Guns N’ Roses
SLIPKNOT emerged at the back end of the 20th Century from America’s midwestern town of Des Moines, IA and quickly established themselves as the most enigmatic, provocative and aggressive music collective of the modern era. To date, the band have been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards (winning in 2006 for ‘Before I Forget’), as well as scoring 13 Platinum and 44 Gold record certifications around the world, and 1.7 billion YouTube views to date. SLIPKNOT’s fanbase is as unwavering as it is ubiquitous – the band’s most recent studio album, 2014’s ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ debuted Top 5 in the Official Album Charts of 19 countries around the world, including the US (#1), UK (#2), Japan (#1), Australia (#1), Russia (#1) & Germany (#2).”
Simply put, DISTURBED are one of the most successful rock bands in modern history. The multiplatinum-selling quartet accomplished the rare feat of achieving five consecutive number one debuts on the Billboard Top 200. That accolade historically elevated them to rarified air alongside Metallica, the only other hard rock group to do so in the history of the chart. Immortalized (2015) received a platinum certification and spawned the triple-platinum crossover smash “The Sound of Silence,” which garnered a nomination at the 2017 GRAMMY® Awards in the category of “Best Rock Performance.” Since their formation in 1996, the band has sold 16 million albums globally and scored twelve No. 1 singles at Active Rock Radio. Their quadruple-platinum 2000 debut, The Sickness, formally announced their arrival as hard rock leaders, with that status solidified by subsequent GRAMMY® Award nominations as well as gold-, platinum- and double platinum-certified records, as well as countless sold-out shows around the globe. Named “Best Rock Artist” during the 2017 iHeartRadioMusic Awards, Disturbed continue to boldly forge ahead with the release of their aptly titled seventh offering, Evolution.
According to Greek mythology, the phoenix absorbs new life through rising from the ashes of its predecessor.
By the same token, we tear down the relics of the past in order to make way for the innovations of the future. As every rebirth requires reinvention, GODSMACK–Sully Erna [vocals, guitar], Tony Rombola [guitar], Robbie Merrill [bass], and Shannon Larkin [drums]–continues a similar cycle on their seventh full-length and debut for BMG, When Legends Rise.
Released in April 2018, When Legends Rise features the multiplatinum four-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated Boston bastion of hard rock raising its voice louder than ever on their first album in four years. The critically acclaimed 11-song collection, fueled by the #1 rock song and video for “Bulletproof,” plus the title track “When Legends Rise,” entered the Billboard Top 200 album chart in the top ten (#8), with four #1 placements on other charts: Top Rock Albums, Top Hard Music Albums, Top Independent Albums and Top Alternative Albums.
Following the album’s release, GODSMACK launched a 45-city co-headlining tour with Shinedown. The run started with a six-week outdoor amphitheater tour kicking off July 22 and included stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Atlanta and New York. The trek continued into the fall with arena shows and festival performances before concluding with a headlining slot at the sold-out Aftershock festival on October 13. The band will return to the road in 2019 with dates in the UK, Europe, North America and beyond.
‘When Legends Rise’
“You’ve got to burn it down to build it up,” affirms Erna. “When Legends Rise is a metaphor. Life can get challenging at times. It can knock you onto the ground. However, if you reach inside of yourself, find that inner strength, and rise up again, you’ll flourish. Over the past few years, I went through a really tough time, but I learned this firsthand. Coming out on the other side, we’re going to do this bigger and better than we ever have. We’re ready to work.”
Truth is, the members of GODSMACK have never been afraid to put in the work…
Like the city they call home, these musicians speak louder, fight harder, and grow stronger each day. Through an uncompromising attitude and uncanny knack for a hummable hook, they quietly became one of modern rock’s most reliable and resonant institutions. Against all odds, the boys have broken one ceiling after another. They’ve landed seven number one singles on both the Billboard Mainstream & Active Rock charts. Most notably, they’ve earned 21 Top 10 hits at Active Rock–the most of any act since February 1999. Joining a prestigious club that includes Van Halen, U2, Metallica, Dave Matthews Band, and Linkin Park, they debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 three consecutive times. Not to mention, they’ve sold over 20 million albums worldwide, garnered four GRAMMY® nods, and won “Rock Artist of the Year” at the Billboard Music Awards.
Following a marathon two-year tour cycle reunderlining their position as one of rock’s most explosive acts, the band made a conscious decision to approach writing from a different angle. For the first time, they welcomed collaborators into the process, including John Feldmann, Erik Ron, and longtime friend and Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery.
As a result, the sonic palette expanded dramatically, while preserving the guttural GODSMACK grit synonymous with the group.
“I really wanted to open up this vein and reach for something fresh,” admits Erna. “Working together with these guys really got me going. I’m one of those people you can give a grain of sand to, and I’ll make a mountain out of it. A little push opened the floodgates. Their contributions allowed me to explore new melody styles. Personally and professionally, we’ve matured a lot. It was time for that kind of expansion.”
So impressed by Ron’s demos, Erna invited him back to GODSMACK Headquarters in Derry, New Hampshire in order to co-produce the 11 songs with him comprising When Legends Rise. Together, they unlocked an epic urgency evidenced within the title track and album opener.
A massive drum march and high-energy riffing give way to an empowering chant, “When ashes fall, legends rise.”
“I went through a pretty intense breakup,” the frontman recalls. “It wasn’t so much the breakup that banged me up as it was the aftermath. My eyes opened to things that were going on around me with family, friends, and people who I realized were bogging me down with drama and negativity. I made a conscious choice to shut it all off. Instead of leaning on another girl or alcohol to get me through it, I processed the pain organically this time. There’s an overarching theme of eliminating negativity and being guilt-free about it. When you build yourself back up in this way, that’s when the magic happens.”
The magic carries through the first single “Bulletproof.” Hinging on a massive and muscular groove, Erna’s voice takes hold during hypnotic verses before snapping into a stadium-size chant that’s impossible to shake.
“This addresses everything I went through head-on,” he goes on. “How many times can you endure this before you create that emotional wall? You don’t allow anyone else back in to potentially hurt you. When you’re betrayed, it kills. It’s like you can’t move forward without this person, because you were so attached. Once it goes away, you gain that strength and independence again. People see that glow when you’re on the rebound. They see you shine. You’ve enabled me to be bulletproof. You’re going to bounce off. I’m certainly not letting you back into this f***er.”
A wah-wah cry bleeds into the album’s most seismic and show-stopping refrain during “Unforgettable.” Everything culminates on a choir of local middle schoolers conducted by Erna–like his own “Another Brick in the Wall.”
“When I heard the melody in my head, it felt like a big singalong or like The Patriots could hopefully run out onto the field to it,” he laughs. “I’ve been working with this organization called C.A.T.S.–Community Alliance for Teen Safety–since like 2003. They put me in touch with this amazing group of twenty kids. They came to the studio, we got a bunch of pizza, and they sang it brilliantly. It’s really exciting.”
Elsewhere, piano and strings drive the heartfelt “Under Your Scars” as “Every Part of Me” trudges forward on ironclad intensity. Spurned by a jam session with Lowery, “Eye of the Storm” closes out this journey with a barrage of distortion, haunting vocals, a hypnotic solo, and the sound of roaring thunder.
“If you listen to this as a body of work, it ends with the sound of something to come,” grins Erna. “Who knows? It might just be another beginning for us.”
Regardless of what’s on the horizon, GODSMACK rise like never before here.
“When you listen to this album, just have some fun with it,” he leaves off. “That’s what music should do at the end of the day. There’s no doubt about it, this is a rock record through and through. This is also a Godsmack record.”
It seems like only yesterday, but it’s been more than a decade since Staind first exploded onto the hard rock vanguard. In that time, the Massachussetts-based quartet has staked a claim as one of modern music’s most powerful and provocative outfits, combining aggressive hard rock energy with singer/songwriter Aaron Lewis’s raw, heartfelt lyricism and gift for undeniable melody resulting into a magnificent, multi-platinum career. Marked by 15 million album sales worldwide, eight top ten singles across multiple formats with three songs hitting number one, and the most-played rock song of the past decade, “It’s Been Awhile,” Staind has solidified their name as a top hard rock act with three out of seven albums—Break the Cycle, 14 Shades of Grey, and Chapter V—debuting at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.
Lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Aaron Lewis, guitarist Mike Mushok, and bassist Johnny April united as Staind in February 1995, and since then have ridden an endless wave of continual artistic growth and escalating success; all accomplished without the petty personal dramas and ego-driven power plays that traditionally mark such an incredible career. Staind’s self-released 1996 debut, “TORMENTED,” along with near-constant shows throughout the New England area, spawned the birth of the band’s fervent fan following. Word about the band spread like wildfire through the music industry, ultimately attracting the attention of Flip Records, who in 1999 unleashed Staind’s initial breakthrough, “DYSFUNCTION.” Fueled by tracks such as “Mudshovel” and “Home,” the album proved a true sensation, going on to achieve double-platinum certification for sales exceeding 2 million.
In 1999, Staind hit the road as part of the Family Values Tour, joining a line-up that included such stars as Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Primus. The band’s original set quickly became the highlight of each night’s show, due especially to a poignant new song performed by Lewis and headliner Fred Durst. “Outside,” as eventually included on “THE FAMILY VALUES TOUR 1999” companion CD, launched Staind to the head of the hard rock pack. 2001’s “BREAK THE CYCLE” sealed the deal, entering the Billboard 200 at #1 with first week sales of over 700,000.
The RIAA gold-certified “MTV UNPLUGGED” DVD was released in 2002, followed the next year by the critically-acclaimed “14 SHADES OF GREY.” The album was Staind’s second consecutive #1 debut, going on to double-platinum status via the success of the singles “Zoe Jane,” – written for Lewis’ first daughter – “Price To Play,” and “So Far Away,” which topped Billboard’s “Mainstream Rock” chart for 14 weeks.
Staind toured hard behind “14 SHADES OF GREY,” playing sold-out shows around the world into 2004. After a brief – and well-earned – break, the band hit the studio and in August 2005, unleashed “CHAPTER V,” their third consecutive release to arrive in the pole position on the Billboard 200. Their most evocative and inventive work to date, the album spawned yet another “Mainstream Rock” #1 hit in “Right Here,” along with further radio smashes in “Falling” and “Everything Changes” (a new acoustic version of which is a highlight of “THE SINGLES: 1996-2006”).
“CHAPTER V” was followed by hard touring, including headline treks and Aaron Lewis solo shows that featured a number of compelling new songs and provocative covers of artists which inspired Staind from the very beginning. With the release of “THE SINGLES: 1996-2006,” Staind closed the book on their amazing first decade.
Staind’s sixth studio album “The Illusion Of Progress,” contains an array of Staind “firsts” that earmarked the release: It’s the first album where guitarist Mike Mushok wrote and recorded on a standard guitar rather than his customary baritone. Despite the band’s heralded run of ten Top 10 hits at radio – including four No. 1 singles – it’s the first time that they have recorded a song that they almost feel can be classified as a pop song, and it is also the first time that front man Aaron Lewis has taken a political stance lyrically. On that same lyrical front, Mushok is proud to point out (with a laugh) that “Consciously, I don’t think Aaron says the word ‘pain’ once throughout the record!”
For their seventh studio album, the band decided to dive into bleaker recesses than ever before and surfaced with their heaviest and most hypnotic album to date – the self-titled, STAIND, which debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.
A Day To Remember
Over the course of the past several years, each of A Day To Remember’s releases have hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock, Indie and/or Alternative Charts. They’ve also sold more than a million units, racked up over 400 million Spotify streams and 500 million YouTube views, garnered two gold-selling albums and singles (and one silver album in the UK) and sold out entire continental tours (including their own curated Self Help Festival), amassing a global fanbase whose members number in the millions. All of which explains why Rolling Stone called them “An Artist You Need To Know.” In other words, their creative process has worked and worked well.
But for new album Bad Vibrations, the Ocala, Florida-based quintet of vocalist Jeremy McKinnon, guitarists Kevin Skaff and Neil Westfall, bassist Joshua Woodard and drummer Alex Shelnutt switched gears and headed for uncharted territory. Their path included a loose and much more collaborative songwriting process, one that also saw them recording for the first time with producers Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) and Jason Livermore (Rise Against, NOFX). And though the album’s being released on the band’s own ADTR Records (like 2013′s Common Courtesy), this record marks their first distribution deal with Epitaph and is the first time they’ve worked with Grammy winner Andy Wallace (Foo Fighters, Slayer), who was brought in to mix.
“We completely changed the way we wrote, recorded and mixed this album,” says vocalist Jeremy McKinnon. “It was one of the most unique recording experiences we’ve ever had. We rented a cabin in the Colorado mountains and just wrote with the five of us together in a room, which was the polar opposite of the last three albums we’ve made. We just let things happen organically and in the moment. I think it forever changed the way we make music. And working with Bill was an awesome experience. He was a bit hard to read at first, so I think we subconsciously pushed ourselves harder to try to impress him. As a result, we gave this album everything we had.”
Recorded at Stevenson’s Fort Collins-based Blasting Room Studios, Bad Vibrations masterfully channels the kinetic energy that recently found A Day To Remember named “The Best Live Band Of 2015″ by Alternative Press. The band decided to forgo digitally driven production and focus on live recording. “These days it seems like a lot of heavy sounding music is heading more and more in a digital direction,” notes McKinnon. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but we wanted to go the opposite way and make something that’s aggressive but has more of a natural flow and feel to it.”
By powering Bad Vibrations with so much raw passion, A Day To Remember ultimately deliver some of their most emotionally intense material to date. “I’m like a child screaming in a room when I write,” laughs McKinnon. “I’m singing about the things that are frustrating me, but at some point there’s an arc within the song. It’s almost like I’m giving advice to another person about whatever I’m struggling with, but I think I’m really just trying to give that advice to myself.”
The catharsis-inducing album sees the band tackling duplicity and deception (on the gloriously frenzied ‘Same About You’), the destructive nature of judgmental behavior (on ‘Justified,’ a track shot through with soaring harmonies and sprawling guitar work), addiction (on the darkly charged ‘Reassemble’), and friendship poisoned by unchecked ego (on ‘Bullfight,’ a track with a classic-punk chorus that brilliantly gives way to a Viking-metal-inspired bridge).
‘Paranoia,’ one of the most urgent tracks on Bad Vibrations, fuses fitful tempos and thrashing riffs in its powerful portrait of mental unraveling—an idea born from the band’s commitment to close collaboration in making the album. “Originally it was a joke song about someone being paranoid, but then Neil and Kevin and I started brainstorming lyrics together, which we’d never done before,” recalls McKinnon. “It ended up being shaped so that the verse is a person talking to a psychiatrist, the pre-chorus is the psychiatrist talking back to that person, and then the chorus is paranoia personified. The whole thing just exploded and came together in this really cool way.”
On ‘Naivety,’ the band slips into a melancholy mood that’s perfectly matched by the song’s bittersweet, pop-perfect melody. Says McKinnon, “It’s about that journey when you’re getting older and starting to view the world as a little less magical than you used to, and you’re missing that youthful enthusiasm from when you were a kid.”
Ultimately, McKinnon says that this particular album-making process breathed new life into the band. “Breaking out of our comfort zone and working in a less controlled way, we ended up making something that feels good to everyone, and we can’t wait to go out and tour on it,” he says. “I think a big part of why our music connects with people is that they’re able to get such an emotional release from our songs. And while most of the songs are me venting about whatever’s affecting me at the time, people who are going through something similar can see that it’s coming from a real, honest place. That’s really the core of what A Day To Remember has always been.”
Bad Vibrations debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the Top Album Sales Chart. It was also the #1 album in Australia, #6 in the UK and #7 in Germany. After a summer / fall tour with Blink-182, A Day To Remember headlined the Bad Vibes World Tour in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and Russia.
2017 saw A Day To Remember play Download Festival in the UK and the X Games Minneapolis among other festival shows in the US and Europe. On March 18th, the band received the keys to the city of Ocala from Mayor Kent Guinn and performed a sold out hometown concert before supporting Avenged Sevenfold on select dates of their summer tour, playing their own headline shows with support from Moose Blood and Wage War and presenting 3 stops of their Self Help Festival. In October, Jeremy McKinnon joined Linkin Park on stage at the Hollywood Bowl to perform ‘A Place For My Head’ in honor of Chester Bennington.
The following year, A Day To Remember celebrated 15 years of being a band with a headline US tour supported by Papa Roach and Falling In Reverse that included a headline slot at Self Help Festival in San Bernardino, California. They also played North American festivals including Inkcarceration, Montebello Rockfest, Las Rageous and Buku.
“Whether you’re making music or you’re making a movie, you do whatever you have to be great, and make it memorable,” says Ice Cube. “Whether it’s cassettes, wax, or digital downloads, VHS tapes, satellite TV or Netflix, people don’t care what format it’s in as long as the content is quality.”
Actor, writer, producer, director, rapper, father – reigning renaissance king could be a good term to describe the one and only Ice Cube. Coming of age in 1980s Los Angeles, Cube experienced the roiling stew of street knowledge, sports fanaticism, and social injustice in a city at the forefront of hip-hop’s expansion from local sound to global phenomenon.
Twenty-seven years after N.W.A – the group Cube co-founded with Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, MC Ren, and DJ Yella – released their archetypal gangsta rap masterpiece Straight Outta Compton (Ruthless/Priority, 1989), the group’s 2016 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with an introductory speech by their spiritual heir Kendrick Lamar, is a mark of how far Cube has come.
If there’s an irony in this, it’s that the mean mug that originally made Cube so formidable as a rapper is the same face that often makes him so entertaining as an actor. “I perfected my scowl a long time ago,” says Cube. “I perfected it long before I ever thought of being in a movie. Although I admit that it does work great in the movies.”
The distance between, say, a brutal dis track like “No Vaseline” (from 1991’s Death Certificate) and a star turn alongside Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in 2014’s hit comedy 22 Jump Street might seem like a million miles. But with Cube’s range, it’s not far at all.
