG BUSINESS and BLACK COBRA. IRATA uses a guitarist when they play live to fill out the sound and replicate the denseness of their tracks. While they shares some obvious traits with those other dynamic duos, they also forge their own ground. “Old Smoker” has a sick, ostinato riff and thunderous drums of doom. Razor sharp guitar riffs come over the top to complete the trifecta and send this killer track over the top. “Keeper’s Maker” is next. The hypnotic bass line of this track also sent me over the moon. There will be a lot of comparisons of the twin lead vocals of drummer Jason Ward and bassist Jon Case to say, PERRY FERREL of JANE’S ADDICTION. Normally that might not be a plus for me, but in this context it works. I also hear some of the vocal influence of the bands’ producer, PHILLIP COPE of KYLESA. The track definitely calls to mind some of the more interesting names in rock and metal sonically such as THE MELVINS, HIGH ON FIRE, TORCHE, FIREBALL MINISTRY, TOTIMOSHI, THE MELVINS earliest works and even unsung 1990′s alt rock band SMILE. “Miser” is starts out like more of a brooding, atmospheric track before it takes an interesting left turn. The plodding, funeral march of the heavy parts is terrific and offsets the calmer moments. The lyrics are near genius too. It certainly makes one think of the bands’ Carolina born forefathers, in CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and that groups rough hewn work. “Deluge” is more a straight ahead rocker, but no less enjoyable. The chorus is one of the best I’ve heard this year in terms of shear heaviness and a clever amount of wah pedal on the bass. “Serpents” ends things on an obtuse few notes musically, enough to give more than a few surprises. Neat layers of chiming guitar licks add color over the heavy grooves. Very cool. I’d say keep a close eye and ear on IRATA and certainly don’t underestimate them.

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: COLOMBIAN NECKTIE

November 27th, 2012

Visiting Hours EP (Self- Released)

 

Awesome bands from California are just coming out of the woodwork lately. It’s a good thing too. California is always known as the “land of sunshine” and Disney, but as always, there is a darkside to that. Bands have been exploring the seedy underbelly of society through music and presenting different points of view for ages. From SoCal Hardcore, metal and other underground subsets of musical styles with new bands  lighting the way all the time. One such band is COLOMBIAN NECKTIE, who are straight off the streets of LA in their delivery and character.

Riding high after a summer split-single with SEIZURES, this EP sees the band stepping up their game even more. Playing a self professed style called “negative metal”, the band has a lot of vitriol, but backs it up with intelligence. From walls of feedback, angular riffs, beastly heavy drums and shrieked vocals, they present a fierce package. The band couches everything they do with all of the smarts, but none of the lame snark of their many peers in the scene, which is refreshing. They will remind you at first listen of of TRAP THEM‘s musical approach, CONVERGE’s early years, or a more sophisticated style of other the current heavy Hardcore/Crust bands. “What A Drag” launches full throtle into bleak hysterical ranting and a crush of beats. Vocalist Tom Koücheravy just wails on every line like it’s going to be his last and matches the ferocity of the songs perfectly. “Michelangelo’s Destruction of Adam (On The Floor)” is another hostile volley of chords and drums. Guitarists Ben Daniel and Juan Hernandez play a combo of straight-ahead riffs blended with avant-guard, Los Angeles bred oddness. Shredded Crop Circles” is my favorite song on this release, with its brooding Sludge riffs and dramatic overtones. It also showcases drummer Bennett Erickson’s ability to lay back and groove as much as he shreds on the other tracks. “Lazy Bones” closes things out with a lot of style. This even more downtuned bruiser will make your heart uncomfortable and your head dizzy with a grinding, headnodding roar. The last minute and a half of the song just pummels and you get a sense how this music will knock people down live. Following this EP release I’m really looking forward to a full-length, hopefully in 2013.

 

COLOMBIAN NECKTIE does not fuck around, period.

GRADE: B+

 

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

STRIKER- THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

November 27th, 2012

One of the coolest bands to the hit the metal scene are Canadian throwback thrashers STRIKER. Their old-school sound and their amazing chops have really opened up ears and eyes in the “Great White North”, and soon the rest of the world will take notice. Lead singer Dan Cleary caught up with Metal Army via email to discuss the success of the band, influences, playing with heroes and, of course, drinking beer!

 

One of the more underrated albums this past year.

MA: What has been the response to the new album Armed to The Teeth (Napalm Records)?

DC: So far everyone seems to dig it. We have had a lot of great reviews and lots of awesome feedback from fans. We actually finished recording it a year ago around this time so we are itching to get some new material out there.
MA: You guys have been compared by the Canadian music press to the likes of  TESTAMENT and ANNIHILATOR among others. What other bands are some of the not so obvious influences on the sound of the band?

DC: Haha I guess the not so obvious influences would be some hair metal bands like RATT, and WHITESNAKE. Not exactly something you hear in our music right away but it’s there. We love that shit! Our influences are kind of all over the place too so there is probably some more weird shit in there we don’t even realize got on the album.

STRIKER

MA: Do you mind being lumped in with the new thrash revival bands?

DC: Nah not really, although I don’t know if I would call us a thrash band, we are kind of a collection of metal genres stuffed into one band, but people definitely label us a “retro” which sounds fucking dumb but I suppose it’s true.
MA: My favorite track on the album is “Land of the Lost”. What is the meaning behind the story of that song?

DC: A long lost land of dinosaurs and monsters. It’s about that haha, or the idea of that. Or maybe the “Land Of The Lost” is about our generations loss of direction in the world…..or maybe it’s just about dinosaurs.

 

 

MA: You guys opened up for ANVIL recently. What was that experience like?

DC: It was cool, they put on a good show, everyone got really rowdy it was a good time! I didn’t get a chance to really talk to the guys myself but the other guys did, they seem pretty chill, just having fun playing tunes. We actually recently got the opportunity to open up for METALLICA here in Edmonton as well. Bit of a different size venue to say the least!

 

MA: What is on tap for STRIKER as far as touring the rest of this year?

DC: At the moment we are looking into booking a tour sometime around February next year in Europe. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to get over there this fall/winter, but we will be heading back there soon!

 

MA: If there is one thing sorely lacking in all of metal right now, what do you think that is?

DC: I’m not sure really. A lot of albums lack charm these days, I don’t know what that would be exactly, I think that because it’s so easy and cheap to record albums it’s harder to sift through and find really great albums. There are a lot of really good albums coming out, but it’s harder to find really great ones.

Cheers!

 

MA: You guys are well know to be heavy beer drinkers What is your favorite beer, the best Canadian beer and the most metal beer to drink in your opinion?

DC: Erdinger is our favorite. For Canadian beer we have to rep our home town brewery Alley Kat. The most metal beer to drink? Shit probably TNT beer.

 

by Ketih (Keefy) Chachkes

  

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: IN THIS MOMENT

November 27th, 2012

 Blood (Century Media)

Blood is the fourth release from IN THIS MOMENT, and the first without founding members Jeff Fabb and Blake Bunzel. The fresh blood brought in by their replacements Tom Hane and Randy Weitzel seems to have given principal writers MARIA BRINK and Chris Howorth band a fresh perspective, and perhaps the creative freedom to make a record that is different than all of their previous releases. While ITM records have always differed from each other with varying degrees of heaviness, Blood comes across edgier, earnest, and more honest. As a fan, they lost me a bit with their last two releases, though I always gave them props for taking chances. They have won me back with Blood as this record is less about taking chances and just being confident in taking their musical identity in their hands and being unapologetic about it. They have taken the energy of Beautiful Tragedy, the pop-core catchiness of The Dream and the “we’re-a-heavy-band-really!” crunch of A Star Crossed Wasteland, some techno touches, and churned out a record that has finally defined them.

 

 

Without a doubt, this is Brink’s best vocal performance to date, balancing her clean and scream vocals very well throughout. While her scream is Metal gold, this is the first record where I feel her clean singing voice is just as outstanding. She has developed it well and is using it to best effect on this record. Lyrically, she dug deep and put forth her most emotional, sexual and empowering verbiage yet. She’s all bad-ass strut on “Blood”, and it suits her well!

 

The slow atmospheric “Rise With Me” opens the record, its end blends into the awesomely catchy, (MARILYN) MANSON-esque title track which is nothing short of brilliant. Love it or hate it, it will be stuck in your brain. “Adrenalize” has the most blatantly sexual lyrics Brink has penned. “I crave excess, Turning wine into sweat dripping down my neck, I can’t deny, I’d die without this, Make me feel like a god, Adrenaline and sex”. These lyrics are set against a slow beat with a stuttering guitar pattern mimicking sexual tension and quickening pulse. In “Whore” she breaks it down to its essence in the hooky chorus: “But let me tell you something baby, You love me for everything you hate me for”. If the title track didn’t remind you what an excellent scream Brink possesses, then “You’re Gonna Listen” certainly will. Any song containing the phrase ‘shut up’ tends to be a crowd-pleaser, and the song demonstrates the amazing control Brink has over her voice. The 30-sec spoken word interlude “It Is Written” raises an eyebrow or two. “Burn” is a well-developed metallic stomp while Brink sings “Burn me alive, Watch me resurrect, Right before your eyes”. “Scarlet” is a good, straight-up rock song that could easily sneak its way onto a AOR station’s playlist, with some screaming added just at the end. Another short musical/spoken-word piece, “Aries” follows.

 

There are a couple of instances where their Metal-Pop-Core misses the mark. “From the Ashes” starts off sounding like a COLDPLAY/U2 arena anthem (I kid you not), goes into a mid-tempo Metal verse, and then back into the COLDPLAY/U2 vibe and back again. Interesting, but awkward. In “Beast Within”, Brink sings, ‘I see the bodies slowly swayin’, Movin’ side to side, feel the animal is rising, As I slowly come alive’. She encourages her listeners to ‘lose your fucking minds’ and ‘rip apart this place’. A tad cringe-worthy, but then again most songs about performing live are. “Comanche” is a revolution song that brings back the MANSON flavor, but this time less successfully than the title track.

 

The closing track, “11:11″ is set to a heartbeat and angelic backing vocals. Brink wails of at least having loved and lived. There is a sincerity and rawness in her voice that teeters on the edge of uncomfortable, and the first time on the record she displays vulnerability.

 

If you’re thinking, ‘this review is all Brink’ you would be correct. IN THIS MOMENT, either consciously or unconsciously, has taken what I call the ‘Mainstream Metal’ route. They fit in nicely with the bands that populate jock-rock stations like Sirius’ Octane – the THREE DAYS GRACE’s, the FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, DISTURBED, STAIND, etc. It’s a more accessible bunch to be lumped in with and therefore more commercially viable. However, the music isn’t a technical challenge, and the musicians are interchangeable. The only thing that sets these bands apart are their singers and they need a powerful, unique vocalist to carry them or else they will get lost on the sauce. ITM has this in Brink, who steps up to the challenge in a big way. Unfortunately, that leaves little room for the musicians in the band to show their musical chops. There are no solos that stick in your brain, no mind-bending drumming, no impressive instrumental passages. It’s not that the musicianship isn’t good, it’s very good – the band is solid as hell. The straight-forward musical formula just limits their ability to stand out in any way.

 

Perhaps this can be the next step in their evolution, giving the band room to stretch while Brink soars. Until then, Blood is a solid release, and should please their old fans as well as appeal to new ones looking to take a walk on a more interesting side of Metalcore.

GRADE: B

by Lynn Jordan

 

  

Bookmark and Share

METAL ARMY SONG STREAM: AUROCH

November 27th, 2012

Metal Army is proud to feature another killer up and coming band with new music to share. Vancouver BC’s Lovecraftian death metal trio AUROCH released their first full-length album last week- ‘From Forgotten Worlds’ via Polish label Hellthrasher Productions.

Showcasing the band’s metamorphoses from thrash metal band into a full-fledged death metal assault, the debut full-length album is raw, relentless and tapping into a musical current of the wrath of Lovecraft’s Ancient Ones. Any and all who question or condemn modern conventions should sympathize with the ideologies and mythos provided. Fans of barbaric blasting and technical shredding should associate with the musicality.

“At last we release what we have laboured towards for the past year. In this release we will give our fans the clinical death metal terror they expect, and just as importantly turn those still oblivious to our cause! Expect naught but a mind-obliterating, aural assault! You have been warned.” comments Auroch vocalist / guitarist Seb Montesi.

 

 

Hellthrasher Shop: http://hellthrasher.com/shop/product.php?id_product=640

Bandcamp: http://hellthrasherproductions.bandcamp.com/
FREE song download – From Forgotten Worlds: http://tinyurl.com/9qute9x

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: THE ACACIA STRAIN

November 27th, 2012

The Palladium, Worcester, MA

The Bro Show Of The Year: Death Is The Only Mortal CD Release show at the Worcester Palladium

So I may have lied, seeing as TERROR/BANE was just this summer, but I wasn’t able to make it out to that, so going with what I know here. Windbreakers, flat-brimmed caps, plugged ears, pullover sweaters, jerseys, and square logos over the left breast were out in full force. ‘Twas a sight to see for anyone unfamiliar with the basic HxC dress code, indeed. Having gotten my ticket quite literally at the last minute, I was able to take my place in the mating ritual one calls a Hardcore show. Buckle up, cos this ride’s for alpha males only.

Opening up the festivities, just as I arrived were DYSENTERY, the most metal band on the line-up, which did little to prevent five people from being knocked out, to say nothing of the countless nosebleeds within the first few minutes. Some kids there obviously didn’t really know any DYSENTERY songs, but still stirred things up during the slamdowns. Such good sports, making total destroy to the soothing ballad-esque “Genocidal God”, and raising some friendly ruckus to the closing song, “Devourer Of The Dead”. Much appreciated by the band, and anyone there who liked to move. Up next should have been RUDE AWAKENING, who had come all the way from Merrimack Valley to play as a local act, but unfortunately the band got into a bit of a kerfuffle with Palladium staff, and as a result couldn’t play at a venue where they had just freshly knocked someone the fuck out. Their loyal hometown fan base was understandably a little angry, and the fallout would precipitate throughout the rest of the show in the form of crowdkilling.

 

I neglected to do research on NO BRAGGING RIGHTS before the show, but their combination of stay-positive Melodic Hardcore with heavy chugging breakdowns to wake up any unaware made for an entertaining set. They brought a lot of energy to their stage presence, and even had a little of that clean vocal stuff that was in short supply for the other bands. Following them was FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY, an example of what Deathcore should ideally sound like; equal parts the blasting fury of Death Metal and breakdowns that make you feel bad for not moving to.

 

FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY- Photo by Jeremy Saffer

 

FitFo, as they are often called, have exploded in recent times, possibly helped by having NATE JOHNSON of THROUGH THE EYES OF THE DEAD fame (ca. Malice) on vocals. Add to this a group of musicians who have a good idea of how to play extreme music and you have a good band overall that both Metal and Hardcore people can enjoy without feeling the guilt I assume most women associate with chocolate while dieting. I’m not terribly familiar with any songs of theirs aside from “The Jackal”, and am moderately acquainted with “The Conqueror”, so I’m not a person to have an in-depth FitFo conversation with. Seeing as they book-ended their set with the two aforementioned tracks, I was able to react at the most opportune times, so thanks for that, guys. Aside from nearly losing a shoe in the circle pit, all went well, and we lived happily ever after until I DECLARE WAR came and burned down my village.

 

I DECLARE WAR was one of the bands I was actually excited to see despite reports and some preliminary hearings of their new material being unworthy of being listened to even when you’re bored and just want to hear a meaningless breakdown. It would be an understatement if I simply said I was “let down” by their performance. They played “Putrefaction Of The Population” too slow, they played “New Age Holocaust” too slow, and new boy fucked up the vocals with his own improvisations instead of sticking to the semi-growl formula that makes them identifiable. New boy also demanded an old-school circle pit, which was damn pointless because there was only about 5 seconds worth of circle-pit material in the song they played. Definitely not worth almost tripping yet again. The crowd was half-hearted in their reception of IDW, and it’s a bad sign when even an established Deathcore band can’t get an audience moving enthusiastically all the way through their set.

