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hank you for taking the time to pick up, download, or browse or publication online. I thought I would start off the first issue with a bit of an introduction. My name is John Webb, I have been a member of the Michigan alternative music scene for the past 10 years and through that time I have absolutely fallen in love with the sense of community, equality, and diversity that it can create. Since the beginning I’ve watched people that I considered close friends create beautiful art, pack out venues, and most importantly; give those

who feel different a place to call home. When the thought of turning a magazine I developed for fun in class into a real publication, it was very important to me that the spirit of that publication gave back to the community that helped me break out of my antisocial shell and shaped me into the person I am today. At the end of the day, Musicore is a labor of love and I am thrilled to see where it goes. Here’s to new beginnings. Thank you for being a part of the wild ride.

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fter years of trying to start bands but failing to find anyone serious about music, Sean Shepard (Guitarist/Vocals), at the age of 20 decided to go it alone in the studio and record some songs that he had written over the years. The result was a six song EP he titled “Wolves & Sheep” under the band name Antighost. The EP was recorded at Raydon Studio in Albion, MI and it was released in August of the same year. Shepard then used the EP to find musicians interested in forming a band. In October he met and auditioned Dylan Vanderson (Drums)After a year of playing shows with various bass players, the two met Ben Jazwinski (Bass) and the final piece of Antighost fell into place.

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Antighost’s debut EP exploded on the airwaves all across the country as the band toured extensively. Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, word quickly spread of Antighost’s high energy and raw presence. The band has worked tirelessly to perfect their performance and sound, bringing forth a new wave of alternative rock rooted in the grunge, emo and punk eras. Antighost followed up “Wolves & Sheep” with their debut album “Creatures” a hard hitting 15 track concept record. Despite the bands young age they toured tirelessly across the Midwest, bringing “Creatures” state to state, and igniting stages along the way. Praised for their live presence and lyrical content, Antighost have proven rock and roll is far from dead.


ormed in January of 2014, Westhand’s original members have gone through many member changes but have finally solidified their lineup. Each of their members reside in the metro Detroit area of Michigan, but collectively aspire to make their own version of melodic and groove metal. Former members of Dismember the Fallen, Michael Chamberlain and Nicholas Deneau have played hundreds of shows and gained powerful insight on the music industry. They’ve taken their knowledge and formed Westhand in 2014 along with Miguel Zuniga, aspiring for a sound stemmed from the likes of Northlane and In Hearts Wake. What they’ve found is their own take,

a mix of melodic and heavy guitars, catchy choruses, and emotion filled screams. After solidifying their line up in late 2016, with Charlie Pfahlert and Ryan Ritthaler, they hope to continue recording their debut full-length album slated for a late 2018 release. “Illumine” is the debut single from Detroit, Michigan’s five-piece Westhand. Expect many personal topics to be touched on their debut album, ranging from drug abuse, to broken homes, to positive uplifting messages.

I 3 Humans are a truly bizarre and paradoxical species. We value little more than we value our own existences—our lives both in a social sense, like who we are and what we do, but also our lives in a more broad sense, as in, what it is to be alive. We spend our lives thinking of ways to try and make ourselves last longer and live better— to exist in a manner that one-ups the generation before us. But for every instance of our passion and obsession with life, we find ways to squander it and take it away. We kill, destroy, annihilate and erase—not just others, but ourselves. We develop addictions to laziness and complacence; to substance and solitude, shutting ourselves away from the very things that might make us feel more alive.



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Spirit Breaker, and their aptly named 2017 full-length record Human Nature, are here to change that. As passionate as it is punchy and aggressive—as powerful as it is progressive— Human Nature cuts through the layers of falsehoods and facades that surround us and detract from our lives to reveal the very essence of humanity within each and every one of us. Now in 2018, they’re taking the life lessons learned from last year and applying them to yet another new arsenal of songs in the works. Catch up with them at a show soon as they focus on touring for the remainder of 2018.

Brandan Keller Photography

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don’t think I’d trust anyone else with my music other than Drew. It’s hard to find good producers or recording engineers in this industry. Drew will do more than just produce or engineer. He cares about your music and gives you the respect and attention to detail your songs deserve. These are words that Drew Bender never thought bands and artists would say 4 years ago when he was only but an intern at 37 Studios on a MacBook waiting to fully understand what the recording industry is all about. Assisting everyone from Kevin Sharpe, Matt Dalton to Nick Sampson, he received his first shot engineering for producer, singer, song writer Craig Owens of Chiodos/D.R.U.G.S with a band from Long Island, NY called SYLVN. After that he started Bender Recording. Working with bands from Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, Ohio, California and the United Kingdom within the first year of business. In August of 2017, Drew’s family decided to move and he saw the perfect opportunity to build a home studio that would destroy the competition. The studio turned into something a lot bigger than he ever imagined. Although, he still takes full advantage of the live room and vocal booths at 37 Studios, Drew will stop at nothing to be the best producer in Metro Detroit. “He is always willing

