London’s metallic Hardcore band Dead Man’s Chest has been growing in stature in their scene with high-profile Cro-Mags, Sick of It All, Madball, Integrity. Now the time comes for new music and Ghost Cult is bringing it to you! ‘Dear God’ is a brutal 1-2 smash to the head! Dear God will be released on 7″ vinyl (Gold, Half Gold/Half Black, and Classic Black) on February 28th. Pre-orders will be available through Upstate Records online webstore at the link below. Check it out now! Continue reading
On March 25th Machine Head’s impeccable second album The More Things Change… (Roadrunner) turned 20 years old. Released at a time when thrash was struggling, and hardcore metal bands were mostly in a time of transition, they dropped this bombshell of heaviness and rage that cemented their legacy as one of the leaders of American Metal that they hold to this day. Continue reading
One thing that is apparent as we grind down to the end of 2016 in the music world, is the dearth of quality legacy acts. Sure there are some great bands still kicking around and the dad metal crowd will always love the reunions that seem to be on tour forever. It’s definitely tough be nostalgic when you don’t have time to miss anyone. So when a quality act like Superjoint makes a comeback, you need to pay attention to it. Continue reading
2200 hours: People are milling about. They are still buzzed after an exhausting Devildriver performance. The last strains of a sound check happens: drums, guitars, bass, vocals. Hey Hey Yup. Yep. Hey A. The floor fills quickly to the sound of Boston “Rock and roll band… everybody’s waitin’ … getting’ crazy anticipating love… and music… Play Play Play….” Christina says, “I haven’t seen them in a long time. It’s the first time in 19 years seeing them. I’m here to have a good time and see a great band.”
2213 hours: The lights go out and the crowd erupts into chants of “Hatebreed! Hatebreed! Hatebreed!” Eerie creepy kid horror music is piped in. “Arizona! Are you ready?” Why yes, Jamey. We are indeed ready! “I’ve been a Hatebreed fan since ’99 when I was in the ARMY. It’s his (points to 7 year old son) first show.”, says Tony. Tony’s son says Hatebreed are “Awesome.” Jamey Jasta hits the stage looking more like Mike Muir. “Destroy everything!” he commands as a pit, a tad smaller and milder than Devildriver’s breaks out. To wit, I think the crowd is a bit tired. They are densely packed yet hardly moving. There are, however, lots of cell phones in the air.
Jamey reminds his erstwhile captives that the new album The Concrete Confessional (Nuclear Blast) is the #2 rock record and #13 on Billboard charts. Hatebreed then launch into ‘Looking Down the Barrel of Today’. Live, the song has a wicked funk sound and the pocket is strong with Chris Beattie and Matt Byrne. “The party is only just begun!” Jamey tells us. Finally, the pit has grown. The crowd was a slow burn. They fed off the intensity of the band. Multiple crowd surfers rise above the masses. It’s now a packed house on a Monday night. I was told by a Marquee employee that a good 2500 were in attendance. ‘A.D’ causes a proper circle pit to erupt. Live, ‘A.D’ is a psychotically intense old school thrash song. But, alas, a majority of the crowd stood about like deer in headlights. “They know what they do and they do it will. They stick to it.”, says Patrick. Some are bobbing their heads while others just have this glassy look to their face. I guess I’m just a rabid Hatebreed supporter. Such a laid back attitude towards live music is an anathema to me.
“Everyone of us are in it together. Everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Everyone leaves with no voice left from a Hatebreed set.” –Jamey Jasta
Hatebreed are killing it on stage. There is elegant beauty in their brutality. It’s been 3.5 years since they played in Tempe. Live they exhibit a tribal feel. Matt’s drumming is deep and mesmerizing. The light show makes me feel like I’m being inducted into the cult of Hatebreed. There are eight discharge lamp/beam/wash moving head fixtures on stage. They shine and flash to the audience; a code of induction. They illuminate the band from behind making them seem larger than life. I drank the Hatebreed kool-aid a long time ago. But tonight I grabbed the chalice and drank deeply again. “I take this vow of hatred, never to be broken.”
“There is no family drama. There’s no death. There’s no suicide. There’s no poverty.” – Jamey Jasta.