 

Our saviours in CRUEL HAND were there in due time to rinse the bad taste left in our mouths with what I can confidently call literal non-stop action. They are notorious for their rowdy live set, and I can see why after experiencing it first-hand. Ye gods, it’s one thing to pre-game mosh, but a whole 5 minutes of silent throwdown while the band sets up and has some random symphonic music playing in the background has to be a unique phenomenon. These stretching exercises completed, the HAND came out and ripped their fair share of face, with crunchy Thrash Metal riffing colliding headfirst with the intensity and drum-patterns of New York Hardcore at its finest. If I had been more knowledgeable of the band’s output aside from some songs on Lock And Key and Prying Eyes I would have gone about half as balls-out insane as the rest of the guys there, though I’m considering myself lucky to have gotten out with only the hardest kick in the cojones I’ve experienced. Seeing some people walk out with blood streaked down the front of their shirt and face like a bucket of paint was spilled on them from above did wonders to remind me how fortunate I was in the end. A five-minute sit-down was in order, and I’m proud to report that I did not piss blood that night. Here’s to hoping I can see CRUEL HAND again, and if I am indeed injured, that it isn’t facial or genital.

The grand ministers of this whole shindig, THE ACACIA STRAIN, proudly celebrating the release their fifth full-length in their home state of Massachusetts, took the stage as yet another silent mosh was underway to establish the perimeter of the killzone. I’ll start by saying that if you thought THE ACACIA STRAIN was heavy before, you’re in for a surprise with the new album. If one had the energy, they could dance all the way through, with pauses only for the moments between songs or transitioning to another breakdown. TAS, being gentlemen and not wanting to wear everyone out or misspend precious time on songs that few would know aside from thieves, only played “Doomblade” and “Dust and the Helix” from Death Is The Only Mortal, and mostly built their set from fan-favorites with quotable lines like “Dr. Doom”, “See You Next Tuesday”, “JFC”, and the like. Along with having a killer set list, Vincent proved his strength as a front man by encouraging the crowd to let loose, commanding everyone to stagedive at least once. I, being a gentleman, wouldn’t let the man down, so I did my part in inconveniencing the front-most rows during “Passing The Pencil Test”. It’s a wonder TAS aren’t allowed to play the upstairs Palladium more often, since the crowd simply thrives more under conditions that allow up-close interaction with the hatemonger Bennett himself. In a barrier-less setting, TAS not only sound better and taste better, but seem more energized and vital, and Vincent’s words resonate more effectively. There’s also potential for disastrous hilarity, but none of that made itself known.

The Palladium seems to be making more of a conscious effort to end shows early, since JFC ended at precisely 10:30, giving everyone more time to mill about after the show, trade stories of how many scene kid were knocked out, and just reflect on the good time that was had. For any who stuck around long enough after the dust settled, they could get a picture with Vincent himself, most likely to carry in their wallet and pretend they know him personally or whatever else you do with pictures of band members. Ah yes, the point of writing this whole review was to relay the fact that I survived, and am able to continue wasting your time for years to come. Until the next review, cheers.

 

Sean Genovese, Vincent Bennett and a friend.

by Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: NAILS

November 27th, 2012

Obscene Humanity EP (Southern Lord Records)

NAILS, formed from ex-members of TERROR, CREMATORIUM, and BETRAYED, totaling up to one member from each, is the sonic definition of hate. If you regularly listen to NAILS, you’re probably pissed about something. If stay-posi Pop Punk a là THE WONDER YEARS had an evil counterpart, it would be NAILS. Formed in 2007 in the sun-baked climes of Southern California, home of the Bay Area Thrash scene as well as fellow hatemongers EARLY GRAVES, they’ve been shedding the blood of fearful lambs since the release of their first 11 minute cannonade, also entitled Obscene Humanity, setting the tone for the follow-up,Unsilent Death, with just under a quarter of an hour of face-ripping metal inflected Hardcore that was like TRAP THEM with even more “fuck off”. With Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE fame behind the board, they saw a tone that ENTOMBED would doff their collective hat to, and a killer live show to boot. Their split with fellow Metalcore swordsmen SKIN LIKE IRON was a small taste of a new artistic direction, and now we have this, the reboot of three songs off of their first release. I would first like to note that writing about any given NAILS release takes about three times longer than the complete running time, and since this is their shortest release… You do the math.

 

I’ll be honest, when I found out that this was simply a rehash of old material, I was bracing myself for a letdown. I’m quite glad I did, however, since they have exceeded expectations. Not to say that the original Obscene Humanity LP was bad, but hearing these three well-chosen tracks (“Obscene Humanity”, “Confront Them”, and “Lies”) fleshed out with their ENTOMBED meets WEEKEND NACHOS sound, courtesy of Kurt, makes these songs even more powerful.

 

“Obscene Humanity” opens like some of TRAP THEM’s more vicious tracks, then goes into that good old fashioned NAILS assault we’ve come to love. “Confront Them” shows their ability to go from piledriving mayhem to a more controlled and bludgeoning stomp within under a minute and a half and still make it a fulfilling listening experience. “Lies”, for any who have listened to Unsilent Death, will notice that the two beginning sections are basically cut and pasted from “Scum Will Rise”, but with some minor variations and more dirt. Though this recycling is nothing new, being that “Lies” came first on the debut LP, it’s more apparent due to them having defined their sound beyond just another pissed off Hardcore band wielding feedback and intentional refrigerator box lo-fi quality. Whether or not this takes you out of what is otherwise a very well-written track on its own, that’s up to you.

Overall, it’s nothing new, but at the same time it gives a different perspective on the old material, which sounded like it came from a last-minute Deathwish Inc. demo. Though Obscene Humanity 2009 was good, Obscene Humanity ca. 2012 is a chance to show fans that A) they remember where they came from and B) they’re hard at work on new material with which to wage war on Pop Punk.

 

The Verdict: It burns.

TODD JONES and NAILS: You wouldn’t like them when they’re angry.

GRADE: B+

by Sean Genovese

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: CRUCIFIED BARBARA

November 27th, 2012

The Midnight Chase (Nuclear Blast Records)

All female Swedish metal crew CRUCIFIED BARBARA have the potential to reach a wider audience with their album The Midnight Chase. Although the band formed as a Punk outfit in 1998, they were not signed until 2003 and this is only the third album in their career. They have been able to chart in their home country and are sure to get recognition in other areas in the near future.

Overall, the album has a classic feel to it. The band is reminiscent of 80s metal gods such as MOTLEY CRUE and VAN HALEN. This is not necessarily a negative aspect though. The album does not feel dated but rather it owes a lot to the timeless albums that were released in that era like Shout at the Devil. Many of the songs on the album have the echo chanted choruses that was a characteristic of hits from that period such as “Looks That Kill” or “Panama”. In fact, the listener can almost picture the band consisting of the women in MOTLEY CRUE’s “Looks That Kill” music video. Lead vocalist MIA COLDHEART has the perfect mix of punk and metal in her singing style. This may be the reason she is similar to vocalists like VINCE NEIL since many singers of the 80s took their influences from those music scenes in the 70s.

The biggest general complaint about the songs is they nearly have the same exact formula to them. As a result, the tracks start to flow together after a while to the point where the listener cannot tell where one starts and where one finishes. That being said, the songs are of good quality when individually played. Perhaps if there were more variety to the songs’ set up, it would be a more interesting album. Thankfully there is one song, “Count Me In” that offers a change of pace. The track mainly stands out due to the fact that it is a slower song. Its lyrics and sentiments are similar to the ballads of 80s Hair Metal but there is a more modern feel to it. It also has an interesting beginning and closing: the sounds of a clock ticking. The weakest track on the album is “Kid From the Upperclass”. The song is supposed to be an insult directed towards someone behaving like a “kid from the upperclass”. However, the lyrics are not very powerful and the ladies come off as pathetic preteens, rather than fearsome females.

The other aspect of the album that may be a turn off from purchasing it is the album artwork. All four of the band members are caught in less than attractive poses and end up looking silly. It appears that the artist could not decide whether they wanted a realistic looking cover or not. Finally, their logo does not seem to match and is strange when compared to the font used for the album name. If I were browsing a music store and saw that cover I would probably just laugh at the absurdity of it and move on.
Although the songs on The Midnight Chase can sound the same after a while, they are not bad. If CRUCIFIED BARBARA shake up their sound and style a bit, they have the ability to be strong female leaders in the metal world.
GRADE: C+

by Melissa Campbell

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: MONUMENTS

November 27th, 2012

Gnosis (Century Media Records)

UK Tech Metal band MONUMENTS finally release their debut album after years of searching for a singer. The band had written and recorded the album before discovering vocalist MATT ROSE. The other members have a history of involvement with UK Tech Metal. Founder and guitarist JOHN BROWNE first played with the now disbanded UK Tech Metal pioneers FELLSILENT. In 2011 he toured with PERIPHERY briefly and was even asked to join the band, but declined to focus on MONUMENTS.

 

The album kicks off with “Admit Defeat”. The track has a cool sort of instrumental intro that sets the tone for most of the album. Listeners hear an immediate resemblance to fellow Tech Metal group TESSERACT. As the record progresses, one wonders if maybe that is a problem. If one was to listen to it without being told anything about it, they would guess that it was a new TESSERACT album. In fact, the first three tracks sound like one extended TESSERACT song. Fortunately the fourth song, “The Uncollective”, breaks it up and the band starts to show individuality.

One of the standout tracks is “Regenerate”. It is the second to last song and is sort of a reference to the second track, “Degenerate”. The beginning captures the attention of the listener and for that reason would be a good opener for the album. Although “Admit Defeat” also has an instrumental intro, it sounds too similar to TESSERACT’S “Deception-Concealing Fate Part Two” intro, in the way that it builds. In “Regenerate” you can hear the bass and drums more which is what stops it from sounding too similar as well. It is also the type of song one can picture the crowd at a show getting excited over.

Something that the band has going for them is the way they present their own philosophy with the music. Their message is a simple one of being an individual and thinking for oneself, especially in terms of existence. The struggle of this is what the album is about. This is evident with song titles such as “Admit Defeat” and lyrics such as the ones in “Doxa”: “born sick commanded to be well / stuck in a losing struggle / it’s a dark existence meaningless and cold / impossible to escape from”.

It is too bad that MONUMENTS seems to sound similar to other UK Tech Metal acts. Perhaps they have not yet found a way to separate themselves from the rest since this is only their debut album. This has the potential to become true as the band has already outlined this goal in the beliefs they present on this album.

MONUMENTS: They will be great, eventually.

GRADE: B

by Melissa Campbell

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: THE BLACKFIRES

November 27th, 2012

Live At The Cutting Room (Self-Released)

 

 

Throwback. It’s a word not often enough associated with modern hard rock music for my taste. Most bands struggle to properly represent an amalgam of their influences and pour out anything original, let alone inspired sounding. There is just a lack of great, unrepentant, kick-ass rock `n roll bands these days and that makes me sad. Sometimes a band comes along that not only does the history of the style justice, but also has something new to give us too, we the masses that are hungry to rock. That is why the new EP by THE BLACKFIRES has me so pumped up. It definitely answers the question of “what is the future of rock music” with a resounding hail of riffs and cymbal crashes that scream yes!

Recorded live at The Cutting Room in New York City, it is not quite a live show recording in the traditional sense. All the same, true live albums are hard to pull off these days, but the band definitely sounds lively and tight. From the opening snarl of the guitar licks in “Rocker Child” you hear the blend and balance of ZEPPELIN, SABBATH, GUNS, LIZZY, DEEP PURPLE and more along with a modern, rough hewn charm. Aggressive and slick, the track is a great intro to the band for the indoctrinated and would make a terrific set-list starter too based on how vital is sounds. Singer Cheggi channels his inner Plant, Freddy throughout the song and he’s not afraid to back up that front man bravado with his range and delivery. “Gambit” continues the charge with some killer guitar chops on display and more out of this world singing. The song goes through several tempo shifts and dramatic swells that will recall the best of a bygone era in music. Not only is axe-slinging tight, but bassist Ryan Egan holds is down all the time with his colorful playing and thick tone. “Livewire Babies” is a song that will take you by surprise and could be a potential single-type track, in spite of its impressive running time. There is a definitely a lot of AC/DC influence happening there, but I also hear remnants of early SOUNDGARDEN with Cheggi displaying his confidence in his ability. This song also has the best lead guitar work on the album and great lyrics. The key change in the final coda of the song is pure rock royalty in my book. “Just A Thrill” is the dark horse of the album. In addition to its grit and heaviness as a song, it benefits from a killer beat supplied by the bands’ drummer and secret weapon, Ilan Harel. It is such a raw and passion filled song that you almost get sideswiped by the earthy breakdown and eventual rave up to the finale. “Primal Love” closes out the affair. A sprawling, power-ballad with a lot of soul, I think this is a good track to end things with. Fans will have tear in their eye and their lighters out when this one comes on.

THE BLACKFIRES are definitely gunning for the big time with this release and putting a lot of bands in their scene on notice. For more information check out their website here.  

 

THE BLACKFIRES: Bringing the SOUL back to Rock ‘N Roll.

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

A LIFE ONCE LOST: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

December 2nd, 2012

Our intrepid metal scribe Sean “That Black Metal Dude” Genovese caught up with Bob Meadows of A LIFE ONCE LOST recently. Sean caught the band live a few weeks back in Allston, MA at Great Scott, where the band was on tour with REVOCATION and KEN MODE. ALOL is out on the road supporting their new album Ecstatic Trance, (Season of Mist) which you should all go get asap!

 

MA: When you guys first started out in 1999, where did you guys expect to be about ten years from that point?

BM: I guess I just expected to be more on a different train of life, y’know? You don’t really expect ever to start a band with a bunch of kids and then eventually it kind of unravels and unfolds into something 13 years later. It’s just kind of a surreal experience in a way. But man, it’s pretty awesome, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Actually, a lot of other friends of mine are moving along, moving past, and kind of starting these new lives and here I am, still chasing down this thing, this dream that I call music. It’s pretty wild, man, I never really expected it all.

 

 

MA: Right. So what are some of you guys’ main influences, and what are some artists or bands might be surprised shaped your sound?

BM: You can hear the BLACK SABBATH and the MESHUGGAH influence for sure, but in (the) Ecstatic Trance record there’s definitely other influences we’re pulling from, anywhere from FELA KUTI, and TI PEYI A, and ORCHESTRA DE POLYRHYTHMO from North Africa, to the German Krautrock scene, bands like CAN, KRAFTWERK, AMAN DUUL, things like KING CRIMSON. Anything within that little hiatus that we took where we ended up exploring a lot of different things in music. It’s always been an interest of mine with music; the more obscure, the more different and weird it was, the better it was for me, that’s kinda what I got off on. Being able to pull from those influences, and finally being able to let it hang on my sleeve, it’s a pretty cool thing, it’s definitely very unique, and I definitely think we’ve developed a unique sound with the Ecstatic Trance record.

 

Bob Meadows of A LIFE ONCE LOST.

MA: Let me ask you something that I’m sure most people probably ask you; What are your attitudes on the “djent” craze, as many cite you guys as innovators of poly-rhythms in Metalcore and related genres. Have you any love for bands like PERIPHERY and AFTER THE BURIAL that are expanding on that formula?

BM: I don’t have any feelings towards it. I’m not really interested in that music. When I listen to music, I kinda wanna be floored. When I was younger, when I was 19, that kind of music would be more appealing to me. But since I’m older now, I find more satisfaction in something that’s more soothing, and it’s not really soothing. I hear it all the time, people referring to us as a band in that scene, and I agree to a certain extent, but there were bands before us that were doing it, and there are bands that are still doing it, and those bands deserve more of the credit. When we started doing it, we didn’t do it to fit into a “scene”, like these other bands, these younger kids are doing, but the youth of America is a very impressionable group of individuals, and they feel the need to be able to fit in somewhere. Maybe this new “djent” thing is the new Deathcore, the new Pop Punk or the new whatever. It is what it is, it’s popular, those dudes can play. Misha’s a cool dude; I don’t like his band, but I think he’s a cool dude. I can be friends with someone and not enjoy their band, and that’s the case here. THE AFTER THE BURIAL, BORN OF OSIRIS guys, I really don’t know them. Michael Keene, EVAN BREWER, those guys in THE FACELESS, awesome dudes, but I just can’t get down with the tunes, y’know? Doesn’t make me less of a man, but more of an individual, I guess.

MA: Yeah. I noticed you guys were selling a shirt that says “Drop Acid, Not Bombs”. Is this a hint at some of the creative process behind Ecstatic Trance, since there are a lot more psychedelic influences, as you may have mentioned before?

