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Music creates different reactions in different people. Different strokes to rule the world, so to speak. Heavy music is just as divided over sub genres as indie rock or electronic or rap. Some people only like death metal or prog or love or hate metalcore. Don’t even get me started on how many styles of punk people like to bicker over.

Writing is a bit more matter of fact. Stripped of the noise of guitar or screams, words alone can invite in or dissuade anyone. Whether you are a fan of singer Mike Hranica’s very popular band The Devil Wears Prada or not, I’d strongly suggest anyone read his new book Three Dots & The Guilt Machine. Order it HERE.

Mostly poetry or reflections on travel, faces met along the way or the numbing or raw feeling filled clamor of the modern world, the book is really, really good. It is probably my favorite thing Mike has actually had his name attached to, though I am a big fan of his band’s fifth record 8:18.

It was nice to have a very mellow phone chat with Mike about the five year process of making this book, wrestling with incomplete work as well as what to keep personal, the power of memory and some additional discussion of his band’s recent conceptual Space EP. Check it out BELOW.

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Interview: Skindred – Volume, Volume, VOLUME!!!

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at 4:53 AM (PST)

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I think a lot of people are lazy & happy to sit back. There wasn’t such a
thing as a Laissez-faire attitude when we were cavemen. We have to be more
proactive as a society. – Mikey Demus

Skindred have always had their own thing goin’ on, an unstoppable mash of reggae, punk, metal, dancehall and anarchy. The band slay almost every band I an think of live. You can literally throw them on almost any bill and even if someone wasn’t a fan of the style they would be hard pressed to not admit the band kicked their ass and gave 100%.

Volume is the latest from the hard working group, via Napalm Records, and Mikey Demus (guitars) fills us in on the latest Skindred molotov cocktail lobbed into the ears of the complacent BELOW.

 

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I’ve been really blessed this year, one of the most painful and shitty of my life from deaths to death threats, to do some of the most inspiring interviews of my career over the last few months, from Tearist to a recent chat with Killing Joke to this piece with Norway’s Shining. Jørgen Munkeby has taken the Blackjazz concept to new heights, literally. The fucking band of maniacs have made one of their best records yet with the brazenly fierce International Blackjazz Society but also recently shot a concert on Trolltunga, defying death and rocking out with a performance both historic and literally far above the limits most band are willing to go to.

It was very inspiring and enjoyable to speak with Munkeby on his new record, the evolution of jazz and metal’s uneasy alliance, Trolltunga, keeping warm huddling around burning churches, playing with Ihsahn and Melissa Auf der Mar and why you can’t give up if you have a shitty soundguy.

Read BELOW to ascend to Trolltunga with Shining !

 

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Especially when it is slower music, there has to be a feel there. You can’t
fake it. There’s just not enough notes in there to trick anybody otherwise. –
Mike Scheidt

Yob are heading out on a headliner with Black Cobra in tow as main support but with possibly the sickest batch of city to city support acts…ever?

It was a thrill to talk again with Mike Scheidt for the second time since writing for this site and recap their recent tour with Enslaved/Ecstatic Vision, why it is cooler when bands develop a unique sound and more.

Check out this chat with one of the best sonic artisans in Metal or music in general BELOW.

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Interview: Darkwalker – No sleep till Devar-Toi

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at 8:08 AM (PST)

DARKWALKER-The Wastelands

L.A.’s Darkwalker are a sun burnt, Gibson slingin’ stoner rock/grungy/doom band who have a chipped away for about ten years finding the right line up and chiseling away at the glorified axe worship on their wailing Basement Records debut The Wastelands. Serving as a crash course in Sabbath fandom with lyrics culled from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series for inspiration, this band is worth travelling with.

Read an interview with Derek from the band BELOW.

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Interview: Metatron talks The Wolves Of Avalon’s “Die Hard” 7″

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 10:52 AM (PST)

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The Wolves of Avalon is the embodiment of the ancient British spirit, a reflection of a time past and of an age now demolished by the modern chaos that has erupted between the many religious and political factions that poison the cultures of the Earth. – Metatron

 

The Meads of Asphodel mainman, Metatron, has returned with his pagan black metal project, The Wolves of Avalon, and an all star cover of Venom’s old school classic ‘Die Hard’ featuring Mantas himself, Amebix’s Rob Miller (now of Tau Cross), Primordial’s Alan Averill and Sigh’s Mirai!