Music fans of a certain vintage will ride hard for Cube, perhaps placing premium preference on his unimpeachable first three solo albums, Amerikkka’s Most Wanted (1990), Death Certificate (1991), and The Predator (1992). Their children may know Cube as the loveable patriarch from such popcorn- friendly fare as Are We There Yet? (2005), and as the voice of The Candle Maker in the Golden Globe- nominated animated feature The Book of Life (2014).
“I didn’t put myself in the movie industry, it was John Singleton who discovered me at the right time,” Cube says of his film debut as Doughboy in the Singleton-directed 1991 hit Boyz n the Hood. “John brought me into this industry and got me looking towards Hollywood. Coming from making music, I understood that movies were a cool way to be creative on a whole other level.”
From that auspicious beginning, Cube has become one of the most bankable, likeable names in Hollywood as a writer, actor, and producer. His production company, Cube Vision, founded in 1995, has now passed two decades making memorable films. He has been part of films that have cumulatively grossed over $1 billion at the box office. The N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton took in box office receipts of over $200 million worldwide. In 2009, Cube received BET’s Hip-Hop Icon Award, and 2014 BET’s Honors Award For Excellence In Entertainment. Although Straight Outta Compton was snubbed by the Academy, it won NAACP Award for Outstanding Motion Picture and ABFF Film of the Year amongst numerous other accolades.
Cube’s successful film franchises include Friday, Are We There Yet?, Ride Along, and Barbershop. With Ride Along 2 and Barbershop: The Next Cut smashing the box office in the first half of 2016, these are enviable achievements in a Hollywood system increasingly geared towards sequels and franchises.
“I don’t want to give away all the herb and spices,” Cube says, “but one key to a successful sequel is to treat it like its own standalone movie, not like just a piece of a franchise. It’s about creating a whole new movie, and not relying too heavily on what made the first one great. A person might not have seen the first one or the second one, and you don’t want them to be lost. That’s what we’ve done with Friday, Ride Along, and Barbershop.”
Cube’s filmography is compelling. A scroll through IMDB reveals as much. But the 2015 film that brought together his incendiary hip-hop past and his current box office clout was something extra special.
On the song “Growin’ Up” from his 2006 album Laugh Now Cry Later (the most successful indie hip- hop release that year), Cube made peace with the late Eazy-E (“I like your son too/ He got his name from you”). As Cube explains, the rapprochement that set the stage for the movie Straight Outta Compton had already been made: “Making peace with Eazy was easy. I had done it while he was alive, so it wasn’t a revelation to put it on a record. Throughout my whole career, I’ll be thanking Eazy-E and Dr. Dre one way or another. With Straight Outta Compton the movie, a lot of things set the stage for
that to become a reality. I directed the ESPN 30 for 30 film Straight Outta L.A., and then VH1 did a Behind The Music on me, and one on Dre, then a special came out called The World’s Most Dangerous Group. N.W.A was nominated to The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame a few years ago, while Dre was having enormous success with Beats, and all these things together put N.W.A back on the map in terms of popular consciousness. Everything happened at the right time to make people understand how interesting and special this group was, and this movie could be.”
Multiple generations of Ice Cube fans were now on the same page. Never had a history lesson felt so fresh.
“I don’t want you to have to tell your kids who I am, or how cool I used to be,” says Cube. “It’s there for them to know themselves. Straight Outta Compton helped the younger generation understand what we went through. For the older generation it gave them a better understanding of why we made that hardcore type of music. It was a love fest to go back in time and see the history preserved and properly retold.”
A significant generational twist is that the role of Ice Cube in Straight Outta Compton was played by Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson, Jr. Cube is understandably proud of his son’s superb performance: “He was perfect for the job. The coach’s son always gets it the hardest, so he had to step up, and he did. I’ve encouraged my kids to get involved in the entertainment industry if it’s something they want to do. I have a nice foothold in the industry, I’m respected, I can get movies made, so it’s a beautiful thing for them to build on.”
Having sold over 10 million albums as a solo artist, Cube is now back working on his next album, Everythangs Corrupt. “I promise you it will be great. It’s not about where you are in the charts, it’s about where you are in the hearts. Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye didn’t top the charts with every record they released, but every record they released was a great record. My music is always satisfying to my fans, that’s the important thing.”
As far as satisfying himself, Ice Cube has a simple formula. “If you stay positive, you can stay creative, and you can be happy,” he says. “That’s my experience, and that’s my message to the world.”
Multi-platinum band Breaking Benjamin has amassed a sizeable and diehard fan base, both through their chart-topping music, as well as their electrifying live performances. Their latest release, Dark Before Dawn certified GOLD (selling over 500K copies) debuted #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and spun off two #1 rock tracks, “Failure” and “Angels Fall.” “Failure” was also named the most played song at Active Rock for 2015. 2009’s Dear Agony, certified PLATINUM (selling over 1MM copies) debuted #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the iTunes Rock Album Chart. Dear Agony also spun off the platinum selling and #1 Active Rock single “I Will Not Bow” where it stayed #1 for five weeks straight. Their discography also includes 2002’s Saturate, 2004’s We Are Not Alone (certified PLATINUM) 2006’s Phobia (certified PLATINUM.) We Are Not Alone spawned a pair of #1 radio hits (“So Cold” and “Sooner Or Later.”) Phobia debuted at # 2 on Billboard’s Top 200, hit #1 on the Rock Album Chart and was one of the top 50 selling rock albums of 2006. It featured one #1 and two Top 5 rock radio hits (“Breath,” “Diary of Jane” and “Until The End”.)
CHEVELLE is the understated musical powerhouse who have continually delivered rock anthems for the past 24 years. 7 number one hits, 17 songs reaching the top 10 charts, over 4 million records sold in the USA and many more world wide. Platinum and gold albums across their 8 studio records and successful live CD and two live DVD releases completes their extensive body of work to date. Its all credit to their continuing dedication to be true to their craft, the genre and their fans. Chevelle’s last two Album releases, La Gargola and The North Corridor both debuted #1 on the Billboard rock charts and #3 and #8 respectively, on the Billboard top 200 charts. With no signs of this Chicago alternative rock trio slowing down any time soon, their numerous chart topping releases have certainly earned this band a place in American rock music history.
After more than two decades together, numerous releases, and countless world wide tours, the
outfit consisting of brothers Pete Loeffler [guitars, vocals], Sam Loeffler [drums], and brother in-law, Dean Bernardini [bass, vocals] have confidently sailed through decades of uncharted waters and have emerge with a collection that’s equally intricate and intimate.
Certainly it builds upon the group’s impressive foundation, including the 2002 platinum-selling genre staple Wonder What’s Next and the 2004 gold-selling follow-up This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In which debuted #8 on the Billboard Top 200. The releases that followed held their own against the ever changing faces of popular music for the time. 2007’s Vena Sera reached #2 for Rock album on the Billboard charts. 2009’s release Sci-Fi Crimes reached #6 on the Billboard Top 200 and #1 on the alternative charts. 2011’s Hats Off to The Bull reached #5 on the Billboard Top 200, 2014’s La Gargola debuted #3 on the Billboard Top 200. Most recently, 2016’s The North Corridor album debuted #8 and soon reached #2 on the Billboard Top 200. La Gargola and The North Corridor both debuted #1 on the Billboard rock charts with The North Corridor vinyl release reaching #7 on the Billboard top 25 Vinyl charts.
“You don’t want to repeat yourself,” affirms Sam. “We want to seize something different with each song.
Every record has to take on its own identity. As an artist, you have to progress and evolve.” As they continue to master their craft, Chevelle take on the critics and prove time and time again that they a force to be reckoned with.
Self-doubt and depression clawed at the edges of Lzzy Hale’s mind when it came time to pen Halestorm’s fourth album, a follow-up to 2015’s Into The Wild Life. The musician didn’t feel like she was where she needed to be, both professionally and personally. When she and her bandmates, Arejay Hale, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith, began writing, Lzzy wasn’t even sure who she was. “I kept thinking, ‘Can I still do this?’” she says. “I went down a lot of rabbit holes, and I’m my own worst critic. I needed to get over a lot of internal hurdles during this writing and recording process. This record was about overcoming inner demons.”
The band began writing, but the first batch of songs didn’t feel quite right, so Halestorm scrapped it and started over. And in the end, Vicious represents Halestorm’s most personal and most inventive album, a deeply lived-with collection of songs teaming with genuine heart and soul. It’s also how Lzzy got her groove back. “I don’t think there was any other way for me to get through that difficult time than to write about it,” she says. “This record was like therapy.” The album was recorded with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains and Rush) at Nashville, TN’s Rock Falcon recording studio, and the producer, with whom the band had previously worked with on their 2017 covers EP ReAniMate 3.0: The CoVeRs eP, pushed each musician to a new place musically. Each song went through five or six versions, and ultimately carry the listener on a journey, emphasizing the band’s strengths while revealing a dynamic evolution.
“Nick pushed us from 10 to 11,” Lzzy says. “He pushed us mentally and physically. There are some things on this record that I didn’t think were physically possible for both myself and my bandmates. It was really exciting to see that happen for the first time in the studio. To be able to still surprise each other like that – and to surprise yourself – is no small feat.”
One of the main goals in the studio was to capture real, human moments within the music, the sorts of unexpected instances that occur onstage. In recent years, Halestorm has introduced improvised flashes into their live sets with the idea of creating controlled chaos between the more orchestrated songs. The music on Vicious embraces this sensibility. The musicians worked to ensure that every song had its own dynamic feeling, both overall and within each verse. “It wasn’t just about looping the same thing over and over again,” Lzzy notes. “The idea was: Where can we take this that’s not predicable?”
The resulting album, which was culled from over 20 recorded tunes, solidifies everything Halestorm stands for as a band. It’s about empowerment, an ideal that the musicians have encouraged for years, and the songs urge you to be unapologetically yourself. Ultimately, it’s not just about being strong and taking on the storm – but also about how you rise above that storm. The album’s title comes from “Vicious,” a gritty, surging rock number that was written during the last moments of studio time. The song features the line “What doesn’t kill me makes me vicious,” a rallying cry to overcome any obstacles. “It’s about being strong and fierce,” Lzzy says. “The climate of the world right now is always seeping in, so we wanted it to feel really positive and empowering.” “Uncomfortable,” one of the first songs written for the album, has a similar tone, featuring a rapid-fire verse and impressive vocal licks on the chorus. “You can’t please everybody as much as you may want to try,” Lzzy says of the song. “By being yourself you may make people uncomfortable. I saw a lot of our fans struggling with that. This song is saying that it’s okay to not make everyone happy all the time. You can be yourself and that’s okay. And, in fact, you should be proud of that.”
References to Halestorm’s fans and Lzzy’s constant interactions with them online or on Twitter thread through the album. The musician, who calls the band’s fanbase “our comrades in this crazy life,” wanted to drop Easter eggs into the lyrics, reminding longtime listeners of past conversations or instances in Lzzy’s personal life they’ll likely remember. “I feel like our fans deserve that type of openness from us at this point,” she says. “The love they’ve given us comes full circle.”
Since their inception in 1998, Halestorm have toured extensively with a diverse variety of artists, including Eric Church, Joan Jett, Avenged Sevenfold, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, ZZ Top and Evanescence. They’ve played around 2,500 dates around the world to date, and performed at festivals like Taste of Chaos and Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. Most recently, the band scored a 2019 Grammy nomination for “Best Rock Performance” for “Uncomfortable,” marking their second after their 2013 win for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance.” Loudwire named Lzzy their “2018 Rock Artist of the Year,” last year, and two years prior, she was named the “Dimebag Darrell Shredder of the Year” at the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards. Both Halestorm and The Strange Case of… were certified Gold, further evidencing Halestorm’s massively supportive fanbase. Halestorm have also made history: “Love Bites (So Do I),” the hit single from The Strange Case of… ascended to No. 1 at Active Rock radio in the U.S., making Halestorm the first-ever female-fronted group to earn the top spot on the format.
Today Halestorm exists as a beacon of hope and inspiration for musicians, particularly female musicians who want to brave the challenges of the music industry. Lzzy has been a pioneer in rock and proven that women have a place on the stage. Every night on tour, women – and men – in the audience can look to her and realize they too have the power to carve out their own path. Younger musicians admire her the same way she grew up admiring artists like Joan Jett and Stevie Nicks. “They helped me feel like I could do it, and I hope I’ve done the same for women today,” Lzzy says. “Trying to be my best self and not trying to be anything I’m not and being unapologetic feels like a good message. I feel a lot of responsibility to keep upholding that. I’m just trying to be the best me.”
Two decades into an accomplished career, Halestorm represents the results of true passion and hard work. The band has out-survived many of its peers and the musicians are still having fun after all this time. Vicious is evidence of a group of artists who refuse to ever plateau.
“This music chose us and we’re just hanging on,” Lzzy says. “Our greatest accomplishment is that we’ve been the same members for over 15 years and we’re continuing to make and release music. We want to always try new things. We’re still extremely hungry and open to opportunities, and we’re hungry to prove we deserve to be here. We’re so lucky to still be a band and have people care about our music. And there’s still so much more to do.”
DIE ANTWOORD is Afrikaans for ‘The Answer’. This Next Level South African rap-rave crew rap and sing in a mixture of English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa.
The group is known for their unique ‘Zef style’, and non-conformist, punk-like attitude. Die Antwoord are also known for having ‘The best music videos in the world’.
Their wild and crazy high-energy live shows attract a cult-like following world-wide.
“Trying to experience Die Antwoord on a computer is like splashing around in the bathtub trying to experience the ocean.”
THE POWER OF YOUR EXAMPLE IS FAR GREATER THAN WHAT YOU SAY!
Dropkick Murphys formed in 1996 in Boston, MA. The band was originally just a bunch of friends looking to play music for fun. We started playing in the basement of a friend’s barbershop and our goal was to blend the musical influences we had grown up with (Punk Rock, Irish Folk, Rock, and Hardcore) into one loud, raucous, chaotic, and often out of tune mix that we could call our own.
To our surprise people seemed to like it and we began to record music and tour constantly. To date we have released numerous singles & EP’s, a live album, a DVD and six full length albums and have had the good fortune of being able to play across a large portion of the world. We are truly grateful to the many friends and bands that have helped us out and supported us along the way in the US, Canada, Europe, U.K. Ireland, Scandinavia, and Australia as well as the many countries we look forward to playing in the next century.
The bands’ main goal is to play music that creates an all for one, one for all environment where everyone is encouraged to participate, sing along, and hopefully have a good time. In the true spirit of punk rock we view the band and the audience as one in the same; in other words our stage and our microphone are yours.
In addition to hopefully bringing people together for a good time, we hope to share some of our experiences and beliefs in working class solidarity, friendship, loyalty and self- improvement as a means to bettering society (i.e. You can preach till you’re blue in the face but if you’re lying in the gutter no one’s gonna listen. If you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and live your life to the best of your ability you may set an example that others will follow).
Thanks for the support!
Three Days Grace
Three Days Grace are Neil Sanderson (drums, piano, backing vocals), Brad Walst (bass guitar), and Barry Stock (lead guitar). Matt Walst (lead vocals)
The group has sold more than 6 million records in the United States.
The band holds the record for the most #1 at Active Rock Radio – twelve
The band’s first single with new singer Matt Walst “Painkiller” reached #1 at Active Rock (6/9/14)
Transit of Venus debuted at #5 on Billboard Chart first week (2012)
The first single from Transit of Venus, “Chalk Outline” reached #1 at Active Rock (9/17/12), and remained #1 for 10 weeks, making it the most weeks at #1 for the year 2012
The second single from Transit of Venus, “High Road” AND third single “Misery Loves My Company” reached #1 at Active Rock
Life Starts Now debuted at #3 on Billboard Chart with 79,000 copies sold first week (2009)
The first single from Life Starts Now “Break” reached #1 at Active Rock (11/30/09) and spent a total of 8 weeks at #1
The second single from Life Starts Now “The Good Life” reached #1 at Active Rock (5/17/10) and spent a total of 6 weeks at #1
The third single from Life Starts Now “World So Cold” reached #1 at Active Rock (11/22/10)
“Break” was the #1 most played song at Active Rock in 2010
“The Good Life was the #2 most played song at Active Rock in 2010
“Never Too Late” reached #1 on both active and rock formats. (2007)
ONE-X debuted at #5 on Billboard chart with 78,000 copies sold the first week (2006)
“Animal I’ve Become” reached #1 on all rock formats (Alternative, Active & Mainstream) for 9 weeks (2006)
“Pain” went to #1 on the modern rock chart for 4 weeks, and #1 on active rock for 10 weeks (2006)
Received 2 BMI Awards for “Animal I’ve Become” and “Pain” (2006)
“I Hate Everything About You” peaked at #2 on modern and active chart for 47 weeks (2003)
Stone Temple Pilots
Stone Temple Pilots are no strangers to change. Unpredictably has shaped the Grammy®- winning group since it emerged as one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s. More than 25 years later, the band is reborn once again on its seventh studio album – its first with new singer Jeff Gutt, a veteran of the Detroit music scene.
STP founding members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo and Eric Kretz introduced Gutt in November, moments before he joined them on stage at the Troubadour in Los Angeles for the band’s first concert together.
The path leading up to that show began in September 2016 when Gutt was invited to join the band after an extensive search to find the group’s third singer. The transition was virtually seamless, Kretz recalls. “The chemistry was there from the start, and Jeff kept coming up with one great melody after another. We ended up finishing 14 songs, which is the most that Stone Temple Pilots has ever recorded for an album.”
The group recorded over several months in Los Angeles at Robert’s home studio. One of the earliest songs to take shape was “Meadow,” a straight-ahead rocker that became the album’s lead single. “We’d written several songs before Jeff joined, and he took everything we threw at him and ran with it lyrically and melodically. What impressed all of us is how he lets the song dictate his direction instead of the other way around,” Robert says.
