Archive for United States

Vandallus – Outbreak

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 8th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Vandallus
Outbreak
Released 12 December 2019
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Mercinary Records


’Outbreak’ is the latest album from the American hard rock band Vandallus. The band has been around since 2015 and it features several members from the power metal group Eternal Legacy. This is my first encounter with Vandallus so I had no idea of what to expect. The amusing looking cover art would suggest anything from heavy metal to sleaze rock via classic rock. Well, there is only one way to find out…

If hard rock is your thing, you are in for a treat. There is a lot to like on here; from the catchy vocals, memorable choruses to the well timed and skillfully executed guitar harmonies. I particularly enjoyed the playful guitar tunes on Not Alone. It sounds very uplifting and puts the listener in a good mood. Then there is the slightly slower, melodic Bang The City Down– another enjoyable hard rock tune and Shotgun Lady with a catchy chorus and good, bluesy guitar work. Once again the guys sound like that they are having a good time in the studio.

Many of the songs sound like they been inspired by old school hard rock from the 80s. As far as the structure goes, this album is pretty straightforward and it is fairly easy to get into. Like the guy on the front cover, sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Motorbikes are not really my thing but I do like hard rock and heavy metal.

Overall, I quite enjoyed listening to ‘Outbreak’. It is definitely one of the more memorable hard rock albums I have heard this year.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Victory records to host stage at 2014 edition of Rockstar Mayhem Festival

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 1st April 2014 by Nico Davidson

Victory Records have proudly announced that they will be hosting a stage at this year’s Rockstar energy Drink Mayhem Festival. All summer long, Victory will present the Victory Records Stage featuring the likes of Emmure, Ill Nino, Islander, Wretched and Erimha. The stage will be headlined at 4:25PM each day by Emmure, who will be touring in support of their new album, Eternal Enemies, out 15th April. This also makes Emmure the first band to ever play Mayhem Festival two years in a row.

This year, for the first time, the festival will feature FOUR stages of metal and hardcore with the Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage, Coldcock American Herbal Whiskey Stage, The Headbang For The Highway/Sumerian Stage and the Victory Records Stage.

Tickets go on sale this Friday (4th April) at 10AM local time with the “72 Hour Get Off Your Ass” special offer on reserved and lawn tickets. Check your local ticketing date page for details on this great deal/ This year also look for Freestyle Motocross and a Motorsports exhibition area and many other surprises and attractions. Further details can be found at this location.

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Nonpoint ink worldwide deal with Metal Blade Records

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Metal Blade Records have excitedly announced the signing of a worldwide deal with Nonpoint, thus meaning that Metal Blade will not only act as the label home for the band worldwide but as a partner to the band’s label in North America as well. Since their debut album, Statement, was unleashed on the world, Nonpoint have done nothing but prove, record after record, they can still dominate stages and radio airwaves everywhere. Their most current “self-titled” release was their most critically-acclaimed and landed them their two highest charting singles. Now, with their recent signing to label powerhouse, Metal Blade Records, they are making the biggest statement of their careers. Elias Soriano, the band’s vocalist, comments:

This is a dream situation for us. Just getting an offer from Metal Blade. We’ve always needed a team behind us outside of the U.S. It’s a great feeling knowing you now have the best team possible.

Drummer Robb Rivera comments:

We are excited to not only get THE worldwide label of labels to release our album outside of the US, but to be part of a family now that has pretty much set the bar for metal releases for 30 plus years. Needless to say, extremely excited to be able to get our music to the fans outside of the US through the team that helped launch Metallica.

Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records adds:

All of us at Metal Blade are happy to welcome Nonpoint to the Metal Blade family. We are excited to work with them and the bit of new material I heard sounds great!

Nonpoint online:

http://nonpoint.com/
http://facebook.com/nonpointworld
http://twitter.com/nonpoint
http://youtube.com/nonpointworld

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Karisma Records sign jazz rockers Ossicles

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 19th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Karisma Records, the Norwegian label that focuses on the more progressive side of music, have recently signed jazz rockers Ossicles and will be releasing the duo’s follow-up album to their 2012 release Mantlepiece. The band will be entering the studio in the summer to begin recording and it is expected that the new, as yet untitled album, will hit the streets towards the end of the year.

Formed in 2011 by cousins Sondre Veland on drums, percussion, vocals and keyboards, and Bastian Veland on guitars, vocals, bass, upright bass and keyboards, Ossicles is, according to the band, a constantly evolving project that is influenced by genres as varied as jazz, rock, avent-garde, ambient, noise and minimalism.  Mantlepiece, which was a double album released on Ossicles‘ own label, No Weather Records,  was largely written when the two cousins were around the ages of 16 and 17, but also includes later material, as well as tracks written during the recording process itself.  On the strength of this release Ossicles was invited by Mike Portnoy to appear at the Progressive Nation at Sea Festival in 2014, an opportunity the band sadly had to turn down due to the high cost of travelling to the USA to join the ship in Miami.

Ossicles online:

http://ossiclesband.wix.com/ossicles
http://www.facebook.com/Ossicles

 

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Diamond Plate confirm US tour with Hatchet

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 7th March 2014 by Nico Davidson

Metal trio Diamond Plate, who hail from Chicago, have confirmed a US tour with Bay Area thrash monsters Hatchet. The America Under Plague tour kicks off in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 11th April, just days after Diamond Plate wrap up their current five-week US tour with East Of The Wall.  Also appearing on the America Under Plague tour are Colorado power metallers Cellador. Diamond Plate comment:

Back in the early days of us playing shows in Chicago, Hatchet would always be the band from California that we looked forward to bringing out to our scene the most.  They even played Konrad‘s 18th birthday show.  Years later, we’re pumped to finally hit the road with our friends and bring heavy music to new scenes across the USA.  The road for Diamond Plate doesn’t end in 2014!

