Author Archive

NettleCarrier – NettleCarrier

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 9th December 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Released: 21st September, 2012
Black Metal
Released via Indie Recordings

With this album being NettleCarrier’s first full length album, they did a fantastic job at incorporating all the appropriate black metal elements into their music. The slow but heavy riffs paired with raspy, high-pitched screams made their music seemed ambient in a way but still fast enough to headbang to. However, as good as this album was, there was nothing that really stuck out to me as unique. It sounds like the same kind of black metal that has been made for years now. Not that there’s anything wrong with the way the album sounds, but it sounds just like everything else.

There are only seven songs on the self-titled album, each similar in length, quality, and delivery. After a while I felt like the entire album was just one, long song, and I could not differentiate between each one except for the few seconds of silence from when the tracks transitioned. If the tempo of a couple of the songs were sped up or slowed down even more just to give the album some variation, it would have been a lot more memorable and much easier to listen to.

Fans of black metal can definitely depict where this band has gained their influences from if they listen to the album carefully. The vocals, to me, sound very similar to Nattefrost [Carpathian Forest] and the instrumental composition of the album also sounds like Carpathian Forest paired with Marduk. Again, while this album was not poorly produced or written, it was just not memorable to me at all. Other than that, I thought the album as a whole sounded very well written and thought out, and I give this band credit for this being their first full length album. Hopefully their next album will have some differentiation to it and will sound a bit more personable rather than a carbon copy of all the other black metal that is out there today.


Lauren Gowdy


Forgotten Tomb – …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 9th December 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Forgotten Tomb
…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil
Released 30th October, 2012
Black/Doom Metal
Released via Agonia Records

I don’t know what it is about Italian metal bands, but for some reason they always seem to be on point. This goes for Forgotten Tomb with the release of their newest album …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil. This is a beautifully written black/doom album with amazing musicianship and thrilling songs that will appeal to almost any fan of metal. Only being a seven track album, each song was heavy and melodic with such fullness to them which made the album easy to listen to.

A memorable track for me was …And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil just because of the changes from a slow tempo to a fast tempo heard throughout the song and the way it kept my attention even though the song itself is almost 8 minutes long. Usually band have a hard time transitioning fast and slow parts in songs, but I feel that the way Forgotten Tomb had done it with this song and a couple other songs such as Love Me Like You’d Love The Death and Deprived. I also love the use of clean vocals in the beginning of Adrift which only adds to the diversity of this album.

I actually started listening to this band fairly recently and I was impressed with their other albums and I am now just as impressed with the release of this album. ….And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil is a very well rounded album that incorporates many different musical elements and intertwines them flawlessly into the songs. The mix of faster, hard hitting black metal riffs with the more somber, melodic, and doomier parts makes this album beautiful and dark.


Lauren Gowdy


Interview with Paul Mazurkiewicz [Cannibal Corpse]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 30th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Being arguably one of the most respected and founding bands of death metal, Cannibal Corpse are still going strong with the release of their newest album, Torture, which came out in March of this year. Before performing at The Met in Pawtucket, RI, I got a chance to chat with Cannibal Corpse’s drummer, Paul Mazurkiewicz, about some highlights from this past year, inspiration for their lyrics, and some inspirational advice for any upcoming bands.

Cannibal Corpse is currently on their US Torture Tour with Misery Index and Hour of Penance which ends in December. They will then be touring with Devildriver for a full headlining tour in Europe.

Sinister – The Carnage Ending

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 26th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

The Carnage Ending
Released 28th September, 2012
Death Metal
Massacre Records

Having been around for more than 20 years and still thriving in the metal scene, Swedish death metal band Sinister has definitely hit home with their newest full length album, The Carnage Ending. This album is full of memorable riffs, epic headbanging parts, and just an overall punishing sound that will literally give you chills by its shear awesomeness. This album is easily up to par, if not better, than their previous albums and has a consistent sound and style that defines them as a band.

The album starts with an intro song, Gates of Bloodshed, and for those who are fans of Sinister will know that they’re pretty fond of using intro songs on their albums. The buildup of the intro then is immediately followed with Unheavenly Domain’s opening riff. That heaviness is carried consistently through the rest of the album while being mixed with some slower parts as well.

The song Crown of Thrones is one song that stood out to me on this album. The song starts off slow, gradually building you up until you think it’s just about to get into the faster part, and then it stops and starts the buildup process all over again. While this was certainly a tease, I feel that the unexpected pause added more anticipation in wanting to hear the song and definitely got me more pumped. One other song that stuck out to me was Defamatory Content. This song gave me goosebumps in that the mix of slow, groovy riffs paired with the faster, neck-breaking riffs just made the song not only more interesting but I feel that it added to the heaviness as well.

2012 is just an overall good year for death metal, and Sinister definitely adds to that with this album. Their easily distinguishable vocals paired with their familiar guitar sound and blast beats makes this band a favorite of mine and will hopefully be a favorite of yours too. This album was beyond the expectations I had and I praise Sinister for still delivering brutal music even after all these years.


Lauren Gowdy


Cerebral Bore Vocalist Simone “Som” Pluijmers Leaves Cerebral Bore With Shawn Whitaker As Replacement

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 25th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

It’s sad to say that Simone “Som” Pluijmers has left death metal band Cerebral Bore and will no be seen on their current tour with Dying Fetus and Cattle Decapitation. While growing a steady fan base in the United States for the last year, it will upset many who have grown to love the band and may not have gotten a chance to see Som dish out her brutal vocals.

A statement was issued from the band about Som’s decision to leave on their Facebook page:

Som walked out on us less than 24 hours before the US tour, and we were forced to either cancel or go ahead with it as an instrumental if need be.  We didn’t want to let our US fans down, so we went ahead with our buddy Shawn Whitaker on vocals for the tour.  Show us your support and make Shawn feel at home, he saved us from a disaster.

This statement was then followed by an alleged reason from Som on why she left the band [I haven’t found the original source of this quote but have seen it on Som’s official Facebook fan page and a couple other websites as well]:

I decided to leave because Paul McGuire treated me bad… And him saying I walked out on them like I’m a bitch is ridiculous.  I’m not a diva, I had to do this for my own happiness and safety.  He wouldn’t let us have an own opinion or wouldn’t let me have friends and screamed at us all the time.  I’m sorry but I was too unhappy with him and had to leave.  There was more going on than this but if he’s gonna start bullshit than I’m more than happy to tell you guys the truth.  I had to do this for me and thought about fans etc. it was a difficult decision… But for the best.

More will probably unfold from this story as this news is fairly sudden and a bit sparse for Cerebral Bore fans to fully understand. Based on this alleged statement Som made, it seems that there may have been problems within the band for quite some time.

