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Insatia‘s energetic, melodic and sophisticated Phoenix Aflame is turning heads in the power metal scene. This is a band on the rise. From the soaring declaration of guilt in “Act Of Mercy” to the formidable march of “We Are The Grey”, this band show that symphonic metal can be all-embracing to different facets of life while still keeping in line with the love for the dramatic that is a key to the genre.

Today we are happy to welcome vocalist Zoë Marie Federoff to this edition of our new Formative Years column with her selections of five albums that changed her life. But first you should also see the band’s video for “Memory Of A Sapphire”!

Now that you have been rocked, for Zoe’s album picks see BELOW.

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Photo by Jeremy Saffer

Shattered Sun became a thrash band we loved after vocalist Marcos Leal sold us on his passion for thrashin’ during an interview with Metal Riot a few years ago. We knew we had to keep an eye on this bunch. Now after a lot of growth and touring the band are back with The Evolution of Anger next month (Pre Order HERE).

Marcos stops by again today to participate in our new formative years column with five records that changed his own life, as surely as his own band has made a difference for someone from a new generation. Check out his picks and Shattered Sun’s new video for “Burn It Down” BELOW!

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The first time I heard Drug Honkey was almost a decade ago now! It stuck out from a pile of boring emo-goth promo cds like a cancerous growth – Death Dub. ‘WTF is this?’, I thought. I took the cdr home from my then editor’s apartment and soon was lost in a swirl of cacophony and acidic rage amidst a Scorn-like clatter of urban blight and very cool, weird atmosphere. The vocals sounded like they were sung by a demon punching up through concrete but the music was both smothering and spacious. Fuck yeah!

I remember thinking how cool it was that there were still some underground bands who took the lessons of Godflesh to heart that you can do something outside the template of what is standard metal and add some punk freedom into the recipe to create a unique experience. This was a nightmarish but addictive sound and perfect with a spliff for those already halfway into an existential crisis who figure, ‘Fuck it, let’s go full bore.’

Cue 2017 and the band are still around and getting better reviews, and deservedly so, than ever for new album Cloak Of Skies on the label Transcending Obscurity. Cloak of Skies boasts seven tracks, including a remix by the legendary Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and a guest saxophone feature from Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles). Cover art was hand-painted by renowned artist Paulo Girardi (Inquisition, Power Trip).

Let’s catch up with Paul Gillis and learn more about this current era of a long running project who do things their own way! Read it BELOW.

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Interview: Dying Fetus are the wrong ones to fuck with

Posted by longhairedpoet on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 5:18 PM (PST)

Photo by Josh Sisk

I was introduced to Dying Fetus through “Homicidal Retribution,” a track off the band’s 2007 release War of Attrition. By the time the line “You are fucking worthless, I don’t give a fuck about you!!” was growled out, I knew I was a fan. Now, ten years later the band returns again with their 8th studio album, which promises to smash faces and beat in skulls.

Ahead of the album’s impending release on June 23 via Relapse Records, I had the chance to talk with Dying Fetus drummer Trey Williams about Wrong One To Fuck With.

Check out the full interview here.

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Formative Years: 5 album picks – 3. LAGO’s Cole Jabobsen

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 9:44 PM (PST)

Everyone has records that first got them into rock n roll, metal, rap, smooth jazz or whatever. Formative Years is our new feature delving into the brains of various people in the scene to see what made them choose the realm of music as a focus. Jason from IKILLYA did one HERE and I also kicked it off HERE, and we have more cool artists to come in the future. Really this seed was planted by me interviewing Kayla from Witch Mountain awhile ago about her vocal influences, one of the posts that we sadly lost when we were hacked and lost almost a year of content recently. But in memory of that awesomeness we have made a whole ongoing thing out of influences in general, so thanks Kayla!

Anyhow, this round we have the one and only Mr. Cole Jacobsen of Arizona death metallers Lago. They’ve been one of my very favorite up and coming extreme metal bands ever since I first heard them, just nailing all the right components that makes death metal unkillable.  Peep their recent split with mighty Calm Hatchery HERE (you will fucking thank me later if you aren’t throttled to a pulp).

