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Interview: Stratovarius – Timo Kotipelto on 16th album, “Eternal”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, September 5, 2015 at 8:18 AM (PST)

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Stratovarius are a legacy band who have given so much over the years. They have played a role in many chapters of power metal through their different, yet all talented, line ups. Eternal is their newest and finds the band emitting blazing power metal epic victories as skillfully as ever. Despite it being their 16th album in the history of the band, Eternal can stand on its’ own alongside classics like Polaris or the shining majesty of Destiny.

I included their most recent previous record Nemesis on my top 5 albums of the year when it was released, but while Eternal is not as perhaps aggressive as that recent statement , it nonetheless is a super worthy anthem that many fans of earlier Stratovarius as well as Matias-era fans will rightfully treasure.

Read an interview with Timo (vocals) BELOW.

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I interviewed my favorite Battlecross dude, Don Slater.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at 5:46 PM (PST)

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Rise To Power, mother cluckers.

I finally interviewed Battlecross, one of the fastest rising bands in modern groove/thrash.

Read it BELOW.

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Unleash The Archers are the exact reason why metal will never die. I know, I know…I say that about a lot of bands I blog about because I mostly write about bands I think are fuckin’ cool, but I dare you to hear the high note glory of Brittney Slayes and the classic metal wind up of her aggressive but focused band and not believe their anthems will ring out across the Rainbow Bridge of Asgard for all time.

It was a pleasure to check in with B. Slayes and talk their China trip, The Avengers, the motivation of being a band from a cold place and much more BELOW.

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Weird Kids Table: 5 bands daring to mix genre and get cray

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 9:14 AM (PST)

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Sorry kids, but the buck doesn’t stop at Converge. As much as I am a HUGE fan
of J. Bannon and the gang, it didn’t even completely start there. Any early
Today IS The Day or Starkweather fans out there? Yes, Converge are for many
the go to band for a mix of some of the most extreme metal, hardcore and noise
with DIY heart out there. They have earned their stars as scene generals
through serious drive and are an example of “you reap what you sew” in a GOOD
way!

For me, it is thrilling to find bands who are unafraid to tread a bold path.
Myrkur comes to mind as a total “no fucks given” type who is making really
cool music out of combined aesthetics. I’ll even say I personally think the
latest Liturgy record is totally ingenius and you can call me a hipster while
I ignore you and really enjoy myself. It’s ok, I like Dissection’s records as
well (even as a bi sexual male…God, that was such a fucking shame).
Look, We’re all gonna die someday so make the art you want to. Have you HEARD
how rad the new Tribulation is? Seriously!

You really want all of mom and dad’s cash to go towards you being another mall
emo clone band or strictly “commercial” hard rock radio (in a pretty much post
radio age, lmao) sound? It’s pretty commercial to me that Fear Factory, Cattle
Decapitation and Lamb Of God are posting the best chart numbers of their
careers, even if it is easier to chart high these days by selling a few
thousand records in the day of music entitlement. I’m all for shared
experience and sampling and content trade and mix tape culture but also see
the music being given out on platforms artists never signed up to be on or
used to sell Youtube ads. Don’t pretend all your reasons for wanting free
music are pure. It fuckin’ makes it really hard on working creatives so cut
the shit.

That said, a punk rock non whiny spirit is also important and here are some
bands that don’t get discouraged easily and do their own thing SO FUCKING
WELL.

See the list BELOW.

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Megadeth fans are often torn between thrash leaning purists or those who can enjoy Risk, for example. It’s hard for bands to successfully tow the line between hard rock and more classic heavy metal elements but Archer from the West Coast are a great example of a band who manage to nail it. Great leads and riffs that’d make the snarlier side of Mustaine proud or stuff that could appeal to fans of anything from Accept to borderline Buckcherry with a much more classic heavy metal streak, Archer bring it all to the table. Their new release Culling The Weak is a great addition to the 2015 class of hard rock/metal hit list that already includes great stuff from Wildlights, Kinghitter and Royal Thunder as proof of a pulse in rock n roll leaning metal.

The trio have shared the stage with Hellyeah, Doro and other greats and held their own, as well as tapped legend Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Whitesnake, Joe Cocker, Megadeth, Sammy Hagar, etc.). The result is a lively record of new songs like “World Of One” or “Belief” that could stand up aside some of metal’s most beloved anthems. The title track is at REVOLVER right HERE.

Get Culling The Weak on Amazon HERE!

Dylan Rose stops by Metal Riot to give us the good word on Culling The Weak BELOW.

