Ghost Cult ‘s Chief Editor Keefy caught up with uber-producer Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy, producer for Every Time I Die, Gojira, Body Count, Knocked Loose) is releasing his new album with grindcore/hardcore metal supergroup END, Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face, this June 5th via Closed Casket Activities. We caught up with Will to discuss the origins of END, which includes members of Counterparts (Brendan Murphy — Vocals), The Dillinger Escape Plan (Billy Rymer — Drums), Fit For An Autopsy (Will Putney — Guitars), Misery Signals/Shai Hulud (Gregory Thomas — Guitars), and Reign Supreme (Jay Pepito — Drums), the new album, the bands writing process, the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on both of Will’s bands and his production work, how he got started in music as an intern with Machine, and much more. You can pre-order the new END album here, and support FFAA as well, and listen to our chat with him. Continue reading
UK metal legends Skindred have released the video for their new single, ‘Machine’. The track comes from their upcoming new album Big Tings, due out on Napalm Records April 27th. Watch it below. Continue reading
UK metal innovators and legends Skindred have streamed the trailer for their forthcoming new album, Big Tings, due this spring on Napalm Records. The teaser features a snippet of the first track, ‘Machine’, coming soon. Jam it out now! Continue reading
Pennsylvania rockers Crobot have been tearing up the road, repping their new album Welcome To Fat City nightly. They have been playing shows and festivals in the USA like this weekend’s Louder Than Life Festival, and are gearing up for a huge tour of Europe with Volbeat. True to form, the band rages both on stage, and off. Check out this exclusive behind the scenes video with guitarist Chris Bishop and drummer Paul Figueroa discussing some shenanigans with their crew, from their last tour: Continue reading
Crobot’s new album Welcome to Fat City (Nuclear Blast/Wind-Up Records) came out today. The album is streaming in full over at Nuclear Blast’s YouTube channel, which you can hear below:
Miss May I has been known to be one of the hardest working artists on the heavy music scene today and rarely leaves much downtime in between recordings. They spent the summer on the Unicorn Main Stage on the Vans Warped Tour, in support of their forthcoming album Deathless (out August 7, 2015 via Rise Records).
“It’s important to have something new and exciting to do these summer fests. We dropped [the last] record a little bit before the summer tour last year and it worked really well for us, so we pushed real hard to write a really good one for this year. Luckily we got it done just in time,” explained bassist Ryan Neff, about the quick turnaround on the new album.
“We didn’t have any breaks really. We just slept after it was done for a month straight,” said vocalist Levi Benton.
“It was three or four weeks off right before this [Warped Tour], but we’ve pretty much been out solid, between touring and going into the studio to do this record, since January,” added Neff.
The band had debuted a new song within their set list “I.H.E.,” giving fans a taste of what was coming from Miss May I.
On Deathless, the band reunited with producer Joey Sturgis, who worked on their Rise Records debut – 2010’s Monument. While they worked with someone familiar, the subject themes on the album took on a heavier yet darker overtone.
“It’s mainly written about the struggles we went through as a band. I know we’re young but we’ve been around for a long time. It’s our fifth album,” explained Benton.
“We had a rough year behind the scenes. I think it’s the first time we’ve ever gone into a recording session with a…I don’t want to say a negative attitude because we were obviously very excited about doing a record…the meanings behind the lyrics that Levi would write and then I would write with him a little bit. There’s a lot more aggression on this record than we’ve ever had before,” added Neff.
Following a year’s worth of solid touring behind their last album, 2014’s Year of the Lion, they began working on new material immediately following the conclusion of their album’s touring cycle. They began writing new material and got the creative juices flowing.
“We came into the studio with over 20 songs on the last record, and then we slim it down to ten. Our guitar players (Justin Aufdemkampe, B.J. Stead) are our main writers. They’re on their computers making riffs all day. So we’re always constantly writing.”
“We wrote songs right when we left the studio. We left the studio, went home for a couple of weeks and there were already a couple of songs. They’re like ‘ah…we’ve got some ideas,’ “ explained Benton.
“It’s a lot different than we used to do it, where we went and got started until that time to record everything. We’d try to have everything done, or at try to start it so the ideas are forming and we can starting working on stuff a little bit earlier now,” added Neff.
They spoke about reuniting with Sturgis, and how working with him differed from working with two different producers on the past couple of albums.