Gutt says the band really clicked after writing its first song together, a track called “The Art of Letting Go.” “Dean was messing around on an acoustic guitar and I started singing along. Pretty soon, everyone was in the room and all the pieces fell into place. It’s such a beautiful song and something we’re all very proud of.”
Stone Temple Pilots will return to the road for the first time in more than two years for a North American tour in 2018.
For the many who claim that rock music is a dying breed, I Prevail is a living testament to the contrary. Formed in 2013 in Southfield, Michigan, I Prevail’s uncanny ability to bring diverse audiences en masse to their shows is a testament to their wide-ranging style. While some have made attempts to abandon rock music, I Prevail have unapologetically leaned in, outright demanding that their naysayers ‘bow down’.
Their aggressive riffs and soaring choruses have become synonymous with modern rock. I Prevail’s 2016 debut album ‘Lifelines’ was one of the most successful debut releases for a hard rock band in the last decade both in terms of sales and streams. The ‘Lifelines’ campaign took the band on a world tour that saw explosive growth, with nearly 600,000 copies sold to date.
I Prevail has persevered through adversity and a debilitating vocal injury that nearly ended the music career of co-vocalist Brian Burkheiser. Through his recovery and the accompanying anxiety that came with it, the band’s sophomore album ‘Trauma’ was born.
‘Trauma’ is an eclectic mix of musical stylings that tells the complicated story of what I Prevail went through to get to where they are today. While they continue to see an immense level of success, they still approach everything they do with an underdog mentality, depending on their loyal fanbase to rally behind them and ‘rise above it’.
Multiplatinum rock outfit Sum 41 wrapped its final tour supporting 2011’s Screaming Bloody Murder in April 2013. It was one of the band’s longest and most attended touring cycles in its 20 year career, and they found themselves nominated for a Grammy for the first time ever. However things were not as perfect as they seemed, as vocalist, guitarist, and producer Deryck Whibley found himself on the brink of destruction.
“I can’t pin-point one exact moment that put me over the edge, it was more of an accumulation of many things when I slipped into a fog of partying and booze. I tried to detach myself from any and all responsibility whatsoever,” Whibley reflects. He spent the next year doing just that, and at the end found himself in a Los Angeles hospital fighting for his life.
Whibley spent most of April and May 2014 in and out of the ICU with his mother and fiancée by his side. When he was finally released as an outpatient he realized that his journey was just beginning, and it was then that he began to write while simultaneously going through intense physical therapy. “Being sober and out of the fog made me realize that the only things I really cared about were music, making a record, and getting better so I could get back on stage again.”
The music came together in tandem with Whibley’s health; he recalls: “Due to neuropathy, muscle atrophy and medication that caused permanent nerve damage in my legs and feet left me unable to walk and in excruciating pain for months. I had to learn how to do everything again—my motor skills, learning how to play guitar. It was really difficult, but at the same time if I didn’t have a record to make, I don’t think I would have recovered as quickly, or even at all.”
He continues, “Writing music gave me a purpose and I started from scratch with absolutely nothing to work with. I would put on movies with no sound and start writing guitar riffs and music to the images. Mostly movies from Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino like Edward Scissorhands, Sweeny Todd, Kill Bill and Inglorious Bastards. The process led me in a direction that I had never gone in before which made me feel like I was writing a theatrical score called “hard-score punk”.
Soon, he was gathering his bandmates at his home in Los Angeles to begin laying down tracks for what would become the group’s sixth full-length album, 13 Voices. The record includes a surprise return from original guitarist Dave Brownsound, who parted ways with the band a decade prior. The first song Dave played guitar on was “Goddamn I’m Dead Again” a track that proves that the fiery guitar riffs that came to define SUM 41 are back.
In addition to bassist Cone McCaslin and lead guitarist Tom Thacker, Sum 41 would also formally welcome Frank Zummo (Street Drum Corps, Krewella, Thenewno2, Dead By Sunrise) behind the kit.
Whibley produced and engineered 13 Voices entirely on his own in his house. Drums were set up in the living room, guitar amps in the bedrooms. The end result stands tall as SUM 41’s most intense, cathartic and all-around finest work in years.
The album was written from a place of optimism, and speaks to the necessity of Whibley’s drastic fall before he was able to rise again. Opener “A Murder Of Crows,” the first track written upon the frontman’s release from the hospital, is about how those closest to Whibley quickly abandoned him when things got bad. The song’s haunting refrain (“You’re all dead to me”), repeated over bombastic percussion and steadily building guitars, is Whibley’s rallying cry; he’s letting go of the past in order to salvage his future.
He touches upon the theme of letting go further in “Fake My Own Death,” the fan track being released first from the record. “I just wanted to get away from everything that I had been doing. I needed to start a new life—like faking my own death.”
With the upcoming release of this album we see SUM 41 as an impenetrable unit putting everything they’ve got out into 13 Voices. The result is a dynamic, impassioned collection of melodic, guitar wielding, rock songs. “I can’t say whether this is our best record or not, as I don’t know if it is,” states Whibley. “All I can say is I did the best I possibly could during the toughest period of my life”.
Beartooth began as an emotional exorcism. Conceived, constructed, and unleashed by one man in a basement studio. Now, even as the band has grown to become a headlining festival act; cracked Billboard’s Top 25; lit up SiriusXM radio; and were crowned Breakthrough Band at both the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards and Loudwire Music Awards, Beartooth’s music and message remain intensely personal.
The fierce dedication to honesty, authenticity, and raw fury demonstrated by Caleb Shomo is at the center of everything Beartooth represents. The music he’s crafted in his darkest hours transcends, connecting with the broken hearted and isolated around the globe. Songs like “In Between,” “Hated,” “The Lines,” and “Sick of Me” have been streamed hundreds of millions of times. These are anthems for the downtrodden and disconnected, celebrated with sing-alongs on international tours; supporting Slipknot, Bring Me The Horizon, or Pierce The Veil; on the Kerrang! Tour with Don Broco in the UK; at major festivals like Download and Rock on the Range.
What began as artistic self-medication for a single multi-instrumentalist and producer, with no career aspirations or grand plans, quickly caught fire. The Sick EP (2013), Disgusting (2014), and the sophomore-slump shattering Aggressive (2016) comprise a blunt audio journal, chronicling Shomo’s battles with his own demons.
As Beartooth became a fully functioning band, bringing these intimate musings to the masses, that purity remained, via a consistently isolated creative methodology.
The stark look inward further intensified with September 28, 2018’s Disease.
The third full-length album from Beartooth is a painstaking, riff-driven examination of the unshakeable throes of depression. While there are moments of positivity, this isn’t the sound of triumph. This is music about survival.
“The album is a whirlwind of emotion,” Shomo explains. “Crazy highs, crazy lows, and lots of intensity. This record isn’t about winning anything. It’s about trying to even begin to learn how to deal with things. It’s hard to process just how dark you can get, what you can really put yourself through with expectations. It’s like starting from the beginning all over again. At the end of the day, it is a very dark album.”
Even as Shomo and his bandmates played to sold-out crowds across Europe, the battle against mental illness and childhood issues returned, and the seed for Disease was planted. The title track was the first song written for it, setting the overall tone.
As always, Shomo recorded vocals, guitars, bass, and drums, and mixed the album himself with assistance from an engineer, now with executive producer (and Grammy winner) Nick Raskulinecz, who has worked with Foo Fighters and Rush. To further enhance the emotional realism Beartooth champions, the third full-length album was tracked in a brand new environment, with an old-school urgency. After crafting the songs in his usual basement domain, Shomo made the trip from the familiar comfort of his equipment and isolation in Ohio to Blackbird in Nashville.
“When I make a record at home, I feel really safe there,” Shomo confesses. “Going into Blackbird, there was a lot of fear. Thankfully, going into that environment just brought out the best. It made the songs feel even more real. It was all worth it.”
The famous recording studio was the birthplace of pivotal work from a massive list of legends, tastemakers, and up-and-comers; like Alice In Chains, Taylor Swift, and Greta Van Fleet. Determined to challenge himself in new ways, Shomo kicked aside his drum samples and digital guitar tones in favor of rich analog vibes, banging out take after take, to capture the feel of classic favorites like AC/DC and Motörhead.
Ten to twelve hour days, six days per week, sweating and screaming through performances, resulted in gargantuan surefire Beartooth bangers like “Used and Abused,” “Manipulation,” and “Enemy,” easily among the strongest songs in the catalog. “You Never Know” was written in collaboration with producer and songwriter Drew Fulk (Fit For A King, As I Lay Dying), after several hours of conversation in a coffee shop. The album closer, “Clever,” was written in an afternoon at the studio, a fittingly sorrowful bookend to Beartooth’s darkest album.
“Depression is something that’s just ‘in your head,’ there’s no reason for it, so it ‘should’ be easy enough to just get over, but I can never do it. It’s something unshakeable. I can’t make it work,” Shomo says. “I wanted to write an album about that. Disease really encompasses everything emotionally that I wanted to convey.”
Shomo’s commitment to raw and personal truth will always define Beartooth. “It’s very important that I stay honest with every song that I write. I didn’t even mean to start this band. I wrote a couple songs and I felt way better afterward. Especially with this record, there are no compromises. It is exactly what I wanted to make.”
With Beartooth, what begins each time as the personal expression of one man is shared with his bandmates, then through the power of musical inspiration and connection, is given to the world then returns to its creator, to begin the cycle anew.
In This Moment
Throughout history, art rejoices and revels in the wisdom of women. Within a deck of tarot cards, the High Priestess serves as the guardian of the unconscious. In Greek mythology, the old oracles celebrate the Mother Goddess. William Shakespeare posited portentous prescience in the form of MacBeth’s “Three Witches.” On their sixth full-length album Ritual, In This Moment—Maria Brink [vocals, piano], Chris Howorth [lead guitar], Travis Johnson [bass], Randy Weitzel [rhythm guitar], and Kent Diimel [drums]—unearth a furious and focused feminine fire from a cauldron of jagged heavy metal, hypnotic alternative, and smoky voodoo blues.
It’s an evolution. It’s a statement. It’s In This Moment 2017…
“It’s like we’re going into the next realm,” asserts Maria. “I had a conviction of feeling empowered in my life and with myself. I always write from a personal place, and I needed to share that sense of strength. I’ve never been afraid to hold back. Sometimes, I can be very suggestive. However, I wanted to show our fans that this is the most powerful side of myself and it’s without overt sexuality. It’s that deeper serious fire inside of my heart.” “What Maria is saying comes from deep inside,” Chris affirms. “This time, we had a bunch of ideas started before we hit the studio. There was a really clear direction. It’s different.” The group spent two years supporting their biggest album yet 2014’s Black Widow. Upon release, it seized their highest position to date on the Billboard Top 200, bowing at #8. Simultaneously, it clinched #3 on the Hard Rock Albums chart and spawned a series of hits such as “Sick Like Me,” “Big Bad Wolf,” and “Sex Metal Barbie”—all cracking 8 million Spotify streams each and topping Rock Radio. Meanwhile, the band’s signature smash “Whore” crossed the 20-million mark.
Furthermore, the title track off In This Moment’s 2012 album, Blood, has been certified gold by the RIAA. A remarkable accomplishment, the companion music video for “Blood” has been viewed over 27 million times.
Between headline tours, they incinerated stages everywhere from Rock On The Range to Download Festival. In March 2016, Maria and Chris commenced writing for what would become the new record with longtime collaborator and multiple GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer Kevin Churko [Five Finger Death Punch, Ozzy Osbourne] at his Las Vegas compound. Following a high-profile summer 2016 tour with Korn and Rob Zombie, the duo began writing. Then, Maria visited Salem, MA for the very first time with all of the women in her family quite appropriately during Halloween.
“We were really tapping the energy there,” she says. “We were honoring each other. I was seeking inspiration and experience to inspire me in this album. I was trying to find a lot of truth in myself. I loved Salem. I was blown away by how visually beautiful it is. The history of the witch burnings is fascinating. It was a special ceremonial journey.”
Galvanized and inspired, Maria and Chris returned to Kevin’s stronghold to complete recording. In an atmosphere of candles, crystals, incense, and a cackling fireplace, they expanded their aural palette once again, welcoming a doom blues bombast into the sonic fold. “We love Black Widow, but it was very electronic,” Chris explains. “This is a little more organic, emphasizing guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. We slowed down the groove a little bit. I got to play some slide guitar, and I’ve never done that. There’s a bluesy side, which we’ve also never had.”
“We always want to grow and evolve,” Maria adds. “It was a chance to get a little more serious.” That progression shines through the first single “Oh Lord.” A minimal drum and handclap echoes as Maria’s wild incantation takes hold. Guitars shiver and shake as the frontwoman delivers an undeniable refrain.
“The meaning of ‘Oh Lord’ is central to the album,” she reveals. “I should be able to have a relationship with what I perceive God to be. For me, it’s this strength and light. When I was younger, I felt guilty for thinking of these things. I’m not supposed to touch an oracle card, a tarot card, or these beautiful things, because they’re ‘bad.’ I had these fears in me for a long time like, ‘Is this wrong?’ I realized I don’t have to be afraid anymore. There’s a lot of learning and an awakening in that one.”
Inverting everyone’s favorite Billy Idol nuptial anthem, “Black Wedding” sees Maria walk down the aisle of musical madness with none other than Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. Cowritten with Stevens, it’s an explosive and enchanting duet.
“I can’t believe that happened,” beams Chris. “Maria hit up Rob and asked if he was interested. He jumped right on it. I can’t believe we got him.”
“Who doesn’t love ‘White Wedding?’,” laughs Maria. “We wanted to do a spin-off that’s creative. It’s a question-and-answer between me and another voice. The chorus essentially says this isn’t going to be the opposite of a happy ending! You’re becoming empowered by heartbreak.” Chris breaks out the slide on the raging “River of Fire,” while “Witching Hour” dances around the flames to a new wave-inspired groove and midnight lore as Maria recants, “This idea of me being burned as a witch in a past life for teaching people to be free.” Elsewhere, “Roots” practically opens up the earth with its sheer seismic force.
“Sometimes, I have to go through pain in order to forgive and let go,” she adds. “I love to thank the hate in people. It’s that sort of energy. I’ll be okay, hold my headstrong, push forward, do what I’ve got to do, and prevail.”
Simultaneously, In This Moment breathe a dark new life into the Phil Collins’ classic “In The Air Tonight.”
“We can’t reproduce what he did in a million years,” she says. “It’s one of the best songs ever. We did our own interpretation and made it a little more sinister like our ritual.” The ritual has begun, and In This Moment ignite a brighter fire than ever before here. “When fans hear this, I want them to feel the music, whether they take away sadness, anger, or happiness,” concludes Chris. “As a kid, I remember listening to records and putting them on repeat over and over again. I’d love for the world to listen and absorb this as a piece of work.” Maria leaves off, “I want everybody to be unafraid of who they are and not worry about what the rest of society says. Be strong. Be loud. We love our fans deeply. I hope everybody feels that love and powerful in who they are.”
Judging from their name, Suicidal Tendencies were never afraid of a little controversy. Formed in Venice, California, during the early ’80s, the group’s leader from the beginning was outspoken vocalist Mike Muir. The outfit specialized in vicious hardcore early on — building a huge following among skateboarders, lending a major hand in the creation of skatepunk — before turning their focus eventually to thrash metal. Early on, the group (whose original lineup included Muir, guitarist Grant Estes, bassist Louiche Mayorga, and drummer Amery Smith) found it increasingly difficult to book shows, due to rumors of its members’ affiliation with local gangs and consistent violence at their performances. The underground buzz regarding Suicidal Tendencies grew too loud for labels to ignore though, as the quartet signed on with the indie label Frontier; issuing Muir and company’s classic self-titled debut in 1983. The album quickly became the best-selling hardcore album up to that point; its best-known track, “Institutionalized,” was one of the first hardcore punk videos to receive substantial airplay on MTV, and was eventually used in the Emilio Estevez cult classic movie Repo Man, as well as in an episode for the hit TV show Miami Vice (for which the group made a cameo appearance).
Suicidal Tendencies proved influential for future speed/thrash metal bands, but despite their early success, their reputation preceded them, as no other record label was willing to take them on (in addition, Los Angeles banned the group from playing around this time, lasting until the early ’90s). Not much was heard from the group for several years afterward (leading many to believe that Suicidal had broken up), but Muir and company eventually found a home with Caroline Records. By this time, half of the original lineup had left; Muir and Mayorga were the only holdovers, while guitarist Rocky George and drummer R.J. Herrera rounded out the group. The year 1987 saw the release of Suicidal’s sophomore release, Join the Army, which spawned another popular skatepunk anthem, “Possessed to Skate,” as more and more metalheads began to be spotted in Suicidal’s audience. Soon after, Suicidal were finally offered a major-label contract (with Epic), as another lineup change occurred: Mayorga exited the band, while newcomer Bob Heathcote took his spot, and a second guitarist, Mike Clark, was added as well. This Suicidal lineup’s first album together, 1988’s How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today, showed that their transformation from hardcore to heavy metal was now complete, as did a compilation of two earlier EPs, 1989’s Controlled by Hatred/Feel Like Shit…Déjà Vu.
Suicidal’s first release of the new decade, 1990’s Lights, Camera, Revolution, was another success; its video for the explosive “You Can’t Bring Me Down” received repeated airings on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball program, while the album (in addition to the Controlled by Hatred comp) would be certified gold in the U.S. a few years later. The release also signaled the arrival of new bassist Robert Trujillo, whose penchant for funk added a new element to the group’s sound. The group tried to broaden its audience even further by opening a string of arena shows for prog-metalists Queensrÿche during the summer of 1991. Their next release, 1992’s The Art of Rebellion, proved to be one of the most musically experimental albums of their career. Muir and Trujillo also teamed up around this time for a funk-metal side project, Infectious Grooves (including several other participants, such as Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins) and issued a debut release, The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move. Upset that the group’s classic debut had been out of print for several years by this point, Muir decided to re-record the entire record with Suicidal’s ’90s lineup under the title of Still Cyco After All These Years.