Diamond Plate’s remain tour dates with East Of The Wall are as follow:

Mar. 09 – Orlando, FL – Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall
Mar. 10 – Jacksonville, FL – Jack Rabbits
Mar. 11 – Hattiesburg, NC – The Tavern
Mar. 12 – New Orleans, LA – Siberia
Mar. 14 – Austin, TX – SXSW
Mar. 15 – Oklahoma City, OK – Leon’s Lounge
Mar. 16 – Albuquerque, NM – The Jam Spot
Mar. 17 – Phoenix, AZ – Yucca
Mar. 18 – Anaheim, CA – Mirror Image Studios
Mar. 19 – Reno, NV – Jub Jub’s
Mar. 20 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Bar Deluxe
Mar. 21 – South Tahoe, CA – Rojo’s Tavern
Mar. 23 – Portland, OR – Rotture
Mar. 24 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Mar. 25 – Spokane, WA – Checkerboard Bar
Mar. 27 – Great Falls, MT – Machinery Row
Mar. 29 – Billings, MT – The Railyard
Mar. 30 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
Mar. 31 – Lincoln, NE – Vega
Apr. 01 – Saint Louis, MO – Fubar
Apr. 02 – Chicago, IL – Cobra Lounge
Apr. 03 – Warren, MI – The Ritz
Apr. 04 – Akron, OH – Annabell’s
Apr. 05 – Buffalo, NY – Broadway Joe’s
Apr. 06 – Syracuse, NY – Mac’s Mad Art Bar

Diamond Plate’s tour dates with Hatchet and Cellador are as follow:

Apr. 11 – Tulsa, OK – Downtown Lounge
Apr. 12 – Del City, OK – The Chameleon Room
Apr. 13 – McKinney, TX – The Boiler Room
Apr. 15 – Plano, TX – Scout Bar
Apr. 18 – Big Spring, TX – Sugars Bar
Apr. 22 – Las Vegas, NV – The Dive Bar
Apr. 23 – Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
Apr. 24 – Fullerton, CA – The Slidebar
Apr. 26 – Walnut Creek, CA – Red House Live
Apr. 30 – Sparks, NV – The Alley
May 01 – Salt Lake City, UT – Burt’s Tiki Lounge
May 02 – Denver, CO – Moon Room

Diamond Plate online:

http://diamondplateband.com
http://facebook.com/diamondplate1
http://twitter.com/diamondplate1

 

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Castles announce UK tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 6th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

Belgian hard rockers Castles have announced a UK tour in support of their recent release Fiction or Truth? The Belgian trio will hit British shores for six shows in March. Of the upcoming dates, vocalist and guitarist, Edward Godby commented:

We love coming to play gigs in England because there’s nothing Jerry and I enjoy more than watching Bertrand eat his own weight in late-night onion rings at some long -lost service station, and we all benefit greatly from a nice Tescos shop at 3 in the morning.

Also, the gigs might be good. We’re playing with some great bands – Satanic Dystopia, Denim and Leather, Canaya, USA Nails and False Flags to name but a few. Hopefully they’ll all do their hair nicely for the occasion.

Castles’ UK shows in March are as follow:

Saturday 01/03 – Cardiff – The Moon Club – W/ A Thousand Arrows (last ever show!)
Sunday 02/03 – London, Camden – The Black Heart – W/ USA Nails and Canaya
Monday 03/03 – Derby – The Hairy Dog – W/ TBC
Tuesday 04/03 – Manchester – Kraak – W/ Satanic Dystopia and Denim & Leather
Wednesday 05/03 – Leeds – The Packhorse W/ Canaya, False Flags and Shields
Friday 07/03 – Portsmouth – The Edge of the Wedge – W/ Attack! Vipers!

Fiction or Truth? was released in November 2013 via Palm Reader Records. A video for the track Palm Reader taken from the album can be viewed below.  Fiction or Truth? was recorded in summer 2013; Castles headed to Godcity Studio in Salem, Massachusetts to record under the direction and guiding hand of Kurt Ballou (Converge, Torche, Cave In), whilst mastering duties were handled by Brad Boatright of Audiosiege in Portland, Oregon. Initially the album was released on a “pay what you want” basis, with hundreds of people taking advantage of the offer. The album is now available for €5 from the Castles bandcamp, or in physical format from the Palm Reader Records website.

Castles online:

http://castlesband.net
http://facebook.com/castlesofficial
http://twitter.com/therealcastles

 

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Leaves’ Eyes confirm North America tour with Atrocity

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Once their Asian and European dates are finished, Norwegian-German symphonic metal power house Leaves’ Eyes will embark on tour around North America with Atrocity, both of which will be touring as support to Moonspell. Leaves’ Eyes have confirmed that the North American shows will be in support of their recent dark masterpiece Symphonies of the Night, so American and Canadian fans can expect to hear new material live for the first time and Atrocity will be unleashing songs from their latest piece of brutal musicianship Okkult.