To say that I was excited about this is bloody well an understatement. The grit and attack here is nearly unprecedented until you remember the dedication to metal of those involved. Moonlighters go home. This will flat out kill the unfaithful. Die hard!!! Orders for true warriors are available HERE.

 

Read BELOW to find out what is going on with the band in the future and the genesis of this killer 7″.

 

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I hate this mindset of human beings as human resources. It’s dehumanzing
terminology. Because people are SO important. We believe everybody is born
gifted. The life is the location of your God gift and the selfless execution
of your gift. The idea of personal sovereignty, that each and every one of us
can be King or Queen when we exercise our true will. Spiritually,
biologically, lovingly. – Jaz Coleman of Killing Joke.

I just saw the subversive as fuck Laetitia Sadier of legendary Stereolab
deliver a powerful yet so controlled set at a venue (the wonderful BSP Kingston) in my Upstate, NY city.
Always an activist in her music over the years, demanding and getting as much
attention from an audience or out of a subtle or quiet and poetic song as some
bands do through hollering, it was truly inspiring. One thing Sadier said in
her soft spoken but deep way at the show was how one of her songs “Find Me The
Pulse Of The Universe” was about how despite how small and perhaps immaterial
we may seem compared to the vast universe sometimes, we are all unique. She
brought real conviction to her show, whether discussing wealth disparity, how
it is good to nurture a long distance relationship in healthy ways if you
really love someone or pining for “glimpses of a world of pure thought that
few will ever know.”

Noise rock and post/punk or at times industrial metal legends Killing Joke
embody the idea of the unique personal and musical quest more than many other
bands combined, these same principles of fighting for actual creative and
human value that Sadier was espousing on stage in my town tonight. “New Cold
War” on brand spanking new rager Pylon is as relevant and emblematic of their
drive and style as anything in the group’s storied career (which dates back to
the year I was fucking born, 1978). Yep, Yankees won the world series. Killing
Joke was born and so was I, hahaha. 78′ was a good vintage!

The idea of knowing it is your absolute right to protect and fight for
your art and your right to experience the world through the lens of your own
journey and creations, to not settle for having the passion stomped out of you
by a dull or draconian society, is something I have spoken of at length lately
with some of the most amazing people I value most in my life, from avant garde
noise music/female comet Yasmine Kittles of Tearist via inspired
correspondence that has blown my mind and made me feel like the luckiest
person lately to a series of amazing artists like Brooks Blackhawk from the
very dark Atriarch or my dear, hard working friend (and former DIVEST bandmate) Sean Paul
Pillsworth of pop punkers The Red Owls dishing in a recent piece called Don’t
Break The Oath that we ran on this site about never giving up your vision.

Killing Joke have always stayed at the forefront of relevant political
discourse, cutting edge post-punk squall with hypnotic, throbbing bass and the
madman from the pulpit apocalyptic lyrics and truly unique voice of Jaz
Coleman. They have refined their sound to the essence of potency and it is
very apparent on the swirling, climbing ladder of growing intensity that
weaves through Pylon.

A composer, Permaculture advocate and avid student of philosophy who is
unafraid to chase his own demons where they take him, Coleman is a towering
figure of the underground.

Read more BELOW.

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www.confrontational.net

 

Confrontational is a European darkwave project that is turning heads with ass kicking new record A Dance Of Shadows. The album features mastermind Massimo Usai charting a dark yet infectious as a zombie bite (but much more fun!) course for the dance floor. With cover art from Branca Studios and a sound akin to the best 80’s horror and action cinema soundtracks that never existed but sound like classic cuts, Confrontational is much more interesting than the 800th metalcore band to hit up my email for coverage. In fact, I had to seek this dude out because I was so intrigued by the project.

Turns out we had some similar tastes and a mutual pal or two. That’s the power of the underground!

How did this studio whiz get Monte Pittman from Madonna’s band (and ex-Prong), Darren Travis from fucking Sadus and horror legend John Carpenter’s own son Cody Carpenter on this release? The music is just that fuckin’ cool!

A Dance Of Shadows is out on bandcamp now HERE and you ought to go support it!

Read our full Confrontational interview BELOW.

