RIP Melina Dellamarggio ghostcultmag

Ghost Cult Magazine is morning the loss of our dear friend and photographer Melina Dellamarggio of Melina D Photography, who passed away this weekend at age 29. Known for her keen photographic eye, artistic passion, and caring demeanor; Melina won over fans, friends, peers and legendary artists alike. She only worked with Ghost Cult for a year and a half, but she was an invaluable member of our staff, covering huge national tours, festivals, underground acts, and music industry events. Her concert photography and writing was also featured in Loudwire, The Phoenix New Times, as well as local and national television outlets and magazines. Melina was also an award winning nature photographer, a talented visual artist, and started shooting sporting events such as NASCAR, and motocross in the last year. She was devoted to several causes such as animal rescue relief, and was also a mentor and a leader among the concert photography community. She touched many people’s lives and she was loved by many. According to her family, a memorial will be planed for the Phoenix, AZ area at a later date. We will continue to keep her light alive through her work and will honor her forever in these pages. You can see some samples of her work below: 

 

The Melvins, by Melina D Photography

The Melvins, by Melina D Photography

 

 Chad Smith, by Melina D Photography

Chad Smith, by Melina D Photography

 

 Judas Priest, by Melina D Photography

Judas Priest, by Melina D Photography

 

Mastodon, by Melina D Photography

Mastodon, by Melina D Photography

 

Slipknot, by Melina D Photography

Slipknot, by Melina D Photography

 

Slipknot, by Melina D Photography

Slipknot, by Melina D Photography

 

Primus, by Melina D Photography

Primus, by Melina D Photography

 

Puscifer, by Melina D Photography

Puscifer, by Melina D Photography

 

Puscifer, by Melina D Photography

Puscifer, by Melina D Photography

 

Billy Sheehan of The Winery Dogs, by Melina D Photography

Billy Sheehan of The Winery Dogs, by Melina D Photography

 

Nick Menza (ex-Megadeth) at The NAMM Show 2016, by Melina D Photography

Nick Menza (ex-Megadeth) at The NAMM Show 2016, by Melina D Photography

 

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal at The NAMM Show, by Melina D Photography

Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal at The NAMM Show, by Melina D Photography

 

Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society at The NAMM Show, by Melina D Photography

Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society at The NAMM Show, by Melina D Photography

 

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

Eight Bells, by Melina D Photography

 

Ghost, by Melina D Photography

Ghost, by Melina D Photography

 

 

Prophets Of Rage - The Partys Over ep cover ghostcultmag

I know a lot of baby boomer hippie types that think they changed the world back in “The Summer Of Love”, but not all that much if you really look into history. Not the way punk metal, punk rock, and later Hip-Hop was able to galvanize entire generations to get off their asses and think for themselves. Rage Against The Machine waved the flag hardcore across all these styles in the 1990s. Now in 2016 we have Prophets of Rage. It is a great thing that ¾ of RATM joined by Hip-Hop legends like Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill, along with DJ Lord came together. Will it work beyond the present tour? The Party’s Over EP (Prophets Of Rage) goes along way to answering that.

Make no mistake: Zack De La Rocha has such a unique voice and flow, he is tough to replace. But if you must have RATM fronted by someone else, why not have two absolute legendary voices in the rap game? Chuck D is synonymous with political activism and great rhymes. B-Real has never been known as a fist in the air type, but the huge influence of Cypress Hill on rap rock and nu-metal is also undeniable. These are great building blocks along with DJ Lord in the mix too.

Kicking off the EP with the updated PE song ‘Prophets of Rage’, it works in every sense. Chuck and B-Real rap together fluidly and support each other with their hi-lo timbres. The real payoff of the EP is the original track ‘The Party’s Over’. It has all the hallmarks of late era RATM and really could easily have been made years ago, sounding right at home on Battle Of Los Angeles.

The rest of the EP are live recordings from the shows the band has done together, including the Republican National Convention. ‘Killing In The Name ‘ is the quintessential RATM song, so it’s inclusion is almost mandatory. It sounds pretty tight, with B-Real’s softer dynamics copping the feel of the original. PE joint ‘Shut Em Down’ is reimagined a little bit with clever guitar work and riffs galore from Tom Morello, who of course shines. Closing with ‘No Sleep Til Cleveland’, this track makes up some of POR’s live medley feel, with nods to Beastie Boys, and PE’s ‘Fight The Power’, and more.

