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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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photo by Kat Cade

“I really feel like it’s important to not perpetuate or enable toxic ideologies and attitudes when you see them…” – Beth (bass/vocals)

Cleveland, Ohio’s Pillärs have given the underground a real shot of adrenaline right out of the gate in 2018 with new release Abandoned. From to the battle cry d-beat attack of opener “Last Rites” to the eerie and solemn dirge of closer “Behind The Wall”, the eight tracks on the release defy apathy and display relentless chemistry between the band members . There is a real love for underground punk and metal here in most forms.

Released on Tape Haus cassette (thetruetapehaus.com) and self-released CD, this is one of the most buzzed about current records in extreme music circles.

It was our pleasure to check in with the band about touring new places, scene building, overcoming obstacles and personal goals for making the scene more inclusive and generally rad.

Check it out BELOW.

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As a person and performer, I was and still am driven by the thought that we still had something to prove and strive to change people’s minds about who and what they think we are or were. – Morgan Lander

Kittie were always more than some nu metal female novelty act as they were originally crassly marketed. The group’s ongoing story has not been properly told until now, a twisting road that found the band in various line-ups kicking ass and taking names, overcoming sexist hurdles, conquering venues big and small and winning the hearts of thousands. Not every band can say they have six albums and several million record sales and still be as uncompromisingly heavy as Kittie have been over their career.

A long gestating documentary is arriving on March 30 via Lightyear Entertainment in North America to celebrate the band’s career and impact. The three-disc set, which was directed by Rob McCallum, includes a Blu-ray and DVD of the documentary as well as a new live album on CD.

Morgan Lander, the bands fierce yet friendly front woman, took some time to answer questions from myself and Elizabeth Le Fey (Globelamp) about Kittie’s role in making metal more inclusive, special moments along the way and much more.

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“Dreadlords is a black metal band (occult blues, grim folk, Satanic gospel), just not conducted in the usual format.” – J. Gannon

I found an old journal last night from about fifteen years ago and tore out a page in which I’d scribbled that ,“Life is like passing through a fogging yolk and maybe breaking loose into a heaven, but no guarantee?” Dreadlords, an experimental group from Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania who feature members of industrial flirting ritual occult act T.O.M.B. , seem to be searching out their own meaning to creation and our human experience navigating the perils of darkness and light’s perpetual tug of war with the soul. I’ve mainly been listening to them, Nate Hall’s lonely latest and the ethereal darkness of Lisa Cuthbert’s HEX TAPES the last few days and finding a lot of comfort in both during some quite shitty personal struggles.

In the garish glare of American mainstream culture, one could quickly be forgiven for wanting to pare things down to something more gritty, personal and close to the Earth. Blues, metal, gospel and – to my generally ringing ears, anyway – even some No Wave bordering punk influences combine with growling oral traditions and lonely campfire ritual soul-bearing to create a unique sound on the group’s 2017 release REAPERS.

Honestly, I ate a pot brownie and listened to this thing just last night out in the middle of the woods with a creative cohort, such is the return investment on these songs. It is taking the sort of wallop of the much more linear stoner rock band Lo-Pan’s “Marathon Man” to smack me back to reality this morning from my brain’s wanderings out on the edges of a REAPERS night time dream which transcends realms and archetypes like the musical equivalent of King and Straub’s The Talisman. If anyone wants to bring some strong black coffee and some hugs and kisses to where I am de-fogging in bed, that would also be appreciated.

But yes,  Zimimay, Samantha Viola and J. Gannon made a not too modest dent on the underground’s psyche with the uncompromising black psych blues release Death Angel , which featured some potent declarations of intent via the likes of “Dreadlords Cometh” and “Thieves Of Faith”. REAPERS expands the scope the mysterious act’s rising Mojo, personalizing the experience even further with a deep dive into the soul’s longings and laments.

More BELOW.

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‘Politicians, religious organizations and media were probably always corrupt, but it’s more difficult for them to hide it now. On the contrary: it would seem they’re not even trying to hide it anymore! They’re just counting on the apathy of the general public.’ – Alex Agnew 

Diablo Blvd have from Belgium pair bold vocal melodies with various shades of rock that travel from light to dark while staying rooted to the core hard hitting sound. Their new record Zero Hour brings in some New Wave and New Romantic influences further while adding more heft to the group’s hard rock punch. Be sure to pre order HERE (it comes out very soon on 9/22 via Metalville).