BM: You can look at it as that. One of the main things was to explore that world of music, like psychedelic rock, I definitely think we’ve succeeded with this, and it’s definitely a great introduction to unravel into something that’s gonna be bigger in the future with our sound. With hallucinogenics, there are only two of us that sorta dabble in that, haha. I think it was more like a goof shirt. We had this ROLLING STONES rip-off tee goin’, with some dude with fucked up teeth, and we were like “We should totally put an acid tab on his fuckin’ tongue, just throw in ‘Drop Acid, Not Bombs’, it could be funny”. So we ended up doing it, and I think the design turned out pretty good. And it’s funny, the people that actually come up and buy this shirt, they’re so weird, haha. We had t-shirts of a “World Bong”, something like that, and we were on tour with NORMA JEAN. We printed the shirts on yellow, red and green, kinda like a Rastafarian, Jamaican color scheme going on. Then you had these impressionable youth, the Christian kids buying the shirts because of the colors, not necessarily knowing what was going on with it. But if it’s funny, it’s funny, it’s fun to be in a band and do shit like that. But yeah it’s more of a goof, haha.

 

MA: Since you guys recently replaced half the band and have been experimenting with some new sounds on your last two sounds, some fans have expressed that they’re not entirely happy with the direction you’ve taken. Do you have anything to say to them?

BM: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. There are kids that don’t like my band now that probably really love PERIPHERY and AFTER THE BURIAL. That’s the beauty of being a person, you’re entitled to your own opinion, likes and dislikes, and shit, man, if you don’t like my band, you don’t like my band! That’s fine, just don’t base that on my character as a human being. I’m sure my conversations are ones of humour and also interest. If A Great Artist is the record you wanna hear, you can pop that on while you’re driving and punch the steering wheel. But if you’re coming to our shows, that’s what to expect: We’re gonna play what we just put out, what we believe in. An Ecstatic Trance is that record we believe in at the moment. When we go into the studio to do more things, that’s what you can expect. You’re either with us or not with us, it’s no sweat off my ass, y’know?

MA: Yeah. Going on with that previous question, do you believe you’ll ever make another album like A Great Artist or Hunter, or has the musical environment in the ALOL camp and the general Metal/Hardcore scene has changed to the point where you have to leave those concepts behind?

BM: We were never a band to repeat anything or fall into sequence, or an order when it comes to writing music and songs. We had a very large gap of aggression between A Great Artist and The Iron Gag. It’s a small gap, but there’s progression nonetheless. Once you step back and rewrite something like that it’s regressing in a way. For us to constantly evolve and grow as people, I think the only thing we can do is continue to move forward and develop on sounds that we created in records past. You may see me doing another band in the vein of the older stuff, but never in replication. I would say the likelihood is very slim at this time, haha. But you can never really rule out the elements of pure brutality and heaviness mixed in with the music.

 

MA: Alright, this is probably the most important question you’ll be asked within the next six months: Was math your favourite subject in high school, and if so, what type?

BM: I actually like math a lot. I like Algebra. I wasn’t a Geometry guy, but number solving, shit like that was always a big interest of mine, haha.

MA: Alright, well thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview, Mr. Meadows, and I hope you guys have much luck in your future endeavours: tours, albums, stuff like that, and I hope to see your band again, hopefully with a crowd that’s more energetic?

BM: Ah, see, that shit never really matters to me. I think that it slowly morphed from people going crazy like it was with A Great Artist and with Hunter. With Iron Gag you saw people just more there to experience the show, experience what we’re doing, and that’s actually kinda cool. It takes the Metal that we’re writing and evolves it so that you can sit back and enjoy it whether you’re a fuckin’ stoner, you’re drunk, you’re a cokehead, you’re fuckin’ trippin’ on acid, or you’re straight-edge. You can step back and watch the show, enjoy the show for what it is, and that’s the place where Doug and I are trying to take the group now, make it a live experience, not just an experience for the record.

MA: Hmm, that’s actually a pretty good way to look at it. Well, once again, thank you very much, and I wish you luck.

BM: Thank you very much, bro.

by Sean Genovese

 

 

Bookmark and Share

METAL ARMY DEBATES: THE STATE OF WOMEN IN METAL

December 2nd, 2012

 

Cristina Scabbia of LACUNA COIL

It’s debate time again at Metal Army. We figured you were all burned out by the election and enough time has passed by now, so we could bring you all a worthwhile topic: Women in metal. We are always interested in analyzing social paradigms (I know, a heady concept for metal heads). I’ve always felt there was a wide contrast between how many powerful and talented women there are in the metal community and how they are treated and portrayed by that same community. Since I am not a woman, I consulted three of Metal Army’s best writers (of any gender) in Melissa Campbell, Rachel Hacker and Lynn Jordan. They each have a unique perspective to share on the subject. We have also included some concert photos of our favorite women in metal, doing what they do, so read on…..

 

KRYSTA CAMERON, EX-IWRESTLEDABEARONCE

 

Melissa Campbell: Overcoming obstacles to love metal 

Ever since I became a fan of metal, I knew that I some were going to look down on me for being a girl. There have been plenty of moments where I’ve been laughed at by male metal listeners or told by them that I can’t listen to “their” music. Thankfully I’ve found plenty of guys who don’t care what gender I am. Those more negative experiences with metal guys have not caused me to harbor any bad feelings towards guys either. I idolize men like RONNIE JAMES DIO as much as women like AMY LEE.

 

LYRIS HUNG of HUNG

MLNY PARSONZ of ROYAL THUNDER

 

Another problem I encountered in the past was not being allowed to go to metal shows. My father forbade it because he believed all those terrible stereotypes related to shows where males were in high attendance compared to females (i.e. rapes, getting hurt in pits, being kidnapped). Even though I promised to have my sister with me at all times, he was quite uncomfortable granting me permission. In his eyes, we as women were not capable of handling ourselves alongside “those types” of men.

 

KIMBERLY FREEMAN of ONE EYED DOLL

 

However, in 2010, my mother bought me and my sister tickets to go to Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. My father was not too happy about it and claimed he was unaware we had been planning to attend. He started to trust us more when we returned alive and we are now able to go to shows with relatively low complaints from him.

JILL JANUS of HUNTRESS

 

All that being said, gender discrimination in the genre has gone down in recent years thanks to the rise of female fronted (or completely female) bands. A few decades ago women were mainly viewed as sexual objects in the metal community. To those whose main goal was to just be a groupie and have fun that was alright. Other females who wanted to be taken seriously as musicians often had trouble with it (i.e. LITA FORD). The best contribution I can make (since I don’t want to be a musician) is to continue going to/writing about gigs and representing the female community.

 

 

Rachel Hacker: The Made-up Stigma

I read Jezebel every damn day of my life. Maybe if i stopped reading it, I’d get a boyfriend.

Nah.

So. Women. Consistently considered the lesser sex throughout history. Always being chastised for what we can’t do compared to men. Men are the “invisible demographic,” making them the standard for comparison on woman. However, comparing both of them side by side on every issue is absurd. This is essentially the classic apples-to-oranges argument, but this time we’re comparing penises and vaginas.

 

FARIDA LEMOUCHI of THE DEVIL’S BLOOD

 

In the ever commercialized musical world of “Call Me Maybe”, there is an equally commercialized world of hard rock and heavy metal. Through seeing the 1996 stock photo of MARILYN MANSON in the local newspaper, or that GUNS N’ ROSES poster your dad secretly displays in the Man Cave, almost everyone has an image of what metal is “about.” The standard for what men wear and do as a rock artist was set in the 60s, while many women were still taking care of families to develop a true voice in metal and hard rock.

 

RAE AMITAY of MARES OF THRACE/THRAWSUNBLAT/WOODS OF YPRES

 

SUSAN WENDELKEN of DORMITORY EFFECT

It’s only been in the past few decades that women aren’t put down on account of not having a family by age 30. Women don’t feel pressured to rush through getting married anymore, and we have some pretty damn good years of vitality in our 20s or older. The hoards of young women, with non-sagging breasts and sharp minds, are ready to do something different than clean diapers. Why not make play some metal and look hot doing it?

 

CARLA HARVEY and HEIDI SHEPHERD of BUTCHER BABIES

Some women and men find the “hot chicks in metal” to be degrading and embarrassing. Who’s embarrassed? Not me. The sex industry is huge, which means there are obviously people buying the porn that women and men make. Separating our sex and our music isn’t going to change much, considering most of the world is desensitized, anyways. Individuals who believe women should “cover up” are also playing the “chivalry card.” This ideal is essentially is built upon that women are “delicate flowers who can’t do anything on their own.”

Bullshit.

Women in metal are still being treated as if they can’t make their own decisions. “Oh, you’re topless, you must not be intelligent enough to know what you’re doing, let me help you.” It was only 100 years ago that masturbation was a mental illness, or that women still had sex while partially or fully clothed. So why are we still trying to cover up women- figuratively and literally?

SOM PLUIJMERS, ex-CEREBRAL BORE

If you’ve got a good rack and wanna show it, go for it. And while some tiny corner of the internet blogs about your lack of modesty, you’re too busy driving to the bank to care. Unfortunately, most of the bands with the “hot chicks in metal” don’t have music I actually like, but there will never be a moment where I feel like telling another women to cover up. The fashion standard for women in hard rock and metal should be the woman’s choice, not someone else’s choice. Therefore, if men are “apples” and women are “oranges,” the way they handle metal shouldn’t even be compared beyond the thought that “it exists.” The last thing we need is someone else like Mitt Romney.

 

TRACY MYZERI GONZALEZ of EYES LIKE CYANIDE

AMANDA DANIELS of ENABLER

Lynn Jordan: Women in the Metal Scene

PAUL STANLEY of KISS was once asked his opinion about a female hard rock performer. His response? “You need balls to rock ‘n’ roll”. MARC STORACE of KROKUS was doing record reviews for a magazine, and when one for a female performer came up he said,”…she should be doing better things. Like giving me head.”

I read both of these quotes many years ago. As you can see, I haven’t forgotten them; they remain etched in my brain.

ARCH ENEMY, led by ANGELA GOSSOW

I have to admit that when I first started playing bass, my inspirations were mostly male. There were women I loved that were famous with the heavier music that I admired that were writing their own songs, putting out great records and putting on incredible shows. As talented and gutsy as these women were, many male music fans still had a hard time giving them props. How dare these women get onstage and think they have what it takes?

How dare they?

But despite that, to this day no female Metal artist or all-female band has garnered the gushing recognition or respect that their male contemporaries receive as a matter of course. Why not?

 

STEVIE FLOYD of DARK CASTLE/TAURUS

I believe that for men to acknowledge and respect the female presence as Metal musicians is to give power to women that they don’t want them to have. Heavy Metal is a testosterone-fueled monster with images of blood, war, cars, devil worship, drinking, fucking, death, etc. None of these things are considered feminine. Men do these things. Women were intended to hang in the sidelines to worship, clean up, pay the bill, swallow, look pretty and smile while providing various services (comfort, food, shelter or sex-related) to these battle-scarred warriors of musical carnage. Many men don’t like women to be sweat-streaked, angry and storming a stage. Many men don’t like it when women speak their mind. Others don’t like a cursing, spit-fire bitch not taking their shit. Some men get defensive when a woman does something they think is exclusively theirs. And they certainly don’t like it when a woman can do something as well as they do, and does not need their approval to proceed as they please. So the very genre that prides itself on speaking its mind, empowering its listeners and letting its aggression out really doesn’t want their women to be a part of its voice.

 

SIGRID SHEIE of HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE

There is also that double-standard of image vs. talent. If a female musician is beautiful, even if she is gifted, she had to have used her looks to get ahead. If she isn’t that attractive, but is talented, she is dismissed because some dude doesn’t want to “pee in her butt”. It’s a bitter pill and a tough choice for female musicians to make. Do you tone down the sex for respect and get shorted in attention and sales, or do you ramp up the sex, get the attention, alienate some female fans and get less respect from the male ones? It’s a tough call. Male musicians do not have this dilemma. They either are good or they aren’t.

 

OTEP SHAMAYA of OTEP

As 2012 comes to a close, I do not see this changing much. Metal has popular bands with women in them, We have noted bands with women in them, such as ARCH ENEMY, IN THIS MOMENT, OTEP, LACUNA COIL, THE AGONIST, NASHVILLE PUSSY, FIREBALL MINISTRY, SISTER SIN, ALL THAT REMAINS, STRAIGHT LINE STITCH, a slew of female-fronted Goth and Symphonic Metal bands, and (on the lighter side), EVANESCENCE and HALESTORM. With all the females that can play Metal well, the mystery remains as to why it never coalesces into a one kick-ass band, and when they do…it’s a cover band playing songs originally made popular by men. We still can’t have our own voice from the stage, but we do get the annual “Hottest Chicks in Metal” pictorial. That’s another tough choice – to pose or not pose for band promotion (if you’re deemed “hot” enough to make the cut)? Is one reduced to something less than an equal once you’ve shown your ass?

 

G THÉRÈSE LANZ of MARES OF THRACE

MEG CASTELLANOS of TOTIMOSHI

 

JEANNE SAGAN of ALL THAT REMAINS

All that said, let us be the women behind the men, and we soar without barrier. OZZY would be dead, or at least strung-out, broke and on Skid Row, if it wasn’t for SHARON OSBORNE. Love her or hate her (I happen to think she’s awesome) without her, OZZY would have been a footnote in BLACK SABBATH‘s history and Ozzfest would never have happened. MELISSA CROSS has been the vocal coach for male Metal screamers in SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD, MACHINE HEAD, among many others. SUSAN SILVER was a manager who brought us SOUNDGARDEN and ALICE IN CHAINS. DEBBIE ABONO managed such extreme bands POSSESSED, EXODUS, VIO-LENCE, FORBIDDEN and OBITUARY. “METAL” MARIA FERRERO was mentioned in many a Thrash band ‘thank you’ list as a promotional force back in the day, which she continues now as the founder of ADRENALINE PR. MARSHA ZAZULA, is co-founder of Megaforce Records with her husband Jon, and they have signed METALLICA, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT and more. Many bands have started out with their girlfriends or wives acting as managers, promoters and helping to book shows. Many Hair Metal bands have admitted that if it weren’t for the ladies that gave them a place to sleep, something to eat, encouragement and support, they would not have made it – literally and figuratively. Maybe the day will come when males of the Metal scene will truly appreciate the depth of strength women bring on AND off the stage. The more we succeed as a unified supportive front, the more Metal music succeeds overall, and the more powerful we all become.

Do we dare?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

TOUR DIARY: TITANS EVE EUROPEAN TOUR- PART I

December 4th, 2012

Once again Canadian metallers TITANS EVE have hit the road on tour and decided to blog about their experiences for Metal Army. They spent some time opening for ARCH ENEMY and VOIVOD and generally causing a ruckus where ever they went, opening up eyes and ears with their no-holds barred style of music. Bassist Jesse Hord gets us all up to speed!  

October 7th 2012

Our bags are packed and we’re ready to catch the plane. This will be our first time crossing the Atlantic waters to bring our own brand of metal to our ancestral countries, and if there’s better way to do it then sharing the stage with the likes of ARCH ENEMY! To tour with these guys is one hell of an honor. Along this tour we`ll be playing with Canadian legends VOIVOD as well as HACKNEYED, a recent addition to my music folder, and from what I’ve heard I can`t wait to meet these guys. And to top it all off, 12 hours from now we`ll be meeting our driver and front of house sound guy Harris Johns. This guy is a celebrity all on his own, recording bands like SODOM, KREATOR, TANKARD, HELLOWEEN and VOIVOD. This tour is going to kick ass.

October 10th 2012

Geneva Switzerland, Usine Geneve

Well our first little bit of driving is out of the way now. We left Frankfurt around noon and got into Dortmund. We stayed the night over and left early to grab our gear from Gatetohell.net in Lunen just outside of Dortmund. (BTW if you`re in the market for rental tour gear in Europe these guys are great!) Leaving Lunen we headed straight to Freiburg for one more night then traveled off to Switzerland to play our first show in Europe and with ARCH ENEMY. What a nerve racking experience. But the crowd was really receptive! This I could get used to. The show’s all done and we`re ready to celebrate. We`ll be going back down to the venire for some more drinks.

October 13 2012

Freiburg Germany, The Crash

Well we were on cloud nine after our first show with ARCH ENEMY, (except me who was in hell after to much free beer and wine) as we left for Freiburg again and this time we really got to experience the city. Wow what a place, this city has it all man, great beer, great food, great liquor, beautiful women and the architecture is crazy! It feels great to walk around in a city that’s been around for over 1000 years. On the 12th our friend Jens Carpenter took us out to a little rock bar that made the greatest schnitzel you’ve ever had, plus litre glasses of beer and 1 euro shots of Jager! Man I love Germany. Anyway tonight is our first show in Germany and we`re headlining! We`re playing with ASSORTED NAILS and FROZEN INFINITY. These bands had great energy and so did the crowd. After the show we once again stuck around for drinks and shots.

