Neurotic Deathfest 12 Part I: Live at 013, Tilburg NL

eflyer-NDF2015

It was that time of the year! It was time for the annual festival full of Death, Grind and Slam metal. It was time for Neurotic Deathfest again. We were blessed with another year with extremely good weather and after drinking some beers at a local bar we strutted to the 013 venue. We are going to talk about the atmosphere, why do I always want to go to Neurotic Deathfest so bad, and I will highlight some bands.


The reason I love to go to Neurotic Deathfest is at first my love of death metal off course, but what also counts is that the 013 is comfortable. I live in the city of Tilburg, which means that I can sleep in my own bed and my whole group of buddys is headbanging or somewhere else in the city.

But this year was different. This year it was clear the atmosphere was different, ther was a cloud of astonishment hanging in the air. There was something going on, we were soon to find out. We hadn’t gone up to get a festival program, but when we did, we knew what was going on. This will be the last Neurotic Deathfest ever!

Farewell message from the Neurotic Deathfest Program

Farewell message from the Neurotic Deathfest Program


After hearing this news it kind of hit me like a bomb, Neurotic Deathfest was a statement for the city of Tilburg. Even Non-metalheads knew what was going on when this festival was in town again.

Dutch bands always represent on this festival and Koprse was one of them, the first pit is a fact and this venue was filled up. This was blasting to the max! We still had to warm up but we were ready for a party and Korpse made you feel like you wanted to party. So you got back from the venue with five extra beers in your stomach to go on to the next show.

Morgoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Morgoth, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Morgoth was a band that had high expectations for us. The big venue was still a bit quiet. It was not crowded enough to get the party going and get the feeling of a crowded place. Morgoth started to play and we noticed that this is a band that means serious shit. Nice piece of death metal with a tight hard and a sound that filled up the whole place with a nagging feeling. This band made me think of Asphyx for a bit, not for all of the music but more about the kick this band gives in your nuts.

 

Entombed A.D., by Susanne A. Maathuis

Entombed A.D., by Susanne A. Maathuis

Strutting around the venues there was a swirling mass of people, it got more crowded The more we got to the headliner Entombed A.D. the more people got excited. 


Entombed A.D. for me the least interesting headliner. So I might have drifted away sometimes in the show. Though this band was dominant over the rest of the bands, they never stood on Neurotic Deathfest before but they rip this place apart. Front man LG Petrov shows that he enjoys doing this and isn’t afraid to show this to the audience. A golden shine rises from the stage and gets thrown upon the audience, they get wild. Entombed is a band from the first hour and the A.D. does add something to the name, but the music still stands tall. Good job guys, they definitely got me more interested into Entombed.

The Afterparty was headlined by the also Swedish band Tribulation. Tribulation and Entombed don’t have much in common though, but both bands do know how to show the audience some enthusiasm about their music.

 

Saturday

 

Day 2 started way more crowded than the Friday. We all had the idea that Friday was very low on visitors. We were still having fun but it did something with the overall atmosphere, the 013 is more built for crowded concerts but not that much for a calm party. Maybe it was time for the last edition, the line up was interesting though even I have seen most of these bands before. If you wanted to explore new bands, you had some chances but most of the bands everybody has seen multiple times. It were good bands, you wont hear me complain about that.

Talking about good bands, let’s start about Disavowed, there is no better wake up call than Disavowed. This dutch band is a band we have to keep in mind, it was amazing and this front man Robbe Kok really shows what enthusiasm is. You could see he was happy to open the Saturday of Neurotic Deathfest for bands as Benighted and Bloodbath. With a swing he drops himself in the audience and climbs in the barriers. This is energetic and a bulk of energy a lot of bands could learn from. This band does not fly on autopilot.

Disavowed almost had a full venue and they opened on the main stage, this was in great contrast with the Friday where the main stage wasn’t filled up until Entombed. This was good for the overall atmosphere and coziness amongst all metalheads. There was enough beer to give a 3rd world country and food your bowels got mad about. Today you knew you were at a festival.

Friday I spoke about looking for new bands, and this was one of the perfect examples of one of these bands that I didn’t know and got completely siked about! PerfeCitizen is the loudest, hardest most brutal stuff I heard in years! This got in my ears that it was pure sweet ear-rapement. Already after hitting the first chord, if it even was one this band shows its hardness, but also their tightness and know how to play. This is one of the bands where the drummer will make it or break it, but he definitely made it. You don’t hear it often that you hear a drummer go this fast and tight like him. Jarda Haž shows what drumming is all about and it gets clear why this is called “Blastcore”. Missed this band? To bad, for me they were one of the best bands of Neurotic Deathfest.