“People hear the music and they think we’re crazy. This is music. It’s transformative. It helps people.” – Jamey Jasta.
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Hard to believe that’s it’s been 8 years since The American Dream. Not the American Dream you’re thinking of. I wouldn’t know anything of that as I share a house with way too many roommates and pinch pennies for booze money at the end of the week.
Sagging economy jokes aside, it has been nearly a decade since we heard any new music from Walls of Jericho. And while the Michiganders have been busy starting families and with other musical endeavors, they apparently haven’t lost an ounce of the fury that brought them notoriety in the mid aughts. One Obama presidency later and Walls of Jericho are still spitting venom on latest album No One Can Save You from Yourself (Napalm).
With the exception of album bookend ‘Probably Will’ that venom is still potent. And ‘Probably Will’ is a well put together song, but its clean vocals and orchestral arrangements just don’t gel well with the rest of this sulfuric set.
But allow me to clarify to both naysayer and cautious devotee alike; Walls of Jericho are not on a mission to reinvent themselves. Much to my heart’s delight, frontwoman Candace Kucsulain still has those varnish peeling vocals. If you were expecting a post-hardcore or tech makeover then this album is not for you. That said, if you enjoyed With Devils Amongst Us All and All Hail the Dead then you’ll be dancing to your hearts content on tracks like ‘Relentless’ and ‘Cutbird.’ ‘Damage Done’ follows suit as it switches from gradual pummel to short Slayer blitzes. ‘Reign Supreme’ as a title may seem like an easy hardcore wink and nod, but its suffocating groove will kill any cynicism.
It’ll be easy for the dismissive and jaded to file No One Can Save You from Yourself as derivative. But to do so would be to disregard quality work from a band who’ve long paid their dues. And if we’re going to adopt that philosophy then we might as well expect musical metamorphoses from Ringworm or Integrity. Who wants that?
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Massachusetts modern metal band Thurkills Vision has launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund their next album The Light , due later this year. The three time winner of Worcester Music Awards Best Hardcore and Metal band (2012, 2013, 2014), played both the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and the Uproar Tour in the past, and have a rabid following. Check out their campaign at this link and below:
The debut full-length from Boston’s Great American Ghost will drop Everyone Leaves on July 10th from Good Fight Music. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jay Maas of Defeater, who has also worked with Ceremony and Title Fight. Old Wounds drummer Brandon Gallagher created the cover and layout. Gallagher is know for his own bands’ artwork as well as Full of Hell, Incendiary, and Counterparts.
As a teaser of what is to come, the band is streaming a single in ‘Misery’ and also premiered a new video for ‘Shiver’, featuring Bruce LePage of 100 Demons which you can see below:
Everyone Leaves track listing:
2) An Ever Changing Cast of Characters
5) Dead Punks
8) Home Grown Hate
9) Anxious Alone
10) Everyone Leaves
Great American Ghost is:
Ethan Harrison – vocals
Matt Mailloux – guitar
Josh Lacroix – guitar, vocals
Joey Perron – bass
Bryan Nowell – drums
Being very picky with hardcore music, I am very quick to pass up opportunities to listen to new hardcore music and just appreciate what I have in my library. Having said that, I am very fortunate to have been provided quite an addition with the latest album, Rust (Deathwish), by Chicago hardcore outfit, Harm’s Way. It does not take long for this album to ramp up and put you in a stranglehold. Whether the beat is punky, heavy, or just a crushing breakdown, these guys certainly bring to light what it is to be hardcore. Another aspect of the sound that makes up Harm’s Way is the guitar tone. I feel like the tone has that great crust feel to it without going so far as to turning into sludge. If that wasn’t going to sell this band’s sound to me, then looking at their Facebook page certainly did. In the about section, under “artists we also like,” only Nails is listed. It was like a match made in Hell!