Tour dates are as follow:

31.01.14 USA Fort Lauderdale, FL Culture Room
01.02.14 USA Orlando, FL The Haven
03.02.14 USA Ft. Worth, TX Rail Club
04.02.14 USA Albuquerque, NM Blackwater Music
05.02.14 USA Phoenix, AZ Joe’s Grotto
06.02.14 USA Ramona, CA Ramona Mainstage
07.02.14 USA Oakland, CA Metro Opera House
08.02.14 USA Portland, OR Alhambra Theater
09.02.14 USA Seattle, WA Studio Seven
10.02.14 CAN Vancouver, BC Rickshaw Theatre
11.02.14 CAN Edmonton, AB Pawn Shop
13.02.14 USA Denver, CO Bluebird Theater
14.02.14 USA Kansas City, MO Riot Room
15.02.14 USA Chicago, IL Reggies
16.02.14 USA Reading, PA Reverb
17.02.14 USA New York, NY Gramercy
18.02.14 CAN Montreal, QC Foufounes Electriques
19.02.14 CAN Ottawa, ON Ritual
20.02.14 CAN Toronto, ON Mod Club

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

Amaranthe postpone Ukraine show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Swedish pop-metalcore outfit Amranthe have postponed their Ukraine date due to the unrest affecting the country at the moment. The show which was due to take place on 14th December has now been moved to 14th February next year. The band stated in their announcement:

Management have in consultation with the promoter found a new concert date, 14th of February 2014 – if state then stabilized. We apologize to our Ukrainian fans and donate at the same time our thoughts are with those affected by the unrest.

In related news, Invincible, the third single from Amaranthe’s sophomore album, The Nexus, is out now, accompanied by a video directed by Patric Ullaeus. The video was shot on location in Hollywood, Las Vegas, the Nevada desert and the Grand Canyon, amongst other locations, and it’s certainly the most ambitious Amaranthe clip to date.

Amaranthe online:

http://amaranthe.se

 

Amaranthe announce three UK dates as part of headline European tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 3rd November 2013 by Nico Davidson

Known for their mixture of metalcore and pop elements, Swedish band Amaranthe three UK shows as part of their headline European tour. The three UK shows will their first UK shows in support for their latest album The Nexus. Joining Amaranthe on all European dates will be fellow Swedes and label mates Deals Deathand Smash Into Pieces. Guitarist Olaf Morck comments:

At last, the time has arrived to announce our first headline tour of Europe! We are very excited to bring a special, full-length set to our fans throughout the continent! This tour finally includes our first dates in the UK in support of The Nexus.

UK dates are as follow:

05.04.2014 – 02 Academy Islington – London
09.04.2014 – Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton
11.04.2014 – Rescue Rooms – Nottingham

In related news, the band also announced that screamer Andy Solveström is no longer in the Amaranthe ranks, and has been replaced by Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson. The band said:

After careful consideration, Andy has chosen to step down as the ‘growl vocalist’ in Amaranthe. His reasons are personal and best expressed in his own words. However, the split is completely friendly – Andy has been a brother through the last two and a half years of craziness, since the release of our debut album, and he will always be a central part of the Amaranthe family – not to mention, a fantastic screamer! We wish him all the best with his future endeavours.

But life goes on, and we are not planning to slow down, so… please welcome a new member to the family! Many of you have already seen and met Henrik Englund Wilhelmsson (Scarpoint), who filled in for Andy on our latest European & American tours! Henrik has real stage presence, tons of charisma and a great voice, and he’s already showed that he’s up to the extremely high standards we always strive for with Amaranthe.

Andy comments:

The time has come for me to move on. Myself and the guys have been through a lot over the past five years – traveled the world, played arena shows, done tons of gigs and picked up gold records, and all this in just two albums… amazing! I´m glad and humble to have had the chance to experience all of that, and now that I have chosen to move on, I want to thank the guys for the good times and the memories, and of course all the fans out there, too. You are, and always will be, in my heart. I hope to see you again soon.

Amaranthe online:

http://www.amaranthe.se
http://www.facebook.com/AmarantheBand

 

Scorpion Child reveal video for riff-laden song Polygon Of Eyes

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 29th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Texan rockers Scorpion Child released their self-titled album this year via Nuclear Blast, heralding a sound of the early seventies with a modern twist and UK fans are in for a big treat this November when the Texas quintet hit British shores for their first ever UK show. Until then, fans can be kept going by the band’s new video for Polygon Of Eyes which can be viewed below. The video was shot in Austin, Texas as well as Los Angeles and it show cases Scorpion Child‘s aim to deliver an experience laden with hooks and riffs influenced by bands from the seventies blues to the early eighties thrash scene.

Scorpion Child online:

http://facebook.com/scorpionchild

Vattnet Viskar stream new album Sky Swallower

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

New England black metal unit Vattnet Viskar are now streaming their entire album exclusively on Pitchfork. The new album Sky Swallower is set to hit stores 9th September in Europe via Century Media. The album has already caught the attention of heavy music lovers due to recent streams of three single songs over the recent weeks. Now you have the chance to experience the album in its entirety at http://pitchfork.com/advance/193-sky-swallower/.

Sky Swallower tracklisting is as follows:

  • 1. New Alchemy
  • 2. Fog of Apathy
  • 3. Monarch
  • 4. Breath of the Almighty
  • 5. Ascend
  • 6. Mythos
  • 7. As I Stared Into the Sky
  • 8. Apex

Vattnet Viskar online:

http://facebook.com/vattnetviskar

 

The Antiquity – A Colossal Infliction of Hate

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 18th August 2013 by hammersmashedlauren

