In a post to Facebook, Northlane, touring the world behind their powerhouse album Mesmer (Rise Records/UNFD), have updated fans on their upcoming home country dates. ERRA and Sworn In have been named as the openers for the band, which should make for a potent bill of the potential sell-out tour. Dates and other info below: Continue reading
The Vans Warped Tour. Twenty-Three years of a traveling road show that showcases a plethora of bands. Some people thumb their nose up as it being full of emo wannabes or full of bands no one has heard before. But those people ignore the fact that this is an institution. Twenty-three successive years of promoting hundreds of bands on a full summer tour. It’s pretty much the longest most successful American festival; it rivals the festivals in Europe. Continue reading
The 2017 Vans Warped Tour was announced at their annual event at Full Sail University in Florida. CKY, Hatebreed, Hawthorne Heights, I Prevail, Beartooth, Sick Of It All, Candiria, Anti Flag, GWAR, Memphis May Fire and more will perform. Tickets are on sale now for all dates with the full confirmed line-up and other info below.
Droves of fans flocked to the annual host of all things rock, metal and horror as Rock And Shock 2016 invaded Worcester, Massachusetts last month. The annual event at The Palladium and the DCU Center for the convention is hosted annually by Massconcerts, and the entire weekend is wall to wall scary good fun! Continue reading
Long running Heavy Music and Horror event Rock And Shock takes over Worcester MA once again this month. The annual event see fans of rock and metal and horror movies and pop culture flock to both the Worceter Palladium for the show and the DCU Center for the convention. Organized annually by Massconcerts, scores of musical acts, personalities, costume contests, discounted tickets for Servicement and Women, tattoing, and vendors make for an unforgettable experience. Continue reading
King Diamond’s appearance on this past summer’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival became the talk of the summer as metalheads were eager to catch his elaborate show on a larger stage. This follows his 2014 North American tour, which also marked his return to the touring scene following his time off due to various health issues that plagued him for a few years.
This marks King Diamond’s first appearance on a US touring festival that took the band across the country. While the band has played various European summer festivals, they have found subtle differences with the US ones. They had just completed the first night in San Diego, CA and are about to perform at Devore, CA on the second night of the tour.
“Exactly it’s a quite different thing actually in the USA, I must say. It’s great. It’s just different in all ways I guess,” said guitarist Andy LaRocque.
“Last night was really good. San Diego – first opening night was really good,” said guitarist Mike Wead.
“We had a good time. Even the places are a little different from Europe. It’s a different atmosphere. Everything looks different of course. Different organization – it’s great,” added LaRocque.
They spoke about the big differences between the Euro festivals versus the ones in the US.
“No rattlesnakes in Europe!,” said LaRocque.
“The weather is different. It’s hotter here. Like Andy said, the organization behind it is a bit different. It’s still a festival and if you’ve done a few or a lot of them, you’ll feel familiar with the system pretty quick. It takes a couple of days and then you’ll understand how everything works,” said Wead.
“The big difference with this festival is that it’s the same bands tour around the US, compared to festivals in Europe where there are different lineups on every festival. I don’t think there are touring festivals in Europe,” added LaRocque.
“We used to have Sonicsphere but I think they went belly up. So we don’t have it,” concluded Wead.
Having an hour long set time during the tour, LaRocque explained how they picked what made up their set list. While fans each have their favorites, the band managed to select the core tunes that highlighted the main points in their history.
“We try to make a good blend of theatrical stuff that fits on the stage and also what the audience wants, and the different time eras too. So I think what we have now is a good mix of that, which I think works really well. The first show was last night and I think everything was in a really good flow. [It was] very intense. We covered up everything. It’s really hard to fit in everything in one hour of course but this works.”
They took part on a line that featured Slayer, Hellyeah and Devil Wears Prada on the main stage, and a side stage consisting of Whitechapel, Feed Her To The Sharks, Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sworn In and many others. While much of their audience traditionally older, they have found a growing number of younger fans showing interest in their music and live set. LaRocque shared his theories behind this.
“Well you could speculate it. There’s been a lot of hyping on the internet, of course, since he got with his health. I don’t know really to be honest why it happened. There were still a lot of things going on in the background, even though we were not playing. Since we came back, we are now able to play bigger places and reach out to a bigger audience. It seems like our fan base is bigger than ever. One of the reasons is we never have been into having internet sites like Facebook, which we created during that period of his illness. That made it grow also.”
While King Diamond took his extensive time off of the road, the rest of his band kept busy with other things. Aside from the band, each member have their own respective projects they work on to keep busy in the meantime.
“I have a studio and produce bands. I’ve had the studio for over 20 years. I’ve been doing that in theory itself, when we’re not doing anything with Diamond – not touring, not recording an album. I’ve also had different projects with different musicians,” said LaRocque.
