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Today Myrkur‘s Amalie Bruun joins forces with renowned multi-instrumentalist Anna von Hausswolff to reimagine Björk’s classic, “All Is Full of Love”. Bruun comments, “From our homes in Denmark and Sweden we decided to record a simple, fragile and raw version of Björk’s “All Is Full of Love”. A song we consider to be one of the most beautiful and encouraging songs, that is a reminder to stay open to receive love even in times like these.”

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On Wednesday, June 3rd, Killswitch Engage – Adam Dutkiewicz [guitar], Joel Stroetzel [guitar], Mike D’Antonio [bass], Justin Foley [drums], and Jesse Leach [vocals] – began posting an array of pictures from their history to the band’s official Instagram feed: https://instagram.com/killswitchengage/. The band wiped its Instagram page clean and proceeded to share one image per year per day, starting with 1999 and going through 2019. It was a mere hint of what was to come.

Today, June 23rd, Killswitch Engage unveil a comprehensive and in-depth 20-year timeline that documents so many of the band’s memorable career milestones and storied history, with plenty of captivating images. The clickable, scroll-through timeline boasts flyers from early shows, live shots from festival appearances, and fan tattoos. It also traces major tours, video shoots, album releases, Grammy nominations, lineup changes, and beyond. The timeline functions as a digital museum that effectively tells the complete Killswitch Engage story.

The timeline was created specifically for Killswitch Engage fans to enjoy and to reminisce.

View the entire timeline on the band’s official website: http://www.killswitchengage.com/timeline

“I’ll never forget when we first started touring and I had to quit my day job to give it a go,” recalls Adam D. “I remember thinking, ‘Just try it for a year, that way you’ll have no regrets when it doesn’t work out, and you can go find a new job.’ 20-plus years later, here we are, and it’s been an amazing ride. I’m so grateful to our fans for letting us continue to do this…THANK YOU, KsE FANS EVERYWHERE!!!”

“It’s hard to believe KsE has been going for so long,” says Stroetzel. “We’re gettin’ old! We hope you all enjoy the photos, as they have definitely brought back a lot of memories for us! It seems like only yesterday we were playing VFW halls in Western Mass and rehearsing in my parents’ basement!”

D’Antonio says, “Looking back at what KsE has seen and done in 20 years is nothing short of mind-blowing to me. How a little band from Massachusetts could tour the world for this long is beyond me. A lifetime of exciting moments and amazing memories…I would not trade it for the world.”

Today, Killswitch Engage are also launching their Retro merch line, where they will be offering new takes on classic Killswitch Engage designs in limited edition quantities. The initial offerings from the Killswitch Engage Retro Collection include designs from the Alive Or Just Breathing and As Daylight Dies album cycles. You can preorder the Retro designs here: https://killswitchengage.merchcentral.com/collections/retro-collection

Overall, it’s been an eventful 20 years for Killswitch Engage.

Recently recognized by Forbes as “one of modern metal’s most cherished acts,” Killswitch Engage first shook the structure of heavy music upon climbing out of snowy industrialized Western Massachusetts in 1999. The band pioneered a DNA-distinct and oft-imitated style, fusing thrashed-out European guitar pyrotechnics, East Coast hardcore spirit, on-stage hijinks, and enlightened lyricism that set the pace for what the turn-of-the-century deemed heavy.

2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing, which followed an attention-getting, self-titled debut, earned its reputation as a definitive album and was named among “The Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade” by Decibel and celebrated by everyone from Metal Hammer to Revolver. Original singer Jesse Leach departed the band in 2002 and was replaced by Howard Jones, who would front the band until Leach’s return in 2012.