But after one more release, 1994’s Suicidal for Life, Suicidal Tendencies decided to hang it up. A pair of compilations were issued in 1997: a best-of set, Prime Cuts, plus Friends & Family. Muir and Trujillo continued to issue further Infectious Grooves releases (Sarsippius’ Ark and Groove Family Cyco), in addition to Muir pursuing a solo career under the alias of Cyco Miko (Lost My Brain Once Again) and Trujillo touring and recording as part of Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band (appearing on Osbourne’s 2001 release Down to Earth). Muir formed a new version of Suicidal Tendencies in the late ’90s (with Clark being the only other familiar face), resulting in such further studio releases as 1999’s Freedumb and 2000’s Free Your Soul and Save My Mind. Muir and Trujillo joined forces once more for a fourth Infectious Grooves studio release in 2000, Mas Borracho, while another Cyco Miko release surfaced, Schizophrenic Born Again Problem Child, along with a follow-up to their earlier compilation, Friends & Family, Vol. 2.
Busy with myriad side projects, the band wouldn’t release another studio album until 2013. The aptly named 13 was recorded over a ten-year period, and would be the group’s only studio album with guitarist Nico Santora, bassist Steve Bruner, and drummer Eric Moore. Muir brought in guitarist Jeff Pogan, bassist Ra Díaz, and drummer Dave Lombardo for the band’s 12th studio long-player, 2016’s World Gone Mad. March 2018 saw the band issue the EP Get Your Fight On!, with plans to release a full-length outing later that summer.
Motionless In White
Since 2006, Motionless In White has won over audiences around the globe with their aggressive music and arresting imagery, rapidly rising to the upper echelon of modern rock. Albums such as 2010’s Creatures and 2012’s Infamous would galvanize a rabid fan base around the band – currently comprised of lead singer Chris Motionless, guitarists Ryan Sitkowski and Ricky Horror, and drummer Vinny Mauro. Motionless In White’s 2014 LP, Reincarnate, reached new heights, bowing at #9 on the Billboard “Top 200” and claiming #1 on Billboard’s “Hard Rock Albums” chart. GRAVEYARD SHIFT, the band’s latest album arrived in 2017 to critical acclaim, once again topping Billboard’s “Hard Rock Albums” chart led by the Top 20 Active Rock hit “LOUD (F*ck It),” as well as the thunderous singles “Eternally Yours” and “Necessary Evil.” “Motionless In White make sure to leave no gravestone unturned as they explore the vast underworld of rock,” declared Alternative Press, while Rock Sound avowed, “Every cut brings something new to the table… tugging at the heartstrings one moment and cutting straight to the bone the next.
Philip H. Anselmo
& The Illegals
During 2011–2012, Anselmo wrote and recorded a solo album, titled Walk Through Exits Only with his backing band The Illegals. The album was released on July 16, 2013.
In October 2017, the second album Choosing Mental Illness As a Virtue was announced, originally due in December but have officially set it for January 26, 2018. The first song, “Choosing Mental Illness”, was made available for streaming. The next song, “The Ignorant Point”, was released on December 13. Exclaim! scored the album an 8 out of 10!
The Blood of Gods Mythos:
The story of GWAR is carved across the history of this barren and hopeless planet, but GWAR themselves are not of this world… their story begins in the deepest reaches of outer space. Long ago, the beings who would become the rock band GWAR were part of an elite fighting force, the Scumdogs of the Universe. For eons, they served as thralls to a supreme being known only as the Master. But one by one, each future member of the band earned a glaring reputation for being an intergalactic fuck-up. And so, they were banished, sent away on a fool’s errand to conquer an insignificant shitball floating in a dark corner of the universe; the planet Earth. Once here, GWAR shaped the face of the globe, destroying and rebuilding the natural world, and giving rise to all of human history. Aliens to some, gods and demons to others, our erstwhile Scumdogs fucked apes to create the human race, and this fateful unplanned pregnancy would prove to be truly disastrous!
Their new album, “The Blood of Gods” is nothing less than a sacred text chronicling the rise of humanity against their makers, and the massive battle between GWAR and the forces of all that is uptight and wrong with the world. Along the way, the band challenges the sins of their great mistake, from politics, pollution, and organized religion, to fast food, and factory farming. Humans are shown as what they are; a parasitical disease that must be eradicated before they suck the planet dry.
Of course, “The Blood of Gods” is the first GWAR album without the band’s fallen leader, Oderus Urungus. The title of the album refers to the loss of Oderus. and the struggles and triumphs that produced the new sound of the band. Born of adversity, “The Blood of Gods” is a sonic scar…a question asked and answered…Death cannot kill GWAR. Nothing can.
The Melvins were formed in Montessano, Washington in 1983 by Buzz Osborne, Matt Lukin and Mike Dillard. Lukin and Dillard left the band and drummer Dale Crover stepped in shortly thereafter. Osborne and Crover have been the Melvins’ mainstays throughout their 29 year metamorphosis.
To date the band has released 27 original albums, numerous live full-lengths and far too many to count singles and rarities. They’ve partnered with Jello Biafra, Lustmord and Fantomas for individual releases and toured the world many times over (side note: the band was in both Christchurch and Tokyo for their 2011 earthquakes).
With the release of (A) Senile Animal in 2006, the Melvins became a four-piece, essentially annexing Jared Warren and Coady Willis of Big Business. The Melvins, already known for their shattering mix of punk-meets-metal (and often referred to by an assortment of tags including sludge and grunge), were now louder and more bombastic than ever leading to a resurgence in the band’s popularity and a run of three original full-lengths. Never ones for complacency, Buzz and Dale have since created Melvins Lite, a line-up partnering the pair with Mr. Bungle’s Trevor Dunn and most recently teamed with Butthole Surfers’ JD Pinkus and Paul Leary for the 2014 release, Hold It In.
It all began with a feeling.
Of being alone and wanting to belong.
Of wanting to share that feeling of belonging.
And experience the euphoria of bonding with others.
The feeling became a dream.
To make the most exciting music imaginable.
Music that embraced and celebrated life in all its facets, electrifying and uniting everyone who heard it.
The dream attained reality in major chords pounded out on piano, an unrelenting four-to-the-floor beat, a set of dirty whites, a bloody nose.
And found its voice with these words:
“When it’s time to party, we will party hard.”
It’s safe to say, nobody has partied harder, longer or more fervently than the undisputed King of Partying himself, Andrew W.K.. A one-man music machine possessed of a single-minded, monomaniacal focus to spread a singular message:
That to party is to exist.
And to exist is to party.
This mission he embarked upon in 2001, with the release of his debut single and signature tune “Party Hard,” and has never swerved from since. Released the same year, his debut album I Get Wet, an instant, ageless classic, was a full-throated declaration of that hedonistic intent. Twelve songs, no ballads, delivered at breakneck speed and with maximum intensity from beginning to end. All the bluntness, passion and classicism of rock ‘n’ roll, boiled down and purified to its base elements.
Power. Movement. Melody. Emotion. Noise.
A sound simultaneously life-affirming, enervating and overwhelming.
A sound that obliterates ego and bludgeons self.
As an artist, he seemed to have emerged out of nowhere, fully-formed right out of the box, with an image, a style, and a sense of purpose that set him far apart from his peers. If that seemed to good to be true, then maybe it was. Andrew W.K., the critics opined, was either the savior of music or its biggest fraud. Either deadly serious or an elaborate prank. None of which bothered the fans who took up the mantle of the Andrew W.K. ethos, to live every moment as if it was simultaneously their first and their last. Live shows, backed by a six-piece band of hard-driving musicians, became a collective celebration of unbridled joy that often turned entire dance floors into a giant, whirling circle pit of jostling bodies, with sweat and hair flying, and ended in a mass stage invasion that tore down the boundary between artist and audience.
Two years later came The Wolf, an album that doubled as a manual for self-realization, blending the personal with the philosophical, drawing on the past to forge a path towards the future, then folding back on itself like a Möbius strip, invoking an existence with no beginning, no end, seamless. From this point on, his fans became his friends and allies in a cause undertaken purely for its own sake; an idea explored further in a 2004 MTV series, Your Friend, Andrew W.K., where he offered himself up as cheerleader and life coach, helping others to realize themselves and their dreams.
A third album in 2006, Close Calls With Brick Walls, as ambitious in scope and sound as it was oblique in theme and tone, suggested an artist who seemed to have freed himself from all the restrictions placed upon him, by himself and by others, who had peered into a looking glass and seen… his mirror image, staring back. Everything that he was and everything that he wasn’t, merged into one. A series of reflections arching backwards into infinity. Multiple images of a face with the same forced smile. As if Andrew W.K., the performer, had been replaced by a different person entirely.
The rumors that had persisted since the very beginning of his career, began to multiply and take hold, begging the question: not who is Andrew W.K., but what is Andrew W.K.? A person, a persona, a wig. An entity, a corporation or a symbol. An enigma behind a set of initials.
That question would remain unanswered as, over the next decade, Andrew W.K. adopted a dizzying array of roles that took him into virgin territory for a rock ‘n’ roll musician, establishing a unique place for himself in popular culture, as a ubiquitous celebrity presence, while at the same time calling into question the very nature of that celebrity. Advice columnist, university lecturer, and children’s game show host. Nightclub impresario, talk radio personality and talk show guest. Motivational speaker and cultural ambassador. Performance artist and magician’s assistant. Party philosopher and weatherman. He was all these things and more.
Now, as he readies the release of a brand new album of rock music, his first in over a decade, and prepares to embark on his first full-band tour in five years, Andrew W.K. has come full circle to celebrate a party still raging strong.
A party that is now and forevermore.
Because the party never dies.
Badflower don’t care what you think about them. They don’t care whether you get what they’re doing, because their thoroughly modern rock is more ahead of the curve than anyone else you might try and pigeonhole them with. And they really don’t care whether you like the messages in their songs, because what they sing about is important, if uncomfortable.
That attitude might seem misguided for a band who have yet to release their debut album. In this age where music’s money comes largely from touring, fans are more important than ever – they’re the ones who buy the tickets to shows and ultimately give artists the opportunity to keep playing and progressing. But the LA four-piece aren’t complete beginners – since forming in 2013, frontman Josh Katz, guitarist Joey Morrow, drummer Anthony Sonetti, and bassist Alex Espiritu have toured relentlessly across the US and beyond, building up a reputation as a formidable live force as well as an ever-growing mass of loyal followers and praise from the likes of Billboard, Forbes, and Consequence Of Sound.
Though the band credit their years of gigging with giving them the life experience to write their debut album, ‘OK, I’M SICK’, it’s also had its downsides, especially for Katz. The singer and guitarist suffers from anxiety and panic disorder – something that he’s had to learn how to cope with on the road. “I once ran off stage mid-song and just had to take a beat and was very confused,” he says, offering an example of how the problem can affect him. “I wasn’t sure if I should be throwing up or sitting down. Typically, it’s just clenching every muscle in my body until it hopefully goes away. I can barely stand up, barely get notes out. It’s all of these feelings at once.”
It’s that problem that inspired ‘Ghost’, the band’s big breakthrough single. After coming home from tour, Katz was so fed up with what he had to go through to get on stage every night, he was in two minds whether to carry on with music. “If I’m miserable every night, why am I doing it?” he asked himself. It was that song, which reached the top of the US charts, that saved Badflower.
Despite its success, the group was initially sceptical about it being more than an album track. In its often graphic lyrics, Katz plays out a dark, suicidal fantasy – “This life is overwhelming and I’m ready for the next one,” he sighs resignedly at one point. They worried listeners would think they were glorifying suicide, cynically using a very real and serious problem for their own gain. “But people got it immediately and we realised how many people are affected by depression, panic disorder, and anxiety issues,” Katz explains. “You hear about it all the time, you see it on every commercial – there’s some anti-depressant being sold to you because everybody has these issues – but people don’t like to talk about it that much.”
While ‘Ghost’ is a somewhat harrowing take on mental health issues, not all of ‘OK, I’M SICK’ is as serious. Opener ‘x ANA x’ (inspired in part by Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre documentary The Defiant Ones) tackles a similar topic but with a far more sardonic tone. An ode to the helpful qualities of Xanax, it’s eyebrow-raising, incredibly self-aware and rife with meta moments (in one breakdown Katz cheerily asks: “Hey, wanna see what happens when I mix Xanax, blow, and a MacBook Pro?”). Along with the constantly changing music – be it speeding up, stuttering almost to the brink of collapse, or weaving even more claustrophobic layers together – it adds up to something completely manic.
“The whole song is meant to feel like a panic attack – unexplained chaos happening within you,” Katz says. “We wrote that song together and then I took what we had to our house in the desert and stayed awake all night and, like a mad scientist, destroyed everything and chopped it up. I didn’t feel like it was manic enough. It’s making fun of anxiety but it’s also making fun of itself.”
As a band with plenty to say, mental health isn’t the only message Badflower share on their debut. ‘Murder Games’ is the album’s most intense and urgent sounding cut, metallic, guillotine-esque swishes entwined with a punishing guitar line that sets you on edge. Its lyrics speak about veganism (Katz has been vegan for four years) in uncompromising terms. “That’s gonna alienate our band like crazy,” the frontman shrugs, unbothered. “We think it’s something important that needs to be talked about so we’re gonna talk about it. It’s about getting the conversation started. It’s about getting people to look at it in a different way and not be so passive about the idea that something in society that you grew up hearing was right might not be as right as you think.”
‘Die’ also has the potential to cause controversy. Partly a damning assessment of Trump’s position on the environment (Morrow is keen to point out the President is not the only target of the song), it features Katz screaming the title as if his own life depends on it. But his sentiment is not what you might immediately assume. “It doesn’t mean, ‘Hey, go get murdered’ or ‘I’m gonna kill you’,” he clarifies. “It’s more all of those people who are so stuck in their ways, who are afraid of change and afraid of evolution, need to get old and die off so the next generation can come up and make some change and do something good.” Despite first appearances, it’s intended as a statement of progression. “We’re meant to move forward, not stagnate,” Espiritu notes.
Elsewhere, the album navigates subjects like abuse (‘Daddy’), depression in the face of success (’24’), and social media stalking (‘Girlfriend’). The latter merges old and new, layering lyrics about Instagram filters and the internet over a big blues-rock jam. “We’ve always wanted to write about that anyway,” says Katz, “and it was the perfect, wacky blues riff to write that over. I think we came up with something very special.”
Badflower’s focus might be on big conversations but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy to turn their attention to less weighty subjects too. ‘Promise Me’ is the only traditional love song on the record but not even it can escape the band’s entrenched darkness. “That’s my proudest moment on the album,” Espiritu says. “We talk about doing what we want and what the spirit of rock and roll is, and then we have ‘Promise Me’, which is this leftfield, beautiful, romantic love song, and we’re able to spin it and make it our own.” The making it their own, Katz explains, involves one of the song’s characters meeting their maker.
Produced with Noah Shain (Atreyu, Dead Sara), ‘OK, I’M SICK’ represents a band full of ideas and submerged in the most modern of sounds. The band’s intention was to make the most 2018 album they possibly could, unfazed by the idea it could sound dated a few years down the line. “Timeless music is amazing but everybody’s trying so hard to make timeless music that they’re making vague, cookie-cutter shit,” Katz says. “It sounds like everything else and I don’t think there’s really many rock bands who are trying to write anything current. We wanted to make something for this generation.”
You might have realised by now this band isn’t one to limit themselves. “We don’t even consider ourselves a rock band,” Katz says defiantly. “If we decide to put out a rap album next week, we’re gonna do it. Watch us. We don’t fucking care. We do what we want. Rock and roll used to be about that spirit and that got lost somewhere.” You can count on Badflower to put it right back in the heart of things, whether anyone else likes it or not.
Music bestows a voice upon the voiceless. It provides a mouthpiece for the unheard to be heard. It amplifies the cries of the downtrodden in the face of oppression and tyranny. It’s the last line of dissent….
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Howard Zinn
Since unleashing their seminal 1996 debut Die for the Government, Anti-Flag has empowered and emboldened the listeners of two generations beset with
a new millennium stricken by war, racial upheaval, and financial collapse. The Pittsburgh, PA quartet—Justin Sane [vocals], Chris#2 [bass, vocals], Chris Head [guitar, vocals], and Pat Thetic [drums]—has consistently embodied a timeless punk spirit over the course of nine influential offerings, including The Terror State, For Blood and Empire, and most recently, 2015’s American Spring. The latter boasted appearances from icons such as Tom Morello and Tim Armstrong and yielded the anthem “Brandenburg Gate,” which cracked 1.3 million Spotify streams and counting.
They’ve incinerated stages on tour alongside Rage Against The Machine, Sick of It All, Billy Talent, The Offspring, Rancid, and more in addition to festivals ranging from Coachella to the Vans Warped Tour. A cultural institution, they have spoken out on behalf of movements such as Occupy Together, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, and Amnesty International between launching their own label A-F and ANTIFest.
As the world changed again with the controversial 2016 presidential election, the time felt ripe for Anti-Flag’s tenth and most definitive offering yet, American Fall [Spinefarm Records].
“There’s a focus on politics right now for obvious reasons,” says Chris#2. “When that happens, our band gets more attention. Being our tenth record, we wanted to make sure that we were true to ourselves. It had to sound like Anti-Flag. At the same
time, London Calling is my favorite by The Clash because they took risks. Since they were in front of more eyes than ever, they didn’t play it safe. We wanted to push the envelope so we had a reason to put out another record when everyone was watching.”
Writing back home in Pittsburgh, the signature sound naturally evolved with slower grooves, tighter songcraft, thicker guitars, and bigger melodies. It provided the perfect musical counterpoint to the incendiary and inflammatory subject matter.
“Because we’re living in very divisive and dark times, we wanted to deliver our message in a way that wasn’t overbearing and oppressive to listeners,” adds Justin. “Getting a little more melodic makes the pill easier to digest. It became more impactful and simple.”
“Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.” – Woody Guthrie
Kicking off 2017, the boys traded snowy Pittsburgh in January for sunny Southern California where they would co-produce American Fall with Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden. His personal perspective proved indispensable in the studio.
