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Mario Quintero of NY’s Spotlights is our latest proud addition to Metal Riot’s interviews. The alternative rock influenced band have been making waves for several releases now, but their newest Ipecac opus Love & Decay is next level phenomenal. This is a big scopealbum with numerous standout tracks (the chill slow burn build of closer “The Beauty Of Forgetting” comes to mind right away), but which can easily consume your full attention all the way through. It sparks a deep dive into your imagination and often feels like it could soundtrack a space exploration video of massive bodies floating in the void. Certainly on the short list of best musical releases of 2019 for me thus far, I know I am going to spend a lot of time with this pensive, personal and powerfully moving album probably for many years. It has that special energy in the performances, vibes, melody and songwriting that makes you circle back to it…and did I mention big ass juicy riffs as well?!

Read more BELOW.

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Photo by Nick Haymes

“…the fact that we have these wild parakeets flying around between the palm trees and most normal people don’t even acknowledge them…they are a precious detail that only the wisest of Los Angelinos truly appreciate.” – Actually Huizenga.

Happy Easter weekend, sinners. Or Passover or Pagan Bunny day if that’s what you are doing. Whatever is clever. I’m here to bring you back from the dead in style with a blasphemous article on the most holy musical warrioress of our times, Actually Huizenga. She is a performer, brilliant musician and funny and chill as heck, a multi-faceted director, actress, rager, singer, expert on obscure subjects and also probably will live forever through cult worship ceremonies. She is the force behind Patriarchy (a much better one than “the patriarchy” – you will want to rave about how “Patriarchy” is finally cool).

Yes, cool is a dorky word. But facts are facts. I was scrolling IG one day and saw her Patriarchy page and was like WTF! Some people would maybe think they had stumbled into a Babylonian hellscape but I was like…this is basically utopia!

Now, a little known fact…there is not really a God. Famed-ethnobotanist Terence McKenna was right about the fractal machine elves but something overlooked is that fractal machine elves sometimes tie it on too hard. They also have the big responsibility of determining how much coolness every soul which is born gets pre-birth from their little weird psychic elf factory. One day a particularly handsome elf we will call “Buzz” was kind of asleep on the job and rested his nose too hard on the “coolness lever”. Well, it turns out baby Actually got 30X the concentrated radness usually given to a normal “mortal” and thus is probably going to save or destroy the world. Are we ready for her messages?

All I know is she saved my brain the last few days by offering a much needed alternative to Trump bleating about “No collusion”, a far superior place with chain mail, snakes, decadence and synthy wise-ass glory. I know y’all wanna read about Accursed Spawn and stuff all the time, but sometimes we need to get freakier than that – ok?!

So I wrote to her and the California based artist thankfully agreed to let me interview her. Fuck yeah! She even told me funny stories and humored me while I was telling her about being stuck in a forest and seeing giant hawks that thankfully didn’t eat me alive or this never would have been published. Instead, you have the following conversation to memorize. You should also watch her videos and movies twice as many times as people streamed The Dirt. Jesus says everyone who does gets to go to heaven this weekend for free, no matter what. For real.

In all seriousness though, she is hysterical, beyond talented and really blew my mind when I heard her incredible music. So happy this came together and hope all of you have fun reading it or discovering her world and killer material if you haven’t yet.

Read our chat BELOW.

 

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Interview: FEN – A stirring counterpoint to ‘Winter’.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 12:57 PM (PST)

 

“This is very much a standalone release that has its own atmosphere and really works as one long song.” – The Watcher.

UK Black metal/post-rock hybrid FEN are far too good to really simplify with such limiting descriptors. Regardless if you feel the alleged freedom inherent in “black metal” as a concept (which some people think ought to actually be quite restrictive) covers their sound adequately and wether or not you feel the over-used assumption that all “post-rock” is slow tempo Mogwai aping without the innovation is grossly lacking accuracy when it comes to FEN’s moving dynamics and kinetic emotional resonance, there is just no way to capture the power of what the band does in simple short genre tags. They are a mind blowing experience.

