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Volume 2 of the popular Rock Stars on God series. This collection of 25 interviews from the pages of HM Magazine features:
books & graphic novels books & graphic novels
Thrice, Collective Soul, Taking Back Sunday, Extreme, Megadeth, Fight (Rob Halford, Judas Priest),ChrisCornell(Soundgarden),MorbidAngel, King Diamond, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, HIM, Slayer, Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Type O Negative, Every Time I Die, The Alarm, Midnight Oil, Scott Stapp (Creed), My Chemical Romance, Ronnie James Dio.
Q: What do you think of Jesus Christ?
A: “I thought he was a fool. I would not have died for the sins of humanity. They’re not worth it. I don’t believe that Christ was the Son of God.” –Peter Steele, Type O Negative (pg. 224) Priest), Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Morbid Volume A n g e2 of l the , popular Rock Stars on God series. This interviews fromCradle the pages ofof K icollection n g of 25Diamond, HM F i Magazine l t h , features: Dimmu Borgir, HIM, Slayer, Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Thrice, Soul,O Negative, Taking Every Back Time Sunday, Lamb of Collective God, Type I Die, Extreme, Megadeth, Fight (RobOil, Halford, Judas(Creed), Priest), The Alarm, Midnight Scott Stapp Chris Cornell (Soundgarden), Morbid My Chemical Romance, Ronnie JamesAngel, Dio. King Diamond, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, HIM, Slayer, Meshuggah, Killswitch Engage, Slipknot, Lamb of God, Type O Negative, Every Time I Die, The Alarm, Midnight Oil, Scott Stapp (Creed), 1 My Chemical Romance, Ronnie James Dio. Get it now at hmmag.com151_lifestyle_books_and_comics-halfpage.indd
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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL, flight testing & TIME TRAVEL? read it all in the book Desert High HM Editor Doug Van Peltâ€™s first novel
TA B L E O F C O N T EN T S
From the managing editor Rob Shameless
REGULAR I NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME... A few weeks ago Doug asked me if I would write the opening statement in the table of contents. I never thought that I would be writing this. Until a few months ago I was just a freelance writer for HM. I wrote my ﬁrst article for the website in 2007. It was my ﬁrst journalist endeavor. It was the band’s ﬁrst interview as well. The band Sleeping Giant. The forefathers of the late 2000’s Spirit-ﬁlled hardcore movement. They have gone on to a great career. As well as hundreds of interviews. I started writing album reviews and later got a few featurettes in 2009. Then, this last summer, I did less than what I was doing the past few years. I had asked Doug earlier in the year about helping run the website. He said that he was not ready for someone else to run it with him. Over the spring and summer I helped with writing some content at Indievision.com. I felt that I was not meant to be there. I called Doug at the end of the summer and told him that I felt that my position at HM was to help him on the the Social Media side – helping him run the website, facebook and twitter accounts. He felt the same thing. So, for the past few months I have ran all these facets of HM. The end of September Doug called me, and asked if I would be willing to help him put together the magazine itself – picking the artists and writers for the assignments for the issue. I guess Doug saw that I had pretty good judgement, seeing I convinced him to put Further Seems Forever on the cover. The fans had my back as well. I see my work here at HM a real life example of being faithful with the little and you will be faithful with much. I would have never guessed ten years ago reading my ﬁrst HM that one day I would be helping put the pieces of this magazine together. I know now what it takes to put this together and I have a greater respect for my Editor-in-Chief.
Letters Hard news Live report Heaven’s metal fanzine
06 08 10 59
FEATURETTE Blameshift Propaganda
FEATURE Machina Showbread Texas in july The o.c. supertones Third day Flyleaf Anberlin Disciple
16 18 20 22 24 28 32 40
INTERMISSION Columns Gift guide
REVIEW SPINNING AT GOD SO LOVED THE... LEVI THE POET LUST CONTROL ONWARD TO... ULTIMATUM THE 77S BARREN CROSS BLACK COUNTRY C...
Self-titled Season Tiny Little Dots Indicator Heart of Metal Sticks and Stones State of Control Afterglow
Under appreciated hardcore band from Australia. Great... slowly going the way of Chariot meets Bradley. Members-only rough drafts. So fun. Biased, but I like. New guard of metalcore. Killer new boxed set packed with metal goodness. Re-issue. Saw ‘em recently on unplugged tour. Ah, takes me back to ‘89 all over again. Supergroup of rock and blues legends (incl. Glenn H).
For the record Music Lifestyle Indie pick
46 47 50 58
06 L E T T ER S T O T H E ED I T O R ®
PDF WHAT? Hello, was interested in subscribing to the magazine ... was just wondering can you tell me what format the magazines are in? Can they be saved in PDF? Downloaded the free issue with POD and it works great on my iPhone, but thought I remember reading in there that you were changing formats away from PDF. So was just wondering before I subscribe. Thanks. –Jeffrey Everroad, via email
ROCK STARS ON UH... In your new Rock Stars book, did you drop all of those annoying “ah’s” and “ums” that were in the original interviews? Also, did you fix the transcript errors, like “heresy” for should have been “hearsay?” (I think that was in the Gwar interview; really made you look bad at the time.) Finally, is the list of bands in the book on the web page advertising the book? Couldn’t find it. –Tom K, via email Ed – Yes, I cleaned up the “uhs” and such from the interviews – unless, of course, the stammering indicated hesitation, etc, from the actual conversation. The list of bands wasn’t on the site (unfortunately), until I read your email and I have since updated its page, which is at: http://tinyurl.com/RockStarsOnGod
OWL FLIES SOUTH I totally agree with the user who commented under the alias of “me.” :) I was a big Owl City fan, but this album along with ATBAB was pretty bad. Both albums lacked the luster of Ocean Eyes and the creativity of his previous albums. I miss the old Adam Young. Granted, someone could comment that if I’m really a fan, I’ll like all their work. If so, then I guess I’m just not an Owl City fan anymore. Too bad, because his old work used to be genius. –Bella, via website
Ed – Not sure where you heard that we were changing formats away from PDF. No way! The magazine is now online/digital and it’s viewable in a flash-like animation browser. To find it, just go to hmmag.com, click on the top navigation link that says NEW ISSUE and a new pages loads with a flipping-page magazine animation. Click anywhere on that magazine and the magazine viewing browser opens up in a new window. The cool thing about this browser is it allows you to email an article to a friend, save the entire issue as a PDF file, print it out on your local printer, as well as look at about three years’ worth of archive issues.
DITTO ON IPAD Hello, how can I download an issue and have it on my ipad? Thanks. –Hector Suni, via email Ed – Popular question! When viewing the online issue, check out the toolbar on the right. You’ll see a button that’ll say PDF when you mouse over it. It’ll then open up into a PDF browser, which has a diskette/save button. Save it and then add it onto your iPad the next time you sync. Then open it with your iPad’s PDF or book reader.
HELLBOUND? I meet Kevin Miller at cornerstone and I really want to see the movie. –Freedom Noble, via website Ed – Yeah. Nice guy that Kevin. Hey everybody! This Freedom Noble dude here was the very first subscriber to HM back in 1985!
NOVEMBER 2012 EDITOR/PUBLISHER MANAGING EDITOR MKTG & ADS CONTR EDITORS E-NEWS HOUND METAL MANAGER
Issue #161 Doug Van Pelt Rob Shameless Doug Van Pelt, Frontgate Media Charlie Steffens Kemper Crabb, Matt Francis, Chad Johnson Jason Irvin Chris Gatto
Jef Cunningham, F. Fletch, Daniel Garcia, Ian Harvey, Seth Hecox, David Huff, Dan MacIntosh, Mitch Roberts, Sarah Roberts, David Stagg, Charlie Steffens
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DISCIPLE ROCKS Ed – Thanks for sharing. It’s fascinating to hear people’s opinions on new albums. I’ve been kind of taken aback at each successive Owl City concert I’ve seen since the first few “magic” ones. As he’s gotten more successful, the shows have featured more “production” and rock instrumentation. Perhaps the rawness and simplicity of the early material harnessed the character that we loved so much...?
JEWISH ROOTS I just wanted to say that it is so wonderful that Messianic Judiasm is literally being found all over the world and people are realizing that a Jewish believer in Yeshua is a “completed” Jew. Galilee for the Nations is a dynamite source of Messianic Music. Another site to find some great new Messianic artists and songs is newfaithfavorites.com. –Jim Hargrove, via website
Thanks for the up date on Disciple’s new album. I already knew about it, as I am a Huge disciple Fan. However, I have heard the whole album and think it is the best material they have put out since the Scars Remain album. Hard rockin’ and with a purpose other than selling records. They are reaching out to the outlaws and and have conceived an album that rocks and lifts up the Word. Namely Christ. God Bless Disciple as they have certainly blessed me. –James Shotwell X, via email Ed – Yeah, Keith Green’s For Him Who Has Ears to Hear should’ve been on the list, but going From 400 albums down to 100 was HARD. Once you whittle it down, then you have to remove some album to add another. With metal playing such a large role on our list, it was even hard for Keith’s Elton John-like album to make it. Sigh.
HM Magazine (ISSN 1066-6923) is no longer printed in the USA, however, you can get either/both color or b&w copies printed and quickly shipped to you from a cool and fast print-on-demand place (lulu.com). Go there and search for “HM Magazine” and you’ll see all the available issues. All contents copyright © 2012. HM contents may not be reproduced in any manner, either whole or in part, without prior written permission.
HARDNEWS Quick & concise IONA ANNOUNCE NEW LIVE ALBUM INNER SIEGE SIGNS TO ROXX FREE BESTOF CD AVAILABLE NOW
POWER METALLERS RELEASE ON 12/11
“Incredibly it is almost 8 years since the Iona Live in London DVD was recorded (with the double CD version released sometime later).” For the past couple of years the band have been keen to record another live album to try to capture something of the current excitement generated during the live set and in particular capture some of the Another Realm songs live. It’s often difficult to predict in advance which gig or gigs are likely to make for a great live album. With these thoughts in mind, the four October gigs in England (Leeds, Kendal, Liverpool and Bilston) were recorded onto a 24track hard disk recorder by our UK sound engineer Gareth with the aim to use the best tracks to produce a new live album for 2013 release.
“Inner Siege is America’s answer to the European Power Metal scene,” boasts the label. Hailing from Peoria Illinois, Inner Siege is proud to announce they have inked a deal with Los Angeles based Roxx Records to release their debut full length CD. Inner Siege cites such bands as Firewind, Kamelot, Dream Evil and Iron Maiden as some of their inﬂuences. Titled Kingdom of Shadows, the band’s debut is a concept album. “This album is prepared to take the listener to a new level and on a whole new journey of the mind.” Mixing and mastering the new release was Fredrik Nordstrom of Dream Evil, who has also worked with such acts as In Flames, Opeth and Dimmu Borgir. Also recruited to bring Kingdom of Shadows to life through the brilliant cover artwork was multi-talented Brazilian/ Potuguese graphic designer Gustavo Sazes, who has done artwork for many artists through the years including the likes of such ﬁne artists as Firewind, Kamelot, Dream Evil and even Arch Enemy.
For a free copy of the Iona Treasures album, go to www.noisetrade.com/ionaband
News bullets Impending Doom have announced The Chaos Reborn Tour running this winter in continuous support of their hard hitting record, Baptized In Filth. Support will come from Thick As Blood, Fit For A King, The Browning, Hearts & Hands and label mates This Or The Apocalypse. The Rock & Worship Roadshow embarks on its fifth annual tour this spring with a new group of all-star musicians including death metallers MercyMe (just kidding), Jeremy Camp, Tedashii, Kutless, Family Force 5, Luminate, Adam Cappa, Rhett Walker Band and Tim Timmons. Scott Silletta (formerly of Plankeye and Fanmail) and Orion Walsh (formerly of Slow Coming Day) sign with up-andcoming label, Morning Radar Sounds. The label is set to officially launch in 2013 with some pretty definitive music. Houston’s Christian hardcore outfit Currents has just released their BridgeWay Entertainment debut album, Spirit And Truth, in stores and on iTunes. Herbert Groenemeyer has established himself as Germany’s most successful recording artist of all time, with album sales surpassing 18 million copies, but since they’re sung in German, he’s “the biggest selling artist you’ve never heard of.” His new album, I Walk, will be an English-sung introduction to his work, which includes the lead-off track, “Mensch,” where he is joined on vocals by Bono.
David Crowder releases ﬁrst solo session
David Crowder released his ﬁrst solo effort with an exclusive live iTunes® Session. Recorded at the storied Capitol Records Studio in Hollywood, Crowder: iTunes® Session delivers nine stripped down, organic tracks to many of Crowder’s most loved originals. The live session includes hit songs such as “How He Loves,” “O Praise Him,” “No One Like You” and “Let Me Feel You Shine,” as well as a brand new recording by Crowder of the classic hymn “The Old Rugged Cross,” ﬁrst performed at a Good Friday gathering at Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA. In an intimate behindthe-scenes video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsYuVstkZCw), Crowder shares, “What I love about music is that a song can be in different packages or different environments, but the heart of it, the thing that connects to a person to it, is still present. For these songs to have new skin on them and have these beautiful new voices contributing to them is a really beautiful moment.” The iTunes® session is Crowder’s ﬁrst project following the ﬁnal David Crowder*Band release earlier this year, Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]).
Levi the Poet has announced the release of his second Come & Live offering, Seasons, which will be available on a pay-what-you-feel basis beginning December 11th. “Seasons carries the idea of change, and I wanted Levi The Poet to change. I wanted the poems to carry more hope than they had in the past. Seasons is truly the most personal, heart wrenching work I’ve put together. It will be reflected in the videos that come out, in the subsequent releases to follow it and in the lyrics themselves; working through the pain of my father’s suicide, the wickedness of my heart and its proclivities towards pride, rebellion and idolatry.”
To tune in to Colin’s online station, go to theblast.fm Colin shown here interviewing Matt Baird from Spoken and in the studio.
INDUSTRY PROFILE: TheBlast.FM MEET COLIN “CRUZ” STROMBECK, WHO’S BEEN RUNNING AN ONLINE STATION FOR AWHILE NOW AND ONE OF THE OFFICIAL STATIONS THAT YOU CAN STREAM WHILE USING THE FREE HMBRANDED FIREFOX BROWSER. WE WANTED TO PICK HIS BRAIN ABOUT INTERNET RADIO. How long have you been in radio? Since February 1990. Did you see the big shift to online radio coming? Yes. FM radio is largely boring, corporate run, formulaic programming. How did you plan for it or adapt to it? Well, since we are an internet-only radio station, we’re not the ones on the run. We planned it to be a station targeting a national/worldwide audience, not just a particular area. What are some basic things that you have to do to get TheBlast.FM operating? In general, to get started: setting up a non-profit organization and filling out the 501(c)(3) application; banging my head against the wall trying to secure start-up funding; gathering old rock charts and obtaining music; loading all the music in our automation system, classifying and categorizing each song, and loading each one in our music scheduling software; writing and producing imaging for start-up. Securing licenses for legal public airplay of the music on TheBlast.FM. In general, now: schedule daily music log, daily show prep and host my daily radio show; write live promo liner copy; obtain, review, and select new music; write and produce imaging and production (promos); answer listener email and fulfill Blast product orders; fund-raise; pay the bills, budgeting, and interfacing with our bookkeeper; give direction to our webmaster and volunteer computer techs; monitor our streams to make sure they are working and that each stream has enough slots so it does not fill up and shut anybody off; researching and ordering new software, hardware, and equipment; government paperwork; taking out the trash and shopping for the station. I would add that we are the first Christian radio station that is ready and set up to Blast after the Rapture!!! And we are the first radio station of any kind: FM, AM, Satellite, Internet, or Shortwave ... to show live geo-mapping of where people are listening in real time on its website ... that is on The Blast Map (whereas the spinning Blast Globe shows website visitors ... not necessarily listeners, many of whom listen in other places besides the website).
What sort of regular changes do you make? New music is added to our full format and to our Blastmetal show almost weekly (probably 50 out of 52 weeks per year); imaging is now being updated with a few new sweepers weekly. Hopefully we can keep that going at least at that pace; promos are updated monthly (usually); ministry vignettes are updated every few months (but we want to increase the frequency of their updates). Skeleton crew, so updates are not as regular as we’d like.
have troubles with it. The Android app has only two streams currently: the 128k mp3 (CD quality) and a 64k mp3 (roughly FM quality). Due to the lack of AAC or AAC+ support on too many Android phones, our app developer has highly discouraged putting AAC+ or AAC streams on the app. (The good news for Android OS Blasters is that we have flash players for 64k, 48k, 32k, and 24k AAC+ streams (CD quality down to FM quality) playable right in your browser on our homepage on flash-enabled phones.
How do you determine how long a particular songs stays in rotation? Many factors. If it is on the fringe of our sound, particularly the lighter end of our sound, it probably won’t play as long. The same is sometimes true of newer independent bands. Also, some songs burn faster than others. I program from the gut, but I also watch for trends of listener numbers dropping or gaining during certain songs. National charts factor in to some extent. Then, there is the factor of the label, promoter, or band releasing the next song sooner than expected ... causing us to have to decide between dropping the current hit from said band early; waiting to add the next hit for awhile while the current hit runs its full natural course; or have both in the current rotation (which tends to mess up the rotations of not only those songs, but other songs in the mix).
Favorite and least-favorite parts about this job? Disc-jockeying, selecting new music and programming the station, producing imaging, voicing and producing The Impact Of The Blast (testimonial) spots, and sharing about The Blast in churches. Bookkeeping and paperwork are my least favorite parts, but we recently (finally) hired out the bookkeeping.
How does your app work? It works great for most people. We’ve got 41/2 out of 5 stars on both our Android app and our iPhone app. The iPhone app gives you a choice of 5 different streams, from the 128k mp3 stream down to 32k AAC+. The bottom stream, the 32k AAC+, is actually FM quality, because AAC+ is a revolutionary codec that gives you much better quality at lower bit rates than you get with mp3. The 48k AAC+ is at the low end of CD quality and the 64k AAC+ is at the high end of CD quality when it comes to AAC+ streams. We have a 96k AAC stream on the app, which is also CD quality and is on par soundwise with the 128k mp3 and the 64k AAC+ streams. The Android app has more problems for more people, due to the lack of standards in the open source Android OS. It works great on most phones, but some phone types
What do you think the strengths of Christian rock or Christian hard music are? Music, lyrics and legitimacy. You see Christian (real) rock and metal bands accepted amongst their mainstream peers a lot more than can be said of Christian pop and CCM acts. I think the best thing is the in-your-face lyrics of the really heavy bands. I grew up on bands like Stryper, Barren Cross and Bloodgood and it is nice to see that tradition of no-holds-barred lyrics come through from bands like Sleeping Giant and Life In Your Way. What are any weaknesses you see? One of the biggest weaknesses regarding “Christian Rock” is the fact that the term “Christian Rock” is one of the most abused terms there is. Christian Pop and even Adult Contemporary radio has been known to co-opt that term at times (which can lead to a bad image of Christian rock to the uninitiated); too many bands that are Christian pop, or at the hardest, Christian Pop/Rock end up being the banner carriers for “Christian Rock,” while legitimate Christian rock bands are disregarded.
[Go to hmmag.com to read the full interview]
LIVE REPORT ACL Festival 2012 October 12-14 REVIEW and PHOTOS BY DOUG VAN PELT and KAELA VAN PELT (Austin, TX) Austin City Limits festival keeps on
bringing the rock (and Gospel and blues and EDM and indie rock and pop and hip-hop and all kinds of genrebending sets from all over. The folks that put it on, the venue and everything about it is f irst class. It gets crowded and you’re forced to choose between great acts sometimes at opposite ends of a crowded Zilker Park, but this well-oiled machine has hardly any flaws.
This six-member unit known as The Kopecky Family Band was huddled in front of drum riser just prior to the start of their set, as if in prayer (they probably were) and the set came off like an answer to prayer. It was nearly flawless, dynamic and fun. The first song sounds starts like that Choir tune with Leigh Nash (“After All”), with lots of delay on the flanged guitar. It set a “stop and listen / catch the moment” vibe immediately. The bumps and thumps of the drum and bass quickly sped things up. The Kopecky Family Band is a splendid musical recipe. In addition to atmospheric guitars (sometimes three at a time), bass, drums and keys, there was a cello, extra floor toms, trombones, shakers, tambourines, hand clapping and whistling. All the ingredients are whipped together in an organized fashion (i.e. good songs) that make for a swell listen. That first song included a little variety, with the frontwoman Kelsey Kopecky playing a big floor tom that was set out near the front of the stage. The second song started with a whistle, which gave way to Kopecky’s cute yet sultry voice. Then there’s a little xylophone during the tune for more texture. The third song was a new one from their full-length, Kids Raising Kids. It features lots of sing-along-able “nana-na-nana’s” (a lot of ‘em) and some major thumping bass. This band seemingly wants you to listen to their words, but also get up and move. The fourth song was an older one (“Animal,” from Of Epic Proportions) about a girl. It speeds up midway with the inclusion of lots of harmony vocals egging the audience to join in with the rhythmic “body-up-ba’s.” They asked for some syncopated clapping to start off their newest single, “Heartbeat,” to which the happy audience obliged.
Guitarist Gabe Simon, like each member, did double-duty with multiple instruments, but he was probably the busiest of all – keeping busy with acoustic and electric guitars, trombone and, during the next song, blew the kazoo. The bass and drums kept going through the middle of the song when everything dropped out. They dove into another song with a whistle intro, which featured a good mix of lead vocals between Simon and Kopecky and lots of BGVs from bassist/ tambourine/xylophone/cello player, Markus Midkiff. The chorus of “Are You Listening” beckons the listener with lines of “Don’t be shy now.” The next tune starts off with yet another member beating on the floor toms – guitarist Steven Holmes. The last two songs show a deeper and darker side of the
band, delving into tortured people. One paints the truth boldly with the challenge “To see the man that you’ve become ... when the lights go out.” The last song starts with pleas from both vocalists: “Wait. Don’t walk to the store...” It’s a story of pain that “no one wants to talk about it.” Sounds like sweet brooding anger, but points to resolution without getting there – “I know it’s something that we both want.” The chorus speeds up and ramps up in volume. For the finale, Simon tossed out a maraca and tambourine into the audience (which he later retrieved). Tunes like “My Way” and “Heartbeat” conjure the fun of Foster the People without copping onto their sound. I look forward to seeing this band live again in the future, because they sure were fun on this occasion. The Kopecky Family Band (Photos by Doug Van Pelt)
ACL FESTIVAL 11
The Kopecky Family Band (Photo: DVP)
Needtobreathe strolled onto the mammoth Bud Light Stage with banjos and guitars in tow, starting off with countrified tune about the truth setting you free. The second song reminded me of Third Day. “Wanted Man” featured some rocking and rollicking piano. After the second song the banjo came back out for the third and the piano introduced the fourth. Frontman Bear Rinehart was a consummate showman, directing the experience like a veteran – whether he was sitting on the piano bench, with a guitar slung around his neck or singing a ballad sans guitar. Between songs he confessed his insecurities and then challenged the audience to cut loose, asking them if they wanted to dance. Guitarist Bo Rinehart started off the next song with a nice riff. It gave the large audience a rocking time. I never really knew what NeedToBreathe’s musical personality was, but now I know. They major on Southern rock boogie. Just like the awesome worship he often leads at the Austin Stone Church, Aaron Ivey and his band were well into a groove early on in the first tune. A few “oh, oh, oh” choruses got the audience swaying along. Cries of “Waitin’ for the day to come” echoed of a longing inside that resonated between performer and audience. This was no doubt key to their performance becoming a community event. Soon crashing crescendos, percussive clapping and shared singing warmed the crowd. “I will always love you” spoke of commitment, but it underlined passion moreso. Ivey stood with guitar in hand near the end of the set and shared with a sense of grace and humility that “God has radically given us hope.” His next song asked his higher power to “Flood my soul.” This was typical of the Zilker Stage, which has always majored on the Gospel music stream that is oh-so-
closely connected to the rock world, but it was slightly unusual to feature a band that might fit squarely into the “modern worship” category. He’s a local and his music has soul, so it’s really no surprise that they were tapped to share their joy here this year. When he was talking about how “a lot of us have been beat up by the church, but God’s given us something to stand on,” there was some emphatic hope rising up inside my gut. I love that feeling. Later on Ivey introduced another song by sharing, “My wife and I walked through three adoptions. It was one if the hardest things we ever went through. We wanna offer ourselves as a resource to anyone that has questions,” and he left it at that as they launched back into song. The tune
was called “Amos Story,” which chronicles the heartache of not being able to reunite with their newly adopted kids in Haiti for a long time: “I’ll find a way to get you here / If it takes my fleeting breath / Another sunrise hits the ground / And it’s a dark lonely sight / Light years away I hope you know / There is a somebody searching / For the way to get you here / I will get you here...” Drummer Phillip Ellis put a spare snare drum head on top of his snare for part of song, which was weird and unusual. Ivey again shared about the home-longing that is key to the blues, talking about how the world is a jacked up place. “We
ACL FESTIVAL 13
found hope in Jesus.” For the last tune Ivey was on acoustic and one of his guitarists played a hurdy girdy/accordion-type thing. The other guitarist was on piano and the drummer played with brushes. The finale comforted with words of challenge: “Come brace yourself for His life of bruising. Things may not turn out like you hoped. Rest in the hurricane.” Quite moving. I’d heard plenty of hype about this outfit (The Civil Wars), but didn’t really know what to expect. Boy, have I been missing out! The duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White is certainly a match made in musical heaven. Much like the duo of Alison Krauss and Robert Plant a few years ago, these two voices blend with each other extremely well – with strengths building on strengths and the concoction really is pleasing to the ears. They played plenty of songs from their Charlie Peacock-produced full-length Barton Hollow. I didn’t know what to expect from this creative genius named Jack White and I got more than I could have hoped for. While I became hooked around 2002 with the release of Red Blood Cells, I never got to see The White Stripes live, so any opportunity to see this guy brought with it the reluctant and deep-rooted hope that I’d get to hear some of those tunes that I’ve traveled so many miles with. Even though sometimes it was delivered with White on piano instead of just guitar and drums, tunes like “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” “Hotel Yorba,” “We’re Going to Be Friends,” “Ball and Biscuit,” “Seven Nation Army” and “The Hardest Button to Button” sounded lovely to these ears, as did The Raconteurs tune “Steady, as She Goes.” Instead of having to patiently wade through a lengthy performance of White’s new art, he threw out a ton of popular hits. While I probably would have enjoyed anything he delivered, I was pleasantly surprised by his musical menu. I felt like a kid on Halloween again. I smiled a lot.
