In a new feature for Ghost Cult, Chris Hornbrook (Senses Fail/Poison The Well) runs down his drum kit from top to bottom, explaining the choices he makes when using certain gear. Catch Chris all summer on the Vans Warped Tour with Senses Fail. Thanks Chris!
Super groups, as we have discussed in this space many times are a) sprouting up everywhere, and b) are a risky proposition for the bands and fans. Saint Asonia has all the makings of a “big deal” new band in an age of shrinking headline acts. With Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace and Mike Mushok of Staind, the collective radio hits and platinum records sold between just the two of them, that is impressive for any era, but especially this one. Added to the mix are Rich Beddoe (ex-Finger Eleven) and bassist Corey Lowery (Eye Empire, Stuck Mojo, Stereomud), and you have enough talent and power to create an impressive beast of a band. On Saint Asonia (RCA) the band has certainly made a good first impression. Let’s see if they answered the hype bell, or not.
First single ‘Better Place’ has been everywhere this summer and rightfully so, since it rocks. It’s great to hear Gontier’s voice wailing again. Especially with the full use of his dynamic vocal range, his thoughtful lyrics hit you hard. The song also features a terrific shreddy and soulful guitar solo from Mushok, which is cool, since he did almost none of that with Staind. Best of all this track is heavy and catchy, which is definitely the secret sauce for this band. Second track ‘Blow Me Wide Open’ is a strong, sensual track that is rough enough to please. These two songs are indicative of confident modern album rock writing at its finest. Third track ‘Let Me Live My Life’ might be the best track on the entire album. With an ear-worm for a chorus so hummable, the marketing boys ought to hashtag that title!
Where Saint Asonia has all of the members former bands’ beat is in the heavy rock department, some of the ballads prove to be a possible Achilles heel. ‘Even Though I Say’ is fairly solid, but it’s not special. ‘Fairytale’ roars back in next, wakes you up and cements the fact that this groups’ best musical moments are when they just scream out and let it fly.
The second half of the album has more arena-ready ragers such as ‘King of Nothing’ and ‘Happy Tragedy’. Rich Beddoe’s drumming stands out a lot on these songs, providing some fierce beats when needed to match the riffage. ‘Dying Slowly’, ‘Trying to Catch Up’ and the folksy ‘Leaving Minnesota’ have might some legs at radio, but also could be stronger. It’s hard not to imagine the many hits Mushok has had a hand in crafting and Gontier’s ability to deliver a penetrating impassioned verse, you wish there was a little bit more of that on here. Still, credit goes to both for not regurgitating old sounds either. The potential is definitely all there in this band to be enormous.
Despite their lineage, Saint Asonia has much more in common with Alice In Chains and Sevendust in terms of melody, grooves, and bringing the feels. Get used to seeing them at a lot of festivals in the coming years.
Feed Her To The Sharks are the newest face to come out of the growing Australian heavy music scene, spending this past summer on the Rockstar Mayhem Energy Drink Festival across North America on the Victory Records side stage, promoting their latest release Fortitude.
With a band name like Feed Her To The Sharks, it does give off an Australian vibe to it in an odd way. Band guitarist Kim Choo talked about his home country of Australia and playing partial tour guide about their growing heavy music scene.
“It’s been a while since a core band from Melbourne has actually toured internationally. I think the last one that I can remember might be The Red Shore or someone like that,” he said.
“There’s some awesome music from Australia. We’re just lucky to be friends with a lot of the guys. The Thy Art Is Murder guys have been helping us out a lot on our tour in Europe with them and now at Mayhem. There must be something in the water down there but we love playing heavy music down there. It shows with all of the awesome bands that are coming out.”
Their first taste of playing a festival came in 2013 when they took part on Warped Tour Australia. “We played with some awesome bands – Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction,” he said.
“It was so hot that day. I know some of these Mayhem dates are going to be really hot. Everyone had red faces and sunburnt. Warped Tour was a really great show. We were the first band on in the morning and there were people lining up to get in. They were stoked. It was a good show.”
While a slew of Australian bands have found their way onto the world stage recently, Choo shared one band who he felt could be one of the next good finds there. “There’s a cool band that’s local from our hometown called Atlantic. They’re sort of like metalcore sort of stuff – a pretty fresh approach so check them out if you get a chance. We had them on an album launch show back at home. They’re super hard workers. It’s awesome hanging out with them. They’re really cool dudes.”