Shawn Whitaker [Insidious Decrepancy] has taken up filling in as vocalist on The Blood of Power Tour which ends next month.

Turisas Announce North American Tour with Firewind for 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 17th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Following the success of headlining the North American Paganfest tour, Turisas have announced that they will be returning to the states next February/March for headlining U.S. tour with Firewind and The Stolen Babies.

Listed below are confirmed dates for the “Guards of Glory – North American Tour 2013”:

Feb. 02 – Jacksonville, FL – Roc Bar
Feb. 03 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade – Downstairs
Feb. 05 – Richmond, VA – Empire
Feb. 06 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
Feb. 07 – Worcester, MA – The Palladium – Upstairs
Feb. 08 – Montreal, QC – Les Foufounes Électriques
Feb. 09 – Toronto, ON – The Mod Club
Feb. 10 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
Feb. 11 – Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s Downunder
Feb. 13 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights
Feb. 15 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theatre
Feb. 16 – Salt Lake City, UT – In the Venue
Feb. 18 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
Feb. 19 – Vancouver, BC – Biltmore Cabaret
Feb. 20 – Portland, OR – Branx
Feb. 21 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Metro OperaHouse
Feb. 22 – West Hollywood, CA – Key Club*
Feb. 23 – Santa Ana, CA – The Constellation Room*
Feb. 25 – Tempe, AZ – 910 Live*
Feb. 28 – Dallas, TX – Door*
Mar. 01 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit*
Mar. 02 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live*
Mar. 04 – Orlando, FL – The Social*
Mar. 05 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Culture Room*
Mar. 06 – Tampa, FL – State Theatre*

* Turisas and Firewind only

There are also special VIP tickets being sold for the show and they are very limited. So if you’d like to purchase VIP tickets, please see

Fans can also see Turisas before this tour on the 70,000 Tons of Metal metal cruise which kicks of January 28th in Florida.

Cognitive – The Horrid Swarm

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 14th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

The Horrid Swarm
Released 21st July, 2012
Technical Death Metal
Self Released

Only being an active band for a year now, Cognitive may not be too well known, but with the way they’re creating their music now, it’ll be a matter of time before their name gets spread around. With the release of their EP The Horrid Swarm, it branches from a sundry amount of metal genres but mainly sticking to the technical death sound. With underlying influences such as Nile and Spawn of Possession, any fan of death metal or metal in general will enjoy this EP.

The EP starts off immediately with In the Form of a Drone which is just a mix of brutal guitar riffs and punishing drums. I was personally taken aback by how clear and amped the sound was on this EP. I could clearly make out every instrument that was accompanying the low vocals which I believe made it easier to listen to. Especially on newer bands who may not be equipped with great recording equipment, I was definitely happy with how well they captured their musicianship in The Horrid Swarm.

I was also happy with the fact that there were 5 tracks to this EP. I feel that this gave more of a feel of what the band is capable of doing and it defined themselves as a band as well. Each song on The Horrid Swarm varied in content but it gave me that feeling of wanting to throw my computer chair across my room while forming a hole in the wall.

I highly recommend checking out Cognitive and seeing them live if you’re in the New Jesery and Pennslyvania areas. These guys deserve a ton of support and this album proves that they’re a talented band with passion and drive to deliver neck-breaking metal that appeases to anyone who supports brutal death metal.


Lauren Gowdy

Aeon – Aeons Black

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 14th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Aeons Black
Released: 20th November, 2012
Death Metal
Released via Metal Blade Records

I didn’t think that it was possible for Aeon to sound heavier than they already do, but they have proven me wrong with their newest album, Aeons Black. Aeon makes the kind of death metal that digs deep into your soul and is just a prime example of all things blasphemous and heavy. Their neck breaking riffs and punishing vocals definitely make this, in my opinion, one of the must have metal albums of 2012.

Starting with Still They Pray, you’re instantly hit with a wall of sound that gets you pumped up and instantly sucks you into this 15 track album. Usually I have a problem with so many instrumental songs being thrown onto albums, but I can honestly say that all 4 instrumental songs on Aeons Black only add to its shear awesomeness and brutality. Mixed with the heaviness of all the other tracks, it creates a spine-tingling buildup that makes you feel evil and inhuman.

The one song that stuck out to me the most on this album was I Wish You Death, which you can tell is definitely not a love ballad. Just the tempo and use of the whammy bar makes it stick out from the rest and really, to me, defines what this whole album is trying to portray: death metal with a bit of an added groove to it. Even though that was my personal favourite  I thoroughly enjoyed the album as a whole and think that every second of every song is worth listening to.

Being my favourite band for the last few years, Aeon definitely did not disappoint with this album. I’m thoroughly impressed with their musicianship and their drive to stick true to their sound. Their passion is shown in their songs, and I believe they will continue on to create more hard-hitting death metal that will make the death metal community and Satan himself proud.


Lauren Gowdy

Interview with Tommy Dahlström [Aeon]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 13th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

After releasing their debut album Bleeding the False back in 2005, Swedish death metal band Aeon have taken off in the metal scene and are favored by bands such as Cannibal Corpse. Being one of my personal favorite metal bands ever, I was ecstatic to have the privilege of interviewing front man Tommy Dahlström about the band’s new album Aeons Black, a possible U.S. and Canadian tour, and the perks of being on tour.

<br />Aeon


Lauren: Who do you consider to be big influences on your music?

Tommy: We grew up listening to Deicide, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel and a few more bands. They were a big influence back then and still are.

L: Is there any major differences music wise between your newest album, Aeon’s Black, in comparison to your previous albums?

T: No I don’t think so. We still deliver death metal the Aeon way; aggressive but with groove.

L: Aeon seems to always play in Europe. Any plans for a U.S. or Canada tour in the future?

T: We have been offered many U.S tours over the years but had to turn them down because of financial problems. But we are working on it and I hope we can do Canadian and a U.S tour with this album in our back.

L: How did you come up with the video concept for Forgiveness Denied and do you plan on doing another video for your new album?

T: We made the video from the lyrics of the song. As simple as that. Yes, we are talking about making a video but it’s way too early to say anything about that here.

L: Where did the band’s hate for Christianity come from?

T: From my heart and soul. It’s not only the Christians, it’s all gods followers.

L: What do you enjoy most about touring, and what do you dislike the most about them?

T: The girls, hahaha. I enjoy touring, that’s what I want to do. It’s awesome to meet people that like death metal as much as I do. To stand on stage and play the music that I love and have sacrificed most of my life to is a dream come true. If the tour goes as planned then I don’t have any dislikes.

L: Your house is on fire and you only have time to grab 3 things: what would you grab?

T: Only need my rifle so I can shoot the asshole that did set my house on fire.

L: What’s your favorite Swedish food dish?

T: Blodpudding.

L: Anything you would like to say to your fans?