The entire journey that is Rust clocks in at just over 33 minutes over the course of ten adrenaline injecting tracks. The overall flow of the album does not allow the listener to take many breaks as each track blends right into the next with minimal down time during intros. Another impressive trait for this release from Harm’s Way is that each track in the album has its own identity without repetitive riffs or even covered with the predictable breakdown. Due to this I could honestly speak about every track on Rust and explain how I felt the need to deconstruct each song. No need to fear as I like to keep my reviews quick rather open ended so it makes readers potentially go out and listen for themselves. What I can tell you is the moment the first track ‘Infestation’ starts its build up and gets moving, this avalanche of crusty hardcore does not stop until the 5th track, ‘Cancerous Ways.’ This track only gives you a slight break for air before leaping off the next cliff and drags you with it. Not to take away from the second half of the album, but the final two tracks back to back absolutely blew me away and end the album with an explanation point. ‘Turn To Stone’ builds up to an interlude with a female vocalist (which I cannot seem to place at time of writing this) pleading for help only to meet a grizzly breakdown. This then fades into the closer, ‘Ease My Mind’ which is the culmination of every previous track with catchy riffs, crusty guitar tones, some crafty foot work behind the drum set, and a groovy yet epic outro to what Harm’s Way calls Rust. Just as quickly as this album takes over your ears, it leaves you just as quickly in silence.
Harm’s Way has clearly done a great job of impressing me only after about a half hour of my time. Quite frankly, it only took a few songs in for me to headbang through highway traffic and actually say the word “Wow” at the end of some of the tracks. I will certainly be spinning these tracks for the rest of the year, as Rust battles to earn its keep in my end of the year list. In fact, I’m going to go hit play right now.
The Banner are one of those bands who, if you reach in to the deepest recesses of your memory, showed real signs of promise in the early 2000’s. It is almost crazy to think that the band are already on their fifth studio album with Greying (Good Fight) because they have always been so under the radar, but you’ll be two tracks into this record and immediately you’ll feel that THIS is what they are capable of. Now, before all you diehard fans of the band start throwing us evil glares and shaking your finger in disregard, we know this has been a long six year wait, but with these being the results after such a length of time, The Banner could well see themselves becoming a blip on the radar after all.
Previous records from this band have all been relatively varied. The 2006 release Frailty (Ferret) is the album which many point to as their best due to its aggression and calculated fury, but with Greying the band have been able to blend this with a heightened emphasis on a far darker and brooding tone. The first four tracks on here contain elements which wouldn’t be misplaced on a Doom record, before it suddenly explodes into more of a Hardcore sound on ‘Unbaptized’. The darker edge throughout the record, really allows it to set itself apart from other Hardcore Punk bands – in fact to a degree where you should probably take the ‘Hardcore Punk’ label with a pinch of salt on this record.
Overall then, Greying is almost certainly The Banner’s finest album to date, with a maturity in the sound unrivalled compared to their other records. This is the sound of a band who have been able to truly collate together all of their strengths from previous releases and mashed them together into one big snarling beast of a record. One thing is for sure, Greying will surely get more people talking about The Banner a lot more, a fact which many of its closest fans feel should have happened many years ago.
Emmure versus The Acacia Strain, two bands enter one band leaves! Well, not really, but that’s how they pitched it to the audience. In reality that’s really who is the deciding factor, the fans!
Round 1 FIGHT!
Firstly I’d like to give a shout out to my friends in Handsome Bastards for headlining the upstairs stage of the Palladium for their tireless push to sell tickets and bring fans new and old in hopes of furthering themselves and having great attitudes and fun while doing it! now on with the show. Ladies and gentleman I bring you SYLAR from Queens New York.
Upon first look of these five young New Yorkers one would be led to believe they may be at the wrong tour… taking a minor influence from hip-hop they definitely don’t look like your average hardcore or metal band. That’s why I believe they were added to this tour. Five guys with very wide influences of rap and hip-hop style, with metal and hardcore heaviness, and lots of similarities to the headlining band Emmure, with their fast paced music full of attitude and confrontational lyrics. This left me wondering what would come next from this set as 50 Cent’s ‘P.I.M.P’ played before they started playing. With seven strings in hand, the boys took the stage and so began the first stop of “The Eternal Enemies” tour. SYLAR’s sound is very much a mix of heavy influences such as Meshuggah with the lyrical flare of Emmure, who could be their musical big brothers. The band was very entertaining to watch and with great crowd reaction, synchronized stage moves reminiscent of old Korn, and lots of crowd interaction. Electronic bits were thrown in to add to the flavor of the band and made for unique songs and a great over all show. At first glance SYLAR did not look like they were going to be as impressive as they were, but once they hit that stage not only was my opinion changed but I was made a fan.
