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We post up to date goings on nearly every damn day at, because the natural print cycle of a physical, tangible magazine doesn’t lend itself well to the mile a minute nature of Internet news. But, we’re going to try anyway. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest stories from the past month or so:

Milo Does Some Shit Again Or Whatever…

Descendents are in the studio recording their first new studio album in over a decade. The news was “announced” when guitarist Stephen Egerton posted a photo to Instagram of candy wrappers—the band are somewhat well-known for consuming copious amounts of sugar and coffee while recording. There’s not much information on the album yet, but we imagine that’ll change soon. And hey, after 11 years since Cool to Be You, what’s one more, anyway?

Buckets Of Manboy Tears…

The Weakerthans—who hadn’t been active for some time, but were nonetheless not officially broken up—officially broke up. The Canadian band leave behind four near-perfect LPs, their most recent being 2007’s Reunion Tour, and thousands of fans who otherwise listen to music mostly caked in hyper-generalized masculine emotion. The Weakerthans taught us how to feel, and for that we are grateful.

Trans Sister Radio…

Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace was a guest on Marc Maron’s popular “WTF” podcast—yet another thing Grace now has in common with President Barack Obama—to discuss her transition and how her life has changed since publicly coming out, as well as the band’s landmark 2014 LP Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an album which was mostly new to Maron. It’s a must-listen if you’ve yet to hear it!

We Can Hitch A Ride To Riverdale Beach…

All four original Ramones are returning—posthumously, and in comic form. The band will appear in an upcoming “Archie” comic as themselves in 2016. No word yet on plot details, but one can be sure there will be some sort of high school awkwardness involved. Perhaps Joey and Archie have a polite disagreement about whose jacket is cooler.

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword…

One of the last great American heavy metal bands, The Sword, will be releasing a new LP entitled High Country on Aug. 21 via Razor & Tie. The first song released, “Empty Temples,” is pretty rockin’, though in a more subdued way than we’re used to hearing from The Sword—there’s almost a classic rock vibe to it. Should The Sword tour with ZZ Top? I think they should.

Surf ‘n’ Tuff…

Night Birds’ third LP and first for Fat Wreck Chords, Mutiny at Muscle Beach, will be out Oct. 2. “Left in the Middle” previously appeared on Fat Music Vol. 8: Going Nowhere Fat, and if you haven’t heard it yet— we can’t stream music in a print magazine, so go find it online—you might be shocked by how much two-tone ska influences the band are incorporating into their sound now! Just kidding, the song is totally a slice of the sinister, aggressive surf punk we’ve come to know and love from Night Birds. But what if they did go ska…?!

*Insert Joke About Canada Here*…

You know how every time The Flatliners release an album, there’s a seemingly endless stream of non-album B-sides that eventually make their way out? Well, now Fat Wreck Chords and the band are doing the wise thing and compiling all of those songs—along with a handful of previously unreleased gems—onto Division of Spoils, out Aug. 7. It’s a double LP spanning most of the band’s career up to this point, and serves as a not-totally-linear timeline of how they’ve evolved. I look forward to volume two a decade from now.

In Florida, But Far From Retirement…

Legendary south Florida hardcore heroes Shai Hulud have joined No Sleep Records for a new release this fall, likely in November. There’s not much info out there at this point—but there is a song, “Colder than the Cold World,” available online. It’s exactly as uplifting as it sounds.

Dark Metal, Bright Sun…

The black metal band for people with complicated haircuts, Deafheaven, announced a new album and label. Bermuda Sun will be out Oct. 2 via ANTI-, and the band’s teaser video for the album—you all know how to Google—is 40 seconds of lush post-rock friendly landscapes followed by a burst of blast beats that are presumably a part of a new song and don’t appear to have any ska undertones to them, thankfull





shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of FqP the LGBTQIA+ community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.

Featuring l Henderson

folk’ to gather. The idealism was romantic. The reality, not so much. So as I got older, I made it a priority to help maintain the scene that young me was looking for when I heard punk for the first time. I knew I wasn’t alone in that mission when I met other QTPoC in punk. That was where I felt found for the first time. That was where I felt like a home and chosen family was entirely possible.”


hile most of us struggle to get out of bed in the morning, Seattle, Wash.’s L Henderson is an implausibly busy human. They provide vocals and guitar for pop punk band Listen Lady, perform stand up with the QTPoC (queer and trans people of color) centered comedy show Hella Much— which is scheduled to appear at Bumbershoot and Gay City Seattle—write and illustrate a webcomic entitled Upshot and a zine entitled Thoughts as Long as Cigarettes, helm a solo hip hop project under the alias LH2020, and are planning several more projects they “can’t legally discuss yet thanks to nondisclosure agreements.” Henderson spends their downtime battling cancer, working with youth, and navigating the congested crossroads of identity. …Oh, is that all?

on punk

“Growing up, one thing that really stood out to me about punk and hardcore was that it seemed like a place for us ‘othered

“There are so many bands and musicians who I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet and play with that, had it not been for us being so outnumbered, we would have never had a reason to intersect. So, community was once a means of purely survival for us, but now, I’ve gotten to see it grow into far more. I’ve seen the QTPoC punk community grow into this undeniable force that the young version of me had always hoped for. That’s the reason I prioritize the youth within the scene, because I know what it could have meant for me when I was young and I need to ensure that it still exists in a healthy way for any kid who feels lost and outnumbered.”