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Ken Schalk, well regarded percussionist from Brooklyn’s Candiria once said something to the effect that “heavy” can be as much about feel and  vibe as another distorted guitar cowboy screaming over a mosh part. I often have thought back to that quote and paraphrased it over
the years.

Montreal’s  BIG|BRAVE will likewise seep into your bones and deliver a
listening experience rather than a cheap aggro fix. Whether floating amidst ethereal
drone akin to the wake up chill of a cold wind on a mountaintop or bashing
the listener with tribal beats akin to loops, the trio deliver in full on
Southern Lord release Au De La.

Brian from respected blog Meat Mead Metal even went so far as to say that ,“there’s not another band that possibly could replicate what Big | Brave achieve on this record”. It’s true that some avant garde or truly post-punk bands just have their own sound, be it Killing Joke or Tearist or Swans. Or some films you could sort of describe, such as Lars  von Trier’s Depression Trilogy or, I dunno… the space herpe in Ice Pirates. You could do half assed justice trying to explain, but some things just need to be experienced.

Jessica Moss of Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra lends guest violin to the record, but the beating heart of this band is in the guitar and drums interplay and liberated vocals. The band know the space between the heart beat or down hit on a drum is as important as the moment of explosion, and can say as much.

Robin Wattie, in house banshee, checks in to answer my questions on what else she had to say with this record BELOW.

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Shock VALUE: A disassembling of forms and walls as a road to truth.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 at 12:48 PM (PST)
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Burroughs by Kate Simon

It’s funny how the orgasm is a “little death” we all strive for, letting go of our personal walls for a minute (or a few seconds, ha). But we still come back into our bones once the afterglow fades. Pop music is similar. A suspension of disbelief.

Donald Trump wants to build a wall between us and Mexico. Remember when Reagan said “Tear down this wall”? Anybody?

A black comedian I know, Kevin A Smith, recently joked that we need one
between us and Canada because we can’t have any more white people being crazy.
While he was joking, and most Canadians do seem pretty nice, it does
underscore a point that we seem to be really reaching a zenith again of
friction between social constraints imposed by throwback “conservative” minds
so full of contradictions they are even now bickering with The Pope, and those
who are ready for a new eschaton of creativity, fluid social answers and
environmental awareness.

Art and music mirrors society and thus I am going to
pen this essay today on the VALUE of being kicked out of the comfort zone. I
think metal and avant garde or fringe music is the premiere genre for this
besides the less hipster fashionable and more “pure” of intentioned indie
rock. Then again, as Boris proved on Pink, sometimes you can have it both ways
and both parody and surpass the boundaries of rock music.

We can not afford one sided discussions ever again. World history proves this. It’s like  saying the Beatles were always nice people. C’mon!

Read more BELOW.

#nakedlunch #mileycyrus #deathmetal #fearfactory #tearist #nirvana #donaldtrump #racism #taylorswift #burtoncbell #thomaspynchon #yasminekittles #dhg #gravitysrainbow #boris #williamsburroughs #morphine #emo #marilynmanson #GOP #selfbiasresistor #liturgy  #watain #royaltrux #cobain #incesticide #birdcloud #donaldtrumpsucks #convergecult

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I spend a lot of time being grumpy at the state of the world and listening to Slayer or Run The Jewels, smoking joints. I especially like the “I’ll tea bag a piranha tank” lyric from RJT2, as it inspires me to bravely go make coffee and face what the day brings. In a world of crime, racism, poverty and where even Bernie Sanders voted yes on the Cyber Security Act that lets whistleblowers get shut down, I know I can at least rely on a handful of artists to create powerful works that will stand the test of time until the world blows up. I want to be optimistic and do indeed preach love and tolerance each day, except when trolled too hard by emo fans.

Finland’s Wolfheart are a band who I can proudly point at and say they will undoubtedly be reliable as heck. Tuomas Saukkonen’s track record as well as the sheer scope of the band’s new record Shadow World are as inspiring as discovering some of the greats like Primordial or Soilwork, bands who have soldiered on year after year. I truly hope all metalheads can embrace Wolfheart’s cause and dare say few will not be moved by the intensity and range of dynamics from guttural screams to pummeling heavy melodeath or piano to stir the soul. It might not win the 2015 weird and spooky award like Locrian or be reinventing the wheel, but Wolfheart have a lot to be proud of.

