On a Saturday night in London, all hell can break loose at a hardcore show. And of course, you want it to. The pure joyful chaos of the pit, bands running around stage, the pit punchers, and the inevitable pile-nos with sweaty hands clasping the microphone to bark those lines than mean so much to so many. Coming off The Persistence Tour in January, Terror also had a brief run of headline shows as well, and why we were in London tonight. Terror remains one of the longest running, most consistent punk bands and still touring to packed clubs on the reg. On this night front man Scott Vogel (also of World Be Free) owned the stage, as usual. Their recent album, 2015s The 25th Hour (Victory/Century Media) was an instant classic for the band. Proving they still have a lot in the tank, they are already working on the follow-up release. Direct support band Wisdom In Chains are one of the unsung heroes of East Coast Hardcore. Their brutal riffs and stage presence don’t tell the full story of their great story telling, intellectual writing. Of course like Terror, they are fierce in a live setting. Twitching Tongues arrived to make noise the last few years and set everyone on notice about the aggression and smarts this band has. Unafraid to be deeply ensconced in HxC ways, but flying their metal flag with pride; if there was a band rightfully earning the tag “the next Nails”, it is them. Front man Colin Young is one of the best right now, commanding a crowd like few else. Weymouth UK upstarts Ironed Out, with their twin vocal attack opened the how. Thanks to Jessica Lotti Photography for capturing this insanity on stage and in the crowd for Ghost Cult.
Pop punk outfit Broadside is streaming their music video for “Come & Go,” off of their latest album Old Bones, out now via Victory Records below. The band is currently on tour with dates posted below.
With Handguns, Roam, Sudden Suspension Dec 09: Epic Problem – Tampa, FL Dec 11: O’Malleys – Margate, FL Dec 12: Backbooth – Orlando, FL Dec 13: Burro Bar – Jacksonville, FL Dec 15: Ziggys – Winston, NC Dec 16: Canal Club – Richmond, VA
With State Champs, Transit Dec 17: Portland Music Hall – Portland, ME Dec 18: Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT Dec 19: Revolution – Amityville, NY Dec 20: The Met – Pawtucket, RI
Los Angeles hardcore outfit Terror have released their latest video for “Sick and Tired,” off of their latest album The 25th Hour out now via Victory Records. They are about to launch their upcoming North American tour, with dates posted below.
November 28: The Abbey – Chicago, IL November 29: Shelter – Detroit, MI November 30: Altar Bar – Pittsburgh, PA December 01: Waiting Room Up – Buffalo, NY December 02: Rockpile – Toronto, ON December 03: Le Ritz – Montreal, QC December 04: Palladium – Worcester, MA December 05: Gamechanger – Freehold, NJ December 06: Rock And Roll Hotel – Washington, DC December 07: Kings – Raleigh, NC December 08: Backbooth – Orlando, FL December 09: Masquerade – Atlanta, GA December 10: Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA December 11: Sidewinder – Austin, TX December 12: Tomcats – Fort Worth, TX December 13: 89th St Collective – Oklahoma City, OK December 14: Marquis Court Theater – Denver, CO December 15: Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT December 16: Thee Parkside – San Francisco, CA December 17: Chain Reaction – Anaheim, CA December 18: Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA December 19: Che Café – San Diego, CA
Neurotic November claim to be “Hood Metal”, which if their latest effort, second album Fighting Words (Victory), is anything to go by appears to be fairly straight (Metalcore flavoured) djent lightly seasoned here and there with some low-rent rap sections. I genuinely struggle to see why these guys have gotten such a bad press. I’ve certainly had a lot worse presented to me as genius. While they’re never going to set the world on fire, they at least have their own sound and no-one should in good faith paint them as The Worst Band In The World whilst brokeNCYDE is still a thing…
Fighting Words is a solid improvement on the last album – 2013’s Anunnaki (Victory) – featuring a fatter, tighter sound and more lavish production (from Joey Sturgis, the man behind the deck for Asking Alexandria and The Devil Wears Prada) . The song-writing is a lot better too with some nice guitar hooks, and half-decent vocal flows that wouldn’t sound out of place on an early Stuck Mojo album.