“He definitely brought the heavy back out of us, like the first couple of records, which was fun. We haven’t worked with him in a while so it felt like high school again. It was nice to jump in there,” explained Benton, about the working environment with Sturgis.
“We did one with Machine [2011’s At Heart] and one with Terry Date [2014’s Rise of the Lion]. We bounced around for a couple of records, and the thing about those two records was, with those two particular fellows, we didn’t know them before we started the recording. So you kind of have a two week period where you’re getting to know each other and try to figure out how things work, and with Joey it was Day One and we were already friends, ready to go and the working atmosphere was really great for us,” said Neff.
“We brought a whole new sound too. We’re the band that hates releasing the same thing twice, so it’s nice to jump back to Joey because it’s completely different from the last record,” added Benton, about the musical direction on Deathless and working on it with Sturgis.
As they are now reaching five albums with the release of Deathless, Neff admits building a set list covering a cross section of their catalog has become a lot tougher to please both themselves and their fans watching their shows.
“It’s such a pain in the ass! It is the longest discussion that we have as a group. We all have the same goal – make as many people who are watching our band as happy as we can, and everyone has a different opinion about what particular songs to use. For us, it all still comes down to we only get 30 minutes to play and we’ve got five records with at least 30 minutes of material on it. So we can play one fifth of what we’ve created in our career. Maybe a little bit less. It’s a lot more difficult than it used to be.”
“I remember when we did this tour the first time when we had two records obviously we would play these six or seven songs. Everyone would know these six or seven songs. It was easy. It was a lot more difficult this time.”
While pleasing both themselves and their fans on what songs to play, they have occasionally thrown in Miss May I’s versions of deep cuts, which is met with mixed results.
“I remember we tried in the winter with August Burns Red, we threw in this song ‘Tides’ off of our first record. It’s a diehard fan from the early days would know that song, but we played that and it was a whole lot of arms crossed like ‘what the hell is this?’ We’re on stage having a great time, like ‘I remember this song!’ It’s a lot harder to do those to go over real well. Like I said, the whole point of the show is to make the people buying the tickets happy. Sometimes what we feel like playing is not exactly what they want to hear.”
Kicking off Temples Festival with a torrid mix of grind and punk Teef are a rude awakening. Sadly the shrieking of their vocalist is only appropriate during the more intense moments with several mediocre riffs tempering what should have ignited the blue touch paper. Oblivionized are much better. Nasty atonal riffs á la Discordance Axis, the Londoners bash through relentless cuts from their ‘Life Is A Struggle, Give Up’ platter in a fashion which forces early comers to take note or die.
The second band in the second stage were Leeds based grinders The Afternoon Gentlemen. Unperturbed by waiting for the displaced Young And In The Way to conclude their set on the main stage they managed to bring their own brand of party atmosphere. The massive bouncy energy of the band transferring into an enthusiastic crowd with ease. Crowd surfers were present very early on as well as paramedics. The Yorkshiremen Pummeled the crowd with song after song playing some newer tracks from the record they have coming out later this year. Grind is one of those genre’s that has to be done right and the ‘Gents certainly do it right but their performance struggles to hold the attention of the audience with many drifting away towards the end of the set.
Enabler are a revelation. Taking to the stage displaying a terrifying ferocity, they receive a huge reception from the crowd. A particularly potent mix of hardcore with a large side helping of metal. The second they started like a kick to the gut and it was immediately obvious they weren’t here to mess about, and the audience knew it. This was an impassioned performance which was quite incredible to watch. In a festival with no shortage of amazing bands Enabler proved to be a real highlight.
Deathwish signees’ Harm’s Way deliver their pulverising metallic hardcore to an appreciative small crowd. Brusing mosh fodder which won’t change the world but can certainly help work up a sweat.
Most of us rarely start a festival by being told to fuck off, but for those of us that headed over to catch an early set by blackened crusters Young and in the Way, that’s exactly how Temples 2015 kicked off. While many wouldn’t dare insult the fans, it fit perfectly into their take no prisoners sound. Those squeezing themselves into the tiny third for a dose of filth from the New Zealanders Meth Drinker were treated to a wall of slow gnarly distortion.