Lastly, Choo made a suggestion for those looking for shark related activities to do in Australia. Being that sharks have been found around Australia, Feed Her To The Sharks would be the people who would know where to find the real thing.
“If you go down to Adelaide, there’s a place called Port Lincoln and you can go shark cage diving with the Great Whites in there. It’s mental. If you ever get to visit, do so.”
Faith No More have released a live performance video of their track ‘Superhero’, from their recent album Sol Invictus (Reclamation Recordings). The clip was filmed on May 8th at The Fillmore, in Detroit MI. You can watch the clip at this link or below:
Faith No More is starting a second leg of a US tour promoting Sol Invictus tonight. Speaking about the reception the album has received from fans and critics, FNM founder and bassist Billy Gould has this comment:
“What this tells me… is that there is a need out there; people want to hear things that exist outside the mold. It makes me feel grateful and it gives me hope.”
Faith No More tour dates, with Refused:
Jul 30: Masquerade Music Park – Atlanta, GA
Jul 31: Red Hat Amphitheater – Raleigh, NC
Aug 01: Mann Center – Philadelphia, PA
Aug 02: Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD
Aug 04: Blue Hills Bank Pavilion – Boston, MA
Aug 05: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Aug 07: Ricoh Coliseum – Toronto, ON
Over the past two years, Red Fang has made its name known across the music world with its raw, riff oriented rock sound and continuing to win over new fans on every stop along the way. Audiences have slowly discovered their latest release, Whales and Leeches, through their wild music videos and their extensive touring schedules.
Guitarist David Sullivan talked about their experiences over their recent album cycle. “We’ve been touring a lot, so we’re staying in people’s minds and playing shows. Video’s definitely help (‘Crows In Swine’). We just had a new animated video come out and stoked how that came out. I got to meet the animator, this guy Adam Avilla last night and talking face to face. That was kind of cool.”
“Most of our videos, our friend Whitey McConnaughy lives in Portland. We see him around all the time. This was a new person for us to work with,” he said.
After spending last winter supporting Opeth and In Flames across North America, and taking part on the Desertfest in both the UK and Germany, the band is about to headline a tour with Whores and Wild Throne, which also hits Knotfest in Devore, CA.
Guitarist Bryan Giles spoke about their past year of touring, and at the time of the interview, were completing the Opeth and In Flames tour. While musically opposites from what Red Fang is about, they have made it work around sharing stages with a variety of artists and winning over their fans to capitalize on the moment.
“We’ve been lucky. I’ve always had that worry in the back of my mind when we do a new tour with bands that are different stylistically from us. I don’t know how the crowd’s going to do…every since we were just starting out it was cool to see playing with death metal bands and the crowd seemed to enjoy it, even though we were not exactly what they were playing. I’ve built some amount of confidence…yeah the music’s totally different but it’s still got distorted guitar and blasting drums. We have that too so here we go. Hopefully people will like it,” said Giles.
Neither Giles nor fellow guitarist David Sullivan knew how they were selected to open for the Opeth and In Flames tour, but playing in front of early arrivals at these packed shows did help them gain new fans.
“I’m not sure how we got picked. We had done a tour with In Flames a few years ago. We did this Rockstar Energy Mayhem tour and they were on there. We met those dudes and became friends. I’m not sure if they were like ‘we really dig Red Fang’ or if they requested us. I’m not sure how it happened,” said Sullivan.
“I’d like to think it was the case. But I don’t know,” said Giles.
“We didn’t know the Opeth guys. All super nice guys. I don’t know how we got chosen for this but it worked out great,” added Sullivan.
Sullivan and Giles both talked about their home turf of Portland, OR, where the Northwestern US music scene has grown like wildfire and other artists have began to attract attention from around the music world. Talks about a new grunge scene may be premature but something special seems to be in the air there.
“I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a new movement. It does seem like there’s a lot of activity,” said Sullivan.
“It could be Relapse moved there a couple years ago. So some local stuff is getting seen by a pretty big underground label,” said Giles.
“That’s true. That might have a lot to do with it. Relapse moved their headquarters from Philadelphia to Portland. I’ve never thought of that. It definitely could have something to do with it,” added Sullivan.
“It’s growing. There’s a lot of people moving to town. It’s just crazy how many crummy high rise apartments are going in. It happens to every city but Portland has been a sleepy city for a long time. Now things are going to grow, and a lot of young people moved there for artistic reasons. For being on the West Coast, it’s probably one of the least expensive cities to move to. Everything has increased,” concluded Giles, about the growth to their city possibly leading towards a rising music scene.