Dead Congregation, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Dead Congregation, by Susanne A. Maathuis

 

One of my favorite genres is Deathdoom. Imagine a candle dripping slowly and oozing all over your table and drips on your toe to sometimes break open the gloomy feeling that came over you. One of these bands that perfectly know how to do this is Dead Congregation, it was time to throw some good old darkness into the audience. If it wasn’t for the soundguy, this band normally knows how to bring this feeling and make you feel naggy. This was just a shame, they became a victim of their own sound and this is why it didn’t really got to me this time. 

 

Origin, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Origin, by Susanne A. Maathuis

 

As we already discussed there is a big amount of old friends we have seen on Neurotic already. Origin is one of these bands. And I understand why they ask them back all the time. This is just an awesome tight Techdeath band brought with a great bunch of humor from the singer. Straight from Origin we started waiting for Bloodbath, we wanted a good spot we were siked for this show. There were a lot of chatter going on: is this a new singer for Bloodbath? Is this going to work? Doesn’t it affect the sound? How will this affect the audience because this Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost) is a completely different kind of person than Mikael Akerfeldt.

Bloodbath, by Susanne A. Maathuis

Bloodbath, by Susanne A. Maathuis


We were waiting for what was going to come at us. The venue filled up. We had our beers already paid in front of our nose. You could hear the tension in the air. Bloodbath, not on an open-air festival and in such a setting. Then the venue went dark and we knew Bloodbath was gong to enter the stage and we would soon hear the first chords. This band is theatrical and sometimes maybe a bit plastic. It started as a tribute to old school Death Metal. The vocals were good. Actually very good! They went back to a more old-school sound. Though I am a big fan of Opeth and Mikael, and it is hard to admit for me, but I think I like Nick Holmes more in Bloodbath.

 

WORDS BY KAAT VAN DOREMALEN

PHOTOS BY SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS

 

Motor Sister – Ride

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What started as a one-time jam for Scott Ian’s 50th birthday party, Motor Sister is a semi-super-group minus all the hype. Scott wanted a cover band to play his party, and for him to play in; one to play the jams of his favorite LA rock band: Mother Superior. While not a household name, Mother Superior was a good rock band with some kickass songs for the better part of 20 years, and included a stint as Henry Rollins’ backing band. The party came and went, but the experience sat in Ian’s mind and he felt that if they could capture the spontaneity of how the jam came together on a record, it might be something special. Metal Blade agreed, the band recorded with Anthrax house producer Jay Ruston and Motor Sister and Ride were born.

Motor Sister suffers from none of trappings of a lame vanity project, mostly due to Jim Wilson. Jim is not just a songcraft master and strong riffer, he has a voice of gold. He has power and soul, and never over reaches for notes. His voice is also happily absent of the hideous fake growly blues quality so many try out and fail. In addition to Jim chipping in his own harmonies, Scott’s wife Pearl sings back-up on many tracks, adding in her sassy, powerhouse delivery. Their voices work off each other to great effect. The lead track ‘A-Hole’ is feisty like a lost AC/DC or Thin Lizzy song. ‘This Song Reminds Me of You’ starts out with slinky riff and then drops into an old-school vamp. ‘Beg Borrow Steal’, and ‘Fork In the Road’ are pretty badass concoctions too. The terrain stays adventurous too with the epic closer ‘Devil Wind’.

In addition to Ian and Wilson on guitar, the real treat of the album comes from the rhythm section of Joey Vera (Armored Saint, Anthrax) on bass and John Tempesta (Testament, Exodus, White Zombie, The Cult) They are locked in tight every measure. If you love simple, well-written rock music with some occasional heaviness, Motor Sister is right up your dirty back alley.

8.0/10

KEITH CHACHKES

Soul Rebels- Max Cavalera of Killer Be Killed

 

Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed

 

Lightning can in fact strike twice. Perennially hard-working metal legend Max Cavalera has been a prolific writer and frequent collaborator, both in his for band Sepultura, but also in his other projects such as the long running Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy. Twenty years ago Max formed a partnership with Fudge Tunnel’s Alex Newport and Nailbomb was born. One of the best heavy albums ever, the true spirit of creativity and melding the styles of the artists involved. Along the same lines, but conscious of not repeating the past, Max has a new group in Killer Be Killed, featuring leaders of the heavy music scene like Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Troy Sanders of Mastodon, and Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) to create something truly unique, heavy, yet quite melodic. We caught up with Max by phone at his home in Arizona, and in the many times we have chatted with the man, he has rarely sounded this excited about a new project.