“Same with me – studio stuff, loads of session work as a guitar player, and doing records with other bands,” said Wead.
“I only joined the band [in 2014]. I’ve been doing totally different stuff. I’ve been playing with different bands for as long as I can remember, but last summer I hooked up with these guys and it’s been a sweet ride ever since,” added bassist Pontus Egberg, who happens to be the newest member of the band. He joined the band in 2014.
During the downtime, LaRocque admitted that he did come up with rough ideas for new songs but was mainly waiting for King Diamond to recover physically before proceeding.
“We really didn’t do anything with Diamond at all. We just talked often – me, King, the guys in the band and management. I actually honestly wrote a few songs in the meantime. It’s still waiting there to go back there to listen, see if any of it could be used for the next album. I’ve got four, five or six songs. It’s nothing focused or serious, but it might be useful.”
“We’re just waiting for King to come back and took it from there. As soon as he was good enough health wise, we started to do festivals. It started out in Europe and it turned out great. We only did two festivals the first summer back in 2012. It turned out really good. Everyone was like ‘wow! Cool that you guys are back.’ The next summer we did some more festivals, and that was last summer. Then we got the chance to do this. We also did a US tour in October and November (2014). So this is the first festival tour here in the US for us. I’m happy we could do it. As long as he’s fine with everything, with his health and stuff, we will continue.”
In terms of a timeline towards their long awaited new record, LaRocque clarified where the band stood on this.
“We have a few song ideas but nothing worked out yet. We were supposed to start working on new material this summer, but then this festival came in between, which we are very happy for. Once we get a break, we’re going to start working on it. It will probably be early 2016 that we start working on the new material. That’s the plan.”
Approaching the songwriting process, they had spoken about some of the changes including have various options on where to record. Despite this, the writing process stayed somewhat similar to past records.
“It’s mostly King and me who writes the stuff. So what he does is sitting down with now his computer. He used to have this old tape machine type of thing to record. He programs the drum machine and then he sends it to me. I listen to it and we bounce things back and forth. That’s what we usually do.”
“But for the next album, we’re probably gonna record the drums in a studio in Dallas since the drummer Matt [Thompson] is from Dallas, and King lives there. That’s the most convenient thing to find a studio there to track the drums and come over to track the guitars as well so King could attend the process. Maybe the bass too – I don’t know. We’ll see. Pontus has got his own home recording studio too so he could record that.”
“I usually record my leads by myself anyways. Andy is the same. He’s more focused. I don’t mind doing it in the privacy of my own studio,” said Wead.
“Now, King has his own studio so he could do his vocals there. Then we decided him coming over to Sonic Train Studios, which is the name of my studio in Varberg. We’re going to mix and master the album right there,” added LaRocque.
He gave a preview of their forthcoming album: “I mean it’s going to be the King Diamond stuff…that’s for sure. But when it comes to lyrics and stuff, I don’t really know what he has in mind yet. He told us he has some ideas but nothing I want to talk about right now.”
In terms of King Diamond’s health, LaRocque had praises on this subject for him. “He’s better than ever, I would say. He has to take care of himself but when it comes to his physical things, it’s like wow…he’s doing so much better. Eating healthier and all of that stuff….quit smoking, difference in performance.”
What about King’s love of coffee? He claimed in past interviews that coffee and cigarettes, which he has since quit smoking, were the secret to his voice. “Not that much any more. He’s like…cleaned up!,” LaRocque said with a laugh.
“I don’t know if that’s a good secret or not. I think now he realized that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.”
Escape The Fate have announced their new album Hate Me, coming out on October 30th from Eleven Seven Music. They have also booked a headline tour for this fall (#hatemetour) and will be supported by A Skylit Drive, Sworn In, Sirens & Sailors and Myka Relocate. Tickets go on sale later this week. The first single ‘Just A Memory,’ is being given away to fans for free for the next 48 hours via www.escapethefate.com. The video for ‘Just A Memory’ will debut on 8/20, in time for the tour pre-sale.
Hate Me Track Listing
1. Just A Memory
2. Live For Today
3. Remember Every Scar
4. Breaking Me Down
6. Get Up, Get Out
7. Hate Me
8. Les Enfants Terribles (The Terrible Children)
9. I Won’t Break
10. Let Me Be
Front Man Craig Mabitt discussed the album title:
“Lyrically, a lot of these tracks are based around the hate we’ve received over the years and just embracing that and using it to our own advantage. I’ve had to step up to the plate lately, for the fans as much as anything else, because they take the name Escape The Fate very seriously and I owe them something for that, for all the support they’ve shown us over the years. It’s very humbling for me to be able to listen to this collection of songs and think about where we’ve come from and what we’ve been through to get to this point.”