“He understands that we know how to do this, but he also added a fresh take,” Chris#2 goes on. “It was cool to have him around on these songs, because many of them are structurally and sonically pretty catchy punk rock. We embraced the idea of writing singalongs and big hooks. We were all on a similar page going into this.”
“He had a great sense for feeling where something was heading and pushing it in that direction,” adds Justin. “That was a really impressive skill that he brought to the process.”
Introducing American Fall, opener and first single “American Attraction” hinges on a hulking drum beat and hummable guitars before snapping into an explosive chant. It’s quintessential Anti-Flag as far as the subject matter goes…
“We were definitely interested in talking about the politics of distraction on that one,” Justin exclaims. “The politics of distraction lead people to make choices that aren’t in their best interest. They follow leaders who are just using them and don’t care to actually do something positive for the country. When you live in a society that glorifies guns, drugs, and war, you become susceptible to those politics—while the individuals in charge are only worried about re-election. They don’t care about you.”
“Sooner or later, the people of this country are going to find out the government doesn’t give a fuck about them. Government doesn’t care about you. All they are interested in, is keeping and expanding their own power.” – George Carlin
Elsewhere on the record, “The Criminals” gallops ahead at full speed driven by a performance soaked in blood, sweat, and tears and pure punk fury. The acoustic guitar
and chant of “When The Wall Falls” gives way to a buoyant groove, and “Casualty” caps everything off with a fitting middle finger, proclaiming “Try to shut us down, but we won’t be another casualty.”
Speaking directly to those in need, the lyrics to “Casualty” are accompanied by phone numbers for Trans Lifeline, Suicide Prevention, Domestic Violence, Crisis Text Line, and Trevor Project Lifeline. Moreover, the booklet includes essays, quotes, and writings of Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Montgomery, Ryan Harvey, and more.
American Fall heralds another era for Anti-Flag as their impact remains as palpable as ever.
“We were on Warped Tour THIS summer,” recalls Pat. “Three-to-five trans folks would come to the booth and say hello to us every day. These same marginalized kids were at the shows 20 years ago, but they were afraid to express themselves. The fact that they are NOW empowered to be who they really are is incredible…the fact that they know they are welcomed by our band and community is awesome, the same goes for so many others who are feeling alienated and they are receiving that message loud and clear.”
In the end, American Fall does what Anti-Flag has always done—it inspires change.
“I want everybody to realize they’re not alone,” Chris#2 leaves off. “These conversations we’re having are ones that others are having too. Four kids from Pittsburgh don’t have all the answers, but we’re looking out the same window and realizing that the color and the shape of things isn’t what we want. However, we can band together with some likeminded individuals who feel the same way and turn it into the thing we want.”
“After all this, won’t you give me a smile.” – Joe Strummer
Deadland Ritual is a band that spiritually was born in the desert where legendary drummer Matt Sorum lives these days. Drawing inspiration from the “ritual symbolism of the desert badlands” paired with his love of the idea of a “ritualistic forgotten space,” the name of the group felt appropriate for the darker tone of the music he was creating with iconic bassist Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), guitarist Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) and lead singer Franky Perez (Apocalyptica, Scars on Broadway).
Longtime friendships with Stevens and Perez helped to form the initial core of the lineup, but Sorum says that it was a pivotal moment when Butler agreed to join in. “Black Sabbath was my first band that I really fell in love with as a musician,” he says. “That was my entry point when I started coming up as a young drummer.” The bassist’s unmistakable tone is an important part of the foundation of the band’s sound.
Calling himself “semi-retired,” Butler admits that there was a lot to think about when he got the invitation to join Deadland Ritual. “I had to get used to the idea of starting from scratch again, which is good. It’s a challenge for me,” he says. “But I really liked the music that I was hearing. It’s not your typical metal stuff or hard rock stuff or whatever.”
For Stevens, it was a revelation the first time he found himself recording with Butler. “I remember the first time that I started tracking against his bass, and I went, ‘Oh my God,’ he recalls. “There’s a lot of times in the studio as a guitar player, you get a guitar sound and you’re trying to make it work, you’re tweaking it. There was none of that bullshit. It just fit against his bass sound and it was really exciting for me. It was like, ‘Wow, I get to hear my guitar against a bass guitarist that I’ve loved since I was 15 years old.”
”This happened the way it was supposed to happen. We didn’t force it. The entire process has been so enjoyable. It’s reminded me of what it was like to be in a band when it mattered,” Perez adds. “Like, before you go to sleep, you’re thinking about the music. When you wake up, you’re thinking about the music. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the excitement of being in a room with a band like I did when I was a kid”
The group worked on songs together and enlisted producer Greg Fidelman (Metallica, Slipknot, Black Sabbath) when it was time to record. They made the decision to track the material at Henson Studios in Hollywood. “We knew we wanted to make the biggest sonic rock madness that we could come up with,” Sorum explains. “Greg was the right choice for that.”
”Down In Flames” thunders through the speakers, a driving hard rocker with lush vocal harmonies that at the core, still feels like the sound of four guys in a room jamming. But there are additional flourishes, like the pedal steel that Stevens adds to the mystical midsection and Sorum’s tribal drums, which spontaneously emerged as the band was working on basic tracks. “It was one of those beautiful mistakes.” Stevens says, recalling how the drummer began playing the pattern on the fly.
But make no mistake, as the songs developed, Sorum often had a definite vision. “It’s great because Matt really knows what he wants it to sound like and he just keeps going and going and going until he’s got it right, until he’s satisfied with his drumming,” Butler says. “It’s really good to play with somebody who’s that professional. He’s so knowledgeable about different drum styles and he’s also a fan of Bill Ward, Sabbath’s original drummer so he likes that kind of swing part of it as well.”
Sorum has logged decades of time behind the kit playing with Guns N’ Roses, The Cult and Velvet Revolver, to name a few, adding his signature sound to countless rock radio hits that are played to this day. With this band, he wanted to take things to the next level. “For me it was like, ‘Man, I want to get the best drum sound I’ve ever gotten. I want to play the best I’ve played,'” Sorum says. “I think I’ve achieved that. I feel as a drummer I’ve morphed through a lot of decades of rock and roll.”
Deadland Ritual’s “secret weapon” is Perez, a versatile vocalist who shines on the songs that the band has recorded so far, and a talented voice that Sorum has long hoped to incorporate into the right project. The singer fortunately had the full support of his bandmates as he took on what could have been a difficult job. “They’ve always believed in what I did vocally and they’re like, ‘Dude, sing. Don’t hold back. Sing like it’s your last day on earth.’ And I did that. I felt that, and I went in there with something to prove. And not just for me, but for us as a whole.”
Similarly, Stevens put a lot of thought into his guitar approach. “I wanted what I brought to this band to be unique and exclusive to this project and that took a little bit of soul searching and brain power,” he explains. “I wanted my guitar to really compliment the other members and their individual styles. I truly feel that in this band that the sum is greater than the parts.
Calling Stevens “an incredible guitarist,” Butler says, “He’s got some great ideas and he’s very inspirational. He’ll come up with stuff that I’d never even dreamed of coming up with, so it inspires you and like all with good guitarists, you want to come up to their level.”
The ominously moody nature of “Broken and Bruised” and “Walking Into Walls,” two additional tracks that have recently been completed, reveal that there’s a lot of depth to the material that the group has been writing together. “Obviously we’ve all been through some stuff,” Perez says, “Life is full of ups and downs. So, if you’re being honest artistically, all of that turmoil, love, loss, happiness, and pain makes its way into the music. It’s a really cathartic experience performing these songs.”
With a stack of festival appearances and headlining dates already booked, the members promise that the shows will be something special, mixing original material with deeper cuts from their collective past, ones that are “not the typical songs you would expect,” according to Sorum.
In addition to the larger gigs, the band will also get a chance to play some intimate venues. Butler says he’s looking forward to both scenarios. “You get to do the 20,000 seaters and you put on the show and you do get audience feedback, obviously, but I don’t know, there’s just something special about smaller venues. I might hate it after a week, I don’t know,” he chuckles. “It’s going to be different for me but I’m looking forward to playing clubs as well as the festivals.”
”I’m just really excited for people to see this band live,” Perez adds. “One of the things that I want to really emphasize is that this is an honest to God, down and dirty rock and roll band. We’re energized, and we want to put on an incredible show.”
No egos, no bullshit. Deadland Ritual is ready to take the world by storm. For Sorum, that means the 2018 equivalent of his teenage years when he was handing out handmade cassettes of his first recordings. Get the music out there where the fans can hear it and the rest will come. “Just release the material, he says. “We’re ready to play.”
Boasting textured melodies and layered guitars, the second album from Louisville’s White Reaper, The World’s Best American Band, finds this Kentucky rock band busting out the basement sound it established on their previous full length (2015’s White Reaper Does It Again) and setting their sights on the arena.
Garnished with glimpses of the golden age of rock and roll, TWBAB is loaded with guitars that scream and gigantic drums, each song packing its own massive and refreshing punch. Lead single “Judy French” struts like a runway model raised on Heavy Metal Parking Lot, while midway point, “The Stack” harkens back to shimmering and glam classic rock.
The band have been touring their hearts out in support of the record playing headline shows and supporting dates with Spoon, Weezer, Billy Idol and The Struts. They have also hit the spectrum of major music festivals including Lollapalooza, ACL, CalJam and Forecastle.
Now off the road, the band are working on their next record with producer Jay Joyce, due out in 2019.
The Crystal Method
For more than two decades, The Crystal Method has remained at the forefront of the worldwide dance music industry as pioneers of the big beat genre, innovators of the ‘90s electronica movement and current-day global ambassadors of the American electronic sound. Originally formed as a duo—alongside founding member Ken Jordan, who retired from the music business in 2016—The Crystal Method today lives and breathes as a solo act, with co-founder Scott Kirkland at the helm. And with the artistic reboot comes the next chapter in The Crystal Method timeline: The Trip Home, out September 28 on the band’s own Tiny E Records.
As the sixth full-length The Crystal Method album and Kirkland’s first as a newfound solo act, The Trip Home serves as the creative rebirth of the brand. An artistic manifesto and love letter to the electronic world, The Trip Home welcomes Kirkland at the driver’s seat with full control of the reins.
For the new album, which he co-produced with Glen Nicholls, Kirkland dove deep into the decades-spanning discography of The Crystal Method. The result is a sound that revisits the roots of the classic Crystal Method aesthetic, while pushing its possibilities into the future. Equal parts throwback and dynamic futurism, The Trip Home expands Kirkland’s unrestrained curiosity into new realms and new sounds.
To perfect this fine balance, Kirkland took a back-to-basics approach, which saw him firing up his arsenal of analog synths and reconnecting with his collection of vintage gear. The lead single “Holy Arp” captures this calculated formula perfectly: A brooding intro of darkly tinged bleeps and bloops slowly builds the song’s tension before it pours into a bed of chunky synths, distorted reverb and alien sounds.
It was “Holy Arp” that gave Kirkland the first flashes of the cohesive sound that would shape The Trip Home.
“As soon as I got that track going, I knew I had found the direction for the new album,” Kirkland says. “It reverberates with the sound of Crystal Method classics like ‘Name of the Game’ and has some of the gnarliness of ‘Vapor Trail.’ It’s an angry, ballsy, bombastic trip down the inner workings of the vintage ARP 2600 synth.”
Elsewhere, the emotional ballad “Ghost in the City”—co-produced with electronic artist/producer Le Castle Vania—is a narrative-driven electronic dream that floats through dark clouds and shredding guitars, while singer-songwriter Amy Kirkpatrick delivers an angelic and touching vocal performance. “
“There’s a Difference,” a reimagining of the track “Difference” off The Crystal Method’s 2014 self-titled album, is a full-on alt rock hybrid that mixes melodic electronics, pulsing bass, punching live drums and riveting vocals from singer Franky Perez.
Collectively, The Trip Home pieces together the fundamentals of The Crystal Method’s storied past while adding new, unexplored elements for a cohesive, unique sonic experience that’s as diverse in sound and style as it is anthemic and driving.
“I wanted to create a concept album of sorts,” Kirkland says, “a project that speaks to what’s going on in my life right now and a vision that also brings The Crystal Method sound forward and shapes it in a new way. I’ve been enjoying the idea of making an album like our debut album Vegas, where every song is different. Every song has a different BPM, every song has different emotions, every song has different elements.”
The Trip Home also serves as Kirkland’s message and reaction to the grandiose excess of today’s EDM scene. Where the genre constantly offers tired and recycled noise, Kirkland answers with an album built on organic sounds, a wide emotional range and, ultimately, real music.
Forged from analog synths, recorded through vintage Moog and Electro-Harmonix pedals and mixed through Sound City’s Neve console—not the same one used on Nevermind; Dave Grohl has that one—The Trip Home is a warm embrace of organic electronic music. The natural noise of analog gear is part of the sound. “I’m always looking for just the right amount of wrong,” Kirkland says. “I’m really proud of all the collaborations and incredibly talented artists who contributed to The Trip Home. I wanted to make a timeless album that sounded great and that conveyed an emotional narrative and a strong appreciation of the album format.”
The Trip Home will be released as The Crystal Method celebrates two massive milestones in 2018: 25 years on the music scene and the 21st anniversary of Vegas, the band’s debut studio album. It is the latest installment in The Crystal Method’s lauded discography, which includes the platinum-selling Vegas; Tweekend (2001); Legion of Boom (2004) and Divided by Night (2009), both of which received Grammy nominations in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category; and The Crystal Method (2014).
Most recently, Kirkland wrote his first-ever film score for the 2017 documentary Hired Gun and wrote the theme song for 3 Below, the upcoming TV series from Academy Award winner Guillermo del Toro, which debuts on Netflix this fall.
“The Trip Home refers to my long journey: all these places where I’ve been able to go, the experiences that come with it, the distances I’ve traveled,” Kirkland reflects. “It’s the journey back to all the things that got me here—the touring, the music, the fans—and keep me here. But there’s always home. At the end of it, I go home to my family, I go home to my studio, and then I go back out. It’s a circle. I tried to capture all this in an album.”
Demon Hunter is an American metal institution. The band embraces brazenly transcendent melodies, without apology, while maintaining a defiant heaviness reminiscent of the most timeless of metal music. For over a decade, Demon Hunter has weathered the changing tides of rock subculture, proving ever resistant to trends, and ever resilient, making music as determined and resolute as the men within the band.
Demon Hunter’s dedicated supporters and allies around the world wear the group’s symbol, lyrics and album imagery on their shirts, denim vests, backpacks, and uniforms, and in many cases, on their skin. The band has engaged their fans in direct, authentic and personal terms for years, since long before such efforts were seen as “strategy.”
The group’s extended family around the world cherish the band’s songs as personal anthems, instruments of empowerment, using them to mark chapters in their lives both good and bad, in celebration and in mourning, from weddings to funerals. Songs like “I Am a Stone,” “Not Ready to Die,” “Carry Me Down,” “Collapsing,” “LifeWar,” and “Fading Away” continue to resonate with fans, even as each successive album elicits ever more fervor from the band’s fierce, loyal supporters.
Even in the wake of the band’s greatest career triumph, the group’s members faced their greatest personal challenges. In the handful of years since Extremist enjoyed the band’s largest first week sales debut (at #16 on the Billboard 200 with roughly 18,000 sold) and produced the SiriusXM radio hit “The Last One Alive” and the somber “I Will Fail You,” Demon Hunter survived through nearly crippling adversity.
But their personal hardship and private struggle resulted in a renewed strength, embodied in sound and spirit on their eighth album, Outlive.
“In many ways, it feels like the five of us have done more living in these last couple of years than in the entire decade prior,” observes frontman, primary songwriter and founding member Ryan Clark. “Four of us became first time fathers and entering that amazing yet stressful phase of life together has brought us even closer, he adds.” Between the insanity of parenthood and a variety of other more difficult scenarios, all as the world-at-large seemingly crumbles around us, there was certainly no shortage of content to explore on this album.”
Outlive tracks like “Cold Winter Sun,” “Died in My Sleep” and “Half As Dead” are among the latest melodic metal mission statements in an arsenal rich with sonic diversity, melodic depth, and authentic passion.
As a headlining act, Demon Hunter helped introduce audiences to bands like August Burns Red. They’ve co-headlined with Red and toured as direct support for both In Flames and As I Lay Dying in the United States and parts of Canada. They’ve traveled to South America, Europe, and Australia, headlining major festivals and club shows alike.
Ryan and his brother, former guitarist Don Clark, created Demon Hunter after the turn of the millennium, unleashing a self-titled first album backed by a still shadowy and enigmatic lineup in 2002,
assembling a touring lineup that introduced Jonathan Dunn as bassist.
Summer of Darkness broke through in the metal, hardcore and Christian rock scenes in 2004, with MTV2 rotation for “Not Ready to Die” and a spot on the “Resident Evil: Apocalypse” soundtrack helping push it to 100,000 in sales. Watts was a fulltime member by the time they released The Triptych, which sold close to 150,000 copies in the U.S.; 2007’s Storm The Gates Of Hell crossed the 100,000 mark as well.
Judge toured on that record as lead guitarist, officially joining in 2009 with Live in Nashville. The World Is A Thorn debuted with first week sales of 14,000, as “Collapsing” became their highest charting song at metal and specialty radio. True Defiance, cemented the current lineup with Scott’s addition in 2012, breaking into Billboard’s Top 40. In the wake of Extremist, Demon Hunter has sold roughly 600,000 records.
Like Extremist, Outlive was produced/engineered by the band’s own Jeremiah Scott (Living Sacrifice, The Showdown) and mixed by Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Queensrÿche, Hatebreed), with additional input from longtime collaborator Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, New Found Glory). The record was made primarily in Nashville, home to Scott, Judge, and Watts, with additional recording in Seattle, home to Clark and Dunn.