In a nutshell, I do miss Zack’s voice a bit, but the fierceness this group brings is something sorely missing in music right now. I’d love to hear an entire album of new material, with even more time to for them to gel.

7.0/10

KEITH CHACHKES

Babymetal 2016 ghotcultmag

 

International teen sensations BABYMETAL have been tapped as the opening act to the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their Upcoming winter tour of the UK, their first in five years. BABYMETAL’s hybrid of J-pop and heavy metal has been a hit with crowds the world over, especially following their sophomore album Metal Resistance (Sony/RAL) released this past April. The début landed atop Billboard’s “World Albums” chart and iTunes’ “Top Heavy Metal Albums” chart, while simultaneously entering at #2 on Billboard’s “Hard Rock Albums” chart, #17 on Billboard’s “Top Album Sales” chart and #39 on the overall Billboard 200. BABYMETAL recently became the first Japanese act to headline London’s Wembley Arena, where they achieved the highest-ever merch sales at the massive venue (capacity 12,500 people). The Chili’s are supporting their recent album The Getaway (Warner Brothers).

Red Hot Chili Peppers and BABYMETAL tour admat ghostcultmag

Tickets for the UK shows go on general sale 10am Friday 2 September from www.MYTICKET.CO.UK / www.SEETICKETS.COM

Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway World Tour, with BABYMETAL

Dec 05: The O2 – London, UK

Dec 06: The O2 – London, UK

Dec 08: The SSE Hydro – Glasgow, UK

Dec 10: Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK

Dec 11: Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK

Dec 14: Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK

Dec 15: Manchester Arena, Manchester, UK

Sodom – Decision Day album cover ghostcultmag

 

With over thirty years in the business and fourteen studio albums under their collective bullet belts, if you don’t know what Sodom are all about by now, then let me be the first to congratulate you on finally leaving the comfort of that rock under which you’ve clearly been living and welcome you to a world scarred by nuclear fallout and filled with the cacophonous noise of World War II bombers, relentless machine gun fire, and German thrash metal fueled by unashamed Motorhead worship.

In fact, due to the distinctive cover art of fifteenth album Decision Day (Steamhammer/SPV), the band’s obvious love of all things Lemmy is very likely to be the first thing you’ll notice. Bearing a striking similarity to 1983 album ‘Another Perfect Day’ (Bronze), it comes as no surprise to discover that the very same artist, Joe Petagno, supplied the brushstrokes this time. Keeping the basic skeleton of the old Motorhead artwork, some quintessentially Sodom touches have been added and the result is more than satisfactory.

Unsurprisingly, this is also evident in the music, and after the opening salvo of ‘In Retribution’, ‘Rolling Thunder’, and title track ‘Decision Day’ the band deliver possibly their most unabashed Motorhead tribute to date (cover versions aside) by lifting the riff to ‘Ace of Spades’ and using it for a song about everybody’s favourite ancient Roman megalomaniac, ‘Caligula’.

‘Who is God’ sees the band (not for the first time) also craftily pilfering from Metallica, with their own take on the riff to ‘Enter Sandman’. ‘Strange Lost World’ crawls menacingly along before the, er.. interestingly titled ‘Vaginal Born Evil’ speeds things up nicely again. ‘Belligerence’ lives entirely up to its name, a groove-laden beast featuring sudden and electric bursts of speed from drummer Markus ‘Makka’ Freiwald and guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost, while vocalist Tom Angelripper lacerates his throat for four enjoyably unwholesome minutes.

The pro-conservation blast of ‘Blood Lions’ doesn’t mess around with its angry message about recreational big game hunting, but the reworking of the title track from the band’s recent ‘Sacred Warpath’ EP doesn’t quite pack the same venomous punch as its 2014 counterpart. Things are brought to a close by the superb ‘Refused to Die’, one of a number of tracks which evoke the spirit of 1987’s Persecution Mania (Steamhammer).

With its pointed riffs and firm production, Decision Day goes to show once again that the majority of Sodom’s peers still remain mere pretenders to the throne.