T: I hope to see you at our shows. Stay metal.

Aeon’s new album, Aeon’s Black, will be released on 20th November, 2012, make sure to get yourself a copy!


Epica w/Support @ The Palladium, Worcester

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 8th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Epica, Alestorm, Insomnium, System Divide, and Blackguard
The Palladium, Worcester, Massachusetts
27th October

It was a cold night when I arrived at The Palladium for the Epica North American Tour 2012, but it became incredibly warmer once I was confronted by the hundreds of metal fans of all kinds (power metal fans, death metal fans, and even fans who dressed up as pirates) waiting eagerly along the side of the building to get inside. It was a bit more packed than it should have been because in a different part of the venue, Taproot and Nonpoint were playing a show as well. How random, right?

Before I even got into the show, I did an interview with Blackguard front man Paul Ablaze. I then made my way inside to stand in front of the barricade to take pictures. In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever use a photo press pass at a show again just because it felt like I was detached from the show and not so much a part of it, and not to mention I kept getting heckled by the security who thought I was a total pain in the ass. Although it was a nice change from being crushed by topless, sweaty dudes who reek of eggs and despair.

Anyway, the show starts off with Blackguard, which I was relieved to see because The Palladium usually likes to add on local acts to bigger shows, and sometimes those bands are unbearable.  They only played for a half hour, which consisted of only newer songs. They even played a new track, In Dreams, which will be on their next album.  For some reason, I felt like this was not Blackguard’s best set. I’ve seen them many times in the past few years, and I suppose what was missing was that folky element that their older songs have. Not to say that their newer stuff is bad, but they were definitely lacking that fun and energetic aspect that they usually portray in their live shows. Their energy was still very high and the songs made the crowd break out into a sea of windmills, but it just felt different to me this time.

Following Blackguard was System Divide. I was familiar with the band after listening to their EP a few years ago, and their set was actually better than I had anticipated it to be.  I also forgot that Sven De Caluwe, vocalist of Aborted, does vocals for System Divide as well!  Paired along with Miri Milman, who is the female vocalist in the group, the band definitely had a unique set mixed with heavy but melodic guitar and a mix of clean and growl vocals. It’s always interesting to me when there are two vocalists in a band because from what I’ve seen, one vocalist is usually predominate over the other which makes the other vocalist completely unnecessary. However, both vocalists meshed very well together and the mixed styles had some people in the crowd booing, but their stage presence and high energy was a winner to me.

I was most looking forward to Insomnium’s set not only because I have never seen them live before, but they’re also one of my favorite melodic metal bands of all time. That same powerful feeling I experienced from listening to the albums was also portrayed in their live show. Starting their set with the song Inertia, their beautiful riffs paired with their low and enticing vocals created a serene but dark atmosphere that was just absolutely captivating. They also played Down With the Sun which is off my favorite album from them, Across the Dark, but most of their set was relatively newer songs. They had a slower set, but I believe they played the best out of everyone that night. It’s hard to keep a crowd’s attention when playing songs that are not as upbeat, but Insomnium did an excellent job at setting a more somber mood without losing the focus of the audience.

Last time I saw Alestorm, I did not really get to enjoy their set due to the amount of crazy, drunken pirate fans that literally kept throwing themselves on top of me trying to climb their way onto the stage. However, after being able to watch them, Alestorm’s set was so upbeat that there were people in the pits who were literally dancing and skipping around! They played a bunch of fan favorites such as Keelhauld, Captain Morgan’s Revenge, and Leviathan, and the crowd couldn’t help but break out singing very loudly and drunkly to Nancy the Tavern Wench. The keyboards and keytar mixed with talk about squids and other pirate banter made the crowd pumped and ready for Epica’s set.

Having seen Epica once before, I was anticipating a highly awesome performance. However, I only managed to watch the first three songs before I had to head out from the show. From those three songs alone, which were Monopoly on Truth, Sensorium, and Unleashed, it was hard to not become enthralled by the seemingly beautiful vocals of Simone Simmons paired with the melodic and charismatic riffs of the guitars and keyboards. The flashing of the lights in the background and the positive energy from the audience only added to the, dare I say, epic feeling that Epica was giving off. I later found out that Epica did a few encore songs: Cry for the Moon, Blank Infinity, and Consign to Oblivion, and these concluded another spectacular performance from this band.

Having to wake up early and basically bust my butt to make it to this show was entirely worth it. Hopefully Epica comes back really soon so I can fully appreciate and enjoy them like I did the first time around, and hopefully the other bands come and tour around American again really soon!

Lauren Gowdy

Interview: Paul Ablaze [Blackguard]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 8th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

After gaining popularity in not only their homeland of Canada but in America as well, Canadian power metal band Blackguard have been the supporting acts of many tours and never cease to blow away their fans with their live performances and epic albums. I got the chance to interview front man Paul Ablaze where he discusses touring life, Blackguard’s progression in their music, and the possibility of a headlining tour.

Blackguard is currently doing a European tour with Kamelot, Xandria, and Triosphere, and will be working on a new album sometime next year.


Cattle Decapitation Announce Last Minute Northeast Tour Dates

Posted in News with tags , , on 8th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

After dropping off the Autumn Apocalypse Tour, Cattle Decapitation have announced a few last minute tours that they will be headlining in the northeast of the U.S. before touring with Dying Fetus and Cerebral Bore starting November 25th. The band’s front man, Travis Ryan, posted a list of current dates on his Facebook page:


Last minute Cattle Decapitation shows booked in place of dropping off the Autumn Apocalypse tour, more to come!!!!11/08 Lowell, MA @ The Worthen House (141 Worthen St.)
11/10 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Roboto Project w/ Vektor
11/11 Reading, PA @ Reverb
11/13 Wooskie, VT @ Monkey Bar
11/14 Poughkeepsie, NY @ Pickwick Pub w/ Deiphago
11/15 Keene, NH @ Railroad Tavern
11/16 Danbury, CT @ Heirloom Arts
11/17 Middletown, NY @ Sounds Asylym
11/20 Trenton, NJ @ Backstage at Champs
11/21 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar”

More dates will be added, so make sure to check up on their page for a date that could be closer to you!

Cattle Decapitation Drop Off Autumn Apocalypse Tour After Physical Altercation Between Chris Barnes and Travis Ryan

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 6th November 2012 by hammersmashedlauren


Cattle Decapitation have announced that they will be dropping off the Autumn Apocalypse tour. According to Cattle Decapitation frontman Travis Ryan, Six Feet Under’s Chris Barnes “sucker punched” him in the face after an argument that ensued between the two. On his Facebook, Ryan posts a statement about the situation, in which he calls Barnes “a fucking hack”:


“Chris Barnes is a fucking hack. I’ve personally passed on at least 5 six feet tours over the last 8 or so years because he pulls so much nonsense on the support bands because his ego is astronomical. We’re leaving the Chris Barnes Show tour today. Go to the Chris Barnes show and buy some of their merch. They need it desperately.”