Demon Hunter’s musical identity is forged from diverse elements that coalesce into a singular electric charge, merging seemingly disparate sound with seamless agility: the energy of America’s thrash metal legends; the catchiness of Europe’s melodic death metal innovators; the gloomy atmospheric majesty of gothic rock; the song craft of dark romantic pop; and the fist-pumping aggression of Southern groove.
Demon Hunter’s body of work is born from unwavering commitment, uncompromising creative determination, and stark recognition of the reality of an often-cold world tempered in defiant hope. It’s made up of smartly constructed, confessional lyrics; heady and catchy melody; monster riffs; bottom heavy grooves; the collision of meticulous production and urgent raw power; bold imagery and bolder themes.
The first spores of Ho99o9 were identified by the CDC’s infectious disease unit in the outsourced offices of purgatory that are peppered all throughout New Jersey in places like Linden, Elizabeth and Newark.
There was only legend until cultures were collected. Once told as a cautionary tale of two neighborhood kids, their story mutated into a reflection on the horrors of the society that produced them. What happened between those early days in the neighborhood and the present day is often debated.
theOGM (Jean) & Yeti Bones (Eaddy) are certainly a product of their early environment. There weren’t any fields or even much grass for a kid to play on. Gardens were made of concrete and a reality sustained only by dreams of places where the train tracks went.
Eaddy’s Pops brought Motown and the militancy of the armed forces into Eaddy’s sometimes rigid and uncompromising basic training for life. Pops was hard because hard makes leaders in the human chain of command. And Jean was always there in the street level offices of Chris Christie’s “small government” purgatory in the defunded, decommissioned and deconstructed district of Linden New Jersey. Jean knew when Trump’s future fuc boi and every other neo-con said “small government” what they really meant was “Fuck you nigg…”
Style was lacking but what Jean’s Pops was packing into his ear speakers stayed embedded in Jean’s mind – The sounds of Haitian Kompa sung by Sweet Micky (Michael Martely). The bizarre behavior and non-conformist styles of a Haitian icon caught Jean’s eyes and ears back then and once again now with Micky recently rising to become president of Haiti. Thieves and liars giving way to an influential artist elected to rebuild a crumbling nation? Noted.
Jean and Eaddy kept lampin in overlapping circles of connected streets, bordering cities and shuffled between under funded public schools. The sounds on Hot 97 filled blank tapes with Bone Thugs, Busta, Onyx, Lil Jon and Missy Elliott. Mental hard-drive uploads with flow served to drive them to finally jump on that train to see what else was out there and what they found changed them irrevocably.
Eaddy began branching out, bringing hardcore like Bad Brains back home with him. The pair didn’t know it at the time but the resulting amalgamation they brought back was the Deathkult. They were armed only with a pawn shop sampler and the power to influence.
Born to lose in Jersey, reborn in NYC and subsequently reimagined 999. Rewired to spread a promise for the next emancipation from time. The gospel, the vibration, hardcore punk, rage and rhyme – theOGM and Yeti Bones emerge transformed into weapons of mass expression and the spectacle known today only as Ho99o9 (horror).
Then just like that, Ho99o9 vanished from the east coast, allegedly recruited into a beat laboratory in Los Angeles. They baptized in blood and emerged wrapped in a sound that had not yet been heard.
A congregation gathered in a scene of like-minded mutants and L.A. quickly became the HQ of Ho99o9. More minions manifest with Horror spores started spreading all throughout North America and the European Union – a pandemic of fools gettin’ woke as the fringe becomes the majority and we recall the prophecy of Sweet Micky.
And Today – a new nation rises to smash the guise of the god-head. A deity-less religion of our collective humanity, neither divine, nor wicked, led only by the march of the Deathkult and delivered by its soldiers – theOGM and Yeti Bones in their United States of Horror*.
Bruised and bloodied, Knocked Loose opens up the pit with a brutal sound that falls between hardcore punk and metalcore. Led by screaming frontman Bryan Garris, the Oldham County, Kentucky quintet is also composed of guitarists Isaac Hale and Cole Crutchfield, bassist Kevin Otten, and drummer Dylan Isaacs. In 2011, Garris, Otten, and Hale joined with drummer Jared Barron (Concealer, Greyhaven) for an early incarnation of the band (a teenaged Garris honed his early vocal skills by practicing in various area bands with Barron). Later, they enlisted Isaacs as permanent drummer. Their first EP, Pop Culture, was released on Little Heart in 2014, quickly followed by a split EP with Louisville quintet Damaged Goods. Knocked Loose’s debut LP arrived in 2016. Laugh Tracks (Pure Noise) debuted on the Billboard 200 and in the Top 50 on six separate side charts.
A little drums… a little atmosphere… and it wails like this!
Hotter than anything printed by a Hearst daily, this is the 12-song “Versión Especial” of Redd Kross’ Teen Babes from Monsanto—all art, no filler, direct from the source, pure from the tap! The album features specially designed packaging that allows you to choose between two different front covers with just a flip of the wrist! Experience vintage teenaged Redd Kross as presented by Monsanto: 100% genuine, chemically inspired brilliance fueled by processed junk food.
NOVEMBER 12, 2018 – Baltimore, Maryland’s Angel Du$t have announced their signing to Roadrunner Records and shared two new singles – “Big Ass Love” and “Take Away The Pain” – which are streaming now via The FADER. The surprise singles mark the first new music from Angel Du$t since the release of their celebrated 2016 LP, Rock The Fuck On Forever.
Angel Du$t vocalist Justice Tripp commented, “We recorded these two hot tracks with the king, William Yip. The songs are very much Angel Du$t, while the production is some whole other shit. Feels good to complete our team with a label that fucks with our vision,” adding that “’Big Ass Love’ is about the healing power of rock.”
Tonight, November 12th, Angel Du$t will begin a month-long U.S. tour with Every Time I Die, Turnstile, and Vein (full itinerary attached). Tickets are on sale now.
Comprised of Justice Tripp (Vocals), Daniel Fang (Drums), Pat McCrory (Guitars/Vocals), Brendan Yates (Guitars/Vocals), and Jeff Caffey (Bass), Angel Du$t is band averse to boundaries. Stacking hooks and harmonies over unorthodox acoustic guitars, beds of hand percussion, and the occasional saxophone, Angel Du$t are leaders for the shifting zeitgeist into punk circles. That is their rebellion.
The split of the Swedish Doom / Stoner band NORRSKEN in 2000 marked the foundation of two new bands. While a remaining of the band built WITCHCRAFT, the rest of them was going to start something really rare, clearly unique, with an honest, acoustic sense, that is now known as the graveyard.
A band that knows no borders and no limitations at all. Their unique sound, which includes all rock styles, pulls GRAVEYARD out of the masses. Classic rock, blues, jazz, folk – no matter how you call it – the quartet always sounds authentic.
With their big influence of very different genres, GRAVEYARD always remain at the top of what they do – give the listener a wide range of emotions, moods and feelings. Black Sabbath meets Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin meets Janis Joplin … it could go on longer and longer… If some other bands are considered only for their neo-satanistic attitude or are interested in the rebirth of the old school, GRAVEYARD plays breathtaking melodies, that bring us to a trip into a lost century of true musicality.
After the success of “Hisingen Blues” in 2011, their debut-album “Graveyard” was re-released in the same year.
Just one year later, and the following album “Lights Out” came out, reflecting perfectly the versatility of their songwriting. This album, full of social criticism, is infused with Joakim Nilsson’s skills and the beauty of Jonatan Ramm’s riffs.
& The Rattlesnakes
Forget everything you know about Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Cast aside the savage brilliance of 2015 debut Blossom and Top Ten follow up Modern Ruin.
Erase from your mind a live show which remains the most thrillingly visceral experience in contemporary rock.
Because everything they’ve done up until now has been leading to their jaw-dropping third album, End Of Suffering.
“It was always about album three, from when we first started out,” says Frank, sitting alongside the band’s guitarist and co-songwriter Dean Richardson in their Mile End creative space.
“We knew we had to get to a stage quite quickly where people realised we’re not just a hardcore punk band. We’ve got much bigger ideas than that.”
Just six months in the making, End Of Suffering – named after the Buddhist term for enlightenment- is the sound of a band entering an entirely new realm of the senses. A forty minute rock’n’rollercoaster of molten-hot bangers, scorched-soul ballads and grunge lullabies laced through with a lacerating lyrical honesty, it’s both a stadium sized declaration of intent and a deeply personal cri-de-coeur.
“This is the most honest record I’ve ever written,” explains Frank.
“Blossom was all about loss, Modern Ruin was about crumbling foundations -whether that’s relationships or society. End Of Suffering is a lot more personal. It’s about how fucking hard you can make things for yourself.”
As with all great records, the journey to get here has been one of passion, perseverance and more than a few long dark nights of the soul.
With touring duties for Modern Ruin completed with a triumphant sell-out show at Brixton Academy in December 2017, Frank and Dean band found themselves crash- landed back in London, still reeling from what they’d been through.
“Modern Ruin was doing so well, it was hard to know when to stop pushing it,” says Dean, “We probably carried on for six months longer than we should.”
“Touring is like Valhalla,” adds Frank.
“You are at the pinnacle of your achievement every night. Or that’s where you should be, because that’s what the people who have paid to see you deserve. The trouble is, it’s so chaotic, and so involved psychologically, physically spiritually and emotionally, it becomes an absolute tax on your person.”
The singer’s sense of disorientation wasn’t helped by the fact that that he was also battling his own personal demons.
“I was in the middle of going through a divorce, and I was coming to terms with the way my relationships were going to change, in terms of co-parenting, so it wasn’t easy to write a lot of these songs,” says Frank with typical candour.
“Everyone says you’ve got to ride the wave, well that’s easy if you’ve got a surfboard. I can’t even fuckin’ swim.”
During the summer of 2018, Frank and Dean met up regularly at their Mile End space, swapping ideas armed only with an electric guitar and an iphone.
As a counterpoint to the intensely personal nature of Frank’s words, the pair worked on tunes which reflected their on-tour Spotify list – a liquid, groove-centric mash-up of everything from Prince to Post Malone; The Bad Seeds to Childish Gambino.
“When I was in Gallows, I had severe imposter syndrome because people expected me to only like Black Flag,” explains Frank with a grin.
“But even then I really liked Bjork, I loved Madness and classical music. I’m into all sorts of stuff and this album reflects that.”
This determination to break free from the punk rock strait-jacket saw them recruit producer Cam Blackwood (George Ezra/Jack Savoretti) to give their raw demos widescreen appeal.
“We arranged a trial session and ended up writing two songs and I gave the best vocal performance of my life on ‘Love Games’”, explains Frank. “He’s a proper pop producer but he loves rock music the same way we do. He knows it’s an attitude, rather than a sound. You need to break the rules to keep it fresh.”
Recording in Blackwood’s ‘shoebox-sized’ studio in Clapham, the band tapped into this kinetic energy, laying tracks down quickly rather than trying to recapture the feel of the demos. Following additional sessions at Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, a final layer of sonic stardust came via mixing legend Alan Moulder (Nine Inch Nails/QOTSA).
“It’s so easy for rock records to sound to like tribute records” says Dean. “He knows what each song needs. He elevated them to another level.”
The result is End Of Suffering. it pulsates with ideas, energy and –crucially- cracking tunes. ‘Kitty Sucker’ – where Frank leers “I’m a punk rock renegade/ A tattooed motherfucker dripping lust for decade” is designed to create mosh pit mayhem, while Tyrant Lizard King is more vicious still- the musical equivalent of a bloodthirsty knife- fight between Muse and Kasabian on the set of Peaky Blinders.
It’s when the fury is dialled-down, however, that End Of Suffering is at its most compelling. ‘Anxiety’ is a paranoic festival anthem in waiting, while ‘Love Games’ is an absolute beauty; a distortion-heavy nod to Amy Winehouse’s finest moment destined to soundtrack the summer. Which brings us to the title track. An acoustic ballad concluding with a recording of Frank’s daughter, Mercy, it’s an emotionally wracked reminder that the darkest hour is always just before the dawn.
“An album is a weapon,” says Frank in conclusion.
“It can be really therapeutic for people but it can also do a lot of damage if you create a journey which leaves people in too much of fragile place, so we want to end it on a positive note.”
Indeed. In an age of say-nothing pop and codified corporate rock, End Of Suffering does what all great music should- lift the spirits and stir the soul.
There won’t be a better album released this year.
NEW YEARS DAY
Appropriately enough for a band named New Years Day, their stunning new Unbreakable album signifies a new outlook—as well as a high-water mark for the Cali-bred lineup. Yet it was a rocky road to Unbreakable, as singer Ash Costello explains: “If I had to look at my life like a timeline of colors, when I wrote our last album, Malevolence (2015), it was pitch, charcoal black. But in the last couple years, the band cut off toxic people, built a new business team, and we’re stronger than we’ve ever been. So when we went to make Unbreakable, I wanted the process to be fun, to reflect our renewed vibe and energy,” she says. “We set out to write the poppiest metal album, or the most metal pop album.”
On Unbreakable, that mission is accomplished. It’s a dozen intense, boundary-melding songs that may touch on metal or goth, but are ultimately undeniable modern rock ‘n’ roll tunes, no-holds-barred, done the New Years Day way. The public got its first taste of Unbreakable in November 2018, with the booming, ultra-dynamic “Skeletons.” The song surpassed 1 million worldwide streams, the first proof that Unbreakable was going to be unbeatable. “Shut Up,” with ultra-melodic, breathy vocals and a hardcore message, plus the dark taunt and industrial grind of ‘Come For Me,” with its irresistible chorus, capture a young band in its creative prime, and a singer solidly in charge of her vision.
Costello, raised in Anaheim, grew up worshiping the powerful voice and presence of another local girl: No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani. Like her childhood idol, Costello was singing in bands by high school. But it wasn’t until a few years into NYD’s career that everything gelled. “I feel like New Years Day was really born when our EP Epidemic (2014) came out; it was the first taste of who we really are,” Costello says. “Everything before that feels like a different band, and technically was. Then Malevolence came out, it was sort of our punch in the dick to the music industry, and we did our first headlining tour in 2015.” Malevolence hit #45 on the Billboard 200, thanks to the radio hits “Defame Me” and “Kill Or Be Killed.” In 2017, the band headlined the Vans Warped Tour; did a month-long festival run with Halestorm; and appeared on the Punk Goes Pop compilation, covering Kehlani’s “Gangsta” from the movie Suicide Squad.
Unbreakable showcases a New Years Day stripped bare—literally. The “boys in the band” left behind their white face makeup, which all admit was somewhat of a “safety blanket.” Likewise, Costello stripped down her songwriting. “I used to think lyrics needed to have metaphorical veils and be super-dense and paint a picture but leave it up to the interpretation.” But for Unbreakable, she says with characteristic forthrightness: “I was, ‘fuck that, I’m literally going to say exactly what I want to say.’ Yeah, there’s some metaphorical stuff, but this is me moving into a more literal direction.”
Songs like “Shut Up” blend a musical vulnerability with tough lyrics, not an easy task. But thanks in part to doing covers—of Kehalni, Pantera and others—New Years Day discovered their own versatility and creativity. “We made those songs work for our band, and that was the first time I realized we could go that direction in our own writing, make the super-melodic and the dirty, ratchety stuff work together. ‘Shut Up’ was written in a day, which just doesn’t happen. I was going through some heavy personal stuff, and I was just, ‘don’t tell me what I want, shut up and give it to me!’”
If “Shut Up” was nearly instantaneous, “Come For Me” took a year to write. It’s truly a fight song– “If you have a problem with me, I’ll put you on the guest list, come for me; we’ll fight it out,” offers up Costello. But? “It also sounds dirty,” she laughs. “I’m just trying to write songs that strippers can strip to: a good beat and some sexy-ass lyrics!”
The dichotomy between Costello’s two sides—embodied in her red and black hair, and even her tattoos (one side inked, the other not) has coalesced in the songs on Unbreakable. But the painful part of the creative journey to Unbreakable began long before “Skeletons” was written. Before writing “Skeletons” in 2018, NYD did an album’s worth of songs…. then threw them out. Literally.
“It wasn’t someone who else told us they didn’t like our record. It was US, the band, saying ‘THIS IS NOT IT,’” Costello recalls. New Years Day weren’t feeling that elusive “it” midway through the process. Yet Costello “was trying to be hopeful and stick it out.” The turning point came in 2017 when NYD listened to their effort from start to finish with their old business team, and it didn’t feel good or right. So, in a moment of bravery— “a very scary moment,” NYD canned the record and their business affiliations. “I trust the universe,” says Costello. “And it took us where we needed to go. That door was meant to close that day. That group of songs are gone. But Unbreakable came out of it, and also our new label and management. “It was about taking control of our art. We did, and everything good followed.”
A couple of those good things were writers/producers Mitch Marlow (All That Remains, In This Moment) and Scott Stevens (Halestorm, Shinedown). Each were writing with Costello, but she brought the pair, who had never met, together. “Both became producers and ended up splitting the album, which is unheard of. But they were super passionate about me as an artist and the band, the record, and what we have built,” Costello says. “They fit like puzzle pieces. Marlow brings the blood and guts, Stevens the melodies. “You put the two guys together, and I’m the person who embodies both sides, musically. I’m a little horror, a little blood and guts, and a little ‘I love Mickey Mouse’ happy. It’s a little ugly, it’s a little pretty. Now the music is finally reflecting that. “
The risk New Years Day’s took has earned them copious rewards, and those “pitch, charcoal” days—which were equally daunting times for guitarist Nikki Misery and bassist Frankie Sil—are in the rear view. There were times when Costello felt she might not survive—”and it shows in Malevolence. But the past couple years, the communication among the band is incredible. We’ve got this shit. We’re tight. We’ve lifted ourselves out of the dirt.”
The reignited band unity and honesty boosted the creation of Unbreakable, resulting in an album that tough critic Misery calls “groundbreaking.” There were the times when Costello would “call Nikki or Frankie, looking for a pep talk. I don’t ever want to be stagnant; I wanted to push myself vocally, in my writing, better melodies, everything. So I put the pressure on myself.”