Alex Agnew stops by today to discuss touring, influences, the state of the world, playing music for everyone and much more. Check it out BELOW.

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It is not often you hear someone as clearly at home with a guitar in their hands as true virtuoso Al Joseph. I don’t listen to mostly instrumental guitarists that often, though I do get down to some Marty Friedman and love Scale The Summit, but I was so blown away when I heard Al Joseph’s recent stratospheric All Of Creation record that I had to track the man down and ask him about writing it, his technique, inspirations, hope and dreams, etc.

What a cool person! I promise if you listen to this record you will be very inspired to create, experience and LIVE! Satriani, Pettruci, Townsend Project and Reid fans will be into this for sure, but really you don’t have to love technical leads to find a human element here to latch on to. We here at Metal Riot highly advise you make some time for Al’s amazing art.

Read MORE BELOW.

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“…It’s about moving forward and leaving what’s behind you exactly that, behind you.” – Brock Lindow

 

Everyone sort of recalls the cover art for 36 Crazyfists A Snow Capped Romance the best, perhaps. It is kind of the record art you maybe subtly most associate with the band as far as branding, even though I listen to other albums by them more. But I feel like the NEW artwork for Lanterns sort of fits them as a band the most. The traveler faces the cold and the road ahead but is not overcome by it, a solid metaphor for an inspirational band that has pushed forward no matter what for over two decades as a leading light in grooving, depressive, melodic nu hardcore fusion and hard rock. There was a solid thumbs up from fans for the new track “Death Eater”, which premiered recently at Loudwire .

 

This group just really hits the sweet spot for me as far as cultivating their own sound and path/holding their own no matter what is the current biggest trend. I think they fuckin’ slay year after year.

 

It was great to catch up with vocalist Brock and learn more about the ebb and flow of sadness and motivation that fed one of the strongest releases yet from a band with plenty of good songs under their belts already.

 

Read more BELOW.

 

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‘Looking at a lot of history and myth, women have been treated as a “temptress” or “seductress” – forcing “pure” men to commit evil. Even in this day and age, a lot of people treat women as monsters.’ -PR

Running out the door to see Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble play up the street so I am not writing the longest intro for this, but Pope Richard is a positive force in the underground metal scene and likes a lot of my snarkiest Twitter posts about politics that a lot of people think go too far, haha. Blackened Death  is an incredible label more people should support and he is a major force behind it. Fucking A+ stuff that breaks stereotypes about metal as a haven for hate groups while still pushing very classic elements and the cutting edge? Look no further!

I also was a dungeon master as a kid and at several points in my life have actually OWNED every Dragonlance book save two or three harder to find joints like Murder In Tarsis (have it now) and  Love & War (have it now as well, haha). Of course I was thrilled to see Pope Richard has a musical project called Takhisis! This was a metal band name that needed to exist. The record fucking slaaaaayyyys as well, doomy self-made perfection that rocks hard but is just rough enough around the edges to keep it feeling more hungry and coming for you.

Read our chat BELOW in the Abyss.

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Freddy Alva/ Photo by Jammi Sloane York

 “I believe that the main running thread during graffiti’s infancy in the mid-1960s, and its subsequent expansion during the following decades, was the underlying element of this movement being a youth-driven one.” – Freddy Alva

New York City. New York Hardcore.

Everyone knows that both the place and musical style have had a legendary impact in shaping wider culture and tastes around the globe. New York is forever the hub of America, the place where the Statue of Liberty (our strongest symbol of hope and justice despite what assholes like Trump’s failed Muppet fascist buddy Stephen Miller would have you believe) looks benignly outward welcoming and holding her torch high.

Everyone knows Judge, Sick Of It All, Madball, Burn, Killing Time, Skarhead and countless other influential and aggressive acts who have rallied crowds, raised adrenaline levels and blown minds for years. When it comes to the huge impact of graffiti on the world, the parallels are most often shown between hip hop music and graf artists. Some cool documentaries exist as well.  When it comes to the rise of NYHC and the impact and synergy between fans and players with the graffiti world, the story is still more clouded in the wider mass consciousness.

A fantastic new book aims to change that. Urban Styles: Graffiti In New York Hardcore (DiWulf Publishing) is a crucial and comprehensive guide featuring photos, interviews from key players and lots of informative info related in an at times informal but very real and insiders style manner. It is our immense pleasure today to share with our readers an interview with author Freddy Alva, a long time scene member and expert who has shaped this labor of love into a very special moment for fans of New York, the music, street art and the people.