My knowledge of The Wombats prior to ACL was very limited. I’d heard a few songs by them and had been hearing about their music nonstop for weeks, but never really took interest. The British indie-rock band had loads and loads of wit and were incredibly easygoing in pleasing their fans and crowd. They made jokes throughout the show and put on an incredible performance, probably even the best sounding I heard all weekend. I have always been a fan of Weezer, since my early days in middle school. Their songs are so well written and catchy, I think everyone had high hopes for this particular set. I have to admit I was let down with this show. The mix didn’t seem to complement the sound and the vocals weren’t the best live. It happens in live music, all the time – not every concert will be outstanding, so I understood my disappointment was simply a reaction to just a mediocre night for Weezer. The crowd was huge, but like me, people just weren’t really into it. The usual and expected quality of sound Weezer holds themselves to was just not there. I’m not some ecstasy-loving rave goer, but I absolutely love the sound and vibes involved in an electronica show – it really practices the saying “feel the music.” That being said, I was looking forward to this show more than any on ACL’s first night (Friday). In fact, I skipped the Black Keys (a favorite of mine) to see it. I have no regrets for missing anything for seeing AVICII, because their set was absolutely phenomenal. The DJ stood in the brain on top of a probably 80-foot head with lasers and lights coming from all directions. From what I could see, the crowd was enormous and every single person in sight of me was dancing. It was an amazing show and a great time.
NeedToBreathe; Aaron Ivey Band (Photos: DVP); Jack White (Photos: Cambria Harkey1 & Matt Ellis2); Weezer (Photo: Jack Edinger); Avicci (Photo: Dave Mead); Aaron Ivey Band (Photos: DVP)
(c-wise from U-left):
14 F E AT U R E T T E
Album: Fable Label: Joy Revolution Release Date: August 21, 2012 Members: Benjamin Dunn and “a whole creative community of friends,” too numerous to mention/list here. RIYL: Mae, Josh Garrells, Foster the People, The Polyphonic Spree, fun. facebook.com/benjamindunnmusic
BLAMESHIFT Blameshift is one of those bands that’s out in the mainstream, doing their thing and also populated by a couple believers in Christ. After recently starting work on Secrets, a follow up to its popular album, The Black Rose, Blameshift chatted with HM about their busy and rising career.
with all our fans, sometimes they get intimidated and won’t always approach her. On the ﬂip side promoters like to use it as a way to get more people to a show. However you look at it, it’s much better than some fat, ugly dude, so we’re one step ahead of most bands. (laughs)
What are the goals and vision for the band Blameshift? We like to always progress, using each album as a way to newly deﬁne the band. Our goals are to at least double our fan base by each release, tour more parts of the world and let our music connect and relate to as many people as possible.
How did preparation and recording of Secrets differ from The Black Rose? First off, we have some new members, which really changed the vibe for both records, both in good ways. Secondly, The Black Rose was for the most part written prior to going into the studio and tracked in a 3-week block out. The new release Secrets was tracked partially in the ﬁrst quarter of 2012 and the rest in the last quarter. Honestly it’s dope to look at six songs and ﬁguring out what remaining songs will make this the best full-length it can be.
What’s it like playing in a band fronted by an attractive lady? Having “eye candy” at center stage is certainly a unique experience (probably better than an ugly heavyweight dude singing), so tell us what it’s like... What are the ups and downs, funny bits and challenges that you face? The biggest problem we face is that some of the venue employees ﬁrst think Jenny is our merch girl (laughs) ... until, of course, we hit the stage. It can be hard, cause although Jenny loves talking
BY DOUG VAN PELT
How has the “Tell Us Your Biggest Secret” contest gone so far? A contest like that could bring in some interesting entries, to be sure. You have no idea! We’ve gotten everything from: “I sleep with a night light still and I’m in my late 20’s” to “I slept with my
best friend’s girl friend.” We have a lot of entries still coming in each day. We have a crazy idea on how all of these “secrets” will make their way into our next album artwork along with our live show. You’ll just have to wait and see! What would you do if one of the entries was from a serial killer, confessing his crimes? What if it was from a young kid or a wife getting abused? Wow, that a pretty crazy question. There is a level of conﬁdentiality that we agreed to uphold. On the other hand, if we really felt someone was reaching out for help to that extent, we’d have to do something. Anything else you’d like to add? Be sure to pick up our next release Secrets when it comes out later next year. Like our band on FB, watch our video and become a part of the project. We love talking with all of our new fans and meeting everyone each night on the road. You guys keep us moving forward and keep us all sane. Read the entire interview at hmmag.com
F E AT U R E T T E
Album: TBD Label: Facedown Release Date: August 14, 2012 Members: Kramer Lowe, vocals; Kyle Phillips, guitar/vocals; Andrew Higginbotham, guitar; Justin Allman, bass; Mark Hudson, drums/vocals RIYL: Blessthefall, Between the Buried and Me
Two years ago I wrote a little press release for hmmag.com about a up-and-coming hip hop label called Humble Beast. Now, two years later they are leading the way and changing the game. One of the masters of ceremonies that is helping lead that charge is Propaganda. With a degree in Illustration and Intercultural Studies, he has chosen to live his life on the road, speaking knowledge of truth and faith. I had a chance to hang out with the ﬁre-baptized battle rapper while he made a stop in Dallas on Reach Records’ annual Unashamed Tour. We talked about his new record, helping pave a new path for Spirit-ﬁlled hip hop and working with one of the biggest Christ-centered MC’s of all time.
So, state your name. My name is Propaganda. I’m from South Central Los Angeles. However, I grew up 20 minutes outside of that in West Covina, Californa – 626. (laughs) You just put out a new album called Excellent. Yes Sir. And everything about the album – from making it to making marks on Billboard – have been excellent. Talk about it. Well, the idea was sonically we did not want to make this Art Ambidextrous II. If
BY ROB SHAMELESS
you are familiar with Humble Beast... We are rappers, but we are not rappers. You know what I am saying? We’re different. I wanted to make a record that matched what was in my headphones. From the stuff I really listen to ... so I sat down for months. With (Beautiful) Eulogy is that they know me so well, and we know each other so well. When we work together you don’t have to say anything. Everything was a breeze, it was so fun. From artwork to everything else we were on the same page the whole time. It hit the street a month and half ago. You have had some big numbers on iTunes and Billboard. You are up there with these guys at Reach Records. Even doing the “Misconception” track on the Church Clothes Mixtape. After that came out Humblebeast.com crashed due to so much trafﬁc. Yeah, everyone was all, “Who are they?” And they went to the website and downloaded all of our records. All our numbers shot up, and it crashed the site. With the mixtape and now you being on this Unashamed Tour, you guys now have a really good relationship with Reach Records. They are our brothers. We are brothers.
You are on this tour. Beautiful Eulogy and Theory Hazit are on tour with other artists from Lamp Mode Recordings... We are really trying to work together to show that hip hop as believers is a real movement as brothers. It’s not just Humble Beast, Reach, Lamp Mode. It is all of us. We are brothers in arms. See us as such. We are all doing our own roles. We are not trying to be the same, but we are trying to do so in unity. That is the heart of it. That is why there is the BeastMode Tour. That is why Thi’sl and I are on this tour. Cuz we are family and we are trying to show that.* There are both hip hop and slam poetry elements to the new record. What are you more of? A rapper or a poet? It’s 50/50. I am both. Where I am in my career it will always be that. Hip hop is my native tongue.
*Hip hop labels have been known for its beefs with other labels. Taking over their rivals by buy outs or by violence.
Read the entire interview at hmmag.com
Album: TBD Label: Facedown Release Date: August 14, 2012 Members: Kramer Lowe, vocals; Kyle Phillips, guitar/vocals; Andrew Higginbotham, guitar; Justin Allman, bass; Mark Hudson, drums/vocals RIYL: Blessthefall, Between the Buried and Me facebook.com/onwardtoolympas
MACHINA WILL BE THE FEATURED BAND ON THE TELEVISION SHOW THE MAKING OF ROCKSTARS, WHICH ISN’T A STRETCH WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. JOHN LE COMPT AND ROCKY GRAY WERE BOTH MEMBERS OF EVANESCENCE, WHO SOLD MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF ALBUMS AND PACKED VENUES WITH THAT BAND. WHAT’S COOL ABOUT MACHINA IS IT’S THE BAND AND PROJECT THAT THESE MUSICIANS WANTED TO BE IN AND THE MUSIC THEY WANTED TO MAKE. IT’S CERTAINLY NOT “PROVE IT” TIME FOR THIS BAND. IT’S MORE LIKE “CREATE FOR LOVE” TIME, WHICH MADE IT A JOY TO SIT AND TALK WITH LE COMPT ABOUT THIS NEW BAND.
BY DOUG VAN PELT
Catch us up a little bit on your history. To Live And Die In The Garden Of Eden has been ﬁnished for a few years. We sat on it because we could never ﬁnd the right home for it. We ﬁgured it would be better to wait until it felt right, so we put it on the back burner while Rocky and I did We Are The Fallen. That would be another milestone for me, because I was getting to make music with Ben Moody again. It turned out to be one of the most rewarding partnerships that I’ve ever been a part of. Everyone in the band was a tried and true musician and show person. Each one of us had “been there and done that,” so to speak, so it was just a powerhouse of a band – in the studio and on the stage. To answer the question that I get on a daily basis: Yes, we are still a band and plan on making music again. We all ﬁnd ourselves in the unique position of being in several different bands with so many more grown-up responsibilities. Also, it’s tough to be in a band these days at our age. If we were teenagers with no wives, kids or mortgage payments, band life would be so much easier. It is what it is, though. We’ve all learned a lot and are getting the most out of just living rather than just being in bands or playing music. I think that’s the wisdom that I have picked up over the years – to get your eye off of the prize down the road and enjoy the ride. How related/unrelated is We Are The Fallen and Machina? Please describe the transition between the two. WATF and Machina are two completely different animals in many ways, but in other ways they are pretty similar. Musically, WATF is very techy, theatrical and overthe-top, where Machina is just straightup, nitty-gritty, honest rock and roll. The similarities are the motives behind the two groups. They both come from the heart of people who love making and playing music together. I equally love and enjoy both of them and hope to continue doing both forever. It’s all about good friends having a good time and creating art. Nothing more, nothing less. Please tell me the story of how you guys came to work together (Phil, John, Rocky and Tad Ables. Let’s talk about To Live and Die in the Garden of Eden. What led to the style and sounds you guys create with? The music we have created on this record reﬂect a huge assortment of inﬂuences. There’s grunge, metal, acoustic, almost bluegrass parts. It’s like Dr. Frankenstein took
apart Crowbar, Soundgarden, Nirvana and Big Wreck and sewed all the pieces together, shot it with a million volts of electricity and put it down on tape. This has most to do with mine and Phil’s very different musical journeys. He’s much younger than I am and has a great many different inﬂuences. It really is a collaboration that never should have worked, but my heavy riffs and his grungy style just meshed and we both really understood from day one what we could do together. I’m just so blown away by his voice and vocal melodies. It inspires me. His guitar riffs are equally as impressive. Over time we actually started writing like each other. I think we both admired each other’s style so much that we learned what the other guy might do. In most projects I can listen back and know exactly what riff or embellishment I wrote. In this band, it’s hard to do. There is a very Southern vibe going on, too. It’s not intentional. I just think for the ﬁrst time in my life I really started to embrace where I’m from and the richness of the land around me. We wrote the majority of this record in my home studio that overlooks acres of cow pasture in the country in Benton, Arkansas. To top it off, we recorded the majority of the album in Nashville, Tennessee, which further pushed that Southern thing we already had going on. I don’t mean that it sounds like a pumped up country album or anything like that. I just mean that the honesty and swagger that this record has really stands out. I wasn’t afraid to throw down some banjo, dobro or mandolin on it. If it called for it, we did it. Shoot, I’m surprised that we didn’t put harmonica or autoharp on there. Maybe next time. Forgive me, I’ve been on a Johnny Cash kick for a few years. There are a few songs like “This Goodbye,”“Trust,” “Belladonna,” “Crown” and “The Verdict” that we incorporated authentic string sections. I’ve learned to love that aspect added to rock music through my other projects and it ﬁt well where we wanted it. Early on we were interested in programming and synth stuff, but over time we realized that it just wasn’t called for in this band. The music is a punch in the face that stands pretty strong on its own without every bell and whistle. How does your history/experience with faith inﬂuence or intersect with your art on this album? Why or why not? How? We’ve all had our own unique spiritual journey. I think whether a band is Christian, non-Christian, whether the respective player sings or plays guitar, drums, bass, whatever ... the beliefs are evident in the
lives and lyric of the performer. I think we are the poster child for that. We have no intention of evangelizing to the world with our music, but it still comes through. I mean, “Crown” and “The Verdict” are pretty straight-forward about our faith and what we believe as Christians. They are some very revealing lyrics and the music that carries them ﬁt the spirit of what’s being said so well. Ultimately, we make music because we love it and that’s what we do. If our music doesn’t glorify our Maker in some way, then I believe we fail as ministers of reconciliation. What are your plans for touring and the next 12 months? We are starting a tour throughout the midwest in November. We are taking a ﬁlm crew, who will be ﬁlming for a reality show called The Making Of Rock Stars (facebook. com/TheMakingOfRockstars). It’s a show about the hard work and trials and tribulations of what a band goes through to become successful. We are coming in as a mentor band to a younger band, who is just starting out. The idea is to depict a group of guys who have been there already, but are having to rebuild as a new project and showing younger bands the wisdom that they may have picked up over the years. It is going to be syndicated by CBS. We will ﬁnish up in early December and try to go out and hit the West Coast in January. Hopefully, we can tour all over throughout 2013. How will you know if this band is fulﬁlling your hopes, dreams, vision, plans? This band, as well as the many others I’ve been a part of, have already fulﬁlled all my hopes and dreams. The rest is just icing. Anything else you’d like to add? I just want to thank all the fans who have stuck with me over the years. I also want to thank HM for giving me the opportunity to put it all out there. It’s been a long time coming since the old Mindrage days. By the way, I’ve still got my HM: Hard Music Authority sampler hanging in a frame on the wall from 1997, track #5: ”Destructive Patterns.” I think I’m gonna’ break that out and relive some memories. Thanks!!!
Read the entire interview at hmmag.com
SHOWBREAD IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND BAND THAT HAS ESTABLISHED A GENRE UNTO THEMSELVES. AFTER OVER A DECADE OF HARD WORK, IT COMES AS NO SURPRISE THAT THE BAND HAS GARNERED A SEVERELY-DEVOTED FANBASE THAT HOLDS SHOWBREAD CLOSE TO THEIR HEARTS. WITH THEIR NEW ALBUM, CANCER, SHOWBREAD SHOWS NO SIGNS OF SLOWING THEIR BREAK-NECK PACE OF ALBUM RELEASES. I TALKED WITH JOSH DIES, SHOWBREAD’S FRONTMAN, A LITTLE BIT AND HIS CANDIDNESS MADE OUR EXCHANGE QUITE ENJOYABLE AND ENLIGHTENING.
SHOWBR AD SHOWBREAD
started off by asking him about the incredible productivity that he has experienced over the last decade and how that has affected him physically, mentally, emotionally and artistically.
“I’m having a midlife crisis. In 2001 I felt like Showbread could have records debuting at #1 and giant billboards to promote our records hanging in Times Square. In 2002 and 2003 I felt a more realistic goal would be to dominate the underground circuit. In 2004 and the early Tooth & Nail years that seemed fairly realistic – we sold out shows in Hollywood and New York and had records showing up in the Billboard 200. Then, the limping music industry doubled over, collapsed and died. Now we’re this sort of truly underground conundrum: a very rabid fan base, but a very small one,” says Josh. “We used to tour ten months a year, juggling managers and booking agents and A&R reps. Now we do everything ourselves and answer to Jesus alone. We were always touting this DIY sort of “ﬁght the man, we do what we want” mantra that we found ourselves increasingly forced to obey. I used to loathe being home from tour. Now I have a wife and cats and a job at home and we’re trying to ﬁnd creative ways to make music and performance not only interesting again, but free of charge. I’m almost 30 years old. How did this happen?” Many artists ask themselves the same question after devoting years of their lives to music and touring. Josh hasn’t grown tired yet, though, as he intimates to me that he loves Showbread more than he ever has before. Part of the challenge is in just ﬁnding the best way to do things. Josh still feels the support from Showbread’s fanbase, though. As he says, “There aren’t millions of them, but the few who care do so with a passion and a fervor that’s pretty special and not terribly common with bands of our size and type. The more we alienate the majority, the more we solidify our rapport with the minority.” That’s a good way to put it. The band knows
who their fans are and they know they can follow their creative vision completely and still be supported by their listeners. That’s exactly what they did on Cancer, their new concept record. Josh made everything legit – writing an intricate story, timeline and resource guide for the world he created for Cancer. He even collaborated with two designers and art directors in preparation of recording the album. The album’s unique cover exempliﬁes an important ﬁgure from the album’s story. “It’s a portrait of one of the Principalities: the inter-dimensional protagonists of the story. The cover is a collaboration between Zach Cross (the album’s illustrator) and Peter Rollo (one of the album’s designers). I had this vivid image of what the Principalities looked like in my mind and Zach was phenomenal at extracting that from my brain. Every piece of their physicality is woven into the story’s importance. It’s weird building so much backstory behind the scenes, knowing that so much of it probably won’t boil to the album’s surface, but being that detailed granted us such an incredible view of the record’s narrative. I know every single thing that happens even if the listener doesn’t.” It seems like Josh has a unique creative genius, but he’s quick to remind you that the rest of the band is involved in the process, too – including his brother, Patrick. He and Patrick have been in the band since the beginning and have been through thick and thin over the years. Josh tells me that he and his brother don’t really argue or ﬁght about anything. That sort of creative compatibility is rare and precious. Aside from Patrick, Josh also has a close friend in Chad Johnson. Chad signed the band to Tooth and Nail Records almost a decade ago. Years later, Chad left T&N to form Come&Live and Showbread followed him. Chad and the band have a close working relationship, because they both understand each other and the vision for ministry and artistic excellence that each of them long for.
Josh had this to say: “Taking a step back and eyeing the discography is an interesting thing. I think of No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical, Age of Reptiles and The Fear of God as a kind of thematic trilogy. I think of Anorexia Nervosa and Who Can Know It? as strange oddballs in our succession of records and I love the way they offset the ﬂow. But I have never been more satisﬁed or excited about an album as I am with Cancer. When I listen to it, I can’t believe that we made it. I listen to it several times a week. I love it. It’s the best album ever made.” As we start to wrap up, I have to ask something that has tickled my fancy for awhile now. That question is: Have you ever considered changing your band name to ShowbRAD? Josh’s answer? “No, Seth. No I haven’t.” I was afraid he’d say that. As for the future, Josh admits he doesn’t know, but he has high hopes. “We know the future as partly settled and partly open to possibilities (theology joke). I know that we will continue until our King tells us to stop. I don’t know when that will be, but I hope that it won’t be for a while, because I know what the next record is called and what it will sound like and I know what the last record is called and it will sound like, but I don’t know anything about the many records in-between... I want to ﬁnd out.” With the sort of catalog that Showbread has compiled over the years, I think we all want to ﬁnd out. Here’s to another decadeplus of Showbread!
All this talk of Showbread’s career caused Josh and I to reﬂect on Showbread’s career arc.
BY SETH HECOX
T E X A S I N J U LY
LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA’S METALCORE BAND TEXAS IN JULY HAS RELEASED ITS THIRD ALBUM. THE SELF-TITLED FOLLOW-UP TO 2011’S ONE REALITY IS, ACCORDING TO BASSIST/LYRICIST BEN WITKOWSKI, HIS BAND’S STRONGEST RECORD YET. HAVING HAD A BUSY SCHEDULE OF TOURING THIS LAST SUMMER, THAT INCLUDED DATES IN EUROPE, SINGAPORE, THAILAND, CHINA, AND THE UK, TEXAS IN JULY IS A WELL-OILED MACHINE, ABOUT TO HIT THE ROAD WITH MISS MAY I. “We had little more of an idea of what going out of our own town to record was like,” Witkowski says, of TIJ going to Machine Shop Studios in Belleville, New Jersey to record with producer/ enginner Will Putney [For Today, Chiodos, Life Moths To Flames]. “For One Reality, it was the ﬁrst time ever traveling away and staying in a studio for an extended amount of time to make a record, so we were more prepared, much more excited. We took all the criticism that people gave us from One Reality and tried to turn it around. Our lineup is stronger. On One Reality our new guitar player, Chris (Davis), was essentially brand new. He hadn’t really been in the band but barely three or four months. So, at this point, for the self-titled, we had been working together as a band for a long time and we felt much more conﬁdent going in to this record. The song “C4” was named by drummer Adam Gray due to its explosiveness and power. Writer in-chief Witkowski used the heavysounding composition as a platform to put forth his message. “I’ve been trying to open my eyes to politics and the world a lot lately and this is one of my ﬁrst stabs,” he says.
“I come across people all the time who think it’s not important to know what’s going on around them. These things directly affect them whether they know it or not. I just wanted to start throwing this type of message in our music for people to mull over and see what they have to think about it, because I think these things are important.” Hundredth singer Chadwick Johnson is featured on “Without a Head.” Witkowski says that having Johnson help out on a Texas in July song is a “dream come true.” “I hope that this song will reach out to people after this record starts to get out there. It’s a really deep song for me. For anybody who has trouble with a family member in their life that is going through hard times – if they stay strong and listen to this song – hopefully it can hit home for them as much as it hit home for me, writing it and putting these feelings down on paper. It was an honor to do so.” “I love writing. There’s no better way to blow off steam,” admits Witkowski with youthful enthusiasm. On the song “Crux Lust,” he and his band mates use their heavy music as a medium to purge poison.
“This past year we were part of a tour with some great bands. We were the only metal band on the tour and something happened to our band along the road on this tour and we were attacked by a group of people. I’ll let it remain anonymous, but I’ve been wanting to say something about it on record for a while. And that’s what I did with “Crux Lust.” It’s about a group of Christian people that attacked us. We go out on the road and people know that we’re a Christian band. And this group of people decided to point ﬁngers at us for being part of a secular tour that supported a couple companies and brands that, maybe, they didn’t see eye to eye with. They decided to boycott us and post a bunch of fake press releases about us and it hurt. For about a week or so it was really hard putting the pieces back together. We had a lot of fans questioning us whether we were what we say we are or not. It was a hard time, so I decided to put a lot of angry fuel into this song about this group of people. And I hope they hear it.”
BY CHARLIE STEFFENS
IF YOU HAVE EVER BEEN TO A CONCERT BY THE O.C. SUPERTONES, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN WHEN I SAY IT’S AN ENERGY-LADEN EVENT. THE CROWD BOUNCES TO THE RHYTHMS, THE HORN SECTION PLAYS WITH THEIR TYPICAL ENTHUSIASM, AND THE MESSAGE IS ALWAYS CLEAR – THE TONES ARE ABOUT WORSHIP.
While life has changed for members of the band, marriages, parenthood, and ministry have all shaped and grown them. Their consistency of motivation for what they do has not. Glorifying God remains the center of their lives and, most certainly, their music. With less than 21 days from this interview (November 6th, to be exact), the new O.C. Supertones album For the Glory will be released. Any fan of the O.C. Supertones knows they are unabashedly about giving God the glory; about worship ska style. The new album does not disappoint. They’re back, ladies and gentlemen. They are back. Jason Carson took the time to talk with me about events leading up to the new album. “God has a sense of humor,” he said. What started out as ten shows in the summer of 2010, became 14, and God began stirring them. Encouraged by how God was using them, they dared to say “yes” to God. In 2011, God began giving songs to the fellows of the
O.C. Supertones and it became clear that – amid family life, (seventeen kids between them), full-time ministry, and the things of life – God was indeed calling them back to the music. At ﬁrst the band thought, “Okay, songs and such, just as long as we don’t try to complete another album – They are too much work for where we are in life right now,” Carson explained. But God had another idea. Carson said that, from the start of the O.C. Supertones, “God has been teaching us a lesson. In the beginning we worked so hard, played tons of free shows, or shows with ten to 20 people, but still no record deal, no money. It was all about His timing. Like the Israelites, He wanted us to rely on Him.” Things changed when the band played a show for about 50 kids that, “didn’t particularly show up for us – they just wanted to see a show.” At the end of the show, 11 kids prayed to receive Christ and 30 rededicated themselves to God. “That showed us, ‘This
is what it’s all about. That’s success.’ We just had to be faithful and let God do His thing.” Lesson learned. A few years later, when they played at Harvest Fest before 55,000 people, it was still about God’s glory and people coming to faith in Him. They stood in awe of what God was, and continues to do. So what have the band members been doing since 2005? Quite a bit. Three members serve as youth pastors, one just planted a church in Colorado, and one is a full-time worship pastor, though all are involved in music in some form or fashion at their churches. Mostly they have been involved with ministry and kids – “soccer games and homework.” Carson has four kids now. When I asked if his kids were musicians, he replied, “Yes. It is not a forced thing, but they are around it naturally quite a bit. There are instruments at home: piano, guitars, drums. They also love to play at church, too.” So, do his kids like his music? “Yeah, they do.”