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12 great post-1990 live albums that aren’t “Alive In Athens”.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, August 13, 2015 at 4:30 PM (PST)

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Quality live albums have somewhat, frankly, become a rare breed. Sure you have Iced Earth’s Alive In Athens which was made in 1999 (not THAT long ago) but these days it’s far more common to have a golden live moment caught on Youtube, be it a funny blooper, a raging Black Label Society set or Florence & The Machine filling in for Foo Fighters (no pressure) yet still easing into Glastonbury this year like she (Welch) was reclaiming a mystical throne whilst blowing away the uneven Kanye set. Dax Riggs bootlegs are always reliable for bluesy psych/glam rock from the ex-Acid Bath singer. Tearist released a live debut for a full length and it really shook up the noise/art rock scene and created amazing possibilities anew. There’s standbys like Nirvana or Alice In Chains Unplugged. The new Rotting Christ 2x live bad boy is streaming HERE.

Maybe I’m showing my age here but I’d argue though that I have yet to be knocked on my ass by a live release
from many newer bands (here’s a DVD exception). Most of the ones on this list of mine are still more
established than not. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems to be a hurting art form. Cuz bands fuckin’ fake shit in the studio, hahaha.

Here are twelve true bangers, IMO. Some of these even have accompanying footage! Cuz, y’know…we can do that stuff now!

See which twelve artists made the list BELOW.

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RiversOfNihil-Monarchy

Rivers Of Nihil are back with Monarchy, a Metal Blade release that is a big
victory for the death metal genre, the well regarded label and the East Coast
band. It is a captivating listen from start to finish, a record that rules
like a dark monarch’s shadowy yet obeyed decrees. This fucker has some
technical moments, some pure hostility and even more potent vacations into the
unknown.

Oh, and their “Sand Baptism” music video was half shot by kids!!

While the ‘Earth in peril/Sun worship’ plot subtheme of the lyrics reminds me
a bit of Shai Hulud’s excellent Reach Beyond The Sun, 2015 is a time when
people are more commonly embracing Earth conscious lyrics and subtexts. Its
cool that Metal Blade has released a lot of the best recent records in metal
that has more important environmental lessons under the surface of great riffs
and screams, from Cattle Decapitation’s The Anthropocene Extinction to the
aforementioned Hulud release.

Read a rock solid convo on the process of Monarchy BELOW.

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From the get go I have adamantly often held that Sabbath Assembly is one of the most crucial projects in modern music. I could say underground, fringe or occult or metal, to be precise. That feels really almost insulting, though. Would you reign in Kylesa? Would you throw a cap on the cosmic bottle that is Blues Pills? Could you fit, say most absurdly, fucking Neurosis in a box? The massive wall of sound of universal themes in the West Coast legend’s sound is way too vast and powerful an EXPERIENCE to insult with consistently marginalizing tags/signifiers. Sabbath Assembly fall exactly into such a category, to ironically use categories. Whether composing at times frail, foreboding or forlorn adaptations on Process Church hymns to Christ and Lucifer or getting really heady with conceptual photos or videos, the band has evolved fluidly under the expanding consciousness of founder David Christian Nuss.

Whenever Sabbath Assembly has released something I can’t help but submit questions or give in to curiosity, eager to see where the lengthening strange trip is headed. As it turns out, right now the often “smart” Sabbath Assembly kind of just want to fucking rock. And that’s more than OK! “The Firey Angel Of Desire” is evidence alone they are on to something really exciting as they cross a new threshold. It almost sounds like Maiden playing Sabbath Assembly!

Results are in and the new Sabbath Assembly record is a fucking wallop, by far their heaviest brew yet. It proves they could tour with perhaps a much wider array of bands than previously people may have expected, though I hope they won’t ditch their more mercurial early Hymn based material while henceforth writing original rock music. You can hear two new tracks from the forthcoming self-titled “new birth” HERE.

Read our fresh interview with David and vocalist Jamie Myers BELOW.

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As summer draws to an end so do the season’s festivals. Now you’re probably wondering what prompted me to wait so long to post this.
Along with crazy technical difficulties on my end, I really wanted to see how this summer’s festival season would end. Let’s be honest…there was
quite a bit of drama going on. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up to date with everything here is a quick recap of everything that has transpired this summer.