8.0/10

GARY ALCOCK

 

Anthrax, photo credit Travis Shinn

Anthrax, photo credit Travis Shinn

 

Anthrax have released a new video for their new single, ‘Monster At The End’. The innovative clip was helmed by director Jack Bennett and can be seen at this link at Fangoria.com or below:

http://vevo.ly/ZYLbA1

 

 

 

Jack Bennet discusses his concept for the video: shot with four still photographers placed strategically on a Florida set while the five members of Anthrax performed the track live while he shot with the entire video with Super Sharp HD video still cameras. Each photographer would hold down his camera’s shutter button continuously for the near-four minute-long song, capturing a steady stream of hundreds of still images.

“Hey, it might have been a great idea, but holding down the shutter button on a still camera for that long a time? All we would have ended up with were four jammed cameras!”

“Video shutter speeds are faster and more reliable than anything we could have done manually, and we wanted as big a pool of still images to choose from as we could get.”

In post-production, Bennett went through the footage frame by frame and hand-picked the still images he wanted to animate – hundreds of them. Rather than print the video at 24 frames per second, he animated movement of the band members using the still images, creating a jagged, crude motion. “We didn’t want fluidity, we wanted the video to have more of a comic book feel to it, like flipbook animation.”

Bennett and his crew went one step further, taking a cue from the legendary Walt Disney animators of the 1920s and 1930s, who used the technique of rotoscoping, the art of painstakingly hand-painting individual cels to embellish a primary image.

Employing the fundamentals of rotoscope, Bennett has peppered the video with monsters, tattoos that come alive, explosions, popping eyeballs, speech bubbles, morphed images, and nods to the influence of ‘Creepshow.’ There’s even a frame or two of The Skull King, the evil character from Anthrax’s ‘Blood Eagle Wings’ music video that Bennett also directed. Actor Justin Michael Terry, who played The Skull King, is The Runner in ‘Monster At The End.’

“We used a lot of stop-motion effects as well as other special and visual effects in the same way as was done in the original Exorcist film. “We even added a little bit of grain, some dust and some scratches just to give it that analog feel.”

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante commented:

‘The Monster at the End’ video takes us back to our love of comics and horror. We’ve always loved the ‘Creepshow’ movies and wanted something like that for this video. Jack is easy to work with, all we did was perform the song, he did the real work with the editing and achieving the look that we wanted. 

sunflower dead band 1

In Part 2 of chat with Michael Del Pizzo of Sunflower Dead, we discussed what is on tap next for the up and coming band, cover songs, writing album number three, and how do they see the climate right now for bands trying to be successful in the music industry.

We’re thinking about a lot of things. We’re trying a couple of songs with radio programmers right now to decide if were going to go to radio with the next single, and if we do, then there will be another music video and we’ll go to radio in the fall with the third single. We actually also are writing for the third record in our downtime, because you never know. We might decide to do the new record in the fall and get it out right away, or we might tour this record for another year. We’ll see what the demand is. I know there’s also been talk of, because we’ve been doing these acoustic tour shows, maybe doing the other three or four acoustic songs Sunflower Dead style, like a little EP for fans to download. We’ll see if that happens.

 

I know you guys have done covers before that were fun, but I don’t know if that’s something else you would do in the future or not. I think the first thing never heard from you guys was the Police cover.

We’re definitely not a band that does a lot of covers because we’re just lazy in the sense of learning other people’s songs, but we’ll do a cover thing on a whim, like we’ll just work it and reload it to make it fit us. I don’t knowing we’ll do any covers. Maybe. You never know. Like I said, I do think the album still has legs under it, so we’re just, like everything we do, we’re just going to see how it goes and make decisions when we get all the facts. That’s it. We’re just starting to tour the record now. We did press and media without touring for a year purposefully, and radio to just build the awareness. Now we are finally touring the record so it’s all coming together.

 


That was definitely an interesting choice. Do you feel like it’s tougher than it used to be to break a band? This is not your first rodeo with a band and this environment is brutal for rock music.

