The Avatar Freak show graces Chicago with the presence of “The King”. All hail Avatar Country! Avatar out on tour (since the beginning of the year) in support of their 7th studio album Avatar Country (eOne) ripped through the Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL with an over the top theatrical metal freak show. Continue reading
Ahead of the release of their second album, Devilment 2: The Mephisto Waltzes (Nuclear Blast Records), Ghost Cult caught up with lead vocalist and creative driving force Dani Filth to talk all things Devilment, touring, soundtracks, horror, Faust and oh, the small matter of the next Cradle of Filth album… Continue reading
As the summer heat gets further away and we press on toward winter, all of the fall tours seem to be hitting my town at once. Earlier in the year it seems like there were hardly any tours worth going to, let alone any with a deep enough bill to make one be need to be there. Five Finger Death Punch on the strength of their new album Got Your Six (Prospect Park) put together such a bill that people came out early, and rocked out in droves. From Ashes To New energized the early crowd with their hybrid mix of modem metal and old school rap metal sounds. High energy stage shows with two front men and uplifting jams are the blood of this band, and we are going to keep an eye out for them for years to come. Following that up is In This Moment’s theatrical stage show that just floors people. Hard to believe the leaps this act has taken since starting out as a little metalcore band from Las Vegas. Front woman Maria Brink channels her inner Madonna via costume changes, props, and sheer bravado. Resurgent hit-makers Papa Roach are in the direct support slot on this tour. Their sets are always a rabid sing-a-long with fans, screaming out the words to every song and hopping around in step to the beat. At last it was time for FFDP, themselves now the modern rock and metal torchbearers in America, taking up the reigns from the mostly absent Metallica the last half decade. With larger than life staging, the larger than life band prowls all over the stage jumping off risers, all while their fans try to soak it up and hold on to what the band doles out. Everything about this band screams Las Vegas spectacle or Texas Roadhouse. Thanks to Evil Robb Photography who caught all the action for Ghost Cult with the cam in hand!
All Hail the King
OR The best metal show I saw in 2014
How King Diamond ruined My life by being so awesome.
I sat down with the intention of talking about all the highlights of the best metal shows I saw in 2014. But I want to be brutally honest here.
It all boils down to: KING DIAMOND
King Motherfucking Diamond.
As fans of King’s know the band inked a deal with Metal Blade records back in 2012, and since then all sorts of awesome new things have been going on. Reissues, boxsets, remastered tracks, new merch and all sorts of stuff that has Me excited. Now, I had never seen King Diamond before and have been a fan for so long, I was extremely excited to say the least. So excited I bought My ticket soon as they went on sale. And I only bought ONE because I didn’t know who I was going with and didn’t care if I went alone, but I was NOT missing the show.
The leg of the tour I got to see was the Worcester, MA show, a pre party for The Rock and Shock festival http://rockandshock.com/ at The Palladium, http://www.thepalladium.net/ which is one of My favorite grungy little venues in New England.
It was RIGHT before Halloween, cold and dreary the leaves had all fallen off of the trees. As I said it was the pre party for Rock and Shock so everybody was appropriately spooked out and ready for horror mayhem and metal!
What a wonderful way to kick off a horror convention. It was the most involved and spectacular stage setup King Diamond had EVER done. Incorporating horror aspects from many of his albums and songs. It was SO intense! The vocals were on point, the lighting and stage was almost overwhelming, I never knew where to look. Like the metal version of a three ring circus in the best way possible. Grandma was there in a coffin, for awhile the show was in a graveyard, huge red lit Baphomet floated over the stage. You really were in King Diamond’s world. The musical aspect alone would have it the best show of 2014 for Me, but with the added theatrics it might just make it the best show of all time.
This show was so good that I was almost sad while it was happening. Because I know that no other show will probably ever come close to being that good…ever, for the rest of My life. King Diamond ruined My life by being so good. It was the best show of 2014 for Me by a long shot.
I have no idea how 2015 is going to measure up!
Mushroomhead spent this past summer taking part on the 2014 Rockstar Enerydrink Mayhem Festival, promoting their latest record titled The Righteous & The Butterfly, in front of rabid yet eager music fans that were getting their first tastes of the band.