The Antiquity
A Colossal Infliction of Hate
Released: Summer 2013
Hardcore/Death/Groove Metal
Self Released

 photo 0a075409-62bb-4d16-aeeb-fd1cfdd369b2_zps81a4cc8e.jpg

Hailing from Scarborough, The Antiquity just recently released their EP, A Colossal Infliction of Hate, marking the first of what they have to offer to metal. This EP has 5 tracks, each of decent length and quality, and totals to a little over 15 minutes long. Upon listening to this EP, I am reminded of a lot of the hardcore/deathcore that is released here in the United States. It’s super monotonous with prepubescent vocals while each song replicates itself in style, guitar riffs, and vocally. With the exception of the monologue in the beginning track, Quarantine, and for a motorcycle revving up followed by a scream in the track BLASTthehorse, the entire EP sounds like one drawn out song.
There were a couple parts to A Colossal Infliction of Hate that I actually did enjoy, however. During certain songs, there would be parts that felt extremely groovy and it reminded me of bands such as Thy Will Be Done, Acaro, and Hatebreed. If more of these kinds of melodic riffs were added to this EP, it would’ve been much more enjoyable to listen to. While I’m not a fan of hardcore music, I felt that The Antiquity did a fantastic job of incorporating elements of hardcore along with the more death metal and groovy parts.

The biggest turn off for me was definitely the vocals. While I enjoyed the range of guttural to high pitched screaming, there were hardcore-styled vocals thrown into there, which are essentially similar to Jamey Jasta’s.  I understand that this is the way hardcore vocals are done, it just did not mix with the music at all. Had the vocalist just stuck to the guttural vocals with the occasional high pitched screaming, I feel the songs would have flowed more and wouldn’t have sounded so sporadic.

I personally would not be interested in regularly listening to this band since I’m not big into hardcore or deathcore, but I would highly recommend it to fans of either genre. I hope to hear more groovy riffs and a better vocal range from The Antiquity in the future, and this is just the beginning for these guys. Hopefully they develop more as musicians and put out a killer CD!

3.5/5

Lauren Gowdy

 

Ashes Of Ares unveil track by track of upcoming album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 16th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

The newly formed American trio Ashes Of Ares, which features former Iced Earth vocalist Matt Barlow and former Nevermore drummer Van Williams, plus Freddie Vidales, also formerly of Iced Earth, have released via YouTube the track by track for their upcoming album. You can hear snippets of each track down below, as well as listen to Matt explain how the album came about.

The self-titled album is due out 9th September via Nuclear Blast.

Ashes Of Ares online:

http://ASHESOFARES.com
http://facebook.com/ASHESOFARES
http://twitter.com/ASHESOFARES

 

Vattnet Viskar premier Mythos from debut album Sky Swallower

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 9th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

New England black metallers Vattnet Viskar today premiered Mythos on NPR Music today. The new song is taken from their debut album, Sky Swallower, which will be released via Century Media on 9th September. The song Mythos can be found at this location.

Sky Swallower track-listing:

1. New Alchemy
2. Fog of Apathy
3. Monarch
4. Breath of the Almighty
5. Ascend
6. Mythos
7. As I Stared Into the Sky
8. Apex

Vattnet Viskar online:

http://facebook.com/vattnetviskar
http://twitter.com/vattnetviskar
http://vattnetviskar.bandcamp.com/

 

Vattnet Viskar release “Making Of” video

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Vattnet Viskar recently complied a “Making Of” video for their recent time in the studio, where they have been recording their upcoming debut album Sky Swallower.

Sky Swallower was recorded at Universal Noise Storage under the watchful eye of producer Brett Boland, and features eight songs worth of masterfully executed atmospheric black metal, filtered through the members’ own hardcore pasts and imbued with doom metal’s heart-rending heaviness.  Sky Swallower is due out 9th September in Europe on Century Media Records. The video can be viewed below.

Vattnet Viskar online:

http://www.facebook.com/vattnetviskar
http://www.twitter.com/vattnetviskar
http://vattnetviskar.bandcamp.com/

 

Vattnet Viskar premier Fog of Apathy from upcoming album Sky Swallower

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 22nd July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Having originally formed in Plaistow, New Hampshire in the summer of 2010, Vatnett Viskar started small and worked smart, cultivating a strong presence within their local DIY scene and online. On the strength of their first EP’s three ambitious, sprawling blackened doom epics, the band that Pitchfork called “the future of black metal in the United States” and Stereogum lauded as “propulsive and brutal, yet ambient and expansive” signed a deal with Century Media.

Now Stereogrum Century Media bring you a glimpse of the band’s debut full length, Sky Swallower. Fog Of Apathy is available to be streamed at this location.

Sky Swallower track listing:
1. New Alchemy
2. Fog of Apathy
3. Monarch
4. Breath of the Almighty
5. Ascend
6. Mythos
7. As I Stared Into the Sky
8. Apex

Sky Swallower is scheduled for a release on 9th September in Europe.

Vattnet Viskar online:

www.facebook.com/vattnetviskar
www.twitter.com/vattnetviskar
http://vattnetviskar.bandcamp.com/

 

New Running Wild album scheduled for October release

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 10th July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Now things are really moving: while Captain Rock’n’Rolf Kasparek is working full throttle on the final details of his latest Running Wild album, Steamhammer/SPV have already announced the official release date: Resilient will be out on 4th October 2013 in Germany and on 7th October 2013 in the rest of Europe. The exact date of the US release will be revealed soon, but the album has definitely been scheduled for release in America this October. Rock’n’Rolf says:

I really love working at the moment and am currently getting down to business on the overdubs. I can hardly wait to present the new material to the many Running Wild fans worldwide.

His followers can look forward to a total of twelve brand-new numbers, ten of which will feature on the regular CD, and twelve on the limited edition. The album’s opener will be called Soldiers Of Fortune, and the title track, The Drift and Run Riot will be three typical Running Wild numbers. The most outstanding song on the album, however, will be called Bloody Island, with almost ten minutes playing time one of the longest tracks in Running Wild’s career to date. Rolf also comments:

As a composer, it’s of course difficult for me to pigeonhole the new material stylistically, but friends who have heard the demo version of Bloody Island claim that it would have fitted in on Pile Of Skulls.