On dating

“I only feel like I’m given the platform to discuss dating and sex when I’m with other queer folk, otherwise I’m told that it comes off as intentionally shocking or offensive. I’m like, ‘…but I am still a person, right?’ Especially on stage. It’s extremely othering.” “Dating since I came out has been pretty complicated. Coming out later in life meant that I had a lot of people questioning and checking my identity, so I only really had the chance to prioritize one thing: getting good with myself. Things like loneliness and isolation had to become secondary issues to deal with later.” “Dating profiles and, on some level, real life interactions became open invitation for sexual harassment, utter dehumanization, and on a lighter level, a Q&A forum for the curious. […] I have only recently been trying to date again, but one thing

about dating cis folk is that there is rarely an occasion where you feel they are more than just tolerating your identity. There’s nothing less sexy than being told by a person you are attracted to that who you are ‘doesn’t bother’ them.” “Beyond that, I am available. *does eyebrow thing* Single and ready to tingle! Okay, just kidding, ‘cause gross.”

On Intersectionality:

“One thing I encounter a lot within the queer community is a blaring lack of intersectionality: either transphobia from cis folks, or racism from white folks. Those two are the obvious things, but one thing that rarely gets discussed in my realm is the overall anti-Blackness that exists within the PoC and queer communities independently.” “Growing up in a predominately Filipino household, I was raised to hate my own Blackness. ‘Oh, you’re mixed! Best of both worlds!’ Nope. So much nope. The first time I heard the N word was from my Filipino uncle who lectured me at the age of 4 about how I would never amount to anything and that I’d never be true Filipino. When I came out, one thing my family blamed it on was that I was ‘whitewashed.’ As if to suggest that ‘queer’ belonged to white people. The fucked up thing is that most cultures believe that because of the overall whitewashing of queer representation in the media. It’s 2015 and it literally still happens. […]The idea that something like being queer can not only be owned by white people but rejected by others culturally is something that literally fucks with my life daily.”

On expectations:

“As a member of the punk community who is very outspoken about issues that matter to me, […] when anything happens in the news, people expect me to have articulate opinions on all things trans, queer, or racial. As if being a known voice on certain subjects means it is my duty to educate about and breakdown every emotionally charged social issue, regardless of whether or not I’m well enough to.” “Since I exist musically, artistically, and comedically in realms dominated by cishet white men, often times, just mentioning something problematic starts fires. Let me explain what that feels like with an analogy: I see a friend and say, ‘Hey dude, you have pizza sauce on your cheek. Just letting you know.’ ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. How can I possibly have pizza sauce on my face if I have eaten pizza before? I didn’t get any on me then, so how dare you imply I have some on me now,’ he replies, before walking away with pizza sauce on his cheek.”


“Also, I still don’t really care or have a strong opinion about Caitlyn Jenner. *gasp*”






iddle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere—out now on Svart Records—is the first Acid King album in about 10 years. It was produced by the mighty Billy Anderson. “Everything [on the record] still feels like riding a motorcycle on Quaaludes,” founding member, guitarist, and vocalist Lori S. reveals, “but things have expanded.” Indeed! Therefore, we here at CSSS central need to pry a wee bit more. Lori shares some insight into the band’s aesthetic and sound, and her personal San Francisco Giants obsession. The album cover for Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere, and my favorite Acid King band shirt both have a Chinese aesthetic. More specifically, a San Francisco Chinese aesthetic. Where does your attraction to this artwork stem from? I have to say, this started [due to] my love of tattoo art before Acid King was a band. I always loved the Chinese Dragon, [and] I am the Year of the Tiger, so when I started the





band, it was just a natural progression for me to integrate my taste for this style of art into Acid King. It has no deep meaning; it’s just something that I’m attracted to for whatever unknown internal reasons! Your guitar playing—and the tone and sound you achieve—is immense. Did it take you a long time to develop the right combination of equipment and style, or was this just the first thing you did and then you honed it over the years? The current tone for Acid King was something that was achieved partially by past accidents and buying a used pedal that ended up being what is now my signature sound. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away—Chicago— my Marshall head took a dump and I brought it in for repair. I received a loaner, which was a hopped-up 200 watt head. It had the most amazing tone. The guy wouldn’t sell it to me, so I spent my time trying to figure out other ways through various pedals to achieve that tone. I purchased my Little Big Muff in the early ‘90s at some secondhand guitar store in


S .

Seattle, and holy hell, this freaking pedal with my current rig rules. It was just meant to be, I suppose! How did you arrive at your unique— and incredibly cool—vocal style? Is there also a specific way you record vocals in the studio? My vocal style has definitely been refined through recording sessions with Billy Anderson. If you listen to the first releases and today’s releases, you can hear the change in vocal style. This was an organic process that came about through understanding my range and how to get the most out of it with a little help from our digital friends! What spawned your obsession with the San Francisco Giants? I do love me some SF Giants Baseball! I’m a baseball fan like many others, and SF just happens to have the best colors for sports. Can’t go wrong with orange and black. I’m very lucky, as I work two blocks away from the ballpark and I’ve become friends with some of the in-house production staff. I was yelled at once




in Europe at a hotel while on tour for having my game on too loud! Nine hours ahead: I was listening to the game at 4 a.m. in Germany, 7 p.m. in SF! I went to see my friends AC/DShe play at the ballpark for a winter sports event. They played right between home base and the pitching mound, so I did what anyone else would do: carve Acid King in the dirt next to home plate! How would the world be different if women were in charge? Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” Perhaps we will know the answer to this question in our lifetime! Acid King have U.S. tour coming up in October. Find out more at AcidKing. com or follow them on Facebook/ AcidKingSF.