‘The Truth About You’ is a synth-heavy start to the proceedings that is certainly decent enough to get the head nodding. ‘So Hollow’ is a Slipknot-inspired thrasher which leads us into ‘Everglades’ which features guest roars from King Conquer‘s James Mislow. ‘On The Come Up’ is the standout track on the album with the afore-mentioned Stuck Mojo similarities. ‘Rockstar’ bounces along quite nicely in an adequately average djent stylee through ‘2004 – present’ (more of the same) until we arrive at the quirky ‘Wasabi Anguish Pt. II’ which I have to admit I have a soft spot for; it’s basically a mashup of After The Burial and Eminem with some Die Antwoord influences.
So whilst Fighting Words isn’t great, it’s certainly not shit either. If non-mainstream rap metal’s your bag, it’s worth a look.
Alice, Texas is hardly the hotbed of music when it comes to finding the next big thing. Even finding any musical acts can be somewhat like finding a needle in a haystack, but for the members of Shattered Sun, they beat the odds and found themselves opportunities that their peers have yet to reach.
They have released their debut album Hope Within Hatred earlier this year (via Victory Records) and have toured with Testament and Exodus and on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest’s second stage. But prior to all of this happening, how they were discovered became quite the story.
Marcos Leal of Shattered Sun. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada.
The original incarnation of the band began in 2005 but solidified a modified lineup a year later and the seeds were planted towards building the foundation of what is now Shattered Sun.
“Basically we’ve been doing stuff since we were kids,” explained frontman Marcos Leal. “Bands…you know how it goes with switching members and all of that stuff.”
“In 2010, me and our guitarist Daniel [Trejo] sat down and said ‘we want to make this our lives and we want to do this the right way, so let’s go find some members that want it as bad as we do.’ We found the right lineup and we immediately went into the studio and recorded our ep Confessions. We just rolled from there.”
Being in a small town, they pushed themselves to get their name out across their home state of Texas. They immediately began to book shows around the state and got their name out everywhere they could physically get themselves a show. The plan worked and built a steady following.
“What you have to do is you kind of have to make a name for yourself in those bigger cities. That’s exactly what we did. Once we finished putting out our ep Confessions together, we got out there and hit all of the major markets – San Antonio, Austin, Dallas…all of those places and slowly making a name for ourselves in those places and building a fan base,” said Leal.
They drew inspiration from bands from Texas such as Pantera and Drowning Pool to carry the flag across the music scene and keeping the musical spirit alive.
“It’s been great. Those bands are influences and we want to be the next band to represent Texas. We want to be that Pantera status. They’re obviously huge but we intend to set the bar too for our state.”
Henry Garza of Shattered Sun
He talked about the areas of Texas that responded to Shattered Sun immediately after they began playing out. They traded shows with local bands in each area, which helped them building bonds to help spreading the word.
“Immediately right off the bat, Corpus [Christi] is a major market. It’s an hour away from our home town. Our producer is from Corpus Christi too. He was tied into that metal scene. We just basically got with all of the big bands in the local scene there and started opening for them and slowly got a following.”
Prior to the recording of their 2012 self released EP Confessions, they caught the attention of Testament frontman Chuck Billy, who at the time just started their management company called Breaking Bands. He explained how he found out about the band.
Joseph Guajardo of Shattered Sun. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada.
“It had to be after we had spoken. I think within a month I might have flown out there. Me and Maria [Ferraro] flew out to Texas. We’ve only heard a few songs so we wanted to hear the full record and hear it in the studio. I wanted to sit down with all of the guys and see where they were at. Within a month from starting communication we were out there and at that point we got back and said ‘ok…let’s do this. I think Johnny Z flew out a few weeks later and that solidified it,” said Billy.
“As our management company, we all have to be on board for the band and everybody has to have a unanimous vote if we’re going to work for something. So Johnny finally went out there and that was it. We were doing it so right away we got other guys to examine the mixes they had and improve on it.”