Rolf explains that Resilient is audibly tougher and more compact than its predecessor Shadowmaker, clearly enjoying his revived zest:

Shadowmaker happened to come about slightly unexpectedly and spontaneously, even for me. The album has brought back the fun I used to have with Running Wild, and my fans will get to feel this fun when Resilient comes out in October!

Running Wild online:

http://www.running-wild.net
http://www.facebook.com/runningwildmusic/

 

Carpathian Forest pull out of Maryland Deathfest due to last minute visa setback

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 24th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Carpathian Forest’s frontman Nattefrost is one more in the long line of Scandinavian Black Metal musicians who have been unable to gain entry into the United States due to the labyrinthine and draconian immigration laws that have so often denied US fans the opportunity to see their favourite European bands.  Despite this setback, Carpathian Forest, whose remaining four members had been granted visas, were still aiming to appear at the Maryland Deathfest in Baltimore on the 26th May as scheduled, but as a four-piece, with guitarist BloodPervertor taking on vocals.  Unfortunately, for reasons unknown, the embassy was not able to return drummer Kobro’s passport in time for the band to leave, and Carpathian Forest has therefore been forced to pull out of the festival completely.  However, three members – guitarists Tchort and BloodPervertor and bassist Vrangsinn will attend and will be available to talk to fans.

It is only under very exceptional circumstances that Carpathian Forest play without Nattefrost, the only other occasion having been when BloodPervertor stepped in to cover vocals on a handful of dates during the No Mercy Tour in 2004 when Nattefrost broke his collar bone.  Commenting on the original decision to go ahead despite the absence of the band’s iconic frontman and then still being forced to cancel, guitarist Tchort  had this to say:

When we decided to make the trip without Nattefrost, we knew that many fans would be disappointed, but at the same time we didn’t want to let down the organisers who have been so supportive throughout the whole visa process, and have done everything they could possibly to do to try and make it happen.  We were also very aware that Carpathian Forest has many fans in the United States who have waited a long, long time to see the band live, and, given the circumstances, there is always the possibility that Nattefrost may never be granted a visa, so this might have been the only opportunity our US fans will have to see us on stage, albeit minus one member.  To then have to pull out completely because of whatever delays occurred even though Kobro’s visa was granted, was a big disappointment for everyone.

Carpathian Forest recently returned to the scene after a period of stasis, and will spend most of 2013 playing a series of one-off shows and festivals while they prepare to record the long-awaited follow up to 2004’s Fuck You All!!!!

Carpathian Forest online:

https://www.facebook.com/carpathianforest
http://www.myspace.com/blackshiningleather

Interview with Derek Boyer [Suffocation]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 21st May 2013 by Contra Mundi

Suffocation are pioneers of extreme metal and are still going strong after 25 years; bringing their fierce brand of metal to generation after generation. We sat down with their Bass player Derek Boyer to talk to him about their new album Pinnacle of Bedlam and how he has become one of the most influential musicians in extreme metal’s history.

Alex: What does the album title Pinnacle of Bedlam mean to you?

Derek: Pinnacle of Bedlam is one of Terrence’s (Hobbs – Guitar) concepts, and you know we all kind of bat the ideas around until one of us really comes up with something solid. And basically you know for Terrence what we had all kind of gathered was bedlam being chaos and a pinnacle being like the highest moment, you know when it’s at its finest little tip and it has nowhere else to go but down. So it’s like the turning point when chaos is going to explode and there’s no escaping it.

Alex: So, what are the main themes of the album ?

Derek: It’s a lot of like transfer of energy. Like when you die, we don’t think that you go to Heaven or Hell; we think that your energy goes into other living entities and stuff like that or creates some new life. So, it’s kind of taken from some of the Tibetan book of the dead stuff to where we believe that life is just about preparing for death. Being that we play Death metal we’re not just going to talk about broken bones and the Devil and all that stuff. So, we wanted to try to do something a little more original and try to be intelligent and try to learn and try to portray something that we learned to the rest of the world.

Alex: Is it difficult to get fresh inspiration for subject matter?

Derek: Yeah, I mean that’s why you kind of have to go to some books and you know, what with the use of the internet now it’s like you would think people would have more knowledge but they’re actually getting stupider because they just want to be on Facebook or something stupid.  So, you know, looking into books and looking back at your own life and trying to take inspiration from yourself and others around you and books and knowledge that we have access to and the internet. If you’re using it for the right reasons it’s great. So yeah, it’s hard, but somehow with all the creative minds we’re very fortunate. If it’s just one guy, he’d run out of steam unless he’s really driven, but with all of us, we like to bounce the ideas and one of us will go ‘whoa, that’s great’ and it inspires us to do something else. So, I think the group effort is one of the biggest inspirations.

Alex: The album is really impressive, with musicianship and everything, it’s very technical. Is it a challenge for you to write and record that sort of material?

Derek: I hate to say it, like at the position in our careers that we’re at, but you just do it.  You know, we’ve worked our abilities up to a certain level and not to say that you should ever get comfortable and plateau with your abilities, but we’re at a point with our abilities so we know that Dave (Culcross – Drums) is going to grind his face off and be comfortable doing it. And we’ve got the same thing of being pretty comfortable under pretty difficult circumstances, but not to say if the wind doesn’t blow, we could all just fall over like real easily too. So it is a challenge, but again having worked as long as we have with our instruments, it’s kind of comfortable in the difficult zone.