ore than 30 percent of Vietnam veterans suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. 10 percent of Gulf War veterans and roughly 11 percent of those who served in Afghanistan have also been diagnosed with PTSD, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, but those estimates are likely skewed, as many military vets never bother to seek help for their depression and anxiety. Among those who have been diagnosed is Mike Henneberger, an Army veteran, writer, photographer, and longtime punk rocker. Henneberger is also the founder of Zero Platoon, an organization started and staffed by military vets seeking to help their fellow brothers and sisters in arms with the emotional and psychological issues that stem from being in the military and away from their homes and loved ones. The group relies on the help of touring musicians who play shows at military bases and hospitals—including Dave Hause, Rocky Votolato, and Chris Farren—in addition to offering online resources to help vets struggling with life in the military. How did Zero Platoon first get started? I got out of the Army in 2009 after being diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to do something that could help people like me and the friends I had in there who were dealing with similar issues. I had done music journalism and concert photography for a big part of my life, so in 2013, after I graduated from college and moved to New York for a job at Comedy Central, I started reaching out to bands and publicists I had met before. I started shooting video interviews with bands for our website and YouTube channel. Talking to bands about how music has helped them get through dark times in their lives just seemed like the perfect way to start Zero Platoon, since that’s pretty much how I’ve survived the hardest times in my life. What is the organization’s mission? The idea has always been to take bands and musicians to play shows at military bases and hospitals as a way to reach out to those dealing witth mental health issues. Not just to entertain people, but also to hang out and just show them that we actually care about them, too. In the civilian world, I always found an escape and a sense of community when I went to shows. But when I joined the Army, I didn’t have that same freedom to go to shows as much as I had before, so I want to take the shows to those kids like me who are still serving.

When you’re someone who finds comfort in music, life gets much harder when you start losing access to it. So, you actually bring these musicians to perform in front of active military members? This tour that I’m on now is the first tour that I’ve been able to work out military shows. Just yesterday, [Aug. 5], Rocky Votolato and I visited Cumberland Hall Hospital, near Ft. Campbell, Ky., home of the 101st Airborne. It’s a civilian hospital with a military unit that treats active-duty military members with depression, PTSD, and substance abuse problems. I actually spent a month in a similar facility when I was in the Army. I was exactly where those guys are. What role does music play in helping those in the military who may suffer from PTSD or other forms of depression? I can only answer this based on my personal experience. For me, music has always comforted me by showing me that there’s always someone else out there who is dealing with this shit too. It’s so easy to feel alone when you’re depressed, and it’s hard to talk to someone. It’s especially hard to talk to someone when you’re in the military, because there’s such a stigma of weakness when it comes to mental health issues. So, music always helped with that feeling. It’s still important to talk to someone, whether it’s a therapist, a friend or a family member, or a chaplain. But music was always there for me when I was too scared or embarrassed to do that. Have you set up similar tours in the past? Last year, I sponsored a tour in the spring. I went out on two small runs with Pentimento, Have Mercy, and Gates—three insanely good bands. Then, in the fall, I went out for three weeks with Real Friends, Neck Deep, Cruel Hand, and Have Mercy. Those tours were to raise awareness for Zero Platoon and the issues we deal with. Even though we didn’t do any military shows on those tours, at nearly every show, […] I always look at the crowds— sometimes a few hundred people—and I think about how at least one or two of those people may join the military in the next couple years for one reason or another. And they may have a perfectly healthy experience with it like many people do, but I want everyone to know that Zero Platoon is here for them in case they don’t.





THE NEW WHAT NEXT 25 bands YOU NEED TO hear Banana at punk and metal hotspots in Atlanta, and even opened for Mastodon when the Atlanta metal giants played a local club for charity. Rickson once joked that the latter seemed so outrageous that, when the idea was first pitched, she was not sure if their friends would believe the good news. “I thought about telling people we were playing with Snuffleupagus, which is probably the name of a real band,” she says.


Chances to play out of state opened up, too, and a summer 2014 trip to Chicago’s PRF BBQ started the band’s working relationship with Sick Room Records, who just released Motherfucker’s debut, Confetti, on vinyl and cassette.




hough their band name elicits a few snickers, the three members of Athens, Ga., noise punk powerhouse Motherfucker have made serious, calculated moves to go from a band designed to play one show to an act with a debut album that’s won the admiration of legendary producer Steve Albini. Guitarist and vocalist Erica Strout, bassist Mandy Branch, and drummer Erika Rickson played together before with guitarist Mary Joyce in Athens’ Incendiaries. When Some of the most creative and thoughtful music is a result of ideas that percolate and develop over the course of time. Such is the case with the debut from New Orleans post-punk purveyors Heat Dust, who release their first full-length, Heat Dust, via The Flenser on Sept. 25. Started as a three-piece back in 2011, the band experienced a couple of crucial lineup shifts before solidifying as vocalists and guitarists Clayton Hunt and Jasper den Hartigh, bassist Shawn Tabor, and drummer Christopher Stein. The current members took the time to play and grow with one another, and only then, made the best record they could. The proof is a self-titled effort that is at once dark, electric, and disorienting, and harkens back to post-punk forefathers like Wire, The Chameleons, and Gang Of Four. Heat Dust’s vintage sound is more coincidental than intentional. “We love loud vintage amps and guitars, and Chris tunes his drums in a way that sounds great in the




that band was phased out before summer of 2013, Strout and Rickson had to devise a way to perform at their favorite local event, Slop Fest: a benefit for Athens’ Girls Rock Camp held in late July and early August. After too many Samuel L. Jackson movies affected their vocabulary, Strout and Rickson started planning a one-off performance named after their new favorite curse word. The pair recruited Branch to string together a set for a supposed one-time performance. Needless to say, that first set went well enough for the band to stick

around and become a permanent fixture of the Athens underground.