 

Several years in the making and now poised to come out, Killer Be Killed has been the buzz of the metal press for sometime yet. Max was positively jubilant discussing the album and the final results.

I love how Killer Be Killed came out. I really love the blend of all the melody and thrash. I really love all the guys in the band, Troy, Greg, and Dave. We made the best record we could possibly make. Only a few times in life you get a chance to make a special album like Killer Be Killed. I love hearing all the great reviews coming in from all over, really great people are talking about it, and that the people really love the record. It’s really amazing to me that the album is getting this great praise, and I’m very excited for it.”

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Instantly noticeable upon hearing the album is how melodic the album is, without sacrificing any of the heaviness. We asked Max what the genesis of the sound was and if this element was pre-planned:

 

It came naturally to us, but we really wanted it. You know Greg and me have a side to us that has, an attitude like Nailbomb, really really aggressive and we wanted it to keep it on the cutting edge of heavy music. So part of Killer Be Killed is a part that very fast, thrash and on cutting edge kind of vibe. The other influences that come from Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan. There are some vocal melodies and parts Greg singing his ass off on on this record, throwing on some of these really catchy choruses. Really beautiful, beautiful melodies. I don’t even think he does that kind of stuff in Dillinger. He did it especially for Killer Be Killed. Then Troy was just amazing man. He has such an amazing voice, with the parts he put on. It was so amazing. Even I was surprised at how great it was and I am so stoked for how the record came out.”

 

For all the deserved hype surrounding the big name guys coming together to make this record, Dave Elitch put down a brutal and classic performance on this album, almost like a secret weapon. Max weighed in on this: “Dave’s a great guy and a great drummer. He tore it up with (The) Mars Volta. I totally agree with you, he is really like the secret weapon of the band. He really shined on this recording as a killer drummer. Some of the fills he did were just unbelievable on this record. He really did some Dave Lombardo stuff. I so happy that he got to do that and he contributed that. It’s great to have someone who can play technical and fast. Dave can really do it all. It was super cool and really great having him in the band. He killed it!”

 

Even though Max purposefully wanted to evade any musical references to Nailbomb, aside from his own writing style, the KBK album does have a fire political angst running through it. We asked if the album was meant to be so forward and radical in its philosophy.

 

There is a political side to the album, it’s very much against police brutality. Like ‘Setting Fire To Your Flag’ is very political. There is a song, ‘Forbidden Fire’, about kids in The Middle East who can not listen to metal. There is a level of a lot of political stuff that is similar to Nailbomb. Even how it started, the project started with ‘Face Down’, that was the first song we wrote for the record, and ‘Face Down’ is a Nailbomb type of song. And the second song we wrote I.E.D., is also Nailbomb type of song.”

 

But what I think is cool is that Killer Be Killed is different than Nailbomb too, and has a different vibe. I think what is cool is that it is different than Nailbomb; there is a lot more melody. I am so glad that Killer Be Killed is its own thing. I didn’t want to just make another Nailbomb. Nailbomb was already done and I’m really proud that this album has its own set of values and its own sound, and its own identity, and is its own thing. It was very important to me.”

 

killerbekilledband2013_638

Max is very fond of producing his own albums, so we were intrigued as to why he was comfortable handing the reigns over to someone else. Picking Josh Wilbur, whom Max had never worked with before, seemed to be a very inspired choice:

Yeah was a great guy. You know he did a great job on the Gojira album and the Lamb of God records. He was a big guy in the studio for us. He is fan of all of ours. He was a huge Sepeultura fan, and he learned everything he knows from Andy Wallace, which is to me, he is really the master of production. He produced Chaos A.D. (Roadrunner). So Josh really came from that school. So to me working with Josh was like working with Andy, in the sonic field. I also think Josh took it very seriously, to make a really great record. He tried to get something really special out of all of us, who are very established musicians. Sometimes its hard to take established musicians and get something great out of them. It can be very hard to do. Sometimes you get lazy and you don’t really want to do a lot of the work to get the best out of it. Josh did that. He really drilled the work out of us. He somehow made everybody excited and get the best out of us, to make a great album. He got the best out of all of us: out of me, out of Greg, out out of Troy. At the end of the day it was the right choice to make the record with Josh. I think he did a fantastic job.”

