Blind Guardian – 1988 to 2003 Reissues

Remastering albums is a tricky business. For every perceived mistake or fault which gets cleaned up, smoothed over, or completely erased; for every tweak or alteration to the mix, there will always be listeners who prefer the original, no matter what. Trying to improve a recording can often lead to losing the charm of the original, and so as much as record label Nuclear Blast have given a significant portion of Blind Guardian‘s discography a deserved facelift here, the results will lie purely in the eye (or in this case, the ear) of the beholder. Continue reading

Invidia – As The Sun Sleeps

Invidia (the brainchild of In This Moment’s Travis Johnson and former Skinlab guitarist Brian Jackson) aims to be the sonic version of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky, and makes no bones about it. The track ‘Step Up’ from their début As the Sun Sleeps (Steamhammer/Oblivion/SPV) spells this out quite literally, even lifting a line from the film that encompasses everything the band stands for: “It’s not about how hard you can hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Continue reading

Take it Over the Top – an Interview with Matriarch

Denver Doom just got Doomier—Matriarch from left to right: guitarist J. Hartnett, drummer Tyler McKinney, and guitarist/vocalist Austin Wilson. Photo credit Travis Heacock

Matriarch from left to right: guitarist J. Hartnett, drummer Tyler McKinney, and guitarist/vocalist Austin Wilson. Photo credit Travis Heacock

The next song we’re working on is about 45-minutes long,” confesses Matriarch guitarist J. Hartnett. The declaration isn’t in the very least surprising: the weed-fueled basement jam sesh that is Matriarch’s debut EP, Magnumus: The 44th Scribe and Lorde of the Hallucinauts, is evidence this Doom-dealing, Denver-based outfit is it in for the long haul.

To the initiated in underground music, it’s well-known Denver is a hotbed for Doom. As the hometown of punishing acts like Primitive Man, In The Company of Serpents, and Khemmis, Denver’s arid expanse can withstand many-a rumbling low-end. And now, with Matriarch a part of the low-and-slow fold, it could be said the Denver Doom thing is truly a scene.

It just came together,” Hartnett says of the band’s formation. “It just coalesced into what it is, although [Matriarch’s music] started a lot faster and more mid tempo. Honestly, we just kept smoking weed and slowing it way down.”

We were actually going to write a soundtrack to the arm-wrestling movie, Over the Top, ” Matriarch guitarist and vocalist Austin Wilson chimes.

Like how Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with the Wizard of Oz,” Hartnett says. “We were going to call it Lincoln Hawk, which was Stallone’s name in the movie—we make a lot of decisions that are marijuana based.”

Matriarch EP cover

 

It’s interesting to me that there are so many Doom Metal bands coming out of Denver—do you think it’s because weed is legal that everyone plays so slow?

Maybe!” Matriarch Drummer Tyler McKinney exclaims. “But I think all of the Doom bands in Denver smoked weed way before it became legal.”

The correlation or causation of it—it’s a good one,” Hartnett muses. “I don’t think it helps with the formation of bands, but it definitely helps with the attendance to a show.”

Marijuana is not a suggestion—it’s a requirement to play or watch Doom,” Wilson says.

 

The debut Matriarch EP was released in April—

on 4/20 at 4:20 pm—it’s so stupid,” Hartnett laughs.

 

Well, it only has two songs, and it’s 44-minutes long: How do you know when a Matriarch song is “done?”

It takes a long time to get through writing a song,” McKinney explains. “We’ve even recorded drums for a song we’re in the middle of still writing.”

Honestly, it takes us about eight months to get through a song,” Hartnett adds.

Matriarch, photo credit by Travis Heacock (3)

 

Are you guys “Tone Lords?”

It’s more fun for us to just collect stuff and see what happens,” Wilson says.

We like having the big presentation of it—the volume of it,” adds Hartnett.

 

Why do you do Doom?

Well, we definitely make music for ourselves,” McKinney says.

Yes, as cliché as it is, we wanted to do this for ourselves, whatever you want to call it,” says Wilson.

And everyone in Matriarch has a really high standard; we don’t want to suck when we play out and it’s hard to sustain this minimal thing we do,” Hartnett admits. “But our biggest goal in playing this music is to have our own sound and to not sound like anyone else—even within the Denver or Doom scene, we want to have our own place…I do think we’ve sonically found our little niche.”

Matriarch guitarist Jake Harnett. Photo credit by Travis Heacock

Matriarch guitarist Jake Hartnett. Photo credit by Travis Heacock

 

Magnumus: The 44th Scribe and Lorde of the Hallucinauts is available over at the Matriarch Bandcamp.com page. You can keep up with more Matriarch information, as well as an update on their forthcoming 45-minute-long song, at www.Facebook.com/MatriarchDoom.

 

WORDS BY LINDSAY O’CONNOR

PHOTOS BY TRAVIS HEACOCK