Sadly, after the ct date of the tour while in Canada the bands van was broken into and the money they had made was taken leaving them financially at ground zero again. I hope the rest of the tour works out more in their favor and if your reading this maybe you’ll feel compelled to help them in some way, be it merch or buying their CD.
Next from “The Lone Star State”, Kublai Khan, another band I was new to on this tour but yet again was pleasantly surprised by. This four piece hailing from Sherman, Texas not only immediately went for the throat of every one present to see them preform, they first thanked us for having them there and were very humble and honored to play here. Sticking close to their hardcore influences their songs ranged in very real topics from being a minority/racism, and growing up in Texas as singer Matthew Matthew Honeycutt explained, to being a single parent trying to care for a family. All things that in one way or another many of the fans may be able to connect with. Again, the crowd response was high energy and very reactive to. the bands music and great attitude. Another group I cant wait to see again in Worcester.
Also from Texas, Fit For a King. defiantly a good fit for the tour with similar styles and sound to all the other bands. If you liked the bands you’ve seen so far, here’s more of it. lots of catchy hooks and clean vocal sing along parts and fun mosh parts, fit for a king defiantly kept the crowd jumping and amped up for the next two bands. Unfortunately I was not one of those people. I had rather high hopes for this band seeing as the two predecessors had wowed me so, and so I was kinda let down. Not for lack of trying or bad sound; they just didn’t do it for me.
And now for the tectonic two, the sultans of sorrow!
The Acacia Strain, never ones to pass up a good laugh or being taken too seriously, decided to set up bubble machines and in the words of “Vincent Bennett” in Sesame Street style letters to shove the “seriousness” of the tour’s “battle of the bands” concept back in the promoters faces. The lights dimmed and the backing track of ‘Human Disaster’ played and the band stood at the ready, preparing for the onslaught of negativity that would be their 35 minute set. With the sound of two guitar chords from the left and right of the stage a thunderous “REST…IN…PISS” arose from the throat of Vincent and thus began the much anticipated set. opening with the first two tracks of their new album Coma Witch (Rise Records) ‘Human Disaster’ and ‘Cauterizer’ (their hit single you can hear on Liquid Metal on a daily basis) set the tone for what came next: the song ‘Beast’, with guest vocals from Matthew of Kublai Khan. Vincent, always wanting to have fun, would jump into the crowd from time to time and crowd surfers would fly over the barricade and security guard’s heads to reach out to Vincent and give him hi-fives. At one point Vincent himself crowd surfed during his own song. He called out for “more violence, more hate” and the crowd answered in a swarm of violence and brutality; just what the band wanted. I had waited all night for this set and did it deliver one-hundred fold and seemed they might be hard to top. The band played a few more popular songs including ‘JFC’ which the crowd screamed along chanting “I am the end of the world!” The Acacia Strain had overwhelming crowd support and left everyone wanting more.
With the attitude of a cage fighter entering the ring, hidden behind a black and white scarf iconic to the new album’s artwork and band merch, Frankie and the rest of Emmure (joined by Adam Pierce formerly of All Shall Perish on the drums) came out with screeching guitars to open up their set of hit songs with overpowering energy. Frankie’s hip-hop style dance moves were fantastic to watch and his hype as a frontman created a crowd frenzy. With intense hate, anger and emotion in his eyes, Frankie screamed out every lyric with the passion they deserved. Songs such as ‘Solar Flare’, ‘Homicide’, ‘Drug Dealer Friend’, ‘R2 Deepthroat’, ‘Children of Cyberton’, ‘MDMA’, their new hit song ‘A Gift, A Curse’ and coming out for an encore with ‘When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong’. A lot of Emmure’s songs were very emotional and powerful to watch live and every time they are as entertaining and amazing as the last.
The Acacia Strain and Emmure did incredible jobs headlining and had a very strong fan following who was made up of die hard fans craving for more even after they were finished. A very impressive show indeed, so impressive we even drove all the way to CT to see it again!
WORDS: ANDREW FRANCIS
PHOTOS BY EMMA PARSONS PHOTOGRAPHY