Six Feet Under also announced they would not play the Boston, MA show (the same show where Barnes threw a punch at Ryan)  if Vital Remains opened for them. Vital Remains were scheduled to open for the show weeks prior to, where they were promptly told to step down as well.


No official statement has been made by anyone associated with Six Feet Under yet about the situation. Cattle Decapitation will still be performing with Dying Fetus and Cerebral Bore starting November 25th.

Incantation – Vanquish in Vengeance

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 27th October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Vanquish in Vengeance
Released: 26th November 2012
Death metal
Released via Listenable Records

Being around for more than 20 years, Incantation has proven that they can still create death metal that’s original, fresh, and heavy. Their newest album Vanquish in Vengeance goes beyond that expected heaviness but rather has more of a doomy feeling to it making this album seem a little more personal than their previous ones. It’ll definitely keep you headbanging the whole time, whether fast or slow.

The album starts off with Invoke Infinity, and it hits you right away without any kind of buildup. It instantly made me want to windmill in my chair with its memorable riffs and intense drum patterns. This song, as well as a majority of the songs on the album, follows this kind of a style. I was very pleasantly surprised how consistent and varied the songs were on this album and because of that, it was easier to really enjoy the album.

The only fault I have with this album is that a couple songs, Profound Loathing and Legion of Dis, seemed to be dragged out longer than they should be. While the musical composition of both songs was astounding, both songs could have easily taken a good 2-3 minutes out and still would have sounded great. Lengthening the songs is a good concept if there is some kind of buildup involved, but both of these songs lacked any kind of buildup which made it harder to listen to.

Other than that, this album was simply amazing. Even after all this time, Incantation can still crank out quality albums that are extraordinary in sound and musicianship. I definitely recommend this to any old and new school death metal fans, you will not be disappointed!


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Interview with J Costa [Thy Will Be Done]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 21st October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Before their performance at the Rock and Shock Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts, Valkyrian Music writer Lauren Gowdy has a quick chat with J Costa who is the front man for the Rhode Island-based band Thy Will Be Done, or formerly known as Kobalt, and discusses their new EP, Temple, as well as musical influences, pet peeves, and the toilets in Japan. There is also a special appearance from Mr. J Walken, who thanks his fans and says how “it’s a great day to be a fan of Thy Will Be Done, whoa! Wham-o, zam-o!”

Thy Will Be Done is currently doing an US tour with Shadows Fall and God Forbid [refer below for dates] and their new EP, Temple,  is in stores and on iTunes now!

Haar – 2012 EP

Posted in Uncategorized on 9th October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren


2012 EP

Released 27th July, 2012

Progressive Black Metal




With an eclectic sound that derives from different kinds of black and progressive metal, Haar’s 2012 EP is aesthetically appealing to the ears with its blend of old and newer styles. It combines the heavy sounds that can be heard in bands such as Deathspell Omega and combines it with the beautiful, melodic guitars seen in bands such as Abigor  or Enslaved. With two very different influences, Haar has done an excellent job at meshing both together to create a sound that is beyond just black metal.

The EP starts off with a slow guitar build up which lasts around 30 seconds or so, and this is a common theme seen in not only black metal music but almost all kinds of metal music as well. I had not realized, however, that this guitar build up was actually the first track of the album, I, or the Roman numeral for the number 1. I did not think much of it once the second track, Bourne, started to play immediately after.  I was pleasantly surprised by how raw and old school sounding the song actually was. A lot of newer black metal utilizes recording technology to give their music a cleaner sound, but Haar’s recordings did not sound over produced. While I’m aware that this a self-released EP and the band probably couldn’t access higher quality recording technology, it still sounded stunning in the end and it really did prove that an album’s recording quality does not have a huge influence on a band’s sound.

The next track, cleverly named III, also had the same guitar build up sound that was in the first track. I was hoping it would not be an entire track but actually be the opening to the song. However, it followed that same pattern seen in the previous two tracks, and the last two tracks were also set up in this way. Being a 6 track EP, I was excited to see that there would be more songs to listen to than the average EP, but I was disappointed that with this set up, half of the tracks are just built up noise. If these songs were incorporated into the other 3 tracks rather than just stand on their own, it would have caused for less space for a much more simplified EP.

Overall, I love that Haar’s sound consists of an older, black metal sound pair with newer, progressive guitars. I definitely recommend this EP to any newer and older school black metal fans. I hope Haar will be recognized for their talent and continue to put out more albums.


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Interview: Chance Garnette [Skeletonwitch]

Posted in Interview on 29th September 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

After forming almost a decade ago, Skeletonwitch are still going hard in recording albums, constant touring, and staying just so damn sexy while doing it. My sister Megan and I were able to talk to vocalist Chance Garnette last week at one of their headlining shows of their most recent tour about upcoming plans for a new album, thoughts on today’s metal scene, embarrassing tour moments, and how he enjoys riding bikes.

Lauren: We’re gonna start this off with what’s going on with an upcoming album and tours?

Chance Garnette: Well, this is our headliner, and we haven’t done a real headliner in a long time meaning our show, our thing for an extended amount of time which you guys were at. *laughter*

Megan: All of them!

L: Yes! I saw you like three times this year!

CG: Yeah, you know, we managed to get out there quite a bit. So we’re gonna hit it real hard until the end of the year. I think this one ends like, what today’s the 20 something of September. I think we’re out middle of November so it’s about 2 months. 2 days off in 65 days.

L: Wow!

CG: So we’ll see if everybody is still in love afterwards, I hope so! *laughter* Then we’ll probably just chill through November, and then December, January, February, March we’ll write a new record, record it in April is the plan. As far as tours go, we need to get that one done first. You know, one thing at a time. If I get the offer of a century, I’ll be there, but I really need to get a record written. The attention span of people is a little bit lacking, so if you want to be a career musician, you have to work really hard and make sure you have something for people to listen to or they might forget you, and if they forget you, then I can’t pay the rent! *laughter*

M: I’ll never forget you!

L: Yeah exactly! So I know that you guys have been touring for a while now, so in the last like 3 years what’s the worst show that you played that you can think of and what’s the best?

CG: Well shit, I mean you never even thought you would go to see like Wacken Open Air, for example, much less be able to play the son of a bitch, and to behold 80,000 people at one time is amazing. So I would say that was probably just because of the history and what it actually is, biggest metal fest in the damn world, and to be a part of that and be there and to have a day before we played just to go dick around, so the whole experience, I would probably say that one sticks out the most. Other than the first show we ever did. I mean that was pretty goddamn exciting too! *laughter* I think we did 8 songs and then we did 4 with lyrics, and I think I even had a notebook on stage with the lyrics. So it’s come a long way in about 9 years. Worst show ever? I don’t know man.