Check out Cole’s choices for albums that inspired him as a young rager BELOW and stay tuned for big things from this band in the future.

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Interview: Beastmaker – Inside The Skull with Trevor Church

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 11:25 AM (PST)

Photo by Ester Segarra

“I enjoy writing songs so much that even my shitty songs are meaningful and important to me.” – Trevor Church

I was going to go jogging today but actually ate so many chickpeas trying to re submerge into healthier dieting that I feel like I may puke. That could also be because I had a bunch of Prosecco with the chickpeas but anyway, to make a long story short I am instead lying in bed guilt listening to the first Carnivore record (remastered and expanded soon for a Metalville re-issue, incidentally).

Anyhow, a few weeks ago I was eternally cucked when I had to miss Beastmaker, Geezer and friggin’ Black Sabbath at Gramercy at the last minute. All I can do is wallow beneath the dripping head of a vaguely familiar looking demagogue that Kathy Griffin was waving around yesterday and pray that if I lap up some of the droplets of falling gore that my metal points will rise again like a health meter in some early 90’s side scrolling fighting game. But wait, the Gods of metal have intervened and today brings a chance to redeem myself by sharing with you the good news of Beastmaker’s crushing new opus Inside The Skull ! 

Songs like “Evil One” and “Now Howls The Beast” not only deliver everything a true metal fan could want in a song, but will also be sure to appease fans of the band’s cool earlier songs.

Read more BELOW.

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IKILLYA‘s star is deservedly rising after considerable effort in the trenches of trashitude. With the band about to drop new album War For An Idea, I caught up with my friend Jason (vocals) and asked him five records that shaped why he has chosen the path of metal devotion. This is the second of our new “Formative Years” column (I did the first one here if you care). Jason’s rad picks (he settled on six) as well as the band’s top notch thrash-core clip for IKILLYA’s “Betray Your Creator” (RIYL Lamb of God, Byzantine, Testament) are below.

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First, let me start by saying props to Toilet Ov Hell for calling Sweden’s Shining what they have become…‘edge lords’. I’ll give credit there for the inspiration for the title of this article, because it made me laugh. Niklas Kvarforth makes some bad ass music but has always kind of been a black metal poor man’s GG Allin. It’s been done before and that route of “shock” rock antics is, well…kinda tacky and frankly, basic. Dude’s brilliant music is completely cheapened by this shit, like getting clicks by doing obnoxious shit and then saying people are “pussies” if they roll their eyes or that they are like, ‘bound to the norms of a society you despise’ or some black metal shite. Cool story, bro. Grow the fuck up. At least Kvarforth also supports some pretty anti-social rap whereas a lot of black metal people would just be bigots and call the rappers savages while then using basically the same kind of language against women you find in the most sexist rap, for example.

Many years ago in my early twenties I was kicked out of CBGB once very trashed for throwing chairs at the audience and fighting the sound guy on stage after drinking most of a bottle of I don’t even remember what. Some of this was documented in an article in the porn/music mag Screw Magazine, which was amazing…but I was still a jerk. And I am told I was spitting in the face of Josh Eppard, my drummer at the time, for having worked once for a local police benevolent association. Ridiculous shit. Then we got beer bottles thrown at us meant for me that whizzed instead by Josh’s head barely missing him. I can’t blame dude for having quit the band after that. I think I thought I had to be a maniac to compete with the punk legacy of the place but in hindsight, I was a total asshole and could have hurt someone. WTF is so cool about alienating people who might actually support your cause?

More BELOW.

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photo by Megan Thomas

Blah Blah Blah. New feature around here henceforth shall be talking to an artist about five records that were very important to them as they grew their first baby bat wings. Since it is 7:50 AM and I can’t just magically have answers from Ola Englund or Scott Hull in my back pocket moments after conceiving this column, I will go first myself to kick off this edition.

