Due out in early 2013 via RCA Records, the band’s fourth studio album is currently being recorded with producer Terry Date (Deftones, Korn) right before their performance at the UK Vans Warped Tour Nov. 10.
Sempiternal is the follow up to 2010’s There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret.
“I’ve never been so confident about an album,” Bring Me The Horizon frontman Oli Sykes tells Kerrang! magazine. “It makes our last record just sound shit. We’re doing stuff we could never dreamed of doing before.”
If you like Bring Me The Horizon check out OurStage artist THELEVENTHOUR.
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Norway’s Shot At Dawn have been shredding up and down the OurStage metal charts for a handful of years now. From the release of their 2008 EP Pre Bellum to 2010’s Seize The Night EP and now White Trash Metal Brigade, Shot At Dawn have stayed true to the things that helped them become a band in the first place: high fives and good times. Don’t believe them? Well, the band’s “about” section on Facebook simply reads “Stage dives and high fives! We rule!” That enough evidence for you?
What happens when you’re an elite deathcore band that parted ways with the lead guitarist on the two records that catapulted you to the forefront of the genre? Well, if you’re All Shall Perish, you get someone who is just as fantastically talented. Not long after releasing Awaken The Dreamers in 2008, the band said goodbye to guitarist Chris Storey, eventually joining forces with shred master Francesco Artusato for 2011’s This Is Where It Ends. The change has had an enormous effect on the band’s style, and it is clearly for the better.
All Shall Perish also teamed up with Sea of Treachery drummer Adam Pierce following the departure of longtime drummer and founding member Matt Kuykendall. Both Francesco and Adam do a wonderful job of filling some pretty large shoes for This Is Where It Ends. All Shall Perish’s guitar work is far beyond one-dimensional. Opting for (and making great use of) 8-string guitars on some of the new songs, the range of style, technicality and heaviness is not seen very often in deathcore bands. At times slow and emotional, at others frenetic and groovy, there isn’t a moment on the album in which the guitars are not ideal for the song.
Beyond the new guitar and drum dynamics, Hernan “Eddie” Hermida’s vocal work is his best yet. Lyrically interesting and perfectly enunciated, Eddie has set the gold standard for vocalists in modern extreme metal acts. His arsenal includes guttural lows, shrieking highs, bellowing mids and raucous yells”and just about everything in between. Most importantly, he knows exactly how to use them.
Picking a weak track on the album is nearly impossible as This Is Where It Ends is one brilliant musical idea after another, all perfectly executed and strung together in an order that feels right. The few moments in which All Shall Perish aren’t melting your face or working to incite all-out riots in the mosh pit are much needed and welcome transitions between ideas and sections of the album.
Dr. Acula are considered to be one of many bands in their genre that takes a lot of heat from the other metal/hardcore subgenres, but they’re not about to let that slow down their operation. Their latest album, Slander was released on Victory Records February 15th, and it’s clear they mean business (even if their business is partying). Often rumored as a joke band, they quickly dispelled that rumor, saying “this band was made to have fun and play good tunes.”
When you get right down to it, Dr. Acula is a party band (as they’ve referred to themselves). It’s not entirely clear what being a party band actually entails, but the guys were more than happy to describe it: “Having a good time, enjoying your life. ‘Party’ doesn’t mean we do tons of drugs and get messed up every second. You can still party without all of that. We go out there and rage it up; get sketchy and play music!”
For being a party band, Dr. Acula have some pretty heavy and explicit lyrics in their songs. In their song “Pure and Immature (Goon)” they say: “You prey on the people who own what you lack/ for no lack of attempting you fail to attack/ Karma’s a bitch/one that you can have back.” That being said, their songs aren’t always 100% serious in nature, such as the first single “Who You Gonna Call?!” exemplifies.
One of the more interesting parts of the latest album are the samples, and there are some juicy ones. I asked if there were any samples that didn’t make it to the album, the band clarified, “No, pretty much everything we wanted to use made the album. There were some we saved; we don’t wanna over flood with samples. We try to balance it out (intro samples, outro samples, mid song samples) the samples we didn’t use might make the next album though. Who knows.”
The one thing about being a “party band” that really shines through for Dr. Acula is their affinity for the obscene and over-the-top. In their album trailer for Slander, they rated the album for “inappropriate audiences”. I asked if they got a lot of criticism for being excessively vulgar at times. “Yes, we get shit all the time. We have the party title so right away everything negative falls under that. We use the ‘fuck’ word a lot. [laughs]”. On their most outrageous song to date, the band said, “‘Fire Crotch (The Venereal Van Ride)’ is nutty! It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s got catchy lyrics and it’s a lot of fun to play live!”