T H E O.C . S U P ER T O N ES
BY SARAH ARENDAS ROBERTS So, what has being a Supertone for decades taught Carson? “Hmmm. It has shown me that I am inadequate, but when (a gift) is offered to the Lord, amazing things can happen.” He said he considers himself in the bottom tier of talented Christian musicians, but God uses him. “I practice, but it is God at work. It’s not fair, really. God is gracious.” Where and what might he be doing in ten years? “I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead. I am thinking in ﬁve years or so – transitioning from youth to adult ministry. As far as the Supertones go, I’m open.” Fast forward to the new album titled, For the Glory. Carson said of the title track, “We’re so happy with the lyrics. They sum up who we are, what we’re about. With well over a thousand shows played over the years, it’s all about His glory. The things of this world fade.” When I asked what he missed about the Supertones being together he said, “I missed the comradery.” If you haven’t gone
to their site, (ocsupertones.com), do so and read their posted biographies. They share candidly some of their favorite moments. This is a group of guys that love God, love others, and have no problem laughing at themselves or one another in a, “Ha Ha, you fell off the stage” kind of a way. This previous year has had the band going, going, going. Each member with families, ministry involvement and full lives, the new album was hard. Carson said, “We didn’t want to do a new album due to the work. We knew we did not have the capacity.” That’s when God stepped in, waking them up with songs in the middle of the night and at other unexpected times. The ideas kept coming – despite the lack of desire to tackle a new album. 25 songs in total accumulated. Members now living in different locations, they began DropBox uploads of their ideas, along with a lot of phone calls, emails and, for those nearby,
time after work at Tony’s place late into the night. All the work came together with true Supertones style and ﬂair. The new album is unmistakably the work of the Tones, but also fresh. The songs make you want to see them live just so you can dance along. So what’s next for the O.C. Supertones? After the album release, the Supertones will play four shows back-to-back in November and then, “Slow down a bit. Maybe we will play seven to eight shows and some festivals. We’re open to whatever God has.” What parting words do they have for fans? “Our lives are not our own. We live for Him and for His glory. You cannot have the life Jesus spoke about in John 10:10 living for yourself. It has to be a life given to God.” Amen, brother.
T H I R D D AY
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THIRD DAY AND HM MAGAZINE HAVE A HISTORY TOGETHER. THE BAND’S HISTORY GOES WAY BACK TO THEIR BEGINNINGS ON THE SMALL GRAY DOT RECORDS LABEL. WHEN BASSIST TAI ANDERSON REFERENCED “THE ONE COVER ON HM MAGAZINE” AND THE COMPARISON AS “THE CHRISTIAN HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH,” I SMILED AS I REMEMBERED THE COMPARISON WE PRINTED IN A REVIEW (“THE CHRISTIAN PEARL JAM”). I WON’T EMBARRASS THE BAND IN THE LEADOFF PARAGRAPH HERE AND REPEAT WHAT I’VE SAID ABOUT THAT LONE THIRD DAY COVER STORY (BUT IT STARTS WITH AN “R” AND RHYMES WITH TIBET). NEVERTHELESS, ANYONE THAT’S SEEN THE BAND LIVE WILL NO DOUBT ATTEST THAT THIS IS A SOLID ROCK BAND THAT KICKS OUT THE JAMS WITH ALL THE PASSION THAT ROCK DEMANDS. In this interview with bassist Tai Anderson, we both traveled down memory lane a bit. First, I had to share my excitement and respect for the band reaching beyond their comfort zone for their latest album – Miracle. And I also asked Anderson to go through the band’s entire catalog and comment on each album. He gracefully obliged. I was thrilled to read the opening paragraphs to your recent album’s bio, because for years I’ve told a small circle of friends that, “I’d love to produce the band Third Day, because I feel like they are so successful at what they do and their formula for making music has such immediate returns that they have no motivation to do anything different. I’d like to stretch the band beyond what they’ve been doing that has worked so well.” And that is basically what I’m gleaning that you have done with Brendan O’Brien. I’d like to know how you guys were able to get to that point where you allowed yourselves to deviate from the tried and true Third Day formula. Well, that’s a great question. I think the process starts before you ever go into the studio. It started for us with a really bad meeting with the record company (laughs). We sat down in Nashville and had a meeting and it was very awkward, because they were like, “Alright, guys. It’s time to go make a new record.” And, here we were – I think it was the ﬁrst weekend of a 40-city tour for our last record (Move) and we’re going, “We’ll, we’re out on the road promoting this record right now...” And they’re going, “Well, yeah, but we’re looking ahead on the calendar and...” you know, “What do you guys wanna do?” And we’re like, “Well, we don’t want to do the same thing that we just did. We want it to be something different.” I think the record company was kind of in a place where they’re going in not-so subtle ways, “Here’s the way Christian radio is moving...” And we’re kind of going, “Well, we feel like we already... On the last record we had songs that are right in that sweet spot. We had ‘Children of God.’ We had ‘Trust in Jesus.’ We had songs we really liked that came from an honest place and they really didn’t do that great at Christian radio. They were maybe top 15, but (with) Third Day we’re used to #1.” (laughs)
BY DOUG VAN PELT
I feel like kind of the message from the record company was: “Give us more of that,” and we were going, “But that’s not working. It’s not the same world as 2000 and 2002.” I think Third Day is this rock band and when we kind of showcased a little bit of our softer side, it was this novel thing. It was like, “Wow! This rock band is making a song like ‘I’ve Always Loved You’ or ‘God of Wonders,’” and it really was unique and special. Or when Third Day was kind of doing more worshipful music, it was kind of special, because there wasn’t a worship genre. And now it’s like, “Do people really need that from Third Day when you have Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, MercyMe and on and on and on that do a really great job at that?” We just started going, “Man, what makes us Third Day?” We always go back to our live show as a point of reference. It’s kind of a funny thing for our records. We’ll record 12 songs and two ballads get heard on radio. That’s just kind of the nature. I think Third Day has solidly been a consistent rock band – just an American rock band – certainly not a hard rock band. But maybe more in the vein of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or occasionally a little of our Southern Rock side or some of our Black Crowes riffs that we were listening to in high school (come out). There’s a Third Day you hear on the radio and there’s the Third Day you hear on the albums and you hear live. In our live show, it features songs like “Other Side,” “Make Your Move” and “Surrender,” where we kind of stand apart from the other bands as being a little bit more of this rock show with the occasional ballad; whereas on radio you’ll hear the ballad and that’s it. It kind of started from there and about that time we watched the new U2 documentary (From the Sky Down). It’s just talking about the making of Achtung Baby – this record where U2 purposed to cut down the Joshua Tree and start over as a band. So, we watched this and it was like sort of a double-sided response. We were going, “Okay, the results are what we need. It needs to be something totally fresh – a new statement, so starting over as a band. There’s a lot of good Third Day cover bands out there. They put YouTube videos up and we just need to make sure that we don’t become one of ‘em. It needs to be fresh. It needs to be something new. Watching this movie, we’re like,
“A lot of times when a band is trying to reinvent With Miracle, here’s a real step-up for the ba
“Alright, baby! It’s time to book a studio in East Berlin.” Seeing from that, it was like, “How do we get there?” I felt like Move really was... Move sounds like what Third Day sounds like when we get in the room and nobody gets in the way. That’s kind of like, “Here’s this core sound,” but we’re going, “How do we make something new? We’re not going to get there on our own.” I think at this point it takes a little bit of humility to recognize that. You want to say, “Hey, we know what we’re doing. We’ve been making a lot of records. We’ve got this ﬁgured out.” I think we all got to a place where we said, “Alright, we don’t have this ﬁgured out.” We concluded that: “If we don’t do something different, we’re going to get the same results.” About that time Brendan O’Brien had mixed our Wire project a few years back and he’s deﬁnitely one of my producing heros – and really all of the band. I think every one of us – if you list our top ten records, it’s not that he has every one, but he probably has two or three in all of our lists. Everything from Pearl Jam records to Stone Temple Pilots. We didn’t really grow up on Bruce Springsteen, but we fell in love with Bruce Springsteen from The Rising, when Brendan started working with him and then “Drops of Jupiter” is just an incredible song. His resume, not to mention he was the engineer on the ﬁrst couple of Black Crowes records... It’s just always been our dream that we’d get to work with him and he’s always been really expensive (laughs) and it just hasn’t worked out. So, ﬁrst it kind of went something like: that meeting in Nashville; we might have watched the U2 movie that same night; and the next day we had a meeting with our management. They said, “Okay, so what do you guys want to do going forward?” We were like, “Well, we don’t want to do the same thing we’ve been doing. We’d really love to see if we could work with a producer like Brendan O’Brien – someone on that level – where we know they could take us to a new place. Leaving that, they called Brendan’s person and got a very instant, “Nope! Not available. He doesn’t want to do it.” So, we ﬁgured, “Okay, what we need to do now is sit down in a studio and make 80 demos.” Bands like Switchfoot do that – go make 80 demos of every idea we have and we use that to go try to get the producer to get the vision and then we’ll probably be making a record right about now. That’s kind of where we thought we were having to go. Then Brendan called me and he said, “Hey! I just talked to my person and he said that you guys had called and he had told you guys no, but he hadn’t talked to me ﬁrst. I’d actually really like to meet and get together.”
The Joshua Tree, but what’s the big takeaway 20 years now? It’s the song “One.” It’s the one that really lasts and stood the test of time. I think we accomplished what we wanted to. We worked with a guy who pushed us. I feel like we made a record that doesn’t sound like everything else in Christian music. I feel like we’ve been able to do that a few times in our career – of maybe raising the bar a little bit. The coolest thing about the record was kind of looking back. I was putting together the liner notes. “Okay, Third Day is: David Carr – drums; Tai Anderson – bass; Mark Lee – guitar; Mac Powell – vocals. The digital musicians – Brendan O’Brien and our keyboard Scotty Wilbanks played on two songs.” That’s it. That’s the complete list of musicians for the project. He stretched us, but a lot of times when a band is trying to reinvent themselves, what they do is they hide themselves and it becomes, “Oh, it’s their techno project! So let’s bring in a whole bunch of strings or let’s bring in additional guitar players.” So, all they’re really doing is showcasing: “Here’s the new direction for the band: the drummer’s been replaced by a drum machine. The guitar player didn’t even play on the record.” With Third Day, you got: “Here’s this new refreshed Third Day... I guess at this point it has to be Third Day 3.0.” It’s like, “Here’s a real step-up for the band, but we didn’t get there by hiding ourselves. We got there by going to a new place.” Now let’s go back and talk about each album... The ﬁrst record I’d say there’s an innocence to it, because we didn’t make the record trying to be a band. We wanted to have a tape or a CD to sell at these youth camps we were playing at. With the lyrics and everything we were these teenagers that were so excited about becoming Christians. It just spilled over. It’s almost like it just threw up all over the record. When I listen to it now, it’s painful for me to listen to that. The ﬁrst two records are a little bit kind of painful. The ﬁrst one was just, “We were so green. We didn’t know what we were doing. Everything’s out of tune. Everything’s out of time,” but still I feel like there was an attractiveness to it, because there was just this innocence to it. It wasn’t calculated. We were not good looking. We weren’t models that decided to be a band. We were just guys that made this record. That record had amazing success. We made the record probably about the same time as Hootie and the Blowﬁsh was recording theirs (Cracked Rear View), but by the time it was actually released nationally, we got the reaction of: “Okay, here’s the Christian version of Hootie and the Blowﬁsh.” Mac and Darius Rucker kind of have similar voices, so I think on our next record – I think to a fault – we were trying to prove that we could rock harder than Hootie and the Blowﬁsh.
So, we met with Brendan – one of those “Let’s get to know each other better” meetings. He left with our music and came back the next week and he said, “You know, you guys are a great band, but I kind of have a vision of taking you guys to a different place. Your singer is great. You guys are a solid band, but I have ideas and things I want to do with the rhythm section, ideas with the guitars, ideas with the vocals to get it to somewhere new.” He met with Mac and what was great about it is basically ... his message back ... normally what you hear back from big producers are, “Yeah, I’m interested. Send me the songs. If I hear enough hits, then I’ll do the record.” With Brendan, he kind of came back and said, “You know what? I believe in the band. Let’s go in the studio and see what we can do.” We were meeting in November and December and basically (by) the ﬁrst of the year we went right into the studio. He kind of fell in love with our studio and has made it his new home in Atlanta.
So, Conspiracy No. 5, I think a lot of people would look at that as a mis-step. It was our lone cover of HM Magazine, which I have framed with pride in my study. But with Conspiracy No. 5 it sort of put intensity over the songs. There was just songs we didn’t treat the right way on that record, but the cool thing with it is... It’s our leastselling record we’ve ever made, but I feel like the fans that we made on that record love Third Day and have stuck with us for 15 years. If you look at it on a spreadsheet: “Okay, here’s cumulative sales” and there’s this big dip on Conspiracy No. 5, I’m like, “Man, that’s when we went out and established ourselves as a live band. We learned how to craft a show. Sometimes I’ll go to a show of some CCM bands and it’s just like a ballad fest. We learned how to play songs that people have never heard, but make it entertaining and keep the energy up. I feel like it was a successful season, even though it wasn’t our most successful record. Yet another one where I feel like it didn’t all come together as far as all the way through – the songs, the arrangement, the recording. I put it in now and the ﬁrst two records sound kind of dated to me.
It sounds like we accomplished what we wanted to. In the same way that Achtung Baby has all these sounds and things that are intense and harder than you had with
The third record, Time, feels to me the most of, “Here’s a band being itself – of not trying to prove anything. To me it’s usually not an artist’s best work when they’re
themselves, what they do is hide themselves... and, but we didn’t get there by hiding ourselves. We got there by going to a new place.” worried about the critics when they’re making the music. With Time it was just kind of like, “Let’s make a record we like.” It came out and kind of went to a little bit of our deeper roots. You’re a teenager and you ﬁnd the bands you like and with Time it was like we went further back than that and went to the songs and those records that our dads used to play. Our dads were playing the Beatles, the Byrds, Creedance, the Allman Brothers, Skynyrd and that was the background to us growing up and that’s what started coming out in Time. That record, to us, was like a make-or-break record for us. Even though we already had success, because with Time... You could say the same for the ﬁrst three records, but we didn’t sound like anything else that was out there. From there you go to Offerings and I would say my one word for that would be: “uncalculated.” It’s probably not how people outside of it see it, but Offerings didn’t even count in our record deal. Our record company didn’t want to do the record. They didn’t think it would be viable (laughs) and I just said, “Man, this is part of our live shows, where we do ‘My Hope is You’ from Conspiracy No. 5 and when we do ‘Creed’ from Rich Mullins and these worshipful parts of our shows, people were just really resonating with that. Something’s happening. We need to just record that. All the songs were recorded on a single A-DAT. Now we archive every show we do – multi-track to a laptop. So, you’re talking 48 tracks. That record was recorded with eight tracks. It’s kind of old school. We were behind the time. There was no budget for it. It was just, “Yeah, if you guys want to do it, go make it happen and we’ll see what happens.” That was just one of those – it’s just the right album at the right time. In that season, too, Mac had sung on “God of Wonders” for the City on a Hill project and that song was huge. I think a lot of people bought Offerings thinking “God of Wonders” was on it (laughs), which is wasn’t. But we took it. Once you open that CD case, you can’t return it. (laughs) That album was deﬁnitely a turning point. It was a Platinum record. It was huge. I feel like we got to expose Third Day to a lot more people. I say, “uncalculated,” because there wasn’t a worship genre at the time. If there was, it was just in its infancy. Where now worship records have almost become what Christmas records used to be. Even with a Motown artists, it was like, “You have a hit record? The next record is a Christmas record. It’s a sure thing, it’s ever-green. Go do it.” Now it’s almost that way with worship records for a CCM band. It’s like this whole other genre. I think we’ll do another worship record sometime, but it’ll come from an organic place. But it’s like, “Do people need another worship record from Third Day? Because there’s a whole genre of it. We always have those songs, but if you want worship music, Chris Tomlin probably does it better than we
do. That’s all he does. It’s like he’s got his PHD in it and we’re still high school kids.” Offerings is just beautiful that half of it was live, because I think if you listen to that record and it was like, “I want to go experience this band live.” From there it was Come Together. I think that record, to me, is just a record in the middle of our catalog. (laughs) It was a big season for us, but that record kind of rode the coattails of Offerings. It kept it going with “Show Me Your Glory” and “Nothing Compares” and we had some fun songs on there – “Still Listening” – really simple, kind of a Stones-y kind of acoustic rock song. There’s that record in the middle. Offerings II was like getting to re-do Offerings I. The studio stuff was a lot better. We hit on a song on there. People would skip over it. It’s not a radio hit, but “May Your Wonders Never Cease” on there was kind of the ﬁrst time where the end of the song kind of sort of goes into a jam kind of place with the guitar solo at the end. We kind of hit on something there that we hadn’t gone to before. We kind of came back to it with Revelation. After Offerings II I believe it was Wire. Probably like Conspiracy, not our most successful record, but the fans that we make from that record kind of get the band. I don’t feel like we were sort of answering to the critics; it was just like, between doing these Offerings records and these worship songs getting heard, we wanted to make an album that showcased that we were a rock band. Every now and then we feel like we have to ﬂex our rock muscles. Wire did that. Wherever You Are is an album where you have two songs that kind of say the same thing in “Tunnel” and “Cry Out to Jesus,” but “Cry Out to Jesus” is a career song. It kind of shows a little bit of the difference. If you play someone the song “Tunnel,” they’ll go, “Man, this is a rockin’ modern rock, really cool song with this message of hope and encouragement in a dark season. That’s core Third Day. You’ve got “Cry Out to Jesus.” Here’s this ballad that gives this message of hope and encouragement in a dark season. Well, that song gets heard. I think the album gets deﬁned by the radio songs. Even for the band it does. As much as we like to ﬁght it, we go, “With Wherever You Are, immediately we just think of ‘Cry Out to Jesus.’” I’d skip over Greatest Hits and Christmas and come back with Revelation. To me, Revelation was this huge step forward working with Howard Benson. He was fresh off the Flyleaf record. Revelation, to me, stopped being an either/or... It stopped being a “rock or worship.” Revelation to me was sort of “both/ and.” That’s my perception of it. You have these songs that totaly hit that spot, but it was a rockin’ record.
T H I R D D AY
The production of it just sounded fresh and current and it was a little bit of edgy, but at the same time people would reference our ﬁrst record. There was a lot of excitement on that record. For us, we had some urgency. We were pre-empting the critics on it, because we weren’t very excited about doing a Greatest Hits record, because for me a Greatest Hits record means you’ve made your greatest hits. (laughs) I felt a lot of urgency to go, “This can’t be just another record. It’s gotta be a new start. This is a statement whether our best work is behind us or not. I’m really proud of Revelation. Move to me was kind of... I don’t want to throw any records under the bus, because it’s somebody’s favorite record and someone’s favorite song. Move was not us stretching ourselves. That’s a positive way to say that. Move was Third Day at home. We did it in our studio. It sounds like Third Day. Paul Moak did a great job of production, but if you want to hear what it would sound like if Third Day produced its own record, I think Move is pretty close. It wasn’t a lot of stretching. It was, “Hey, let’s get good recordings of these songs we put together,” and we did. Now we are to Miracle and I think it’s too early to say. My fear would be that it gets a little of the Wherever You Are treatment, where all people hear is the radio ballad. I think “I Need A Miracle” is a powerful ballad/song. It’s kind of like “The Son of Cry Out to Jesus” and it was inspired by “Cry Out to Jesus.” I think there may be a handful of people that just listen to Christian radio to ﬁnd the album solely by the single – especially by calling the album Miracle and the single being “I Need A Miracle.” I feel like it’s almost the best of all the Third Day records, but it’s somewhere new. It is a band trying, but it’s not a band trying to be somebody else.
It’s not every artist that can look back over each album of his band’s career and see how it all supports its latest work, but Tai Anderson could conﬁdently say that Third Day is deﬁnitely a band that’s comfortable in its own skin. Whenever this kind of combination and chemistry is present, it’s not just the artist who is satisﬁed with a grin on his face, but the individual audience members, too. The fact that they were able to achieve this fresh sound in its home of Atlanta instead of transplanting itself in East Berlin for months is another testament that stands by Third Day’s longevity that shouts “authentic” to the core. And that’s “even better than the real thing.” Read the entire interview at hmmag.com
FROM THE VERY FIRST GUITAR STRUM DONE BY SAMEER BHATTACHARYA AT A FLYLEAF PRACTICE, HE KNEW THIS BAND WAS GOING TO BE SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY. DIE-HARD FANS OF FLYLEAF KNOW THE STRONG BOND AND MESSAGE THAT MADE THIS BAND GROUND-BREAKING, TOUCHING MINDS AND SOULS THROUGH MUSIC. WHETHER THROUGH GOD’S MESSAGE, HEAVY POWER CHORDS OR JUST THE ACTIONS OF FEMALES GETTING DEEPER INVOLVED IN HARD ROCK, FLYLEAF HAS LEFT THEIR MARK ON THIS EARTH. “From our ﬁrst practice, I knew in my gut that there was something really special about it,” said Bhattacharya. “I don’t know how far we expected this was going to go. All we knew was that there was power in the sound and message of the music and that it was something that needed to be shared. It’s that message of life and hope that keeps us going. It’s far too important not to be shared and experienced with anyone willing to listen.” Flyleaf have just released their newest album, New Horizons, and the name couldn’t come at a better time. Soon after the album was ﬁnished being produced, founding member and lead vocalist, Lacey Sturm, has parted ways from the band. In her public statement, Sturm portrays her love for the band and looks forward to what God has next in store for her: “I have been beyond blessed to be in Flyleaf for the past ten years, touring with 4 amazing men and the Flyleaf crew, whom I love like my ﬂesh and blood. I am honored to have met so many wonderful people who love Flyleaf music all over the world. Your incredible stories continue to inspire me. I am very thankful to have recently become a mom to one of the greatest blessings of my life – my son Jack. You may have also heard that we recently lost our brilliant sound engineer, Rich Caldwell, in a devastating car accident. Now, more than ever, I understand the phrase Memento Mori. I understand that, for me, living life to the fullest in this season means to step down as the lead singer for Flyleaf. I wish the best to Jared, Pat, Sameer and James and I know that as I continue to pursue the highest heights of what I am created for, it will free them all to pursue that for themselves, too.” Although Sturm’s shoes are pretty big to ﬁll, ex-vocalist from the band Vedera, Kristen May, is a perfect-sized ﬁt. In comparison, May brings the same soft and heartfelt vocal presence that will match Flyleaf’s strong melodies. Bhattacharya expressed that May has a passionate heart for music and had no problem becoming one with Flyleaf. “Having Kristen has been awesome,” Said Bhattacharya. “It’s amazing how someone can come into a group that has been together for ten years and it feel so natural. Her talent and vocal range is amazing as her personality and character. Flyleaf is blessed to have her in our family.”