All I can say is that the music industry unfortunately is the Wild West right now. You have to make up your own rules. I would say that Sunflower Dead takes advantage of that. We make up our own rules and we see the current climate, and we use it to our advantage. I could see how the current climate would be discouraging to most people because at the end of the day whether you’re on a label or completely independent, it all comes down to not only does the talent and skill and desire you have, but you need to have financial backing. It costs money to make money in any business, and in the music business, it probably costs $2 million to make $1 million. Do you know what I’m saying? Its a difficult time, and for us we are taking advantage of it and it’s working. I think that I was personally disappointed that the first single didn’t go higher on the charts than it did in radio, even though it did well, and I believe that’s because it’s the first time we’ve gone to radio. We are a new band in their eyes, but It’s Time To Get Weird single hit the top 40, which was good. We’re just like everyone else. We’re working and cresting awareness, ans at the end of the day, a bands job is to create awareness of their sound and their product so people will come around to it. You have to beat people over the head with it over and over again until they finally go “Oh, I get it.” That’s just how it goes.

Sunflower Dead Its Time To Get Weird Album Cover
I heard a really great thing on a podcast recently: for a new band to make it, you have to reinvigorate your fan base every couple of years with new blood, and really stay consistent for the first five years of your career. If you can do that over a couple of releases and bring awareness, then you get that sustainability factor kicks in when you get that recognition.

It’s a constant building process, and then when you reach a certain plateau, then you think “Okay, I’ve gotten somewhere.” Then you realize “Oh my god. There’s another huge amount this time.” then when you acquire that one, then you’re like “Oh my god. There’s another huge mountain.” It just keeps going and going and going. It’s why you have to keep in your mind, I would tell myself to enjoy the small victories, enjoy the process. You never know how long we’re going to be here in life or as a band, so just keep enjoying it and working to get better and spread that awareness. It’s working for us at a nice steady pace, and I believe that the groundwork that were laying, if we put out the right song, so the right things, when it does really connect, it’s going to connect big. That’s definitely the hope.

 

Catch Sunflower Dead on tour this fall with Hellyeah and Escape The Fate.

KEITH CHACHKES

sunflower dead band 3

 

Sunflower Dead have spent this summer on tour, much like they have the last year. Supporting their 2015 release It’s Time To Get Weird, from their own label Blood Bat Records, the band has gone from unknown to underground sensation in a few short years. Just off the road from the tour bus, we spoke to frontman and leader Michael Del Pizzo about the bands’ recent tour with Avatar, breaking an “art rock” band in today’s climate, and the fun challenges of being a “different” kind of band than people are used to.

With Avatar and Sunflower Dead being like-minded bands and talents, we asked first how the tour went:

The Avatar tour was great. The way it happened was we had not signed onto a booking agent for our first album, and then this album, we were picking up so much steam that their booking agent came to us and said “Look, we want to pick you guys up and then we’ll put you with Avatar to get it going.” We were like ” That’s perfect.” It’s a perfect match. Those guys are very theatrical like we are, but they are a little more metal than we are, and I think we’re a little more rock than we are. The fans, in my opinion, really got their money’s worth. It was a great show and I know people have been emailing me already being like ” Are you guys going to tour with Avatar again? We’d really like to see that again.” I’m like “Hopefully.” We definitely got along great and the show, every night was just phenomenal.

Sunflower Dead Its Time To Get Weird Album Cover


In addition to the recent tour, Avatar played dates with Hellyeah and In This Moment, and have another leg of the Hellyeah tour booked, along with Escape The Fate. As a relatively new band in the last few years, we wondered how the band deals with trying to convert new fans all the time?

The live thing has been great for us since day one. The weird looks we get, they are purposefully weird. We usually start with me just playing the accordion by myself for the crowd, and for people that don’t know or haven’t heard of us, they are just bewildered that a guy in makeup would walk onstage by himself with an accordion at a metal show, but I’ll tell you what, it gets everyone’s attention and makes them shut up. The camera phones start coming out. They start filming and then when the band joins me, we start our set, and by the end of the night, we’ve made a whole slew of new fans.

Michael is a well-known multi-instrumentalist and singer, but the accordion is his main weapon of choice. We asked what drew him to him to a non-traditional instrument and when did he figure out if it could work in rock context:

When I was younger, I played the piano. I play the piano in Sunflower Dead and we haven’t been able to bring it out on the stage alone yet. I play the piano, so I just wanted to pick something up that was challenging. I never has any kind of magnetism towards the guitar or the bass or drums. I just wanted to challenge myself, and I went to a used music store when I was a kid and bought an accordion. I picked the thing up and it felt like eerily right. I just started writing on it. I don’t know why, it just worked. I showering it to my guitar player at the time when I was a kid and he was like “Wow that is really cool.” I showed him how I was playing and he was like ” Wow. That is he creepiest thing I’ve ever heard.” I don’t know how it worked for me when we started Sunflower Dead. Jamie, my guitar player in the band said ” Why don’t you play that instrument you play, the accordion. It’s just so visual.” I was like “Cool.” It’s coming to the band, and when you put it together with the band and the makeup and the music, it just fits.