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to go the extra mile and is phenomenal to work with.” Creating and establishing an environment where musicians feel comfortable and at home when bringing their music to life is something that Drew strives to provide in every session. Bands such as VRSTY, Bloody Annabelle, Enemy In I, Vexatious, Life Before Us, SYLVN, Goodnight Irene, Gold Route, Make Your Move and Lonely Avenue have given Drew the reigns to make their songs come to life this year and the final products are outstanding. To further himself in the professional audio world, Bender attended Unstoppable Recording Machine’s Summit in Orlando, Florida in December 2017. Learning from metalcore legends, Joey Strugis, Andrew Wade, Eyal Levi, Brian Hood and many more. “The inspiration, ideas and friendships I got here are things I will look back on as reflection points in my life.” He says. “To anyone looking to receive the best knowledge in the music industry, start with URM.” If you’re looking for professional recordings with a friendly and comfortable environment, Drew is the perfect person to go to. He will take your bands music to an entirely new level.


iver Melcher is a country artist paving his way in Michigan. Although a newer artist, he looks like he belongs on stage. River’s EP “Thunder” was released on April 22, 2017 with 4 hit tracks. The song “We Couldn’t Wait” has already been featured on the radio. The EP was recorded in 4 Mile Records music studio in Nashville and produced by Jamie Tate. His music is on Spotify, Itunes and Google Play. In a year, River has already played at Michigan venues such as The Intersection and The Machine Shop as well as venues in Nashville. He continues to play in front of crowds with his touring band Max Smith, Hunter Redmond and Scott Stockel.

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oys of Fall are an alternative pop punk band from Southeast Michigan. Recently, after a two year hiatus and a revised lineup the boys have come back from the dead and are already proving that they are ready to make bigger moves than ever before in moving their career forward. Shortly after teasing at their revival the band announced their signing with Invogue Records,a new EP titled Chasing Lonely, and tons of tour dates. It seems the future is bright for this Michigan powerhouse. We got in touch with vocalist Michael Martenson to ask some questions about the bands revival, their new EP, and what is next for Boys of Fall.

How does it feel to be coming back from breaking up and already having such a great response? Honestly it’s been incredible and very humbling. Not something we expected and we’re just enjoying everything little that happens and not taking for granted.

What are you most excited for with the release of the new EP? Just to have new music out. It’s been two years since the album “thank you & goodbye” was released and we originally planned on putting out an acoustic EP, but with signing to Invogue, they wanted to release singles. So we took songs that were gonna be on the album and made them into an EP along with the acoustic songs that were supposed to be in the acoustic EP. I’m excited for people to have something they can listen to until this new album comes out.

What is one thing you would tell a new listener diving into the EP? Just enjoy the music. Understand that we’re Musician’s and dudes who at the end of the day write music we genuinely are passionate about and we’ve never not been. Tastes change, styles change. The whole point of growing as an artist is to make the listener grow with you. So enjoy the progress and prepare for an album that we’ve never been happier with.

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Have you noticed a major change since signing with Invogue? Yes and no. Lots of changes in opportunities, and people for the first time paying attention. But we’ve always felt like the underdogs and we’ve never stopped working because of it. It makes me want it that much more and to keep pushing. People seem to be more and more passionate about us.

What’s your favorite track on EP and why? I love them all. It’s hard to pick one because I love each for their own reasons. I love No Good For Me because I think it’s a great song and was a sonic shift that we all felt was unique and true to our creativity. Chasing Lonely was the first time we took our work to someone else whose worked with our favorite bands and allowed them to add their touch. It combined a lot of influences we’ve always wanted in the pop aspect. People don’t understand the difficulty in writing catchy music haha. Novocaine is personal to me because it’s for my wife and my favorite acoustic we’ve written to date. And the two acoustic renditions are bringing to life music we’ve written in a new stripped down light and we’ve always loved doing acoustic music.

What artists would you say influenced your growth as an artist the most? It’s unique to each of us. A Day to Remember, The Maine, Mayday Parade, Don Broco, Matchbox 20, Bad Suns, the list goes on an on. We want music that you can’t stop nodding your head to and that you can’t stop singing. Music that makes you feel good or that maybe you can relate to in the lowest of times or music that just lights a fire under you. It’s what always inspired us in these artists.