Spineshank guitarist Mike Sarkisyan originally was instrumental in helping to get the band’s attention to Breaking Bands as well. They met him while touring together and learning the ropes of touring nationally. Following this tour, he also worked with Shattered Sun on pre-production on their EP.
“When we had put out Confessions, we did the local band and touring but we wanted something else. We’re a very hungry band so we figured out ‘ok you’ve got to buy onto these tours’ so we got some money together, we knew somebody that knew somebody who could get us on that tour. So we paid a pretty big chunk of money and went out and toured with them. We gained a relationship,” said Leal.
“When we saw them, the first few nights that we played with them they’re such a complete band. They’re veterans so they know how to do everything right. Their stage show, how they mix the brutality with the melodic. We saw them the first few nights and they were amazing.”
“We had talked to Mike and said we wanted to channel some of what they have into what we have. We’re kind of…I won’t say a similar style because they’re not. They have a lot of elements we’ve infused. So we brought him down to Texas, he helped arrange some of our songs and that’s how it’s worked out,” he added.
Leal admits that Sarkisyan’s influence did rub off on the band to incorporate melodic parts into their already aggressive metal sound, and helping to diversify them.
“We were always a band that wanted to stick 80 riffs in songs. We thought that was cool. When we saw them, we were like their choruses and their pre choruses, they connect. We wanted that too so he showed us how to arrange our music a little bit better.”
During the recording of their EP, Billy visited the band and gave his input on the songs, as to praising their strengths and how to enhance certain parts on their songs. His veteran knowledge became a huge part in bettering them.
“Only thing was I was suggesting in some of the mixes things I would have liked to hear, improve on the mixes, and what I thought was missing [in the mixes], but at that point I don’t think they were done. I think they were still getting it all together. [Marcos] was still singing some vocal tracks…just right up to when it was time to get rolling…we need a single…we need to get some songs out there on AOL. We’re going to announce that we’re managing you. We want to have something when we do that. You’ve gotta have something ready to roll.”
Billy had nothing but praise for the guys when it came to the performance on the EP.
“They worked hard on it. Robert [Beltran] did a great job producing and mixing it. We thought we could use this record to go out, get a record deal pretty much and use this and not spend your whole budget to record a whole record. We took care of Robert and take care of some stuff to get new gear to get the ball rolling.”
Original Megaforce Records co-founders Jon and Marsha Zazula are part of their management team, and their experience rubbed off on the band immediately.
“He told us not to hang our heads when things happen. He tells us the things Metallica went through back in the day. He has actually compared our career and our path to when they first got started too. It’s definitely a great honor,” said Leal.
Lastly, being that the members of Shattered Sun are from Texas, one of their biggest pastimes is barbecuing. They shared their passion for it and possibly winning over people, not only musically but through their stomachs.
“We’re big time barbecuers. It was cool because when Chuck and Maria came down, we got to throw a big barbecue for them. We did the same exact barbecue when Johnny and Marsha came down. It was awesome. It kind of let them know about our heritage and where we come from,” said Leal.
“When we go on tour, we’re going to take a barbecue pit,” said Trejo.
“We figured that’s a good way to get in with the bands. We’ve barbecued in rain, the cold and all of the elements,” added Leal.
Ill Niño has released their new video for the track ‘Blood Is Thicker Than Water’ from their 2014 album Till Death, La Familia (Victory Records). You can watch the clip at this link or below:
Having wrapped up their headlining dates on the “Civil Unrest Tour” in the US, Ill Niño has performed the international festival circuit this summer, appearing at Wacken Open Air in Germany and Rock al Parque in Colombia.