Do you use a special custom microphone? How do you mic that for a live a club setting, a club PA?

I have a mini accordion. It’s made by Roland. It’s made completely different from an acoustic accordion. The mic actually plugs directly into the accordion itself and I go direct into the PA system. It’s all MIDI. It’s like this little keyboard thing I have. It’s crazy! Roland did a really great job with mocking what an accordion does, but giving something with the versatility to create sound and just have it be very simple work. If I had the mic and the acoustic accordion with the band, that would be terrible.

There is a tactile thing about accordions, if you’ve ever played one. There’s a pressure and a feeling like a real piano. Does your instrument simulate that well or did you have to get used to it?

It worked really well. The feel is there, it’s amazing what you can do with these things. There’s no doubt about it, what Roland did and the feel of the instrument is incredible. I love it. I actually love it more than the acoustic accordion because of other things I can do with it. It’s quite an instrument. They’re not cheap, but I’ve beaten it up. I’ve broken it a couple of times already because I’m a little violent with it onstage, but hey, it’s all about a show, right?


It is all about the show, and that’s the thing. I know there’s an audience of people who appreciate theatricality, not just makeup and costumes. It’s putting on a show. It’s a display of performance art really. It comes from art. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about that and just making your music as art, not a band with a gimmick.

Sure. The thing about having an image, it’s funny. There are a million bands who try to be the whole image thing and if you really don’t have the art part of it to back it up, people just see through it very quickly and write it off. They’re like ” Oh, it’s a gimmick.” In fact, I believe we do have the art to back it up, but we still have to fight in Sunflower Dead to show people that no, it’s not just a gimmick. They are actually challenging you to pay attention with this image and what I’m doing artistically. It’s easy to write people off when they have makeup or look, but I believe that what we’re doing is challenging people a little bit to have fun with them, and then when they get it, they’re like okay cool. I see what’s going on here. That’s just my personal feelings on it.

KEITH CHACHKES

black-sabbath

 

Adam Wakeman has been on stage and behind the scenes with some of the greats of all time in his various roles with Ozzy Osbourne’s solo band, and as the keybordist/backup guitarist for Black Sabbath, plus his own band of prog rock masters Headspace. We chatted with Adam recently about playing the final dates with Sabbath on “The End” tour, the health of Tony Iommi, his future with Ozzy, and how he feels on the occasion of the final year of tours.

 

Are you starting to get sentimental about these final dates, or you won’t get there until later in the next year maybe?

I think I would like to say that I would be thinking about that later towards the end of the tour, but it’s very hard not to feel that it’s something quite special at the beginning, because, no pun intended, it’s the beginning of the end. It’s pretty final, which is quite sad. At the same time, just to be a part of it is amazing. The first ever show I did was 2014 I think … I’m sorry, 2004. It was quite some years ago, and to be honest, I thought that might be my last tour, because you never know from one year to the next, things change. I try not to get too sentimental about it, but it is hard not to feel that you’re part of something special, that’s for sure.

Everybody understands that this is certainly not the end of the career for anybody involved in Black Sabbath. Ozzy is planning solo work, as is Tony. I’m sure you’ll be involved in more solo tours.

That’s the plan. He (Ozzy) knows, you can understand that they, after some 44 odd years, it has to come a time … The touring schedule … I get quite tired sometimes. I’m 41 years old, so when you’re in your late 60s, it has to be harder as well. You can totally understand where they are coming from, and I think that it’s great that they’re doing it on such a great level.


black sabbath the end us tour 2016


Especially for Tony, who obviously despite his very public health struggles, has a clean bill of health at the moment. Everybody worries about him and certainly you can only do so much.

Of course. I can only speak from my … If I was in a position like that, I not even sure if I would be doing a final tour. He’s really well, and he’s experienced something that a lot of people unfortunately don’t have the good fortune to be able to experience. He’s had successful treatment, and he’s really well. It’s amazing how they get on with it really. Yeah, it’s a great thing to be a part of.

 

KEITH CHACHKES