M: Webster Theater? [In Hartford, Connecticut]

CG: That was probably the hottest. It’s funny man because you know that one was super hot, but two days later or the day after, it was even hotter. As soon as it was all over, Scotty [Hendrick] and I ducked out the back door and we were like, puking friends. We were like “Hold my hair and I’ll hold yours!” *laughter* It wasn’t really like that but we were definitely both were like “Oh my god, it was hotter than Webster!” and went out there and puked. I don’t know as far as a bad show you know, but sometimes you’re like awww I think I sounded like shit or maybe I was sick or one of your players didn’t really nail it like you had hoped. But in any show, when people come and see it, in my head, is a good show. You know what I mean? It’s good to know that if there’s 5 kids or if there’s 500 kids, they are there and you don’t want to short change them. You know I’m not even going to call one or other the worst ever just because those people don’t deserve that. They paid money to see my old ass *laughter* so just because it was under tended doesn’t make it worse. You want more people there obviously, but this is what I do for a living and everyone can’t be fucking going, right?

L: Right.

CG: So that was the best one and I would say the other ones, I’m glad to be at all of them.

L: That was actually a really good answer! *laughter* So people call you black thrash metal, so what influences you as far as lyrics and music style?

CG: Well when we started, we’ve never set out to be this band or that band. We kind of vary a lot in age especially back then because there were a couple of players who actually started the band with Nate [Garnette], Scotty, and myself. There’s still a decent amount of age gap between every player, but there used to be even more. So everyone had their own little group of influences. We all liked to hang out and party together and listen to the same things. You know, maybe my favorite is not his favorite, but I like what his favorite is and he likes what my favorite is. We never really started out as “Let’s be a thrash band” or “Let’s be a death metal band” or a black metal band or whatnot, but we like all these genres of heavy metal, so let’s just be a heavy metal band, and I’m going to write from my influences and what I like best and he’s going to write from his. When you put it together, you get Skeletonwitch. I guess if you really want to put it in the smallest box possible, like what does it fit the most, I guess it would be black thrash. I mean there’s a lot more going on there, I believe. I understand that there’s just so many people, journalists as well as kids, who just want to take your music and dissect it into the smallest possible little tiny piece and go “This is black thrash death post-something” and they’re like “What kind of band are you?” “Uh, a fucking metal band is what I am” *laughter* So I’m more influenced from older things. I turned 40 this year so you know my first metal show was DRI in 1989 I think.

M: I wasn’t a thought in ’89.

CG: I was in high school and it was either in ’89 or ’90, one of the two. I graduated in ’90 so it was one of the two. I was on the Thrash Zone album so that’s kind of where I start my influences from metal wise. Actually, even before then, I used to live in Arkansas and my mom for Christmas got me two records that came out that year. They were Michael Jackson – Thriller and Quiet Riot – Mental Health, and obviously one stuck more than the other. But I think Michael Jackson is still pretty brilliant.

L: I totally agree!

CG: That last DVD or video, you know, when he died, is incredible. When he’s out practicing and, what’s it called, This Is It or whatever it is. That’s killer. But probably way back from getting that first Quiet Riot cassette and watching that video on MTV when they actually fucking played videos is probably where my metal influences would’ve started and then just progressively on throughout there, man. There’s not a genre of metal that I really despise or anything like that. I mean there’s certain things that I like more than others, but we just put it all together. He likes this, I like that, you like this, he likes this, and put it together and it turns out to be Skeletonwitch.

M: Which I love!

L: Yes, which I also love!

CG: Good to hear, good to hear! *laughter*

L: Okay, so the metal scene obviously, you grew up in the older scene generation and it’s kind of evolved. So what do you think about it now? Do you still think it’s relatively the same or different?

CG: Well it’s definitely not the same because there was no internet then, so there was less bands then as far as, you know, maybe there wasn’t fewer I guess is grammatically correct. Maybe there weren’t fewer bands then. There were fewer bands that people knew of then because you either had to go to the show or you had to somehow get someone’s mailing address and send them a cassette back and forth. I think that’s the biggest difference is social networking and the internet. As far as the fans coming out to shows, other than a segregation of “I like this one!” or “I like them! I’m not going to go to it if it’s not this certain type of metal!” or whatnot. Like in Europe, it’s not that way at all. You’ll see kids that like everything. Even Canada as well. “You like metal?” “Yep.” “Do you like only death metal?” “Nope.” “Do you like only thrash metal?” “Nope, I like fucking heavy metal.” It was kind of that way then as well. A lot times someone doesn’t want to hear someone sing. A lot of times, those fans don’t want to hear someone scream, but it really didn’t matter as much then. I guess it’s less of, I don’t want to say less of a community because it’s the largest, in my opinion. It’s like the largest underground community in the world. You can move anywhere in the United States and be in a black shirt in a bar and what not. You’ll see someone else and now you met your friend for the night. Whether you end up liking them or not, you got something to talk about. I don’t know other, like, do construction workers go into bars and go “You’re a construction worker? Me too! Let’s talk about tools!” *laughter* No, I don’t think so because I’ve definitely been a construction worker and I don’t want to fucking talk about that shit when I’m not doing it! Metal is different, you know, and I’m sure you guys are the same. You guys go somewhere and you see somebody and are like “Cool band!” “Oh yeah, cool band for you!” And now you’re friends and you’re talking. So, I mean, as far as what is different, a lot of people have had babies and have kind of gotten out of it. *laughter* It’s not going anywhere. I know it sounds a little bit hokey or maybe even cliché, I wish more people got along and were just like “You like aggressive music? I like aggressive music. Just because I don’t like your bands and you don’t like my bands don’t mean we have to be fucking fighting each other.” We’re both into music and that’s the key, the glue that holds it together. So I kind of lost track of the damn question, but as far as what is different, you know it’s just obvious that some things have changed. It’s hard to get people to come to shows when gas prices are fucking 4 dollars a gallon. When we first started almost 10 years ago, gas was about $2.30. Maybe something like that? So that’s why we’re doing this tour and it’s so compact. We drove like 2 hours, and then we’re going to drive another hour and a half instead of doing the 6-8 hour drives because if they can’t come to you, then we’ll come to them. If they’re into it, they deserve to see shows too. Just because you can’t afford it like “I can’t afford the trip.” You hear that a lot from a lot of kids, so logistically that’s a pretty big difference. But it will always be, and it better be.

L: Yeah, exactly! Okay, just a couple more.

CG: Sure.

L: Again, you guys tour a lot. Any embarrassing moments that you would want to share?