Trap Them’s first UK show in four years is heralded with unbridled enthusiasm and the group reciprocates every last bit of energy they receive, delivering a watertight set of no bullshit brutality. Numbers from ‘Darker Handcraft’ eventuate intensity and unhinged aggression. Seering filth encrusted riffage and brutal blasts see the main stage temperature rising to fever pitch.\\
Sacramento’s Will Haven punish the main stage with Grady Avenell cutting an intimidating figure onstage.The dissonant groove of ‘Fresno’ ignites a thunderous response with material from new EP Open The Mind To Discomfort getting a good airing alongside juicy cuts from the quintet’s stellar back catalogue. Sheer unbridled aggression tempered with the eerie melodies conjured by Jeff Irwin and Anthony Paganelli ensure this performance is nothing short of enthralling.
Ramping up the speed again, Magrundergrind whipped up the festival crowd as beer cans were replaced with people being thrown through the air. With the songs averaging just a minute apiece there was plenty of time to cram in the crowd pleasers. Eight hundred bruises and a sore neck later, we’re pretty sure that was a good time… if only we could think past all the concussion.
Nails may have been the more extreme proposition but Weedeater were no less deranged. Frontman Dixie looks truly unhinged, his cross-eyed forty-yard stare burning holes in the crowd while Travis Owens pounds his kit mercilessly with style, even showboating with his sticks without missing a beat. Resin tinged anthems like ‘Gimmie Back My Bullets’ provide more than enough material for those who the motto ‘tune low, play slow’ is a way of life.
It quickly became apparent that songs about “people who talk fucking shit,” is a mantra for Californian based Nails. Repeated before most tracks, it quickly turned into a bit of light comedy relief, which was welcome as the band were on devastating form that evening churning out track after track of ground-shakingly heavy grinding. Despite their popularity, Nails sound feels more at home in a grimy basement cellar, and seeing them on such a large stage just didn’t seem to translate as well as it should have. The same could not be said for Pig Destroyer. Heading out for the first of their two sets that weekend they threw the crowd into the nastiest cuts of grindcore from their collection. Members of the crowd who had any space to breath could count themselves lucky as the room dissolved into a crushed mass of bodies. The sacrifice? Flailing limbs and flying bodies: wherever you stood it was a slaughterhouse.
Who knew metalcore could fit in so well in this line-up. While the genre may have a bad reputation among doom fans, Converge are providing a lifeline to the genre with their powerful and energetic performance. Twisting the wires round his throat and clasping his head, front man Jacob Bannon seems endearingly honest performance backed by their abrasive, twisting backing. Converge proved that twenty-five years of performing is no excuse not to pull out a blindingly energetic set.
A rare UK outing for Bongzilla ensures the outdoor stage is packed despite impressive opposition from Boston trailblazers Converge. Dealing in the kind of lumbering riffs that revel in their atavistic primitively, they’re the idea doom act to close a darkened stage with their Neanderthal low end anthems. Undeterred by the completion, the Wisconsin act delivers a herculean performance of Sabbathian might which while somewhat myopic in is focus, remains a potent high which concludes day one in style.
WORDS: ROSS BAKER, CAITLIN SMITH & RICH PRICE
The spirit of the riff continues as a new breed of rock bands have risen and carried the torch of what artists of the 1960s and 1970s had created. Crobot is part of the new breed of rock revivalists who are injecting the scene with a much needed boost of excitement, and their first full length release Something Supernatural is catching fans by surprise.
They recently supported Chevelle on their East Coast leg this past winter. Being a fellow rock band on the scene, Crobot connected with their audience immediately and won over new fans.
“It was a good response,” said guitarist Chris Bishop, about their tour supporting Chevelle. “We sell a lot of merch, which is nice. Their crew is super cool, and so are the guys in the band, which is nice. It’s always cool.”
“They just went out with our buddies in Kyng. It was probably a couple months ago they went out with them. I think they enjoy the stoner-rock stuff we do.”
Crobot began in 2011 in Pottsville, PA when singer Brandon Yeagley and guitarist and Tennessee native Chris Bishop found a common bond between them with their mutual love of bluesy riff rock. They later added bassist Jake Figueroa and his brother, drummer Paul, to the fold.
“We’ve been around since 2011. That’s when Crobot first started. That was me and the singer started the band. We played around with a couple different blues rock bands in the New Jersey/PA area, and that’s where we met Jake [Figueroa, bass] and Paul [Figueroa, drums]. They’re brothers and ended up joining the band before we got signed by Wind Up. The rest is history.”
They recorded an EP in 2012 called The Legend Of The Spaceborne Killer, which helped attract fans everywhere they played.