As some of you know, I not only do the majority of heavy lifting around here for Metalriot.com but have also been a singer for over 20 years in the Hudson Valley, NY region. We have had many bands and musicians come from or settle here. Coheed, one of the dudes from Bask, Shai Hulud (originally from Florida, I know), All Out War, Nightmares For A Week, Three, Pitchfork Militia, Geezer, Diet Cig, Casting Ships, Painmask, Clover, Shadow Witch. Even one time pretty big ska influenced bands like Perfect Thyroid and Conehead Buddha. Take your pick. There are a lot of ’em old and new.

A great part of growing up here was being immersed in a deep well of creativity so close to Woodstock, NY and many varied tastes. You also were close to the Albany and Poughkeepsie hardcore scenes and a lot more. I am currently focused on my solo/collaborative work as Walking Bombs , which allows me to do whatever genres I wish with various friends or solo. The next wave of material is gonna up the ante on some of the punk and sludge/grunge influences, but I just released an album called Brave Hours that is more on the alt rock/post-punk side. I also used to sing for many other bands from Fuse to Divest to Pontius Pilate Sales Pitch and Antidote 8, to name a few.

Some of you know me. Others don’t. Perhaps you might find it interesting to know some records that inspired me to do what I do everyday. Don’t fret. I will find some more famous people for future entries, hahaha.

More Below.

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Deep Cuts: Marilyn Manson

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 6:02 PM (PST)

 

I’d bet cash that many of the people who are appalled that Antifa and Berkeley students wanted to protest Anne Coulter and Milo Nambla-palooza have someone in their family who prob was very up in arms when Marilyn Manson was touring Antichrist Superstar. And yes I know about the Nambla/Antifa story, which certainly is not the rule for every anti fascist. Unless you fucking believe #pizzagate, where every Democrat is a pedophile if they ordered pizza once. In which case I don’t know what to say other than… God speed. If you need me I’ll be over here trying to figure out the best way to remove my own rib so I can…nevermind.

See which MM songs made our Deep Cuts list out of many to choose from…BELOW.

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L-R: Sam Kiszka, Josh Kiszka, Danny Wagner, Jake Kiszka

A lot of bands can be like a family, functional or dysfunctional. The fans become extended family tree members through involvement and the branches grow. In the case of Michigan exports Greta Van Fleet, three members of the band are brothers! Talk about learning to share!

We recently interviewed hard rockers Paralandra who have a father / daughter team in the band and they manage to get along. I can’t imagine it is always easy for brothers, but the band certainly have a unified sense of energy to their classic rock influenced ear burners. Hey, it works for my cousins in Texas band Hawk Vs. Dove. People have been raving about GVF’s Black Smoke Rising, with comparisons to Led Zep and The Black Crowes coming to mind. That said, the guys are also set on making their own mark while drawing from the well of soul, rock and blues stomp of lore and yore.

Read more BELOW.

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Swedish doom band Below return with new Metal Blade release Upon A Pale Horse, an album that will land on you like ton of bricks yet carry you to heights of feeling usually reserved for metal classics at the same time. A more traditional heavy metal influence courses through the veins of this doom outfit than, say, death-doom or the currently all the rage alternative melodic metal/doom of Pallbearer (for example), but it is certainly as powerful in a different way.

In many ways it is terrific to hear a band who carry on and bolster the durability of classic time-honored metal forms, while finding endemic roads of their own amidst well tread riff lands. Below are one of the best bands Metal Blade has in their stable for fans of true metal, certainly no flavor of the week signing like some labels toss out these days to appeal to trends. This is just a cool and real group for die hard metal followers.

Zeb from Below took time out to fill me in on the new album, uh, BELOW.

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Watch List: Metal Riot top 15 up and coming acts for 2017

Posted by Metal Riot on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 4:07 PM (PST)

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Thought it would be cool today to compile a list for you of the best 15 bands we feel who are on the way up and are on the verge of or already doing incredible things for the metal, rock, industrial , punk or underground community in general. The criteria is that they can only have up to two albums out under the project name, thus some pretty important bands like, for example, Incendiary, Oathbreaker , Auroch, Yellow Eyes or Junius alas at this point have enough releases to not be considered as “new”.  This list is a matter of opinion based on bands we feel are making great work, big waves and/or changing things for the better! It also aims to cover a wide variety, so you will not find all fifteen as death metal bands because that would not be representative of the scene as a whole.