F LY L E A F
New Horizons will be the Flyleaf album that is hard to overlook. Even though Sturm’s vocals are recorded on it, the band has been through numerous losses, gains and challenges that listeners will notice and feel. With the time leading up to the production of New Horizons, it made the band realize that they have no control over what happens and that God needed to be trusted. Another difference about the new album is how it was written. The music came together easily – as if they were puzzle pieces that put together a warm and fulﬁlling display of song. “In the past, it was more of sitting in the practice room and hashing out ideas,” said Bhattacharya. “For New Horizons, it seems that the songs came easy. I had written a lot of songs, Pat had written a lot of songs, Jared had all these great riffs and it all came together so seamlessly and quick. With Lacey living out of state, we wrote the bulk of the material and she came down to do vocals.” With Flyleaf going strong for 10 years, their message and attitude remain the same without compromise. Those who have followed Flyleaf throughout the years know that they don’t want to be painted with the “Christian” brush. They are simply Christians in a rock band and their faith happens to shine through their music. To them, being Christian means a lot of things and too many theologies are spread apart regarding faith. In times where Christ is being used as a marketing tool and a proﬁt-driven machine, Flyleaf’s music reminds its listeners that all we need is God’s simple love. “I am excited and hopeful in what God is doing in His church,” said Bhattacharya. “I feel we’re seeing the days of televangelists and mass altar calls coming to an end. I’m seeing more and more folks coming to Christ in more personal, genuine ways: home-groups, personal relationships with other believers, etc... Fewer people are being hypnotized by the emotional hype of mass altar calls and things like that and are making authentic decisions to follow Christ.” It won’t be hard to agree that New Horizons will be Flyleaf’s most emotional album as of yet. Sturm’s voice has always been soothing and surrendering to the human ear, but this will be an album that old and new fans of Flyleaf will listen to without skipping a track. The true power of music is expressed through their style of hard rock and addicting sing-along choruses. Yet with all this album has to offer, the band still isn’t sure of what
BY DANIEL GARCIA
“I feel we’re seeing the days of televangelists and mass altar calls coming to an end. I’m seeing more and more folks coming to Christ in more personal, genuine ways: home-groups, personal relationships with other believers,
God has prepared in front of them. “We can never know what Flyleaf’s full purpose is,” explains Bhattacharya. “To know what God’s full purpose for any of us would be to know the mind of God. One thing that I’ve always believed is that a calling is so much bigger than just an occupation. We’re just lucky that with Flyleaf we are able to fulﬁll our calling as believers and be in an occupation that we absolutely love.” Flyleaf plans on starting their tour in January and is excited to see what May can do. One of their favorite memories on the road was driving through Oregon. At the time, drummer James Culpepper’s dad was driving the tour bus. As he pulled over, Mr. Culpepper woke everyone up to witness the beautiful view at the foot of a mountain. Their eyes witnessed the morning sun shining through pine trees and clean fresh snow was everywhere. Next, everyone rushed out and played in the snow for around 20 minutes. One thing that Flyleaf never gets distracted from is their passion for music. They have toured with bands that sound heavier and at times didn’t share the same beliefs. Rock music has always been a style that has no chains to hold it bound. It cannot be silenced or hidden from its truest nature. “Something I love about music is that there are no rules,” said Bhattacharya. “I’m not sure where rock music is headed, but it all seems cyclical. Something raw, aggressive and vulnerable evolves into something super polished and structured, which turns back into something raw, aggressive and vulnerable. Trends and fads come and go, but great songs will weather though all that.”
After being noticed by the mainstream media early in their career, Flyleaf was starting to be seen everywhere from their music videos on MTV and appearing for a brief moment in the action ﬁlm Live Free and Die Hard. No doubt this was something their Christian fans were excited about, but Flyleaf has touched non-believers who perhaps never had interests in getting to know Jesus Christ or have been hurt by the church. This is a band that can be labeled as an honest band making honest music with honest people. They aren’t afraid to shine light on negative actions some Christians make a habit of doing. “One of the biggest complications in Christianity is when Christians use God as a scapegoat. They’ll make selﬁsh, sometimes destructive, decisions that are harmful to themselves and others around them and claim that ‘God’s leading them’ in that direction,” said Bhattacharya. “It’s hard to argue with someone who says they’ve ‘heard from God,’ or that they feel ‘God leading them’ in a certain direction. It’s important to have discernment and really understand what God wants for our lives. We can know this by staying in the Word, and not twisting Scripture out of context to cater to our selﬁsh ambitions. Study the Word and know the context in which it was written.” Flyleaf wants their fans to know that they are blessed to have them and couldn’t wish for anything else. Throughout the years they have stayed close and supportive. Unless God shows them a different road to go on, they are moving forward with full force and nothing is slowing them down. “Many of you have been with us from the beginning. Thank you! You’re Amazing!
We also thank God: ‘For creating us in Your image, and putting it in our hearts to want to create beautiful things like art and music just like You created the world and everything in it. Thank you, Jesus, for redemption and giving us life more abundantly.’”
FUN QUESTIONS How cool was it to see your video appear in the latest Die Hard movie? How did that come about? Is anyone in the group a fan of the Die Hard movie series? Being in Live Free or Die Hard was so cool! We’ve been blessed with an awesome team that works hard to make cool stuff like that happen. We’re all big Die Hard fans. What is the best pizza topping ever created? Thank You, God, for pineapples! Who would win in a ﬁght between ninjas, pirates and zombies? Zombies don’t think rationally. Pirates are usually too inebriated on spiced rum. Ninjas utilize self-control and are the stealthiest. Ninjas win every time.
VOCALIST STEPHEN CHRISTIAN IS IN GOOD PLACE TODAY. HIS BAND, ANBERLIN, IS CURRENTLY ON TOUR WITH THE SMASHING PUMPKINS. WITH THE RECENT RELEASE OF VITAL, THE BAND’S THIRD ALBUM FOR UNIVERSAL MUSIC IMPRINT REPUBLIC RECORDS, THE BAND IS EMBARKING ON ANOTHER MUSICAL EFFORT THEY HOPE WILL BOOST THEIR FAN BASE AND CATAPULT THEM TO MAJOR HEADLINING STATUS. TIME WILL TELL WHETHER THEIR EFFORTS WERE IN VAIN, BUT IN THE MEANTIME, THEIR CURRENT TOUR IS INTRODUCING THE BAND TO A NEW SET OF FANS THEY PREVIOUSLY DIDN’T REACH. SUCH IS THE MUSICAL JOURNEY OF A VETERAN ROCK BAND SEARCHING THEIR WAY THROUGH THE DARKNESS TO BASK IN THE LIMELIGHT.
nberlin’s humble beginnings started over ten years ago in Winterhaven, Florida. There, three high school buddies – Christian, Deon Rexroat and Joseph Milligan – formed a nucleus that would take their musical ambitions out of the Sunshine State to the great Northwest. There they would grow and deﬁne the sound of Anberlin on the independent label Tooth & Nail. When they were ready for the big leagues, Universal was there to offer them a home. What the future holds for this band is anyone’s guess. Is Vital a deﬁning moment for Anberlin? Steve Christian certainly hopes so. The eternal optimist, he sees the positive everywhere he looks – and for good reason. You don’t last in this business for as long as this group has without having the goods. The new world order of music has changed because of the Internet. For bands like Anberlin, who were literally born and grew up through this intense transition, their future is so bright they’ve got to wear shades. In the ’60s and ’70s, and even into the 80s, music drove the culture. It was the best way to connect to your generation. Today, we live in a world dominated by iPods, music blogs, ﬁle sharing, YouTube, you name it. Anberlin sprung to life in the middle of this wired world. What kind of effect has these changes had on your band, if any? Steve Christian: This technological boom was a blessing in disguise for our band. When we ﬁrst started out, our MySpace page site got 25,000 hits in three months. Record company executives were thinking, “Who are these people?” For us, the
utilization of technology was instrumental in not only getting us signed, but in furthering the band. In the beginning, our ﬁrst three albums were on an Indie record label out of Seattle, Washington. It was the only way to push ourselves. I’d guess 60 percent of the people who heard Anberlin did so through the Internet. It wasn’t like we adjusted to this culture to ﬁt in. In fact, we didn’t adapt, we were born into it. How do you know, or what indication did you have, that Anberlin was a serious band, and not just another set of guys getting together to play music? Finding the answer to that question, I feel, is like winning the lottery. If you really think about how bands form, unless they are put together, like a quote “superstar band,” I have no idea. Meshing together different personalities isn’t easy. This band was blessed, because Deon (Rexroat, bass), Joey (Milligan, guitar) and myself were from the same small town in Florida. It’s called Winterhaven, with a population somewhere around 25,000. We started a group there (SaGoh 24/7) that eventually became Anberlin. Honestly, there is no formula that can solve the question you asked. The odds of actually ﬁnding the right people to play with, and make a career out of music, is quite high. These days, anybody can make music and post it on the Internet. Maybe ﬁnding the right people isn’t the key, but the right technology to record your thoughts. That’s true, then again you have to deﬁne success when ﬁguring out which of those songs are band-driven or just a Pro Tools rig
: born into this BY DAVID HUFF
Photo: Joe Ringus
“THE WORD ‘VITAL’ BECAME WALL WE STARED AT EVERY BEST RECORD POSSIBLE.”
sorting thought different sound effects. I think you made a very smart move early on going with Tooth & Nail. I always thought the Christian market had a good handle on how to deal with the Internet before mainstream labels and bands ever ﬁgured it out. Did your time with Tooth & Nail serve this band well in preparing Anberlin for the next step, and that was signing to Universal Music? I think that any Indie label is imperative to a band’s growth, even if it is just for one or two records. If you go straight to a major label, they are going to tell you who to be, what to be, who to sound like, what your marketing strategy is going to be, your target audience, etc., etc.They want to ﬁll you with facts, ﬁgures and manipulations of what sounds best, who dresses in what way and how you should look at your photo shoot. So, why not ﬁgure this all out before you get to that point on an Indie label? They give you the time and the space to ﬁnd yourselves and develop at your own pace. That should always be a personal decision, not a major label suggestion. For the past 25 years, I’ve heard bands tell me that every time they put out a new album, it’s the best thing they have ever done. I want a really honest answer here, Stephen. What is so vital about Vital that makes you believe this record is going to take Anberlin to the next level, which would be headlining shows instead of opening them? Okay, here’s your honest answer. Say you’re a football team going against the state champs. Your team hasn’t won a game yet. If you go into that game with the attitude, “Ah, we’re going to lose, we might as well not play,” then you are doomed to failure. Every single record a musician releases, in their mind, better be their best record to that point or why would you ever put it out? Seriously, why put it out? There is no point in saying, “This album is going to fall short, we aren’t going to sell anything, this isn’t going to further our career.” If that’s the case, scrap the music and start over. Do whatever it takes to not release that record.
You would have scrapped this record if you didn’t feel Anberlin had moved forward as a band with this album? Listen, you have to be conﬁdent in this business. You have to be certain that the new record you are about to release is your best record to date. Every time you release an album, you are telling your fans, and the public at large, “This is who we are today. On this record, I’m a better lyricist, a more conﬁdent songwriter than the last time you heard something new from our band.”To me, Vital stands out, not because it is Anberlin’s quintessential record. For me, it attained the goals we set out to achieve from the very beginning with this project. We had the album title before we even started the recording process. The word ‘vital’ became a goal, a mantra, a plaque on the wall we stared at every day to motivate us every day to create the best record possible. Bands don’t have the right to choose which albums they release to classify as their best efforts. They should always focus on the business at hand to make that album the best they put out. At the end of the day, it is the fans, not the critics – and not even the band – that decide the fate of a record. When Anberlin writes an album, is it by committee or does one person bring an idea to the band and you dissect it from there? What is so great about this band is everything is a group effort. The drummer wrote a few songs on this record. Joey Milligan and Christian McAlhaney are the primary songwriters, and they are also our guitarists. Joey had a burst of inspiration and wrote 45 songs for consideration. It was insane. Musically, he was all over this record. Christian dissected what Joey brought in and combined different songs together. The results were unbelievable. But the process does include all of us at the end of the day, so it is a group effort. Lyrics are just that until the music is added later to
A GOAL, A MANTRA, A PLAQUE ON THE DAY TO MOTIVATE US ... TO CREATE THE
bring life to the words. How do you know you are creating the right music for the words you’ve written for any particular song? To go with your original point, that lyrics are nothing until the song is written, here’s the deal: Fans always end up dissecting whatever you say on any given song. No matter what music you perform with those lyrics, take that aspect away – like fans do – and the words become poetry. When it comes to composing a song, if the verbal element of the puzzle doesn’t ﬁt and isn’t already alive before the music is added, it’s going to be dead in the hearts of the listener. They won’t be able to relate, they won’t be able to say they understand it (or think), “This is my life.” You have to create a living, breathing prose before it goes to music. You seem to place a great deal of importance on the lyrics written for your songs before you ever consider putting that music out for public consumption? Listen, writing music is deﬁnitely a process. What I try to do the best I possibly can with lyrics is this: I observe and absorb the world around me and translate it in my own mind so that I can create these poetic stories. If people get something out of the words I create, then I’m happy. I’ll rejoice in that accomplishment that my storytelling has brought some sort of enlightenment to whoever really loves the song. I don’t want people to feel they are a docile participant on our records. I want people to know they are absolutely incorporated and central to the record.
Photo: Joe Ringus
“MUSIC SINGS TO ME, TALKS TO ME. I CAN LISTEN TO THE MUSIC TO ONE SONG AND TELL YOU IF IT HAS ANY CHANCE FOR ME TO WRITE LYRICS TO IT. IF NOT, THEY ARE JUST CAST ASIDE. WE DO NOT REHASH OLD MUSIC. WE BELIEVE IF YOU’RE NOT GROWING, YOU ARE DYING. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE YOU ARE GOING TO BE A BETTER SONGWRITER, A BETTER GUITARIST TOMORROW.”
You just mentioned the guitarist wrote 45 songs for the new album. That very same situation may have occurred on past recordings as well. It must be an incredibly difﬁcult process to ﬁnd the right 12 songs to place on an album. How do you know a song from a past record that didn’t make the cut, isn’t a right ﬁt for where the band is now? As pseudo-supernatural as this is going to sound, music sings to me, talks to me. I can listen to the music to one song and tell you if it has any chance for me to write lyrics to it. If not, they are just cast aside. We do not rehash old music. We believe if you’re not growing, you are dying. You have to believe you are going to be a better songwriter, a better guitarist, tomorrow. Therefore, what you did yesterday is totally irrelevant. The thing that scared me into making that a life goal was this interview I read with Bob Dylan. He was around his mid-30s and he told this journalist that all his good songs were behind him. To me, that quote scared me so bad, I didn’t want to ever get to a point as a musician to where I’d ever say anything like that. In fact, the day I quit making music is the day I say all my best music is behind me. I do want to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. I do want to have that hope my vernacular will increase and my words will not only be heard, but absorbed into other people’s lives. I have to believe that once we create a song and we don’t use it, then it is cast aside never to be picked up again. Labels are now more focused on revenues, not careers. What challenges does that pose to your band in this new environment? Every band is faced with that dilemma. You are absolutely right. I think that biggest curse that a band could ever have is if their ﬁrst record was massive. If their ﬁrst record is huge, most likely you will never ever, ever hear from them again. Their second record will do half as well and then they will be stagnated. I really believe in bands starting with a small fan base and growing from there. Work as hard as you can and tour, tour, tour to increase audience awareness and hope that you weren’t cursed with the massive success of that ﬁrst record. To tailgate on your question, it does seem like we are a singles-driven society now. The funny thing is everyone kind of complains about that fact, yet what they forget that, with the inception of recorded music into our society, everything was singles. Artists weren’t focused on entire albums, just singles. That was only brought into light when the record labels realized they could make more money with a collection of tunes on a single LP or long-play vinyl than just the single itself. If they just recorded six or seven more songs and placed them on an extended-play disc, they would make ﬁve times more money.
Now that we are going back to a singles society, record labels are going insane, because now we are reverting back to the past they thought was all dead and buried. As a songwriter, it seems your music is scrutinized even more today than in the past, when you could get away with mixing mediocre tunes with strong ones on an album. I don’t think any artist believes the music they put on a record is mediocre, but I do see your point. The Internet is allowing people the opportunity to purchase what they want and in any quantity, from whatever an artist releases. It’s almost funny how it has all come full-circle. As a musician, I love the album concept as a whole to be pursued and enjoyed by the listener. However, I am not naïve to the reality that all musicians face today. And, to add insult to injury, if you don’t have two or three really good singles on your album, it won’t sell as a whole. That’s a great challenge for bands to face up to these days. Instead of running around going, “We have two great singles on this record. It’s going to blow up. We’ll just write superﬂuous music to ﬁll this album out.” Now all artists are put to the test of making a great record with all the songs sounding impeccable. Then the fans will actually purchase the entire record. That’s a great challenge for us, a stretch for the label and hopefully a difﬁcult choice for the consumer. Here’s the world I grew up in: Bands went into a studio to ﬁnish up their album, ﬁgure out the running order of the songs, then name of album, ﬁgure out album artwork design, then decide on the perfect release date. Today, that’s not how the world works. Consumers just pull your track up on YouTube and instantly decide whether they like it or not. What kind of pressures does that put on your band, and did you feel it during the Vital recording sessions? Well, your observations are absolutely correct. I’ll always remember this comment a record label executive made to me about the sales results of our ﬁrst album for them, New Surrender, and the single we released. This was back in 2008. He said, “Man, if this record had been released ten years ago, you all would be millionaires.” The times had changed, and it was a new reality for everyone in the business. Even though the market has evolved, that doesn’t resolve any of my passion to be a musician or to be the best Anberlin possibly can be. In this country, you’ve got American Idol, the X Factor, America’s Got Talent, The Voice, etc. But here’s the thing about participating, or even winning those contests. You get the instant exposure and fame, but you’ve got no
Photo: Joe Ringus
foundation to build upon before that. None of the people participating in these contests that win it, or even land in the Top Ten, have a background that would prepare them for the grueling road ahead. Anberlin has been together close to ten years now. There’s value in that experience, there’s value in the education you’ve learned at the school of hard knocks you graduated from. How do you see that all coming together for the band now? Well, that school has taught us a lot. Though there are a lot of things I would look back on and say, “Those were the wrong decisions,” I wouldn’t go back and change them simply for the fact that this business is a learning process. Anberlin is here today because of all the decisions we made from day one through today. Honestly, I don’t know if I’d change anything that got this band to where it is today. I have never wished that our band had participated in any of those contests, because I feel we’ve made genuine connections with our fans and built up a solid base through the
music. I wouldn’t change that for any amount of money or any amount of instantaneous, yet quickly vaporizing notoriety those shows create. In today’s impersonal world where everything is available to you with the touch of a computer mouse, customer service is the one thing that is lacking in almost every phase of the music business. I remember interviewing this country artist named Garth Brooks back in 1990. I had no clue who he was, didn’t care. But I was fascinated by a story where he stayed up 24 straight hours and signed autographs. I asked him why. He said, “Well, these people took the time out from their busy lives to come see me. For every autograph I signed, every picture I took, that person is going to remember the moment. From that point on, they will purchase my future records, purchase tickets to my concert, and buy merchandise at my show. It is a small price to pay to get a fan for life.” Do you understand the philosophy behind his comment? Absolutely! That connection we have with fans is what sets apart from say ‘80s glam rock bands that envision themselves so much better than their fans. We do stuff like meet and greets, but our favorite thing to do is work with a great nonproﬁt called Down Time. What they do is this. When we come into an area to perform and – no pun intended, but – if we have some “down time” before the show, we’ll go work at a
Photo: Joe Ringus
“IF YOU CREATE FOR ANYONE ELSE OR ANYTHING ELSE, WHETHER IT’S FOR FAME, NOTORIETY, SEX DRUGS OR ROCK AND ROLL, THEN IT IS ABSOLUTELY THE WRONG MOTIVE.” local soup kitchen or Habitat for Humanity. We once worked with this outﬁt, Dare with Care in Boulder, Colorado. We worked with children who have Cancer. What we do is get on social media sites, contact our fans and tell them that we are going to be at Habitat for Humanity, “Come help us build a garden. Come to the hospital and hang out with us as we work with these children and talk to them.” Not only do we get to meet our fans, but we introduce them to local organizations to make their community a better place. When you see the Smashing Pumpkins go on stage, you know it’s about the performance, about playing live. People aren’t attending these shows because the ticket prices are high, but because it’s the one place they can expect something new, different and real. Does the band understand that making people want to go to an Anberlin show – to experience their own magical moments with the band – is the key to your longevity? We do, we really do. The fact of the matter is we toured with some heavy, heavy bands when we ﬁrst started. They were nu-core groups and metal bands. What we got out of them was this energy, this raw, raw passion that made every moment not only entertaining, but you felt so absorbed by what was going to happen next. That was one of those key life lessons we learned early on that we have never forgotten. Anberlin has incorporated that spirit that ﬁrst moved us into every show we play. The fans have caught on to that and anything less from us in concert, they would notice. Last weekend I saw a band called Circa Survive. Never heard of them, but their performance completely took me by surprise. Their young early 20s audience, I later found out, started out with this band when they were 13, 14 years old and literally grew up with them. They were singing along to lyrics to some of the most complicated phrasing I’ve ever heard. Have your fans grown up with you over the years? Circa Survive is absolutely incredible. Anthony (Green) is a dear friend of mine. We have toured with them several times. That’s what is so incredible about our genre of music – us and Circa Survive – is the fact that we were never massive. We were not on these television shows, we didn’t buy our fame and notoriety. Both bands started out playing before 15, 16 people, then it grew to 50, then 100. So not only do we not take any second for granted, we absolutely have built up a connection and longevity of friendships with people that come to our shows. When you are writing music, are you subconsciously aware that you’re also writing for the people that have been with you since the beginning and are literally growing with you? I would think that would pose some very interesting challenges for the band.
I think that if you create for anyone else or anything else, whether it’s for fame, notoriety, sex, drugs or rock and roll, then it is absolutely the wrong motive. You need to write for yourself and the passion within. You have to write because it hurts if you don’t. You have to write because you want the world to experience exactly what you are going through and perhaps give them a small sense of yourself. I can’t write for fans and I’m not saying that to offend them. I just cannot place myself in that position, because if I end up writing for anything else but the song, I’m writing for the wrong reasons. Also, I’m the one that has to live with the music the rest of my life, so anything less than coming from the heart won’t do it for me. When you compose lyrics to a song, do you look at it visually as well? I ask that, because it seems like everything is going YouTube nowadays. Seriously, I don’t even know if radio is still important anymore. Radio is absolutely important, I really do believe that. The average person doesn’t spend all day watching videos. During the day when you’re driving to work, to school or running errands, radio is still inﬁltrating our lives. Whether we see it or not, I think that we are very conscious when we are on the computer and using social media sites like YouTube. This band doesn’t sit down to write lyrics to songs with video in mind. Videos are one of those post-record things. That’s where you decide which song you like the best to release, then after that we ﬁgure out a video. It goes in that order. But if you try to write for any speciﬁc medium, it goes back to the last question of ulterior motives, which are absolutely false in the light of any musical integrity. Listening habits have deﬁnitely changed over the years. It used to be entertainment options were limited. You bought the CD’s you could afford, then play that music to death. And it’s not only music that’s under attack from the Internet. Newspapers are competing with blogs; TV is competing with YouTube and Hulu. Everything in the entertainment world is changing as it interacts with the Internet. How did Anberlin go about integrating their music, and even the band itself, in this wired world? Much like the ﬁrst question you asked, Anberlin was born into this society that is linked through the Internet. We have an Apple product in one hand, and it’s connected Wi-Fi in the other. For us, we take full advantage of the tools that are before us. Obviously the one-on-one contact between humans has been diminished by technology, but the upside is I can keep in touch with more people. There are positives and negatives, but this is the world we live in now. To go into a cabin, into seclusion, at this point would be a bit late in the game.
disciple:: in the da disciple
40 COVER STORY
WHEN INTERVIEWING KEVIN YOUNG,* THE LEAD SINGER OF DISCIPLE, HE SEEMED KIND OF SUSPICIOUS AND STAND-OFF-ISH TOWARDS ME. IT COULD HAVE BEEN MY ELUSIVE DECEPTION. AT THE START OF THE CONVERSATION, HE ASKED ME, “WHO ARE YOU, AGAIN?” AND I SAID, “I’M FRIEDA’S BOSS.” HE PAUSED, SEEMING TO REFLECT ON THAT AND THEN ASKED, “AND WHO’S FRIEDA?” I CALMLY REPLIED (AS I WAS STARTING TO GET IMPATIENT WITH THIS PROCESS), “SHE’S MY SECRETARY.” *
He double slammed both ﬁsts down on the table and declared, “This interview’s over!” The door swung hard back on its hinges as he left. After catching my breath, he returned to fetch the smartphone he had left on the table (which I was eyeing with great temptation – I’ve been saved, but that doesn’t mean I’m not tempted to swipe things on occasion). I did my best to resolve the situation by reminding him that my editor wouldn’t appreciate me returning without an interview ... and that I wasn’t above speaking to his drummer. This seemed to either get under his skin or win him over, so he settled down for my barrage of questions. I turned on my trusted micro-cassette handheld recorder and leaned back. Instead of silence, an angry voice blurted out: “We will not buy another ad in your magazine again! We are interested in print and print...” (I quickly hit STOP and then held down the red RECORD and PLAY button at the same time). My apologies. It won’t happen again. I assure you.
Tell me about this live stream concert you have coming up Nov 12th. Kevin Young: It was a really cool idea that our manager and this video team came up with so that our fans could be part of our CD release show wherever they are in the world.
*Editor’s Note: This interview introduction is a piece of ﬁction, based on the movie Fletch. It was written as a sarcastic joke and not intended to make Kevin Young look bad in any way. He is, in fact, a very nice guy. I apologize for the joke and any unintended ill aﬀects it may have caused.
ays of my youth
42 COVER STORY How many live dates are you playing per year these days? How do you handle all that work? I’m not sure, maybe 100 to 120. It’s only slightly down from the busiest we’ve ever been, but now that most of us are married (and some have kids), it’s pretty important for us to make time to be home. Going back to the early days of Disciple, you guys seemed to have a strong vision for live touring (owning
a van, trailer and getting out there and doing it). What was your vision then? How close have you been able to follow it? What tweaks if any have you made to that vision? How has the experience all these years been? Honestly, the only difference is the trailer got bigger and the van turned into a bus. We have never cancelled a show because of my voice or illness, we just get out there and do it regardless. I don’t feel any different than I did in the early days
of Disciple. I just get to sleep late now in my bunk and don’t have to do any of the driving. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same for me. The experience has been quick. I feel like I was 18 years old just two years ago. Time seriously ﬂies by on the road. Sometimes it seems like I wake up, and then I’m going to sleep a few minutes later. It’s surreal. I guess time really does ﬂy by when you’re having fun!