“What had happened was…I’d say in 2012 we independently released our CD. At the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, that’s when Wind Up started talking to us. It took almost all of 2013 to get signed. It’s the lawyer stuff and everything. It was in September of that year when we signed our deal. Then we went in and recorded the album in November. Then it brings us to this year  when we released the album and toured extensively on it. Even before we were signed to Wind Up, they were behind us on a lot of our touring, which was good. It was like we were part of the family even before we were signed.”
They recorded Something Supernatural with super producer Machine (Lamb of God, Clutch) in Austin, TX at The Machine Shop. Working together, they were able to create a strong sounding record that exceeded their expectations.
“This was the debut with him. He found us at South By Southwest. It was all by chance we got together. He was a huge fan of the band and saw us a bunch before we started pre-production. We recorded for two months. It was really awesome. He knew exactly what we were going for and how to get it.”
In a nutshell, Crobot has an older blues rock sound with a modern vibe that fans of big riff rock can immediately get into.
“We all started off with the same influences. We learned our instruments through our parent’s music. Especially me – I learned to play guitar by listening to what my mom was listening to. Especially in the beginning almost all musicians learn Zeppelin songs and Sabbath songs and Hendrix. A lot of people stray away from that but we always kept that our number one priority for us. We always loved that kind of music. We always loved groove music, like Clutch is my favorite band. It’s a huge influence on us and it’s the groove and the simplicity of the riff is very important for Crobot.”
One aspect that is not often heard recently is the harmonica, which Yeager plays on a couple of songs on the album. While mainly strictly blues oriented artists were better known for utilizing this within their songs, Crobot was encouraged to try something different within their songs.
“We were always a bluesy based band. The harmonica was something that Brandon [Yeagley] always did. There were a couple songs that we played it on. Machine was all about it. He really encouraged him to play harmonica and it was really awesome. I’m really happy with the two tracks. Actually one of the tracks didn’t get released on the album, and will be out at some point.”
While Bishop sites artists such as Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix as influences, he does rave about some newer bands who have shaped his playing style as well.
“Definitely Clutch for me, being the guitar player and writing riffs. I always love the funk of Tim Sult’s playing and how he uses effects to make a little trippy and being more of a groove guitar player than a shred guitar player. I’ve always liked player like that.”
“Even when you look at bluesier guitar players like Hendrix, he’s a feel player. His feelings are in his bends and he’s very melodic. His rhythm playing is not just playing super fast and ripping through everything. Most of my favorite players, like Bob [Balch] from Fu Manchu and Tim Sult from Clutch – they’re all groove players. That’s what I want to be.”
Bishop explained the odd sounding band name. Much like their sound, their name is somewhat of a play on words about how they heard their own sound as becoming the band moniker.
“We had a few different names we were tossing around. We didn’t like any of them. I asked my buddy Dave Ashton about band names and he was like ‘so what do you sound like?’ I said we were playing some Crowbar-y type riffs with robotic effects. Then he was like ‘Oh…Crobot.’ That was pretty awesome, so we kept it.”
Ironically they shared a stage with Crowbar, which he was a huge fan of. “We just played with them [Crowbar] a few days ago. It was awesome. I met Kirk [Windstein] and the rest of the band were really, really cool to us. They really enjoyed the band. Watching them play was like listening to the devil’s soundtrack. It was so awesome!”
While Crobot has a dirty bluesy rock sound that the music world is growing familiar with, there is one place they have yet to spend much time in that their brand of music was popularized in.
“Not really. We’ve travelled through it a couple of times. We’ve only been to the West Coast twice. It was awesome driving through the desert. We would listen to Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age going through it. It seemed fitting.”
Interview By Rei Nishimoto
To Lionize means to celebrate. And Maryland’s funky, reggae-infused hard rockers Lionize are celebrating their tenth year with their first jaunt into Europe, a new album, and a new label. Vocalist/Guitarist Nate Bergman sounds like a very happy man because life is pretty good at the moment.
For one, despite rarely being off the road in the US, this is the band’s first UK tour. “It’s been amazing, the first few shows were just awesome. I think we’re starting to like it a little bit better than the States; the audiences are incredible, people are very receptive and the press has been very good. Right off the bat people understand our band a little bit better here.” So what can people expect from a Lionize show? “I think our live show is exciting; it’s fast, it’s upbeat and you can expect to hear a different set every night. You’re gonna get a lot of classic rock flavours and get a little bit of Jazz and Dub-reggae and funk thrown in there as well.”