Terror is one of those veteran bands that you know what they sound like as soon as you hear their name. That’s because they have put down a nearly fifteen-year career doing hardcore the right way. They are old-school sounding enough to love, and modern enough to carry weight without trying hard to be too modern (no death metal vocals, no breakdowns for the sake of it). When they signed to Victory Records a few years back, it was a no-brainer. Terror is a band that really espouses the what the Victory punk bands of yesterday used to be and what hardcore continues to need in these times. Their first release for the label, 2013’s Live By The Code was a solid affair, but a little too clean for me. It was a major move for the band to switch labels, so I can understand playing on the safe side then. Their new album The 25th Hour is downright dangerous by comparison.
With 14 songs clocking in at 22 minutes, the album breezes right by you. However, don’t mistake brevity for lack of quality. The 25th Hour is one of the strongest releases in a good year for hardcore with memorable tracks that hit hard, and cut you to the bone. Scott Vogel’s impassioned rasp wails with urgency as the album is a loose concept of our modern society on the brink. You feel all of Vogel’s desperation, fear, contempt and dismay on track after track. Great riffs, tight beats and a few breakdowns mark these songs, and with zero time for B.S. Besides the title track, the stand out cuts are ‘No Time For Fools’, ‘Feed The Rats’, ‘The Solution’, ‘Blinded By The Lights’, ‘Why_’, ‘Sick And Tired’ and ‘Deep Rooted’. These songs will have you foaming at the mouth with anger, but inspire you enough to think, after you are too tired from moshing and screaming along to the words.
They had just completed their first “real” tour supporting Testament and Exodus across North America, and unlike their previous DIY style tours supporting club sized acts, they learned quickly the wrong and right ways of surviving on the road.
“The last one we were with (Testament/Exodus) – that was a real get up and go,” explained drummer Rob Garza. “We were still learning and now we’re way more focused and way more on time. We’re trying not to get on anyone’s bad side especially we don’t mess up too much,” he said, about the quick learning curve.
Testament frontman Chuck Billy is no stranger to the Shattered Sun camp, as he is one of their co-managers from Breaking Bands LLC and has been mentoring the guys over the past year.
“[We’re] basically learning how to do things the right way. When we first got on the Testament and Exodus tour with them this past April, we were all fan boys over Testament and Exodus, but then Chuck’s biggest role in the band is as a mentor. He could just say ‘just relax…we’re all here as a team. We’re all family on this tour and every tour you’re gonna be on. These are your peers,’ “ he said.
“We’ve got him to calm us down the fan boys in us. Also outdoing each show – we had a decent show yesterday. Today we did better so basically we keep on pushing so we put on a better show every day.”
Joseph Guajardo of Shattered Sun. Photo Credit: Kevin Estrada.
Already from the Mayhem Fest they have gone from performing in from a largely older crowd to a younger demographic that leans towards the newer style of bands featured on the Victory Records side stage.
“The guys and myself were talking about that yesterday. Even the bands that were on tour – no disrespect to Testament and Exodus – they’re more of our age group. You go with the Testament and Exodus and it’s strictly that thrasher crowd. There’s nothing wrong with that. On this one, you have that all around, different genres of music collectively. It’s a different feel. We like it. We’re digging it.”
While the band’s sound comes from the heavier side of metal and their band name is a modified version of an Unearth tune, Garza spoke about their range of influences that helped shape their overall sound.
“When we first started jamming, our guitarist Daniel [Trejo] named our band after an Unearth song ‘Shattered By The Sun.’ So he was really into Unearth and still is to this day. We all are,” he said.
“We try to stick with melodic metal and keep it thrashy, and we’re all fans of other genres as well. One of my favorite drummers and bands of all time is the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins. I try to incorporate as much groove into our thrash beats. It’s a combination of a lot of stuff. It’s like ‘I was listening to this today. I want to try to see how this would sound on this song.’ “
“On this album, we tried to cover all grounds because where we’re from, everyone in our area is real biased. We’re not heavy enough for the hardcore kids or we’re not soft enough for the older crowd. We just wanted to make a CD and just bring as much of everything in. We get known as bands that plays a lot of different kinds of music. We just try to throw it into one thing so we try to cover everyone’s demographic on that one.”
Henry Garza of Shattered Sun
Being on the road, Garza and the Shattered Sun members have experienced many different things but also being from a small Texas town, they also found new and unusual things.