October 16 2012

Kundle Austria, Gemeindesaal

Holy hell I am hung-over today. The previous two nights we stayed at a hostel in Munich and spent most of our time at a beer hall called Hofbrauhaus. Excellent slow cook pork, some weisswurst and litre upon litre of dunkel as well as a five finger glass of scotch. (Apparently most people don`t order these) but did I listen? Hell no. But anyway I’m here now and I’m tired as hell. I had to muster a lot of strength to get on that stage, but it was worth it. I love the European crowds. They really get into it. We also met the guys from HACKNEYED tonight. These guys are cool. Well I feel too shitty to finish this paragraph properly.

October 17 2012

Ludwigsburg Germany, Rockfabrik¸

Fully recovered from the previous night, I was able to go out on that stage and not look like a pile of death. And what a place to do it. Rock and Metal legends have ruled this place before me and I`m stoked to be playing this rocking venue. There are buildings within this building. A place truly meant for live metal. Rockfabrik is eye and ear candy. The place is adorned with pictures, murals. Even a drum kit on top of the bar signed by NICKO MCBRAIN. Another great show at another great venue. The days are beginning to merge into one big shows now. Well off to Krefeld then we’ll be in PARIS!

by Jesse Hord

Buy  TITANS EVE’s new album Life Apocalypse  from their website. Part II coming soon!

Bookmark and Share

TOUR DIARY: TITANS EVE EUROPEAN TOUR – PART II

December 6th, 2012

Here is Part II of TITANS EVE’s European Tour Diary- enjoy!

Oct 21st2012

Paris France, Le Bataclan

KICK F@#%ING ASS DUDE! Best Crowd of the tour so far. The French know how to Thrash. We got to the venue around noon and took off to do some tourist shit. Eiffel tower and all that, but I could not believe how into the music the crowd was. It felt great to see so many horns in the air. Sadly, this will be our last night hanging with Hackneyed, but its bitter sweet as we get to hang with our countrymen VOIVOD! Off to Pamplona……FORWARD!

Oct 25th2012

Santiago de Compostela Spain, Capitol

Well getting into our Hotel was a damn nightmare but in the end it was basically a castle in the middle of old Santiago. Cool place man. Touristy but really cool. Our show at Pamplona was excellent. Spain is a really beautiful country. And the crowds have been awesome thus far. So we get to Capitol in Santiago and this stage is pretty small, not a lot of room to move around and for the first time our Casey is playing stage right where I would normally play. I’m telling you the stage setup is weird but it actually worked out. The stage was almost as high as the crowd. You really feel far from the audience but it was still a great show. Onwards now to Madrid then our last show in Barcelona.

Oct 26th2012

Madrid Spain, La Riviera

This venue is awesome. It’s basically a big building put right over a street roundabout. There’s sidewalks and everything in this place. In the middle there’s a tikihut bar and the stage is north of it with allot of room to thrash. Backstage was sweet. Well lit, shower, washer and dryer 4 sinks. And a ton of beer! Fuckin eh man. Kyle got some food poisoning on the way here today, but he still kicked ass on stage. Well we only got one show left then we head back to Canada.

Oct 30th2012

Frankfurt Germany, Airport

Well that’s it. We’re at the airport and about to head home. Barcelona was a beautiful city. We played at Razzmatazz and had a blast. The venue was pretty cool, it seems to be a famous metal bar. It’s even referenced in Metalocalypse as DR.ROXO‘s bands’ name. What a great time we had but i’m stoked to go home and have a beer. Keep it fucking METAL!

by Jesse Hord

Buy TITANS EVE’s new album Life Apocalypse  from their website.

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: PIG DESTROYER

December 6th, 2012

Book Burner (Relapse Records)

Virginia’s PIG DESTROYER has been blasting disease into this bloated organism we know as “happiness” since 1997. From the frightening atmospheres of Prowler In The Yard to the daringly sparse doomscapes of Natasha (EP), PD have never failed to write something that commands attention in some way shape or form. Sure, some releases such as Phantom Limb may have lacked in memorable tracks, but one would be foolish to say that they have ever put out anything that can be called mediocre. Aside from perhaps that odd demo tape where the members all went under pseudonyms, but I haven’t heard it, and don’t have an extra 50 bucks to investigate what could otherwise be a life-changing audio fieldtrip to the backwoods of VA.

 

For fear of digressing further, PIG DESTROYER is a fucken good band. Ever since Phantom Limb, they quieted down significantly, though never went comatose. Since they don’t tour often or play more than the odd show or fest here and there, PD fans had to make due with other Grind bands in the meantime. Digging through NASUM’s back catalogue, making friends with ROTTEN SOUND’s belt-sander-to-the-groin approach to music, or provoking the sound-barrier with HIVESMASHER’s weirdo-grind was a worthwhile distraction for some, but PIG DESTROYER, man. That takes top priority.

 

Book Burner, which is charged with melting a hole in the altar of the optimistic blind-eye we turn towards mindless consumer products, politics and the church, is proving to be well worth the wait. Recorded throughout the summer of 2012 A.D., I get the feeling that they planned everything out over a long span of time before going in to finally make the recording equipment sorry it was born that way. J.R. HAYES, ex-vocalist of defunct VA Grinders ENEMY SOIL, along with SCOTT HULL (nucleus of ANAL CUNT, AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED, and JAPANESE TORTURE COMEDY HOUR) form the core of the musical operation, with Adam Jarvis on drums and Blake Harrison on samples and additional vocals to add a new dimension of sonic terror. One may ask, is Book Burner really that good?

 

This may just be the fact that I’ve been salivating ever since I got word that they were still alive and kicking in the abyss, but fuckin’ A, it’s everything you could want from a return-to-form PD release. Though it’s carrying a lighter production than efforts like Terrifyer and Prowler, opting for a more standard Hardcore vibe and also ditching much of the aural creepiness, this proves not to be a handicap. If anything, this more compact PD shows a side that’s all tooth, blood, foam, and fur standing on end as opposed to a rapist in the dark armed with a hook hand and bad hygiene. Both approaches are equally nasty, just in their own ways. The opener, “Sis” shows that PD still have what it takes to skin a man alive in under a minute and a half, and boy is it one of THE best opening tracks of the year. Just try not to snap your neck during that ending breakdown.

 

I could go track-by-track since the album’s so rich with the intelligent depravity of J.R.’s lyrics, to say nothing of his vocals in addition to Blake’s (and possibly others, as many different throats seem to pop up), Scott’s ever inventive yet focused guitar lines, and the insane drumming that puts the “destroy” in PIG DESTROYER. While they certainly aren’t traversing much new ground, and are in fact simplifying their serial-killer-grind approach to a twisted version of the Hardcore they all grew up listening to, it’s just great to have them back. Catch them at Maryland Deathfest, I know I’ll try to.

The Verdict: My sister is also dangerous.

PIG DESTROYER: Slightly less politicized. Still, no fucks given.

 

Grade: A-

by Sean Genovesse

(Editor’s note: If you dig Sean’s reviews and writing style like we do, do yourself a favor and check out his blog. You’ll thank us for it. )

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

OBITUARY: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

December 7th, 2012

Omar Cordy of The Metal Army Blog interviewed Death Metal drumming legend Donald Tardy of OBITUARY at the start of the “Carnival of Death Tour” this past fall. OBITUARY is on tour in EUROPE while they ready their next album.

 

 

 

 

(Special thanks to Don Tardy, Obituary and Earsplit PR.)

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: CONVERGE

December 10th, 2012

Royale, Boston, MA

The Royale Nightclub’s website specifically states that formal dress is required, and yet they seem open to hosting Metal and Hardcore shows. I’m sure you’re aware they attract people that sometimes don’t bathe as well as the normal clientele, or at least dress in a manner that suggests this fact. The Royale should have no right to judge since its locale is so nondescript on the exterior that one would be forgiven for missing it entirely while looking right at it. Even I, who had seen it a month prior before THE GHOST INSIDE show was having a hard time believing this was indeed the place that pit warfare was set to occur. Located next to a grubby convenience store and boasting the outside of a hotel suffering from cognitive dissonance, surrounded by Hardcore kids, you’d be shocked to see the largely rose hues adorning the walls of the interior. Just goes to show one can’t judge by appearances, at least for buildings. Just assume someone’s dying in any building you set your sights on, basically.

The inside of the Royale is such that you’re almost made more eager to start smashing things once the riff gate opens. Fancy chairs for those who would rather stay unharmed, Patrón on the rocks, and the aforementioned pink lighting performing an unrestrained waltz of chromatic liberty with splashes of lavender. I had a most wonderful conversation with a security guard about being careful in Dorchester for a few minutes, since apparently I’d make an ideal target for roving packs of gangbangers, but this is common sense and he was wasting his time. I humoured him regardless. Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, baldie.

Before I digress any further: this place was just ripe for the blood, sweat, and tears approach to Hardcore that CONVERGE brings. The type of Hardcore that openers WHIPS/CHAINS bring is lacking in that, however.

 

They have everything that I enjoy in bands like ALL PIGS MUST DIE, NAILS, and CURSED: sludgy production, riffs draped in unveiled malice fired from cannons of “fuck you”, vocals from the void, and pounding drums matched only by subterranean rumblings. Though they possess the skill and anger of the bands I just mentioned, something sounds out of place, and I just can’t get into it. Blame it on overexposure to bands that have done it before, and maybe I do indeed have no room left for another band that sounds like COALESCE swimming in an oil spill with members of BOLT THROWER. In the meantime, I’ll just leave it at the fact that they’re good, probably even great, but at the moment I’m not into it.

Following W/C were local hatemongers NEW LOWS, whose lyrics revolve around being mad and other negative things. Having not seen NEW LOWS since a matinee show some time ago, I was eager to see how they’re doing these days, and hoping that they’re still as pissed off as they were before. By Jove, they haven’t changed, and I love it. The crowd was luckily the type that either appreciated NEW LOWS or simply liked what they heard, so I didn’t have to feel like my going all-out for them would be seen as unnecessary roughness. This being the first time seeing NEW LOWS in such a large venue, it was almost bizarre having so much space within which to perform my normal drowning-in-air ministrations. No gimmicks, no hype, just piss.

 

 

Up next were everyone’s favourite Black’n’Rollers KVELERTAK, mainly because not many other bands make Black’n’Roll so fun. KVELERTAK hail from frøstbitten Nørway, though their musical output does much to warm the blood of audiences they play to. Having recently played Fun Fun Fun Fest with they’re showing no signs of quitting any time soon. From the ultra-energetic opener “Ulvetid”, to hymn-for-the-imbibed closer “Mjød”, not a single song let the energy die down. The mosh action was hilariously inappropriate for the band, though they are a mix of Black Metal er… Metal-ness and the driving rhythms of Hardcore and Punk, one wouldn’t expect two-stepping to rule the roost. Nonetheless, everyone seemed to be having a great time shouting along, crowdsurfing, and of course, spilling the beer they had bought merely minutes ago.

KVELERTAK: Black’n’Roll. Party Time. Excellent.

TORCHE: Not afraid to have fun.

Self-proclaimed “Stoner-Pop” band TORCHE arrived to cool things down, and I solemnly swear that I don’t think it’s funny that the name directly contradicts what they did. By the time they rolled around, the crowd had grown at least twice as large as it was during KVELERTAK, showing just how much pull they alone had for the evening. I even know a couple of people who would have gone mainly for Torche, if not only just for them. In their generous set time they showed off their Miami-brewed blend of the heaviness they take from Stoner/Sludge Metal while infused with the lighter harmonies of Indie leanings. Comparable acts are THE SWORD and RED FANG, though TORCHE is definitely the silliest of the three, and thus I like them best. The only issue I had with TORCHE this time around, having seen them before, was the vocals, since they weren’t as strong as I remembered them being. This was a small issue, since all of the other elements were in their prime: The guitars were heavy, the drums were on target, and the atmosphere was that just-right juxtaposition of having your head dunked in a bucket of syrup and taking a pleasant swim in clear water. On a completely unrelated note, I positively adored their DESCENDENTS rip-off tee of the “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” album featuring baby Milo sporting a Jane Doe shirt, with the title “Torche Goes On Tour With Converge”. Had I a few extra bucks to spend, I would buy it at a high price.

Editor’s note: This is the best shirt of 2012

Set List:

Pirana

Kicking

Reverse Inverted

Grenades

Healer

Across the Shields

Charge of the Brown Recluse

Tarpit Carnivore

And now, for the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, and other French phrases one uses to express delight at the part of a meal one is most excited for: CONVERGE, the superheroes of Massachusetts Hardcore.

 

 

I weep for those who haven’t bought this album yet.

I’ve known about CONVERGE since I was 13 years old, having heard their song “Last Light” on an Epitaph compilation CD. Being musically stupid at the time and thinking that LINKIN PARK were THE rock band to listen to, I absolutely hated it. I hated the vocals, the production, the song structure, everything. It was one of my least liked songs on that compilation next to “Forever Young” by YOUTH GROUP. It took me about 4-5 years to grow up and realize the error of my ways, and “Last Light” began to grow on me. The dynamics of balancing vulnerable emotion and chaotic rage finally struck a chord within me, and I just got it. After listening to Jane Doe and No Heroes, I was swayed to the side of good. It’s a shame it took ages for the real message to stick, but better late than never.

So fast forward to 2012, and there I was greatly fearing injury, yet at the same time accepting that it was quite inevitable. My prediction, as some of you may know, came true; My worries were made manifest as an elbow to the left eye and nose, and the lesser torments of repeated kicks to the skull from stagedivers, though fear not, any damage incurred has been repaired… or has it? I still worry whenever I make slips of the tongue that were more easily avoided prior to this experience. And yes, dear reader, I was, in the parlance of our times, “knocked the fuck out”, and I must say that the quick nap I took due to the sheer dizziness of that attack gave me the strength I needed to stagedive for “The Broken Vow”. The “dive to prove I’m alive” manœuver, as it was so cleverly termed by a Spaniard, proved quite effective.

 

CONVERGE: We are too scared of them to make a witty comment.

 

It was a phenomenal set. They played a lot of greats, opening with “Concubine” and “Dark Horse” just to get the audience churning themselves into a mass of flannel, flesh, and hatred. It was no-mans land in the middle of that pit, and even the outermost perimeter did not by any means make one safe from flying limbs. Jacob Bannon kept the people energized by reminding us just how crazy Boston can get even if we are past those golden years of Hardcore, throwing out the names of COLIN OF ARABIA, and some others I forgot because I took many blows to the head, remember. The Metalheads, Punks, and Hardcore kids of Boston may be divided on the surface, but it takes a great band like CONVERGE to bring them all together.

 

It’s all a whirlwind of fists, loud noises, and bloodshed. I’m sure I accidentally punched someone in the face, and to you, I apologize. It was all in the spirit of the moment, and if you weren’t committing some violent act or on the receiving end of one, then you probably wasted your time and money going. Some gladly kept the action going even when the music had stopped, and JACOB (BANNON) insisted that if you happened to be caught onstage not stagediving, waiting for the next song, then you were probably not using your time wisely. Of course, he said it in a more imperative fashion, but that’s just my spin on it, you see.

CONVERGE is headlining what might be called the best show of 2013…

 

I’m beginning to ramble, but that’s what happens when I love a show so much that I can scarcely put into factual terms just how monumental it was. CONVERGE’s homecoming was a magnificent dithyramb of naked fury, and no amount of hyperbole will surpass what everyone in that room felt that night during that final dissonant breakdown of “Last Light”. I don’t know about you, but there was no sound in the heavens sweeter than that disfigured chord at the time, and I shall admit that I shed some manly tears, thus causing lions made of dragons to be born from exploding stars. When they announced they were encoring with “The Saddest Day”, it was quite unwise to be near the stage for those 7 minutes, as you ran the risk of having your head dropkicked off by some errant punk. Practicing caution and raising my arm at key moments was instrumental to my being alive to relay this tale to you, reader, so always wear a dental dam at a CONVERGE show.

 

In the aftermath, it was discovered that there were no casualties, though few who actively participated came out without some form of soreness or bleeding. I made it out with a not-too-noticeable lump on the bridge of my nose. One person completely missed the crowd during a stagedive, and the floor shook a bit from his landing on his back, so I’d hate to be that guy waking up for work or school the next day. No pain, no gain, you’re DAVE MUSTAINE. Next time CONVERGE roll around, which is hopefully soon, if they’re indeed gonna be getting back to their normal lives in the illest colonial city of them all, I’ll make sure I get legitimately banged up. In the meantime, I must procrastinate and forget to do things, as usual. Ciao, bella.