Along the way, Killswitch Engage have garnered three GRAMMY®Award nominations in the category of “Best Metal Performance” in 2005, 2014, and 2020. They’ve received gold certifications for The End Of Heartache [2004] and As Daylight Dies [2006]. The group landed three consecutive Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top 200 with Killswitch Engage [2009], Disarm The Descent [2013], and their career high best bow at #6 with Incarnate [2016]. The latter two releases would also both capture #1 on the Top Rock Albums and Top Hard Rock Albums charts. Their total streams have exceeded half-a-billion to date. Along the way, the band has shared stages with some of the biggest acts in the world and have sold out countless headline gigs in six continents across the globe. Their eighth full-length Atonement debuted #2 on the Billboard Top Album chart, #13 on the Billboard Top 200, and once again #1 on both the Top Rock and Hard Rock Album charts.

Killswitch Engage have spent most of their career on the road, sharing stages with Iron Maiden, Slayer, Mastodon, Slipknot, and more. They’ve appeared as a featured attraction at OZZFest, Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, Taste Of Chaos (with My Chemical Romance), Warped Tour, and more.

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REVOLUTION, THE ONLY SOLUTION!!!

In which the now Trump bootlicking drummer of System Of A Down betrays all their material and tells me that Black Lives Matter are the same as the Brown Shirts. Serj Tankian, fuck this clown already. John Dolmayan (aka BYOBootlicker, my new name for him) has truly lost it. Ok, so every other basic armchair expert loves to say the “DemonCRats are thE reAl fashitz” yet COMPLETELY IGNORE the GOP SOUTHERN STRATEGY, but calling BLACK LIVES MATTER the new Brown Shirts is beyond revolting gaslighting. When I interviewed him years ago he was going through a McDonalds drive through. Not exactly ‘woke’ or helpful to the message.

John seems like a Seventh Kavalry Qanon moron who Ayn Rand and Steve Ditko spawned at a Nu Metal bakesale. What a god damn letdown! How fucking sad too that John has compared people fighting for freedom to not be MURDERED BY POLICE BRUTALITY to Hitler’s god damn Sturmabteilung ! While your band stood for the recognition of a covered up genocide you now spread HIDEOUS RACIST FALSE EQUIVALENCY! Fuck Off.

What happened to ,”Pushing little children with their fully automatics…”?

Serj, Daron, Shavo…fire this asshole or get him an intervention like YESTERDAY! For the love of God! Is this why you guys have been sorely needed as a band but haven’t released an album in forever? Just to humor this clown?!! Heartbreaking. One of the best political bands ever totally derailed by one member’s mind destroyed by money and conspiracy drivel. This is even worse than Korn jamming with utter homophobe Mike Huckabee. Seriously, WTF are you guys doing?!! Read the fucking room.

Seriously John, go P.L.U.C.K. yourself.

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Album Review: Cro-Mags – ‘In The Beginning’

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Friday, June 19, 2020 at 9:14 AM (PST)

Cro-Mags have one of the more turbulent legacies in hardcore and currently are ripped in half into two bands who each fairly have a serious karmic claim to aspects of the legacy. While Harley Flanagan owns the name now and . Let’s get this straight – In The Beginning is a more than admirable hardcore record full of plenty of aggro, solid moments and pit worthy consistency. To his credit, it is clear Harley didn’t just dial it in at all. He also made sure great people were attached to this era, from Rocky George (who steals the entire show with ease) to Phil Campbell’s cameo energy. Gabby also kicked a lot of ass. It sounds great mix wise and the performances range from on point to totally killer.

On the album’s artwork, Flanagan explains, “The front of the album is my old building I used to live in, called ‘C Squat’ where I wrote most of the music for 1986’s Age Of Quarrel album. The rear of the record shows me looking down at the site where the building once stood, essentially, it’s me looking at my past and where everything began.” I love the LES and C Squat makes me think of getting heroin spritzed out a needle up my literal nostril and then seeing Choking Victim in the basement while people urinated down an orange traffic cone. Damn, my life is somewhat different now.

The title of the record is honestly a big distraction for me, seeming like less of a PMA statement and more a troll reminder of who founded the band (although I am not tone policing dude on the things he is cynical about). It also is because I am a huge Mercyful Fate fan and The Beginning is a compilation album released in 1987 consisting of the Nuns Have No Fun EP and different versions of 4 tracks from the album Melissa. I know it is nitpicky and corny to note that and that neither this album or The Beginning are the most imaginative titles, but I don’t like thinking of other art when I am trying to concentrate on what is in front of me.