“I believe it was on the last tour, we were in South Carolina and they were selling roasted peanuts. It looked weird, just there in a jar staying warm. Just small things like that that freak us out. But we Google what it is and say ‘uh ok…let’s try it out.’ “
“What I wanted to do when we were in Canada, I wanted to go to McDonalds and see if they had the Royale With Cheese. I didn’t get a chance to do that. I’m trying to cram a bunch of different things into my demographic right now.”
Plus the rare time off of the road has given them time to enhance their road home known as their van. While they have accepted the fact that they will be calling it home for the next year, they have slowly made moderations to it.
“This time we’ve actually built a bunk in our van. ‘OK what can we do differently?’ We’ll probably try to put another bunk in there, a shoe rack, because right now everybody’s shoes are thrown all over the place. We even have our inverter so we routed our power strips so we can charge our phones in the back. We’re learning tour by tour.”
All of the touring experience has now landed them an upcoming North American tour supporting metal heavyweights Soulfly, Soilwork and Decapitated. Garza himself is excited about the upcoming tour but has his eyes on meeting another drumming idol.
“I’m actually really pumped because one of my favorite drummers is Dirk Verbeuren from Soilwork. On our last tour, we had Gene Hoglan and Tom Hunting, and on this tour we’ve got Paul Bostaph and Vinnie Paul, and the next tour I’m going to have Dirk Verbeuren. To be on the same tours as these great drummers is amazing. I’m looking forward to picking that guy’s brain. Getting to tour with Soulfly – those guys are legendary. We all grew up listening to them.”
Learning from past mistakes, Garza admits he is trying his hardest not to have a Wayne and Garth’s ‘I’m Not Worthy’ moment on this upcoming tour.
“Deep down we have, but then it’s like be cool. On the outside, we’ve got to play it cool. On the inside, I’m crying a little bit.”
He admits there is one stop on the upcoming tour he has his eye on.
“I’m just waiting until we get to Milwaukee so I can say ‘it’s pronounced Mil-WAKEY’, from Alice Cooperon Wayne’s World Part 1.”
With a band name like Feed Her To The Sharks, it does give off an Australian vibe to it in an odd way. Band guitarist Kim Choo talked about his home country of Australia and playing partial tour guide about their growing heavy music scene.
“It’s been a while since a core band from Melbourne has actually toured internationally. I think the last one that I can remember might be The Red Shore or someone like that,” he said.
“There’s some awesome music from Australia. We’re just lucky to be friends with a lot of the guys. The Thy Art Is Murder guys have been helping us out a lot on our tour in Europe with them and now at Mayhem. There must be something in the water down there but we love playing heavy music down there. It shows with all of the awesome bands that are coming out.”
Feed Her To The Sharks at Rockstar Mayhem Fest 2015 – Albuquerque, NM (via Facebook)
Their first taste of playing a festival came in 2013 when they took part on Warped Tour Australia. “We played with some awesome bands – Parkway Drive, The Amity Affliction,” he said.
“It was so hot that day. I know some of these Mayhem dates are going to be really hot. Everyone had red faces and sunburnt. Warped Tour was a really great show. We were the first band on in the morning and there were people lining up to get in. They were stoked. It was a good show.”
While a slew of Australian bands have found their way onto the world stage recently, Choo shared one band who he felt could be one of the next good finds there. “There’s a cool band that’s local from our hometown called Atlantic. They’re sort of like metalcore sort of stuff – a pretty fresh approach so check them out if you get a chance. We had them on an album launch show back at home. They’re super hard workers. It’s awesome hanging out with them. They’re really cool dudes.”
Lastly, Choo made a suggestion for those looking for shark related activities to do in Australia. Being that sharks have been found around Australia, Feed Her To The Sharks would be the people who would know where to find the real thing.
“If you go down to Adelaide, there’s a place called Port Lincoln and you can go shark cage diving with the Great Whites in there. It’s mental. If you ever get to visit, do so.”