It’s a potent mix that garnered the band a dedicated following. Their new album, Jetpack Soundtrack, is their fifth effort and sounds like a band heading for the big time. “I would say by leaps and bounds this is our best record. I think the previous efforts were really good, but I think this is our most concise and focused point. Jetpack Soundtrack describes our approach, trying to take it somewhere new, somewhere fresh, into the future. It’s fast, and it sounds cool.” Anyone who’s followed the band over the years will note the reggae & funk influences aren’t as apparent on the new record as in the early days, continuing the band’s transition into a purer hard rock outfit. “I think through the evolution of the music we have figured out how to internalize the reggae sound more. It wasn’t a conscious effort, it just happened. The reggae is less overt; it’s still very much there in a lot of the rhythm and texture stuff that we’re doing, but it’s so ingrained in who we are now that I don’t feel that ‘this has to be the rock part, and this has to be the reggae part,’ it’s just all there.”
Produced by Clutch’s drummer John-Paul Gaster and Machine (who worked on Clutch’s Blast Tyrant & Earth Rocker), the band decided to mix up how they approached an album. “It was very focused on preproduction, very focused on arrangements beforehand and trimming all the fat, and making the parts individually as big and as exciting as they can be On previous records we’ve rehearsed the songs really well, arranged them to a certain point and then gone in and recorded it live, and this one was a very layered, very calculated effort.” After working with producer J.Robbins for their previous album (Superszar and the Vulture), the strength of Machine’s CV made them take a new direction. “We wanted to do something different, we wanted to do something fresh for us. I think a big part of that was how Earth Rocker sounded, I think that was a big influence on how we wanted to make the next record. I’ve been listening to Clutch for about 15/16 years, and it’s certainly one of the best. There’s not one track on it that’s bad or that’s close to boring. It’s a classic rock album.”
The effort seems to have paid off. Finally breaking out of the US, Lionize’s profile is bigger than it’s ever been. “I think this is the most exposure we’ve ever gotten, I don’t think we ever thought it was gonna be this great, especially here in the UK, people seem to be really taking to it. And I think a great deal of this is down to the way Weathermaker releases records. I think we’re touring a little bit harder, we’re playing a little bit better, and the album is great.“ Fortune hasn’t quite followed their increased fame yet, however. “We still live a very humble existence and we’ve very happy to do so to be able to play music.”
The band’s new label, Weathermaker, was set up by Clutch, and features a roster of bands with close ties to the Maryland rockers. “Weathermaker is hands down one of the best labels going and definitely by far the best label we’ve ever worked with. It’s run with the musician’s interest always in mind, there’s never an instance where it’s Us vs. Them, everyone on the label wants to be associated with each other and it’s all of us together. It’s a label with more of a Mowtown vibe.”
It’s clear that Lionize have a very close relationship with Rock legends Clutch; as well as touring together many times, Clutch’s guitarist Tim Sult has played on several of their records, their new album was produced by drummer JP and was released through the band’s own Weathermaker label. What’s the secret to such a close relationship? “I think it comes from a common interest in just wanting to make good music. We definitely have our own identity and have our own thing, but we look up to these guys immensely. I mean they’re hands down in my opinion the best rock band on the planet.”
“Everybody in the band is an immense talent. When you’re a younger band and you’ve got access to that kind of musical knowledge and talent you should do everything you can to absorb it. And I feel like we’ve ingratiated ourselves in that way, it’s a teacher/student sort of relationship.” But the Clutch ties go beyond being label mates and studio buddies. “My dad used to own a fish market and I think that was Neil’s [Fallon, Clutch vocalist] first job. Along with being a fish monger, he was also a doing a fair bit of baby sitting in the store and also still probably kind of feels like he’s babysitting. There is an element of being socially close and the way that Weathermaker and their tours are run means it is a family business.”
Obviously such close association means that Fallon & Co. often come up in conversations with Lionize, but Nate doesn’t see this as a bad thing. “I don’t think we really get tired of it, because we’re being associated with something that’s pretty great. People that know Lionize know that we’re our own entity, people that are Clutch fans know that Clutch is its own thing separately. Did Bad Company get tired of the Led Zeppelin associations?”
The Lionize celebration looks set to continue. The band just released a split with Clutch for Record Store Day, more international touring and then back into the studio for the next record. Come join the party.