Set List:

Concubine

Dark Horse

Heartless

Aimless Arrow

Trespasses

Bitter and Then Some

All We Love We Leave Behind

Sadness Comes Home

My Unsaid Everything

Glacial Pace

Cutter

Worms Will Feed/Rats Will Feast

Tender Abuse

On My Shield

Axe to Fall

Empty on the Inside

Eagles Become Vultures

The Broken Vow

First Light

Last Light

 

Encore:

The Saddest Day

 

By Sean Genovese

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: LAMB OF GOD

December 19th, 2012

The House of Blues, Boston, MA

This is only one out of five reviews to come, so prepare for a veritable shitstorm of loquaciousness, jumbled memories, and chicanery that only your favourite poseur can bring consisting of equal amounts hilarity and pit dickery. I’m fucked, as is the world, and everybody in it.

 

Hailing from God-Save-The-Queenland, SYLOSIS are one of those bands that can only be rightly called “Modern” Metal. Being a combination of MeloDeath (as opposed to Melodic Death Metal, take note), Thrash, and Metalcore, they define genre tags, so your average Metal mag will love them (viz. Metal Hammer). They certainly are a talented band, and deserve the success they have received, though I’ve yet to get a full-on boner for them. They’ve got the skill and the shred that you’d ask for in a Thrash/Death Metal band, but end up being neutered by the cleanliness of their sound and the sheer lack of aggression that is called for in this thing we call Metal. However, they do know how to get a nice circle-pit going, and circle-pits are awesome in my book. SYLOSIS has only been on this side of the pond twice, but didn’t appear too excited to be playing in front of a decently sized crowd, so it almost gave the impression that they wanted their set to be over, and fast.

 

SYLOSIS was an early delight.

 

After SYLOSIS came everyone’s least favourite Hick-Metal project, going under HELLYEAH, a name that may only have been conceived after a night of Jack Daniels and rawhide. With members coming from MUDVAYNE, PANTERA, and NOTHINGFACE, they had potential to at least make some okay music. How on Satan’s green Earth do you make VINNIE PAUL’s spectacular drumming sound lackluster? It’s almost criminal how painfully popular the insipid excuses for “songs” HELLYEAH produces became. The fact that their front man could stand up on that stage and grandstand to a crowd of drunken fools and get applause for namedropping the U.S. armed forces, as well as make the audacious claim that “we’re all Metalheads” without the slightest degree of irony is appalling and offensive. I’ve seen a better live presence and consideration for the audience’s feelings from BLESSTHEFALL, and they’re godawful, pun fucken intended because they’re Christcore. HELLYEAH is so bad that an actual stench, an unmitigated olfactory assault, was making itself apparent while they went about abusing guitars and making them honk like abused geese rather than sing gracefully. HELLYEAH is a bad band, and VINNIE PAUL lending his drum talents is no excuse for this shameful waste of equipment, cotton, and time.

 

HELLY EAH has VINNIE PAUL, and little else going for it.

 

After that torture, pain was renewed, however more earnest in spirit, by IN FLAMES, Sweden’s biggest export aside from perhaps meatballs.

 

ANDERS FRIDÉN of IN FLAMES.

IN FLAMES may have crossed the line into pure fucking un-metal with Soundtrack To Your Escape, but I just have too big of a heart to deny them access into my ears and soul. Though yes, Sounds of a Playground Fading is beyond (and I say this acknowledging my own presence in the LGBTQ community) gay, IN FLAMES’ overall output has been to my satisfaction.

Set List:

Sounds of a Playground Fading

Where the Dead Ships Dwell

Reroute to Remain

Embody the Invisible

Cloud Connected

Fear Is the Weakness

The Mirror’s Truth

System

Deliver Us

Take This Life

My Sweet Shadow

 

And now for the fun part: LAMB OF GOD, in the flesh, and proselytising their message of fear, pain, hatred, and power. To deny you grew up with LAMB OF GOD, either as a young-un just discovering Metal, or an OG watching Metalcore hatch from an egg comprised of obsidian and cheap beer piss, would be a bloody lie at worst, and a fib and best. To say that you weren’t mindlessly headbanging to “Laid To Rest” or “Ruin” during their set that night would be to deny that you have a soul or a passion aimed towards something real. Sure, LAMB OF GOD are what you can call “entry-level”, but damn they’ve got soul.

 

 

RANDY BLYTHE: The stuff of legend on this night.

Due to RANDY BLYTHE’s recent incarceration in Czech prison for “killing” someone, it wasn’t surprising to see a few “Free Randy Blythe” shirts in the crowd, even though the man was alive, well, and hairy on that stage, appearing space-ship like as they performed their vitriolic version of a “Walk With Me In Hell” with a fervor that just about blew away every other band playing that night. Randy poured bottle after bottle of water upon his head, as though making up for a missed shower, CHRIS ADLER beat his kit like it owed him rent money, and the dual guitar attack of Mark and Willie had more crunch than on record. John Campbell played bass and looked like a wizard. Cool. Randy commanded the crowd to “get ignorant”, but in all reality, it got ignorant when a fight broke out during SYLOSIS. To say nothing of the praise HELLYEAH, for being god awful.

 

WILLIE ADLER jams!

LAMB OF GOD is one of those bands that I can check off my list of “gotta see live before I die”, and damn was it a blast. “Now You’ve Got Something To Die For” made HELLYEAH’s own shout-out to the U.S. Army pathetic in comparison (and this is coming from someone who isn’t all “hoo-rah” about what our men & women in uniform are made to do, by the way), “Ruin” was insurmountably heavy, “Set To Fail” had even slicker blasts and grooves, “11th Hour” had vitality unmatched, the final breakdown of “Black Label” was impossibly brutal, etc. etc. In short, seeing LAMB OF GOD live just about re-affirmed in my mind that they’re not to be fucked with. They may be placed alongside bands like CHIMAIRA, TRIVIUM, SHADOWS FALL, etc., but they’re just a tad bit more pissed than your average “Heavy Metal” band, and that’s the bottom line.

 

CHRIS ADLER kills it all night!

 

Set List:

Desolation

Ghost Walking

Walk With Me in Hell

Set to Fail

Ruin

Now You’ve Got Something to Die For

11th Hour

The Undertow

Omerta

Contractor

 

Encore:

The Passing

In Your Words

Laid to Rest

Redneck

Black Label

Review by Sean Genovese. Concert photos by Echoes In the Well

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

KEEFY’S TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2012: 20-11

December 20th, 2012

People seem to love or hate these Year End Top Metal albums list-thingys. As a long-time reviewer, I enjoy doing them, but you have to find the right balance. Last year I tried to do a top 100 list, and honestly it was brutal, and I don’t mean the music. This year I have cut the list down to a more manageable number. A full list of Top 40 albums will run next week, but for the next two days, we’ll run the top 20. Without further ado here is my list from 20-11.

 

 

#20. ALCEST- Les Voyages de L’Âme (Prophecy Productions)

Hauntingly beautiful, disturbing and introspective. Those are the words that describe ALCEST in general, and their early 2012 offering. Maestro NEIGE is one of the most creative thinkers, genius lyricists and bravest art makers in all of music, not just metal.

 

 

#19. ROYAL THUNDER- CVI (Relapse)

For a band that has only had the public ear for a few years, ROYAL THUNDER’s CVI is amazing and refreshing. MLNY PARSONZ is a reluctant hero and front woman for the bluesiest, brooding proto-metal band to come along in ages.

 

 

#18. WOODS OF YPRES- Woods V: Grey Skies and Electric Light (Earache)

With the one year anniversary coming up of the tragic death of DAVID GOLD, it was bittersweet revisiting this album recently. His passing looms large over the music left behind in retrospect. Woods V is an epic masterwork of gloom ridden, melodic Doom. A terrible loss for the music world.

 

 

#17. HIGH ON FIRE- De Vermiis Mysteriis (E1)

Another concept album that made the top 20 list. Another magical, proto-metal burst of grand musical ambition from Messrs MATT PIKE and company. This is a band that keeps getting better and better. The record is also a guitar playing tour de force from start to finish too.

 

 

 

 

 

#16. DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT -Epicloud (Hevy Devy/InsideOut)

DEVIN TOWNSEND is at the pinnacle of his powers. He might also be the JAMES BROWN of metal, the hardest working man in the business. Epicloud is his most straight forward, rocking and fun effort. Worth buying for the performance of ANNEKE VAN GIERSBERGEN alone.

 

 

#15. GOATWHORE- Blood For The Master (Metal Blade)

One of the top outfits in metal, 2012 saw the band release another great album. They even get some commercial exposure for the first time ever. It was long overdue for a unit that has made some of the most consistently harsh, and evil music from America in a long time. Kudos!

 

 

 

#14. CONVERGE- All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph)

For a band that has rewritten some of the heaviest music in their career, they shun the term metal or the typical definition of it. Yet, their latest album is one of the hardest to come out this year. A band that continues to write and re-write the book on modern music.

 

 

#13. THE DEFTONES- Koi No Yokan (Reprise)

Not quite as heavy as their previous efforts, but still an astounding melodic statement from one of the most creative forces in modern metal. Few albums can be said to be this rough and gorgeous sounding too. THE DEFTONES pulled it off.

 

 

 

#12. LAMB OF GOD- Resolution (Epic)

One of the heaviest and bad-ass albums of the year. Credit to the band for also making the most diverse album of their career, without sacrificing what has made them the leaders of modern metal. The shame of RANDY BLYTHE‘s legal troubles abroad has been not enough attention has gotten paid to how adventurous and cool Resolution is musically.

 

 

#11. MARES OF THRACEThe Pilgrimage (Sonic Union Metal)

Just missed the top ten. A complex, heavy concept-thick album that stays with you long after the music stops. G THÉRÈSE LANZ doesn’t get nearly enough notice for her lyrics, which match the best of any album in 2012. Another brilliant release from the most brutal band in Canada, and maybe sonically; the heaviest tone in modern metal too.

 

 

Next: 10-1

 

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

KEEFY’S TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2012: 10-1

December 21st, 2012

Here is Keefy’s final Top Ten from his overall Top 40 Metal Albums of 2012 list! Enjoy!

#10. CRYPTOPSY- Cryptopsy (Self Released)

To paraphrase comedian Chris Rock, I’m tired of apologizing for CRYPTOPSY. I was in the minority among people when I loved The Unspoken King. I’m sure as people are reading this; they are scratching their heads again. No matter, CRYPTOPSY has silenced all their critics with an album that matches the best work of their career. A brutal slab of technical death metal on every level the album is great for all the reasons that made the band stellar in the first place. Obviously, people talk about the inhuman level of Drummer FLO MOUNIER. However, the real strength of the band is returning guitarist and writer JON LEVASSEUR and mainstay guitarist/uber producer CHRISITAN DONALDSON. The songs they wrote are superb. I was nervous about Oliver Pinard being able to replace ERIC LANGLOIS on bass, but even he was great too! Lastly, MATT MCGATCHY‘s performance provides the shut the fuck up moment of the year to all the haters. Well done sirs!

 

#9. PRONG- Carved Into Stone (Long Branch Records/SPV)

I thought my birthday came early this year when PRONG’s new album came out. PRONG has always been one of my favorite bands and all of their recorded output has been always been strong. Carved Into Stone is actually the bands best album since 1996′s Rude Awakening. Not only is the album full of sick tunes, but over the top, guitar playing in general is terrific. TOMMY VICTOR (DANZIG, MINISTRY) has been known for two things in his career: great songs and being a riff master general. The album displays an unexpected depth for any record in 2012. Packed with just the right touch of technical mastery and catchy songwriting to please and the hardcore soul, which hearkens back to Tommy’s NYC metal roots. The performances from TONY CAMPOS (SOULFLY/ MINISTRY/STATIC-X/ASESINO/POSSESSED/OTEP) and ALEXI RODRIGUEZ (ex-3 INCHES OF BLOOD) are matched perfectly too, making this one of the baddest power trio’s around.

 

 

#8. GOJIRAL’Enfant Sauvage (Roadrunner)

GOJIRA albums, when they come out, are an event. The metal world waits with baited breath and the results are always stellar. Armed with a new deal from Roadrunner, the band put out L’Enfant Sauvage over the summer to roars of approval. Perhaps, even I was too cynical to believe that GOJIRA would continue to get increasingly popular as they stayed true to who they were? L’Enfant Sauvage is a great blend of the Progressive Rock/Metal, Tech Death, old-school Death Metal and Thrash influences they are known for. Then there is their subject matter: they are one of the most thoughtful and socially conscious bands around, lyrically. The album hits the right mood on every level, every time and has the musical confidence of a band much more senior in years. Songs like “Explosia”, “The Axe” and “Liquid Fire” are going to be talked about in metal head circles for years to come.

 

 

#7. CANNIBAL CORPSE- Torture (Metal Blade)

Like a beautifully marbled steak or a legendary work of art, CANNIBAL CORPSE truly does get better with age. It seems likely that much like SLAYER, the death metal godfathers will keep right on trucking on to oblivion, making skull splitting, gore filled albums for as long as they can. Torture is perfect in every way and all of the things you love about the band are in the mix. Perhaps due to being the most collaborative written album in the bands history, the sound from song to song is quite eclectic. Not like Dubstep, power-ballad eclectic, mind you, but the band has figured out how to blend different song styles seamlessly. Inventive new chord structures and riffs, hard to fathom bass lines and stupendous drumming are all topped off by GEORGE “CORPSEGRINDER” FISHER‘s impeccable voice from hell. Plus, don’t forget the grooves. Oh those crushing grooves! Nobody writes a grooving-ass, brutal riff better than ALEX WEBSTER. The band continues to be the yard stick by which all death metal music and consequently, all death metal bands are measured.

 

 

#6. C.O.C.C.O.C. (Candlelight)

That C.O.C. was able to make a comeback as a trio at this point in their career is not a surprise. The fact that they reunited to make an amazing album is not even a question. What I am surprised by, is that it seems like the rest of the world has caught up to the sound of the band and the love from fans and the press is over flowing. When last we saw C.O.C. as a trio it was the 80s and they were mostly an underground phenomenon. Lots of bands like to say they were influenced by the Sludgy, Crossover Doom masters, but in this age of the Internet; flattery goes a long way to help a new bands rep.To hear WOODY WEATHERMAN tell it, the reunion circuit was totally un-interesting to the band, unless they were gonna make new music. C.O.C., the album has more quality and vitality than many of the upstarts of the genre they helped put on the map. MIKE DEAN‘s bass is full of fuzz and style; Woody‘s soloing is on fire and REED MULLEN, back for the first time in over decade, drums and sings like a man possessed. Let us not forget the poignant political lyrics, much welcomed in these troublesome times of a divided America. You might say the metal world needed C.O.C. to come back, as much as they needed to make a comeback themselves.

 

 

#5. MESHUGGAH- Koloss (Nuclear Blast)

What can you say about MESHUGGAH that hasn’t been said already? It’s not hard to run out of superlatives when talking about the most influential metal band of the last fifteen years. Whether Koloss was going to be great or not was likely not debatable. What was up for grabs, was what direction these geniuses would take the iconic music we have all come to expect. The results were stunning. Can you change things up, and still be the same band? By definition no, but that is MESHUGGAH for you. Koloss is a collection of songs much like the rest of the bands’ storied catalog: brutal, and complex. Most of the songs feature a pulsing groove that has come to the fore in the bands work of late. Every beat and riff is a maelstrom of twisting delight, overlapping time signatures and finger-defying licks galore. Most of all, the album sets another technical high water-mark for guitarist FREDRICK THORDENDAL and drummer TOMAS HAAKE.

 

 

#4. TESTAMENT- Dark Roots Of Earth (Nuclear Blast)

The return of TESTAMENT to their former level of greatness is nothing short of a triumph for all of metal. 2008′s Formation of Damnation was an excellent comeback album, after almost a decade of no new music. In the interim years since getting back together, they have toured tirelessly around the world, reignited their chemistry and fulfilled the promise of their early career. Dark Roots of Earth takes the concept of the old-school Thrash style, added a modern sensibility and took it all one step further. Only EXODUS and ANTHRAX have been able to pull of the feat of making new music for modern ears, staying true to their past and begin able to add a level of panache. ERIC PETERSON finally got his dream come true by getting GENE HOGLAN to write and record drums for a TESTAMENT album. The unrelenting bottom end of the songs gives the band a new power they have never had. Every song is a gem. “Native Blood” is one of the catchiest, yet grooviest songs I’ve heard in ages. The chorus is also the best of 2012. CHUCK BILLY‘s ageless voice carries the day and ALEX SKOLNICK displays the chops that verify his legions of fans. Even GREG CHRISTIAN is heard from, with some excellent bass lines. Dark Roots of Earth is all killer and positively no filler.