Since their inception, Dr. Acula has seen many members come and go. “This band has always been known for having member changes. It’s like anything else though, you’re looking for the right fit, the perfect match. We have gone through a lot of shit to find this lineup right here, to be able to put out this album Slander. Past members have quit, been kicked out, didn’t wanna tour anymore, have had big egos and a ton more reasons. This band is here to have fun and play music. Keep the drama at home. [laughs] But yeah, this line up will be around for a while.”
To round off the questions, I asked the heaviest and most important question to ask the notorious party band: “If you could choose to party with any person, live or dead, who would you choose?” The band’s response was simple and to the point: “KISS. They probably get a million girls and do a million pounds of drugs! [laughs] Party on!”
You can snag Dr. Acula’s latest album as well as their other merch from the Victory Records Web store, or you can always go to Amazon or iTunes to grab an MP3 copy of the album.
Deathcore, as previously mentioned in the Metal Monday column, has been a hot-button genre in recent years, garnering a lot of heat for being boring or overly stereotypical. The lable “deathcore”, for many bands, is something like a scarlet letter, and does not adequately describe a band’s sound. Bands such as Born of Osiris or All Shall Perish immediately come to mind. Up-and-coming Paris-based monsters The Bridal Procession are sure to be the next band on this list. With a sound as heavy as any band out there, they’re looking to impose their will on any ear within sonic range.
Most of the Bridal Procession’s songs balance on a very thin line between death metal, progressive death metal and deathcore. Earlier in the band’s existence, deathcore was more of an integral part of the band’s sound, but they’ve since developed a sound that’s more closely related to death metal with constant driving rhythms, etherial guitar licks and roaring vocals” something similar to that of newer material by The Faceless. Still, The Bridal Procession’s music really breaks free of most sub-genre restrictions (even if in only the most subtle of ways).
Something that sets The Bridal Procession apart from most bands is their songwriting. Because the band doesn’t rely on breakdowns, solos or riffs to make their songs great, they have the freedom to add them where ever they sound best”and more often than not, they’re placed in interesting and unique places. In addition to good songwriting, the band’s latest material also features some of the best production found in heavy music. On par with the epic works of Dimmu Borgir, the orchestral parts fit perfectly in their tracks. The band also takes a page from the legendary Necrophagist‘s book for their lead guitar tones during their solos, truly showcasing the band’s musical talent outside of technical prowess.
The band’s new album Astronomical Dimensions” released December 27th worldwide via Siege of Amida
Records and iTunes, with physical copies due in stores in Febraury”poises the band to join the ranks of today’s metal elite. If these words don’t inspire you to immediate fork over the dough for the record, try a nice audio sample below. Then you’ll have no excuse.
Neighbors to one of the decade’s biggest and most prominent areas for brutally heavy music (aka: the Bay Area), Sacramento is trying to put itself on the map, and death metal band Jack Ketch is helping the city to do just that. With two incredibly strong and heavy releases in the last two years, Jack Ketch is pulling no punches and is out for blood. We chatted with them to see how things were going, and where the band is headed next.
OS: Your album Bringers of the Dawn was released in October, it’s a bit different than 2009’s In Articulo Mortis. Do you attribute this more to lineup changes or a conscious decision to vary your sound?
JK: I think a little of both really. We are constantly experimenting and growing as a band. When we made the lineup change towards the end of 2009 we just wanted to come out fresh. We felt we had so many great ideas we didn’t want to limit ourselves to the old sound and just create a whole new beast. We are not even close to done yet, we just keep on writing and evolving.
OS: You’ve drawn comparisons between your band and bands like Opeth and Between the Buried and Me, whom are significantly more progressive than your two albums. Do you see your band moving more in that direction in future releases? How about clean vocal parts?
JK: Those are two huge influences on us and helped push us in the more progressive direction we have gone. As far as future releases, who knows where we’ll go? We have been working on some more progressive stuff as well as more brutal death metal stuff. Incorporating clean vocals is something we have been working on with some of the newer songs also. We write constantly and have so much depth and options that we can really take this any direction we decide, so it will probably come down to just which songs we feel are the best.
OS: Both of your albums have been released through Transmedia Records. How did you link up with them, and end up being their first release/band?
JK: Transmedia Records is a great start up label and fully supports us in everything we do. We recorded both albums up in Portland, OR at a studio called The Magic Closet. While up there we were referred to these guys in Berkley that were starting up their own label. We talked for a while back and forth about music, the industry and what we were both looking to get out of it. We just felt everyone was on the same page and could really benefit from working together and helping each other out. It’s kind of a family and I see big things for both of us coming in the near future.