If you could build a dream tour for Boys of Fall who would play? Way too difficult of a question and we all have such different answers haha. The Maine, ADTR, Nothing Nowhere, the most could go on.

What has been your absolute favorite memory of being in a band? Playing SXSW. It was such a bonding experience, it was our first time meeting anyone in the industry and it was a change in our bands career and I’ll forever be grateful for it and will always love that memory.

What is your favorite tour moment? This past tour with We Were Sharks. It was the first time we started legitimately pulling people and people were showing up in gear singing our songs. It was such an amazing feeling being so far away from home and having people we’ve never meant singing our lyrics.

After the EP what’s next for you guys? Right now we’re recording our full length album, then we’re heading out on tour for a month, then playing Warped Tour then touring on the album. Lots of things looking up for the year so we’re just loving every second of it.



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UP ALL HOURS Up All Hours is an alternative rock band from Woodhaven, Michigan. The band does a great job of blending different sounds together to make something truly unique, taking influence from the notorious 90’s/early 2000’s alternative rock sound from bands such as the Foo Fighters and mixing it with the catchy melodies of pop punk acts today. What started as a side, solo project for frontman Kyle Koch, quickly became a fully fledged endeavor in the later months of 2017. After adding guitarist Zac Szalay to the band, the duo recorded their first single “Tonight” with

producer Mick Maslowski at Zoinga Studios in early 2018. The debut single was eventually released on January 27th and received positive feedback from the community. From there, bassist Robert Welsch joined the group, adding a variety of musical influences to help round off the band’s overall sound. Up All Hours is currently in the process of finishing the recording of their debut E.P. “Learning About Home” and plans to release it in the near future.

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ow many times have you acted on impulse only to regret it almost instantly? The second those words left your mouth, smashed that “send” button, threw that punch—you instantly wished for those seconds back. Oh, if you’d have had just one more second to give that action just a little more thought. But you can’t. Your actions—and the actions of everyone—are, to a degree, irreversible. You can “delete” comment threads, you can make amends, bandage wounds and egos alike, but you can’t make those actions truly un-done. This means the importance of balancing precision and passion is paramount—and that’s exactly what Michigan progressive metalcore act ScapeGoat do to a tee. Taking elements of grating, raw, writhing groove and refining it with equal amounts hectic, hellishly hot hatred and subtlety, atmosphere and ambience, the band continue the diligent trek they embarked upon with Oddball to create fresh, energetic and invigorating aggressive music that blends intensity, power, punishing heaviness with raw, ruthless grit effortlessly, making it’s addition to any heavy music lover’s collection not even worth a second thought. ScapeGoat see themselves standing out among the Michigan—and really, Midwestern—music scene with their odd, balanced-but-varied combination of elements ranging from post-rock and progressive metal to deathcore, groove and specklings from everything in between. The core of the band is percussionist Thomas Mansell, whose work on The Afterthought is just as bouncy and booming as it was on Oddball. His patterns and flashy fills on lead single “Compromised” is immense and entertaining both—while his versatility on “Sugar Cuba” or “The Afterthought” is commendable and creative. Mansell uses everything from lacerating blasts (“Changing of the Seasons” and “No Guilt”) to bouncy, fun sounding footwork (“Compromised”) to ethereality and subtlety (“Vessel”) and just about everything in between, working

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Connor Welch // New-Transcendence Brian Puninske Photography with bassist Danny Castranova to create a sprawling foundation for the band to work from. While Castranova might not be an over-the-top, notice me! Type of bassist, his work is crucial to making sure The Afterthought flows are excellently as humanly possible. Whether it’s “Changing of the Seasons” or “Sugar Cuba,” his work gives thickness and intent to Mansell’s percussion, all while giving a base for guitarists Mitch Nicholas and Anthony Michael to craft crushing, beautiful anthems from. Nicholas and Michael are magnificent and the truest manifestation of Scapegoat’s amalgam of progressive and punishing elements. Songs like “Compromised” are gofor-the-throat heavy and purely pissed, but “Sugar Cuba” is a sinister combination of the band at their heaviest and at their most well-thought out, with structure a plenty that doesn’t interfere with Nicholas and Michael’s ability to put parts of themselves into every note they play. All in all, the group function as a well oiled machine—but make no mistake—they’re as far from machine as you can get, with the infernal intensity and poignant, penetrating and pervasive bitterness giving The Afterthought a very carnal and human edge. The Afterthought is a much more mature venture than ScapeGoat’s debut—this is evident not only in their musicianship and instrumentation, but in the band’s dynamic and aggressive vocal effort. Frontman Tyler Dentry is diverse in his approach to songs like “Sugar Cuba” and “Compromised,” wherein he utilizes everything from raw, rough-around-the-edges mid-range yells and shrill, piercing screeches alike. Meanwhile, “Changing of the Seasons” sees his baseline gruff scream dip into a grisly, deep tone that raises hairs on the listener’s arms and back alike. Towards the tail end of the release—really in tracks after “Sugar Cuba,” Dentry’s range embraces a more ethereal underpinning, bringing in lofty, spacey and sustained yells that oscillate with styles from across the vocal spectrum. While there might not be a moment