Alex: Where do you think the new album ranks in terms of Suffocation’s previous releases?

Derek: In my opinion it’s the best album since the band reformed. We had the five year hiatus from 1998 to 2003, you know the whole industry liked Suffocation and was trying to carry the torch. So when Suffocation reformed, that’s when I joined and every album in my opinion was kind of getting better and it’s definitely at the pinnacle right now of the four that we’ve written. I believe this is my favourite and the best.

Alex: Why do you think Suffocation have lasted so long and become such an influential band to people all over the world?

Derek: I think it’s just perseverance. At the end of the day, you can say, ‘well you know what? We can hang this up any time, we had a really good run, it was fun, blah blah blah, respect and pride.’ but having that perseverance and wanting to continue it and wanting to continue to write good records and to wanting to continue to bring the show to the people, it’s kind of a big deal to us. We get a lot of pride out of it, so it’s just a personal thing I think.

Alex: It does get quite difficult doesn’t it to want to carry on when things are going a bit wrong for you?

Derek: It certainly does, and a lot of the time you just get so undermined. You know, they put you in these clubs and you’re like ‘Wow, twenty years ago I was playing more professional venues than this, what the fuck? And now we’re getting undermined’. And sometimes it’s disheartening, and you go ‘well, fuck it, the people love it. The fucking asshole that put us in this club needs a fucking talking to.’ But, at the same time there’s a lot of kids doing the jobs now, a lot of kid promoters and you can’t really tell them that you want to come and strangle them, but it’s really disrespectful to us to like work your way up and then just some kid goes ‘oh yeah, I can book Suffocation.’ And the next thing you know you’re playing some little fucking closet, I’m sorry, I get upset. I mean the last two shows, I couldn’t believe it, I was like ‘let’s cancel’ and then we can’t though because of the people. We’re kind of caught in the middle like ‘this guy needs to be taught a lesson’, but the bands, they shouldn’t suffer, so we end up eating shit. So it’s a little disheartening, and yeah, it happens, but you know. Certain territories, I guess we have to say ‘wait, we have contracts, we want all the details before we accept these terms.’ Then they’re like ‘Oh yeah, we’ve got everything you need.’ And you get there and half the shit is broken, and you know, enough about that stuff! Sorry.

Alex: No, that’s fair enough. I completely agree with you. It’s unusual for a band to have such a vast spectrum of ages in their fan base. Do you think different generations take different things from your music?

Derek: I think so; the older fans like it for the thrash aspect of it, the newer fans like it for the slam aspect of it. So yeah, definitely. I think every generation is going to look at Suffocation from a different perspective, you know because the old fans were surrounded by thrash metal bands, so they like the thrashy elements of it. The newer kids, I don’t even know what their music is. It’s really complex and it’s really heavy and it’s got a lot of new stuff, so I’m not sure if their fans understand what we’re doing, but there’s definitely some similarities between the new bands and what we’re doing because they took certain elements from Suffocation, but they’re adding new stuff to it and the new fans don’t know that they took their heavy sound. It’s tricky. Definitely all the different generations are viewing it from a different perspective.

Alex:  Most young musicians now are drawn to the guitar or vocals when starting out. Bass is almost seen as an instrument that’s a bit boring, or in the background. What made you pick up a bass and learn to play?

Derek: For that very reason. There were no good bass players and I was like ‘I’m going to fucking do it!’ I want to play really good and you know try to have fun and be an element in the band that’s not just the thing that’s hiding. I always want to be heard and if I ever turn down, that would just be because I was too loud for the most part. I’m always trying to stay in the mix. I’m trying to make a connection between the drummer and the guitar players and create that foundation. Whereas with  a lot of young bands the bass player just ends up being the friend of the band that wasn’t playing drums or guitar: ‘Oh hey! Let’s put him on the bass.’ Unless he really takes inspiration from some of the guys who care about bass, then their career would be short unfortunately and it would be boring. I would be bored too, but you know, they kept telling me to turn down. I didn’t take the pride to learn how to get a good sound and to maintain my instrument and stuff like that. Like a lot of these bass players never change their strings once, you know, I change my strings every night.

Alex: I think bass makes all the difference though. You miss it if it isn’t there.

Derek: Yeah, if it’s not there or it’s just dumdumdum. I’m trying to be a staccato player and have the bottom be felt but also have the connection with the punchy bass drum, you know, the punchy bass guitar. There are two sides to it, you get the bottom of the bass drum and the attack of the bass drum and a lot of bass players are forgetting that they should be the same. If your bass drum just goes ‘poof’ but it doesn’t go ‘snap’, you know, there has to be the combination. So a lot of these bass players they don’t put a lot of the snap into their sound and they get swept into the mix. It’s just a rumble, so you’ve got to have both.

Alex: Is it really hard then to get a sound?

Derek: A lot of years of experimenting with different equipment. You know what electronic s are going to work, what scales and what woods have different tonal qualities and then, there’s so many different amplifier companies out there, and it’s really just a learning experience.

Alex: You never really think there’s so much involved in getting a sound, do you?

Derek: No, there’s a lot going on. You’re supposed to forget about it once you’ve figured it out, you go ‘Oh, ok. That’s just my sound.’ There’s a lot that goes into it and it wasn’t like the first time that you plugged in, you’re like ‘Wow, I have my sound!’ You had to experiment and you learn what works and what doesn’t work and you just get it as close as you can. Then it’s up to you.

Alex: How would you sell the bass guitar to people that are considering learning to play?