Talks about a new album has been circulating for some time, but Red Fang has been taking their time to work on it, reportedly due out sometime in 2016. They both shared their thoughts on how the new album may shape into.
“We don’t really know what it’s going to be. We’re not trying to pick a certain genre – we’ve got some punk, kind of fast stuff, some more stoner-y stuff. We’re all over the place. It’ll sound like Red Fang. We don’t have a set goal in mind that I can express except to make music that we dig and we like,” said Sullivan.
“That’s the only rule that we have. We must all enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if we end up doing spaghetti westerns as long as we’re all on board with it…,” said Giles.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen…,” responded Sullivan.
“I don’t see it happening either but you never know. But I’m not taking it off the table…,” said Giles, in a semi-joking overtone.
“It will sound like Red Fang but I don’t know what specifically it will be like,” concluded Sullivan.
Both of them would not rule out any musical directions, and fans of the band should not rule out anything.
“We’ve always said we’re not going to restrict ourselves to any one style. It still follows somewhere in the range of heavy music. It’s not like we’re trying to be strictly stoner or strictly thrash. It’s whatever we enjoy,” said Sullivan
Giles summed it up best as a response, semi-joking, “Thrash sounds too exhausting. I think we’re too old to be thrash.”
The Sword have released a new video today for the track ‘Mist and Shadow’, off of their upcoming new album High County (Razor & Tie). You can watch the video at this link :
The Sword have also teamed up with High Times Magazine to create a special edition High Country collectors bundle which includes a custom-stained and numbered stash box, custom wood dugout engraved with the album art, rolling papers, grinder card, a CD digipak, and a 2xLPcopy of High Country on colored vinyl. Order that set here: click HERE
You can also stream the audio of the track at this link. Tomorrow the track will be available, along with the title track as grat tracks with all iTunes pre-orders of High Country. Physical copy pre-orders are available at http://www.theswordofficial.comand Amazon.com:http://geni.us/theswordamz.
While Technical Death Metal is a mutating scene, increasing in profile, it is still far from the maddening crowd of commercial success. Add in a band with a penchant for a science fiction theme or 2001, and Dutch metallers Apophys could well be described as somewhat niche. Featuring members (past and present) of God Dethroned, Erebus, Toxocara and Prostitute Disfigurement, this Kampen quintet, have caught not just their own imaginations but the eye of Metal Blade. Their first promo, quickly led to their acclaimed full length Prime Incursion.
“This time, something was different.” Vocalist Kevin Quilligan is talking about the moment he and long-time band mate Sanne van Dijk had, as they were wont to do, gotten together to chuck around some ideas. At the time, there was no real serious intent behind it, they weren’t going boldly anywhere until the spark of creativity caught fire, engulfing the pair with an interest in their new work. “We’ve been writing and recording songs for years like that, but this time the material felt like it took a life of its own. Michiel (van der Plicht – drums) soon joined to record a promo and everything went incredibly fast from there.”
Turning in an album of relentless battery is of itself something of an art form, let alone one that maintains the atmosphere of the chilling film Event Horizon. “When I think of Technical Death Metal, I think of Origin, Archspire and Soreption” continues the Throat of Apophys. “I always viewed ourselves as being somewhat more traditional. Sure we have technical elements, but this is not our priority at all. I just want to write killer tracks that are well arranged and filled with little details.
“I personally feel you should always go for broke if you have any kind of ambitions of becoming a successful artist. And so we did, and it worked. There’s basically nothing more than that, we took a shot and it worked out better than we could imagine.”
As the popularity of Technical Death Metal grows, so does interest in the genre as a whole. With their debut out and garnering “a ton of great response from press and fans”, where does Quilligan see his newest outfit fitting in? “I don’t really think (Technical Death Metal) is a fair representation of our sound but I’ve never been one to lose sleep over genres. It baffles me to see people take so much time online to discuss what genre a band fits into, it’s almost fascinating.” While Technical Death Metal is a tag that fits due to the blistering performance of the aforementioned van der Plicht and the non-too-shabby six-stringing, the roots of Apophys are of a more traditional bent. “I mostly describe Apophys as a Death Metal band that is heavily influence by the mid 90’s US Death with plenty of modern elements to keep a fresh sound.”
From a promo to an album at the speed of the Millenium Falcon with a working hyperdrive, thoughts have already turned to a sequel. If Prime Incursion is their Star Trek: The Motion Picture, could the follow up be their Wrath Of Khan and really establish the band…? “Things went incredibly quick for us as soon as the promo was released. So we didn’t really take the time to sit down and talk about what we were planning to do, we just went with the natural flow of things. I feel we did achieve what we set out to do with this release, to appear on the scene with a bang.