CG: Sure! I remember one time, it was this year actually, it was our first time in Hungary. We actually played in Budapest which was pretty cool. You never figure you’d go to Europe and that’s a blessing in itself to be able to go fly on a plane and go some crazy places. But it’s my first time in Budapest. The show slammed, it was awesome, and some kids spilled a bunch of beer in the front and I fucking bit the dust real hard.

L: Oh no! *laughter*

CG: It was kind of like you know, I’m running to the edge of the stage to get right in their faces, hit that beer and did like a big ass split! Landed on my ass and no lie, I still cannot do a jumping jack because I’m pretty my ankle got fractured that day. So it was embarrassing but I wasn’t like if I had the choice to fall or not, I would’ve said no. I don’t want to fall! But do I lose sleep over it? Am I so embarrassed? You know shit happens. You can get online and like: “Axl Rose falls on stage.” How many times has that fool fell on stage? Like a ton! I mean it happens.

L: Or just doesn’t even show up.

CG: *laughter* Is that embarrassing? I don’t know but, primadonna or whatever you want to call it. Embarrassing things do happen, but it comes with a territory. I mean, you can do something embarrassing in the line at the god damn grocery, and if someone wants to laugh at it, okay maybe I’ll punch him for that! Probably not though. The last time I hit a kid, I went to fucking, well not the last time but not too long ago I hit a kid and went to jail for it. It’s not worth doing. Keep your hands to yourself, people!

M: You don’t want to pull a Randy Blythe!

L: Yeah exactly!

CG: That’s intense. Yeah, that’s an intense thing right there. We were over there playing that show in the Czech Republic with them, and that happened that day. It was supposed to be us, Lamb of God, and All Shall Perish.

L: Oh that’s right, you were there!

CG: Yeah we got the call in the van on the way to the show that he’s not going to make it for that reason, so that’s another thing in its own, man. It’s very unfortunate, I’m very glad he is home cause I know I’d be shitting bricks if it was me.

L: Oh yeah.

M: Especially in a different country.

CG: Dude, absolutely.

L: Okay, do you have any dorky hobbies at all? Like do you play card games?

CG: I despise playing cards. You know, people are like “let’s get together, have some beer and play some pinochle!” I’m not doing that. *laughter* “Let’s play Uno!” I’m not doing that either. The whole card game thing, I don’t like it. I really don’t like video games either. I’m not really into it. I had an Atari 2600 when I used to mow grass back when I was about fucking 10 maybe. I liked it pretty hard then. There’s a lot of cool ass things like that I just liked generationally. What I like to do now is I love to, I live out in the woods. Well not really in the woods but where I live is in the Appalachian Mountains and we have so many killer mountain bike trails, really aggressive ones. I can’t skateboard for shit but I can mountain bike the fuck out of those. *laughter* So that’s what I like to do.

M: And put it on Instagram!

CG: Yeah I like to do that a lot, man. I like to get out there by myself and just get in the woods, just me and the bike, and sometimes I’ll roll a joint and take it with me. I remember when I first got it I was like “I don’t need no helmet, I look dorky in this helmet!” No shit, the first day I crashed and hit my head on a stump.

L: Oh my god, who would’ve thought?!

CG: It wasn’t hard but I was just like “Get a fucking helmet, kid.” There’s no one out here seeing you anyway. *laughter* So I like to mountain bike quite a bit. I like to walk. I like to hike a lot.

M: You can walk for me!

CG: *laughter* I like to do those things alone. I guess, is it dorky? I don’t know. Maybe it is. But I just like to get out and disappear for 2-3 hours a day when I’m at home. Sometimes, when I’m walking especially, I’ll have one of those tiny Steno pads, the tiniest ones that you can put in your back pocket, and I will listen to our demos and construct patterns and rhythms and lyrics while I’m, I guess, burning calories. *laughter* Trying to kill a couple birds with one stone! But what’s dorky to some may be the coolest thing in the world to others so who am I to say what’s dorky or not? I guess I would say video games are. I just said I don’t like them! *laughter* But yeah I don’t really like those kinds of things. I like to ride motorcycles. I’m looking at one now hopefully which will be good to me and I’m trying to get another one, and there’s one I want to work on and chop it up and turn a nice bike into a piece of crap for some reason. I really want to do that. Pretty much the band is my full time everything: job, hobby. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up and pretty much the last thing I think about when I go to sleep. I’m on the phone and emailing and just doing anything I can do to make it go a little further every day. So it’s definitely not a hobby but it’s my biggest focus. So that’s what’s going down!

L: Alright last one! You’re probably sick of me.

CG: No no!

L: Anything you want to say to your fans or haters?

CG: You know, haters gonna hate! *laughter* What’re you going to do!? I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. If you like it, thank you so much. I mean, without having fans, I couldn’t do this for a living and they’ve given me the opportunity to have the best job in the world. I want to say 100% from everyone in the band, because I know we’re all like-minded on this one, is thanks a lot for giving us this opportunity. I wasn’t in a touring band at age 23 or age 18. We started touring when I was 32 or something like that, so it kind of came late. So thanks for coming out and seeing this old man! I appreciate it! *laughter* I’m going to do it as long as they’re there and they want to see me do it, I’m going to fucking do it. So, you know, big thanks and I appreciate the opportunity. As far as the haters go, what haters? There are none! *laughter* You know, just got to brush that off! There are definitely things that I don’t like but I don’t have some fictitious screen name that I’m using saying “Fucking sucks! This is the worst band I’ve ever heard!” I’m just not going to invest any energy into that kind of shit because all it does is it gets you nowhere and if someone finds out who you are, you’re going to get punched or they’re going to think you’re an asshole, and being an asshole really gets you nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. So I guess, just thanks a lot, man, for supporting the band and coming to see us, buying the records, and wearing the shirts.

M: And the panties!

CG: And the panties! *laughter*

M: I’m sorry, I had to throw that in there!

CG: So yeah just thanks for everything because without the fans, I would probably be home probably hammering nails. Or riding motorcycles. *laughter* And thanks for the interview, I appreciate that so much!

L: Oh you’re so welcome! Thank you!

CG: Not a problem!

L: Alright, well that’s the end of that. Hail Satan and all that good shit.

[Band photo and live, red photo were taken from Skeletonwithch’s Facebook. Collage was made by me. All others were taken by Megan]

Candlemass – Psalms for the Dead

Posted in Review with tags , , on 29th September 2012 by hammersmashedlauren


Psalms for the Dead

Released 8 June 2012

Doom Metal

Released via Napalm Records

Being the epitome of doom metal for more than 25 years, Candlemass has once again proven that they are in fact the masters of doom with their new album Psalms of the Dead. Every song on this album is haunting, captivating, and memorable and is written exactly like doom metal should be written. Although it is sad that they are no longer producing albums, they definitely left their mark with this one.