Derek: Look at the band. You know, if you’ve got a really good drummer, a good guitar player and a good frontman and all the bass players suck, you know, and you kind of just want to make that band complete. It is a special feeling because there aren’t a lot of good bass players around, so it gives you more opportunity to shine, whereas like every drummer is so good right now, so that’s a hard race. How are you going to outdo these guys? They’re amazing! With the bass player, I don’t know there are only a couple of handfuls of guys that are like ‘Whoa!’ you know? So, there’s a lot of room to get in there and prove yourself. If you’re doing it right, bass can be really fun and challenging and rewarding, but then again if you’re just hiding out as friend of the band, just the low rumble, have fun, but you know, if you really want to go somewhere with it, there’s a lot more room to be the best. I mean, there are a billion good guitar players, and a billion good drummers and there’s only a few good bass players so get out there and add to it! Bass players union!

Alex: Was it difficult to develop a technique for playing your music? I imagine there weren’t many people you could learn from when you were growing up.

Derek: Exactly. My father was a classically trained pianist and he had a metronome and when you’d be working on your chops, this little thing would just be in the background keeping time for you. When I first switched to the bass, I would sit with the metronome and just work out all of the values, you know quarter notes, eighth notes, eighth note triplets, sixteenth notes, sixteenth note triplets and really build the muscle memory and bend on the right knuckles and try to keep a good ergonomic position. If you sit wrong, your wrists and your elbows are going to hate you! But if you can sit in a position, it’s like martial arts you want to have explosive energy with little effort. So if you’re sitting there with your wrists up and everything is like ‘Yikes!’ and there’s a lot of tension, it’s going to be difficult. It’s all about sitting with good form and standing with good form and just building the muscle memory and getting it to where it’s like second nature and then you can start to see the improvement.

Dan: So, who did you look up to when you were learning?

Derek: There weren’t a lot of guys. There was Alex Webster from Cannibal Corpse who was doing it really well and Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Autopsy) is an animal. I mean some of the same guys that we’re talking about today were the ONLY few back then, now there’s a few more, but for the most part it was just a couple of guys. Also, taking inspiration from other instruments and saying ‘Wow! That guy is really effortless and really comfortable on his guitar, piano or drums.’ So using other individuals, not necessarily bass players, but looking and thinking ‘Wow, that guy’s really smooth, or that guy’s really explosive and looks like he’s not putting any effort into it.’ So, it wasn’t necessarily a bass player thing to inspire me as much as musicians. It helped because there weren’t a lot of bass players to be inspired by.

Alex: Do you think metal musicians are given the recognition they deserve for their skills?

Derek: Not really, but what can you say? We’re singing about pretty crazy stuff and so, it’s not very common. If you took the vocals away, I think a lot of industry people might accept it and push it a little bit further, but nowadays tattoos and long hair are more acceptable, so hey, maybe we’re singing about some pretty crazy stuff, but maybe that’s a bit more acceptable these days. Like right now, there are bass playing magazines doing features on me and we don’t talk about the lyrical content, we just talk about techniques and they’re like ‘wow, that’s fun. We didn’t know Death Metal guys actually gave a shit.’ It’s fun to get a little bit of recognition and then you wonder if it’s going to continue, you know, the companies are supporting us; the endorsements, the string companies, the electronic companies, instrument companies and amplifiers. They’re all really on board. Suffocation is a twenty five year operation, and the companies do believe in us individually. We maybe can’t go out and advertise Suffocation because it’s kind of evil, not that we’re an evil band, but it’s not happy love songs.

Alex: It’s more to do with showcasing talent then?

Derek: Exactly, the showcase the individual’s talent more so than the whole thing, which is fine.

Alex: How does it feel having John Gallagher from Dying Fetus doing vocals for Suffocation on tour?

Derek: John is a dear friend of ours. I used to play in Dying Fetus, which was twelve years ago. So, John and I have worked together in the past and he’s just been a really good friend. He knows the deal and he loves Brutal Death Metal. Take his guitar away from him, it’s a little awkward but you know, he’s a good friend and when we said ‘Hey John, do you want to go out and have some fun and would you consider helping us out?’ he was like ‘Fuck yeah!’ So, he came and stayed with me and we did a lot of figuring out, kind of like under-lining the syllable that’s on the downbeat and looking at the lyrics and trying to figure out what the fuck was going on! So, as I wrote a lot of the lyrical stuff that was on the new album it was easy for me to explain to a musician, because he understood down beats and lead-ins and stuff like that. If you’re just a vocalist, you may not understand all the technical talk, but being that John is a guitar player, it was super easy to convey the information to him and a pleasure working with him as far as getting him up to speed. It’s been a pleasure having him onstage. He did a week’s worth of shows in America on our last tour last month and then this one will be thirty shows or whatever. And yeah, he’s doing great and we’re happy to have him and he seems to be having fun too.

Alex: I know a lot of people were really happy that it was him as it made you like a super-group.

Derek: Yeah, well that’s fun too because we’d have people come up to us in the states and they’d go ‘Is Gallagher singing?’ and we’re like ‘No, it’s Frank.’ And they’re disappointed, you know, because it would be fun and something unique for them to see. It would be like your favourite baseball team or football team and this guy was really good from this other team and you saw him with your team. It’s a fun thing. If you like Suffocation, you probably like Dying Fetus, so to see the combination of it is great. We’re fucking with him and calling him Frank Gallagher and John Mullen, which is just funny. We’re having fun with it.

Alex: How has the UK tour gone for you so far?