 

– After The Burial member dead after leaving a horrifying Facebook post for fans to see, forcing the band to cancel their appearance on The Summer Slaughter Tour
– Drama between the bands on Mayhem Festival (Slayer’s King vs Victory Records’ stage)
– The end of Mayhem Festival as a whole (poor ticket sales, Kevin Lyman’s “Old and Fat” comment)
– Warped Tour’s Front Porch Step mishap / Slaves being kicked off or ‘Voted off’ the tour / the tour turned 21

 

Now, where to begin? Let us begin with After The Burial’s unfortunate loss. After the eerie post by Justin Lowe stating that people were setting him up for crimes he hadn’t committed, the band took to Facebook stating that despite their efforts to assist Lowe that they had been unsuccessful in their attempts to pick him out of this slump that he had been in. The band cited mental illness as the reason for his off the wall Facebook post.

 

Read more thoughts/impressions BELOW and see band pics from Warped and Mayhem (RIP).

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Clover just recently recorded and mashed out a beastly single “Glory Days” on their own, with my old engineer/guitarist buddy D. James Goodwin at The IsOkOn in Woodstock, NY mixing it  (he’s worked with Devo, Murder By Death and my old band Fuse, to name a few). Subsequently, there is now more awesome heavy music in the fuckin’ world!

these are your glory days. enjoy it while they last. everything you’ve done has been pure shit. you will amount to nothing. everyone will forget you. I hope this memory lasts your life. when you look back, I hope you think of me. these are your glory days. enjoy them while they last. you make me sick. I don’t buy your bullshit. choke.

Clover are one of the more rugged bands in the current East Coast hardcore/metal underground in terms of full commitment to accepting the joy in whatever level they are at while beating the shit out of everything in sight with jackhammer riffs in order to make damn sure the whole world knows they exist. I cannot fault this method.

Bassist M. Guthaus checks in with us BELOW.

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Josh Elmore of Cattle Decapitation should be proud. His band have arguably made yet another record that could be called THE album of their career, they are killing it on The Summer Slaughter tour and the band are more relevant than ever as our world chokes and burns in anguish. I knew years ago when these guys came out that this band was special and while Elmore has been in the band since the early 00’s, his contributions are tremendous. I spoke via phone with Elmore about new album The Anthropocene Extinction, current placeholder for Death Metal masterpiece of the summer and perhaps even year (we’ll see when winter rolls around).

Read the full chat BELOW.

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“I have my own ideals that I stick by and am not gonna be swayed by someone
telling me the Mongolian or white community is the superior race over everyone
because of this, this and this? I’m gonna tell you ,”so is my dick, bro.” –
Mike Luciano (vocals)

Metalinsider is one of my very favorite and consistently good metal sites out
there. They published a piece about how melodic metalcore band The Paramedic
have an ex drummer who is running for office with the “Traditional Worker’s
Party, which was created by a white supremacist that speaks out against Jewish
people”.

The Paramedic are a mixed race band and yet have also had controversy surround
them due to a t shirt perceived as violent against women and for a blog post
by vocalist Mike Luciano about Caitlyn Jenner that some took as anti-trans. I
am bi sexual and didn’t read the post as anti trans, rather that Mike felt
dubious of Jenner’s authenticity as a person in general. Some people are
concerned that because of the t shirt and the Caitlyn post that now with the
ex drummer’s party affiliation, perhaps The Paramedic are all really fucked up
people.

I have been in an on and off feud with Coheed & Cambria for years and want
peace with them but also stand my ground because I was there when Claudio met
my very real sister Cambria at a Woodstock concert I booked years ago. I have
known the Coheed guys for years and we have a very fucking crazy history. My
sister was at times told degrading things over the years or I was also
bullied and shit on by their fans because they don’t understand why it still
angers me that Claudio Sanchez has never acknowledged she exists.

My dad just died and family and true stories are more important to me than ever. I have
been in this scene 20+ years both signed and unsigned and I feel everyone has
a right to be heard, myself included. Even if that means a huge band might
have to admit they have downplayed an often troubled relationship over the
years with a family that hasn’t always appreciated their actions. Shit, their
first drummer Nate Kelley is my best friend and STILL people are stubborn and
hold onto their illusions.

Having just this week been trolled on Metalsucks by a Coheed fan who compared me to
Justin Lowe’s pre-death rant in a derogatory and not “concerned for my mental health”
way, I know how ugly things can get and also how one sided or lacking media
coverage can be, inexplicably. I’m manic depressive but take Paxil.

I also remember how happy people were when The
Paramedic first arrived on the scene and reading about how they were really
connecting with fans in (i think) an old AMP Magazine article.

I reached out to vocalist Mike Luciano, who doesn’t know me. I’m not biased. I
wanted his side of things. I have written good and critical things about the
Paramedic before. I think Mike’s voice is one of the coolest things about the
band but that some of the songs have been meh compared to others.

I didn’t expect to hear back, honestly. Instead Mike took an hour out of his
day and was more of a straight talker than the majority of the thousands of
bands I have literally interviewed.