mix,” the band say. “Other than that, we don’t use any techniques or tools or studio tricks. Jasper records our material, and his goal is to capture exactly how the amps and drums sound in the room.” Though they are fans of old punk and post-punk, they are quick to point out, “We don’t try to emulate other bands when we’re writing songs, but we do love those bands and consider them influences to some degree. Any similarities are probably because the four of us like all that old punk and post-punk stuff. And when you have that in the back of your head, it’s likely to come through in your music.”


Featuring two lyricists, Heat Dust’s message is varied, but consistent. “Clay and Jasper share the task of writing the lyrics for our band,” they explain. “The lyrical styles differ a little between the two, but both use surrealist imagery to offer a reflection on how past, present, and future actions fit into the greater picture.” The band will be embarking on a U.S. tour with Thou and The Body in October.

The sound that’s been developing ever since is loud, straightforward, no frills rock ‘n’ roll, which Rickson describes as “punchin-the-air rock.” Behind this looseness in style is a more stringent single-mindedness shared by three friends who know what they want out of music after years of involvement in the Athens scene. By the following summer, the band began getting support slots for the likes of Obits and Melt

Ace producer Steve Albini has listed Motherfucker as a current favorite band twice now: first, on a March 24 episode of the YouTube series “Mix with the Masters,” and, more recently, on the Buddyhead Radio Podcast. “We found out [about the first interview] through a friend who is in Police Teeth,” Rickson says. “This last time was through our friend Conan Neutron, who is something of an Internet radio celebrity. Look him up. He just released a record of his material with Dale Crover. As for how we feel about the Albini shoutouts, it’s unbelievable. It’s surreal to think about all the bands he’s recorded that I’m obsessed with. I just heard the new KEN mode record. I actually asked Jesse [Matthewson], the guitarist, who recorded it so I could inform him they didn’t pay the guy enough for his impeccable Albini drum sounds. It was totally Steve. And that record is amazing, by the way. I hope we can record with him one day. It would be a dream come true.”



INTERVIEW BY TIM ANDERL “We’ve been close friends with the guys in Thou for a long time,” they say. “Chris and Jasper were in a band, Subservient Fuck, that shared members with Thou and went on tour with The Body. […] We’re all friends.” When asked if fans will need to

wait another five years for a new LP, they reply, “We don’t think so. We already have material to record for some small releases that will inform how we move forward with our next LP.”


Sinnger-songwriter Casey Bolles describes his vibe as “nervous?” It’s got to be pretty nerve-wracking when, in just the past year and a half, Bolles has released his first EP, signed to a wellknown independent label, and toured the country. That’s a lot to take in very quickly, but Bolles is doing just fine through it all. Bolles began as an acoustic guitarist at the age of 10, and was soon heavily influenced by bands like The Mountain Goats, Blind Pilot, and Say Anything. With underground sounds leading him down his path, he started his solo project with a true DIY nature, but things really picked up when he dropped his first EP, Freshman, last fall. “My mindset while writing,” he explains, “was a blend of being bored and bummed out last summer, and then, wanting very badly to make something of which I was proud. Going into recording, I wanted a finished product that was emotional and somewhat bare.” And thus, Freshman was born.

“Ever since my first tour with WATERMEDOWN last winter, I spent a lot of time trying to be an overall better musician,” Bolles continues, “as well as pursuing school and DIY touring up until putting out Freshman on my own in November, at which point my solo project got more attention and I started talking to labels. It’s been fun. It’s cool to see more and more people care about something I put a lot of effort into, and it’s great seeing the country and meeting new people. This past year has been awesome.” Ultimately, it was Pure Noise Records that clicked with Bolles. Alongside the diverse sounds of Vanna, State Champs, and Four Year Strong, listeners can now hear the honest and open lyrics on Freshman. “I look up to a lot of the bands on the label,” explains Bolles, who is one of the few solo projects currently signed to Pure Noise. “It’s a lot easier to work on something alone than with four or so other opinions. A solo project is easier to deal with logistically.”


I N T ER V I E W W I TH G UITAR IST KYL E T HOMAS BY HUTC H It;s a rare feat for a hardcore band, but SoCal’s Forced Order’s lineup has stayed intact since the band began. This may be one of the core reasons why their focus and delivery are so succinct. Forced Order formed to create music that intentionally

embodied the Cleveland sound á la Ringworm, In Cold Blood, and Integrity. However, that is changing. After two 7” EPs, Vanished Crusade—which dropped Aug. 7 via Revelation Records—exhibits 14 tracks of devastating metallic hardcore,

Washington D.C. hardcore band Free Children Of Earth are set to release their second album entitled Terminal Stasis, a record with a concrete social and political consciousness. “It’s a call back to a lyric from an MC5 song called ‘American Ruse,’” explains frontman Jason Yawn. Much like that politically charged classic, Terminal Stasis is full of ideas that constantly buck the status quo.

going to connect,” he explains.