Speaking of looking back in time, let’s go back through your entire catalog. Please take us back to the very ﬁrst indie release you did and then brieﬂy (or at length) talk about each album along the way - all the way up to the present one (O God Save Us All). Wow. That’s an ambitious question! Of course this is HM Magazine, so I guess I should expect nothing less! So here we go… WHAT WAS I THINKING – We had done two albums before this one, but they were never released on CD (cassette only), so we never really counted them. This CD was our ﬁrst experience with Travis Wyrick. He was not a Christian at the time and this was his ﬁrst attempt at producing. He became a Christian a few years later and says that our time working on this record played a major role in him believing in Jesus. There was no auto-tune back in those days and deﬁnitely no “cutting and pasting.” So what you hear is the real deal. Lots of wrong notes vocally and such, but that’s the beauty of those ’90s albums. They sound real. I was still trying to ﬁnd myself as a singer. It was 1995 so Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains and Nirvana were a pretty big deal, and you can hear me trying to sing like them at times. Thank God it didn’t take me long to stop doing that. There were some pretty special songs on that album, because we were kids and were accomplishing something on our own. We paid for the whole project from our side jobs and some fundraising. So for us to be able to put out a CD back then as expensive as it was, was quite an accomplishment. It deﬁnitely is a very special album for me. MY DADDY CAN WHIP YOUR DADDY – It was an EP with Warner Resound records. We were still trying to ﬁgure out what kind of band we wanted to be. All ﬁve songs sound completely different from each other. For me this album had to happen for us to ﬁgure out what we did and did not want to do. THIS MIGHT STING A LITTLE – In a lot of ways, this is Disciple’s ﬁrst album for me – it was our ﬁrst album with Rugged Records, I found my voice, and I discovered that I could scream. We found our sound on this album. I was very vocal about my faith. There wasn’t much poetry in the lyrics. The songs read like a Pentecostal sermon more than they read like poetry. We were a ﬁery band and had something to say, and we were going to say it very loud. I love Brad Noah’s guitar playing and writing on this album, as well as Tim Barrett’s drums. We were in tune with each other musically on this one. This album is deﬁnitely a highlight for me. BY GOD – Brad Noah and I wrote a lot of songs together during this time. The problem with this album is that we put most of those songs on the CD. I think there were 19 tracks on the album, when it really should’ve only been 10 or 11. One big thing I learned from this is that not every song you write deserves to go on an album. Sometimes you have to ﬁgure out which songs should stay and which songs should go.
BACK AGAIN – This was probably one of the heaviest albums we have ever done. We just ﬁnished up our deal with Rugged Records, and so we were going to try to do things independently. It was a very fulﬁlling time for us, because everything mattered. We paid for the album, we booked ourselves, we paid for own radio promotions, we paid for our own magazine advertisements. We were our own record label. So it was hard, but anything in life that you work hard at when you look back you have fond memories of it. That’s how I see this album. It was a very true expression of who we were. No outside inﬂuences or record labels changing up our sound on this one. DISCIPLE (SELF-TITLED) – This was our ﬁrst album with INO Records. Most of the songs were written and recorded before we signed with the label. We had already made a decision that we wanted to try something new: sing more with less screaming and guitar solos on the album…and we all got haircuts! Of course, people assumed that the record label was making us do all of that, but that’s not true. Once INO heard the record, they really pushed us to write a couple of more songs saying that the album was good, but it needed some radio singles. We went back to the drawing board and wrote “The Wait Is Over,” “Into Black” and “Only You.” The ﬁrst two both being No. 1 Rock singles and the latter was our ﬁrst CHR single. So we developed a great relationship with INO because of that process. It was a very different sounding album for Disciple and it was the ﬁrst time we actually tried to write “good” songs as opposed to just “heavy” songs. SCARS REMAIN – This was our best-selling album and one of my favorites. I still think this album is solid from front to back. From a production and songwriting standpoint, we were able to combine “good” and “heavy” into the same songs. I feel like these songs have stood the test of time with Disciple fans, and it always feels good to play them. We also had our ﬁrst No. 1 CHR radio single with “After The World,” which really broke us into mainstream Christian music and radio, so that was a really big deal for us. It also won a Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year. SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY – This was probably the most honest album we have ever done. We all grew up in Tennessee and had been writing a lot of Blues and Southern sounding rock songs for some reason, so we decided to name it Southern Hospitality. I really encouraged Brad to play more solos and be himself, because I felt like the songs were begging for it. In a lot of ways, this is more Brad Noah’s album than any other, because he really played his heart out. He and Joey Fife had decided to leave the band shortly before we started recording, but Brad agreed to still play on the album. He was having a lot of back issues at the time, and I remember him showing up to the studio literally wrapped up in Icy Hot bandages ﬁghting through the pain of recent neck surgery to play the songs. It was pretty amazing to watch, and we were all grateful for his hard work on the album. Unfortunately for us, the majority of our fans did not like this album, and it only sold half of what Scars Remain did. It wasn’t anyone’s fault.
44 COVER STORY
“DISCIPLE BELONGS TO GOD AND AS LONG AS HE W THEN I KNOW THAT HE WILL MAKE THAT HAPPEN.”
I think it’s just hard to write great songs over and over again. We tried hard and we worked hard, it just didn’t pan out on this one. HORSESHOES AND HANDGRENADES – This is my favorite album. Obviously, it was the ﬁrst time writing songs with the new members of the band. It was also the ﬁrst time that I had ever written songs with other songwriters outside of the band and even with our producer. So there was new territory being covered everyday on this one for everybody. I was so proud of the new guys in the band because there was a lot of pressure on them to deliver a good product, and they did just that. Nobody said, “Hey, let’s make the album sound like this or that.” We just started writing, and the songs happened. Horseshoes and Handgrenades won the Dove Award for Rock Album Of The Year, and “Dear X” was our ﬁrst single to go No. 1 at both Rock and CHR formats. It is on pace to surpass Scars Remain in record sales, and it could do that within the next year. To me, it seems like the songs of Horseshoes and Handgrenades have had the most impact on people’s lives as well. There is rarely a night that we don’t hear from someone at concerts how songs like “Dear X” and “Invisible” have affected someone’s life. And it seems that in the past four years that God is using the band to reach people who are dealing with depression, self-injury and thoughts of suicide. So we can deﬁnitely see the hand of God at work in those areas, because that is not something that we purposely planned to do. We always have the goal to create albums with great songs that have a solid message, pointing people Jesus Christ. Sometimes we get close to the mark, and sometimes we miss…But I think we got it right on this one.
O GOD SAVE US ALL – We started writing songs back in June of 2011 for this album, and the ﬁnal product will be released on November 13, 2012. So it took a year and a half to make, which is far longer than any other project. Our record label was really pushing us for the best songs during this process, which helps the songs to be good in the end, but really makes life difﬁcult along the way. I would say we wrote somewhere between 50 to 60 songs for this record. Needless to say, we worked our butts off. When you work that hard on something, you kind of start to lose perspective, and you’re not really sure how good it is. It has been a huge relief to be able to get such a positive response from our fans as to how much they like the new songs. And it’s been great just to be able to listen to the album and enjoy it as opposed to listening to it while putting it under a huge microscope, trying to ﬁnd ﬂaws. We just started playing most of the songs live, and I’m really excited about the message of these songs. One of my favorites is the song “Outlaws” which talks about how Jesus desires the outcasts of society – the forgotten ones and the people who have been labeled with names that they did not want. It is a homage to the parable of the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, how Jesus invited the outcasts of society to join him. I feel like a lot of kids can relate to being outcasts, and they need to know that Jesus is calling them to join Him and follow Him. We stretched ourselves on this album a little as well, and I’m really happy about that. The songs go to a different place than we’ve gone before. For example “Kings” is a Rob Zombie-like song musically, and “Trade A Moment” is a love song to my wife. It was good to see those songs turn out like they did. I couldn’t be more happy with the end result of the album. It was great working with Jasen Rauch (formerly of Red) as a producer.
I think guitar players make great producers, and he’s been a friend for a long time, so it was easy to just jump right in and get to work. You always want a producer who has great ideas, and Jasen is full of them. Even though the process took a long time, I think years from now I will appreciate this album more than any of the others because of all the effort that went into it. I can’t thank my manager, label, Jasen and my guys enough for all of their hard work. I think it’s going to be pretty special, and I’m positive that we are going to be playing these songs live for a long time. Tell me about the new album. What are the standout messages, themes and/or sonics and songs that jump out at you as favorites? It is hard to say which songs are my favorites yet; I am emotionally attached to every one of them. One of my favorite themes on the record is from the song “Unstoppable.” It is written from the perspective of what God would say to you if you were a UFC ﬁghter and He was your trainer. Obviously as Christians our ﬁght is a spiritual one and not a physical one, but the analogy translates very well. So it’s a song that gets you pumped up and ready to face whatever life has ahead of you. Tell me about co-writing with Ben Glover and Seth Mosley. How complicated was that? How did you get along with the two writers? How awkward was it at ﬁrst (or not)? Break it down for us, too. Tell us which riff part, which line here or there did one of the guys bring/offer and how did you add to it. I love working with Ben and Seth. I had never worked with both of them at the same time before, so it was cool to do that on the song “Draw The Line.” Both Ben and Seth are really good at getting the song moving in a certain direction, and then I add the ﬁnishing touches. For example, with “Draw The Line,” Seth wrote the music of the
WANTS THIS THING TO KEEP GOING,
verses and chorus, if I remember correctly, and Ben wrote most of the ﬁrst verse lyrics, if not all of them. We all three slaved over the chorus, and Ben came up with the title line while I chipped in with the “light a match, let it burn, kiss it goodbye.” Usually whenever we do a demo, we only write the ﬁrst verse and chorus on that day. So I ﬁnished writing the second verse on my own and wrote the bridge as well. That seems to be the same formula with other songs we have written together like “Dear X,” “Invisible” and “Outlaws.” They get the song moving and I ﬁnish it. Seems to work pretty well for us. Let’s talk about the song “Beautiful Scars.” That title jumps out at me, as it seems to imply that God actually uses our suffering for our own development and good for us, Him and others. Please elaborate... “Beautiful Scars” is a song about redemption. God has the supernatural ability to take an awful situation and turn it into something beautiful. There are many examples of this, like a former drug addict helping someone is currently struggling with addiction. Or a former cutter who is helping someone who is dealing with self-injury. Those scars are part of their story and their journey to Jesus Christ. He takes those scars and uses them for His glory. Instead of those scars being a reminder of an ugly past, they become a reminder of His beautiful redemption. How did the title track song/theme get developed? What inspired it? Trent, our drummer, actually wrote the music to this song. I knew exactly how the verses of the song were going to go the ﬁrst time I heard it. Sometimes you just get lucky like that. The chorus is a completely different story. We had several versions of the chorus that we kept writing over and over again, and we had the “microscope” on full blast. But we knew the song was special, so we just kept going, didn’t give up on it and then we ﬁnally got it. The theme of the song is about the ‘American
Dream’, which promises the opportunity to achieve and do anything you want. But at some point, we all come face to face with the reality that the ‘American Dream’ is a lie and that happiness cannot be found in success, money or possessions. It is in this place that we realize how desperately we need a Savior, and thus the title, “O God Save Us All.” Some people, I imagine, might want to hear you bring up the personnel changes in the band. Brad Noah leaving years ago (and then doing some work with y’all in the not too distant past) was a shock for some. Tim Barrett leaving was probably another. Please comment on each. How difﬁcult was it to continue on when losing key personnel like this? What kept you going? I love Brad and Tim and I’m so thankful for the years we spent together in Disciple. Yeah, it’s very hard when a band member leaves the band, especially when they’ve been in the band for such a long time. What was really cool for me was to see how God had the right people in the right place at the right time to ﬁll those roles and keep the band going. Trent Reiff, for example, was our sound guy and when Tim left the band we needed a drummer, and Trent was there. Honestly, I’ve come to expect nothing less in serving God. Disciple belongs to God and as long as He wants this thing to keep going then I know that He will make that happen. On another note, Disciple will be turning 20 years old in December. I thought it would be pretty cool for the original guys to get together and play a reunion show, and we are going to get to do that in Germany at Christmas Rock Night this year. Hopefully, we will do one in the U.S., as well. Travis Wyrick is going to play bass guitar for us at that show, and that seems very ﬁtting. We used to call him the fourth member of Disciple, and we ﬁnally are going to get to play a show with him.
How has the ministry and career and all its challenges changed for y’all over the years? I don’t think it has changed much at all. I still believe the gospel of Jesus Christ saves lives. And we have the same passion today to see that happen as we always had. How have you been able to balance being a husband and father with being a touring musician? How have you been able to manage this vocation as both a career and a ministry? Skype! Modern technology has made a huge difference in that area. I’ll just say that it is not easy. But all the things in life that are worth doing are not easy. And I love my wife and daughter dearly. Mixing career and ministry is not easy either. It is always a balancing act between money and ministry, because we want Disciple to be all about the ministry, but it takes so much money to make this operation happen. So we have to just keep reminding ourselves that God is in control, and hopefully there will be enough money left over to pay for our bills. And there always has been just enough. So I won’t complain. Anything else you’d like to add? Yeah, I had to do some warm-up stretches when I saw that question! This is an exciting time for us. We are ﬁnishing up touring this year and I’m really looking forward to going home and being with my girls. Then starting in late January, we are planning on doing a tour with Fireﬂight. There are some other things that are happening that I can’t talk about yet, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and we’ll keep you posted! And thank you for doing what you do. God bless! After a long-winded interview, we just looked at each other and exhaled. He surely saw through my disguise, yet nevertheless turned over a great interview.
FOR THE RECORD
By Jesse Jeremiah
46 V I N Y L
It may be self-serving, but I should point out that I like this record sooooo much that I bought 500 copies of it, so I prefer to think I have a deep love for this record, and that is my motivation for talking about it here rather than some self-serving purpose. The Pillars of Humanity by The Cruciﬁed is one of my all-time favorite albums ever recorded, so it only made sense to team up with Vinyl Remains Records to put this record out and give it a great treatment. First off, when we sent it to have the lacquers made, we had it speciﬁcally mastered for vinyl, which better prepared it for the vinyl experience; and when we ﬁnally got the test pressings, we realized how great it turned out. Everything is much more “present” – I don’t really know how to explain it other than that. It’s as if everything has come more to the front without detracting
from anything else. After listening to this record for so long and hearing it in this new format, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I was blown away. After we approved the test pressings, we had the long wait for the ﬁnal product to be pressed on four different colors, which we then hand numbered; 1-100 Blood Red Vinyl; 101-200 Black Vinyl; 201350 Clear Vinyl; 351-500 White Vinyl. The red has tiny swirls of black ﬂoating in it and has a very erie, ominous feel to it when you hold it and look at it closely. The red is long sold-out, so be prepared to pay eBay prices for it if you want one. While waiting for the vinyl to be pressed, we began to work on the new cover design, which was taken from the old “Hateworld” t-shirt design and modiﬁed slightly. Unfortunately, no artwork source existed for this, so we had to reconstruct it from several old scans of a very ratty t-shirt. Much thanks to our very good friends at Faktory Prints for helping us reconstruct that. Their hardwork really paid off nicely and contributed greatly to the ﬁnal product.
NYL > I I V D
Greetings! You might have read about vinyl reissues in HM’s past, but we hope to be more, um, regular about it now that vinyl has made a serious comeback.
I look at this record (which I have hung on my wall) and listen to it often and I am so happy to have this record that I often forget that I was privileged enough to be a part of producing this 20th Anniversary Edition of a classic landmark album. Thanks to The Cruciﬁed, Vinyl Remains, and Faktory Prints for all working so hard on this and helping to recreate an iconic piece of Christian hardcore and metal history. So, please excuse my self-indulgence here and instead see only the giddy little kid-in-a-candy-store record collector nerd. —Jesse Jeremiah, Veritas Vinyl Do you have a unique slab of wax? We wanna see it! Email Jesse@VeritasVinyl.net. Or just email me of you want to chat about sweet records.
47 ALBUMS 50 GEAR, GADGETS, COMICS, BOOKS & FILM
FLYLEAF NEW HORIZONS
If I’m being totally honest here, I have to admit that I’ve never really been that big of a fan or all that keen on Flyleaf. It’s not that I’ve ever disliked them, they just never “did it for me.” But, with this new release, they may have just won me over. My first few listens through New Horizons, I thought this release was going to just fall by the wayside like their previous efforts, but after repeated listens I found myself anticipating the next song, bobbing my head and absent-mindedly singing along. Flyleaf have always been known for their hard rocking numbers and there is no shortage of them here: “Fire Fire,” “Call You Out,” “Freedom” and “Green Heart all deliver the fire Flyleaf fans would expect. The songs that really grabbed my attention are the mid-tempo, more pensive ones: “Bury Your Heart,” “Saving Grace” and “Stand.” Where the band displays an emotive artistry befitting of a veteran band that has “been there, done that” and at times even sounding a bit like fellow femalefronted rock outfit Paramore.
Rating system 05 04 03 02 01 *
CLASSIC FABULOUS SOLID SUSPECT AMISS 1/2
All in all New Horizons is a solid record that is totally focused, yet offers enough variety as to not become stale by the time you reach the final track. It will be interesting to see how the recent departure of vocalist Lacey Sturm will be affect the band. Will it be their end or will it be the beginning of yet another new horizon? [A&M/OCTONE] JEF CUNNINGHAM
48 A L B U M R E V I E W S
EVERYTHING IN SLOW MOTION
FOR THE GLORY
RED (7”) When the Smiths broke up in ‘87, it was heartbreaking for fans that loved what Morrissey brought to the band. Six months later fans were overwhelmed with joy with Morrissey’s first solo record Viva Hate. I feel the same way with Fargo, ND’s Hands. They were one of my favorite bands to ever be on Facedown Records. I was bummed I did not get to see their final Sonshine Fest performance to watch them perform songs that spanned such a great collection. Four months after they played Sonshine, their singer and main songwriter Shane Ochsner came out with his new Everything In Slow Motion project, Red – a two-song 7” vinyl record. What a tease, yet just enough to give Hands fans something to tide them over till a full-length comes out in 2013. Shane plays every instrument on this record, much like Dave Grohl did for the first Foo Fighters record. This project seems to be an extension of what Shane was writing in Hands. Keeping with the prog rock/ambient/hardcore sound Hands were loved for. Everything In Slow Motion carries the vision that Shane still held dear for Hands. [FACEDOWN] ROB SHAMELESS
From the very first seconds of this record, The Supertones let you know they’re back in the best way possible. There was a time when I considered The Supertones my favorite band. The albums that made me feel that way were Supertones Strike Back and Chase the Sun. For the Glory exhibits the attitude and energy of both of those albums. I don’t mean it’s an old rehash of what these guys have done before. What I mean is that Orange County’s most fun group of guys are back from the dead and are creating new, fresh tunes that remind you of why you liked them in the first place. Matt Morginsky is rapping again on the verses of some of the songs. Awesome. Horns are prominently featured with catchy, melodic lines. Awesome. Guitars are doing the ska thing on the verses. Awesome. The choruses are big and singalong with distortion. Awesome. And just like that, ska is fun again. Double Awesome. For The Glory kicks off with “All The Way Alive” which evokes both Strike Back and Chase the Sun simultaneously. That attitude keeps rolling with the title track. Tony Terusa reminds you why he was the best bassist in ska as “Hey Hey Hey” starts off. What can I say? This is everything you wanted a Supertones record to be. If this doesn’t satisfy you, you just have to admit you’re a jaded, old fart. But you’re not! You love the new Supertones record and you don’t care who knows it! [BEC] SETH HECOX
MACHINA TO LIVE AND DIE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN Machina’s problem is that they’re in the wrong era. There was a time when arena Godsmack rock was a popular thing. Like, super popular. In the mid-2000s, “hard rock” bands were everywhere with Audioslave, Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, Drowning Pool, et. al., reigning on the charts. I’ll define the genre as this: It’s heavy guitars with melodic vocals, the occasional scream (to keep it edgy), but has to remain palatable to the bulk of the American public, so throw in some acoustic guitars and orchestra pieces like our forefathers Metallica and BOOM you’ve got something someone buys. (This type of rock stops before it crosses the railroad tracks with true metal on the other side.) Machina lives here. This city births mediocre breakdowns, Soundgardenstyle songwriting and melodies complete with a singer’s nasaly sneer and perfect production to make the record as tight (and, oh, I don’t know, as perfectly accessible) to listeners. Machina is a little more exploratory into musicianship than your average radio-ready hard rock band; I’m not sure there are a ton of “singles” on To Live and Die in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, some of the tracks feel like separate pieces they had written individually and subsequently cobbled together to make a full song. At the end of the day, if you like any of the bands I’ve referenced in this review, you’ll like Machina. Me? It’s too disjointed and out of date. I understand there’s a place for them, but it’s not on my Spotify. [ROGUE] DAVID STAGG
PROPAGANDA EXCELLENT With an album named Excellent, it is crucial that the end product is nothing less than that. In 12 tracks, though, California emcee Propaganda sets the bar higher for the word than imagined. The key, it seems, is knowing your strengths and diversifying them; a number of the tracks display Propaganda’s stellar rhyming skills (“Redefine Cutter” and “Conquer”), others, like “Precious Pilgrims,” play on his spoken word mastery. The standout is “Lofty,” a collaboration with Ascend The Hill’s Joel Davies and label mates Beautiful Eulogy that elevates the album past its genre to art. Every track, no matter what style Propaganda chooses, is heavy with meaning and thoughtfulness, rarely found in hip-hop (or any music). Prop said it best, “Excellent, that’s what you should expect from us, least we can do to thank you for how He blessed us…” Indeed. [HUMBLE BEAST] IAN HARVEY
GUNGOR A CREATION LITURGY Gungor’s music stretches a reviewer’s ability to come up with positive analogies. With “You Are the Beauty” alone, its music ranges from bluegrass-accented, to something like a Pink Floyd progressive workout, while “Heaven” mixes Lyle Lovett-esque vocals with Jimi Hendrix inspired blues-rock. Just as God makes beautiful things out of the dust – as the track “Beautiful Things” asserts – Gungor takes tried and true sonic elements and somehow makes them fresh and new. A Creation Liturgy is a wonderful introduction to arguably the most exciting Christian act going right now. Lyrically, Gungor’s music loosely falls under the praise and worship category. However, most worship songs are mainly word-centric, with much of the instrumental side tamped down significantly. Not so with Gungor, however, because this is one rocking, God-honoring collection of music. The rumors of artistic Christian music’s death are greatly exaggerated; Gungor is one giant billboard sign of life. [BRASH] DAN MACINTOSH
The O.C. Supertones For the Glory
To Live and Die in the Garden of Eden
Everything in Slow Motion 04 Red
A Creation Liturgy
O God Save Us All
Matt & Toby
Mike Mains & the Branches 04 Home
Stomptown Revival S/T