He wrote me: “I’ve never been one to attack anyone or any music mag of any type unless they are wrongfully publishing things. Naturally, much like anyone else, if I feel attacked im gonna push back twice as hard. As long as there is nothing like that going on during the interview I don’t see why this can’t be extremely productive for both of us!”

Then we talked on the phone. Read it BELOW.

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Hey punk rock and prog history buffs! Got some PMA? We’ve got a special treat today. One of the BEST and least documented properly scenes ever is the Woodstock/Kingston 90’s scene. We had Jason Christopher (now of Prong and currently on tour w Corey Taylor), Shabutie (early Coheed & Cambria), Lounge (feat John Naclerio who would go on to record My Chemical Romance, Polar Bear Club and many more), Three (featuring guitar virtuoso Joey Eppard), all my early bands and many more! Oh yeah, and half of the freakin’ BAD BRAINS live in Woodstock!

Take a look back in time with reflections from many of the scene participants of the day. Special thanks to Mic Todd who was unable to contribute but gave it a good try.

Links to many of the bands current and past are present as well. RIP Pat Howland. Crank some mearth., Pitchfork Militia and Shabutie today!

Check out “Secret Youth” , a look back at the 90’s Woodstock scene HERE.

#badbrains #three #melancholy #drippinggoss #kwame #coheedandcambria #natekelley #lounge #blissfullyignorant #shabutie #mearth #beautifulbastards #woodstockny #grunge #punk #nineties

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Interview: Rasputina – Curse Tablets and Unknown Pleasures

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 9:44 PM (PST)

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“I don’t have any physical problems or back pain. I think yoga helps with
that. Everyone over practices. I don’t think you have to practice that much
but it comes from classical music and insecurities. If you have skills, chops
and inspiration you just have to get your energy together with the group.”
Melora Creager

Heavy cello theatrical institution Rasputina have always been daring, playful
or downright brazen, though new album Unknown is nonetheles one of founder
Melora Creagor’s most liberated records in a lengthy discography of triumphs.
Recorded in record time yet with physical release only through Melora’s
website and no digital release, the record makes a point about intimacy,
ownership and interaction in this age of voyeuristic entitlement.

Known to feminists, Nirvana and Marilyn Manson fans who know the history of
those bands, Cregor has been a high class costume designer for Vogue, an NYC
innovator in the performing arts scene and an influence on free folk and steam
punk. She’s even a mom. Those are fancy ways of saying she is awesome.

On top of all that, Rasputina are about to go on tour with a fabulous current
line up to some great US venues. The new record Unknown is highly recommended
and has some beautiful music on it that must be lived and taken in to your
bosom, just awesome, awesome songs.

Now I know this isn’t like symphonic metal bombastic Within Temptation
charging into the pink sunset (which I think is awesome. I love that band),
but Rasputina are more than quirky, spooky and technically skilled to thrill
even casual listeners who aren’t to uncouth to appreciate some dramatic flare.

I talked on the phone to Melora a few weeks ago and it was awesome. She lives
in the Hudson Valley like me. I told her about Troy Savings Bank Music Hall,
which has some of the best acoustics in the world and where I saw Andrew Bird
play an amazing show a few years ago that showed how highly versatile he is.
Fuck, I hope Rasputina could play that venue sometime. It’d be amazing.

Anyhow. Here is my chat with this true artist and treasure BELOW.

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Hot Summer Nights with Sister Sin

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 7:43 PM (PST)

11774236_10203485932063483_1549836880_n Sister Sin have more than enough fire in their bark to silence critics. While anyone who knocks the Swedish band’s surefire smack to the head of adrenaline charged rock n roll is surely a nincompoop, the few who are that dumb are really missing out. No matter, the true believers are rocking the hell out as hard as we can!

I think this band is right at the top when it comes to straight up classic heavy metal/hard rock that aint afraid to scrap. Recent bad ass fifth album Black Lotus features the most power packed lip biting gut punchers from the band yet, “Chaos Royale” and “Au Revoir” dripping pure heavy metal splendor… blood, guts, sweat and tears.

I caught the band on an off night from Mayhem Fest and watched them slam it hard to a small Poughkeepsie club (aka The Loft). It was my second time seeing the band and they retain the high octane power I remembered. “Desert Queen” was everything you’d want in a hard rock, classic metal influenced jammer live, while “Fight Song” from Now and Forever and “On Parole” and especially early underground hit “Outrage” showed the band’s ongoing quality.

Read more BELOW.

#victoryrecords #sistersin #blacklotus

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