“[It’s] pretty much about how I’m seeing the world,” Yawn says. “It seems like we’re in a time when old systems of power and ways things have always been done— they’re all rapidly becoming relics. People have more information now than ever before, and that causes a demand for the removal of the power that restricts what we’re supposed to be.” Despite the strong political message of the music, Yawn insists that the D.C. quartet is “a band first and foremost.” You won’t see Yawn on stage preaching his views to an unsuspecting crowd mid show. Instead, Yawn is all about creating a band with music that is just worthwhile. “If we’re not doing something that’s interesting musically or has merits, the words aren’t going to mean anything and it’s just not

Behind the scenes, Ben Green from Fairweather offered whatever help he could as producer. The finished product is a 10 song record that’s urgent not just in its message, but also in its runtime. “10 songs and about 23 minutes,” Yawn says. “To me, long records just always end up having filler, so we didn’t want that. If one of them wasn’t blowaway, we would have just left it off and had maybe only 20 minutes. Who cares? I didn’t know the runtime until we sent it off to print. It just didn’t matter.”


INTERVIEW BY NATASHA VAN DUSER Since signing with Pure Noise, Bolles’ touring has been constant, and while his live shows involve more strumming than shredding, he keeps his sets entertaining and energized. “I always like trying out new stuff and seeing if people like it,” he explains, “but off Freshman, I like playing ‘Potential’ because it’s always the

first song in my set. It always comes out rough, but that’s what makes it fun to play I guess.”

with most coming in at under 90 seconds. Guitarist Kyle Thomas explains, “Our goal is keeping songs short, energetic, and straight to the point. We are slowly figuring out our own style built from what we’ve written in the past. There are a lot more original song ideas that didn’t necessarily come from wanting to emulate a cool part in a song that we like.”

always has new little gadgets to improve on his craft.”

Hard to argue with that. When a song can deliver in 50 seconds, why add filler? Crunching riffs are celebrated all over the album, but a thrashy lick or an incendiary solo are never avoided. The bass sounds heavy; drums are fast. The metal should be no surprise. Dark, chaotic chords create an ambience of disaster and fear. This sound is channeled expertly by Taylor Young’s production. “Recording this record was a very smooth process,” says Thomas. “Working with Taylor Young is a breeze. I play in two other bands—Twitching Tongues and Disgrace—with him. He’s pretty much a brother to me. He knows what he’s doing, easy to work with, and


Forced Order’s other arsenal is their live show. They just played This Is Hardcore Fest. Thomas says, “For a hardcore band, I feel like playing TIHC is similar to a professional wrestler in Wrestlemania. It gives a band a chance to show what they’re all about and shine in front of an enthusiastic audience interested in [the scene].” An apt analogy would have Forced Order piledriving dudes and lasting to the end of the Battle Royale. Their live show continues through the end of this summer on a tour with Bane, Terror, Backtrack, Turnstile, and Heavy Chains. “A Forced Order set has a flow and a vibe,” Thomas says. “We play straightforward and aggressive music, and try to keep energy flowing while also maintaining an ominous atmosphere with samples and sounds and whatnot. I want an audience to walk away with either mild injuries or favorite moments from the set.” Why not both?



Terminal Stasis offers a clear-cut identity for the band, though Yawn warns, “We’re never going to make the same record twice. It’s pointless and I can’t write in a way that I’m hearing an echo of something I’ve already done.” This desire to be bigger, better, different, and more vocal than ever has led to some of the best punk records in history. Free Children Of Earth might just join that punk pantheo with a record befitting the turbulent times of our society.






III is the audio equivalent of actually dying choking, so it makes sense that the new release would come from a band of the same name. The album will drop digitally on Oct. 8 and on vinyl Oct. 23 via Earsplit’s The Compound. According to drummer Josh Cohen, the group began their follow-up to their previous releases, I and II, with a “serious writing cycle” during the fall and winter of 2014. With artwork created by guitarist Jeff Daniels—a total DIY move—the band hooked up with Will Yip at Studio 4 in Conshohocken, Pa., and set plans for a week of recording during April of this year. Cohen explains, “Will Yip is an incredible talent and very easy to work with. His drive and focus are infectious and his base of knowledge is rare. Will is very chill, but he doesn’t let a bad take slide. I probably lost 10 pounds sweating it out tracking this LP. Same for Jeff and [vocalist and bassist]

Paul [Herzog]. Those guys drilled every take with Will, and hit it harder and harder until we got the takes we were happy with. I personally could not be happier with the end product.” Cohen adds that there was “a lot of concentration on the song structures and transitions. A lot of painstaking writing sessions. We would speed things up, revise, and complicate parts a lot during the sessions. No shortage of tension and stress, but I think it all added to the overall sound.” Die Choking began as a side-project towards the end of 2012, when Herzog and Cohen got together to jam despite being in other bands at the time. Daniels came on board early in 2014 and the trio started releasing material, thereby becoming an official group. Cohen attributes their hard-hitting sound to the band’s close proximity to many


INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER CAL TUNG BY JAMES ALVAREZ The Bay Area post-punks in Wild Moth are finally slated to release their latest full-length album, Inhibitor, on Iron Pier Records. Vinyl pressing delays caused a spring release to become a late summer/early fall one. The band’s successful

tour with Iron Pier cohorts Self Defense Family last fall helped usher them onto their new label’s roster. Now, their equal parts brooding and stereo-cranking new record is poised to open even more doors for Wild Moth, as they shatter

With the rise of melodic, downtempo, and progressive hardcore, it seems some have forgotten how sincerely amazing old school pissed off hardcore is. If you need a refresher, a fantastic example of grade A hardcore is central Florida’s Axis. The band’s upcoming Good Fight debut, Show Your Greed, due out Sept. 4, is an abrasive

reminder of how effective raw hardcore can be. Axis’ sound will be familiar to fans of Turmoil, Buried Alive, and All Else Failed, but there are aspects that set them apart from their peers.