 

I love the sound of the record. Especially a lot of the rhythm guitar work. I wrote 80% of the rhythm guitars. And also I played most of the riffs on the album, on the recording. So I worked very hard on the writing of the record and the creation of the songs. I worked very hard with Josh to get the right sound.”

 

You know I like to do it all. I like to produce my own stuff, and I also like to work with different producers. You can get really cool stuff from working with different producers. It was really important for this record to have a guy who can get stuff that you might not get naturally, and you need the right guy to get that out of you. And Josh was the right guy for it. “

 

Much has been talked about the punk-rock vibe and guerrilla style used to put the album together with, but Max demystified that idea a little and gave us a breakdown of how the album was really created:

 

“It was done in different phases. In the first phase it was just me and Greg, and we wrote some songs. Then where was a phase where it was just me and Dave, and we wrote some more songs. Then it was me, Greg, and Troy and we wrote even more songs! And then we entered the studio and we wrote more songs, and we used some of the old songs, and some of the stuff just came out in the studio. Like ‘Fire…’, it was born in the studio. And its got new stuff like ‘Robots…’, and ‘Forbidden Fire’ and ’12 Labors’… they are newer songs, that we gave the same treatment as the older songs. In the end, even though the album was made quite fast, when you hear the songs they sound quite elaborate. We worked for a long time on the record, much more than it seems like it really was.”

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In spite of the success of creating this special album, fans of KBK will have to wait until 2015 to see them live on a stage as a touring entity.

Yeah, next year man. It’s going to have to be next year. Greg is on the road with Dillinger. Troy is on the road with Mastodon. I am going on tour with Korn in Russia. Next year we are all going to dedicate some time only for Kill or Be Kill, and try and get to play some of this music live for people.”

 

Killer Be Killed on Facebook

KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES

 

 

 

 

Killer Be Killed – Killer Be Killed

Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed

 

Collaborating with people and attempting to create something original in music, or any kind of art is always a risky proposition. Much like a relationship you must trust the process and become vulnerable in order to let your guard down and let things happen naturally. Sometimes things have a way of coming together in an unexpected way, and sometimes they go south in a big way. Especially when said collaborators are legendary figures in a scene, expectations tend to run high. We are writing of course about super-groups and really notable ones like Killer Be Killed who just finished their self-titled, debut album for Nuclear Blast. Names that have defined three generations of heavy music fans such as Cavalera, Puciato, Sanders, and Elitch put their stamp on this recording, making a memorable, political flavored, heavy album that certainly lives up to the hype.

 

Holding nothing back right out of the gate, ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’ is blast of super-catchy, melodic post-hardcore. From Max Cavalera’s instantly recognizable gritty guitar tone, to the vocal majesty of Troy Sanders on the verses and Greg Puciato on the choruses, they let you know that this album is going to be special. There is a great breakdown where Max comes in on the vocals and there are a few thrash breakdowns added in. For the most part is sounds pretty smooth and well done. The chorus is almost a little too sugary for my taste, but it gets the job done for a lead off track. The next song ‘Face Down’ is a step up, more metal and pissed off all the way through. It is not unusual to hear Max and Greg switching off lines, but Troy is really the interesting element here. Troy’s voice being so strong, he struck a balance between heaviness and melody that is a great treat. By the time you get to ‘Melting of My Marrow’, you find the real star of the album is Dave Elitch (ex-The Mars Volta) whose power-house drumming and killer grooves makes the tracks jump through your speakers. The best cuts are the groovy ‘Snakes of Jehova’, ‘Save The Robots’, ‘Fire To Your Flag’, ‘I.E.D., ‘Dust Into Darkness’ (the most Dillinger type track), and ‘Twelve Labors’.

 

Many of the songs hold up on repeated listens, while a few are just good, not great. For some, it may take a few listens to really sink in and get a hold of you. This may be since the album was written over a brief period of time without a ton of wood-shedding. It’s raw in a good way, and not all balls out heavy at the time either. Mellow parts, interesting use of vocorders, dynamic shifts, tempo drops all give the album a lot of character. Producer Josh Wilbur’s (Lamb of God, Gojira, Avenged Sevenfold) clean tones definitely are an ear opener too. This album gives a much needed shot in the arm of the current scene, and sounds like nothing else. Here is hoping they get to more music like this in the future.

killerbekilledband2013_638

 

 

8.5/10

 

Killer Be Killed on Facebook

 

Keith (Keefy) Chachkes   

Closing a Chapter – Stavros Giannoplous of Twilight

twilight album III cover

 

We haven’t been doing any interviews, so it’s a miracle it’s been getting out there at all. Europe seems to be latching on to this record, so that is good.”