When I first heard this band a few years ago I felt like they had the emotional power to connect that the best Agalloch or Ulver material had but with a much more savage side. Also, the music takes an even greater deep dive into the sort of nature respecting weary yet awed exploration of humanity and the wider Universe in a way that, doesn’t sound much like, but connected with me in a primal way as much as a legacy band like Neurosis. They even cover some of the melodic vocal ground you might hear these days in a more progressive leaning band like Enslaved, while still staying a bit more rooted in the black metal sound than that band has become (no shade, love it all). But yeah…to put it simply, FEN are just really fucking sick musicians who also don’t lose “the feel”.

It was an honor to interview The Watcher about the group’s astounding Eisenwald MLP Stone & Sea. 

Read our philosophical exchange BELOW.

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Psychic Hit will redesign your life for a negotiable fee.

Ariana: ‘I had a secret wish to start a band with Andrea when we started dating. We were busy with other bands at the time. She gave me this amazing mix with Captain Beyond, Hightide, Aphrodite’s Child… That’s how I knew she “got me.” Our brain/lovechild, Psychic Hit, was born when we skipped Folsom Street Fair to stay home and roll on molly.

The searing classic rock and heavy metal infused sounds on Psychic Hit’s crucial and unfuckwithable demo from last year knocked me on my ass and made me more stoked for anything I’d heard with throwback influences since Amulet or maybe even the glammier Spiders. This is a top notch act that I cannot believe are so potent right out of the gate. I sort of stumbled across them online and had my mind completely blown by their songwriting skills and also an unabashed Heart influence here and there, so fucking cool. I feel like they could blast the door off any venue with the fire of their energy, for real.

Honestly I think this band could be very powerful within the scene if they keep their goals focused, make connections, get a good PR person and gig as much as they can. I don’t include write good songs because I am 100 percent confident anything they do is gonna kick ass. THAT’S how impressed I was by them. I would fucking die to somehow see them live with, like, my beloved Blood Ceremony or Earthless or really any band. Along with some amazing acts like Electric Children or the East Coast’s The Advertisers, Psychic Hit have made me feel really stoked about some of the energy percolating in underground rock in 2019 already! I cannot rave about them enough so please just fuckin’ read the interview I had with most of this amazing group (their first EVER interview) BELOW!

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“The fact that oppressive institutions and nations born of colonial hegemony, demonize, profile, police and punish the survivors of ongoing genocide and attempt to dictate where they can and cannot live is morally bankrupt, and yet here we are.” – Misandr

One of the best parts about blogging is I always love the chance to help boost amazing work of all stripes by fascinating, forward thinking people. Be it Spellling’s dope slow come down beats and chill as heck textures plus stunning vocal work on Mazy Fly or the harrowing new cinematic Hether Fortune track “Sister” (which was so powerful live) or the latest ominous yet massive doom-opus from Candlemass , there has been so much good stuff already in 2019 to share. And we need it, cuz it is rough out there right now for a lot of people.

One of the most awe-inspiring things that landed in my promo box this year so far was the much-anticipated Tridroid Records split from somewhat mysterious noise practitioner MISANDR and whitephosphorous, “This Can Not Continue”.  The release just went up for pre-order very recently and is a must hear rejection of bigotry and hatred funneled through the lense of sonic vertigo and alienating physical sound avalanches paired with razor keen current event subtexts. The split title This Can Not Continue is both a perfect and simple fact for the horrors going on in the world as well as an apt summary of how the music and content is so intense that it tests the bounds of human endurance until a flip switches and you somehow are comforted by the harsh swirl of cacophony and distress.

Thanks are to be extended to Misandr who allowed us to interview them via email for a VERY insightful and rewarding exchange. I can’t do it justice summarizing but topics include inverting fascism on itself, ableism, noise as self-catharsis, the project’s past and future, the dangers of xenophobia and so much more. Super thrilled to be publishing this and hope you all will read it and enjoy near drowning in this artist’s emotionally exhausting new single on the Tridroid split as much as I did.