on The Afterthought where the listener feels truly wowed by Dentry’s vocals, there is certainly not a moment where they are bored, in keeping with the bands ability to blend various different styles of heavy music together into a fun and relatively engaging tapestry. Where The Afterthought’s only real fault lies is in its replay value and lasting impact. Now while this does largely need the explored more into the months-andmonths out from release timeline, it doesn’t take too many listens for the listener to instantly skip to the tracks that really hit them hard—whether it be the grisly conclusion to “Sugar Cuba,” the beauty within “Best Kept Secret”

or “Compromised” in all its glory. Is that bad? No, not really—its fine to develop favorite tracks—but it does leave some tracks (“Medicine Man,” “ The Afterthought”) out in the cold, so to speak. In the end, the band have achieved something excellent—capturing what made their EP Oddball so special and maturing it into something dynamic, fresh and different from a lot of what’s pouring into the saturated cistern that is heavy music. While it’d be of the band’s benefit to see a slightly more wellrounded and equally engaging release in the future, this is ScapeGoat’s first full-length release—and a damn good one at that.



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Risto Thomas Photography


he journey of finding an ideal sound that is both unique and personal to the creator is not an easy one. Almost as if you are finding yourself in the pursuit of finding your musical style, failure is to be learned from and fresh starts are not to be taken for granted. Through genuine intentions, and forthright emotion, Blank Slate is seeking musical integrity through personal discovery. Blank Slate was the collaborative creation of musicians in need of changing their present situation for something new. Founded in 2016, Blank Slate began in the instrumental metal realm for their first release, until fully discovering the unique attributes each member had to bring to the table. With guitarists Jon Vokal and Jim Tobakos having an ear for layering, the new music taking shape had an alternative sound with progressive postrock ambience. Complex instrumentals turned into emotional melodies, and riff oriented chorus’s evolved into ambient layers. Drummer Zach Murrell complimented the guitar parts with groove oriented and stylistic drumming. These instrumentals left more breathing room

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for bassist Hannah Boissonneault to step up to the plate for lead vocals. Mixing both her jazz composition experience into her bass lines and her love for contemporary indie music into her vocal style, Hannah has become the perfect centerpiece to what makes Blank Slate’s sound so specific to the listener. On their latest release, I Have Considered the Following, the listener is taken through a thematic experience touching on subjects like personal struggle and overcoming the setbacks that strike determination at its core. Blank Slate has the intention of presenting their emotions as passionately as possible in every note, melody, and chord progression. They feel they have embodied something purely unique in their sound, and have failed to give themselves a genre label other than the abstract term progressive alternative. For fans of The Contortionist, Good Tiger, and Hail the Sun, Blank Slate is prepared to expand your musical horizons. I Have Considered the Following was released in November of 2017 and is available everywhere now.





hen you spend most of your time listening to heavier genres of music sometimes a nice change of pace might hit you at just the right time. For me, the band that came along at just the right time is Oakhill. This musical trio from Flint, Michigan really brings the heat in their singles ‘Living & Loving’ and ‘Bad Bad Things’. The later of the two (yet to be released) features some extremely powerful vocals and an imposible to not enjoy instrumental that gives some extreme summer vibes. Since my first listen I haven’t been able to stop listening and I am thrilled to hear more like this track on the bands upcoming album.

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Living & Loving was my introduction to the group. The song definitely enphasises the ‘pop’ in the bands self proclaimed pop rock title, but that isn’t necesarily a bad thing. This song, much like Bad Bad Things was on repeat for a week straight after hearing it. The song has an anthem approach that makes it easy to sing along even after only one listen, and the rhythm still has me bobbing my head along with the track even months later. Oakhill are a breath of fresh air in a scene that definitely needs it. If you haven’t given them a listen yet I highly recomend it. You can stream Living & Loving now on Spotify or Youtube.