Freddy was very active in the DIY culture of hardcore from the outset; he was a fixture at such venerated venues as CBGB during the heyday of their Sunday matinees. Along with friend and fellow NYHC stalwart Chaka Malik, Freddy covered the music scene through his fanzine New Breed and eventually released a well-known and highly revered compilation cassette that featured some of the most influential bands of the time, The New Breed Comp. A recent documentary sharing the same name has been released to critical acclaim.

More below.

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Blake Judd talks return, homelessness, opiods and ‘Resilient’

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 8:20 PM (PST)

 .The wrongs I committed to support my addiction…I paid for in mental scars that I can never wipe from my mind. All I can do is make sure, every day, that I never, ever make the decision to bring that awful garbage back into my life to ensure that I never have to see or experience anything like that ever again. And through being of service to people who are in the shoes I used to be in today, maybe I can use these awful experiences as a deterrent for others to stop before they go through the hell I experienced.

…I did not “kill” my girlfriend. I did not “use” with my girlfriend. And I certainly did EVERYTHING I could to save her when I found her….but it was just too late. – Blake Judd

We talk about mental health stuff briefly after a celebrity dies and the rest of the time try to ‘trigger’ one another with memes. No wonder some people choose to drop out of society any which way they can. Not that every conversation in life needs to be “are you ok?”, but generally it seems rites of separation are more commonplace than a gathering of those with allegiance to forging deeper opportunities in metal to make the extremity mean bonds, healing and conversation .  At live shows I usually see unity for the most part amongst metal crowds. Though cynicism might mainly be in the world of online trolls, it is good to address stuff head on rather than in the self churning bowels of the comments sections of metal sites and Facebook at times.

I just saw Katie Von Schleicher live in a small venue and was taken out of my daily stress and into a reflective moment, moved by the soulful music. Life is such a fast house of mirrors sometimes and we shine in some and stumble through others, cutting ourselves and fragmenting in the eyes of those around us. Sometimes the process is completely painful and other times it leads us to seeing ourselves differently or more completely as shards are swept up.

Blake Judd is back with a very unexpected EP called Resilient.  They have signed a new 2 album global deal with a new home that includes the Resilient EP as well. Full announcement in late August / early September, but the Resilient EP achieves Blake’s goal of creating an album experience in 3 songs. I have heard it and longtime fans will be thrilled with the variety. Early darker experimental black metal is paired with some of the deepest places you have heard different incarnations of the band go to yet, but as a logical extension of where things left off on the previous few releases.

More BELOW.

All photos courtesy of Nachtmystium.

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Casting Ships are a Kingston, NY based nautical folk punk band who grew up on hardcore and cut their teeth on a deep love for the scene. The band is now a duo made up of Rob Samps on vocals and guitar and Nikki Mayone on cello. They are about to drop one of the gems of the Summer with new release From The State Of New York on Burning Capital Collective. The five song EP was recorded Nada Studios by the great John Naclerio (My Chemical Romance, I Am The Pilot) and will likely turn the head of anyone unfamiliar with the group who hears it as well as please older fans.

I caught up with Samps and had a lengthy chat about the record, the country and a LOT more. Casting Ships are about to open for famed ex-Faith No More and Bad Brains vocalist Chuck Mosley and will have cds available at the show. They have a lot of other stuff on their plate as well.

We don’t really pander to people with short attention spans like a lot of sites these days. If a conversation is interesting but long, chances are we will go way above other sites word counts here. If that offends you, don’t be the daft twit who writes tl;dr on our Fbook page. If it wasn’t for you, go back to twiddling your thumbs liking 800 random Instagram photos and speaking in emojis as you post your 800th Snapchat dog ears/nose selfie.

For those of you who can handle a nuanced hour long conversation, by all means come aboard BELOW.

 

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Photo by Jake Cunningham

Wilderness Dream released their most recent effort, Paralysis Rise on July 14 (you can grab a digital copy of it over at Bandcamp for $7). Leading up to the release of the album, I had the opportunity to sit down with Wilderness Dream guitarist and vocalist Ben Murray, who is also the label head of Creator-Destructor Records.

Ben is a cool guy who has been involved in the scene in various bands and through his work with Creator-Destructor Records for over ten years, and with Paralysis Rise and Wilderness Dream, he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, him and his fellow Wilderness Dream thrashers are dropping the melody for speed and brutality on their latest studio effort.

Check out what Ben had to say about the album, Creator-Destructor and what’s next for Wilderness Dream here.

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