Yes, this is a review for Portrayal of Guilt’s Suffering is a Gift (Closed Casket Activities) and believe me we’ll get to it in a bit, but who the fuck tried to sell this to me as Screamo? Honestly, screamo? These Austinite’s aren’t looking to settle for some re-warmed Metalcore riffs and lofty choruses so we can leave that outdated subgenre in the circular file. The riffs and blast beats on Suffering is a Gift are eager for dust and blood. Continue reading
It is pretty commonplace for the draw of music, especially heavy or extreme music, to be an integral part of the relationship that we have with hardship and the difficulties of life and of mental health. We more than likely have been through or know someone who has been through utter lows of mental health and perhaps have even considered or attempted suicide. Continue reading
How do you take a pretty kickass tour and make it more awesome? Make the last date of tour an all day festival at one of the best venues in California. The fully fledged Rockstar Energy Drink Taste of Chaos Festival assembled on a hot Saturday in mid-summer at The San Manuel Amphitheater, in the thick of a concert tour and festival season packed with options. Fans still gathered in droves for a show in which more than half of the bands could have headlined and sold out their own tours easily. Although tons of cool food trucks, countless craft beer options, and a carnival type atmosphere helped make it a fun day out, it comes back to being all about the music. It’s a testament to the organizers who put this bill together, but there seemed to be many heads in the venue for each band, all screaming along with every word. For fans of a certain age, this event was the holy grail of millennial teen angst and passion. Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday are two of the signpost bands of that era, and coupled with The Starting Line, Saosin featuring Anthony Green, Senses Fail and The Early November on the bill might be just too much for the hearts of early 2000s heartstrings to take. Add in 90s post-hardcore kings Quicksand, The Get Up Kids, Reggie And the Full Effect and many more, and you have an incredible day of live music. Captured for Ghost Cult by Melina Dellamarggio of Melina D Photography in her final assignment before passing away in August, you get sense of the spirit these bands still embody, of music that still matters, and a mutual love shared by fans of all kinds.
I had been listening to up and coming North Carolina based prog metallers Valleys and to review their ambitious début full-length new album, playing Experiment One: Asylum on a loop and making my notes as I usually do before putting fingers on keys. Then tragedy struck as Valleys co-frontman of Mikey Clements was killed just a week before the release in a tragic accident. Bravely the band is moving forward, treating the release of the album and future gigs as a tribute to their fallen friend.
Genre mashing used to be out of the ordinary in music, and now as a concession to music fans’ fickle tastes and attention spans, it is the norm. Valleys call themselves progressive metal, and they are a modern prog band. But in addition to sounds inspired by bands like Coheed and Cambria, Tesseract, and Protest The Hero; they also blend in electronics, deathcore and other stuff in the mix. It works well, producing solid songs, and not being too all over the place that they lack cohesion. They also display some high-level muscianship, which is needed to pull off these type of songs in the first place.
More impressive, Experiment One: Asylum is a concept album about suffering from schizophrenia/BPD/multi-personality disorder and a personal descent as a result of it. In this time in our world when people are quick to dismiss and stigmatize mental illness, this is very topical. The album opens up with several strong songs in a row with ‘A Tension’, ‘Unraveling’ and ‘Desperate Me’. Energetic riffs, off-time meters, and stop/start tempos abound and the tracks get even better on repeated listens. ‘Take Me Home’ is the high point of the album, and will call to mind Veil of Maya and Linkin Park, mixing up the brutal gutturals with clean lines traded between Clements and Jayson Mitchell. This band can play brutal, but their ability to write the a super catchy chorus is something to make note of, possibly leading them to great heights someday. Closer ‘The Death Of Me’ is also a very impressive tune.
Hopefully Valleys are just getting started on their path and can find a away through this hardship and pain to keep going. It seems like Experiment One: Asylum is exactly the medicine they might need right now.