Read more BELOW and hang in there, folks.

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We’ve got a special video premiere for you hard rock fans today! Two Inch Voices from Florida are here to bring you their big melodic guitar groove rock that Deftones , Quicksand and O9mm fans will eat up. I even hear a little bit of stuff in the guitar work that reminds me of Shift or Seaweed or something like that. The music might be a blend of emotionally searching and aggro, but the video looks like it was a lot of fun. Hey, Florida does have a lot of sunshine so we can understand if the band went for a 311 goes to the MTV Beach House kinda vibe, haha. It’s cold as fuck in NY where I am right now and I wish I was moshing and jumping around a big ass pool!

We spoke to Jeff from the band about the creation of this moment.

TIV is = Gary “Dubbz” Ferguson- Bass/Vocals, Sean McCord- Drums, Jeffery Arnold aka J Laveau- Guitar/Vocals 

What was it like to write “Downstroke”?

Jeff: Writing “Downstroke” was a blast! It started with Gary (Bass/Vocals) and I jamming on acoustics, at his house. Gary started playing this melodic staccato, riff, I knew it was something; 1.Because he’s playing it, 2.Because it moved really well. So we jammed on this for a minute or two. (this part will eventually become the verses.) So Gary asks if I had anything for the chorus, and because the drive of the song is so good, I wanted to keep the momentum going; so I chopped the riff and went full strum. This took the song to a whole other level! I love how larger than life it sounds and feels! It’s as if whatever you were feeling just lifts away. Aaaaand if you couldn’t tell the bridge/ breakdown parts are our Metal/Hardcore roots shining through. I mean who doesn’t love a little Metal or Hardcore in their musical diet? Haha. I mean really.

I digress, but yeah by the end of the night, we had the song structured and recorded. We brought the song to our drummer at the time, recorded the song instrumental; I took it home and wrote lyrics. The first thing that came to me lyrically was the chorus, “We shine/we shine like diamonds, above a blackened time!” Once that was in my head, I knew the rest of the song would write itself. The chorus means more than anything else I say in the song, maybe to me. Because we are all diamonds and sometimes the world can be dark, and extremely brutal, that’s when we have to SHINE and SHINE the brightest.

What was it like to make the video?

Jeff: Oh man, making this video was out of this world FUN! It helped that Gary and I knew what we wanted for the theme, when we finished writing the song. Haha. That throwback vibe! So we had somewhere to start, and it took us a while to get our location though. In our part of Florida, you don’t have many two story homes, and this was real important for the look of the video. After a couple months of searching and talking to people, I finally posted a sort of ad on my timeline; “Looking to borrow a 2 story house for 5 hours, to shoot a music video.” Yes this is what it said. Who’s going to respond to this, right? But what else could I do? This video was going to happen! Sure enough, not even 10 mins later, this very cool cat from the band “Things Nocturnal”, offered to help. Unbelievable! It was just like that. He invited the band over to look at his place, and we set a date to shoot right then and there. When you or anyone watches the video, they’ll see why.

The video team was led by my very good friend, (Producer/Director/Editor/The Man) Ryan Sousa of Film Native in Tampa, Fl, in collaboration with M90 Studios. Ryan and I have been friends for a while; he did Two Inch Voices’ first video “Into Oblivion”, in 2010. So when Gary and I were talking about videos for the new single, it only made sense to introduce Gary to Ryan. After that meeting, we began sharing ideas and really working together to make something wonderful. And I believe we’ve done that. We’ve made something wonderful. 