“PTSD” is a standout track, just about anything you might want in a Cro-Mags song present. That is good and bad. “Don’t Give In”, while also kicking ass, has almost the exact same development from a classic pace-setting slower intro to a growling, faster remainder. It is good but kind of makes you want to just listen to “We Gotta Know”. Or does it? Am I biased because Cro-Mags have a smaller discography than The Ramones? Plenty of Ramones songs sound similar and I love them all. Lots of elbow swinging, two-stepping mid tempo classic reminiscent moments to experience are present (or re-experience if you are an old fan) in a new chapter here.

While there is power in a lot of this, it also feels like an homage to bygone days. Still, he has way more of a right to that than half the new jack bands copying actual old school artists personal creative contributions and aesthetics but then acting as if they are hotter shit. No. Your new school band will never be Cro-Mags, Judge or Chain Of Strength. Stay motivated and do your thing, but don’t get it fuckin’ twisted and pay your respects, kids. “No One’s Victim” has some cool dissonance for the intro that I liked, before setting up an elbow swinging march sprinkled with mandatory lead guitar widdlies.

I guess I will just come out and say it. John Joseph and Mackie Jayson on board as well would have made this so much more fucking awesome. Harley did an admirable, great job holding the vocals but he isn’t a frontman and singer like John. The songs are cool but would’ve been cooler. Mackie is untouchably good. No contest. You can’t expect people to just forget knife fights and court shit or whatever you believe, but after the triumphant majority of Misfits (don’t forget poor Googy) and Guns N’ Roses (sans Stradlin) reunions of recent times, it is impossible to hear this and not also notice the missing elements in the room unless you are cave man headbanging so hard it doesn’t matter. One love and pma to all of these people, all of whom have profoundly influenced my life. It just makes me sad.

Listening to the strong closer “There Was A Time” (also a song name on Chinese Democracy, ha) I think this record is overwhelmingly well meaning and has a ton of real energy to it. I would never want to take away from that. It is admirable Harley went so hard and wrote so many songs for this, not ceding an inch of passion. Along with the new Body Count record, it is great to hear vets of the scene still give their all and not lose their beliefs. Sometimes survival is about being thankful for the good aspects and reality of the situation we have, not what we wish was different. In that paradigm, let’s be thankful we can still hear any of these musicians at all and support whichever version of the band (or both) and try and keep ahead of our collective societal demons, y’all.

Album Review: Protest The Hero – “Palimpsest”

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 7:44 AM (PST)

Today is a huge day for prog/metal/screamo fans as Protest The Hero release what may one day prove to be their crown jewel, Palimpsest. Moved up a day to honor Juneteenth, the record is simply awesome (but there is little “simple” about it). First off, the Derya Nagle production on this record is the best the band has ever sounded. No shade on their other excellent albums but this is the best balance of a mix I have ever heard for this complicated act (“Gardenias” is a barreling rollercoaster that a less deft hand could have quickly derailed with a less sophisticated ear). The songwriting is also next level, even for a band known for mind boggling and death defying arrangements.

This album features the showmanship paired with connective tissue heartfelt and relatable lyrics meets extreme concepts the band is known for, but much of this album is firmly rooted in current problems in society more than ever before. Themes of real populism versus the fool’s gold peddled by Trump to his wrestling mark cult are peppered throughout this record. Art like this more prominent in the public discourse would actually make us great again. Rody Walker singing ,“I’m dreaming of a life I can’t afford” on the all-killer “All Hands” is relatable to almost anyone.