These are the first words Stavros Giannoplous said to me concerning the just released final album from bleak black metal super-group Twilight, III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb (Century Media). In addition to Stavros, the group is made up of underground metal luminaries like Wrest (Jeff Whitehead, of Leviathan, Lurker Of Chalice) Imperial (Neill Jameson) (Krieg, N.I.L.) and Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Minsk, Nachtmystium, Buried At Sea) and alt-rock legend Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth, Chelsea Light Moving). Steve was on tour with his main band, The Atlas Moth, but took time to chat with Ghost Cult back stage at The Sinclair, in Cambridge MA. He talked about the difficulty in finishing the album, some drama going on in the band, the idea of a whether a super-group can really work in this day and age, and working with Thurston Moore.

  

Right off the bat, he first touched on why Twilight is ending:

The reason this is the final record is with all the negative shit that’s going down with Blake (Judd), I think it’s just best. Me and Jeff, Sanford and Neill are all really close friends. I have seen everyone, all but Jeff on this tour and we wanted to continue to make music. But at this point we are just mired in bullshit. Also before we started this band, before I even became involved with it there were no movies with sparkly vampires (laughs). Shit’s changed and it’s for the best. I was in Philadelphia just 48 hours ago and we were talking about doing something else eventually, so there is always a door open to work with Neill, Jeff, and Sanford again, just not under this name. We definitely won’t call it Twilight. I wouldn’t say its the total end of the band, but the end of this chapter with this band. We we very adamant about cutting the ties. Especially since Blake isn’t even on this last record.

 

 twlight band photo use first

Pulling no punches, Stavros gave us an inside view of the events leading up to Blake’s departure from the group and the aftermath of trying to finish the record without him:

He brought in a couple of songs, but once everything went down, that was it. It was two songs and they made up a very short amount of the record. We were just, not wanting to deal with this anymore. He had pulled some really backhanded shit, and I won’t go into the details. The songs he brought in, we got rid of them and made it known that this was it. He’s got problems. Unfortunately at some point or another when you end up in a scenario when you are constantly getting shit on, whether it’s on purpose or not, or just happenstance, it doesn’t matter that someone is just fucked up. At some point or another, no matter how much you care about a person, you can’t deal with them business wise. When I met Blake, he was not as nearly as fucked up as he is now. People change that way. I absolutely wish him the best, and good luck to him.

 

We mused about the notion that by nature super-groups are not really meant to last. Stavros argued that it depends on the collection of artists in question:

Look at even Down, right? That band put out one of the best fucking records I have ever heard in my entire life to this fucking day, and what did it take, 7-8 years before they ever put out another record. It was a while. It kind of all depends on the timing, I guess. With this particular group, there isn’t a live presence to our band, nor will there never will be. So I just can’t see it being in the forefront in out minds. See Imperial does stuff all the time. Sanford does production all day long, and also he has Corrections House now, which is almost like a full time band now. This is something like the flip side with a so called super-group where Corrections House can work. That is one of those things for instance for Bruce, where Yakuza and Bloodiest don’t work all the time. Sanford doesn’t have a full-time band. And both EyeHateGod and Neurosis tour limitedly. So these guys, that is the other side of coin of the super-group story. Like “Oh! Something like this works, because we had some free time.” Or we happen to have some free time. So for Twilight, particularly for our group, inevitably it would get longer between records, or maybe even never have another one. You never know.”

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Since most of the remaining members of the group live far from each other in some cases, we asked about the creative process and how the tracking was all done: “Jeff was living in Chicago at the time, so he and I wrote the bulk of the record together. Actually all the guitar riffs that weren’t Thurston’s, were written by me and Jeff. And you know…we just added on top of it and added on top of it, and added on top of it. It’s much different than a band that is just in one studio. Thurston came in and did his parts. We could do all kinds of looping and other crazy shit. All of the sudden someone is banging on a jug of water, which is cool. The two records that we did together, we just settled into a certain vibe. That is just how it works. That is how we write music for that band. It kind of showed. The song structures definitely vary throughout any of the Twilight records, and we were pretty loose form wise, and we definitely got experimental with the writing.”

  

Century Media is doing a very nice, limited digipack release of the album along with other formats. We asked about the value of limited edition releases, and if other versions will be forthcoming.