In a world where time seems scarce and we don’t want ours wasted, metal can trust in this band.

Enter the shadow world BELOW.

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“Do you know who you are? Part of the solution, or the one that falls?”, sings Atreyu drummer and clean vocalist Brandon Saller on a key track from the band’s return record and perhaps finest hour to date Long Live. The full, melodic and made for singalong voice of Brandon is, to be truthful, the most crucial ingredient for a tune to fully sound like Atreyu to my ears. But the whole band are firing on all cylinders as a team more than ever.

After a semi-lengthy break the band have returned with a refreshed attitude with no room for cynics. Talking to Brandon he seems as gassed up and invested in his band as the early days and insists this was not just a cash grab. He laughs when I ask who he still wants to share a stage with and honestly can’t think of many bands they haven’t played with yet. Nonetheless, the eagerness to get back to the fans and bring them a release they can all rally around is very apparent on  even the first play of Long Live.

Read more BELOW.

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Huntress: Jill Janus on Static, “Flesh” and beating Cancer.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, September 8, 2015 at 9:21 AM (PST)

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In a time when metal and rock fans seem split between compassionate human beings and those who accept trolling and bullying or outright violence (as in the freshly raging Deiphago controversy and the idiots who are anti-Kim Kelly as some “SJW Anti-Christ” types), I am as always inspired by Jill Janus and her band Huntress. From the start the band just came out co-ed and no apologies roaring and while Jill was often not taken seriously enough for her looks or called gross names, she continued to forge ahead and play to bigger and bigger crowds alongside her bandmates.

A blend of classic early 80’s metal and power mad hard rock plus serious astral projection/occult leanings and horror/sci-fi or even power metal themes, this band is just pure heavy metal.

I’ve wanted to communicate with Jill for years now and while I was sad to learn that Huntress had to cancel their September dates because Jill is still resting after BEATING CANCER (see that positivity, young witches and warlocks?!!), it was cool to learn she grew up near Oneonta about an hour from I live. Let’s go to the Iroquois Museum sometime, Jill! It’s really amazing!

Anyway, Huntress have made one of the years best ragers with new album Static. From the assertive vertigo of “Mania” to the strong title track, it is a ruler. You can find out all about it as we discuss crystals, cool hashtags and troll slaying BELOW.

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Acey Slade (Dark Party, Joan Jett, Murderdolls) on new chapter

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, September 6, 2015 at 3:40 PM (PST)

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Brooklyn’s Acey Slade is a lovable rogue, a people person who somehow seems to know everyone yet has a mystique about him. From Trashlight Vision to fan faves Murderdolls to Dope to recently playing with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Acey is a real lifer who deserves everything good that comes his way.

Now Acey is getting back to putting out some of his own music and has a Pledge music campaign up and running HERE.

 

“Around the new year of 2015 it occurred to me that it had been a very long time since I had put out any of my own original music. It also occurred to me that if this was going to happen anytime soon I had better start working on it now, as I had a very busy year of tour ahead of me with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. So I set out to record an EP on my lap top with no real expectations.

Then I met my studio engineer Tom Camuso who had Aerosmith and Lenny Kravitz original Neve recoding console, and he wanted to work on this project. Then Frank Ferrer of Guns and Roses and also Kriz from Dead Star Assembly got involved on drums. Then Christian Martucci of Stone Sour and Dee Dee Ramones band got involved. THEN Kato Khandwala who mixed the last Pretty Reckless and Blondie albums came on board.

You see PEOPLE are what brings music to life.”

Read more BELOW.

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Interview: Akurion – Mike DiSalvo’s fierce new Canadian force

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 11:12 AM (PST)
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 No weak minds and hearts need apply their ears here. The time has come. Let the takeover begin…

“Mike DiSalvo is back and I couldn’t be fuckin’ happier” says a fan on the Akurion bandcamp.

The ex-Cryptopsy vocalist is a fan favorite to a certain slice of death metal fans and Akurion is a veritable underground supergroup to those in the DM know. It is not every day someone like DiSalvo, with some influential records under his belt, tells me I asked a question he’s never been asked before.

Let’s all check out the scoop on the moody and brutal genius of Akurion BELOW.

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