Oct 13: Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA
Oct 14: DNA Lounge- San Francisco, CA
Oct 15: Senator Theatre -Chico, CA
Oct 16: Boardwalk- Sacramento, CA
Oct 17: Hawthorne Theater – Portland, OR
Oct 18: Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
Oct 19: Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
Oct 21: In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 22: Marquis Theater – Denver, CO
Oct 23: Aftershock – Kansas City, KS
Oct 24: Mill City Nights – Minneapolis, MN
Oct 25: Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL
Oct 26: The Crofoot – Pontiac, MI
Oct 29 : Agora Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
Oct 30 : Marlin Bar @ Webster Hall – New York, NY
Oct 31: The Chance – Poughkeepsie, NY
Nov 01: Crocodile Rock Cafe – Allentown, PA
Nov 02: Greene Street – Greensboro, NC
Nov 03: The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Nov 05: 89th Street Collective- Oklahoma City, OK
Nov 06: Walters – Houston, TX
Nov 07: Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX
Nov 08: Dirty Dog – Austin, TX
Nov 09: Korova – San Antonio, TX
Nov 10: Mesa Music Hall – El Paso, TX
Nov 11: Joe’s Grotto – Phoenix, AZ
Nov 12: Vinyl @ Hard Rock Hotel – Las Vegas, NV
Nov 13: The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
Nov 14: The Whiskey – Hollywood, CA
Nov 15: Soma – San Diego, CA
Following his headlining run last fall, King Diamond brought out featured characters from various points in his career (Grandma from Them and Conspiracy), as well as blowing through longtime favorites such as ‘Sleepless Nights’ and keeping diehard fans on their feet. King himself looked and sounded powerful throughout their hour long set, as he powered through song after song, and immediately won the crowd over.
After beginning their set with a laser show with a variety of Slayer logos flying above the stage, they broke into ‘Repentless’ (the title song from their forthcoming album in September), as well as their two other previously released yet new songs (‘Implode’ and ‘When The Stillness Comes’). Much of their set list consisted of staple tunes from past set lists, which they powered through and get the eager fans on their feet. Imagery of missiles and word from various songs (the chorus of ‘God Hates Us All’ from ‘Disciple’) flashes throughout their set and amped up the crowd.
The rest of the main stage featured a mixed response to Hellyeah and Devil Wears Prada’s strong set battling set times crossed with side stage headliners Kissing Candice and Feed Her To The Sharks playing at the same time at the top of the lawn area.
The Victory Records side stage (one stage versus multiple stages on past years) featured a vast array of artists ranging from brief yet powerful sets from Jungle Rot and Thy Art Is Murder, alongside new faces such as Sworn In, Shattered Sun and Code Orange joining into the mix as some of the up and comers within the scene.
Overall, Rockstar Mayhem Festival endured a hiccup year lacking a strong enough headliner and support acts with drawing power. The long run will see how many of these acts will overcome this and be a band to look out for. As for now, time will tell whether this was a good move or not by the organizers of this festival.
WORDS BY REI NISHIMOTO
PHOTOS BY KEVIN ESTRADA PHOTOGRAPHY
For the members of Illinois metalcore outfit Sworn In, the past four year’s worth of hard work and roughing it on the road has slowly paid off into their latest album The Lovers/The Devil seeing a release through Razor and Tie this past April 7th.
“We have a record before this [2013’s The Death Card] and two EPs [2011’s Catharsis and 2012’s Start/End]”, explained frontman Tyler Drennen, about their history. “It’s three or four years of solid shit eating and get where we need to get to, and biting the bullet to do the shitty shit. Being at the point where we’re doing [Rockstar Energy] Mayhem Fest and stuff like that, we’re grinding it out and doing whatever tours come our way, staying on the road and playing music.”
Like their previous recordings, The Lovers/The Devil is a concept album that sticks to a theme based on tarot cards. But aside from that, their songs are also built around personal stories relating to that theme as well, which became relatable to Drennen.
“For Sworn In, all of our full length CD’s are conceptual albums based on tarot cards. So this album combines two tarot cards into one. There’s the Lovers card and the Devils card. The whole idea is that it’s a two part CD – part one is songs one through seven, and eight through thirteen is the devil’s side. If you follow the story of the destructive relationship, with one character being the lover and one being the devil and on the CD it switches and the characters switch too. So it starts off as the lover and then the devils side starts up. It’s a long way of saying everyone has a lover and the devil side of them.”
He went into depth about how the songs tied into his own personal life. “I wrote all of the lyrics. It was a collection of observations that I made on love. My parents didn’t have a great relationship. I wasn’t in a great relationship while I was writing that CD. So there’s some personal stuff in there too.”