 

 

#3. BARONESS- Yellow And Green (Relapse)

One of the most anticipated albums of 2012 did not disappoint when BARONESS dropped the latest in their color-themed recent discography. The band made no pretense that this album would be not be metal and frankly, that was OK by me. If you have been following the band, they have been less concerned with the trappings of fitting in, in their career up to this point. They instead stayed true to their artistic authenticity. What BARONESS delivered is a double-album of incredible songs, displaying great chops and the best dynamics overall of any album on this list. Some of the songs are quite heavy, but more often than not, that heaviness never came the expense of melodies or tones. “Take My Bones Away” was my out and out favorite song of the entire year. “March To The Sea” was another stone cold rocker, the likes that haven’t been heard since the heyday of QUEEN or THIN LIZZY. Some of the best moments are the most unexpected ones; like the freak-out synth work in “Cocanium”. All of the keyboard work is stellar as is the bass playing, which band leader John Baizley played all of too. “Back Where I Belong”, “Eula” and “Board Up The House” will also rank at the top of the bands’ song book for years to come. The “Green” side of the double set is equally tuneful and more mellow, but no less mint song-craft wise. Finally, tying it all together is the brilliant cover artwork, the years’ best; also by Baizley once again.

 

 

#2. DYING FETUS- Reign Supreme (Relapse)

DYING FETUS is such a great band in its current incarnation that one almost forgets there were entire years in their history marked by upheavals and departures. The present day lineup has been intact since 2007 and the comfort level they have together creating the most brutal Death Metal possibly known to man is sky high. Through it all, JOHN GALLAGHER has been the one constant: constantly growing as a guitarist and writer and constantly writing pissed the fuck off, baffling and sick lyrics. Reign Supreme might be remembered years from now as one of the top three releases of the bands’ career with its non-stop violence inspired songs. GALLAGHER and his p-i-c SEAN BEASLEY crush it out of the park on the guttural vocals. Beasley, who was always an underrated bassist for the genre, plays some of the best passages ever recorded for the instrument in the context of technical death metal. TREY WILLIAMS also one-ups his performance from Descend Into Depravity, being a might less technical, but still precise as fuck and bludgeoning as all hell. His blasts are far and away my favorite of any drummer on album this entire year. The album is a masterpiece of death metal brilliance, and that is really saying something considering how deep the sub-genre is these days.

 

#1. IHSAHN- Eremita (Candlelight)

In what was a high quality year at the top of the heap of metal music, IHSAHN‘s fourth solo outing is my choice for the album of the year. It’s not the sexy choice compared with typical years past, but it is the best choice, by far. Eremita is a sprawling, ambitious album full of musical twists and turns, yet perfectly coalescing into a sensible piece of art. In an interview I conducted with him for Metal Army he talked about the creative process as a continual evolution, a death followed by a rebirth. That would just begin to cover the emotional and lyrical depth in the music. In many ways, this is the album that IHSAHN, famously known as the legendary front man of EMPEROR, has been building up to for his entire career. His mastery as a composer, guitarist, vocalist and lyricist is without equal at this point in his career. Musically the songs cover the gamut of emotions and styles and reveal a complexity that mirrors the artist himself. Songs like “Arrival”, “The Paranoid”, “Something Out There”, “The Eagle And The Snake” and “Departure” are among the best of the year. Topping off the package are the guest performances by the likes of DEVIN TOWNSEND, JEFF LOOMIS, EINAR SOLBERG (LEPROUS), JEFF MUNKENBY on sax and IHSAHN’s wife HEIDI S. TVEITEN‘s enchanting vocal turns, which sends the quality of the album into the stratosphere.

 

Genius level achieved.

KEEFY PREVIOUS TOP METAL ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

2011: TOMBS- Path of Totality 

2010: EXODUS: Exhibit B

2009: MASTODON: Crack The Skye

2008: OPETH: Watershed

2007: MACHINE HEAD: The Blackening

2006: MASTODON: Blood Mountain

2005: MESHUGGAH: Catch Thirty-Three

2004: MACHINE HEAD: Through The Ashes Of Empires

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: CANNIBAL CORPSE

December 30th, 2012

Live At The Met, Pawtucket, RI

 

Local dudes BOG OF THE INFIDEL opened up this shindig, and they play Black Metal. I am unwilling to take pains to elaborate any further, so we shall move on. HOUR OF PENANCE play Death Metal of the sacrilegious variety, and are Italian, so I can talk about them more in depth.

 

HOUR OF PENANCE are one of those bands that I dig, but can’t see where all the massive hype comes from. Personally, I prefer their classier symphonic offshoot, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, but even their latest release has taken a dip in quality. HOUR OF PENANCE are good, but since I’m alone in not bristling with excitement at their mere existence, I can’t expect the same in a live setting. They were tight, heavy, and energetic, like their technical brand of Brutal Death Metal should be, so they fulfilled at least that base set of requirements.

 

 

HoP delivered as far as getting the crowd pumped up, but the crowd was playing shoulder-tackle tag, so clearly this isn’t my scene. I took the opportunity to perfect some of my dance moves of the non Hardcore variety, so there’s that for productivity. Up next were ex-Fetus toothgrinders MISERY INDEX, bringing the brutal in a more meaningful fashion.

 

Set list:

Sedition Through Scorn

Paradogma

Absence of Truth

Slavery in a Deaf Decay

Ascension

Decimate the Ancestry of the Only God

Misconception

Baltimore’s MISERY INDEX are angry, and it shows in their music, as well as the types of pits they get. One had to be on the lookout for the odd mosher that didn’t know that intentionally hurting others isn’t how it’s done, viz. a fridge-sized bastard in a CANNIBAL CORPSE tour shirt knocking everyone down, and a guy running around karate chopping to “Traitors” with no regard for those near him. To say nothing of the odd piggybackers going around punching people in the back of the head. Whatevs, I got free beer after.

 

 

MISERY INDEX may have had a crowd full of damn fools this time around as opposed to that time in New York, but the music was top-notch, as always. Blasturbating and smashing the patriarchy one anti-Capitalist//pro-Death hymn at a time.

Set list:

Sleeping Giants

The Carrion Call

The Great Depression

Ruling Class Cancelled

The Seventh Cavalry

Spectator

You Lose

The Illuminaught

Heirs to Thievery

Traitors

 

And now for the fun part: Ugly longhaired guys (some drunk) making a mess. CANNIBAL CORPSE themselves and their crowd did splendidly in equal measure. For this set I headbanged harder than I have in years, and my neck responded with “fuck you”. Even though I’ve seen them before (Summer Slaughter to be exact), I didn’t quite feel the power of simple barbaric Death Metal from so far away. Separated by a barrier and sweaty security guards, to say nothing of the actual distance from the stage, I enjoyed it, but I felt like it was missing something crucial. Now, The Met is a little dive-looking place in Pawtucket (a.k.a. Nowhere) Rhode Island with no barriers, no security to speak of, and the capability to touch band members’ dicks, if such is your game, baby. Being front row to headbang my medulla out just about blew Summer Slaughter’s performance into the forgotten regions of Cybertron. You haven’t lived till you run the risk of knocking head against headstock while seeing a band that’s so well known that everyone who’s anyone at least knows their name.

 

 

Indeed, CANNIBAL CORPSE keeps it simple, and they have been for many years, and we love them all the more for it. With song titles like “I Will Kill You”, “Born In A Casket”, “I Cum Blood”, and of course, “Hammer Smashed Face”, you can’t expect anything more than unfiltered audio gore to be blasted from the speakers into the expectant faces of all the moronic headbangers and moshers present.

 

Corpsegrinder. Nuff said.

When doubting the potential intensity of a bunch of screaming Death Metal fans hepped up on goofballs, just know that the Spaniard received a bloody nose during “Elbow Hammer Smashed Nose Face”. A fallen warrior he may be, but spare not your pity or tears, for he gave his nose to the cause of Death Metal-dom. Peace be with ye, fair prince. Even though this was two weeks ago I’m sure it still hurts.

It’s not often that I may be caught working this hard this fast interspersed with my normal amounts of procrastinating and slacking. However, I shall weather the storm and post daily until this decathlon of agony is complete, because you, reader, blew me once and I am extremely grateful. Ugh.

 

Set List:

Demented Aggression

Sarcophagic Frenzy

Scourge of Iron

Disfigured

Evisceration Plague

The Time to Kill is Now

I Cum Blood

Encased in Concrete

Covered With Sores

Born in a Casket

Pit of Zombies

The Wretched Spawn

I Will Kill You

Fucked With a Knife

As Deep as the Knife Will Go

Priests of Sodom

Unleashing the Bloodthirsty

Make Them Suffer

Hammer Smashed Face

Stripped, Raped and Strangled

 

Review and photos by Sean Genovese

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

TARJA TURUNEN: THE METAL ARMY INTERVIEW

January 2nd, 2013

A few months back Metal Army blogger Omar Cordy caught up with internationally acclaimed songstress TARJA TURUNEN for an interview. They discusses her recently released Act I (Armoury Records/Eagle Rock) CD/DVD/Blue Ray release, some of her past history from her celebrated time in NIGHTWISH, as well as her solo career. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: THE SWORD

January 6th, 2013

Apocryphon (Razor & Tie)

 

THE SWORD’s newest release, Apocryphon is one of the highest profile recent ones for Razor & Tie, who has re-established itself as a rising metal label, with indie ethics and major label distro. This is THE SWORD’s fourth album and a follow-up to a fairly successful album, Warp Riders. After contributing to the soundtrack of the box office smash The Avengers and playing METALLICA’s Orion Festival, they are a band to watch.

Apocryphon starts off strong. On “Veil of Isis” vocalist J.D. CRONISE channels a bit of OZZY OSBOURNE’s style. A nice visual of Armageddon is definitely a good way to open a metal album. The band seems to be warning the listener of their arrival with lines like “the dead will rise and the living must depart”. Another track, “Dying Earth” sounds similar to MASTODON’s “The Creature Lives”. The opening of “Dying Earth” has that same trippy feel to it. It is fitting since Cronise sings of magic and sorcerers. The concept of a post apocalyptic world is maintained.

 

Seven Sisters” is the most standout song on the album. It is catchier than the rest and also causes the listener to consider their life. The sisters in the song spend their time trying to find solace in religion/superstition and wasting their lives away. Other characters wonder how much there is to know. The lesson to be gained is that one should not waste their life waiting for something that is never going to happen and should instead focus on learning from experience throughout their life.

THE SWORD chose to be particularly ambitious with this release. When writing the album many subjects were explored, which is reflected in the final result. Although this has enriched the material it has also presented the listener with much to think about, maybe even too much. This means that the album requires multiple plays in order to grasp it all. It turns out to be both a curse and a blessing for the group.

The album as a whole accomplishes the band’s task of transporting the reader to another place. This is done by presenting the image of a world after the “end” as well as having the listener consider the big picture. It is a big undertaking, but THE SWORD does just fine with it.

 

THE SWORD crafted an ambitious gem, to blow your mind.

GRADE: B+

By: Melissa Campbell

 

 

Bookmark and Share

OMAR CORDY’S TOP 30 METAL ALBUMS OF 2012

January 10th, 2013

Omar Cordy’s Top Metal Album of 2012

 

1. BIOHAZARD – Reborn in Defiance (Self-Released)

2. ISHAHN – Eremita (Candlelight)

3. THE DEVIL – The Devil (Candlelight)

4. BRENDON SMALL – Galaktikon (Self-Released)

5. CRYPTOPSY – Cryptopsy (Self-Released)

6. LULLACRY – Where Angels Fear (End of The Light)

7. CATTLE DECAPITATION – Monolith of Inhumanity (Metal Blade)

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. DERKETA - In Death We Meet (Self-Released)

9. DOWN – IV The Purple EP (Down Records)

10. SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA – Malediction EP (Listenable)

11. EPHEL DUATH – On Death and Cosmos EP (Agonia Records)

12. AS I LAY DYING – Awakened (Metal Blade)

13. SHADOWS FALL – Fire from the Sky (Razor and Tie)

14. CANNIBAL CORPSE – Torture (Metal Blade)

15. MESHUGGAH – Kollos (Nuclear Blast)

16. CORROSION OF CONFORMITY – Corrosion of Conformity (Candlelight)

17. OVERKILL – The Electric Age (eOne Metal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. FLYING COLORS – Flying Colors (Mascot)

19. ABIGAIL WILLIAMS – Becoming (Candlelight)

20. DEHUMANIZED – Controlled Elite (Comatose Music)

21. MALIGNANCY – Eugenics (Willowtip)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

22. TERRORIZER – Hordes of Zombies (Season of Mist)

23. ABORTED – Global Flatline (Century Media)

24. NAPALM DEATH – Utilitarian (Century Media)

25. LAMB OF GOD – Resolution (Reprise)

26. JEFF LOOMIS – Plains of Oblivion (Century Media)

27. SPINESHANK -Anger Denial Acceptance (Century Media)

28. FEAR FACTORY – The Industrialist (Candlelight)

29. EXUMER – Fire & Damnation (Metal Blade)

 

 

 

 

 

 

30. GOD FORBID- Equilibrium (Victory)

by Omar Cordy

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: NEUROSIS

January 13th, 2013

The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA

 

 

There are some bands that burst forth from a scene and develop their own musical philosophy and style. In doing so, they influence other bands to greatness and cull a following that hangs on every release, every song, and every note. Such bands become legend, and NEUROSIS, love them or not, are.

 

A band that soon realized the crusty Hardcore scene and its trappings were too limiting for their ultimate vision, NEUROSIS nurtured and perfected a sound that has sophistication, heaviness and a depth that many strive for but cannot achieve. Fans allow themselves to be submerged in it; others disregard it as over-hyped, overwrought, and boring. NEUROSIS is not for everyone, but for those who “get it”, their music is almost a religious thing, and seeing them live is like going to church.

 

NEUROSIS is not a band of road warriors by any stretch. True to their approach to music – which is their way, not yours – they tour when their job and family obligations allow. So to see them live is special, not only because opportunities are few, but because there really isn’t any band like them live. Their stop through Atlanta was to demonstrate that even if you aren’t a fan, they have a power onstage and a sway over their fans that is impressive.

 

But before NEUROSIS took the stage, they had openers that more than primed the audience for them. NEUROSIS runs their own label, Neurot Recordings, and they had label signees U.S. CHRISTMAS (USX), start the night off. Sludgy, yet Bluesy, crunchy with hints of Folk, U.S. CHRISTMAS is, like NEUROSIS already has, forging their own sound. Vocalist NATE HALL alternated between hollering (in a good way) and clean vocals, while his guitar and the rest of the band painted an original sonic landscape. Of note is violinist MEGHAN MULHEARN, whose violin to U.S. CHRISTMAS is like SCOTT KELLY‘s guitar to his band; supportive, not flashy, adding depth and color. If you dig a slower stoner vibe with a Psychedelic bent you will like this band.

 

Next up was PRIMATE, a punkish ‘supergroup’ of sorts featuring KEVIN SHARP of BRUTAL TRUTH and Bill Kelliher of MASTODON. They took to the stage and immediately went full-throttle. It is always nice to see Bill Kelliher do his thing, and I dig PRIMATE’s sound, but they did seem out of place on the bill. On a night where the other bands had their raging sounds under tight control and there were very few stage gyrations and antics, PRIMATE’s performance was unbridled and wild. However, it could be looked at as a sonic break from a night full of Sludge!

 

CT of RWAKE

Next up was RWAKE, another sludgy band with a twist that has managed to create something rather unique in a Metal world that has pretty much done and seen it all. Incorporating a Moog synthesizer and tandem screams from vocalists C.T. and B., RWAKE pummeled through a set that showed the musical synergy between its members. Some bands radiate a vibe, and RWAKE’s vibe was all business, rarely allowing the crowd to come up for air. Those who had not seen this band live before should have had a new respect for them. They were a great choice to be the band right before the mighty NEUROSIS.