“We are already working on some new material with more of a general concept in mind, musically and lyrically we want to expand more; more layering in the songs, more sci-fi, more sound design, more art.”
As excited as Quilligan is about beginning work on a follow up to Prime Incursion he is also fired up about the looming spectre of Episode VII having seen the Comic-con vid, and other trailers.
“I’m pretty excited to see the new Star Wars, I really want to see what they would do with the concept years after the originals came out. I love Star Wars, watched all the episodes vigorously as a kid and I still consider Empire Strikes Back one of the best sci-fi films out there. I read something about die-hard fans being upset about the cross guards on the new light saber, and I would like to use this opportunity to state my personal opinion on this matter: If I would have a laser sword that could cut of my limbs in the blink of an eye, I would be extremely happy on having a solid cross guard on there. Historically it would make sense also seeing as both Luke and Vader have their sword arm cut off at one point.
“I’m just waiting patiently for light saber nunchakus, wouldn’t that be sweet?”
In a post online yesterday Justin K Broadrick (Godflesh, JK Flesh) announced the next album from his JESU project will be a collaborative album with Sun Kill Moon and come out in early 2016.. Releasing on February 19th from Caldo Verde Records, the album is expected to appear in CD, LP and digital formats.
As the acrimony caused of the apparent disappointing returns of this summer’s Mayhem Festival spills into public forums such as online music websites, Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival co-founder John Reese has waded in to the fray. Offering an olive branch to fans and the bands, Reese’s plea comes after his partner Kevin Lyman aired his grievances about the fest and metal fans, which has led to speculation the fest is in jeopardy of not coming back next year, if ever again. Then followed by Slayer’s Kerry King making a spirited rebuttal in the media. Other bands playing Mayhem Festival were then prompted to comment, as well as many other noted artists in the rock and metal community. Reese’s comments can be read below:
“Dear Fans of Heavy Music and Metal Bands Everywhere,
WE ARE ONE COMMUNITY. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT TO OUR COMMUNITY THAT WE ALL UNITE NOT DIVIDE! Without each others support the only thing that suffers is Metal as a genre!
In the midst of our most challenging year in 8 years of producing the festival, my partner Kevin Lyman made some comments that he has subsequently apologized for. Kevin is an honorable man and has given everything he has to the presentation of music and expanding the profile of countless artists! I am proud of our partnership and our results throughout the years! We have always tried to deliver a platform for artists to expand their fan base and the genre as a whole!
In saying this, various people involved with the 2015 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and some from the metal community have understandably made some divisive comments regarding the event. The event has suffered as a result of these many comments. What’s done is done but I am here to say that heavy metal music is alive and well! I shouldn’t have to remind everyone that we as a culture have faced ostracism from the mainstream for decades and we should not let over-sensationalized media hype separate us!
I think we are ALL tired of all of the bullshit. I KNOW I AM!
Let’s move the conversation forward supporting each other not dividing.
Thank you to Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, TDWP and every single one of the incredibly talented bands that have performed this year on Mayhem!
I would also just like to add a few other choice things for any media conspiracy headlines:
“Can’t we all just get along!” – Rodney King 1994
Marilyn Manson did NOT cause Columbine!
Obama is not the Antichrist!! And he ain’t taking our guns!
Justin Bieber….. uhhhh… no comment!
Heavy metal does not cure cancer, but it is good to fuck to.
Hopefully I will see many of you at Knotfest 2015!
– John Reese“
“Norfolk is nice and quiet; but it’s the quiet ones you’ve got to look out for”.
There’s not much quiet about raging Thetford five-piece William English. Exploding this year from the English county with a reputation for relaxed, idyllic life, vocalist Shane Miller states that all is not what it seems. “East Anglia has a great metal scene, with some awesome bands: Three Thrones, Telepathy, Jøtnarr, amongst many others. There’s stuff going on everywhere.”
Indeed, with three members of recently-reformed Sludge quintet A Horse Called War in the ranks, William English are steeped in that scene. “Joe (Woodbury, drums) actually started the band some years ago as a Hardcore outfit, WE. There’s about 100 copies of an album called Home sat in Joe’s flat if anyone wants one! Carter (guitars) and I from “…Horse…” got involved after we split, with Dave (Vickers, guitar) joining later, and helped take the sound in a heavier direction.”