DISCIPLE O, GOD SAVE US ALL Are you ready for your new favorite Disciple record? On November 12th the veteran band will unleash their monster new album O, God Save Us All and you should be very excited about it. I’ll have to admit that, when Southern Hospitality was released I found it to be disjointed, unfocused and feared that the massive lineup change that preceded it would be the demise of one of Christian Rock’s premier and longest-lasting bands. But with O, God Save Us All they now seem hyper-focused and revitalized, pushing boundaries that once limited the band while retaining the visceral punch and Holy Ghost fervor they are now legendary for. This album is obviously geared toward success at rock radio, pulling in influences from bands at active rock radio while at all times still sounding like Disciple. It’s a delicate balancing act, being inspired while not copying – pulled off masterfully here. Disciple always brings the heavy with gritty detuned riffage and a powerful rhythm section, crafting songs with intricate guitar work and big choruses such as; “O, God Save Us All,” “R.I.P.,” “Kings” and “Unstoppable,” which I find to be the heaviest track on the record. The songs “Draw The Line” and “Trade A Moment” are mid-tmepo gems that, if reworked just so slightly and stripped of their rock/pop trappings, would almost be at home on Country radio by they way their narratives plays out. But probably my favorite song on O, God Save Us All would be the hopefully optimistic “Someday,” whose chorus will have you singing along long after the album is over. Thanks due to the “new blood” infused into Disciples veins, the band has managed to craft an album that is on par with and in some ways surpassing the self-titled reboot that so many fans now love. [FAIR TRADE] JEF CUNNINGHAM
MATT & TOBY S/T I thoroughly enjoyed this self-titled album. Musically, it’s well-crafted, which is not surprising from Emery members Matt Carter and Toby Morrell, but it’s their invitation into bare-bone honest moments that set the music apart. They blend melodic moments, harmonies and multifaceted musical elements to present a wellrounded and fresh album. Musically, they share hints of Campbell the Band, Local Natives, or perhaps milder tunes of Jimmy Eat World. Hard to peg definitively, but that’s why they caught my attention and held it. [TOOTH & NAIL] SARAH ARENDAS ROBERTS
MIKE MAINS & THE BRANCHES HOME How lucky am I to have the hook-up from DVP to get the privilege of reviewing again? Very! Home from Mike Mains and the Branches is a great album to begin with, because it’s an enjoyable, heartwarming, power-punch into the depths of this new band. It grabs you by the ear with its British-like beats, emotive vocals, sweet hooks and road-tripping grins. Yet they seem to naturally blend deep, self-revealing lines that captivate the mind. I find myself curiously sucked into the picture they paint within my head and want to read the lyrics for the true meaning of each song and how it reflects their intent. The name Home is somewhat antithetical as this album is truly a journey through the mind and life of the writers. The album is indie-rock with tight songs that you just can’t skip over. This is a good first release with well-balanced tonal qualities. It begins with “Miracle” juxtaposing our real position as believers with what we should be vs. what our daily default oftentimes are. Lines like “I barely know nothing about anything” reveal a self-effacing aspect of MMB. Songs of lament and standing on the precipice of love and what it might be, self-sacrifice and trying to find our place as we daily walk, fill this aural candy with enough meat to satisfy anyone who knows House of Hero’s, Death Cab for Cutie, All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World and Seabird. [PLATINUM POP] MITCH ROBERTS
STOMPTOWN REVIVAL S/T Their self-titled debut effort, which came out October 2nd, is nothing short of refreshing. Blending the elements of blues, southern rock, spiritual style and vocal harmonies, these boys (Brandon Bee and Gabe Martinez) have finally brought something fresh to the table. Unabashedly speaking about life with God, it is clear they love the music they are making as well as the One that inspires them. Why can’t more musicians refurbish hymns as StompTown Revival’s version of “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms?” Listen to their music and decide for yourself: can Christians play southern soul music? [SAVE THE CITY] SARAH ARENDAS ROBERTS
ANBERLIN VITAL The major label life has been seemingly good to this band. Each of the last three albums (New Surrender, Dark is the Way, Light is a Place and this one, Vital) has progressively shown the band churning out polished, melodic yet aggressive tunes that ever so slightly expand on the band’s trademark sound. Tracks like the leadoff “Self-Starter” will sound familiar to the family of Anberlin faithful, with churning guitars and a very up-tempo attack that makes aggression sound like a nice idea. Tunes like “Other Side,” however, show a polished, soft and smooth ‘80s synth pop facet of the veteran unit (though the intro sounds very much like a Coldplay tune). “Innocent” could easily have been a timepiece from MTV’s heyday, alongside a Phil Collins, Paul Young or Duran Duran ballad. Tunes like “Little Tyrant” show a fresh new side with the straight-up rock riff and drumming intro before the familiar edgy pop licks kick in. The band covers a lot of ground, sounding more like what they established with Dark is the Way and making that their new homeland sound, yet still effortlessly and seemlessly dance between hard/uptempo and soft ‘n’ sweet. While the first few listens almost feel like an extreme swing to the lighter side, the rest of the album’s songs frame the album nicely. The epic closer this time – “God, Drugs & Sex” – delivers with layers of soft, whispery vocals and atmospheric guitars and keys dropping in, all driven by a haunting, plodding drums. While the door keeps getting opened wider and wider for Anberlin, they’ve found a way to keep progressing and yet still staying true to their sound. One way they’ve controlled the perception is the tracklisting spaces out the new with lots of old Anberlin – all the time avoiding anything stale. [UNIVERSAL REPUBLIC] DOUG VAN PELT
INHALE/EXHALE MOVEMENT Cleveland, OH’s self-proclaimed “post-hardcore rockers” are back on the scene with their fourth full-length release, Movement. It’s an awfully cohesive unit of 10 tracks, so much so to that at any given point, you may lose track of which song you’re actually listening to. The record itself is a comeback of sorts: the band took a brief break in 2009. It’s a powerful and strong comeback punch, gritty and chugging. There are some well-timed, well-written riffs to alleviate the chug every now and again (“Party Drama” does this especially well), but for the record as a whole, its overly cohesive tone and a somewhat lack of effective songwriting prevents this record from truly taking off. [RED CORD] DAVID STAGG
50 B O O K S & R A P H I C N O V EL S
books & graphic novels GUITAR WORLD PRESENTS: THE BEST INSTRUCTION BOOK EVER
TURN IT UP! RON ECKERMAN
Long the subject of many stories, documentaries, myths and legends, Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American story that’s as red, white and blue of either flag that their fans will wave. What sets this one apart is that it’s written by a true insider – Road Manager Ron Eckerman, who lovingly portrays the band and even himself with self-deprecating humor and magnifying lens. He brilliantly starts off each and every chapter with a short but dense paragraph that describes the plane crash as it happened. Yeah, this guy was a survivor of the infamous plane crash and he was the orchestrator behind the “let’s start using a small airplane to get from show to show” idea. Now tell me you don’t want to read this thing. It’s good, even though it’s frought with the kind of typo’s that’s all-too-common with selfpublished works. [ Restless Artists ]
THE CROWD, THE CRITIC & THE MUSE MICHAEL GUNGOR
The masters of guitar tab have gotten all basic on us ... and this is a great thing. This easy-to-pick-up (and understand) tome gets elementary, but also pushes the reader to advanced learning later on. Who doesn’t want to eventually play leads? There’s several guest tips from storied experts from rock’s rich history, sharing the importance of practice, relaxation, faith in what you know and other such practical advice. The book is well designed and with a DVD stuck right in, one could probably say that the title probably lives up to its name. I’ll tell ya in about six months when I exhaust this training (Lord willing). [ Time Home Entertainment ] DV
TOLKIEN’S WORLD GARETH HANRAHAN & PETER MCKINSTRY
Here’s a lovely coffee table book that bridges the gap between the enthusiast/collector that already knows encyclopedic amounts of information on the stories and the newcomer or lost viewer that wants to know the background, the characters and framework that drives these beloved tales. Beautifully illustrated, it defies the sort of limitations one might expect from an “unofficial and unauthorized” guide to the people and places of Tolkien’s Middleearth. It brings to life the details of the stories, but also understanding. Therefore, it’s truly an asset to the series. [ Insight Editions ]
The ones who lead us in worship should have a reference point that’s deeper than the surface or performance level that we see on stage. The truth is many of these leaders have an in-depth understanding of what they’re trying to engage us with (or, more accurately, Who). Written as “A Book for Creators,” the esoteric/avant garde worship leader musician delves into the creative process ... and he gets personal, too. “It wasn’t the economy or the music industry that was to blame for the formless void that filled what used to be a passion for my work. It was the groundlessness of my internal world. This was the reason I hadn’t written anything for months. Only real things get to create things, not ghosts or phantoms. Dead souls do not produce the same stuff as living ones do. It’s such a gift when someone shares their struggles, because we can sometimes avoid the same mistakes or find healing in empathy and understanding. In his introduction, Gungor states: “This is a book for creators who might need a reminder of why they do what they do.” This is good stuff and it’s raw. While it waxes philosophic (art, poverty, spirituality), it does so in a down-to-earth and “I’m a normal guy” sorta way. Perhaps Don Miller’s approach was an influence. Either way, I’m glad it reads honestly and funny. [ Woodsley Press ]
LINCOLN’S BATTLE W/ GOD STEPHEN MANSFIELD
Why is Lincoln’s faith worthy of studying? It helped shape the stuff the well-loved President did - his policies that helped win the Civil War; his speeches; and the inspiring and gargantuan acts of forgiveness, class and grace that the victor displayed. Author Stephen Mansfield endeavors to avoid the pitfalls of other biographers, who often bend the historic figure’s faith to reflect their own or go out of their way to downplay the identity of that faith. [ Thomas Nelson ]
LIFEstyle GUITAR PICK EARRINGS These big dangly danglies are bright, shiny and well-crafted. One of the larger specimens from their fine collection, but ya gotta admire the rock and roll attitude of this guitar pick model. [ gspinelli.com] DV [ Price: $65 ]
gadgets JBL FLIP This wireless portable loudspeaker is pretty darn awesome – to say the least. The bluetooth connection is a snap to pull off. The sound, though small, is crisp and booming. It features a handy rechargable battery and has a microphone inside. This means you can jam out to tunes (wirelessly from your iPhone or other smartphone) on your desk, etc, and then hit the phone button on the side to answer an incoming call. Fabulous little device. [jbl.com] DV [ Setup Ease: A+ | Performance: A+ | Price: $99 ]
SPIDERARM MIC ADAPTER THE JESUS FILM MEDIA APP SpiderArm™ Ltd., the brain trust SEE Jesus. HEAR Jesus. SHARE Jesus. behind the interchangeable and Wherever you are. customizable iPad 1,2 and 3 Mount Whatever the language. System (reviewed in the July Issue Start a conversation. #157), announces the worldwide Jesus Film Media is the digital expression of availability of the spiderArm Musician The JESUS Film Project, an extension of the Mount Adapter that allows musicians, overall vision to reach everyone, everywhere DJs, producers and more, the by equipping people to use our tools and ability to position their iPads in the resources in new ways! Finding just the right most ergonomic and performancefilm resource or tool has never been easier. enhancing positions, hands-free. The We are excited to share the entire JESUS adapter fits all American and Western microphone stands. Film Project® library with you on your smart phone. Through the robust [spiderarm.com] DV [Setup Ease: A- | Performance: A | Price: $9 ] search feature, you have the ability to find our resources by country, language name, theme, and title of the film. You have access to clips and films in over 1,100 languages! FREE DOWNLOAD: get the App Now at http://app.jesusfilmmedia.org [app.jesusfilmmedia.org] [ Price: $00 ]
ZING MUSIC SKINS The great MusicSkins.com company has merged into Zing Revolution, which prints peel off/stick on iPhone skins (among other gadgets). Choose from your favorite band or graphic or upload your own customizable image (that’s what I’m talking about!). It won’t protect your expensive handheld computer/ smartphone from a drop, but it’ll make it look hot. [zingrevolution.com] [ Price: $15 ]
JBL MICRO WIRELESS If you don’t have a portable speaker system for your iPod, iPhone or other smartphone/bluetooth device, it’s about time. This little guy sets up in a snap and will wirelessly amplify your mp3 collection in your bathroom, work cubicle or dressing room in a subtle yet adequate way. The biggest innovative feature of this speaker system is, of course, the wireless capability, which makes listening less awkward and free of cables between device and speaker. [jbl.com] DV [Setup Ease: A | Performance: A+ | Price: $59 ]
52 D V D S & F I L M
ﬁlm IRON SKY This crazy movie fleshes out the bizarre idea that a group of Nazis used a top-secret space program to flee surrender and destruction by flying off to the dark side of the moon, where they spent the next 70 years building a space fortress and a giant fleet of flying saucers. They then invade earth to re-colonize it. It’s not all serious, though, as they claim it to be “Inglorious Basterds meets Spaceballs for some goofy sci-fi comedy. [ eOne ]
FRIENDS THE COMPLETE SERIES This might be a reason to finally buy that Blu-Ray player. It might sound far-fetched - watching a television series again (and again) on a high-def format that you saw over a decade ago on a standard analog TV screen (at 480 dpi), but the visual is still stunning ... and then there’s the collector’s edition done right packaging here: A solid “hardcover” gift box with magnetic latches; a big picture book style episode listing with descriptions; and the book that holds all 21 discs. The 20 episode discs are fortified with episodes that were remastered from the 35mm negatives to brilliant high-defition clarity and a 5.1 surround audio mix. If it’s possible, you’ll probably get sick of the theme song if you watch marathon-style, but there’s loads and loads of extras that make the series even more endearing. Fans can’t help but love the talk show appearances, special music videos and documentaries shot over the time, but the emotions touched on when the cast looks to and back at the final episode were really telling and special. It’s hard to pick a favorite out of 236 episodes, but the alternate scripts and gag reels are memorable even after the funny episodes. [ Warner Bros. ] Doug Van Pelt
FATHER OF LIGHTS Oh my gosh! This documentary is so freaking awesome. Filmmaker Darren Wilson is what you’d call “daring” and innovative. He set out with this follow-up to Finger of God and Furious Love to capture God in action on the earth. This wasn’t an exercise of platitudes and symbolism, but an attempt to capture the miracles, power and presence of God. The people doing all this are sincere and their mouth’s seem to consistently leak love. An early example is when they were out on the streets of Venice when they encountered some sign-carrying purveyors of judgment. They couldn’t figure out what to do, but then realized that they usually just judged those people and refused to give “those kind of Christians” the very love and grace that they complained was never obviously part of that kind of presentation. That kind of humility pretty much flowed with the crew through the duration of this documentary. [ Wanderlust ] DV
COPPER Copper is BBC America’s first original scripted series. It’s set in 1860s New York City. The 10-part drama centers on Kevin Corcoran (Tom Weston-Jones, MI-5), an intense, rugged Irish-American cop working the city’s notorious Five Points neighborhood. Corcoran is struggling to maintain his moral compass in a turbulent world, while on an emotional and relentless quest to learn the truth about the disappearance of his wife and the death of his daughter. His friendship with two Civil War compatriots – the wayward son of a wealthy industrialist and an African American physician who secretly assists Corcoran with his detective work – takes him to the contrasting worlds of elegant Fifth Avenue and an emerging African-American community in rural northern Manhattan. The three men share a secret from their experience on the battlefield that inextricably links their lives forever. [ BBC ]
CIVILIZATION For the past five centuries, Western civilizations have prevailed around the world. More people have been influenced by Western food, clothing, medicine, government and religion worldwide than by any other civilization. How did that happen? What led the West to be so influential and powerful? And how long will the West sustain its supremacy? As America approached the 2012 presidential election in the midst of a geopolitical paradigm shift, acclaimed historian Niall Ferguson returned to public television with a timely look at the reasons behind the West’s economic ascendancy and why Eastern civilizations may now be taking the lead. Accompanied by a major new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest (Penguin Press), the series explores the West’s epic and surprising rise to global dominance. Applying essential economic and political insights, Niall Ferguson identifies what he calls “the six killer applications” that “the Rest” lacked, but which enabled the West to become an economic and political superpower. Yet no civilization lasts forever, and Ferguson speculates that perhaps “The Rest” can overtake the West by “downloading” and upgrading these “apps,” too. Each two-hour episode focuses on three of these factors: competition; science; modern medicine; democracy; consumerism; and the (Protestant) work ethic. Spanning theories on the rise and fall of empires past and present, Ferguson explains how the West taught others its ideas and institutions. Ferguson argues that competition, science and property-oriented government put the West ahead of Asia, the Muslim world and South America, and proposes that modern medicine, consumerism and work ethic supported the West’s expansion into Africa, its mastery of mass marketing and consumption, and promotion of its work culture. [ BBC ]
SINGING FOR DUMMIES eMedia are masters at musical instruction. Their software is easy to setup, utilizes tools like video, microphones and audio to reinforce the teaching. Besides guitar, bass, piano and the like, they’ve now brought lessons for the vocalist. While performing lessons on your own time, singing into your microphone will then offer you feedback (“You’re too high,
PROMARK NEIL PEART DRUMSTICKS ProMark has released the Neil Peart Clockwork Angels Collector’s Edition Stick Six-Pack. The one-of-a-kind collection commemorates RUSH’s current worldwide tour. The top selling ProMark Shira Kashi™ oak drumsticks have
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flat, in tune,” etc.). Videos, a metronome and on-screen instruction help the singer use proper technique, warm-up and learning valuable lessons, like: “Your Body as the Instrument,” “Breathing,” Resonance,” “Vowels” and “Supporting the Voice.” And then there’s the fun of singing along to songs you know – rock, folk, pop, classical, showtunes. [ emediamusic.com ]
been given the golden touch, autographed by drummer Neil Peart and copper-ink branded with six RUSH tour logos. Each brick contains six pairs of sticks and Collector’s Edition labels to satisfy any die-hard RUSH fan. Drummers now have a chance to get their hands on these legendary collections, however, only a limited amount will be produced. Of course, ProMark promises that you’ll be as good as Peart immediately upon purchase. Okay, well, maybe that last bit was not entirely true. [ promark. com ]
54 C O LU M N S
WITH KEMPER CRABB Concerning “Jesus is My Girlfriend” Songs: Observations on the Imbalances of Today’s Worship (Part the Seventh) We’ve seen in this series that contemporary worship music has become dominated by songs modeled on romantic, experiential, subjective musical expressions. We’ve further seen that, though such songs are a legitimate stream of Biblical worship expression, they have been historical and Biblical worship models (such as the Psalms or the Book of Revelation) held in balance with objective, doctrinal song content. We then began to investigate how and why such an imbalance has occurred in arriving at such an experiential overemphasis. We began by seeing that the deep alienation between God and mankind engendered by the Fall leads men to see the world dualistically, as split between the “pure” spiritual realm and the flawed and imperfect physical world, a view which is a result of the simultaneous and inescapable knowledge that men have rebelled against their Holy Creator while they attempt to suppress that inescapable knowledge (Romans 1: 18-32). This split was institutionalized in Platonic thought, which hugely influenced monastic thought, which shaped to a certain extent, the way the Medievals viewed Reality, and, with the infusion of rediscovered dualistic Aristotelianism, resulted in a Late Medieval and Renaissance perspective which located emotion and instinct in a “religious” zone, while reason and normative life were seen as belonging to the “secular” sphere. The Reformation was partially a reaction against that dualistic view, but when German Lutheranism became dead in its orthodoxy, an experiential reactionary movement called Pietism arose which resurrected a dualistic perspective, and emphasized spiritual experience over intellectual and doctrinal knowledge of God, which they associated with the inferior “lower-level” secular realm. Pietism hugely influenced the Great Awakening (especially the Second Awakening), and all subsequent Evangelicalism. The revivalism (eventually organized into a “methodology” to elicit an emotional “spiritual” response in revival attendees) shaped Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregationalist, and virtually all subsequent Evangelical thought, so that a view was institutionalized which saw emotional experience as the highest expression of spirituality: as it’s goal and evidence. Additionally, Victorian sensibilities (in some ways
influenced by the rise of Pietism in English-speaking countries) were increasingly feminized, associating religious experience with emotionalism, which was considered the domain of women, a view which led many men to, at best, compartmentalize religion and, at worst, despise or ignore it altogether as “only for women,” (a situation which led to repeated efforts in some Evangelical quarters to concerted attempts to present “masculine” or “manly” Christianity, utilizing soldiers or athletes to attempt to redress the feminized imbalance; a situation the Evangelical Church has inherited and is still dealing with to this day: Power-Lifters, anyone?). Of course, the twin influences of Pietism and Victorian religious feminization led to a pressure to associate the Faith with an “upper-level” emotionalism and subjective experientialism rather than a “lower-level” rational and objective realism, a pressure and split that began to be assumed as a given reality in the Evangelical congregations. For a long while, the spiritual capital of a more balanced Scriptural and Trinitarian perspective tended to keep the assumption of subjective experientialism as the norm for worship and it’s attendant music at bay. However, as time went on, the emphasis on subjective experience progressively eroded the traditional and Biblical balance in the churches, resulting in less emphasis on objective Biblical doctrinal truth and more Christians’ subjective experience of God’s presence, an association colored both by Pietism and Victorian feminization in the minds and tradition of increasingly larger segments of the Evangelical Church. All of this was helping not only to form the state of Evangelicalism, but also the shape of American society, a major influence in the America we have inherited today, due to the central influence of Evangelicalism in America’s history (those interested in this important aspect of this situation will profit from a reading of Michael Scott Horton’s Made In America and Ann Douglas’ The Feminization of American Culture). We’ll examine more on the erosion of Biblical and Trinitarian truth as a result of this dualistic bifurcation leading to the deformation of Evangelical worship songs next issue, Lord willing. [kemperercrabb.net]
C O LU M N S 55
Guest editorial by Chad Johnson
iThoughts Devotions w/ with Doug GregVan Tucker Pelt My name is Doug. I’m a workaholic. I started leading a Workaholics Anonymous recovery group in the city I live in. Nobody showed up at the ﬁrst meeting. Perhaps they were working – compulsively. That’s the addiction. That’s the dysfunction. We have to work, but we need to play. We have to work, but we need to love those around us. We have to work, but we have to avoid destroying our mind and bodies with over-work. Yes, this group actually exists. Answer these 20 questions to measure your workaholic tendencies. Please share this info with others and/or attend a W.A. meeting in your area.
Pure joy. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must ﬁnish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” –James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds… Pure joy = nontainted, non-contaminated rejoicing. We are not called to consider a diluted joy. How many times do I face trials from the lesser value than purely reﬁned joy. We are all brothers and sisters in this Jesus journey. Paul is not challenging the world to pure joy – how could they know it apart from the Provider of it? Paul is speaking to every blood-bought believer in Christ Jesus. Trials include any kind of afﬂiction, hardship, difﬁculty, persecution, etc., that believers may face – especially in light of choosing Christ rather than world. Life consists of trial after trial. The critical test is in how we handle these trials. Yesterday was a trying day. In the morning I was inviting plumbers into my home to ﬁx a broken hot water heater ($525 I don’t have). My fall work-load packed a crazy day. By dinner I had learned that a friend of a good friend’s brother-in-law had been brutally murdered. By bed-time I had found that my own brother-in-law had been beaten (again) for sharing the Gospel to a Hindu village in India. …because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Jesus died that I might have faith. He lives to increase faith in our hearts so that we would point the world in His direction. I have two choices in how I approach another day after the blows dealt yesterday. I can turn away from God or I can turn toward Him. A simple choice with drastically different repercussions. The testing of our faith produces perseverance. I have found that it is often in the times where I am seeing very little God-sized action that my faith is surprisingly bolstered. There seems to be a place where my faith ends and Christ’s faith for me begins. I welcome His faith to match my seed. Perseverance must ﬁnish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. Complete maturity only comes by tested faith in the face of many-sided trials. I want to be a believer that is lacking in nothing, but am I willing to joyfully embrace the process? Turning to Jesus, in every trial, is the intended thrust. This is why Paul could say that he rejoiced in being weak – because in weakness Christ’s strength was made perfect. Jesus does not need strong men/women – He paid to get obedient ones. Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds. Let my faith be tested to produce perseverance. Perseverance, have your ﬁnished work in my life as I grow mature and complete. Come Lord, Jesus!