I initially only heard a couple of songs from this album, “Black as Time” and “Psalms of the Dead”, before I actually gave the entire album an entire listen. Right from Black as Time, I knew this album would be amazing. The intro to the song is of a clock ticking followed by a bit of a rant about how time is black and pretty much an enemy. The song then goes right into the familiar Candlemass sound of spine-chilling riffs and commanding vocals. This song gave me goosebumps the first few times I heard it from its shear awesomeness, and while Messiah was my personal favorite vocalist, I give Robert Lowe a lot of credit for really making the songs sound powerful.

Psalms of the Dead was also catchy in its riffs and memorable chorus, which I pretty much knew after listening to the song a few times. Being one of the slower tracks on this album, it still had that heavy doom sound that made it easy to headbang to or to even just sing while you are in the shower. Robert Lowe’s vocals were most impressive in this song and he definitely won over my respect for being the new vocalist. I then gave the rest of the album a listen and didn’t think that every single song would match up to the previous two songs that I already have listened to. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised that the rest of the songs were just as amazing/if not better than I thought it was going to be. This album has something that a lot of albums do not have: every song is in some way memorable or catchy in its production.

Usually, I give some kind of criticism when it comes to reviews, but I can honestly say that I can’t find anything to criticize about this album. The production and quality of Psalms of the Dead are phenomenal the whole way through and each song is charismatic in its delivery and message. From what I have seen, many older death metal bands try and change up their sound to make the band grow and to further improve their musicianship. However, Candlemass is an exception to this. While they are growing in their musicianship, they still have that same doom metal sound that they originally had since the band formed many years ago. I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone who loves metal, no matter what kind you may listen to. It’s haunting, heavy, and will be forever black.


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Satan’s Wrath – Galloping Blasphemy

Posted in Review with tags , , on 15th September 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Satan’s Wrath
Galloping Blasphemy
Released: 25th September 2012
Blackened Thrash Metal
Released via Metal Blade Records

It seems as of lately, there have been more black thrash metal bands arising in the metal scene, and Satan’s Wrath is a brand new black thrash band who fits the genre well. With a mostly thrash sound accompanied with black metal vocals, their newest album Galloping Blasphemy has an old school feel both instrumentally and vocally. To me, they sound like Mercyful Fate and other older thrash bands mixed with Marduk, and they managed to create that sound well enough to the point where black metal or thrash metal was not the overbearing genre.

Each song is consistent in keeping that old school feeling. The one track that stood out the most to me was Galloping Blasphemy. Being one of the shortest songs on the album, it felt more of like a thrash song to me because it got right to the point and was filled with heavy riffs, riveting solos, and, surprisingly, no vocals. It felt like this was the one song that the band made to essentially show what they’re all about, and it was definitely memorable even with a lack of lyrics.

Their song names are, of course, cheesy song names that you would see on any metal band who talks of Satanism: Slaves of the Inverted Cross, Hail Tritone, Hail Lucifer, and Between Belial and Satan to name just a few. I suppose that would be the only negative, if any, I would have about this album. Otherwise, I found it to be really enjoyable and certainly different from a lot of metal that’s being made right now. It’s nice to hear old school sounding metal rather than a lot of the technical, over produced stuff that is being made right now. Being a newer band, hopefully they continue to keep their same sound and don’t try and deviate too far from it. I recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of old school thrash and black metal, or anyone just looking for something to listen to when they feel like slaughtering goats and causing mayhem.


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Interview: Tony Lazaro [Vital Remains]

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 2nd September 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Being around for 20+ years and with various line up changes, Vital Remains is still going harder than ever to create death metal and to keep the underground scene alive. My sister Megan and I got the pleasure of sitting down with guitarist and only original member Tony Lazaro to discuss Vital Remains’ new album, future touring, and what the hell happened to Scott Wily.

Lauren: Okay, this is Hammer Smashed Lauren here with Tony Lazaro of Vital Remains.

Tony Lazaro: What’s uuuuuuuuup?

L: Okay, we’re gonna start this off! So what’s going on with your new record and recording?

TL: Recording, we have like 16 songs recorded as far as preproduction written, and basically we got this tour here that we’re finishing here with Kataklysm and then we got some South American dates, and then our priority is to record this winter. The new album will be out for spring on a new label so we’re all excited.

L: Can you say which label?

TL: I can’t say yet, but I will tell you first when I have the permission. I’ll tell you after actually, I just can’t say it publically yet, but I’ll tell you anyway. But yeah, that’s the plan pretty much.

L: Awesome! So you just finished your tour with Destruction which was awesome, and I heard that they got gypped of their money for the tour.

TL: From what I heard, yes.

L: So my question for you is how do you feel about music now, like do you think it is more money driven or do you think there’s still a small part that there’s still people in it for the music?

TL: I think that there’s a little of everything there. There’s a little of both because there’s just people who want to play music, and then there’s the business side of it, Sometimes the business side is ugly, it gets ugly a little and you know that’s the part that no one likes to, or at least I don’t like to deal with, but I know I have to deal with it. So I just try to deal with it professionally and I know how it is to get ripped off so I was on that tour and I did hear that Destruction was not paid in full for their money, there was a lot of money withheld. Apparently they said it was over $30,000 which is not cool. I think that it’s messed up and unfortunate that that happened, and I think they tried to work it out. But yeah, the business side is not the side that I like. I like the musical side, just playing music, and you know, the creative side of it. But unfortunately, again, if you’ve been around as long as I have, at some point if you take over and have to handle the business end of it, that’s the ugly side that you have to learn to deal with, and you just got to be smart and learn from your mistakes and not let people take advantage of you. So it’s a tough business but you know, again, business is business so if you’re smart and you hang in there, and you don’t let people burn you, what’s it, 3 times? Once is like shame on you, shame on me and just don’t let it happen 3 times I guess, right? Cause then it’s just like, you’re an idiot at that point if you let the same person rip you off 3 times. But yeah, so just be smart. To any bands out there, just try to really pay attention and if you need a lawyer, get a lawyer. Find a lawyer!

L: Yeah, it’s always good to have a lawyer.

TL: Find an uncle or something that’s a lawyer.

Megan: My dad!

TL: *laughter* Or your dad, yeah! It’s good to have someone that’s a lawyer around in this business!

M: Well I have a question. Actually, it’s not really a question but explain a little about Scott because I keep hearing things from people.