JK: The west coast is our home and we’ve just been working on building that solid foundation here before we start moving outward. I feel it coming soon though. Moving east is definitely something we are going to be looking to do, but it’s nowhere near the end of the line for us. I just spent some time in Germany last month and talked about maybe heading over to Europe for a tour possibly next year. We were also hit up to play a huge festival in India this November, but unfortunately because of the dates we had to decline. Anywhere in the world is a possibility for us, we are just building up our name and trying to do things the smartest way possible.
JK: Oh definitely, everything about this album coincides with one another. We wanted to create not just a concept album but a bit of an experience. We put a ton of work into it and wanted to tell a story, not only with the lyrics, but also with the songs and the imagery. Reading through the lyrics it’s a story of an invasion of the Earth with a battle for the survival of humanity. The natural balance of life and the struggles between the perception of what really is good or evil. In the end you’re left to think, is this the end of the human race, or really just a new beginning? There are many more underlying ideas hidden within there also, but that is for the listener to find and decide upon for themselves.
OS: After going through various lineup changes in your few years as a band, do you think you’ve finally settled on a more permanent one?
JK: Well we’ve actually only gone through one lineup change, but it consisted of the guitarist and drummer at the same time. We were surprised how quickly we picked up two new members and got back to things. But that just shows you how perfect this line up is for us. With everyone so focused and on the same page we couldn’t be happier about the current lineup and have gotten such a great response from the new music.
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In the metal community, the word “brutal” gets thrown around a whole lot these days. From the newest and most brutal breakdown from this deathcore band to the most garbled and brutal lyrics from that death metal band, the word is starting to lose its meaning. Then there’s Adult Swim’s cartoon series Metalocalypse, which really takes the idea of brutal to a hilariously extreme degree. In the first episode a large number of people at Dethklok’s concert were scalded to death by giant vats of coffee”certainly brutal, but mostly just laughable. Here are five things that really examplify essence of metal, and can truly express what brutal means in a serious way.
The Oakland Raiders – First off, before we discuss the aggressive and brutal nature of American football, let’s talk about what a Raider actually is. Dictionary.com describes a raider/raids as “a commando, ranger, or the like, specially trained to participate in military raids (a sudden assault or attack, as upon something to be seized or suppressed).” Loosely, this could describe metal musicians and their aural assault on listeners. Beyond what a raider is, the team dresses in all black and silver, as do their fans”again, much like metal musicians. It’s really a perfect match made in hell.
Zombies – Although zombies are quite popular in mainstream cultures, no one has quite embraced the idea of zombies quite like modern thrash metal. Take the band Lich King, for example, and their album Toxic Zombie Onslaught. The idea and image of zombies are all over the metal scene, used by bands such as Iron Maiden with their mascot Eddie, Municipal Waste‘s album covers, or Death‘s song “Zombie Ritual”. The list goes on. Metal has unofficially adopted zombies as its mascot. We all know what zombies are, but let me reiterate: it was alive, now it’s dead (sort of). Dead, decaying flesh that wants to eat your brains from your living skull.
Igor Stravisnky’s Rite of Spring – Musically, Rite of Spring was one of the most heavy, erratic, and chaotic pieces of its time and continues to be so today. What really takes this comparison over the top, however, was the situation that arose when the piece was premiered in Paris on May 29, 1913. Due to the nature of the choreography and music, the audience became agitated and as the music escalated so did the audience’s mood”eventually erupting into a full-blown riot in the seats. The riot got so out of hand that the Paris police had to arrive to settle down the audience. Further explanation is likely unnecessary, as your brain has probably already made the comparison of rioting at a concert to a mosh pit” certainly a logical step.
Barbecues – Step one: find a dead animal (more metal if you killed it yourself, even better if it was with your bare hands). Step two: make a fire, the bigger the better. Step three: let the animal carcass roast on that fire for a while. Step four: you eat it, and depending on the meat, you do so with your bare hands. Though grilling animals is a bit more sophisticated than it was in medieval times when vikings roamed northern Europe, the general principle still applies. Dead things, fire, and dead things on fire are all pretty cliché topics for metal at this point, and barbecues certainly fit that bill.
Slaying dragons – If you’ve heard more than three power metal songs in your entire life, there’s a fair chance you’ve heard a song involving the slaying of a dragon or other evil and mystical creature. The idea of a knight in shining armor saving a fair maiden from a dragon is noble and all, but that is not a fair fight, nor would it be very pretty. It’s a fair assumption that the dragon would breathe fire (since that’s what dragons do, breathe fire and capture maidens), and the knight probably only has a sword, armor and a horse; advantage: dragon. Either way, one of these parties is dying, and in a pretty brutal way (scorched to death by fire or mutilated with a big honkin’ sword). Power metal’s not so much for wussies now, is it?