 

Reverbnation.com/TwoInchVoices
Facebook.com/TwoInchVoices
Instagram: @twoinchvoices
Twitter: @TwoInchVoices

Film Company:
Film Native: www.filmnative.com
Instagram: @filmnative

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High Cost

Formerly known as Septic Rot, the formidable NYC 5 piece now known as High Cost blew me away when I heard the advance promo of the up and coming act’s new forthcoming (Nov. 30th, Tridroid Records) Self-Titled release. It is so effin’ awesome to still get that feeling of excitement from a new band sometimes and to remember bygone days when word of mouth, the back of some zine or trusted sources was the main way to find out about extreme music, be it punk, crust or death metal.

Nowadays the internet allows us to almost know about too much and the process of separating the cream from the crap can feel like wading through seas of white noise at times waiting for a pearl of passion, but rest assured the real DIY scene is still thriving and out there. The cassette version of their debut EP contains 7 tracks on Side A and noise remixes and live recordings on side B. Lyrics deal with mental health struggles and are written by lead singer Kiki.

Honestly this almost made my year end list and was in the top twenty five before I had to trim down to fifteen for my final list. This band has huge potential and remind me of how fired up I was when I first heard cool world engaged bands like Landmine Marathon or Disfear or other ragers.

Check out the stomping intro to “Illusion” before it explodes into raw punk and shreds you to bits at lightning speed and then devolves into an awesome Cro-Magnon stomp and by then you will maybe be smooshed flat but hooked and want more.

Let’s meet the gang! Read more below.

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By the time the thunderous intro to “Shackled To The Burning Earth” from Denver band Glacial Tomb‘s outrageously good self titled debut (Gilead Media) hammers home with a bigger scowl than Kirk Windstein stubbing his toe, listeners are coming into the home stretch feeling exceptionally rewarded. It is so cool that a handful of bands this year (Un and Forn come right to mind on the ‘extreme’ circuit of underground metal) have managed not only to create great works but to shatter limitations so well that you are too busy experiencing their records as powerful works of art and energy to notice they upended some genre lines. For Glacial Tomb, doom flirting sludge and Gorguts loving death blur into one perfect storm with clouds of melodic guitar cutting through these intense moods like pain-charged lightning gathering around a dark mind. This is an outstanding fucking record I already hold in very high esteem. It should be on everyone’s short list for must purchase in 2018.

More BELOW.

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Scotland’s Bitter Lake is doing things right. The one man black metal project is slowly building up buzz, focusing on releasing cool music rather than hype and improving with each passing moment. I like the cold and methodical yet emotional nature of the project, like impending entropy captured in a burst of constrained, conflicted emotions.

This is an exciting time in metal as a lot of bands are shrugging off genre constraints and finding out who they are for themselves. The left wing black metal coming out is exciting and more than overdue to surpass the tired edgelord tropes of the genre that have always ben laughable if they weren’t so harmful.

Let’s get into the interview with Bitter Lake (who is also running a microphone raffle HERE) and talk about new song “Siberia”, Veganism and more BELOW.

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“Not caring sucks; I’m here for bands that want to talk about what matters to them, what causes they care about, what they’re listening to, whatever. Everybody’s going through it, let’s go through it together.” – W.

Redbait from Missouri declared their intentions clearly within the first few pummeling moments of “We Refuse” on their recent Red Tape EP. The band are loud, clearly pissed and pack a potent political message in this timeline of complete mass stupidity. We need bands who are actively trying to make the world a better place and spreading awareness more than ever. The punk and metal scenes used to be a place where you could find out about dissent and activism and it was encouraged, believe it or not, for bands to use their podium for something other than selling merch or drinking beer on stage. “Smoke In Your Eyes” is one of the more powerful songs I have heard from any band in the underground in the last few years and I am thrilled this group is jumping into the trenches at full speed.

It was a pleasure to break through the thick fog of gullible fact resistant mental soup we are indoctrinated with on the daily and speak to a band who are decidedly intent on upending the bigotry, greed and sexism of our American disgrace. In short, this band is exactly what myself and likely many others who love punk and metal need right now in order to feel like they aren’t completely losing their minds. Read more HERE.