They just completed the first day of the infamous festival tour and band drummer Steve “Skinny” Felton shared his thoughts. “Today’s day one – a couple little snafus and technical difficulties, like this microphone didn’t work or that microphone cut out. That’s all part of it. The main thing is we’re here, we want to push our new album, push our horizons, and expand anyone who is interested in Mushroomhead’s mind. I want to show people there’s more to it than the mask. It’s not a gimmick. We’re artists. We’re not rockstars. If you like art you’ll probably dig it.”
Since their previous album, 2010’s Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, the band had a shuffling of members, and still managed to continue to tour behind their record. But once they found new members to come in and infuse some new energy into the band, they gradually found their way into crafting songs that eventually landed onto the new album.
“We had some new members with Tommy Church (ex-Autumn Offering) on guitar, Ryan “Dr.F” Farrell on bass, and bringing back J Mann on vocals. So there were lots of fresh ideas,” said Felton.
“It’s a fresh twist on a new idea, if you will. There’s a lot of excitement. Everyone was anxious and excited to work together. We have our own studio and have multiple rooms. You can literally work on one idea with a couple of guys and work on another idea with a couple of other guys, and coming in the next day and say ‘did you hear what he did to this tune?’ It was fresh again and it was exciting. Everyone wanted to work.”
Much like any relationship, the band members found itself within a dilemma where creativity and animosity amongst band members became an issue. But with new members coming into the fold, they found a way to work through it.
“After six or seven albums and a lot of animosity between band members, anybody who has tried to keep a band together understands what I’m saying. It could be your best friends in life…but is the art coming across right? Are you expressing yourself in the right way? Does it sound contrived? Does it sound boring? We didn’t have that on this record. This album damn near wrote itself. It told us what to do. Like if it was a shitty idea and nobody cared, we knew to move on. So we focused on the good and the unknown. I like not knowing where the song is going. I like to go ‘wow I would have never thought of that Jeff [Nothing]. And Jeff is the one to put a twist on some of his vocals. He’s an odd ball and he’s brilliant at the same time. It’s so cool. The whole album was pretty much that way. I think it’s my favorite one to this day.”
Mushroomhead has been a band for 21 years, a milestone for a band coming out of Cleveland, OH and a solid fan base that has kept them afloat over the years. Felton spoke about their secret to their success.
“I think there’s an honesty to the music itself. Fans that we have, they’re smart enough to know ‘that’s contrived, that’s put together, that’s not written by them. You know the difference. That’s a filler song.’ Our new record has zero filler songs. The Righteous & The Butterfly”
One area that the band has yet to venture into is creating into print media. While Mushroomhead’s imagery is tailor made for animation and comic books, Felton has not quite felt the urge to jump into that world.
“We dabbled with the comic book a while ago. Again technology came in and print media is not what it used to be. The guy we talked to wanted to do it online comic. ‘That’s not the same! I want a comic book dammit!’ So we stopped right there. A lot of our videos are very theatrical and film-esque. We try to tell a story than guys playing drums and (does a death metal growl). I have mad respect for all the bad ass players out there. But Mushroomhead…we’re a little different. We write our own book.”
Felton concluded with recent comments stirring around the music press about Slipknot’s alleged interest in doing a tour with Mudvayne and Mushroomhead in the near future. While there are no proposed plans of such a tour happening anytime soon, he sounded very interested in such an idea if it were to come to life.
“My thoughts are, absolutely, 100% if there’s any reality to it – of course we would be down. It would be a dream come true – love Slipknot. Whether it’s media fueled or fan based…whatever…doesn’t matter. There’s a lot of similarities to those guys that goes way beyond the masks and the costumes. The music is totally different. But what we’ve been through as people, I think we share more in common than anyone would ever know. With the loss of people…shit with donning the masks at 3 in the afternoon and putting them on at 100 degrees – they know what that is, we know what that is. So I have nothing but love and respect for them.”
“Corey man, absolutely. If you ever want to do anything I would love to. And goddamn that Stone Sour record – the last one…I love it! I’m a huge fan. The last album turned me. Kudos Corey!”