+ Come&Live! P.O. Box 50967 Nashville, TN. 37205 e: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.comeandlive.com
1. Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else? 2. Are there times when you can charge through your work and other times when you can’t get anything done? 3. Do you take work with you to bed? On weekends? On vacations? 4. Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most? 5. Do you work more than 40 hours a week? 6. Do you turn your hobbies into moneymaking ventures? 7. Do you take complete responsibility for the outcome of your work efforts? 8. Have your family or friends given up expecting you on time? 9. Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won’t otherwise get done? 10. Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it? 11. Do you believe that it is okay to work long hours if you love what you are doing? 12. Do you get impatient with people who have other priorities besides work? 13. Are you afraid that if you don’t work hard you will lose your job or be a failure? 14. Is the future a constant worry for you even when things are going very well? 15. Do you do things energetically and competitively – including play? 16. Do you get irritated when people ask you to stop doing your work in order to do something else? 17. Have your long hours hurt your family or other relationships? 18. Do you think about your work while driving, falling asleep or when others are talking? 19. Do you work or read during meals? 20. Do you believe that more money will solve the other problems in your life? Three positive answers are considered an indicator there may be a problem with workaholism. After carefully considering your answers to the above questions and perhaps even talking about them with your family and friends, you may come to realize that there is a problem. Most of us were slow to fully comprehend the signs of our problem. Recovery began when we identiﬁed with workaholic behaviors. It was our ﬁrst step. Awareness of our problem opens the door to possible solutions. For further information on this national recovery group, go to www.workaholics-anonymous.org
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C O LU M N S 57
VO L. 12 – LEAVING THE LIGHTS ON
Every summer, my family took a week off for vacation. Some families went to Disney World (we saved up when I was younger, then my mom got pregnant with my little sister and the trip was scrapped. Luckily, Mk and I have since reconciled). Some families go see the Grand Canyon or take some epitomic crosscountry trek, hitting up every great American landmark. Some families ﬂy together to stay in faux-exotic, completely tour-ized Caribbean islands to stay at all-inclusive resorts where the kids can swim with dolphins and the parents can waste away in proverbial Margaritaville. Most families in the very least cross state lines for warmer climates and over-priced attractions. My family drove two hours south to a Bible camp on Lake Michigan. What is a Bible camp? A Bible camp is where you go stay in a cabin and walk to church service twice a day – morning and night. Everything an adolescent loves about Sundays in a conservative family – times two, in more rustic conditions. All the cabins were named after a different country. This probably represented some global mission outreach, or maybe was a clever way to rank the accommodations from 1st to 3rd world. We always stayed in Korea (interestingly, we represented both North and South…). I’m not going to say I hated it; I actually enjoyed it most of the time. My parents, through a combination of economy and contentedness, never traveled far. In college I made up for this (my ﬁrst time on a plane that wasn’t a decommissioned bomber at the Kalamazoo air museum was at 19). I eventually traveled to Los Angeles, ﬁlmmaker’s Mecca, with my broadcasting class. I chaperoned a destination-secret trip to Toronto for a youth excursion. My travels culminated in a month’s stay in Egypt with a brief stop in London at the end of my junior year, but earlier that school year I would ﬁrst visit Mexico. This was signiﬁcant for many reasons: I ﬁrst saw Batman Begins on the plane ride. It was my ﬁrst real visit out of the country (sorry Canada, but I actually needed a passport for this one). I didn’t pay for it; it was a family trip with my girlfriend’s family, (like a trial run I didn’t pass). Sure it was only Cancun – and we rarely left the inclusion of our all-inclusive resort – but it felt exotic. I had a portable CD player long after they went extinct. Whenever I own a piece of technology, you know that it is: a) at least 5 years old and b) wellintegrated into the common man’s arsenal, probably on the endangered list. I was the perfect candidate for an iPod with my vast music library, yet was still spinning those archaic plastic disks and having to buy double-A batteries every two weeks. I didn’t even have a cool pair of sheik ear-buds, nor the over-sized cans of hipsters and audiophiles; I wore the in-between, awkward and never comfortable headphones with the piece of metal that went up over your head like a girl’s hair piece. They let in more ambient sound than music. My ﬁrst youth pastor was James Bean when I was in 8th grade. James Bean was a typical youth pastor: awkwardly-social, crass and out of your life within two years. He was also pretty cool. He was in his early 20’s, could drive, loved Star Wars on the cusp prequel hype and paid you attention. I was in his ofﬁce one day and I had a hammer. I’m pretty sure the hammer was already in his ofﬁce... I do not believe I brought the hammer. I was
pounding on a table top to make his CD player skip (This makes me sound like Bam Bam from the Flintstones, but I assure you this was not my personality). It was commonly accepted that when a CD skipped it was getting scratched, unless it was already scratched, in which case the scratches caused it to skip. James insisted that skipping was caused by a hiccup in the laser to CD relationship, in this case due to vibrations through the table under the weight of my hammer. James insisted it was no harm to the CD. I kept hitting the table, mischievously believing I was scratching the CD to his own ignorance. This CD was Quayle’s self-titled (and only) album. I was listening to Quayle’s self-titled on my portable CD player on the ride from the airport to our hotel having just landed in Cancun. Billy asked me what I was listening to. Billy was an interesting person, in that he did not like music. He dressed like he liked music, but found it a false pursuit. He also hated hanging out with bands on the day of a show, because of their preoccupation with the self-importance of the upcoming show (okay, I’ll give him that one). “Oh, you’ve never heard of them.” “Yeah, that’s what you guys all say.” My brother actually contributed to my life and tastes probably more than any singular person. This is sometimes hard to admit, since we are so different at 27 and 30 respectively, but it has been a good three years since he’s threatened to sue me. He brought Quayle to our cabin at Bible Camp, and like the grooves in a CD, those songs are etched into my mind when I recall the anticipation between church and beach on those familial vacations. Quayle is one of those rare gems, tastily dipped in nostalgia that still holds up extremely well as ‘90s alt-rock. Underneath my appreciation for Quayle as a time machine, the music is damn good. The singer has a distinctly nasal voice, and the music is tight and intricate. There’s just something I love about knowing this album got little play when it was released in 1997 and even less play 14 years later. Something about the fact that it is an unheralded master-work that I still connect with it. Something that makes it mine. Not so much in an elitist, shoo-mainstream, so-underground-it-hasto-be-good kind of way. More like, 4 guys poured themselves into an album – an album that still beats with the soul of a band united with no hope for more than a small sub-sect of the populace giving any credence their way, which tells me it was for them. As a reviewer on Amazon put it, Quayle straddled “that line between Christian faith and contemporary rock artisty [sic].“ They did a ﬁne job. I still reach for that album often while at my drum kit and want to pound along to some gratifying, distortion-fuzzed sounds. Maybe it makes me feel like, with all the music I’ve released (to certainly less attention), there’s an off chance it could connect with someone down the road and be theirs. I didn’t mean to answer Billy like an underground connoisseur of music too inaccessible for the mainstream. I didn’t mean to sound like I had some leg up in the quest to out indie another or throw some exclusive taste around. Quite the opposite. Quayle’s music isn’t groundbreaking – Brit-inﬂuenced grunge, punk and psychedelic from the ‘80s and ‘90s. A patchwork of inﬂuence, but well-woven. Unassuming. But it is good. No, I really meant he’s never heard of it, because no one has. And that’s a shame, not a scene point.
continued on page 51
58 I N D I E R E V I E W S
MAD MAX #94 : BILL BAFFORD/ROXX PRODUCTIONS
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24+ “So & So Says” interviews from the pages of HM Magazine.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
NOTE FROM THE NEW MANAGING EDITOR | CHRIS GATTO Dear metalheads, Longtime Heaven's Metal writer, but new managing editor Chris Gatto here. So happy that Hurricane Sandy is gone and in the history books. She made a mess of the east coast, but our God prevails! So, how are you guys liking the new HM/ Heaven's Metal combo in one digital magazine? We are excited, because it means we are truly your one-stop outlet for all things Christian rock and metal. It also keeps us from fighting out who goes in which magazine (as if we'd really do that – ha!) This month we have an intimate look into the life and ministry of Bill Bafford, that hard working man behind Roxx Productions, and also sit down (figuratively speaking) with German hard rockers Mad Max to discuss their latest. We recently welcomed a new writer to our fold. He is none other than Scott Waters, of Ultimatum and Once Dead fame and we've put him to work already. (His new Ultimatum boxed set is the best!) We are also sad to report the passing of Christian metal pioneer Matt Harding of Apostle and Steel Armada fame on Oct. 19th – rest in peace. Please pray with us as we struggle with the transition to a monthly publication. Stick with us and we'll be sure to give you your metal fix. Metal blessings,
HEAVEN'S METAL FANZINE NOVEMBER 2012 [#94]
THE METALLIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS MAD MAX #94 : BILL BAFFORD/ROXX PRODUCTIONS
59 THE COVER Whattya think of this cover design? The staff voted for an earthtone MAD MAX 63
version and our rebellious designer went with this one. Trouble'll be brewin.' 62 MAD MAX Chris Gatto sprechens his Deutsch as he chats with Michael Voss & Juergen Beforth of melodic metallers Mad Max, who've long deserved a cover here. Who else on our cover was hired to sing for Michael Schenker? 'Nuff said. 66 H E AV EN ' S M E TA L
66 BILL BAFFORD Scott Waters jumps right into his new staff writer job, highlighting one of the hardest-working men in Christian metal, Bill Bafford and his Roxx Records label and production company. 62 ALBUM REVIEWS A half-dozen reviews and analysis, including
62 A L B U M R E V I E W S
ALBUM REVIEWS ANTIDEMON APOCALYPSENOW Much like the King they follow, it seems that Antidemon's fourth release is intent on destroying the works of the devil. This album is a heavy churning maelstrom of old school death metal. Think groovy and heavy, this is not brutal tech death. They still sound like themselves, its just honed and sharpened with a fresh fire and better production to boot! The lyrics are included in both Portuguese and English, so you can get the gist of what is going on. Despite the fact that this has such an old school vibe, I really am digging this and have played it numerous times. My main thought is that – despite it running around 45 minutes in length – it simply is not long enough. [Rowe Productions] Michael Larson
SOUL EMBRACED DEAD ALIVE Rocky Gray and company return with Dead Alive, the first full-length album from Soul Embraced in five years. Despite the somewhat lengthy spans of time between albums, Soul Embraced pick up right where they left off. After a tranquil introduction consisting of a piano and acoustic guitar, the brutality kicks in and sounds oh-so-familiar. This is both good and bad; fans of the band will almost assuredly enjoy Dead Alive, yet one could arguably expect further progression or refinement of the music of Soul Embraced. Breaking the music down further reveals songs that are more lead guitar-rich, along with a heavier emphasis on the modern death and thrash metal sound of bands like Arch Enemy. Standout tracks include “Breaking Point” and “A Curtain of Deceit.” This album definitely won’t disappoint. [Solid State] Chris Beck
DEMON HUNTER STORM THE GATES OF HELL Being HM Magazine’s requisite Demon Hunter album reviewer, I’m always stoked when the band releases a new album. That same excitement welled up in me just before spinning their recent offering, Storm The Gates Of Hell. Surprisingly, this is the first Demon Hunter album that wasn’t immediate for me. You know, the ones that grab you from the beginning, and you just know that the entire disc is going to be killer. All that being said, this is still a solid fourth outing. Opening with the fast, furious, and frantic title track, drummer Yogi displays his speedy chops throughout. The breakdown at the end is a definite standout, reminiscent of Lamb Of God. Lead single “Fading Away” features keyboards, something that is becoming very common in today’s rock and heavy metal. Ryan Clark’s melodic vocals shine here. Guitarists Don Clark and Ethan Luck exhibit their start-stop technicality on “A Thread Of Light,” and Jon Dunn (bass) holds down the bottom end the way it should be. The standout for me is “Sixteen.” Against a backdrop of rich orchestration, the song unfolds and builds into an astonishing pre-chorus featuring former Living Sacrifice vocalist Bruce Fitzhugh. And I’ve got to say, it sure is nice to hear his distinct scream again. Once more produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, The Almost) and mixed by Machine (Lamb Of God, Clutch), the production is some of the cleanest and slickest you’ll find anywhere in the metal realm. Lyrically, Clark uses his usual metaphors to convey the band’s message. “Thorns” addresses cutting, a very real and growing concern among today’s society. “Carry Me Down” is a plea to family and friends not to grieve for a deceased loved one whose salvation is secure, while “I Am You” brings the band and their fans together in our plight against the things of this world. Storm The Gates Of Hell? To that I say, “Go get ‘em!” [Solid State] Chad Olson
TOURNIQUET ANTISEPTIC BLOODBATH The latest release from technical speed masters Tourniquet is upon us. Entitled Antiseptic Bloodbath, it features just about everything you could want from a Tourniquet release: speedy technical riffage, classical instruments that are arranged to flow seamlessly into the titanic metal riffage, in depth lyrical content and superior musicianship. This metal offering hits full speed on such tracks as "Lost Language of the Andamans" (don’t let the intro fool you), "Flowering Cadaver" and the full-tilt title track. "86 Bullets" has a great riff that grabs you and forces the head to start bobbing back in forth, all the while retelling the tragic story of a circus elephant, named Tyke, who had to be shot after escaping. "Fed by Ravens, Eaten by Crows" (with spoken narration by Bob Beeman); "The Maiden Who Slept in a Glass Coffin," along with the aforementioned "Lost Language" benefit from hauntingly arranged strings. The almost sorrowful melodies seem to be a musical overture destined to grab one by the collar and demand a quick rewind to just hear what is being played. A string of guest stars on the guitar are planted throughout, Marty Friedman, Pat Travers, Bruce Franklin (Trouble), Karl Sanders (Nile), Santiago Dobles (Aghora). To hear Pat Travers play on a Tourniquet album is quite a moment. Never fear, though, as Aaron Guerra shines throughout – the man has tone! Luke Easter provides a stellar vocal performance and Ted Kirkpatrick shows why he is one of the top drummers in metal. Produced by Neil Kernon, who has a very long and distinguished resume in the recording world (everything from Hall & Oats to Cannibal Corpse!), Antiseptic Bloodbath is a tightly produced and meticulously executed. The instruments are given a change to breathe while not losing their place in the mix, and that driving guitar tone just kicks one up the backside. Fans of Cynic and the like will what to give this release serious attention. Antiseptic Bloodbath is high quality metal that forces one to examine their role in this life, while taking the listener on a dramatic journey of metal bliss. Don’t miss this one, bang thy head with joy! [Pathogenic] Keven Crothers
a rare two-voice/double review of the new Biogenesis album. 65 COLUMN Steve Rowe sounds off.
A couple blast-from-the-past reviews from Chad Olson & Chris Beck. Surf this: antidemon.net, solidstaterecords.com, tourniquet.net
C O LU M N
THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET By Steve Rowe
ORIGINALITY I hope it is okay with you guys to use mainstream examples, because the point is best illustrated this way. What do Kiss, Motley Crue, Motorhead, Metallica, Napalm Death and System of a Down all have in common? Originality! They all created a new look and a new sound when they started and they are all still very popular acts. Originality in music is always more important than musicianship when it comes to standing out in the crowd – something not easy to achieve these days. In Germany alone there are one hundred and twenty new metal style album releases every month. Most of these are by copy bands. So why would someone buy a new grind band who sounds like a B-grade version of Napalm if the new Napalm album is in the new releases? You can’t better the original, so why copy it? What do all the above bands also have in common? None have the world’s greatest musicians in them. They are not bands of hugelytalented individuals, but innovative groups who together make up their own great sound and image. A team of champions cannot beat a champion team. So, what is the point here? I see too much copycat music in Christian rock and metal and not enough originality. Why copy something that some godless band invented ten years ago? Christians making art who come to mind as examples of originality are very few. Maybe P.O.D., Stryper, and King’s X – all being hugely successful in their own right in the mainstream of music. As Christians, we need to be pre-contemporary. Usually, all Christian music or art ever can only be viewed as a rehash of what has already been done by successful mainstream acts. If we truly want to reach the world for Christ, we need to be innovators, not imitators. Even combining a hybrid of styles can be original. This is what makes P.O.D. so special. If we are to change the world for Jesus, we need new and fresh ideas. Wouldn't it be great to see a real Jesus-focused band become the next Metallica?! Imagine the salvations that would follow!! I am praying for the band that is about to create that new sound that has the message and will have the privilege of seeing millions won to Jesus. Blessings to all!
Heaven's Metal Editorial Team: Chris Beck, Keven Crothers, Chris Gatto, Mark Blair Glunt, Loyd Harp, Johannes Jonsson, Mike Larson, Jeff McCormack, Steve Rowe, Jonathan Swank, Doug Van Pelt, Todd Walker, Scott Waters myspace.com/heavensmetalmagazine 1-year subscriptions (12 issues): $12 (Everywhere, man) Advertising Info: email@example.com | 512.989.7309 Editorial Info: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com POB 4626, Lago Vista TX 78645 Copyright © 2012 Heaven’s Metal (TM). All rights reserved.
62 H E AV EN ' S M E TA L
Mad Max SCREAMING IN THE NIGHT
AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL VOSS & JUERGEN BEFORTH
BY CHRIS GATTO
THEY SAY ROCK AND ROLL WILL NEVER DIE AND, ALTHOUGH THE OLD MAXIM IS A TAD CLICHE, IT SEEMS TO BEAR A GRAIN OF TRUTH. MANY OF THE BANDS THAT HAVE COME AND GONE HAVE COME AGAIN AND SEEN MORE SUCCESS WITH A NEW GENERATION OF FANS. ONE SUCH BAND IS GERMAN MELODIC METAL KINGS MAD MAX. THEIR SELF-TITLED ALBUM WAS RELEASED IN 1982 AND BY 1987'S A NIGHT OF PASSION, THE BAND SEEMED READY TO EXPLODE UPON THE MASSES. BUT FAME IS FLEETING AND, INSTEAD OF BECOMING A HOUSEHOLD NAME, THE BAND WENT THEIR SEPARATE WAYS. THE NEW MILLENNIUM BROUGHT BACK MANY OF THE 80'S BANDS, AS WELL AS MANY NEW METAL ACTS, AND SINCE 2005 MAD MAX HAS RELEASED SEVERAL ALBUMS, MOST RECENTLY HELLO AMERICA AND THIS YEAR'S ANOTHER NIGHT OF PASSION. Chris Gatto: Welcome! In spite of their 30 year history, in America, Mad Max is something of an unknown – a hugely underrated band that deserves much more attention than they get. I know you guys played Rocklahoma a couple years ago, thus the song memorializing it on the new disc and would like to return. Have you played in the US besides that? Michael Voss & Juergen Beforth: Hi Chris! We had the honor to play Rocklahoma in 2009 and 2010. These were our very ﬁrst USA shows ever and it felt awesome! Sharing the stage with our heroes, like Cinderella, Nightranger or Stryper was like a dream come true. In 2013 our good friend and CEO of Retrospect Records, Sam McCaslin, will be a part of Rocklahoma again. He was the one that gave us the chance and hopefully we will get the chance to play Rockla again – the very ﬁrst time with the original '80s Mad Max line-up! Metal Mind out of Poland reissued your '80s catalog a few years ago, but your albums can be hard to locate here. Has the internet made it easier for fans all over the world to hunt down import CDs from bands such as yourselves? How has that changed the way a band must market itself today? To be honest, the re-releases were something of a good thing for the fans, but the biggest step for Mad Max right now is that we are signed to SPV Records worldwide. They are not only releasing our recent album, Another Night of Passion, and the new studio album for 2013, they will also take care of our back catalogue. That means you will
have the chance to buy the stuff all around the world – easily! Internet is a great thing for promotion, but if you really want to sell CDs, you need a proper worldwide distribution. We’re not only musicians, we are still fans of our heroes like Dokken or Cinderella. If they release a new album, we want to have the CD with booklet, with photos, with bonus stuff! Not just a download. And a lot of fans think that way – and this is good for rock music in general! Right on! Your latest disc, Another Night of Passion, is all new material, but an obvious reference to 1987's A Night of Passion. Tell me your motivations behind giving it this name. This album was for the fans – Mad Max back in the original 1987 lineup! So, we wanted to give our fans exactly the kind of album they have been waiting for (for) years! And that’s exactly what we did … (laughs). We will stay on that road now – Promise! Some reviewers have noted that your new millennium material is mellower than your 80's stuff, yet Another Night of Passion seems like a return to form. Was there an intentional direction change to a harder sound this time around? What has been the reaction to the new album so far? The reviews all over the world were awesome! This is exactly the kind
MAD MAX 63
56 H E AV EN ' S M E TA L 64
"The Christian aspect is a part of our life and in everything we write you will ﬁnd certain aspects of that Christian belief."
of sound the fans want to hear from us and why they loved us back in the '80s. The mellower times are over! We know we are lucky that we can still rock the world in the original line-up – like 4 friends on a road trip (laughs) Much of your music has a fun and carefree feel, but "Welcome to Rock Bottom" stands out from that. What is the song about? When it comes to writing lyrics, we always tried to mix the fun aspect with deeper lyrics. Sure, in the '80s it was more or less all about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. “Welcome to Rock Bottom” is co-written with my good friend Jason Smith from Kansas. It’s a story about a guy that ruined his life with alcohol and drugs. Now he’s in prison reﬂecting about his life and that he still has the chance to change something for the better! I know you returned recently from a European tour. Have you been able to tour much for this album? This year we toured more than ever before. We did two large European tours as the “Special Guest” for German guitar hero Axel Rudi Pell. We are label mates and there was a fantastic promotion for the tour. The tour package of Axel Rudi Pell and Mad Max sold more than 20,000 tickets and a lot of places were sold-out in advance. Since 1985 Heaven's Metal has covered the Christian metal world. Mad Max has long had the association of being called a white metal or Christian metal band. Is this a label you have chosen for yourselves, or one given unfairly to you? How does that affect the lyrics that you write or how the band is portrayed? When we released our “comeback” album, Night of White Rock, in 2005 we were more than happy to get the chance to write the kind of Christian lyrics we had in mind. The Christian aspect is a part of our life and in everything we write you will ﬁnd certain aspects of that Christian belief. We are very, very happy that our record company will re-release that album together with the follow-up album, White Sands, in 2013. So a lot of new fans will get the chance to listen to that stuff. Michael's voice is often compared to Michael Sweet of Stryper, yet has some of the grit and attitude of Andi Deris of Helloween. Does it seem like melodic vocals are becoming a lost art with the proliferation of all the extreme metal styles these days? Who are some of your heroes vocally? Thanks a lot, bro! That sounds amazing!!! No, there are so many great singers around – like our faves Don Dokken or Johnny Gioeli – no need to worry!
How do you feel about the Scorpions retiring? They've been such a constant in the rock world for so many decades that it seems difﬁcult to imagine them no longer touring. Have you had any experiences with the Scorps personally? We know the Scorps personally and they are great guys! I had the BY DA honor to perform with Rudolf Schenker while I was singing the lead vocals for Michael Schenker on his UK tour earlier this year. The Scorps will always be a big inﬂuence for us and they are still the most successful German rock band ever worldwide! Who do you tour with? It seems that you have more in common with some of our American Sunset Strip era bands than some of your German peers, like Accept, Grave Digger, Helloween, and the like. Touring is a very expensive thing these days, so here in Europe (guess it’s the same in the USA) it makes more sense to tour with a cool package of bands that the fans really appreciate. We had that great package with Axel Rudi Pell. He’s one of the top-selling rock artists of our record company with high chart entries all around Europe. Touring with bands like Poison or Cinderella or Dokken in the USA is still one of our biggest dreams! I have to ask: Has sharing your band name with the Australian post-apocalyptic movie series Mad Max helped or hindered you over the years? I understand there is a 4th movie in the works. We never had any trouble with the movie guys or Mel Gibson (laughs) Let me tell you the story behind our band name: Our very ﬁrst singer (the guy before Michael Voss) came up with that name. But nobody over here knew that movie, since the very ﬁrst Mad Max movie was an Australian independent movie. The rest is history… Anything else you would like to leave us with? I wish you the best of luck with the new album. With the Scorpions gone you guys will have big shoes to ﬁll if you want to be a household name (laughs). Here's hoping Mad Max will get a lot more coverage in the States and hope to see you play live someday. God bless! Auf wiedersehen. A big thanks to all our American fans and friends! Hope to see u all at Rocklahoma 2013!
OLD HM MERCH
available at hmmag.com/hmstore/clothing ULTIMATUM 57
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66 H E AV EN ' S M E TA L
BILL BAFFORD 67
INDUSTRY PROFILE AFFORD | ROXX RECORDS BY SCOTT WATERS
ROXX RECORDS HAS BEEN A FORCE IN KEEPING CHRISTIAN HEAVY METAL ALIVE FOR THE PAST DECADE. WE CATCH UP WITH ROXX RECORDS FOUNDER BILL BAFFORD FOR A BIT OF HISTORY ON THE MAN AND THE LABEL. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got in to the Christian metal scene to begin with. I need to go way back for that one. It started with my introduction to metal music, period. In 1983, at the age of 15, a neighborhood kid introduced me to Ozzy and Def Leppard and I immediately went out and bought my ﬁrst 2 albums, Def Leppard’s On through the Night and Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard of Oz, and I would wear those vinyl records out and my love of Metal had begun! I grew up in a household where my mother was a devout Christian woman, so obviously she hated it profusely and would throw it away every chance she got! On the other hand my father was a beer drinking, Harley riding, long-haired but hard-working man. How those two ended up together I still can’t ﬁgure out sometimes. It has taken many years for me to realize that, despite some of the heartache and problems through the years, they were both doing the best they could and truly wanted the best for me and my brother. I love them both for all of their efforts, support and direction through the years. Well, my mother would send me off to a Christian high school where I would become even more rebellious than ever and couldn’t wait to get out of there. But I met a girl and our lives would become forever intertwined. We would become teenage statistics or poster children for teenage pregnancy – as we were expecting our ﬁrst child, Breanna Marie, at the ripe old age of just 16 and 17. Life had suddenly changed, drastically. I would ﬁnish up high school and work simultaneously, knowing that I had to get working fast and hard, because now I had ﬁnancial responsibilities and I began to resent God and hate the church and everything it and my mother stood for and tried to instill in me. I would begin to toy with drugs and alcohol, but I kept working really hard, holding down two jobs at times and still not be able to make ends meet. Had it not been for my grandfather (Pa) in those early days, I may not have been able to provide for all of their needs. I had hit an all-time low in my life at only 18 years old. Most of my friends were partying and living it up or going to college and all I could
do was work and try to ﬁnd ways to support a child. I would visit a church here and there and think maybe God was still what I needed, but it never ﬁlled the void in my life! My experience with churches was the Southern Baptist churches and schools I had attended all those years at my mother’s direction. I saw them as ﬁlled with selfrighteous, stuffed shirts that would tell you things like “cut your hair,” “clean up your act” and “you can’t listen to that heavy metal garbage and be a Christian! God does not approve!” Like many others, I felt like an outcast – like something was wrong with me. I did not blame the establishment or the church. It had to be me, right? One day I visited a church in West Covina called Calvary Chapel and that all changed. Calvary would be the ﬁrst church that I felt understood me. Pastor Raul Ries understood – more than most pastors – what I had been experiencing. On one of my ﬁrst visits there I would get a ﬂyer for a concert – a bright yellow and black ﬂyer that I still have today inviting me to see this band called Stryper perform – for free at a local church! I was amazed, intrigued and excited at the prospect of, “Hey, this looks like cool metal music and I’m going to church at the same time, what’s wrong with this picture?” And my ﬁrst experience of Christian Metal would be seeing Stryper playing to a packed church in West Covina and it felt like this was where I belonged. I could have my long hair, listen to metal music and still love and praise God! I wasn’t a freak and an outcast after all, or maybe I was? I would keep going to Calvary Chapel and see and support Stryper every chance I got, but it still just wasn’t quite what I was looking for. Then life would throw us a curveball yet again. We were now expecting our second child. It was bad enough telling your family and loved ones the ﬁrst time, but at the age of 18 and 19 to be having another one? We decided to keep it a secret while we tried to ﬁgure out what we were going to do! Despite both of us being from Christian households, we had
" But if all we can do is keep it alive by making sure our expenses don’t outweigh our earnings, then so be it. This truly is an avenue to help get some otherwise untouched Christian music genres out to a world that needs to hear it."