Which is evident on debut album Basic Human Error (Grandad). Despite the edgy violence in the William English sound however, there’s a pleasing tendency for tempo-fluctuating variance. Shane is quite matter-of-fact about it: “Do you want an album where you can pre-determine what you’re going to get, or one with individual tracks all creating a different vibe? We like different things and we try to bring all of that together. I wish more bands did it. Too many albums these days aren’t holding my attention for their duration.”
2015 seems to have been a busy one for the band, with the album’s recent release succeeding WETT (Kings Park), a ‘split’ release with Colchester Stoner merchants Three Thrones, earlier in the year. It’s not all sunshine and roses though, as they are no different than many underground bands right now: “We recorded the ‘split’ around two years ago,” Shane confirms, “and due to complications it took a year to get Basic Human Error out there; so we could be more productive. When you have five lads with work commitments and money issues though, it’s hard. We are looking to get more stuff out though: we’re hoping to record another ‘split’ very soon, with a band we really love, so if there are any labels out there interested in assisting its release next year it would help a lot.”
Such pitfalls don’t prevent these guys from moving forward, despite three-fifths of them reforming their original band earlier this year, after a five-year hiatus. For the present, it’s William English in the vanguard, and that new album has met with many positive reviews. Shane’s flaying, unflinching vocal style has, however, divided opinion: “I think that will always be the case. I feel that people will get the bigger picture seeing us live but, and again this is just my personal view: do you want a 100% screamer; someone who roars and bellows all the time; or do you want a bit of variety? Most reviews do seem to like what we’re doing but if they didn’t, it wouldn’t really matter. We play random, heavy music; that’s just what we do.”
Amen to individuality and self-belief. The band’s future intent is comparatively modest, but determined: “We want to record two tracks in November to contribute to that ‘split’ next year, and hopefully get out and play some shows to back up the album. It’s unlikely there’ll be another album, however, unless a label gets involved; just small, fairly frequent releases.”
A band with this much passion, drive, and genuinely exciting, raucous sound, can’t fail to get that label attention soon. William English deserve yours, and now.
It’s rare to find a band that are still a) interesting and b) experimenting after three or four decades. But UK crossover legends Hellbastard have managed to do just that. After their original run from 1985-1991, the Geordie four piece reformed in 2008. Feral (Patac) is just the fourth album from the band – “Scruff” Lewty (Vocals, Guitars), Pete Salvage (Guitars), Laine Pearce-Rees (Bass) and Nathan Ellis (Drums) – and second since they regrouped.
Hellbastard are seen by many as the pioneers of crust punk, and reinforce the heritage with guest appearances from fellow UK crusties; Amebix’s Rob “The Baron” Miller and Andy “A. Droid” Wiggins, as well as Sabbat’s Andy Sneap. The PR guff describes Feral as “primal, back-to-nature shit,” which translates as “pretty simplistic, but still heavy”. Which is strange, because for the most part, it’s not particularly crusty.
For much of the record, it’s pretty route-one thrash album chock-full with political observations and snide phrasing from Scruff’s spat lyrics. Or at least it seems that way on first listen. ‘Outside of the Year’ or ‘And the Point of Your Being Is…’ are prime examples of classic crossover the likes of Municipal Waste have taken to a wider audience. ‘Social Hand Grenade’ features some classic squealing guitar work while ‘Engineering Human Consciousness II’ is the kind perfect mosh pit fodder WarBeast would be proud of.
After a few listens however, you start to realise there are some surprises. The switches between raw aggression and a melodic chorus on opener ‘In Praise Of Bast…/Feral’ catch the listener off guard, while the impressive 8-minute three-part epic ‘We Are Coven’ strays into progressive territory. The left turn of ‘4-Paws’ could pass for a gothic power ballad with it strings section and spoken word passages. The extra twists that are thrown into the traditional thrash/punk mix ensure that what could have easily been a tired rehash remains fresh.
Feral isn’t perfect and it’s not all quality or inventive. ‘Shame on Us’ is a passable mid-paced stomper, and though ‘Wychcraft’ has plenty of menace it meanders without going anywhere. But two duds isn’t bad for such a surprisingly varied album. For a band celebrating their 30th year, HellBastard still sound as angry as their name suggests. More impressively though, Feral shows a band willing to experiment and expand their palette into new grounds. There’s enough nodding back for legacy fans, but more than interesting enough material to make them worthwhile for anyone looking for a new spin on thrash.