So, the next time you and your friends are hanging out and someone says “Oh man, that was brutal” or “That’s so metal””think for a second. Was it really that metal?
Metal as a community”made up of bands and their fans” is a tight-knit population, but that does not mean this happy family is without its schisms. With the somewhat recent rise of deathcore into the mainstream, many death metal and grindcore acts have drawn a line in the sand to separate themselves from this sub genre of metal. The same can be said for metalcore, which at one point in the early 2000s had a major surge within mainstream music and was ostracized by many metal sub genres. You see, if someone isn’t raised in the metal scene, then they may not be able to tell the minor differences between these sub genres. Add to this the large number of bands spilling over and changing sides between sub genres, and you’ve got a recipe for a giant mess.
Grindcore, metalcore, deathcore”they all came from very distinct roots: death metal and hardcore (scenes ultimately born from punk). Death metal is known for its heavy and constant nature, taken to an extreme level. Lots of bands fit this bill and have had the “death metal” label slapped onto them, but the essence of death metal lies in bands like Death, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, Suffocation and Decapitated. Change anything the classic death metal formula and you’ve probably found yourself wandering into sub genre land”bands like Necrophagist are known as “technical death metal” but to the inexperienced listener are really not much different. For a good example of death metal, you can check out this video for Cannibal Corpse’s “Death Walking Terror”:
Early in the death metal days, grindcore was born”taking the heaviness of death metal bands of the time along with the avant-garde nature of post-rock, the frenetic rhythms and breakdowns of hardcore punk and an extra splash of craziness to create a totally new sub genre of music. The more famous grindcore acts include Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Check out this music video for Brutal Truth’s “Sugar Daddy” to hear a good example of grindcore:
The late 1990s witnessed the next offshoot: metalcore. Though its beginngs lie in early 90s bands like Converge and Zao, its current style was brought about by bands such as Unearth, God Forbid and Shadows Fall. Taking a lot of influence from trash, the metalcore tag may be a bit misleading, as the only real element taken from hardcore is the style of breakdown used. Most of the stylistic choices lie in heavy thrash, and the vocals often feature big melodic lines evident in heavy metal bands like Armored Saint. The most famous example of more modern metalcore is All That Remains‘ “This Calling”:
Soon after metalcore’s rise, deathcore began to brew. Take out the melodic vocals, make the sound a bit heavier and use more extreme breakdowns and you’ve transformed regular metalcore into deathcore. Bands such as The Acacia Strain, Caliban, The Red Chord, Animosity and Job For a Cowboy are known as some of the first true deathcore bands. To get a taste of an archetypal deathcore song, check out The Acacia Strain’s “Angry Mob Justice”:
Nowadays, though, bands are breaking these boundaries. Act such as The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, Cephalic Carnage, Job For a Cowboy and Brain Drill have completely shattered the mold for these genres. This has been a much needed change for the metal scene since many separate sub-genres began drawing lines in the sand because, really, many of these bands aren’t that different at their core”they’re all just looking to have a good time by making extreme music people want to move to.
It’s hard to imagine a band that goes by the name of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza would make ordinary music. Luckily, TDTDE push the envelope. Straight out of the heart of Tennessee, the band has created a unique signature sound using grindcore grooves, deathcore breakdowns, face grinding guitar riffs and hokey song topics”all of which are in full force on Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events.
If you’ve heard any Danza songs from their last album, Danza II: Electric Boogaloo, you will experience a similarly visceral assault with Danza III. In addition to the chaotic writing on the album, the production and soundscape really brings the beast to life. Every single bass drum hit done by Mike Bradley feels like a kick to the chest, every snare shot sounds like a rifle, it’s tough to keep your heart rate low. Combine that with the shrill, angular guitar parts played by Josh Travis and the raucous bellows of Jessie Freeland, and you’ve captured the essence of rage and adrenaline in audio form.
The lyrics on the album are based on unfortunate events (whether political, social, personal or otherwise) and the musical mood of the album appropriately corresponds. TDTDE do not plead their case with Danza III, there is no pussy-footing about. Instead, they impose their will with such vehemence and force even the most iron-willed of people have no choice but to succumb. From song to song, the listener experiences an aural bludgeoning until finally, when the album has come to a close, the listener feels like they have truly been victim of some sort of unfortunate event. The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza have truly transcended any box they could have been placed in, and created what will surely be one of the most chaotic and interesting listening experiences of 2010.
Track picks: “12.21.12” and “A Trail of Tears” (though truthfully, every track on this album is single-worthy)