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decided that we had to get an abortion. There was no way we could do this with one kid and now we were going to have two! To try and keep this story short (and believe me I am, I promise), fast forward to the Barren Cross show we would see where they were kicking off the Atomic Arena Tour. Halfway through the set Mike Lee would start off introducing this song and describing that it was written from the baby’s perspective and that it was for someone out there tonight. The song was called “Killers of the Unborn” and it was at this time we broke down and realized we could not do what we were setting out to do and that God had other plans for us ... and Brittany was born! Later dubbed the “BC baby” and documented in Beth Whitaker’s book, The Calling of a Rock Star, Brittany would become a little piece of the Barren Cross history.
call from Rich Serpa with Planet Rapture Productions, who I met brieﬂy in New Jersey at the First annual Stryper Expo. Rich would be working on the Second installment of the Stryper Expo and was looking to do it in Southern California, my home turf. He was having some trouble ﬁnding a venue and getting support to put it together with him living on the East Coast. Stryper had referred Rich to someone, who would become a good friend to me through the years, named Larry Bolen. Larry and I would assist Rich in successfully pulling off a great show called the Second Annual Stryper Expo in Azusa, California at Azusa Paciﬁc University, where we would ﬁll the 4000-seat basketball arena and boast two full days of music and ministry ending with the Southern California return of Stryper! Little did I know at that time, but this was just the beginning.
This would lead us to the church we would ﬁnally call home – a little church just getting started out in South Bay California called Sanctuary International. It was dubbed “the Rock n’ Roll Refuge” and under the leadership of Pastor Bob Beeman. At this point my life had changed, a long-haired pastor and community that understands me, they know what I am going through, I ﬁt in and this would become our regular home. We would help wherever we could whenever we could – concerts, bands or just at church in child care. Pastor Bob would become the closest thing to a mentor I ever had and he probably never knew it.
After the success of this show, I found myself in a position where I would just start receiving calls out of nowhere from bands and artists looking for help and support and Roxx Productions was born. As I stepped back and thought about what I was doing, I realized there were not a lot of people out there trying to rekindle or continue a lot of the '80s and '90s Christian hard rock and metal out there that I had grown to love. This would become my early focus to work with and do reunion shows with many of these artists – not only as a nostalgia thing, but because there were still a lot of people out there that needed the ministry from these guys, it was almost like it was forgotten or kind of swept under the carpet. So, we began to try and rekindle and work with some of the artists from the golden era of the Sanctuary days as I will refer to it. But again, that was just the beginning. There were many young metal bands out there that were appealing to the youth of the nation (P.O.D. pun intended). So, basically we would start to work with and support bands of all hard rock and metal genres from yesterday to today as long as we knew their eyes were set on the common goal of sharing the Word of God.
Ultimately, the church and Pastor Bob would eventually relocate to the Nashville area and I felt what a lot of people did and that was that there was a void in my life we just couldn’t ﬁll. Life would continue and I would follow many Christian rock and metal bands through the years. It was always tough for me getting to do much in those days, still being so young and now having a third and fourth child – Brichelle and Brenee! Four girls in total that would become the apples of my eye to this day, even though I probably didn’t show it at times. I was always so stressed and focused on, “Where is the money going to come from,” instead of just letting go and let God provide. Unfortunately, their mother and I bit off more than we could chew way back then at such a young age and despite trying to make it work for the kids, we ultimately would go our separate ways. Through the years I would often lose sight and direction only to regain it later and to realize that they were one of the reasons I was put on to this earth – as they have all four grown in to beautiful young women that I love dearly. You have been directly involved in the Christian Metal scene for many years. Could you expand on that even further and tell us a little about how you got into the industry? That would be what I feel was my other – or second – calling, which wouldn’t actually start until around the year 2000, when I answered a
You've been involved with the Up From the Ashes concert series, as well as the Vengeance Rising reunion concert, Extreme Mardi Gras and several others. Can you share with us some highlights from the shows you have promoted? There have been quite a few now, as that was where we started as Roxx Productions – as a concert promotion company. Right after the Styper Expo was the Extreme Mardi Gras show, which was a 15-year anniversary celebration of the now historic Sanctuary International show called Metal Mardi Gras, which featured artists like Barren Cross, Deliverance, Neon Cross, Bloodgood and Vengeance Rising – to name a few. With the music scene the way it was in 2002, it seemed appropriate to change the title a little bit and call it Extreme, as everything then was extreme. We had many reunions of those classic bands from the ﬁrst show and some of the best new and up
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and coming bands like Disciple, Ultimatum and Oil were thrown into the mix in an attempt to attract the young and older metal crowds. The show was very successful and many people that night either dedicated or rededicated their lives to Christ, which is the ultimate goal of anything and everything we do. Looking back, I’m not sure if I would have called it Extreme Mardi Gras or just left it as is, but too late for regrets now. (The Ultimatum show is chronicled on the new DVD release we are putting out in 2012.) The Vengeance Rising reunion was honestly a lot of work and stress, as everyone probably knows that Roger Martinez denounced his faith in God many years ago. I was attempting to get them all to reunite with Roger at ﬁrst, because I thought maybe if he could see this all again, or if he could get in a room and just talk with those folks, that maybe he could at least put the past behind him and remember all the hard work and love that came out of this joint effort. But, alas, it was not meant to be. We kept the show alive and added Scott Waters from Ultimatum as the vocalist for the closest thing to a full Vengeance Rising reunion you will ever see. Luckily, we were able to capture that historic show on video and release a DVD by Once Dead titled Return with a Vengeance. (Though it was supposed to be a one-time reunion show, the band continued to do shows and record for years to come.) Then we started the Up From The Ashes concert series, which we have done three installments to date. This was started initially in conjunction with Daryn Hinton, legendary former Stryper manager and Holy Soldier manager. We did it to try and raise money for ‘Rockers helping Rockers Across the Nations’ to help a church in Mexico that had come under some serious ﬁnancial issues. It was the ﬁrst reunion of Steven Patrick and Holy Soldier in nearly 15 years at that time and it was another very successful show and the start of a series of shows that has seen reunion shows from bands like Saint, Deliverance and many more.
In my honest opinion, Roxx Records was born out of necessity of what we were trying to do with Roxx Productions. Many of these bands we were working with didn’t have a CD or the ability to do one. Our ﬁrst CD was actually a compilation to support and advertise the Extreme Mardi Gras in 2002. After that compilation, we decided it was time for us to become a full-ﬂedged label and it just took off from there. We are still a small indie label and probably always will be. In all honesty, we never launched this to make money. I’m not going to say we don’t want to make money. Of course, it would be nice to make a few bucks. But if all we can do is keep it alive by making sure our expenses don’t outweigh our earnings, then so be it. In other words, as long as we can balance at the end of the day, it’s all good. This truly is an avenue to help get some otherwise untouched Christian music genres out to a world that needs to hear it. I have a few good people we employ that are very supportive and helpful of our mission and that helps keep us going strong and keeps the work getting done! All of us involved in keeping Roxx alive have day jobs that help offset this work, too. It truly is our passion and mission to share the Word of God through the artists we support. People that know me, know that I am truly not a very outspoken person. That’s just the way God built me. I often tell them that the artists I support and promote are my way to be that outspoken person and, through the words of these artists that I give 110% to, you know, is where my heart is. If you're ever curious of what someone is all about or what they support these days, all you have to do is take a look at their Facebook walls. That is a true picture of an individual's support and beliefs. It’s not hard to hide these days, but people wear their hearts proudly on their Facebook walls!
There are so many to try and recall I could probably talk all day. I have been blessed to make many friends along the way as well. Scott Waters and I have become very close through the years and I consider him a close personal friend. As well, Mike Phillips from Deliverance and The Sacriﬁced and James Jenkins from East West are both good friends, and many more.
Roxx Records is now approaching our 40th release and we have really been ramping that up the past 2 years. Punk Roxx Records is a subdivision of Roxx Records and we just launched that this year with our debut signing Jump Ship Quick! The punk scene is really in need of some good hardcore Christian punk and that scene is seeing a bit of resurgence in the last year or two! The thrash scene as well has come full circle in the last few years and we have new releases out or forthcoming from Join The Dead, Ultimatum, Boarders and ”the Big D.”
You are the owner of Roxx Records and Punk Roxx Records as well. How was Roxx Records formed?
For our full discography and a timeline of past shows you can take a look on our website ( roxxproductions.com/?page_id=30 ).
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You were a part of Intense Millennium Records. What is going on with that and how did it come about? I had a feeling you were going to touch on that. Well, let’s just say it didn’t work out so well. I get asked about this all the time. As you know, all of the back catalog from Intense Records and Frontline Records had gone untouched and unreleased for years and, in some cases, decades. No one thought it would ever see the light of day again. Well, out of the blue someone approached me and said, “I have the opportunity of a lifetime for you!” I came in contact with the right people that were willing to work with us on reissuing and properly mastering some of those old, classic titles. At ﬁrst I was skeptical, but after a little review it all seemed legit and I was ecstatic to be involved. I signed on the dotted line with several other parties and we all joined forces to ﬁnancially support getting this off the ground. I deﬁnitely was not in charge, but the Roxx name was probably the most known in doing this type of thing, so it was capitalized on and our name got tied into the whole label right from the start. I was in the mix along with two other “more silent” parties and one other person that was the true owner of IMR. In total there were four of us in this venture. We were doing a good thing and managed to crank out quite a few of those untouched Christian masterpieces and get them back out for public consumption. I was glad to be a part of this. Some of those titles were impossible to ﬁnd. The problem was that one party was pretty much controlling everything – inventory, ﬁnances, marketing, websites – the whole nine yards. Long story short, I don’t know if we actually made anything or not – even to this day and probably never will know. I know the other parties like me all pretty much donated their investments and never saw a penny returned on them. I only saw a very limited handful of product that was given to me on the release dates. Intense Millennium Records is dead at this point to my knowledge; but, again, I never truly owned anything as the business was not in the names of the parties that invested. So, I suppose IMR could attempt a come back with more titles and artists down the road, but if it does it will be without my involvement.
I am not bitter at all, I am glad we got some of those titles out there. Frontline Records is making a full comeback now on their own and I have been working on rebuilding that relationship with Adel and the folks at Frontline and hope to still be able to bring some more of those titles on CD and vinyl to the world very soon – on the Roxx label of course! Stay tuned. On a related note please keep Adel from Frontline Records in your prayers as her husband is very ill and we are praying he makes a full recovery! So, where did the name Roxx Productions / Roxx Records come from? That’s an easy one. As you read earlier, Stryper pretty much started it all for me personally, so I saw it ﬁtting for Stryper to somewhat be related in our humble beginning as well. The band was originally known as Roxx Regime before changing its name to Stryper. I loved the name Roxx and decided to adopt it as a part of our business name and Roxx Productions was ofﬁcially born and licensed. You've worked with many legendary Christian metal bands. Can you share some interesting stories? One that comes up in my memory the most is Jimmy Brown, frontman for Deliverance. Deliverance was probably one of my personal all-time favorite bands. My ﬁrst experience working with them was at the Extreme Mardi Gras. Keep in mind when I tell this story that this was actually my very ﬁrst show just after doing the Stryper Expo. When we ﬁrst started booking the bands, we would get some deﬁnitive answers, “Yes, we are in.” We also got some artists that said, “No, we are not,” and quite a few undecided. Long story short, I way overbooked the show and, at the end of the day, the show carried on until 4 a.m. Guess who was scheduled at the very end? Yes, it was Deliverance. They still performed and tore it up, but they were not very happy with me. I enjoyed the show, but decided after I would just stay far away from Jimmy. Over the next couple of years I would hear stories about how mad he was at me and that he would never do work with me again. Thankfully, all those stories were exaggerated. Jimmy and I would go on to do more shows together and work on a tribute
CD to the band and are working together at this very moment. But, for the ﬁrst year or two after that show, I remember avoiding him and walking on egg shells all around him. It’s actually funny and one of those stories he still brings up from time to time about how he better not hit the stage at 3 a.m. again! There are quite a few stories through the years like that, but this one for some reason always comes to mind – especially as a learning experience. One important thing to remember is that these artists we work with are all like-minded and we have the same vision and goal, so it is great being able to work with someone that thinks like you and has the same goals and objectives. Even though it can get challenging at times and we don’t always see eye to eye, at the end of the day we make it work and make sure the show goes on and the message is heard. What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on and released over the years. You know, that’s a hard one to say. There are so many good ones and each release I work on feels like it’s one of my babies. I have to say I loved working with Arttie Parker from the Christian Metal Realm and putting together the Deliverance tribute album. It was fun, it was challenging and tons of bands wanted to contribute, so we had to expand it to a twodisc set. One of the fun things about it was getting the members of Oil to reunite and record two tracks. I think one reason was because I got to go in the studio with them and record gang vocals. That was the ﬁrst (and probably last) time that will ever happen, but if you listen really close on “Attack” you can hear me screaming. The tribute CD went well and we are starting to work on a new one for Saint. It’s going a little slow at the moment, but it will be coming out in 2013. Anyone wanting to contribute a track reach out to me soon. I have to say, though, right now this box set for the 20th Anniversary of Ultimatum has been extremely fun, challenging and a learning experience all at the same time. It is coming together nicely and is truly going to be a limited edition masterpiece. I am very excited to get it done and out for the world to see before the end of the year. The music scene has changed a lot over
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the last couple decades. CD sales are not nearly what they used to be and most everything is going digital. How do you feel about this? How does it affect how Roxx Records operates? Personally, I very rarely download. I am told that makes me old school, but I don’t think so. I am truly a collector of music and music memorabilia. It feels very impersonal for me to download. I can’t get a good idea of who an artist is or what they are about by simply listening to the music. I want the whole booklet, lyrics, photos, liner notes. Music should tell a story and a download alone just does not tell the whole story. Plus, if you download all this music on to your computer and your computer crashes, you lose it all. I know you can save it to your external hard drive, but what if that crashes or someone breaks in my house and grabs my 3-ounce little hard drive with all that music I now have to replace?! If someone breaks in my house and tries to take my 5000 CDs or 500 vinyl records, that is going to take some time and effort and I might have a chance to get in and stop them. Okay, maybe I am just a little old school. From a business perspective, downloading in my opinion is crippling the music industry – especially for the smaller indie players like Retroactive Records, Rowe Productions, Rottweiler Records and Roxx (Hey I just realized the four of us all start with “R!” We should call ourselves “The Little Four!” Haha, I am a dork). We put our time, money and effort into this and to have someone put your album on their ﬁle-sharing site the second you have it is insane! Rules and regulations need to change to help the small guys or ultimately we will all be forced to close our doors. But, you know what I try to do to combat that? I actually really push CDs and special Limited Edition pressings, make sure the artwork and booklets are top notch, truly make the product itself more desirable. The collectors appreciate you more and the younger generation is starting to take note. I had a kid email me and tell me how much he appreciated the fact that we went to so much trouble with the art and liner notes and that he actually prefers buying CDs now because of the various limited edition formats that the labels are going to now! Even vinyl is making a comeback. I get very excited when I see a title I want is going to be released on vinyl. I
absolutely love it! I hope to expand upon it more in the future! I know that you are personally a huge Stryper fan and collector. Tell us a little about your Stryper collection. That’s a fun one. Yes, my love and fascination of Stryper is very evident when you walk into my “Man Cave.” I have quite a collection now. I would wager to say I have the largest poster collection ever – with now over 100 different posters from various venues and shows as well as ofﬁcially-released posters. Vinyl and CDs I have pretty much anything and everything there is – ofﬁcial releases, promotional releases, various samplers and T-shirts galore. I have a special print of the To Hell With The Devil angel art that I acquired from another huge Stryper collector that is one of my favorites, it is a three-foot by threefoot depiction of the original angel art. I love it! The one thing I still need to acquire and I have been hunting for forever is an original 8-Track Tape of To Hell with the Devil. This was released as a promotional item and I was told there were only 25 made! The only other item I need may not exist, but I heard rumors there may have been a few test pressing prototypes before the release was scrapped and that was a vinyl picture disc of the original Yellow and Black Attack album. I have the Enigma Records catalog that shows it was ofﬁcially cancelled, but I heard there may be a couple test pressing copies out there. I have never seen one though! So, what are you and Roxx up to today? Can you give up any secrets? In all honesty, Roxx almost completely folded right out of the gate just a year or two into it. I was going through a very rough and bitter time in my life that completely tore me up both emotionally and physically. It was during that period that I met and fell in love with the most amazing woman, who would become my wife – Carrie. Carrie would literally carry me through a few years and keep me from throwing in the towel on Roxx and life in general. She would become my biggest supporter and my best friend. We both have very busy and active lives and have been together for almost 10 years now. Roxx is alive and well and going strong, mostly because of her support and strong
ﬁnancial sense. She got me back on track after nearly becoming completely and ﬁnancially bankrupt. She was such a trooper and, in all honesty, I think she wanted to throw in the towel, because of all she ended up having to personally go through, but she didn’t give up. To this day she puts up with me and helps with any and all things Roxx – whether it be special events we may support or appear at or shipping and packing and all that goes along with running the label. I could not have done it without her through the years. It is because of her support and encouragement that Roxx is alive and well today. We are right now working on our most ambitious release to date. A complete box set celebrating 20 years of Ultimatum. I honestly don’t think a more elaborate set exists for the Christian Metal market. We were not sure how successful it was going to be and only offered it in a limited edition hand numbered set of 100 pieces. It went well and by the time you read this it will probably be sold out (We apologize), but the main disc of the box set is readily available and also doing well. We are working on a few Christian thrash releases. We just released Join The Dead, a project of Michael Phillips of Deliverance. I still have releases coming from Boarders and we are going to help with the launch of the return of Deliverance in the coming months. Earlier this year we released The Sacriﬁced album III, which has been a huge success as well. We partnered with Liberty ‘n’ Justice once last year and are now doing two releases with them this year. Next year we have Northern Ireland’s death metal band ForChristSake and Inner Siege, a power metal band from the U.S.A. A few more things up our sleeves, too, but it’s to early to discuss. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, do you have any closing thoughts for those Christian Metal heads out there? I will take the words from one of our more recent reissues from a classic Christian metal band called Crossforce and say, “Keep Rockin’ til the Final Day.”
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ALBUM REVIEWS TSAVO INC. WHEN THE LIONS ARE HUNGRY Tsavo Inc. are a Brazilian thrash band who were originally formed by guitarist Rinaldo Marcedo, formerly of Arnion. The band also includes singer Cleiton Magno of the Brazilian thrash band Disaffection. Though it might sound trite to say, Tsavo's sound falls somewhere between the straight-forward Bay Area-style thrash of Disaffection and the modern neothrash metal of Arnion. The songs never fall into the trap of all sounding the same. Many thrash bands are all about speed, or thrash-for-thrash sake. Tsavo Inc. incorporates plenty of traditional thrash metal riffing and speedy guitar licks, but also add progressive songwriting, occasional tribal beats, memorable hooks and some modern metal influences. If Disaffection were influenced primarily by the 1980's American thrash metal scene, Tsavo Inc. expands that with influences from the Teutonic thrash metal bands and even fellow Brazilian band Sepultura. Though the album could use some mastering, as some of the high-ends are a bit harsh, the overall recording is very well done. The CD release also includes bonus tracks from the band 2003 demo. [Metal for a Dark World] Scott Waters
BIOGENESIS THE RISE, THE FALL, THE REBIRTH Biogenesis are one of those bands that are hard to categorize, other than under the all-inclusive umbrella term "metal." Their sound is a mixture of power metal, progressive rock, modern groove metal and some thrash metal and gothic influences. Just about every song on The Rise The Fall The Rebirth has progressive tendencies, with clean guitars breaking way into heavy riffs, pounding drums melting into melodic passages and the vocals shifting from Chaz Bond's clean, David Bowie-esque singing to harsh, thrash metal aggression. I even hear a little melo-death mixed into songs like "Bleed Me." Despite the numerous influences and styles, the whole thing ties together quite well and is solid from beginning to end.[Soundmass] Scott Waters
BIOGENESIS THE RISE, THE FALL, THE REBIRTH There has been an 11-year recording silence since their first album, and most know that singer Chad had joined Jacob’s Dream during that time, but now he has resurrected BioGenesis for a new release. I can think of no better description of their style than what they proclaim as an “experimental hybrid metal … (with) elements of melodic, thrash and prog metal.” Production is noticeably better and a bit warmer this time around, making for a much smoother-sounding album in general. Melodic, often leaning towards symphonic metal, with bursts of old-school thrash throughout. Quite tasty! [Soundmass] Jeff McCormack
MAD MAX ANOTHER NIGHT OF PASSION In 1987 the band released their fifth album, titled Night of Passion, which was supposed to be their breakthrough release in the U.S., but business issues prevented it from happening. Now, 2012 finds the original band back together and paying homage to that release (in title only) with Another Night of Passion. This is release number six from what I’d say is “phase two” for this '80s band, offering more of their brand of tight, riff driven, hook-filled melodic metallic hard rock. They do not break any new ground here, but when you have such quality music as they have been releasing since their 2006 comeback, who is complaining? Top notch production and musicianship as always, and while not overtly evangelical in their lyrical content, they present clean content with occasional spiritual references, giving great music to all listeners. [Steamhammer/SPV] Jeff McCormack
Surf this: metalforadarkworld.com, soundmass.com, madmaxoff icial.com, mvdb2b.com, fromtheseruins.com
STRYPER ROCKIN’ LAND: LIVE IN INDONESIA (DVD) Wow! In comparison to previous Stryper live DVDs, this one blows others away. Shot in wide screen with a fairly high-definition picture (a slight pixel issue at times, but still awesome) and on a huge stage with multiple camera angles, this captures the magic of the boys on stage in front of a festival crowd in 2010. The bulk of the set is comprised of the classic '80s material with only one from each of their last few studio releases (Against the Law, Reborn and Murder by Pride). The mix is good and clean, and while I am still not used to seeing Robert set up facing the wrong way, other than that, this DVD is killer. [MVDVisual] Jeff McCormack
FROM THESE RUINS BROTHERHOOD This Indiana five-piece thrash/ nu-metal machine let their Christianity shine through with songs like “Crush the Devil” and they have the talent as is evident on this better-than-average produced six-song release. Vocal style has a ring of Demon Hunter influence for sure, while overall they have an expected combination of heavy screaming mixed with melodic vocals. I would have to say they sound at their best with the more aggressive singing, as I find the melodic vocals often sound “odd” (“Biblicon”) and at times off-key (“2 Faced”). After repeated listens, I feel that once you get past these first two songs, the last four alone present the band sounding their best. Good stuff here, nonetheless, so check it out. [Independent] Jeff McCormack
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C O LU M N
THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLET
By Steve Rowe
WE ARE TEMPLES! If you are a born again Christian, then your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit! God gave us our bodies as a gift for the short time that we are here on earth. Make sure that you take good care of your temple and it will take good care of you! When we have the Holy Spirit joined with our Spirit, we have guaranteed comfort, council, wisdom and joy! So often, (like in my case) we can become so busy working for God that we can easily forget to spend time with God! We must find time to be still. We must find time for fervent prayer. We must find time to read the Bible. We must eat good food. We must get enough rest in sleep and in Him! We must find time to physically exercise our temples!! I the mid '90s I thought I was indestructible! I was busy all the time!! I was excited about Mortification, touring and Rowe Productions all the time. I drank 16 cups of coffee all the time. I never rested and reflected properly all the time. I trained hard in running all the time. I did all the running/training with our Engineer/Producer Mark McCormack five days a week! Mark had a business mission very similar to mine, running a recording studio and rehearsal complex. In 1996 my life stopped with the diagnosis of Leukaemia. In 2005 Mark's life stopped with the diagnosis of a plastic Anaemia! Both terminal blood disorders that through God's grace we both survived, but with many physical and emotional scars. Terminal illness has changed both of our lives dramatically as we both realize that we have to find time to stop, reflect, pray, read God's Word, find time to rest and eat very healthy food. We must take USANA vitamins and minerals every day. Terminal illness can only be avoided if our temples are alkaline and not acidic. 100% of people who contract Cancer have acidic bodies!! USANA is guaranteed to alkalinise our bodies if we live a temperate life of moderation, repentance and reflection!! We have both learned the hard way and do not want you to have to learn the same things! Sure, it is okay to have a coffee or two, but drink 12 glasses of water a day, also! Most importantly, do not ever say, "I will go here and there and do business in God's Name. Instead look after your temples! Remember that the world does not revolve around your ideas! The world revolves around God's ideas! So, let us all pray: "I will go here and there and do God's business if it is God's will for me to do so! Blessings to all!
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THE T HE H HARD ARD M MUSIC USIC M MAGAZINE AGAZINE
MUSIC, GIFTS & GADGETS
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SPIDERARM MIC ADAPTER SpiderArm™ Ltd., the brain trust behind the interchangeable and customizable iPad 1,2 and 3 Mount System, announces the worldwide availability of the spiderArm Musician Mount Adapter that allows musicians, DJs, producers and more, the ability to position their iPads in the most ergonomic and performance-enhancing positions, hands-free. The adapter fits all American and Western microphone stands. [spiderarm.com]
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Gift Guide MUSIC, GIFTS & GADGETS
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JBL ONBEAT MICRO If you’ve got an iPhone 5, you’ve got to get the JBL OnBeat Micro. With the new Lightning dock connector built in, the JBL OnBeat Micro lets you enjoy your music without wires or adapters, and even has a USB port for compatibility with other devices. Compact and portable, the JBL OnBeat Micro can bring the noise from ceiling to ﬂoor for up to 5 hours when it’s using batteries and allows you to charge your docked device when it’s using AC power. The JBL OnBeat Micro is good to go whenever the rhythm hits you. [jbl.com]
A D V ER T I S EM EN T
MUSIC, GIFTS & GADGETS
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