TL; Right, plus he’s posted all kinds of wacky things. Basically, the truth of it is we were scheduled on the last tour, the Destruction tour, to play BB Kings. Scott did not show up. It was pre show so it was like maybe 45 minutes or a half an hour before we were going on stage, and we were panicking because he hasn’t arrived yet. We thought he was coming from Rhode Island because he couldn’t get into Canada. We had done some pervious dates in Canada, and Scott has a record and can’t get in, and Brian [Werner] had filled in for those. So basically we were like “Okay Scott, just meet us in New York. We’re coming down from Canada and all that through customs” and he was supposed to show up for that. Half an hour before the gig, I don’t see him. I start panicking! I talk to Gator and I go “Gator, give him a call because he ain’t getting back to me.” I even tried calling him and texting him and it was going right to voicemail, and he wasn’t getting back to me. He calls him and Scott basically says “Oh I’m walking around Times Square sightseeing.” And we’re like “We’re going on stage at BB Kings to a packed out in 35 minutes.” You know what I mean? Get your ass to the venue! So, you know, it’s 25 minutes, 20 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, now we’re panicking, and we’re like what do we do? And at that point, we’re like if he doesn’t show up when it’s time to go on stage and they tell us you got to go, I’m like Brian, you’ve worked with us in Canada, I go it’s like anything, it’s like a football team right now and you’re the second string quarter back. You’re getting in the game! I don’t care if you have no experience, you’re going to grab the ball and you’re going to score a touchdown! *laughter* And you know, he’s kind of nervous and I’m like get up there and disapprove if you can do it. So he did, and I give him a lot of credit because you know, it’s one thing to fill in for just a few dates, to literally having to jump in to something full time and just be like the guy. He learned all of these songs in a short amount of time. So I commend him and give him a lot of credit, and I’m really pissed off at Scott that he did that because for the longest time, one thing I could always count on Scott for was that he would be there. He might of done so many crazy, wacky things on the road that would make me angry and I would fire him, you know what I mean, but I had a soft spot for him. But the one thing, like I said, that he had was that he always showed up to do his job. He never did not show up, so that’s the only thing he had going for him. So when he didn’t show up, I was pretty angry.

So the next day was hometown show where he lives in Pawtucket, which you girls came out to, and he doesn’t show up for that! I’m like now I can understand if you missed a bus or something, but you can’t ride your bicycle even or walk! It like Pawtucket is a small, little, you know like Family Guy, it’s a little town, you know? *laughter* You know what I mean? It’s like you tell me you couldn’t make it? So that’s when I was really, really angry. Then come to find out it was because of his own selfish reasons that, you know, he’s saying that he wants to be in more control, he wants more money, he wants this, he wants that. All for himself, like from a selfish point. He didn’t think of us as a team like brothers, like we’re all in this together in a band, and let me not do this to the one person, like me, who gave him an opportunity for 4 years, brought him around the world, you know? And he does that to all of us, and I think that was the last straw and it broke the camel’s back and we were like that’s it. We’re done. You can’t even work. You can’t even show up and blows us off, and now he’s trying to claim to be the victim and saying he’s going to start a new Vital Remains. Actually, he said today or yesterday, there’s a post of him saying that he’s starting Vital Remains in his imagination. *laughter* That pretty much says, and tells the fans that he’s bi-polar and has some mental issues. Even before the Destruction tour, he was locked up in a mental institution, true story, for one week. That should’ve been a warning flag that he’s going downhill mentally, from a mental perspective. But we thought you know, he’s a little crazy. It’s good to have a crazy front man in a death metal band, but not clinically insane. You know what I mean, with a straight jacket and when you need medication. That’s the point where we need to reevaluate things I guess. You know, when he’s talking about starting his own empire and his own planet and sith and all this stuff like Star Wars, you know, and that’s pretty much like I said that when we just fired him and just told him that. Not that he believes us! He still thinks that there’s be some sort of thing that everything’s going to be all better, and it’s just hard to kind of let that go when he burned us like that I think. So if anybody else hears any other stories, it’s all bullshit folks unless you hear it from us.

M: Yeah that’s what I figured. That’s why I wanted to make sure because I remembering seeing that on because I’m friends with him on Facebook and I’m like that doesn’t sound right!

TL: Yeah and some people start believing him and I’m like if you’re not hearing it from us, it’s just one sided. You know, and if you read some of the stuff he’s been posting lately, like last week, he’s claiming he’s playing guitar for Deicide in Europe, and it couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s like it’s crazy!

M: I didn’t even know Deicide was touring!

TL: Yeah, it’s like they’re not even touring Europe but he’s saying he’s going to Europe! So in his mind, he’s going to Europe. Just wish him the best health but, we have to move on, you know. You’re just not that mentally stable for us. Not that we’re not that stable either. *laughter* But we’re a little more stable. We show up and do our jobs so that’s more support.

L: Right. Speaking of Deicide, do you plan on doing another tour with them in the future?

TL: I’m glad you asked that! There is talk, I did talk to Glen [Benton] like a month ago, 3-4 weeks ago, and basically he mentioned a tour and about us opening for Deicide in a coming tour which I think is like November. I got my fingers crossed. He said he would talk to the booking agent, so there’s a chance that we might be on that. Which would be great and if not, I’ll try.

M: At least here! Play here!

TL: Yeah I told him to definitely play a New England date, that would be killer! So yeah, we don’t know yet. We’re still waiting to hear, kind of like, being patient.

L: Let’s hope so!

TL: Yeah, fingers crossed!

L: Okay, last question. Do you have any final words for your fans or anyone doing music?

Tl; Well I want to thank all the fans for all of the years of support, all the old school fans, all the new fans, the younger fans and everything. Despite all the things the band’s been through in a line of changes, it’s unfortunate but the thing that I really want to put across is that they know they can put their trust and belief in me. I’ve been here since the beginning for 23 years and I don’t ever plan on going away and giving up and being weak and quitting on them, the music, the band. They and rest assure that as long as I’m alive, I’m going to give them the best music, brutal death metal, that I can. Don’t believe whatever the naysayers say about the band because you know this is what it’s all about. It’s not one person that makes a band whether you’ve lost. There’s no Dave Suzuki here, no Glen Benton

M: I saw that!

TL: Yeah, people have to understand that it’s more than that. I’ve been writing all the music for this band since the beginning. I’m the creative force writer of the band. So if I’m still here, then you can rest assure that the music will still be as brutal as ever. Again, it’s not about one particular person being here or not. It’s the music that’s most important. So that’s what I want people to remember and again, thanks for the support and thanks for the interview from you girls. Best of luck to you and thanks so much!

L: Best of luck to you!

TL: Thanks again for supporting brutal death metal and stay true and stay fucking underground. Hell yeah! Till death!

L: Hell yeah! *laughter* This is Hammer Smashed Lauren with Valkyrian Music. Hail Satan, and all that good shit!

TL: Hail Satan!! *growl*

This being my first interview, I just want to say what an honor and a pleasure it was interview Tony! He has my full respect as a musician and as a friend and I’m pumped for the new album, which will be out next year! \m/