Connor Welch // New-Transcendence he world is filled with things far beyond our control—things we fight on a day to day basis to little or no avail. Best case scenario? We make it through another day, still pushing through, still fighting for the next day, and the one after, and the one after that. Worst case? We succumb to something evil— something darker than the deepest and most forgotten corners of your mind. Those corners—blacker than night and more sinister than you can fathom—that is the type of stuff that Forces are made of. A young, talented band from Detroit, Forces have made monstrous leaps in the last 10 months, all without releasing much more than a single; and while “Indiscriminate Genocide” is monstrous in its own right, Forces’ name has spread like wildfire far and above what anyone might have otherwise expected— and believe me when I say it’s for good reason. The band’s debut EP is nothing short of a lesson in aggression, combining genres and styles sprawling from melodic


and blackened death metal to slamming deathcore and beyond, Forces have dedicated their debut to hammer in the nails to monotony’s casket. The group sound as though they’re experienced beyond their years and are prodigally talented—a fatal combination which makes Forces’ breakout effort one that not only puts Detroit back on the heavy music map, but appeals to fans of just about any style of heavy music. A furious amalgam of all that is heavy, Forces erupt into the heavy music scene with their first proper release, and, damn they do it well. While—for all the hype and anticipation—the group’s debut effort could stand one more track to give it a little more staying power, it’s a beast just as it is. Melodic, grim, technical, fast, heavy, pissed—you name it, Forces bring it, and they bring it by the boatload, making their breakout release one of the few releases you absolutely need to make yourself familiar with this year.

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OUT NOW DOWNTEMPO Connor Welch // New-Transcendence There are a lot of ways I could have started this article. I could have done the usual framing mechanism—a dark, ominous couple sentences to set the tone for what’s sure to be an intense and brooding release. It would be safe, easy—but ultimately fruitless as few things can capture the dismal atmos Dead Nerves so proudly boast. I could have been biographical—but Dead Nerves are such a young act that a “biography” would have probably been shorter than this little speal here. But chances are, you skipped this, and you went right to the rating and “FFO” at the bottom—which is fine, I guess—but that comes with the following warning, and the real point behind Buried in Dirt: Dead Nerves don’t operate on a conventional x/10 scale. Where many artists favor balance, light to cancel out their darker segments, Dead Nerves simply don’t give a shit—yeah, blunt, crude, but true, and when you hear Buried In Dirt, you’ll get it. Instead, the /10 that Dead Nerves exist on is one of heaviness and raw, savage brutality. So when you skip to the end (if you haven’t) and see the rating, expecting some magnificent, epic, enthralling, melodic-turned-tech-turned-prog-turned-heavyturned deathcore adventure upon checking the act out, here’s my retort: I told you so. Dead Nerves aren’t simply one of the heaviest new bands to come out of the last 12 months, they’re one of the heaviest bands period, managing to capture primal, grisly, beautiful emotion in that explosive eruption of barbaric, bone-busting brutality that comprises the half-an-hour onslaught that is Buried in Dirt. Buried in Dirt is pure musical depravity. Every song is an example of the most gargantuan, grisly and outright oppressive heavy music since Traitors’

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debut effort or Black Tongue’s Falsifier—and that’s a fact. Hailing from the frost-bitten, God-forsaken corner of western Michigan, Dead Nerves take deathcore, downtempo and groove, mix it up in a pot, sprinkle it with pure misanthropy—bake it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees—and then use it to beat the literal shit out of the listener. Percussionist Michael Geluso leads the charge, as it were, and while he may not be a fast, technical or flashy drummer, he certainly gets the job done. Songs like “GOD” see him alternating between a low, lurid groove and a sludgy, dissonant series of devastating breakdowns fluidly—while “Scandalous” is a more balanced example of his skills, seeing quicker footwork and faster hands than much of Buried in Dirt otherwise calls for. Meanwhile, bassist Chris Cole is right there with him, adding (even more) punch and heft to Geluso’s kick drum and boldly contrasting his sharp, snappy snare on every track. “ObamaNation” is a groovier example of this dynamic—with Cole and Geluso working diligently as guitarist Justin Olson brings slab after slab of meaty, bloody, misanthropic fretwork to the forefront of the listener’s attention. Olson— and you might have discerned this—doesn’t waste time with frill-laden, technically-immaculate playing; instead, you’re more likely to find him pummeling his fretboard with whatever he can get his hands on to make some of the other-worldly and Hellish sounds he brings to the table on songs like “God” or “Brain Bleed.” The point is that the trio work excellently together—Olson rounding out the awesome foundation poured by Geluso and Cole—to create the heaviest display of downtempo depravity heard in years (if not ever).





Musicore Volume 1  

Featuring Boys of Fall, Scapegoat, Spirit Breaker, Oakhill, and many more!

Musicore Volume 1  

Featuring Boys of Fall, Scapegoat, Spirit Breaker, Oakhill, and many more!