Misery, in keeping with his rebellious punky energy, is a “tough love kind of person.” But he had his singer’s back. “He can pick me up. There aren’t a lot of people I’ll listen to in this world; I’ve learned so much on my own, school of hard knocks, but Nikki can tell me the truth and I’ll listen,” says Costello.
Ditto Frankie, who describes two his band mates as “best friends. It’s a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards sort of relationship; they have this insane chemistry.” With lead guitarist Austin Ingerman bringing his multi-faceted musicality to NYD (he cites everyone from Randy Rhoads to Slash to Stevie Ray Vaughan as influences) the members of New Years Day finally feel “Unbreakable.” Bascially, title track says it all: “I stepped on broken glass / Walking through the past / Feeling every cut that crippled me / Been through it all before / Won’t go back anymore / I’ve gone too far … You can’t shatter me now / I’m Unbreakable.”
All Them Witches
By most fifth LPs, the band’s sound is pretty set. Parameters established. Refinement dissipated. You get a to-formula execution of what’s worked in the past. Fair enough. All Them Witches go a harder route.
In 2017, the Nashville four-piece offered what might’ve otherwise become their own template in their fourth album (second for New West), Sleeping Through the War. It brought a larger production value thanks to oversight from producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Shooter Jennings, etc.), found them using choral vocals, expanded arrangements, bigger sounds than anything they’d done before.
They could’ve easily fallen into a pattern of watered-down clones of that record. Easily.
So naturally in a year they’ve thrown it all to the Appalachian wind, turned the process completely on its head and gone the other way: recording in a cabin in Kingston Springs, about 20 miles outside of Nashville on I-40, with guitarist Ben McLeod at the helm. Self-produced. Take that, expectation.
The result, mixed by Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith, Kurt Vile), is the most intimate, human-sounding album All Them Witches have recorded and another redefinition of who they are as a band. Introducing keyboardist/percussionist Jonathan Draper to the fold with McLeod, bassist/vocalist Charles Michael Parks, Jr., and drummer/graphic artist Robby Staebler, All Them Witches’ ATW isn’t self-titled by mistake.
It’s the band confirming and continuing to develop their approach, in the devil’s boogie of “Fishbelly 86 Onions,” the organ-laced groove and masterful flow of “Half-Tongue,” the build of “HJTC” and the fluid jam in closer “Rob’s Dream.” You can hear it in the mellow patience of that last track, never lost but always wandering, and in “1st vs. 2nd,” where they turn from a frenetic shake to some purposefully metal-ish riffing while still holding onto gut-tightening tension.
And what do they do with that? Some overblown payoff? Hell no. They cut it short, drift into noise and then dig into “Half-Tongue” ahead of the moodier “Diamond,” which, true to its name, seems to turn any light that touches it into a prism. This is a band who delight in the exploration, in finding new rules to break, and in continually learning new ways to do so.
ATW is a reaction to being a “bigger” act. To playing bigger shows, bigger tours, etc. From the sustained consonants in Parks’ vocals, to the sleek basslines that play off the can’t-sit-still-won’t-sit-still swing in Staebler’s drums, to McLeod’s commanding slide in “Workhorse” and drifting melancholy at the outset of “Harvest Feast,” ATW is their laying claim to the essential facets of their identity.
And most crucial to that identity is its shifting nature. All Them Witches didn’t get to this point by resting on laurels, and if anything, the urgency of these tracks – fast pushers and sleepy jams alike – is among their greatest strengths.
It’s a rawer delivery, as stage-ready as the band itself, and it captures All Them Witches in this moment. Is ATW who they’ll be tomorrow? Who the hell knows? Check back in and we’ll find out together. That’s the whole idea.
The Parlor Mob is an alternative rock band from Asbury Park, NJ.
You hear it again and again.
When one door closes, another one opens. However, it‟s true – especially in the case of Sick Puppies. Weathering and persevering through potentially life-changing events, the gold-selling, chart-topping Los Angeles-based and Australian-bred hard rock outfit knew one thing.
They were going to make more music as Sick Puppies.
“There was no question” affirms Emma. “We had no doubt that we wanted to continue. Mark and I got together and basically said, „first and foremost, we love music. We love this band and our fans, and we have put so much into it, and we are not done and want to take it further.‟ In order to do that, we needed to find the right member.”
Instead, the “right member” found them. With stints in several bands under his belt, Texas-born singer and guitarist Bryan Scott reached out to Emma via Facebook within days of the announcement. He sent her a video of himself performing, and she swiftly replied.
“Both Mark and I knew he was the guy right away – he was cool and he sounded great. It was a natural progression. We were totally on to something” said Emma “Something just overwhelmed me,” admits Bryan. “I had a feeling that I needed to reach out. They needed a singer and guitarist and that‟s what I am. I had always loved their music and as soon as I saw the post, I went home and immediately sent Emma a message. We clicked right off the bat. Music is in their blood – it‟s who they are. They live and breathe it every day. I‟m the same way.”
Following a first dinner together at a Los Angeles burger spot, they hit the rehearsal studio together and began jamming. After nailing numerous favorites from the Sick Puppies catalog, they started writing new material over the next several months.
2013‟s Connect saw the band embrace a more experimental side.
“On the last album, a lot of ideas came from many different places, but our core is rock and that is what we love!” Mark says on this new album, we‟re giving fans what they want, that classic Sick Puppies sound.”
“I think fans will enjoy the resurgence of the heaviness,” smiles Emma. “We love that, so we went all the way with it.”
The group teamed up with producer and songwriter Mark Holman [Three Days Grace, Red, Shinedown, Halestorm, The Struts], to start working on their fourth full-length album. Recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles during 2015, the new music reflects the group‟s, incendiary interplay between Emma, Bryan & Mark.
“We were actually supposed to work with Mark Holman before, but it never materialized for whatever reason,” Emma continues. “It was the right moment in time, and he was the perfect producer to bring out the emotion in these songs.”
Locked and loaded with a muscular riff and booming percussion, “Stick To Your Guns” the band‟s first single announces the band‟s return with a literal bang. Bryan‟s vocals careen from hypnotic to heavy as an arena-size refrain takes hold.
“You have to push regardless of what anyone tells you,” he says. “This was a big thing for us. You can pray, hope, or wish for something to happen, but at the end of the day, you have to “stick to your guns”, go out there, and believe. The song is meant to em- power.”
Then, there‟s the epic “Where Do I Begin,” which spotlights Emma and Bryan‟s impressive harmonies in the chorus. For lyrical inspiration, the musicians actually turned to the diehard collective Sick Puppies World Crew.
“We looked on their Facebook and read everything,” Emma recalls. “We saw that everyone shared a lot in common, and it was quite touching. We grabbed a few descriptive words and came across this theme. A lot of people out there feel like they‟re missing out. They hear things like, „You can do it when you‟re ready.‟ I think, „What‟s ready?‟ If someone‟s going to wait to be ready, they might wait their whole lives. It‟s about struggling with that and making a move.”
With its gnashing chant and pummeling groove “Let Me Live” introduced the album during the first teaser video—which arrived to palpable audience fervor. Meanwhile, “Walls” sees Emma‟s vocals take center stage with gorgeously haunting delivery.
“It describes the painful feelings that come when a friend, family member, or someone you‟re very close to changes, disappoints, disappears, or drifts away,” she sighs. “It‟s just a snapshot of what I was feeling at that point in time.”
That kind of honesty has solidified a bond between the Sick Puppies and their fans since day one. To date, their breakout second full-length Tri-Polar has sold more than 500K albums, yielding 2 million single sales including the gold-certified “You‟re Going Down” as well as rock smashes “Maybe” “Riptide,” and “Odd One.”
“All The Same” the band‟s first hit single from their debut album, “Dressed Up As Life” became the soundtrack for the viral video “Free Hugs” campaign racking up tens of mil- lions of online views and saw them appear on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show.
2013‟s Connect earned the band its highest Billboard Top 200 debut at #17 and yielded two top 10 singles at rock radio peaking at #2. Along the way, the trio played alongside the world‟s biggest bands from Muse, The Killers, Deftones, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Incubus to Tool.
Now, their message is more powerful than ever.
“When people hear this, I want them to take away a feeling of new life, new passion, and new excitement from this band,” Emma leaves off. “Mark and I love what we do. We were going to forge ahead no matter what. We found the perfect guy, and we‟re excited about this next chapter.”
Amigo The Devil
If you’ve ever heard a room full of people yelling “I hope your husband dies” in a some harmoniously sloppy, drunken unison, you’ve probably stumbled into an Amigo The Devil show. Danny Kiranos, better known to the masses as his musical counterpart Amigo The Devil, has been challenging the expectations of traditional folk, country music purists, and rock/extreme metal fans alike with his morbid, yet oddly romantic, take on folk that has amassed a dedicated and cult-like fan-base. Despite being armed with only his vocals and a banjo/acoustic guitar, the live show is worlds away from what people expect of a folk show. Loaded with sing-alongs and an unsuspecting dose of humor to make otherwise grim topics accessible for fans of every genre, the songs remain deeply rooted in the tradition of story-telling that seems to be slipping away from the human condition.
For the press release, I basically just wrote down my experiences going into and my purpose for this record and same thing, use it as you please or if you want me to do something else entirely, let me know. I know Kevin wanted me to dig deep and get personal so I did.
“I got tired of seeing people overcomplicate what they feel, or worse, ignore it altogether. Amigo The Devil started as an outlet for the brutal honesty that people didn’t feel comfortable discussing. More than create, I listened. At a bar, while eating dinner, at the DMV. Call it creeping if you want but it’s a pass time nonetheless. Even in the music being released about it, people used metaphors to dance around and avoid mentioning the dark thoughts people have and that just isn’t enough to shake you from the daydream, or a fever. It had to be simple, direct and honest. At the start, it seemed logical to learn this process by taking the worst people and trying to find the humanity in them. I wrote some songs about serial killers and realized that no matter how despicable their crimes were, everything was still rooted in the human condition with the same basic need to be needed, to feel valued, to have worth. Through this learning process, I realized there was actually something so much more dangerous than the people committing heinous crimes and it was stained so deeply into the fabric of our daily lives. Doubt and the depression it leaves us stranded in. Every experience is clearly different but for me, all of a sudden, it felt like I was living in a well so deep that if I shouted up for help, it would be lost on the way and never heard. It’s terrifying when it feels like you’re alone down there and there isn’t enough light to look around to realize how many people are there alongside you. For some reason, I refused to talk to my friends and family about it. It was shameful or irrelevant or any other excuse I can come up with to avoid bringing it up and when they would notice and ask, I caught myself repeatedly answering “everything is fine” or any variation of it in that moment. So this record was born. I started listening again, realizing it wasn’t just me. I saw people around me falling into the well but as I started paying attention, I saw people climbing out of it too. These are the stories of leaving the burden behind, whatever that may be and hopefully along with it the realization that carrying them for any period of time doesn’t break us, but makes us stronger than we ever were.
This is where Ross Robinson comes in. He allowed me to become and guided me towards being the best vessel I could be to filter these stories through. We sat there and accepted what wanted to come through, what wanted to be heard. It was the first process of recording that ever made complete sense with absolutely no filter or veil to compensate for the sounds. Recording in a studio untouched since the 70’s with all the original gear, straight to tape. Everything, recording, mixing mastering, to tape! It was absolute and pure brutal honesty, what I’ve been trying to achieve since the start of this thing. Then Brad Wilk added his pulse to it and it felt like together we had given life to these stories that otherwise are sounds and lyrics filling space. Everyone involved dove head first into a pool without water for this one and I’m unbelievably grateful to be in there with them.”
Like A Storm
The deeper you dig, the more you unearth.
By turning inward without turning back, Like A Storm uncovered the eleven hypnotic, honest, and hard-hitting anthems that comprise their self-produced third full-length, Catacombs [SONY RED Music]. The New Zealand group shoveled raw emotion into an engine of airtight polyrhythmic riffage, cinematic electronics, and primal didgeridoo to fuel their biggest offering yet and claim a spot at the forefront of the modern rock pack.
The title holds weight both figuratively and literally for the boys—brothers Chris Brooks [lead vocals, didgeridoo, guitar, keys/programming], Matt Brooks [lead guitar, vocals,
keys/programming], and Kent Brooks [bass, keys/programming] joined by Zach Wood [drums].
“We had a day off on tour in Paris last year, so we went to check out the actual Catacombs,” recalls Kent. “We found out that because their cemeteries were so over-run, they buried six million people down there. So they pushed all of this disease and decay five stories down beneath them. It hit me that we’re all the same way…On the outside, we’re told to project a ‘happy’ and ‘normal’ exterior; but just below the surface, there’s a much darker truth that we hide.”
“The whole excursion hit us as a metaphor for burying aspects of ourselves we don’t want to face,” agrees Chris. “Just because you close the door on them, doesn’t mean they’ve gone away. In the Parisian Catacombs, there are certain places where the skulls have been arranged ornately into crosses and hearts and that seemed symbolic to me. If you’re willing to confront your demons and address what you hide from yourself, you can find beauty in the pain and peace in the struggle.”
“We’d been building towards this record for a long time both personally and musically.” Matt elaborates. “When we really took the reigns off, we ended up with the darkest and heaviest album we’ve ever made.”
A long, tireless grind brought the band to Catacombs. An ocean away from home, they
introduced themselves to the U.S in 2009. Through relentless touring, the band built a grassroots following, which led to their break-out single “Love The Way You Hate Me” receiving so much organic radio play that they broke into the U.S Active Rock Top 40 as an independent act.
By 2015, the smash single skyrocketed to #1 on SiriusXM Octane, clinching the top spot for five weeks and making the band the highest-charting New Zealand rock act in U.S. radio history. “Love The Way You Hate Me” eventually topped 7 million YouTube/VEVO views and 6 million Spotify streams, and steamrolled a path for the release of sophomore epic Awaken The Fire. Their cover of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise” eclipsed 3 million on Spotify as “Become
The Enemy” and “Wish You Hell” both leapt past the 1.5-million-mark. All said and done, the release earned Like A Storm four Active Rock hits.
Along the way, they played arenas and large venues with the likes of: Alter Bridge, Slash, Volbeat, Gojira, Ozzy Osbourne, Godsmack, Three Days Grace, Sevendust and more. They were also invited to play standout festivals the world over including: Rock on the Range, Shiprocked!, Download, Nova Rock, Graspop Metal Meeting and more. In addition to acclaim from Alternative Press, Kerrang!, and Revolver, Metal Hammer claimed, “Like A Storm are rewriting metal’s rulebook like never before.”
Throughout 2017, they took time away from the road to write, record, and produce Catacombs in Los Angeles, Toronto, and a Las Vegas studio that over-looked the Strip.
“We’d never recorded in Vegas before,” says Kent. “The place has an energy to it unlike anywhere else in the world.”
Like A Storm bash through the gates on Catacombs with the opener and first single “The Devil Inside.” The didgeridoo intertwines with a trance-like metal groove, as a melodic, haunting vocal resounds before climaxing with one of the group’s catchiest choruses to date.
“It sets the tone of the whole record,” says Chris. “This dark journey within yourself, which brings you face to face with your demons.”
Meanwhile, “These Are The Bridges You Burned Down” charges forward on a mosh pit-splitting death march. As Kent puts it, “When we were writing it, we knew this one would throw down live and tear up speakers.”
“The Bitterness” proves instantly irresistible, and “Solitary” – featuring Matt on lead vocals -interplays between a soaring melody and aggressive guitar-work.
“ ‘Solitary’ is about feeling isolated and the realization that you ultimately created this loneliness for yourself by pushing everyone else away,” states Matt.
Catacombs closes with the six-minute epic “Pure Evil”. After a building intro, the unapologetic album finale hinges on a battering ram of distortion, before slipping into an airy piano reprieve and ramping back up into a chaotic catharsis.
As Chris comments, “We wanted the dynamics to mirror the subject matter.”
Matt continues, “ ‘Pure Evil’ tackles the hypocrisy of political and religious power. These people in our world who are revered as leaders, heroes, even seen as being god-like… are so often exposed to be the worst of the worst.”
In the end, Like A Storm dig deep and make a lasting connection on Catacombs.
“Ultimately, we wanted to bring back the feeling we got when we grew up listening to rock and metal records,” concludes Kent. “That’s why we make music.”
Checking in at six feet one inches and over 350 pounds, not to mention covered in tattoos, it’s impossible to ignore Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord in a room. And that’s before his booming country-twanged voice enters the conversation. “I’m just a regular fat piece of white trash with some real people that relate,” he loudly explains with a wide grin, sending everyone else within earshot into riotous laughter. For the 27-year-old Jelly, a nickname he picked up from his mother and kept to honor an incarcerated friend, humor has always been a way to cope with the struggle he would go through in life. Growing up in the rougher areas of Nashville, TN, particularly the Southside city known as Antioch, Jelly got an early taste for street life and fast cash. “I’ve always joked that Antioch is the cultural melting pot the government uses to test how different ethnicities live together in a lower and middle class area,” He laughs referring to the city’s racially diverse, albeit economically bleak make up.Captivated by the gritty rhymes of local legends such as Pistol, Quanie Cash, Haystak, and Kool Daddy Fresh, it wasn’t long before the music would mirror Jelly Roll’s personal life. Catching his first case at age 14, Jelly would endure an ongoing cycle of incarceration until 2009 which would include intent to distribute cocaine charges and multiple probation violations.Continuing to soak up the sounds from southern artists such as UGK, 8ball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, Chamillionare and Paul Wall, it was during these particularly dark times that Jelly would turn to crafting his own rhymes as a therapeutic means to deal with his trials and tribulations: “My music is all based on emotions and stories from my life as well as people around me. I want to convey to people the power of faith and perseverance and I hope that it helps them to find a light in whatever darkness they may be going through in there life.” In the summer of 2010, Jelly Roll’s “Pop Another Pill” collaboration with Memphis luminary Lil Wyte would go on to garner over 1 million YouTube views. This viral sensation lead to the SNO group album Year-Round released on Hypnotized Minds in April 2011, a project executive-produced by Oscar winners DJ Paul and Juicy J. Jelly continued his successful 2011 campaign by releasing Gambling On A Whiteboy 4 during the summer and combining his talents with Haystak for the successful Strictly Business joint-album in November. His unique combination of introspection, melody, and punchlines has struck a chord with an ever-growing nationwide fan base and continues to impress. In between new projects, Jelly still finds time to volunteer at and provide financial backing for the local SuCO Boxing & MMA gym to help provide disadvantaged youth with a place to take part in positive activities. “My ultimate goal is to touch and reach people and have a voice of influence with the youth of today, he reveals. “I know that sounds like the opposite of what I’m aiming for by the content of some of my bigger songs, but the real purpose will shine through in the end. Helping people and life in general is a marathon, not a 40-yard-dash.” Spoken like someone who has truly been through the fire, its evident Jelly Roll is on a path to even greater acclaim- and that means a greater change for the world.