Elsewhere “The Fireside” lampoons people who take for granted their privilege over an exhausting (in a good way) series of musical gymnastics and school essay length lyrics that would make “Masters of War” seem like cliff notes.  “I’ve got a job for every able-bodied man/Munition factories for women and children/And all we needed was a reason/And you gave us one, gave us one,” calls to mind Eugene Jarecki’s Why We Fight military industrial complex skewering documentary from the early 00’s and makes me wonder why we STILL haven’t invested more in sustainable energy jobs for common folks instead of still jacking off weapons manufacturers and supplying them with endless worker ants. “Mountainside” and “Hillside” break things up as beautiful interludes that sort of stir a patriotic longing for a non-nationalistic blindfold, eyes open to see this country for warts and all rather than false idol worship.

“The Canary” is a triumph of a single and within the scheme of the album itself. The flow and style recalls their earliest Kezia days manic and earnest, poetic decrees paired with their maturity and widened world lens.

“I was named after my grandmothers in the tradition of my family/I was born after my stillborn sister
Romantic idealistic lies euphemize as fantasy /But the water always bursts first from the blister.”

Breathtaking. It is more important than ever to actually sing about meaningful shit and not just murdering women or other stupid things in metal. Our world is crying out.

Band Spotlight: Warbringer

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 6:25 PM (PST)

California thrash upstarts Warbringer have returned to settle the score and cement their long term legacy fully with sixth album Weapons of Tomorrow. “Firepower Kills” probably ought to open all their future shows, just a complete stage setter for chaos. “Crushed Beneath The Tracks” and “Power Unsurpassed” in particular show this band would have ruled 1988 with ease and contain maximum neck injuring/ fist pumping potential (along with notable Slayer-worthy wraith shrieking). I am not 100% on the semi-thin snare sound but it hardly distracts the band’s performances are all monstrous on this bad boy. Exodus, Annihilator fans or of course fans of more new school speed thrash bands should get all over this one. \m/

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Enchantya are a progressive, gothic metal group from Portugal who have been growing their fan base and making a mark on the world scene. “Mother Hope”, their latest single, is a rallying cry to remember our common humanity and to not abandon our principles or forget the fragility of our shared ecosystems. In other words, this is just the song for 2020 and great to have come out of a genre that people often just associate with death worship. Enchantya is so much more than that.

It was an honor to communicate with their vocalist Rute about her band’s coping skills during Covid-19, her musical background, the metal scene in Portugal and how she is keeping hope alive with the band and fans during this time.

Read more BELOW.

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Ensiferum release ‘Andromeda’ OFFICIAL VIDEO

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 9:42 AM (PST)

Finnish metallers Ensiferum have a new video out directed by Vesa Ranta and recorded on Rankki Island, Finland. The song “Andromeda” begins by warning of being too prideful as the band fire into their beloved melodic death metal influenced folk metal hybrid sound. I really enjoyed the chorus section of this song and the end when the energy really picks up.

The biggest difference separating new album Thalassic from the rest of Ensiferum’s catalogue comes from the fact that it’s the first of their albums to be built around a theme.

“The idea of it started to brew in my mind when I was doing interviews for ‘Two Paths’ and many journalists asked if it was a theme album, and I noticed that I was answering all the time that because of the way we compose it’s almost impossible to make a theme album. This really started to piss me off and the decision was made: the next album would have a theme. At that time, we already had a few songs almost ready for the next album, and I started to listen to the demos much more from the feeling aspect instead of analyzing them musically. For some reason, all of them took me to a seashore, and the theme was found: something related to sea or water. So I started to read about history, myths and legend around the world that had something to do with the theme, but even though all of the lyrics are obviously inspired by this, I tried my best to keep Ensiferum’s heroic mentality in them. In the end, there were too many ideas for lyrics, because I didn’t set myself any boundaries – like all stories would have to be Nordic, etc, and one of my favourite songs on the album tells about Andromeda from Greek mythology. I can’t promise that this way of lyric-writing will be the future of Ensiferum, but at least we did this once.” – Sami Hinkka

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Valkyrie will return in 2020 after five years since their last record. Newest track “The Choice” is pure classic metal influenced ear candy to me, just riff after hummable riff like a perfect groove, mid temp ride out into a melodic pasture full of weird creatures as you contemplate your past with longing. The dual guitars and great, organic feel of this one is reminding me of the best work of The Sword, Slough Feg and even a little Blue Oyster Cult “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”. This song is absolutely on my wavelength.