 

First off, there is no just grabbing a NEUROSIS CD and expecting it to make sense on first listen. They are not that kind of band. If you like a band’s live performance to consist of flinging themselves all over the stage and pandering to the crowd, they will disappoint you. Their music demands your undivided attention; it makes you either submit to its complexities or annoy and bore the piss out of you with its mood swings, spoken word pieces and ambient passages. However, make no mistake; NEUROSIS is probably the heaviest band you will ever witness. Its sheer musical weight, as in real density, is almost tangible. Even the quieter moments stand on your shoulders, daring you to speak. The bass of DAVE EDWARDSON rumbled deep as he and his bright purple buzzcut undulated/ They were so deep into their own performance, keyboardist/sampler NOAH LANDIS cut his forehead while rocking out and seemed oblivious to it. And while they played, there was no one cheering out of place, no rampant horn-throwing, no moshpit, no chicks on their boyfriend’s shoulders getting their tits out. No. There was a reverence, a deep respect shown to the band to where it felt that it would have been rude – wrong, even – to do any of those things. The fans were there to absorb every note, revel in the perfect light show, allowing the voices of STEVEN VON TILL and SCOTT KELLY to resonate into our very cores. The band was perfect, with four songs of the set coming from their latest release, “Honor Found In Decay”. The set featured two songs from “Given to the Rising”, one from “Times of Grace”, one from “The Eye of Every Storm” and two from “Through Silver In Blood”.

 

Scott Kelly

Before you think that the crowd was half-asleep, that was certainly not the case. The energy pouring back and forth between the band and the audience was palpable. The crowd grooved and swayed, threw their arms in the air and sang along to the lyrics that spoke to them. We all headbanged in a quiet rhythm when the band dug in and ground out the heavy, and stood hushed on pins and needles when the slower, more pensive sections of music came around. It was all a build to the climactic performance that brought the much-loved and anticipated “Through Silver In Blood”, Neurosis’ 12-minute-plus sonic opus that plumbs the depth of rhythm, heaviness, dynamics and vocal power. VON TILL banged on some drums along with JASON ROEDER, while the crowd finally swirled and screamed in unison.

 

No stage talk, no song names, no band member intros and no encore. None were necessary. The enigmatic KELLY came back out and took a picture of the crowd, then slid into the backstage darkness with the rest of the band, leaving behind happy fans and others who were still processing what they just experienced. Neurosis proves that you don’t need to have fire, props or dancing girls onstage to make a great show; you just need to do what you do with such conviction and confidence that the audience can’t help but be fascinated. NEUROSIS is still on the road, so catch them while you can as we never know when they’ll come around again. If you’ve never seen them live this is an opportunity to witness something more than just another Metal show, and see the band that – for good reason – has influenced so many others.

 

NEUROSIS: Leaving you speechless since 1985.

 

Setlist:

Distill (Watching the Storm)

My Heart for Deliverance

At the End of the Road

Times of Grace

At the Well

Left to Wander

We All Rage In Gold

Bleeding the Pigs

Given to the Rising

Through Silver In Blood

 

Review by Lynn Jordan. Photos by Curtis Dunlap

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW: ELUVEITIE/WINTERSUN/VARG

January 15th, 2013

Royale, Boston, MA

I haven’t seen that many dorks in forever. I really haven’t. Go to a Folk Metal show and count guys that look like fauns, it’ll really knock you out. I mean, damn. Lots of ugly mugs. Opening this heathen’s playground was Germany’s VARG, a pronouncedly anti-racist band, though I suspect this is only because a certain mister Vikerness shares a first name with them. They’re also anti-pedophile child fuckers, which is cool too.

 

VARG: Not stunt doubles for another famous band.

While they may be like TURISAS in that they all look like Darth Maul cosplayers with a Nordic touch, they’re a different beast musically. They are “brutal”, you see. They play an accessible form of Black Metal tinged with some Death Metal, no accordions to be found here. Of course, to further this warlike aesthetic, they asked the crowd where the Viking warriors are, because “dorks and nerds” would have gotten a slightly weaker turnout of enthusiasm. It wasn’t bad, but it could have used a bit more chunky heaviness, because in order to claim Viking status, you must be rapists, but only of grown-ups.

 

Long-awaited albums are usually not this good.

Up next was WINTERSUN, in a very TIME-ly fashion. Hah. I kill myself. Of course, you’d be quite let down if you had been wanking for years about a full dose of Time, only to find that it’s just one of two installments. Dirty Finns, always finding ways to fuck you over. It’s the same deal as NORTHER hiring a new front man just to die. Can’t win with the Finns.

So anyway, WINTERSUN’s set was fantastic, verging on bombastic. The band played new stuff that was massive, and oldies but goodies that have been bouncing around for nearly a decade, totalling up to less than 10 songs in all. It seemed so short at the time, since they’re well-crafted enough that you’re not checking your watch and considering buying a gun.

 

ELUVEITIE headlined this show, which was an unforseen complication on everyone’s part. ELUVEITIE have made a career of sounding like middle-era IN FLAMES swapped out techno/electronic fiddling in favour of real fiddling, a hurdy-gurdy, several flutes, and female voices. While certainly not an intrinsically bad idea (I do enjoy them and had a blast when they played in Worcester a couple years ago), it does have an expiration date, and I smell something sour. On this tour they played Helvetios in full, which explains why many of the songs sounded just like this. A few songs in I found myself praying for “Inis Mona” or “Of Fire, Wind, & Wisdom”. Anything to break the growing monotony that was setting in as a terminal disease of endless flute solos and Gothenburg riffing. It shouldn’t be an endurance round of “how many songs can we stomach that have the exact same jumpdafuckup riff”, but an actual musical journey, which is one that our Celtic friends have forsaken in place of some fancy shades. The real highlight was when members of VARG sans war paint came onstage, dived a few times, and had a few beers. I see they got more enjoyment out of goofing around than I did idly standing and realizing that ELUVEITIE has been doing the exact same thing since the demo days.

I suppose it can be blamed on the fact that I’m not as big into Folk Metal as I once was, which was not a great deal back then either. But the days are over where I would sperg out to KORPIKLAANI or get pumped about possibly seeing TYR. It’s a greasy horror show of bad teeth and bad hair. Maybe one day I can enjoy it again, but that will require getting smashed, so 6 more months until I dance ’round a campfire to SVARTSOT!

 

By Sean Genovese

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: HOLY GRAIL

January 17th, 2013

Ride the Void (Prosthetic Records)

HOLY GRAIL may be a fairly new band but they have not wasted any time in making quality music and getting recognized for it. The band was originally formed by three previous WHITE WIZZARD members of whom only two remain, singer JAMES PAUL LUNA and drummer TYLER MEAHL. Other members include ALEX LEE, formerly of BONDED BY BLOOD, and BLAKE MOUNT. The band is set to perform on The Metal Alliance Tour alongside ANTHRAX, EXODUS, and MUNICIPAL WASTE this spring.

One of the first things the listener notices about the first album is how it sounds like it was made by a young IRON MAIDEN. The band combines different subgenres of metal such as power metal and thrash metal. This gives them a classic sound and makes them accessible to a wider audience. JAMES PAUL LUNA’s voice is a great match for the music. He treads the line between classic and modern metal perfectly.

The instrumental “Archeus” serves as a great opener for the album. It establishes an energy that never wavers. However, the middle of album is where it is best. Songs such as “Too Decayed to Wait” and “Crosswinds” are ones that can be played on repeat without the listener ever tiring of them. “Dark Passenger” is the track that was chosen as the first single. It was a great choice to introduce new listeners to the band and its sound. Almost all the tunes are sure to get the audience going at shows. The album flows in such a seamless way that the listener can get enjoyably lost in the songs.

 

The only “flaw” is that the second to last track, “Wake Me When It’s Over” is a bit out of place. It sounds like the background music one hears when dining at an Italian restaurant. Other than that, the album ends on as high of a note as it started.

 

Ride the Void’s cover artwork captures the classic influenced sound the band produces in visual form. The lettering for the band’s name has a slightly retro yet polished look to it. The scene does not attack you with little details but instead gives a picture of what the album sounds like: getting sucked into awesome metal.

 

HOLY GRAIL created a great album that is sure to satisfy fans and gain them more. Seeing them on the Metal Alliance Tour will be a treat for any sort of metal fan. Ride the Void leaves the listener looking forward to the band’s next release.

 

HOLY GRAIL: Starts 2013 by releasing a statement album.

GRADE: A

by Melissa Campbell

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: SISTER SIN

January 21st, 2013

Now And Forever (Victory)

For those of us in the industry that review albums regularly, you would have to say the first word that often comes to mind when discussing most bands and sub-genres is “retro”. New bands come a long in waves and mini-scenes, flooding our ears with styles that are all a throwback to some point in the distant past. There is a fine line between aping a few riffs and melodies in tribute, and letting an influence shine through in an original context. The problem with a lot of these new jack bands is they never rise above the imitation stage, providing the sonic nostalgia without the chops or the heart to make those sounds their own. I’m pleased to say that SISTER SIN is a band that graduated from the freshman class of a few years ago, and has come into their own as band of quality with something new to say.

 

In the ten years since forming in Gothenburg, Sweden and especially in the last few years since recording their last album, True Sound of The Underground (Victory), the band has grown a lot. Lots of bands are influenced by the glam rock and pomp of 80s bands like MÖTLEY CRÜE and RATT, but few take it to another level. What sets SISTER SIN apart is that they write honest, anthemic Rock songs that are not contrived sounding. After a first listen to the album they now have much more in common with a old-school JUDAS PRIEST and the NWOBHM than glam. Their album starts off with the sound track-esque “MMXI”, but quickly gives way to the raucous “End of the Line”. Sharp enough to headbang to during the verses, but then opens up with a fierce and catchy chorus. Obvious from the jump off, front woman Liv Jagrell continues her evolution as a powerhouse metal singer with this album. At just under four minutes, it is just about the perfect modern rock song with all of the old touches: shredding solo, gang vocals, cheering crowd and smashing drums. “Fight Song” has a bit of that old flavor of SISTER SIN collaborator and heroine of hard rock, DORO. Jimmy Hiltula’s guitars are strong throughout the record and rely a lot less on stock sounding riffs than before, showing off a maturity I think their fans will notice. “In It For Life” has a lot of character and roughness to it, similar to a late-era THIN LIZZY. Jagrell hold nothing back vocally and in spaces does a very nice job of showing off her improved melodic range. The solo is pure Phil Campbell style: sizzling! “Hearts of Cold” is another snarling rocker that I wish the legion of GUNS `N ROSES copycats would listen to. Liv comes out swinging like a young WENDY O WILLIAMS, and that is saying a lot! That’s how you do it folks. No b.s. Just Rock and Roll! Other top songs on the album are “The Chosen Few”, “Running Low” and “Shades of Black”. The surprising and well placed album closer is a lovely ballad. “Morning After” took me completely by surprise and shows of Jagrell in yet another interesting light, with her emotionally wrought performance as one of the best of the last year.

SISTER SIN: All grown up and ready to blow up.

GRADE: B+

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: OTEP

January 22nd, 2013

Hydra (Victory)

There is something to be said for going out on top. Album number six for Los Angeles art metallers OTEP will apparently be the last music from the band. In the decade plus years since emerging on the scene, OTEP SHAMAYA and the band that bears her name,  has tried to break apart boundaries of what an intelligent band can create with heavy music. Straddling the uneasy space between the underground, high art, and mild popularity; they have continued to evolve and refine their style with each release. Many groups lose themselves in an attempt to gain wider appeal, which usually wipes out their integrity along the way. If it is indeed the end of the road for them as a band, they can rest easy knowing they maintained their soul and never sold out.

 

The album opens with the intro track “Rising”. Whisper-to-a-scream dynamics build up into a grinding, slow riff. It sounds like the perfect stage entrance song, and since OTEP shows are always theatrical experience, it works well. The buildup into the next track “Blowtorch Nightlight” is excellent. The song opens with a cool chromatic riff, but quickly slides into atmospheric verses. The shift between OTEP’s sung verses and shrill screams in the chorus makes for a great contrasts, and a big start to the album. “Seduce and Destroy” is very sultry sounding, calling to mind the song “Head” from Smash The Control Machine. It also has an almost trip-hop backing beat, coupled with the main riff making it very catchy. Even though the song ebbs and flows its way to the almost seven minute mark, I think this could be a break out hit for them. Coming right back with the more economical “Crush”, you get a more of a mid-tempo metal track. The production from Ulrich Wild (DETHKLOK, THE DEFTONES, PANTERA) is really crisp with a solid range in the lower frequencies, blending guitars and bass sounds together evenly. OTEP’s voice sits nicely in the pocket and is allowed to shine. The track grows into a nice crescendo of heaviness and should hopefully be included in the live set as well. The chilling “Hematopia” is one of several mood setting interludes in a row bleeding together. The band has taken this concept and funneled this into a mural for your ear, not unlike PINK FLOYDTOOL or ROLLINS BAND might create. The next few tracks “Necromantic”, “Quarantine” and “Voyeur” all interlock, painting a grim story with sounds and words. Occasionally little micro-blasts of riffs and screams hit your ears, contrasting the spoken word and sound-scape sections. For some reason, this part of the album makes me think of the music from the FX show American Horror Story. “Apex Predator” is the next full track and the first single. Like a Fellini film set to music, it has interesting musical elements, clever lyrics and tons of groove. Many songs, such as as the rough and tumble “Feral Game” harkins back to the Sevas Tra and House of Secrets albums. In a way this album is almost like a greatest hits-type album, with all of the facets the band excels in, firing on all cylinders. A lot of credit needs to go to touring guitarist Ari Mihalopoulos (THE DESTROPHY) whose killer tones add a lot of the weight. Collyn McCoy appears again to provide expert bass tracks, as he did on Atavist. “Livestock” is another synaptic piece, featuring OTEP’s poetry, some toy piano and little else. “Hag” is the most brutal song on the album, and one of the the best in the bands’ history. Finally “Theophagy” closes the album out on very a weird, very strange, trippy bunch of beats and words. This final album comes to a close, much like OTEP has done for their entire career: on their own terms.

 

 

OTEP and her band have left the building, and their mark on heavy music.

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: VOIVOD

January 23rd, 2013

Target Earth (Century Media)

Yet another brilliant cover designed by VOVOID drummer AWAY.

The fact that VOIVOD have finally released their sixteenth album, is a triumph for not only their fans, but all of metal in general. As one of the progenitors of Progressive Metal as a sub-genre, you can make a case that many of today’s bands are influenced by the style VOIVOD pioneered in 1980s. Although this is their first album since 2009′s Infini, and their first for Century Media; the band has been crushing it with projects galore for several years now. Rather than rest on their laurels like so many others, the band has turned in another stellar album, full of all of the twists and turns that made them respected to begin with back in the day.

 

Starting off with the title track, the aggressive, and technically impressive first song has everything in it you love about the band. From its winding guitars and urgent beats, to SNAKE‘s sneering lead vocals, the song is gem. All of the trademark melodic interplay between the guitar and bass is there too, owing a lot to the return of bassist BLACKY, in his first recorded Vv action in over twenty years. The driving pace of the song is not without a few left turns into the weird zone. Like much of the album it has all of the Thrash, Prog and bizarro Jazzy stuff you can handle, and some you likely can’t!

 

“Kluskap O’Kom” is about as straight up thrashing a song as this band has ever conjured. The verses have a clever melodic bent, but keeps the same tempo as the rest of the song, blistering. The chorus parts are pure shout-a-long fun. Dan (Chewy) Mongrain has stepped out of the shadows of PIGGY (RIP) and really taken up the mantle with his brilliant writing and playing. “Empathy for the Enemy” is a moody jam with Snake again chirping in with his awesome vocal performance. This may be one of my favorite overall performances from him in years. “Mechanical Mind” was the single, but in true fashion for this band, it is far from a typical musical piece. AWAY‘s tremendous drumming carries this track, but really all of the members contribute memorable parts. Angular riffs and jazzy cymbal hits transport the listener to a different head space. This is easily my favorite track of the album, and one I would love to hear played live. “Warchaic” is another song that is just full of sick changes. Mellow and introspective one minute, space rock-opera the next, and razor wire riffage of the highest order. The last 3/4ths of the song is just insanely good. “Resistance” again has that punky MOTORHEAD proto-metal feeling track the band does so well. Then it shifts gears into a creepy crawl of chords and strange beats and hits. “Kaleidos” it a track that the band started playing live over a year ago. Hearing it now recorded properly, it definitely proves to be another of the strongest tracks here. I think in the live setting, some of the slick guitar effects were lost a bit. No matter. “Corps Étranger” is a track that calls to mind the earlier work of the band and is simply majestic. I highly doubt even the most accomplished modern guitar players will be able to pull off some of these parts. Oh and Snake raps in French (Canadian) and it totally rules! “Artefact” has a touch of doom to it and some killer tribal sounding drums. Away remains one of the finest drummers of this or any eras, and does so without resorting to the trickery of others. Finishing off things like a death blow, “Defiance” is a minute and a half of weird, rage and mind bending technique. It fades out raging, a fitting close to another brilliant chapter in their legacy.