Fire From the Gods
Heavy music deserves a heavier message.
That’s what Fire From The Gods deliver on their Rise Records debut, Narrative.
Speaking from a platform cast in heavy metal power, hip-hop consciousness, and even a little reggae spirit, the Austin, TX quintet—AJ Channer [vocals], Jameson Teat [guitar], Drew Walker [guitar], Bonner Baker [bass], and Richard Wicander [drums]—urge for change through conveying a story that’s both personal and universal.
That story stems directly from AJ’s life. Born in the Bronx to a single mother of Jamaican descent, he spent his childhood moving between London, New York City, Los Angeles, Norfolk, and even Ghana where he attended middle school. Drawing from this diverse experience, he speaks with unmitigated honesty about the state of the world.
Los Angeles’ rock collective Dirty Honey are an unstoppable force.
Their music delves into the pillars of rock & roll to deliver a refreshing modern take on a classic sound.
The band features dynamic frontman Marc Labelle, guitar slinger John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian & drummer Corey Coverstone.
Skillful, creative musicianship paired with undeniably magnetic energy set Dirty Honey apart from their contemporaries.
Catch their electrifying live show regularly in LA & follow for upcoming tour dates and music.
If you’re not pissed off, then you’re not paying attention. Ded thrives on the aggressive spirit that is authentic to the heavy music genre. “There is an honesty and attitude about heavy music that I don’t feel as often anymore” says lead singer Joe Cotela – “and we want to bring that back”. Ded is loud and aggressive – but it serves as a positive outlet: the band produces an unapologetic sound that draws from the art of fantasy and expressive screams. Their debut album “Mis-An-thrope” has made an impact across the Rock world.
Ded was born in the music scene of Phoenix, Arizona and has been together for almost 3 years. Band members Joe Cotela (Vocals), David Ludlow (Guitar), Kyle Koelsch (Bass), and Matt Reinhard (Drums) developed a friendship and ultimately a musical partnership that mixes horror and dark imagery to develop a familiar, yet unique sound that sets them apart from other bands. Cotela says “With our music – we want to make the listener feel like how you feel after you’ve watched a really good horror movie – on edge, jittery… And very much alive”. They incorporate these volatile elements into their lyrics – with the hopes that it will breathe new life into the hard-core genre. Imagine an inspired take on outward thinking that transcends screaming, and low tuned riffs. Their sound is meant to “be in your face and tell it like it is”, while paying homage to Korn and Pantera, who served as early inspirations. Ded are also influenced by more recent bands like Slipknot and Bring Me The Horizon. This is modern hard rock & alternative metal that goes beyond anger – including themes like existentialism and ego in everyday life. The lyrics are timely and resonate with an audience navigating the chaotic world we live in.
The band’s work ethic, drive, and dedication led them to record an EP that quickly made the rounds of the music industry, and started a buzz that opened doors. Using that as a springboard, the band hit the road and toured with Beartooth, Asking Alexandria, Atreyu, Every Time I Die, Upon a Burning Body, The Acacia Strain, John 5, Powerman 5000, and Insane Clown Posse among others.
Their touring helped grow awareness in the business and brought them to the attention of producer John Feldmann (Disturbed, Blink-182, Beartooth). Their collaboration with Feldmann culminated in the band signing with Jordan Schur @ Suretone Records – who discovered and grew the careers of platinum rock acts Staind and Limp Bizkit, among others. Suretone released their first song and video for “FMFY” in December 2016.
2017 was very busy year for Ded – they played all Major Rock U.S. festivals, played more than 150 live shows and toured 25 + dates with KORN and Stone Sour. Both of their 1st two singles “Anti-Everything” and “Remember The Enemy” reached the Top 20 on the Active Rock Radio charts. “Anti-Everything” was #8 on SiriusXM Octane’s Top 10 for 2017 and they named the band “Artist Discovery of the Year”. They won the Kilpop/Rock Radio Award for Metal Debut of the Year”. “Anti-Everything” & “Remember The Enemy” were featured on high profile curated Hard Rock & Metal playlists at all major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Amazon Music, Youtube, and Google Play Music. The video for “Anti-Everything” has more than 1.4 million views on Youtube. The band is repped by CAA for booking.
Their 3rd single “Hate Me” recently peaked at #28 on the Active Rock Radio charts and has been featured on key playlists including Spotify’s “Rock Hard”, Apple Music’s “Breaking Hard Rock”, Amazon Music’s “Fresh Rock” and “Introducing Rock”, Pandora “New Rock”, Youtube and Google Play Music’s “Hard Rock Hotlist”.
Crown Lands: a blistering Rock Duo known for their highly energetic live show and incredibly full sound, owed to their exhaustive multi-tasking. Cody Bowles drums and sings, while Kevin Comeau plays guitar and plays keyboards with his feet.
A gritty howl opens Joyous Wolf’s upcoming debut LP, Enigma, and it’s the perfect introduction since the band plays rock & roll at its most primal and passionate. Guitarist Blake Allard’s bluesy riffs harken back to the classic hard rock of AC/DC, Cream and Deep Purple while still packing a thoroughly modern wallop, while front man Nick Reese’s voice seems to come from deep in his gut as he sings about everything from warring kingdoms to a tribute to a fallen friend. Together, with bassist Greg Braccio and drummer Robert Sodaro, Joyous Wolf’s members work together to create some of the most exciting, promising and unwieldy back-to-basics rock to come out of Southern California in recent years.
. Whether nimbly navigating the swaggering, powerful groove of their go-to concert opener, “Mountain Man,” or digging into their instruments for a jammy, funky guitar solo “Major Headthrob,” the group has an unpredictable quality – a sort of unique freedom within rock & roll – that makes Enigma compelling. Part of the credit for this goes to producer Val Garay (Santana, Neil Diamond, Reel Big Fish) who came aboard at the last minute to help them achieve the record’s raw sound, whi
aptures how Joyous Wolf sound live. But mostly, the electric feeling that defines Enigma is just something in the band’s DNA.
“When I’m playing rock & roll, it’s the only time where I feel indestructible,” Reese says. “When I heard Elvis sing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ for the first time, I knew exactly what my heart wanted and what I wanted.”
“I think people are starting to realize the overproduction and fakeness of pop music, which is why rock is coming back,” Allard says. “We love being a rock band.” Joyous Wolf formed in November 2014, but their roots stretch back to sixth grade when Reese first crossed paths with Sodaro by fate – they had to assemble next to each other because their names were alphabetically side-by-side. Reese recalls a middle-school battle of the bands where neither he nor Sodaro were playing, but Reese declared that one day he was going to be “the best singer ever” and that Sodaro would play drums. It would take a few years, but after stints where both musicians duked it out playing in punk and alternative bands (“all of that crap,” Reese adds) they fulfilled Reese’s prophecy. The singer drafted Allard, whom he’d met randomly in the acoustic room at a Guitar Center when the two jammed on CCR’s “Born on the Bayou,” and Sodaro brought in his high-school friend Braccio to play bass.
Before long, the quartet was jamming in Sodaro’s folks’ garage, annoying the neighbors and entertaining the local authorities. “Once on Halloween, we were rehearsing at 11 p.m. writing songs, and we faced Nick’s monitors out the window toward a canyon full of houses,” Allard recalls. “Then we saw this car at the front gate, and it’s the sheriff. He comes into the practice room and goes, ‘Hey guys, I hate to shut you down because it sounds really good, but we got a complaint from across the canyon that it was too loud.’ We still practice but not like that anymore.”
One of the first songs they played together was “Sleep Weep Stomp,” Enigma’s slow-burning, sludgy blues burner. It’s the style of music that Reese feels closest to. “I’m a blues singer, 100 percent,” he says. “That’s my everything.” The singer grew up on blues, jazz and Fifties rock & roll. “When my dad showed me Elvis, that was the end of it,” he says. “I needed to hear every artist that inspired Elvis and then the people who inspired them. Suddenly I had a record collection. It all felt natural: B.B. King made me want to scream my pains away. You hear all these people and you want to express all the things you love. I don’t care if people think it’s old or not current. It doesn’t matter to me.” By his own estimation, he didn’t hear anything “current” until he was 13 and borrowed his sister’s Discman only to hear the Strokes’ “Is This It”. Similarly, Allard was raised on classic rock. “My dad taught me my first song ever, ‘Sunshine of Your Love,’ by Cream,” he says. “I always went back to that kind of old blues-rock music. Even if I was into metal or hard rock, I always went back to the classics like B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.”
These influences shine through on Enigma. “Killing the Messenger” begins with some crushing classic heavy-metal riffs before giving way to a boogieing verse riff where Sodaro and Braccio can bash out their rhythms freely while Reese yowls a tale about two warring kingdoms, and how an evil monarch tricks one of his most popular subjects into delivering a nasty message to the other kingdom only so he would be executed. Reese says the moral Is “life isn’t fair and it isn’t always a happy ending.” The beat-heavy “Mountain Man,” whose lyrics lambaste one of Reese’s former less-than-refined coworkers at a coffee shop, whom the singer says claimed he could “carve a knife out of the tree,” began with a guitar riff that was so forceful that the band couldn’t deny its power. “He had this little riff and we were laughing because it was so stupid-simple,” Reese says. “And it is. It’s our quote-unquote ‘dumbest song,’ but when we used it to open at the Viper Room, the audience response became one of our staple songs.”
The band is also able to channel more somber tones. The acoustic “Remember By” showcases thoughtful performances by both Allard and Reese, who wrote the song in tribute to a friend of his who had taken his own life. It came from a moment of pure inspiration. “I recorded us when we were fooling around, and it was perfect,” Reese says. “I pushed for us to record that song so hard. I said, ‘Please do it exactly like you did it. Please.’ That was me saying goodbye.”After they put out their Daisy EP in late 2015, it took the band about two years total to fine-tune and perfect Enigma. And while songwriting was a big chunk of that (the ominous riff for “Turning Blue” took them six months to perfect), they went through several passes of mixing and mastering it to get it to sound like it does. When Garay finally came aboard, they were able to establish the right mixture of nuance and directness. “It’s so much more animal,” Reese says, using the perfect adjective, to describe the way Enigma turned out. That “animal” sound has earned Joyous Wolf some notable gigs, including performances at L.A.’s famed Whisky a Go Go, the Viper Room and the Regent Theater, where they recently opened for Eagles of Death Metal. Now they’re ready to move on to even bigger stages. “When we play a show, we go out and we kick ass,” Reese says, sounding confident. “We’re headhunters”. Head hunting on the road will now be even easier, with their upcoming record Enigma, an album that demonstrates what Reese calls Joyous Wolf’s “mojo.” – Kory Grow
Music elicits physical and psychological reactions. Your body moves, and your mood changes in response to the ebb and flow of a song. It’s one of the few singular forces that can seamlessly speak to both our tangible and intangible nature.
Canterbury, UK band Broken Hands stimulate both halves with a two-prong style fueled by half-time gutter groove rock ‘n’ roll and ethereal flights of cerebral sonic exploration. This duality initially powered the group’s 2015 full-length debut, Turbulence. Produced by Tom Dalgety [Royal Blood, Pixies, Ghost], it walked a fine line between arena ambition and alternative adventurousness. Moreover, the record announced the boys—brothers Dale [lead vocals] and Callum Norton [drums, backing vocals], Jamie Darby [lead guitar], Thomas Ford [bass], and David Hardstone [rhythm guitar, keys]—as a critical favorite with acclaim from NME, The Independent, BBC Music Introducing, and more. Simultaneously, they developed a reputation for raucous live shows, performing alongside the likes of The Kills, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Cult and Deaf Havana in addition to gracing the stage of the world-famous Reading & Leeds festivals.
Along the way, they landed a deal with Atlantic Records stateside and plotted their sophomore effort. Just prior to entering the studio, the pace slowed when Dale endured the sort of nightmare most musicians don’t dare dream about: intensive ear surgery that left him unable to sing or play music for nearly two months.
“I had to have this dissection to basically open up the pathways,” he explains. “I couldn’t do anything after for what felt like forever. I’m probably hearing music completely different from how I did. The upside was I came into this record with a fresh palette.”
Embracing this fresh palette, the band opted to work with producer Julian Emery [Nothing But Thieves, Lower Than Atlantic] on new music with long-term collaborator Dalgety moving to the mixer’s chair. Nodding to American influences as diverse as Nine Inch Nails, Big Brother and The Holding Company, and My Morning Jacket, Broken Hands adopted a “half-time” rhythm. As a result, the guitars, drums, bass, and vocals hit harder as they seesaw back and forth.
“For a British rock guitar band, it’s all about fast, four-to-the-floor singles,” says Dale. “We went slower and heavier. We loved doing the slow vibe. It was a big lightbulb moment.”
Case in point, hulking distortion and sinewy riffing propel the 2018 single “Split In Two” forward at a confident strut before giving way to Dale’s hypnotic hook.
“We literally felt split in two,” says the frontman. “Touring as much as we have, you’re divided from the ones you love and spend the rest of your life. In a psychological sense, you can also feel divided between two things. You’re stuck in a corridor. The idea extends to the sonics. One minute, I want to write a screaming heavy record. In the next, I want to write something tranquil. It’s a push-and-pull.”
Another standout “Friends House” tempers moments of introspection with a bombastic sense of dread siphoned through sparse percussion and a paranoid wail. It draws on a moment when Dale found himself threatened at gunpoint in the midst of the band’s first U.S. tour.
“It’s quite a dark song,” he admits. “You think you’re happy and you think you’re safe, but actually you couldn’t be any further from safety. When you get very intoxicated, you’re happy and comfortable, but it’s actually the most dangerous position to be in. When we first went to the States, I got held up at a bar at 4AM. I was drunk, British, and not familiar with this sort of situation. That could happen anywhere. It’s the illusion of safety.”
In the end, Broken Hands translate duality into definitive anthems. “It’s okay to be divided,” Dale leaves off. “You don’t have to feel like you’ve got to be one thing all of the time physically, psychologically, or musically. Too often in life, people try to tell you to be one thing. We reached a new level by clinging to both sides.”
It could double as the soundtrack for the witching hour.
A brew of rough-and-tumble guitars, swamp soul rhythms, and femme fatale vocal invocations, Dead Posey cast a sonic spell that seduces as it scorches. The Los Angeles-based band—vocalist Danyell Souza and producer/co-writer/multi-instrumentalist Tony F [formerly of Eve 6]—immediately enchant on their five-song debut “Freak Show” EP [Sumerian Records].
While forming Dead Posey, the two tapped into an intense creative chemistry and a newfound vision for a rough, blues-y yet modern sound. They quietly worked in the studio for nearly a year and honed their songwriting skills, rather than diving into live shows and the club circuit. Through 2017 Dead Posey (joined by one-time member Kyle Foster) released one song at a time online, culminating in the “Freak Show” EP and stirring up a palpable buzz. Beyond early acclaim from Huffington Post, Glide Magazine, PureVolume, and more, they landed high-profile syncs everywhere from Fox’s Lucifer, MTV’s Teen Wolf, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, and Netflix’s Jack Whitehall – Travels With My Father to Macy’s, Sony PlayStation, and League of Legends. Dead Posey inked a deal with Sumerian Records in 2018.
The band will be releasing new music and touring throughout 2019 and beyond.
JunkBunny is an alternative rock band from Houston, TX.
Santa Cruz is a Finnish hard rock band formed in 2007 in Helsinki by Archie Cruz and Johnny Parkkonen. The songs of the band have appeared in a TV commercial of Mercedes-Benz and in sports compilation clips of U.S. ESPN television network.
Anemic Royalty is a garage rock band from Louisville Kentucky. Since their formation in 2014 these guys have been hanging out in basements, backyards, dismantled minivans, music festivals, and rock clubs, writing and performing loud melodic hook-laden rock songs.
In 2013 two shaggy haired weirdos from Highland Middle school, Jeremy Rochman (Vox/guitar) and Seamus Coyle (Guitar/vox) who didn’t know much about anything discovered a mutual unconditional love for guitars and Green Day. Apparently that was enough because after a couple of out of tune jam sessions in the basement they decided to start their first band Sucker Punch. After playing a couple birthday parties and lock-ins worth of Nirvana and Foo Fighters covers, Jeremy’s buddy Oden rang up and said “yo I just got this bass for Christmas can a come jam?” And then there were three. Miles was the last to join. It was weird because he didn’t practice, he just somehow just could play the drums one day…. and that became Anemic Royalty.
Their first year they played shows wherever they could. Street festivals, birthday parties, the basement and about a year or so in, they went into the studio to record their first demo “Baby Fang”. Following that release they began playing more shows and writing more songs and hanging out in more basements and minivans and finally it was time to start their new project. To do this the way they wanted, they started working with musician and producer Extraordinaire Scott Carney and beast behind the mixing board Dave Chale. The basic tracks came quickly… then after months of work, more tracking, raising funds, mixing, and tweaking, they released their first single “Better Hands” and a little while later the second “Fire + Ice”. The record, Anemic Royalty, was released March 31st 2018.
Where are they now, they are playing among us, a-lot, as much as they can… see you at the show!