The Virginia based band will release Fear via Relapse on July 24th.

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Hellenic black metal masters VARATHRON will release their 30th anniversary live album titled Glorification Under The Latin Moon on September 25th via Agonia Records.

Recorded in its entirety on August 4th, 2019 in São Paulo (Brazil) during the final show of VARATHRON’s “30 Years Of Darkness Tour”, the historic setlist boasts some of the band’s finest compositions, from 1988 and beyond, most notably including the entirety of classic His Majesty At The Swamp from 1993, to most recent songs, taken from the acclaimed Patriarchs Of Evil album, which made it to an awful lot of year-end lists in 2018.

VARATHRON had this to say about its first live album since its 1988 inception: “During these weird and uncertain days we wish to all our friends, brothers and sisters health and better days to come. In recent years we had the chance to meet wonderful people! We are happy to share with you some important news specially dedicated to you, our supporters and friends: we present to you our new – first time ever – live album! ‘Glorification Under The Latin Moon’ was recorded in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the last show of our 2019 adventure in South America. The album includes a historic setlist with songs since 1988, our latest opus ‘Patriarchs Of Evil’ and ‘His Majesty At The Swamp’ in its entirety. The show was organized by our tour manager and friend Robson Calura and Storm Productions. Lots of thanks to every photographer, engineer and organizer who helped us create something truly special!

Tracklist BELOW.

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“Say a prayer for humanity/lost in the halls of insanity”. That lyric could be a timeless folk song, but is delivered with power metal confidence and melodic warrior muster on Greyhawk‘s excellent album Keepers Of The Flame (out today)!

Rev Taylor (vox) leads this company of Seattle metal adventurers boldly forth to visit new realms (no, not CHAZ). Taylor’s voice reminds me slightly of the full chested confidence of singers such as Matt Barlow or Blaze Bayley. This group is potent and expresses their Blind Guardian, Dio and Hammerfall compatible charm with the ease of a roguish grin. Fighter Records made a wise choice with this band!

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After a number of years absence that left fans wondering if we would ever hear Sister Sin again, the Swedish rockers have returned to pump us up with blazing rock n roll glory. The band performed a Raw & Mean From Rehearsal live stream over this past weekend and it was epic to hear their underground, fiery anthems again. Liv Sin has stayed busy with her Burning Sermons album and solo band but many people have also missed the rowdy and bar room brawl ready Sister Sin songs. It was killer to hear “24/7” kick off the set (about an hour into the video below) and feel the adrenaline build! Will more be forthcoming? I don’t know, but this was one of the best things to happen yet in 2020 for rock fans.

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The Contortionist frontman Michael Lessard has released a new single and music video today titled “Use The Rest,” his first solo debut. The music video, directed by Lessard himself, is an emotional ride through a dynamic dreamscape that doesn’t exactly end where it begins. “I’m beyond excited to announce the release of my debut song to the world!” says Lessard. “I’ve worked very hard to make a song and video that I thought would be the best representation of what is to come.”

When asked about the possibility of new music, Michael states, “‘Use The Rest’ is the first of many singles/videos to be released. I’ve been lucky enough to team up with Good Fight Music, who have allowed me to build on the idea of creating standalone pieces of music and video for now. I look forward to sharing more music very soon!”

“Use The Rest” by Michael Lessard is available now on all streaming platforms via Good Fight Music. He also reassured fans online that new TC music is on the way in the future as well. This is all great news!

Months back Lessard also directed the clip for his band’s cover of the Pumpkins unabashed smash (see what I did there?) “1979”!

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OVERKILL/SHADOWS FALL’s drummer Jason Bittner has joined forces with guitarists Felipe Roa (SHADOWS FALL), Bobby Koeble (DEATH), and bassist Steve Di Giorgio (TESTAMENT, DEATH) to record a ‘quarantine jam’ video of DEATH‘s “Overactive Imagination” (above).