The list contains new faces, old friends in very new projects and more. The fact that most of the choices ended up American bands was not intentional, just who is exciting us the most right now. It is all about great music and people who don’t have that many albums under their belt yet for the amount of buzz they are getting for the band (haha, Gridfailure would be on here but Dave already is cranking out releases by the boatload, for example) as well as the power of their accomplishments.

Anyhow, with no further ado, let’s focus on some positive movers and shakers here in the now frontier.

More BELOW.

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In the microcosm of friends that I live in there are many women coming together to support and exalt one another in the arts. This is a marked shift from what you see in pop culture which is women competing with one another, exploiting their selves and each other for success, and approval from our patriarchal culture. – Sera Timms

Ides Of Gemini are one of the more deserving bands in the underground, always searching for both revelatory experiences and the breaking of new ground within their art. While the band have benefited from strong support from major players within the scene, from early support from Neurot to a tour with Ghost to finding a new coveted home with Rise Above Records, the band have also faced their share of setbacks that have forced their momentum to sort of develop via ebb, flow and word of mouth despite their hard work. Original drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson incurred a career-threatening injury while on tour in the US in 2015, causing founding members J. Bennett and vocalist (and then-bassist) Sera Timms to reassess their next move. After enlisting Scott Batiste of Saviours as a stand-in drummer for a short West Coast tour, things clicked and Scott soon became a permanent member. The band then expanded to a quartet for the first time, as Sera relinquished her bass-playing duties to newcomer Adam Murray.

The band have never shied away from making their own path and now return with an album called Women, a simple celebration and study of the sacred feminine perfect for these times when the President sexualizes his own daughter while cutting off all funding to UN Family planning or when just the other day one of the premiere and most dedicated writers in metal – who happens to be female – was attacked deplorably by a site for having a disability . It is great to see some bold art from a band that is far more respectful and also features a woman in a primary – not token/ fashion appendage – role. Sera’s drifting vocals on the hook of new song “Mother Kiev” are positively consuming yet far from predictable, while many still gush about the band’s bold recent take on “Strange Fruit” as a doom dirge. You can hear a mid tempo new track “The Rose” now at Cvlt Nation.

Women is produced by the talented Sanford Parker and features guest appearances from Tara Connelly of Clay Rendering (on Queen Of New Orleans) and Marriages and solo singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle (on She Has A Secret), a personal favorite of mine. Nicola Samori’s cover art looks like something out of a museum, delicate and yet strong and romantic despite being interpretively marred by a partial smear. But perhaps that is up to the viewer or listener to decipher if the art or songs indicate damage, obscurity or survival.

Read my latest interview with the band, this time with vocalist Sera Timms, below.

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Interview: Gridfailure – Hostile Ambient Takeover

Posted by Metal Riot on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 2:02 PM (PST)

Gridfailure is one of our favorite current projects out there in the extreme musical weirdo multiverse, the experimental and totally mental brainchild of scene lifer Dave Brenner (ex-Theologian, ex-Heidnik) .  Since May of 2016 Brenner has already released two albums, a split with Never Presence Forever and several collaborative releases with even more on the horizon! There is really no rule book, which makes this one of the more exciting acts to follow currently.

The latest Gridfailure release Hostile Alchemy features guest contributions from a wide cast of allies including Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm), Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, ex-Melvins), Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Abigail Williams, Chrome Waves), Faith Ciavarella, Pete Tsakiris, Benjamin Levitt (Megalophobe), Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes), Alexei Korolev (The Company Corvette), and more. Some sections of the album sound like listening to distant jazz while drowning in a swamp, the hallucinations mounting as oxygen is cut off to the brain and you fade to black. Other songs are like the half remembered film score from a two week old nightmare you haven’t been able to shake off. This is probably the music that Morlocks in the X-Men universe screw to by candlelight in the sewers beneath the underbelly of New York City.

“As Gridfailure was spawned from creating horror music, the underlying themes of terror and impending harm are always going to be there,” Brenner says.

Read more below.

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