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Stormland is the Gundam-centric death metal brain child of my friend Justin Pierrot. One of the most supportive and friendly people I have met in the Twitter metal-verse, Justin has just released his labor of love Songs Of Future Wars to the unsuspecting masses. He is a creative and enthusiastic individual who cares about the experiences of others and has also been very kind to me in moments of depression, so I thought it would be great to find out more about his own experiences and what led to this brutal yet personal and metaphorical album that is dressed up in stories about giant robot suits.

Read more below.

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It doesn’t take long into a play-through of the heated and mind bending single“Waste” from NYC buzz band Zeal & Ardor to realize that Manuel Gagneux did not come to play on his creation’s new forthcoming release Stranger Fruit (out in June).

Zeal &Ardor’s Devil Is Fine debut caused a lot of tongues to wag with a mix of gospel, soul and extreme metal elements . The formerly one man band has given way to the project becoming a fully-fledged, internationally-touring group. For Stranger Fruit, Gagneux entered the studio with producer Zebo Adam and mixer Kurt Ballou (Converge, Kvelertak, Nails). The title is timely, reminding that there is still plenty of work to be done but that bridges can still be built.

Read a discussion with Manuel Below.

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There are a lot of bands to be excited about in metal right now, but few have the kinetic electricity and obvious spark that Milwaukee’s metallic hardcore act KNAAVES are bringing to the scene. The group have a concise and fiery approach and a clear drive, the kind of intensity that will likely appeal to fans of Converge, Baptists, Immortal Bird or even Disfear. Their new 2 song release January is a must hear that is poised to make a lot of people take notice.

Amanda Daniels (bass) is one of my most valued friends in the metal scene. I was a big fan of her old band Enabler and believed her and got to know her better around the time that the abuse she suffered in that group became known. She is awesome and it is so great to have her presence and energy back in a group who have a ton of potential and positive energy/momentum. She is really deserving of your support and I am assuming so are the rest of the band – which features Andy Parmann (Vox), Jamie Kerwin (Guitar) and Antonio Ninham (drums).  Their music is a powerful release and we can’t wait to hear more stuff from them.

It was great to get a chance to catch up with Amanda and hear about the new project. She spoke about the recent 2 song, show and video plans, #metoo and more with myself and singer Elizabeth Le Fey (Globelamp).

Read more BELOW.

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Interview: Mother Harlot

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 6:51 PM (PST)

“New Yorkers are a notoriously resilient bunch, so it’s no surprise that the metal scene remains strong as ever, even thriving under the pressure of a changing city. I can’t give enough credit to venues like Saint Vitus and Lucky 13 Saloon, which give developing artists an avenue to grow and show this city what they’re made of.” – Sonia

Imagine if the occult side of Sabbath and the meatier side of Iommi riffs met up with Lacuna Coil harmonies and modern heavier metal production flourish. Check out Brooklyn, NY’s Mother Harlot’s recent self-titled EP. Hear what I am sayin’? The band have bite and style as well as a tendency to converse with several sub genres at once in a cool way.

Vocalist Sonia Goldberg stops by to fill us in on the band’s latest happenings and other matters.

Read more BELOW.

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Scientist killing it live (photo by Josh Dagenais)

Lara Noel McGlynn is the head organizer of Chicago Doomed And Stoned Festival, one of the funnest smaller underground niche extreme musical festivals of the year. We highly recommend you make the trip to Reggie’s in Chicago from June 1st-3rd. From some of the best bands in Chicago to like minded souls from around the country, this festival has a killer grouping of acts from Brume to Whores to The Skull to Scientist to Inter Arma and on and on.

It seems like only yesterday that Lara and I were completely shitfaced watching NIN, Soundgarden and Dillinger but now Dillinger is gone, Chris Cornell is dead and in hindsight I was so drunk I wish I remembered a lot more of that show! Anyway, Lara moved away from my area and has been kicking major ass in the metal scene supporting bands and so it was great to catch up with her and find out what is gonna make this festival super special and lit!

Read more BELOW.

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