Derek: So far, it’s on strike two. The venues have just been really poor. This (NQ Live, Manchester) is professional. It’s a little bit low, but at least it’s nice whereas the last two have just been like ‘You’ve got to be kidding me!’ The people are great. The people deserve to see the band and the people react great, but you’ve really got to dig deep to get past the disrespect. If you’re fourteen years old, you would probably be like ‘Wow! This venue is great!’ but you know, being that we’ve done thousands of shows, you think ‘Wow, this guy really just said fuck Suffocation, we’re going to put them in a fucking dungeon!’ And it’s so disrespectful, but what can you do? Do you want to cancel? Well, you’ve still got to pay your crew, still got to pay for your bus, so now, it’s pay out of your pocket all of a sudden, so you don’t want to cancel; primarily for the fans, but also on a financial level. If you pull a show, the whole budget changes, so you just get kicked in the shin and get on with it and hope that the next day is better.

Alex: If you could play anywhere is the world where would it be?

Derek: I don’t know what’s left! I mean, there are some territories I know we haven’t gone to. I feel like everywhere that we’ve wanted to go to we’ve gone to a few times. I guess it would be to do some interesting part of Asia. We’ve done a lot of that, but Asia is such a large continent there are a lot of people we haven’t been able to reach over there. Not that I really want to be there as much as maybe Australia or somewhere really nice to be, but making sure we touch base with all the fans.

Alex: Are there any bands that you’re particularly interested in at the moment?

Derek: There’s a couple of really talented bands out there that I’ve been getting into, like the Spawn of Possession stuff that’s really impressive; Surruption is really impressive also. I love my Decrepit Birth stuff; those guys are really talented as well. There are so many bands. I love the brutal bands like Severe Torture and Disgorge and Archaic. There are so many heavy and up and coming bands, it’s a tough game. It’s hard not to mention the older stuff like Gore Guts and Morbid Angel. A lot of the young kids don’t really think about early Deicide, or Obituary or Malevolent Creation and all the bands that were around back then. You know, some of them are still doing it, but you get a lot of the younger bands like Black Dahlia Murder that are really hitting the pavement hard. It’s a tough game and you know, you like what you like from the old school, but they’re not out actually hitting as hard as the new bands. So I think the fans are sort of losing sight of what we liked, because there’s an influx of so many new bands, so it’s tricky. It’s a hard one. Probably if I got to my CD collection, I could name a lot, but off the top of my head, it’s the Spawn of Possession stuff and Surruption and Decrepit Birth and Archaic. There are so many good ones, it’s so hard.

Alex: It’s interesting what you say that about the new bands not listening to older stuff.

Derek: I think, say like The Black Dahlia Murder scene for example, they definitely know Suffocation but the fans of Black Dahlia Murder that are making their own bands, they look at Black Dahlia Murder as the one that has the inspiration. Black Dahlia Murder took their inspiration from let’s say early Suffocation and this is all awesome, you’re really excited when you see the generations take what they like from a particular band and recycle it, but I think actually if you go a couple of times down the line, they don’t know where the thing came from. Not that we made up heavy music, but I mean without Black Sabbath and without some of those early thrash bands, you know Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and all that stuff, you wouldn’t have even had anything to draw inspiration from. It’s always going down a line.

Alex: Do you have any advice for bands just starting out?

Derek: Definitely the perseverance and making sure that you’re doing it because you love it. A lot of people that we’ve crossed paths with over the years have said ‘how’s the money?’ and we say, if you love what you’re doing, the money is great. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re definitely not making enough money because there’s so many hardships and you’re risking your life travelling all over the world and leaving loved ones behind. Again, if you love it, it’s worth every minute of it. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, don’t quit your day job. Keep a level head, do it for fun and have fun doing it because as soon as it’s not fun anymore, it’s not worth it. It’s really not worth it. There’s disrespect and the money won’t always be there; there’ll be a cancellation and it will ruin everything. We’ve seen bands cancel tours because a show or two got cancelled and they couldn’t literally make it to the next show, and it’s so hard and it happens. It’s a tough game, but again if you love it, it’s not that hard.

Alex: Finally, do you have anything to say to your fans?

Derek: We’re really happy that people continue to support Suffocation and we’re really proud of the new record Pinnacle of Bedlam. We want to thank the record label, the management team and all of the booking agencies and the promoters who get involved and believe in Suffocation. Without that belief, we’re just another band stuck in New York. So, yeah, we just want to thank everybody for being involved and people like you who want to promote us as well.

Suffocation’s new album Pinnacle of Bedlam is out now via Nuclear Blast Records. You can order the album at this location.

Suffocation online:

http://www.facebook.com/suffocation
http://www.twitter.com/suffocation
http://www.twitter.com/GMarchais
http://www.youtube.com/suffocation
http://www.myspace.com/suffocation
http://www.mocospace.com/suffocation
http://jsrdirect.com/bands/suffocation

Oceano post studio update; new album to be released later this year

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 1st May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Oceano recently posted a studio update video on YouTube for fans to watch, whilst recording their upcoming release, Incisions.

The five-piece act, who hail from Chicago, are hard at work on the follow-up to the 2010 release Contagion at Electrowerks Studio in Downers Grove, Illinois.  The new studio video includes interviews with the band as they record Incisions, and also introduces new guitarist Michael Kasper, who replaces the departing Devin Shidaker. The studio update can be viewed below.

Oceano also recently released the official lyric video for Slow Murder, which is taken from Incisions. The lyric video can be viewed below.

Incisions is due for release later this year, via Earache in Europe and through Century Media/Earache Records in the US.

Oceano‘s first two albums, Depths and Contagion, are available now on the Earache Webstore in North America at this location and in Europe here.

Oceano online:

http://facebook.com/oceanometal
http://twitter.com/oceanometal