The vinyl is out. You know honestly as far as I know, there will only be the digipack and the vinyl forever. Because I didn’t do any more layout work than that. At the time everything was going down with Blake, everyone was mad at each other, not particularly us at each other, but more all of us at Blake. really. And so when that started happening, everyone stopped giving a fuck. And then our relationship with the A & R guy fell apart, so I had to take control of everything business wise and then I got busy with some other business opportunities too. I really didn’t have much help. And I didn’t really want to take the time to put together a booklet for a record that everyone had checked out on, since everyone was so mad. So there is not going to be more a limited release than there is now, but knowing Century Media, they will keep it in print anyway.”

 

Sometimes in the business of music the challenges come from outside of the band too, as Stavros learned: “I’ve always done all the business for The Atlas Moth. But this is like a machine. It’s the five of us, a well-oiled machine working together, grooving together and sharing the responsibilities together. I am not running the show here by any means. We’ve all worked our way up together, so we know how the inner workings of the band goes. But all of the sudden when it comes to being voted in as the guy to handle stuff, someone already had their hands in the pot mixing things up before me. So I was the guy that almost had to come in and clean it up. It was definitely a bit much for me, and I was already dealing with a ton of crap. The Atlas Moth will always be my first and foremost priority. So I was doing countless, worthless hours dealing with bullshit, doing stuff for a record no one seemingly gave a fuck about. I’m really happy everything came together, and we are all really proud of it. But at the same time, under the circumstances, you can hate something! (laughs) The things that bring up memories from the record, man, that could really piss you off. But in hindsight we are all still really stoked on it now that we’ve gotten a little hindsight. It’s been almost two years since we recorded it.”

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One of the real bright spots of the record was working with Moore. Not only did the mainstream media latch on to the notion of him joining the band, the band was equally intrigued about working with him. A seemingly random sequence of events led to their collaboration:

He came in for the second half of the session. We did two sessions and he came in for the second week. The Sonic Youth sound guy worked with Sanford in his studio in Chicago. He told us Thurston was really into black metal. This was around the time of the second record. And we said “Send some of this stuff to Thurston Moore and see what he thinks about it. And see if we wants to do a record with us.” And he did! (laughs) And I was like “Well I’ll be damned!” (laughs) “We’d better write a brand new Twilight record!” He was incredible. He was super rad to work with. He was totally mellow and great to work with. He totally knew his black metal. It was fucking awesome to be able to write a record with that dude. And also to watch him play and get that much closer to someone with a unique style, it was awesome. He was super awesome to work with. We talked about including him for future sessions, which I would love. He is just a music library. He is fucking incredible. I don’t know how that guy puts it all together in his head. He’s something else man!”

 

Twilight on Facebook

Keith “Keefy” Chachkes

Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise

KILL-DEVIL-HILL-REVOLUTION-RISE-COVER-300x298 (1)Although Revolution Rise (Century Media Records) is only Kill Devil Hill’s sophomore album, nearly all metalheads have heard of them. The band is a bit of a super group considering they have Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) on drums and Rex Brown (Pantera, Down) on bass. Some may expect the band to market themselves based on name value only, but the album shows that they can play quality music too.

 

Singer Dewey Bragg gets right down to it with a take no prisoners style scream on ‘No Way Out’. One can hear a bit of Phil Anselmo’s style in his vocals. Maybe it is the kind of vocals Brown likes to base his riffs off of, or the style he likes in his bands, but then again it could be a coincidence.

 

‘Crown of Thorns’ is a track where Bragg sounds particularly haunted. The album’s theme after all seems to be of a religious nature with allusions to Jesus Christ and lyrics about struggling with sin. The “oooo”s coming in the background give it an ominous yet beautiful and poignant feel.

 

A little past the half-way point comes ‘Long Way From Home’. It is a slightly slower jam with more of a Dirt or Jar of Flies era Alice In Chains feel to it. It is also the most heartfelt track on the album. ‘Stained Glass Sadness’ sees Brown’s bass skills really coming out. Guitarist Mark Zavon also really lets loose at this point and it is for the better.

 

Things get a little more theatrical at the end with ‘Life Goes On’. It serves as the perfect ending to the album in terms of both sound and message. The hidden track after this one is even softer to the point where it may not seem to fit the metal genre, but that is not Kill Devil Hill’s goal. Thank God for them looking to break the stale reputation of super groups.

 

7.0/10

 

Melissa Campbell