Jason Bittner wrote also a long accompanying message:
“Well there’s a bunch of explaining that goes along with this video and a history of sorts…….after the whole pandemic started, I contacted my longtime friend and former bandmate Felipe Roa (Shadows Fall touring guitarist after Jon joined Anthrax) to see if he wanted to do some “quarantine covers” and I proposed “Wake Up Dead” by Megadeth, and by now you have seen that one. At the time of discussion Felipe asked if I wanted to do a Death tune, knowing that they are one of my all-time fave bands as well as his, and we used to jam Death in soundchecks all the time. Initially my first reaction “ummmm, I don’t know if I want to do that much WORK, hahaha,” but as soon as he said “Overactive Imagination” I was in – I used to jam this song all the time in my formative years but I did wonder if I could still pull it off. After a couple days of shedding and trying to be 25 again, we had a completed drum track, which I even sent to my pals (former Death drummers) Richard Christy and Gene Hoglan for “approval”. Sean already gave me the green light from Heaven. At first we were just going to do it the two of us, but I had a plan. Here’s some crazy trivia – while I attended Berklee College of Music in the 80’s, I played in a band with Bobby Koeble and we actually recorded a few original songs wayyyyyy back in the late 80’s. Bobby later went on to join Death for the Symbolic album and still plays in Death to All. After not speaking for over 30 years I hit up Bobby, reconnected (which I’d been meaning to do for years) and asked him if he wanted to do this tune with us and he said yes right away. He asked who was playing bass and I told him Felipe probably would do that too………unless…….“Unless what? Unless I can get Steve to do it……So the next point was to contact my friend, and one of the greatest bass players out there, Mr. Steve DiGiorgio to see if this could be possible. At first Steve wasn’t’ sure if he could commit due to his many projects, so we actually asked our friend Bill Bodily (Ex- Toxik, Flotsam and Jetsam touring bassist) to do the bass since Steve wasn’t available. In the meantime, I had sent Steve the track after we put Bobby on it just to “make sure” he couldn’t do it. I had a feeling if Bobby committed, Steve would follow. A week later he did send his tracks, so first off THANK YOU to Steve for going above and beyond in such a quick and timely manner, and also to Bill for being our “backup”, sorry it didn’t work out – next time! So there you have it folks, we put a lot of work into this one because we absolutely love this band in every incarnation, and I am proud to say that I am friends with a lot of the people who have played in their ranks so…….so this one goes out to……Terry Butler, James Murphy, Richard Christy, and Gene Hoglan. Lastly, a moment to remember past members Scott Clendenin, my former bandmate and friend Ralph Santolla, my longtime friend and mentor Sean Reinert, and lastly the one and only Chuck Schuldiner for being one of the greatest songwriters to ever grace the Metal world!! Enjoy and share!!”

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Falconer releases “Kings And Queens”

Posted by Morgan Y Evans - Walking Bombs on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at 9:16 AM (PST)

Epic metal force Falconer return! On June 26th, the Swedish power folk metal warriors will release their new album, From A Dying Ember, via Metal Blade Records. For a preview of From A Dying Ember, the new single, “Kings and Queens”

From the beginning, the band planned not to perform often live (their final tour date was at ProgPower USA in Atlanta, GA in 2015). After retiring from the stage five years ago, the band took some time off before writing a new album.

Stefan Weinerhall (guitar) comments: “Finally, we got the chance to incorporate some keyed fiddle and bagpipe into the music – something that has always been a wish from us, just to get that extra medieval and folky feel to it. In that time, we also wrote the most intense ballad ever, which turned out to be ‘Rejoice The Adorned’ – only featuring piano, keys and strings.”

Mixed and mastered by Andy LaRocque, From A Dying Ember was also recorded at LaRocque’s Sonic Train Studio. Stefan concludes: “To sum the album up, we can say that From A Dying Ember’has some things that really stand out from a usual Falconer album. A lot of things happening and more elements to the music than ever before!”

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