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Senses Fail just put the cap on a terrific 2015! they reunited as a band, put out a cool new album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart (Pure Noise Records) and headlined The Warped Tour. When you do all that, what do you do for an encore? Go out and slay venues all over the world of course! The band spent the last half of the fall co-headlining with another seminal post-hardcore/screamo band, Silverstein. Each band has had a similar career trajectory and much in common (huge followings, Warped Tour alums) so touring together made sense. Bringing along hardcore heads like Hundredth and Capsize (not pictured) this was a slick bill that played to many full houses with tons of passionate fans moshing, screaming a long, and having a ball. Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography caught the tour at one of Ghost Cult’s favorite venues, The Worcester Palladium. Keep going out there and supporting these bands in 2016 and you might just be rewarded when your favorite band reunites and comes to your town for a show!
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The Used have released the teaser trailer for their forthcoming live album Live And Acoustic At The Palace, due out on Apr 1st, 2016 on the bands’ GAS Union label. You can watch the trailer at this link or below:
Front man Bert McCracken comments on the new live album”
“From the beginning of working on this project we took it incredibly seriously and it was so magical to be able to rehearse for a full week nine hours a day with such talented musicians. Leading up to that show and listening back to it, it’s definitely the most special thing I’ve done in my career in music.”
Live And Acoustic At The Palace album Track listing:
2. The Taste of Ink
3. Yesterday’s Feelings
4. Lunacy Fringe
5. The Bird And The Worm
7. All That I’ve Got
9. Blue And Yellow
10. Hard To Say
11. Imagine (John Lennon Cover)
12. On My Own
Formed in Orem, UT in 2001, The Used will embark on a 15th Year anniversary tour in the spring of 2016, playing two nights in each city and perform both their Self-Titled album and In Love and Death (both Reprise) each night.
The Used, 15 Anniversary Tour dates:
Apr 05: Showbox – Seattle, WA
Apr 06: Showbox – Seattle, WA
Apr 08: In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 09: In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
Apr 12: Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
Apr 13: Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
Apr 15: House of Blues – Dallas, TX
Apr 16: House of Blues – Dallas, TX
Apr 19: House of Blues – Orlando, FL
Apr 20: House of Blues – Orlando, FL
Apr 22: Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD
Apr 23: Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD
Apr 26: Playstation Theater – New York, NY
Apr 27: Playstation Theater – New York, NY
Apr 29: Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
Apr 30: Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ
May 03: Trocadero Theatre – Philadelphia, PA
May 04: Trocadero Theatre – Philadelphia, PA
May 06: House of Blues – Boston, MA
May 07: House of Blues – Boston, MA
May 10: Royal Oak Music Theatre – Royal Oak, MI
May 11: Royal Oak Music Theatre – Royal Oak, MI
May 13: The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
May 14: The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
May 17: House of Blues – Chicago, IL
May 18: House of Blues – Chicago, IL
May 20: Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
May 21: Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
May 24: Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
May 25: Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
May 27: Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA
May 28: Club Nokia – Los Angeles, CA
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Every Time I Die is a touring machine. Year in and year out they make their bones playing big clubs, sold-out concerts and festivals. Anyone who has seen them multiple times knows they are great performers for their fans and remarkably consistent too! ETID released the special Salem EP (Epitaph) on Record Store Day. They just wrapped up a tour opening for The Used, themselves well-known road warriors. The tour also featured up and coming bands such as Marmozets and The Eeries making for a stacked bill of veteran bands and new blood. This photo set comes to Ghost Cult courtesy of Meg Loyal of Meg Loyal Photography, and we thank her for sharing these killer images!
Making waves (see what I did there…) following two introductory EP on Density Records, talented quintet Oceans Ate Alaska, from Birmingham, England, are a schizophrenic psychotic tick in musical guise. Dubbing themselves as progressive metalcore seems to undersell and mislead, as Lost Isles (Fearless) showcases a high degree of technical proficiency, spurting spasming rhythms of meticulous, systematic precision and understated melodic britcore (yes, I’m using that phrase and with no apologies – British metalcore sounds different to its American counterpart).