“I mean the entire time I was writing the record, I was dating a girl and we didn’t have a very good relationship. That was a lot of what I was thinking about while I was writing it.”
Musically, The Lovers/The Devil showcases a mix of heavier metalcore-esque tunes on the Devil half of the CD, while the Lovers side experiments with a darker yet melodic flavor less featured on past recordings. He talked about their wide range of musical influences that have been within the band and how tastes have changed over the years.
“The early days we were a lot heavier than we are now. We were listening to bands like Between The Buried And Me, Meshuggah, The Acacia Strain, Emmure and stuff like that. But we also have more mainstream-y influences like pop music. We all like rap music. I’m way into My Chemical Romance, Thrice and stuff like that. It’s a nice little potpourri of stuff we’re into.”
“We wanted the Lovers half of the CD to be a bit more straight forward and mainstreamy with singing and catchy choruses. We wanted the Devil’s side to be the same. So that’s what we did,” said Drennen.
At the time of the interview, the band just endured a minor dilemma when Drennen sat out a leg of their recent support slot with Chelsea Grin with throat problems.
He explained what exactly happened. “The day we left, I got strep throat and that led into bronchitis and straight into laryngitis. Then from there I went straight into some walk in clinics and they were worried that whatever infection I had got septic and got into my blood. So they suggested me to go see my primary healthcare physician, so I went home for a few days and he said it would take a few days of no talking with antibiotics. Long story short, after I stopped yelling every night I got better.”
“It was a matter of my larynx got super inflamed from a symptom of being sick. It got all swollen and was hard for me to talk and scream and do anything. Our merch guy Kenny was [filling in for those shows].
Sworn In will be spending this summer on the Rockstar Mayhem Fest across North America, sharing the side stage with Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder and many others. Drennen shared his thoughts on their upcoming summer touring plans.
“That was mind-blowing for us. One day we got a call from our manager and he was like ‘we got Mayhem [Fest]’ and we were like holy shit – can’t even believe it. We didn’t think we were going to get it and it worked out.”
He also shared what to expect from their appearance on the tour. “We’re going to play a couple songs off of The Death Card and the rest are going to be new songs. It’s going to be really cool. We’re working on some cool stage production so it should be an amazing show to watch.”
“I’m excited to see Slayer every night. It will be crazy. We’re really good friends with the guys from Thy Art Is Murder, so we’ll hang out with them a lot. I’m pretty stoked to see Code Orange every night.“
Opening track ‘Sweetheart’ serves warning of the intent of The Lovers / The Devil (Razor & Tie), second opus from Illinois discordant hardcore act Sworn In. With the success of their debut The Death Card (also Razor & Tie) providing a heightened sense of expectation, ‘Sweetheart’ shows that this time around the quintet are going to be doing things differently as the track eases in with a lilting clean introduction before hitting a dirged repetitive stab slab of guitar with unhinged screaming to take us through to the end. With the album being a concept album about the duality of love, and incorporating, in the main, a duality of styles, it’s an appropriate introduction.
Lyrically, there’s a deliberate juvenility and a picking up where Korn left off with ‘Shoots and Ladders’, with several nursery rhymes being referenced, including songs called ‘Olioliolioxinfree’ and ‘Pocket Full of Posies’, a staggering, lumbering off-kilter rage of screaming over a broken lurch, with elements of Slipknot’s ‘Skin Ticket’ before a juxtaposition of cleaner, angelic singing over the chorus. Tyler Dennen sounds genuinely disturbed (small d) when catharting, but less convincing when hitting the cleans, like on the ineffective ‘I Don’t Really Love You’ which seems to be aiming to be a meld of King 810 and Deftones, but definitely lacks the clarity and single-mindedness of the former, or the epic scope and vocal class of the latter. Burning Down Alaska, for example, show how to mix battery and beauty much more effectively.
Ultimately, The Lovers / The Devil, comes across as a spliced Bioshock experiment, with two different styles being forced together and making uncomfortable bedfellows, and like when Chunk glues the penis back on the statue in The Goonies it’s the wrong way round, Sworn In end up pissing in their own faces as the heavy/screamo bits aren’t interesting enough, despite Dennen’s venom, and the cleans not convincing or catchy enough. ‘Sugar Lips’, first track “proper” is a key example, kicking off showing low-slung quasi-Deathcore discordance with screams and touches of electronica, before hitting a clean metalcore chorus that underwhelms rather than lifts. While there’s nothing wrong with bringing the two styles of rhythmic djent and emo-based-metalcore together, and ambition and experimentation should always be encouraged and lauded, in the main the execution is unskilled and clumsy.