Guitarist Patrick Chumley elaborates, “We’ve got a lot of diverse and unlikely influences for a band of our kind. We try to challenge ourselves musically and give critical thought to every tiny nuance of whatever we create—no filler. That’s just our natural approach to things. Axis stands as our medium to express ourselves honestly, hone our craft, and keep us from going crazy and walking into traffic.” He’s not kidding. Show Your Greed is an exercise in furious aggression. It was mixed by Nails’ drummer Taylor Young, and you


INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER JOSH COHEN BY GABI CHEPURNY major—and aggressive—cities. “I think being here and being connected to so many other scenes just down the road like NYC, D.C., Boston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, one can’t help but soak it all in and reflect the diversity. I think more than anything, the constant stream of talent around this area excites me to keep creating and contribute to an already flourishing music scene.”

Sticking to their DIY ethos, Die Choking have plans to cover the U.S. and Europe in the near future, with self-booked shows and tours. Fans can count on hearing the new material that the band is already working on, with the added possibility of a few splits coming their way.

punk’s many preconceived stereotypes.

Wild Moth’s influences. “I really think we’re getting better at writing songs,” admits Tung. “The first record, we were kind of new at writing this kind of music, but now, we’ve got it more nailed down. I’m a huge fan of Smashing Pumpkins, I like that big guitar rock kind of stuff, but at the same time, we all like dream pop kind of bands too. I guess those two genres kind of spit out when we write music.”

“The punk thing, for us, is like a foundation, because we all grew up listening to punk and hardcore,” says drummer Cal Tung. “For me, punk has always been more about ethics and consciousness, it’s more than just a genre. As far as not sounding like a punk band, it’s not really sonically what you’d think is punk music, it’s more like rock, but we pretty much just write music we want to write. I know every band says that, but we’re influenced by new stuff every day and we’re constantly regurgitating the things that appeal to us. We got grouped in the punk thing because of our background, our history, the way we run our band… I guess it’s kind of cool that maybe we can transcend those things by playing a style that’s outside of conventional ‘punk rock.’” Sonically, Inhibitor showcases a range of


The title of the record “was thought up by Carlos [Salas], who sings and plays bass,” says Tung. “The record itself is a lot more introspective than our last record. It has a lot to do with looking internally and finding the source of blame for the things going wrong in your life. It’s about seeing the thing preventing you from being the type of person you want to be. A lot of times, you have to change as a person if you want to be happy.”



INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST PATRICK CHUMLEY BY NICHOLAS SENIOR can definitely hear his sonic influence: it’s a filthy, raw, and animalistic creature. Everything here has a purpose, even if it’s just to exert sonic rage. It’s that sense of purpose that helps transform this album

from a loud and energetic series of liveready bangers to something worthwhile and memorable. Axis are here to stay, and by the sound of Show Your Greed, fans will be thankful for that.



Many bands have hopped on the Brand New bandwagon, blending the pop focus of Weezer, the distorted emo of Jimmy Eat World, and that Nirvana emotive grunge. But Equal Vision Records’ latest signing, Nashville based Better Off, truly gets it. Sure, Better Off write plaintive, evocative songs that pack a lyrical and musical punch, but never on the band’s Sept. 11 label debut, Milk, do Better Off feel like copycats. “Empty Handed” starts off with a big, meaty distorted riff that leads into an even bigger hook. It’s the type of song that you want to tell all your friends about. “Dresser Drawer” is lyrically smart without resorting to “look how clever we are” clichés. The whole record feels substantial. One of the first things listeners will notice

about Milk is how fantastic it sounds. Credit is due to the talented trio of Matt McClellan, Arun Bali of Saves the Day, and Kris Crummett for the album’s crisp and massive sound. Milk is a very focused listen. Vocalist and guitarist Luke Granered explains, “For the first time, we went in knowing what we wanted out of the record. Musically, we all wanted to write something that could be classic, something that people could re-listen to over and over. I can’t say that we definitely did that, but I can say that is a goal for us.” Lyrically, he has one wish: “I do hope that lyrics I’ve written can ease the pain of trying to get by for someone out there.” Granered is also excited about the band’s touring plans, adding, “We’ll be hitting


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST VINCENT PRESLEY BY THOMAS PIZZOLA On their sophomore album, The City of Sun—out Sept. 22 via Secret Records— Wisconsin based loud rock trio Zebras have changed up their sound quite a bit since their self-titled debut four years ago. The band still have the lineup of vocalist and guitarist Vincent Presley, drummer Shane Hochstetler, and synth player Lacey Smith, but this time, they have gone full on

heavy as the new album explores a thrashier and more hardcore version of the band.