Another year, another twisted masterpiece for VOIVOD.

 

GRADE: A

by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: HATEBREED

January 24th, 2013

The Divinity of Purpose (Razor & Tie)

I do like HATEBREED, but honestly, my favorite record by them has been 2002′s Perseverance. It’s not that The Rise of Brutality or Supremacy weren’t good, and I do give them props for trying to stretch a bit on their self-titled. It’s just that none of those records “grabbed” me like Perseverance did. However, I am happy to say that their latest, The Divinity of Purpose, has me excited as the first time I heard Perseverance, and I’ll be playing this one about as much.

 

They haven’t changed stylistically and JAMEY JASTA is still hardcore/metal’s most earnest life-coach. This time around, however, they are showing that “maturity” doesn’t mean slowing or dumbing down. It means that you can throw down the gauntlet confidently and get the job done, while staying true to your sound with maximum dexterity and minimal wiping of brow. To put it more succinctly, The Divinity of Purpose is the HATEBREED record that finally lives up to its own hype. Sure, all of their records have heart and passion, but sometimes it seemed like they were trying a little too hard. Now, with years of recording, touring and side projects under their belt, and the return of guitarist WAYNE LOZINAK, they’re a taut, seasoned machine. There is a audible strut on this record that should move even those who have been underwhelmed by HATEBREED overall. In their latest bio, JASTA affirmed that they….

 

“…were going for a bigger sound…This time around, we played to our strengths as a band and gelled incredibly. The riffs had to be really heavy, memorable, and catchy. The rhythms needed to be pounding. I went back into drill sergeant mode vocally. I focused on saying what I had to say and got in and out. The music makes its point and leaves its mark. It’s a tight snapshot of the last two years.”

 

He is 100% right, and The Divinity of Purpose really is a winner. The opening track is the old-school style bruiser “Put It To The Torch” with some great lines: “It took no heart, pierced through so clear/More verbal piss in the well of your fear/Here’s your apology, here’s to burning out/And here’s to fading away/Fuck you both, I just put it to the torch”. Lyrically, the second track “Honor Never Dies” is a nod to those who served our country, who are often thanked for their service with abandonment. Other bands might have been inclined to add vocal drama or soft/hard musical dynamics to illustrate the point. Jasta, true to his style, instead focuses on the acceptance of a life’s purpose rather than lamenting over the lack of recognition. The band does add a melodic guitar line in the chorus, but otherwise it’s a metalcore stompfest throughout. “Own Your World” is a gang-vocal party, with stutter stops and charging guitars. It will remind one very much of “I Will Be Heard”, but that’s not a bad thing. “The Language” starts off with the breakdown before it drops into the signature HATEBREED sound with some more gang-vocals. “Before the Fight” is a tight, catchy, grooving number that will definitely get your head bobbing as the band goes back and forth between mid-tempo and breakneck while making it seem all too easy. The punky “Indivisible” will definitely get the pit moving and the crowd singing along. “Dead Man Breathing” is straight-up mid-tempo Metal, no doubt influenced by Jasta’s stint with KINGDOM OF SORROW, and it crushes. Heavy and with some melodic guitar lines and a cool but short breakdown. Without knowing it was a HATEBREED song, you would think it was one of Jasta’s side projects. The title track puts bassist Chris Beattie in the forefront with a very catchy riff that reminded me of the band SHELTER if they were more Metal. “Nothing Scars Me” again shows off the bands ability to shift tempos with ease and adding some more melodic guitar runs. “Bitter Truth” has a tight-ass swagger that is a good example of great Metalcore for those who give short-shrift to it. “Boundless (Time To Murder It)” is straight-forward and features some actual singing by Jasta. However, like all of the other not-so-usual-for-HATEBREED moves on this record it is just right, in the right spots, and the breakdown will make you punch your Granny. “Idolized and Vilified” is pretty restrained for a closer, but, as they demonstrate throughout this release, they are confident enough as a band to where they can avoid doing the obvious and pull it off.

 

Lyrically, I really enjoyed this record. As mentioned previously, Jasta sticks to what he known to do, and that is to write positive, uplifting lyrics, but often I felt he was pleading for you to be positive, independent and strong, and when he wasn’t pleading, he was being trite. Now, he really has found his groove, and has the maturity and life experience to keep that vibe, but add depth to the lyrics that he didn’t reach previously. He has found a good balance between having a lyrical flow and just shouting lines that are easy to remember and great for crowd sing-a-longs. The production, by ZEUSS, JOSH WILBUR and the band is crisp and big. This has their best drum sound to date, and the guitar combo of LOZINAK and FRANK NOVINEC is tight and bristling with energy and the vocals sit just right in the mix.

 

If you’re a fan, this record should put you over the moon. For those who greet each new HATEBREED release with a ‘meh’, you might want to give this one a spin – I’m pretty sure you’ll like it enough to spin it again.

 

HATEBREED: Killing you loudly with positivity.

GRADE: B+

by Lynn Jordan

 

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: OBLIVION

January 29th, 2013

Called to Rise ( Self-Released )

 

Hailing for the California Bay Area, OBLIVION come out the showing their teeth and ready for blood. The most noticeable member of the group is bassist and mastermind BEN ORUM (ex-ALL SHALL PERISH) he has clearly upped the game for himself and this band. This album is full of grindy, techy, beatdown goodness. Produced by Nick Vasallo and former DECREPIT BIRTH drummer ZACK OHREN. This massive sonic opus was recorded, mixed and mastered by Ohren, at Castle Ultimate Studios in Oakland.

 

The first song “Black Veils of Justice” just gives you a taste of what’s to come. Nick Vasallo’s vocals come across as FRANK MULLEN (SUFFOCATION) meets TRAVIS RYAN (CATTLE DECAPITATION) There are a few well placed bass drops. It’s always nice to hear them not get over used. Guitar wizards Ted O’Neill and Victor Dods lay down some of the most tech infused solos I’ve heard in awhile. “Multiverse” is so good I almost want to say it is ‘Epic”but I refuse to. It’s a very surreal track with so many layers it warrants repeat plays. I get a strong ABIGAIL WILLIAMS /THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER vibe and its not a bad thing at all. Drummer Luis Martinez is a beast. This kid is definitely one to watch, songs like “Binary Souls” and “Reign of Fire” show off some mature chops for a guy not yet twenty. Depending on what version of the album you get, it comes with a few sweet bonus tracks. An instrumental version of “Black Veils of Justice”, as well as a string version of “Multiverse”, which is just awesome and closes out the album.

 

This doesn’t sound like a debut album, rather a band that has been at this for years. I look forward to what they do next. Hell, I want to hop a flight to the Bay Area and catch them live! You can get the album from their Bandcamp page. 

 

OBLIVION: One of the best releases this year, so far.

GRADE: A

by Omar “OJayy” Cordy

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: DIO

January 31st, 2013

The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2

The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 collection is comprised of RONNIE JAMES DIO‘s mid-nineties releases; Angry Machines all the way up to his final, twenty first century album Master of the Moon. Remastered lovingly by longtime DIO producer Wyn Davis, under the supervision of WENDY DIO, all of the tracks from somewhat random albums sound good next to each other. From Magica you get “Lord of the Last Day”,”Fever Dreams”, “Feed My Head” and “As Long As It’s Not About Love”. From Killing the Dragon you get “Along Comes A Spider”, “Better In The Dark”, “Push” and the title track. Off of the Master album you get “The Eyes”, “One More For The Road” and “Shivers”. While Machines offers two more tracks that mix things up. After listening to this you’ll notice Ronnie’s voice does not change. He has this timeless quality that makes every song sound like they were recorded all in the same day.

The musicianship on this beast comes mainly from guitarist CRAIG GOLDY, drummer SIMON WRIGHT and keyboardist SCOTT WARREN. Bassists; RUDY SARZO, JEFF PILSON, JIMMY BAIN as well as drummer VINNY APPICE and guitarist TRACY G are all showcased here. No matter who’s playing on what, they all deliver what’s needed. DIO and company always showed you that you don’t need to play a hundred miles an hour, or rely on super technicality it write a great song. It really is a lesson in straight-forward heavy metal.

 

It’s a perfect collection for the causal fan and there’s also enough extras on here to get the faithful fans interested. With studio bonus tracks such as “Prisoner Of Paradise”, “Electra”, a live version of “Hunter of the Heart” and possibly the last DIO guest appearance- “Metal Will Never Die” from the 2010 DAVE ROCK FIENSTEIN album, Bitten by the Beast you get a lot of value in this collection. Not a bad way to honor a true icon.

 

DIO: The legend lives on through his music.

GRADE: B+

by Omar “OJayy” Cordy

Bookmark and Share

ALBUM REVIEW: ALPHA TIGER

February 5th, 2013

Beneath the Surface (Century Media)

ALPHA TIGER is one of Century Media Records’ newest bands and have released a quality album for their first release as a signed band to a major metal label. Their origins are in Germany where other great metal bands have come from including HELLOWEEN and RAMMSTEIN. They may soon find themselves accompanying those two bands in the ranks of outstanding German metal.

 

As soon as “The Alliance” comes on, one can tell STEPHAN DIETRICH is going to become known as one of the stand out voices in newer metal. It’s a strange mix of RUSH’s GEDDY LEE and early IRON MAIDEN vocalist PAUL DI’ANNO.

 

The band has a mix of thrash and hair metal to their sound. Their instruments are played in thrash style while the vocals and lyrics account for the hair metal half. The band even manages to include some ballad parts into the album. Because of these factors, they tend to sound slightly dated but this is not necessarily bad; it’s a fun throwback to the ‘80s. In fact, one can visualize the cheesy music videos that would accompany such tunes. This is especially the case with “Along the Rising Sun”. However, they must be careful to not have all of their songs become too similar.

 

 

Although some songs are lengthy, they don’t tend to feel that way. “From Outer Space” is the track off the album that can be deemed most fun. It shows that the band does not mind being silly sometimes. It is also the first single and will be the first music video. “Eden Lies in Ruins” offers an interesting story that almost DIO like. “We Came from the Gutter” is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It may have worked better as an opener rather than a closer.

 

The style in which the album cover for Beneath the Surface is done matches the content well. There is something real and sinister about it although it is cartoony enough that there is some lightness to it. The portrayal of laughing business people and burning money reflects a lot about modern day concerns. Having their reflections as skeletons is reminiscent of the classic heavy metal art seen in the 80s.

 

Beneath the Surface is a promising start for ALPHA TIGER’s career. However, they still have some work to do in terms of separating themselves from the rest of the pack. It is an album worth picking up for fans of classic heavy metal looking for a throwback sound.

 

ALPHA TIGER: Not afraid to show their silly side when they rock out!

GRADE: B

by Melissa Campbell

 

 

 

,

Bookmark and Share

LIVE REVIEW MARILYN MANSON/BUTCHER BABIES

February 11th, 2013

House of Blues, Boston MA

There was a bitter chill in Boston that swept in last week and the fact that it was January, had nothing to do with the temps. I’m talking of course about the MARILYN MANSON headline tour that came to town. Touring in support of his “comeback” album, there was no shortage of rabid fans and curious parties willing to brave the actual cold, to make it to the show. You can always tell the reluctant boyfriend or a friend dragged to one of these things. I saw quite a few converts from the early crowd, by the end of the night.

 

BUTCHER BABIES played an energetic set.

 

I almost missed the start of BUTCHER BABIES opening set. Thanks to the extra vigorous pat down by security, a rarity even for this place. The band hit the stage as a ran to the front of the barricade, unsheathing my trusty Nikon. And when I hit the front of the stage, the first thing I noticed was Carla and Heidi were fully dressed! I know what you are thinking: “here’s another dickhead sexist journalist who is gonna talk shit about BUTCHER BABIES”. This blogger and this blog has been a supporter and defender of BB’s right to bare arms or whatever else they want. Actually, I was just surprised they were buttoned up in general. Then I remembered I was the House of Blues, which is owned by Disney wasn’t going to permit any shenanigans at all, or at least allow them to be reserved for the notorious headliner.

In the meantime the band was opening up a can of whoop-ass. Front Women Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey ran all over the stage, screaming, headbanging and generally looked like they were having a more awesome time than everyone in the room. Between songs they were really funny, hitting on girls and picking on the few dumb dudes in the room. I had seen them already in a few small clubs, and there was no doubt they were best suited to the bigger stage and show. The pair leaped off of speakers and other parts of the set while they screamed themselves blue in the face. The entire band is solid, but who really stood out to me was drummer Chrissy Warner. He sounded like a powerhouse behind the kit and really killed it performance wise. The band of course did there well known tracks like “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Axe Wound”, and a few new songs from their upcoming full length on Century Media Records. To their detractors I say; the band is not trying to re-invent the wheel musically, nor will they. They just play some fun, mean sounding metal and promote some girl power. The crowd response was all you needed to know about this night, it was huge! Besides, if you don’t have haters, you are doing it wrong. Props go out for the entire band hanging out by their merch table the rest of the night, posing for pics, and signing anything and any body parts people wanted.

 

 

 

Then it was time for the main event. I was really excited since I skipped out on the last tour for a variety of reasons. I rather enjoyed Born Villain last year and really didn’t see the fuss about it being some sort of comeback record. Manson has been fairly consistent overall, always puts on a great show, and generally does a lot for his fans. The band hit the stage to the brand new album cut “Hey Cruel World”, and the crowd was immediately into it. Manson was in hysterics, pacing back and forth on stage, crooning and then howling into the mic. It’s the perfect song to start a show off with. It has that old NIN/MINISTRY groove to it that Manson’s music was well known for back in the day. No navel gazing, just rage and rock. He was wearing the creepy “evil mouse mask” from the HCW video. It’s also a take off of the one from the Golden Age of Grotesque era. It was disconcerting and normal for him all at once. The next track was “Disposable Teens” which sent the club out of control. As usual, by his side was ever slender looking TWIGGY RAMIEREZ on guitar. He looked resplendent in his little party dress, but was really ham handed on those essential, heavy riffs. Next up was “The Love Song” which dialed down the tempo, but no less fury. Manson for his part is a tireless showman. He changed costumes and props nearly every song, and had 9 different microphones for a 14 song set. You might call that excessive and diva like, but I would call it brilliant. My favorite of these was the rubber blood spatter smock and Knife-microphone that was an homage to Dexter and of course his fabulous pimp suit for “The Dope Show”. None of the theatrics took away from the pace of the show and were executed with military precision. Manson was where he needed to be and on point. The show still felt dangerous and spontaneous. There we all kinds of confetti cannon showers, dramatic lighting, light up crucifixes and a huge backdrop you’d come to expect from such a spectacle.

 

“When the going gets tough, the tough get weird” ~Hunter S. Thompson

 

In addition to the hits, Manson did play some interesting cuts such as “Slow-Mo-Tion” and “King Kill 33”. Although the back-to back cover songs of “Personal Jesus” and “Sweet Dreams”, are nearly obligatory now, they definitely were appreciated by the crowd. On tracks like these it was easy to see the value of the energy bassist Fred Sablan (GOON MOON/BIRTHDAY TWIN) and drummer Jason Sutter bring to the fold. They are recent additions to the group, but fit in well considering the lineage for talented guys the band has had. The highlight of the show for me might have been “Coma White”. With an effect that made it look like it was snowing inside the venue and Manson’s performance, wrought with emotion. You could tell as he brought the level of crowd energy up and down with just his command and will, and the fans dug it. It’s a move not just anyone can pull off. With a blend of classic/modern DAVID BOWIE, ADAM ANT chameleon antics, and IGGY POP-like energy, Manson owned the night.

 

Don’t call it a comeback…

Coming out for an encore of “Antichrist Superstar” and “The Beautiful People”, it would have been hard to top that for a finale. I was a little bummed that the show ended at just over an hour, or that Manson chooses not to musically acknowledge Portrait of An American Family. I get that the 44 year-old Manson may not relate anymore to music he made twenty years ago. Maybe next tour we’ll get to hear one of those classic anthems from the 90s that made many people in the room dig the man in the first place.

 

Set List:

Hey Cruel World
Disposable Teens
The Love Song
No Reflection
Mobscene
The Dope Show
Slo-Mo-Tion
Rock Is Dead
Personal Jesus
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Coma White
King Kill 33

 

Encore:
Antichrist Superstar
The Beautiful People

 

by Keith Chachkes

 

 

Bookmark and Share