As if adamant to prove that under the sea lives all manner of chaotic life form, within 43 seconds of opening track ‘Blood Brothers’ (we’ll ignore the inevitable, ubiquitous, unnecessary “intro” track) we’ve been treated to convulsion of rhythmic battery alongside vocal paroxysms that spit out three different styles, screamo, death metal growl and sung, over three different riffs, before the song lurches off-kilter into yet more spasmodic sections.
The process of bursts of rapid-fire arrhythmic violence continues throughout, seeking to cuff the brain into submission with unyielding sonic ruptures, a tech metal death by a thousand guitar stabs, before Oceans Ate Alaska open up their sound on ‘Vultures and Sharks’ and start to truly display the potential within.
There are inevitable comparisons to Bring Me The Horizon, mainly in that James Harrison’s sung tones and the melody lines used are not a million miles away from Oli Sykes, but Oceans… are a different beast; there’s added Meshuggah and spice to their stylings. Fellow scribe Chris Tippell coined them BMTH meets The Contortionist and his radar is as tight as the intermittent punch that permeates ‘Over The Edge’ on his tech-prog-core.
It can be difficult setting out to try and differentiate yourselves from others, and Oceans Ate Alaska perhaps push things too far in setting their stall in the kitchen-sink side of headfuck music, though they can take credit from the fact that not only are they ploughing their own furrow, but they have the technical chops and ear for melody to make it happen for themselves. Lost Isles is a sensory overload that will make an impression on the ears and minds of those who like their discordance delivered as a staccato premeditated cudgelling, while with tunes like ‘Downsides’ in their arsenal, the band have the breadth to push into more melodic and conventional streams.
So, now they’ve consumed Alaska, it’ll be very interesting to see what they fancy making for dessert…
Sacramento noise-merchants Will Haven bring their cascading, lurching live deep aural battery to the UK in May ahead of their impending Artery Records release Open The Mind To Discomfort
Main support comes from Corby’s greatest, Raging Speedhorn.
Opening act on the tour is Palm Reader, who will release their second opus of skull-splitting post-hardcore, Besides The Ones We Love via In At The Deep End on 6th April.
Ahead of the tour, Palm Reader have premiered a new track ‘By The Ground, We’re Defined’
May 24: Sound Control – Manchester
May 25: Duchess – York
May 26: ABC 2 – Glasgow
May 27: Academy 2 – Newcastle
May 28: Rock City (Basement) – Nottingham
With a name like Youth Funeral, you’re probably not expecting the most cheerful music to emanate from your speaker system, and you wouldn’t wrong with that assumption. Combining post-hardcore and screamo, this New-Hampshire four piece have crafted a sound bursting in youthful energy, careering its way violently from beginning to end.
Coming in at 6 tracks and 11 minutes long, the record is virtually over as soon as you’ve hit the play button. See You When I See You (Twelve Gauge Records) is a short snap of angst. Far from being underdeveloped though, the short timing works in the EP’s favour. The songs are chaotic, lacking the usual clear progression, but the short lengths leave no time for the listener to tire of what they are hearing, keeping the songs consistently fresh and constantly angry.
It’s not all a bludgeoning assault either. ‘Confidante’s’ extended timing allows it to twist into atmospheric sections while ‘I Remember’ strips back into basic riffing. This doesn’t last long though as ‘When it Pours’ and ‘The Weak and the Ward’ roll out jumping riffs that virtually falls over themselves; combined with their almost dissonant chord progressions they easily stand out as the strongest tracks on the EP.
While See You When I See You won’t find itself spinning on my CD player often, that isn’t saying there isn’t merit to the music. The style is chaotic and stumbling but isn’t clumsy. The band walk a delicate balance between structure and absolute chaos, and pull it off with an ease that keeps each switching section sitting easily in one song. This is a band I’m sure we’ll be seeing on the scene for a long time to come.