What began as a chance meeting at a house party has snowballed into full time band Diet Cig. “[Drummer Noah Bowman and I] met in New Paltz, N.Y., at this rad house show,” says vocalist and guitarist Alex Luciano. “Noah was playing in his other band Earl Boykins. I walked up to him while playing and asked him for a lighter. He gave me a bottle of wine instead. Later, I convinced him I’d make him a music video, got his number, and we hung out the rest of the night. The next day, he gave me a stick ‘n’ poke tattoo. I didn’t think I’d ever see him again! We became really good friends, and a few months later, we decided to try some songs out. It ended up being fun, so we kept doing it and here we are!”

we’ve been playing them forever.”

The upstate New York based duo have barely been around for a year and have already won over fans across the globe thanks to their unpretentious ditties that sound smart, simple, and unbeholden to any obvious classification. Now, they are prepping the release of the “Sleep Talk/Dinner Date” 7” via Father/Daughter Records on Sept. 18, which will coincide with a fall tour. “The songs on the 7” were written pretty shortly after the ones on [February’s Over Easy] EP,” Luciano explains. “Feels like




Not that they were any less loud or your face in their previous incarnations. According to Presley, they basically moved from noisy punk into raging, fast metal. “It’s pretty much a completely different band,” he says. “The second side of [the self-titled]

Luciano admits that a lot has changed for the duo since releasing the EP. “We’ve gotten so many opportunities to travel,” she says. “I’ve never been in a band before, so between two tours we’ve gone on and all the rest of the shows, it’s been really crazy seeing all these new places. We’ve met so many amazing people and made incredible friends. For Noah, he used to play guitar in his other band, so it’s been a big change for him to go back to drums all the time.”


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST LUKE GRANERED BY NICHOLAS SENIOR will definitely be better off if you give this band a listen sooner rather than later.

the road hard once Milk is out. Up first is our tour with Basement this August. Then, we’ll be joining Bayside and The Early November in September. Can’t wait!” You


was recorded way back in 2009 for a split LP that never happened. Side 1 had Shane as a session drummer, but I was still using combo amps and Lacey had some terrible generic cabs. That album is definitely more of a crazy noise punk album or something. The new album is a lot faster and heavier. I don’t think anyone would ever recognize the new album as being the same Zebras from 2008 to 2011. We don’t play any of those songs anymore. Worried? Nah. This new one crushed that last album.”

punk can be really awesome. When our guitar player quit, I was kind of forced to leave the drums so I could replace him, and that’s how I started pretending to be a ‘guitarist.’ I like feeling my guts shake inside my body and bass guitar just can’t do that like analog synthesizers. Analog synths and giant cabs, tube guitar amps and minimal pedals, really big old drums hit really hard. That’s the sound I’m into now.”


The City of Sun is one undeniably aggressive and in your face record. Don’t sell the band short just because they have a synth player instead of a bassist. These are some righteous metal jams. Presley wouldn’t have it any other way. It was always his intention to form a band like Zebras. “Lacey and I were in a previous band together where she made crazy synth noises and I played drums,” he says. “I really dislike most electronic music, but real drums with old analog synths playing heavy rock and


With all this momentum, a full-length can’t be far behind. “We’re currently writing what will probably end up as a fulllength, hopefully out sometime next year,” Luciano confirms. “We’ve been traveling all summer, so there’s a lot of fun stuff to write about. We’re so excited to get more tunes out… It means more time to dance during our live set!” What’s next after that? “We don’t know what’s next!” Luciano admits. “We have a fall U.S. tour scheduled that we’re so excited about, and after that, probably recording a full-length. Then, maybe Europe? Disneyland? Mars? Who knows?”



Dallas, Texas, band Modern Pain’s first fulllength, Peace Delusions—recently released via Bridge Nine Records—resembles a golden artifact unearthed from the ‘80s American hardcore underground. It harnesses the aggression of groundbreaking bands such as SSD, Poison Idea, and Infest while infusing corrosive atmospheres and noise rock of their predecessors Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard. It’s an unpredictable, nerve damaging half hour that remains, at its core, a spacey, noisy punk record above all. Guitarist Jay Chary is stoked to be releasing a full-length. “It’s crazy,” he says. “Like, we never really planned or tried to ‘make it big’ in fucking hardcore; it’s, like, impossible to make a career out of it. Ever since the whole Bridge Nine thing happened, we’ve kind of seen a different side of playing hardcore music that we would have never seen before. It’s definitely pretty cool, especially since I’m doing it with all my best friends. It’s an experience that I’m grateful for.” On working with Bridge Nine, Chary adds, “It’s cool! It’s definitely different, both

for us and the label. They’re all really great people, and they’re always down to try new things and step out of their comfort zones, while we’re kind of doing the same thing for them. It’s like a mutually beneficial ‘relationship’ you could say.” Peace Delusions was recorded during two weeks in March by Philadelphia producer Arthur Rizk. Chary says, “If he didn’t have a hand in it, I feel like the record definitely wouldn’t have turned out how it did. It would have been a lot different. But, as a band, I think we’ve always sounded different live than we do on record. We had a problem with it and we hated that there was kind of that disconnect. I feel like, finally, this LP is super representative of how we sound live, and it’s the kind of sound we’ve been working for. It’ll definitely be different for a lot of people who have been listening to us for a long time.” Chary describes the record as “very chaotic, pretty abrasive, and, like… Spacey. We always kinda joked around about how bands are trying to go back to how hard-


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST JOSHUA GILBERT BY DOUG NUNNALLY On Sept. 25, Blood & Ink Records will release Time Spent, the debut record from melodic hardcore band Household. While recording a debut is never easy, for Household, the obstacles they faced along the way were enough to sideline any band. Luckily for the Minneapolis quintet, they were able

to clear their hurdles handily, and came out of the journey as a far better band with an even more unique sound.

WSTR is Liverpool’s pop punk baby. Formed in January of this year, WSTR— vocalist Sammy Clifford, guitarist Kieren Alder, guitarist and vocalist Daniel Swift, drummer Kieran Mcveigh, and bassist (aka “badassmother,” according to the band) Alex Tobijanski—formed when the friends got together to jam. Clifford says, “We’re still a really young band, even though it doesn’t feel like it to us. We formed when I moved to South Drive, Liverpool, and got the message from Kieran to come jam with him and Swifty one day. It all escalated pretty quickly from there when we wrote a few quick jams and went to record with Seb Barlow at Celestial Recordings in late January.”

needs vowels anyway, right?”

The band’s name originally included vowels before legal requirements stemming from another group with the same name forced them to drop two letters. But as Clifford says, “Who

Household—composed of vocalist Joshua Gilbert, guitarists Nathanael and Abigail Olson, bassist Josh Czech, and drummer

Keeping it consistent, the band released their first EP, SKRWD, on Sept. 4 via No Sleep Records. The release began as a demo, according to Clifford, and through chance, turned into a fullfledged recording. “SKRWD turned into something we never imagined,” he says. “It’s just a demo that got out of hand. We took ‘Graveyard Shift’ to Seb, not really expecting anything, but he seemed to dig it, which is always a good sign. Seb kindly did our song as a favor, because I’ve been friends with him for years. He made it sound better than we could’ve ever wished for, and he said he was happy for us to bring the rest of our tracks into him very soon after.” Following the original recording of SKRWD, the band were given the chance to grow when they signed to No Sleep Records, where they contin-


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST JAY CHARY BY MIRIAM USMANI core sounded, like, in fucking 1987, but I feel like this record is from 2087. Like, future-punk-crazy record, I guess,” he laughs. “[Also], this record is coming out during a weird time in our lives. Me and our bassist, [Logan Holmes], just graduated college in May, so we’re trying to totally sell out and get a career—that kinda thing. But, hope-

fully, if the circumstances allow it, we’d definitely love to play some shows with the record. The thing I know that’s happening soonest is a string of shows through Texas when the LP comes out. Other than that… It’s to be continued.”

Matthew Anthony—formed in 2013 and quickly made a reputation for themselves with intense musicality and stellar compositions. Everything was looking up as they set out to record their first full-length album. But Gilbert had developed vocal polyps that made his singing style—one which most songs were built around—seemingly impossible. The band made the gutsy call to stay on pace with the album and record it with a completely new vocal style, one that needed to be created in under a month. “It was hard, and I wouldn’t say I’ve totally figured out the new way,” Gilbert admits. “What I do know is that the new record is a lot easier and healthier for me to perform. Luckily, I had a little keyboard with me on tour, so I was able to write vocal melodies to what was previously just screaming.”

for the band who had spent an intense 18 months cultivating their trademark sound. “There was a lot of doubt about it,” Gilbert states, “but the transition has been very well received so far. Better than we ever could have expected, really. It was lucky that this transition came at a time when our new stuff had a melody to it, so I could sing a bit more pure and it comes across the same. There’s still some harshness to it, though, because naturally, we want to be an aggressive band.”

To help with the transition, Gilbert sought out Melissa Cross in New York, a vocal instructor with plenty of experience helping singers cope with vocal polyps. Luckily, the singer was able to avoid surgery and focus all his energy on easing the transition


Even without the vocal change, Time Spent has a remarkably different sound than the band’s first EP. “We wrote the EP in a basement when we had never played shows and we were just kids trying to write metal,” Gilbert admits. “The new album comes from a year and a half of touring, meeting people, and having shows in our basements. I would say a good portion of the album is written in tribute to that first year, especially in relation to Minneapolis. It’s a thank you to that year of learning, being accepted as a younger local band, and being able to grow.”



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST SAMMY CLIFFORD BY GABI CHEPURNY ued to work with Barlow on rerecording the guitars and adding real drum tracks, as the first were programmed. Clifford confirms that the EP lives up to all expectations: “On the whole, it

was a great experience, as Seb is always a pleasure to work with, and we think it came out great. We’re stoked on it.”





Victory Records’ latest signees don’t take long to showcase their appeal. Minnesota based Conveyer utilize a melodic hardcore sound that puts hardcore first; this isn’t weak, whiny music. The band’s upcoming album, When Given Time to Grow—out Sept. 4—is certainly filled with melodic and heartfelt moments, but everything, even the band’s name, has a propulsive purpose. Guitarist Ty Brooks states the band’s message succinctly: “The word ‘conveyer’ means messenger, which is perfect for a band that is trying to spread the message that we have. Our mission has always been to tell people about the love that we have found in Jesus Christ.” Though some may write the band off because of their religion, When Given Time to Grow isn’t a preachy album. Conveyer’s message is one of peering into the darkness and discovering a path to light.

  Brooks continues, “Lyrically, [frontman] Danny [Adams] was trying to be transparent about the ups and downs of the past few years of his life. This record covers a broad range of topics including faith, feelings of self-deprecation and conviction [and] guilt of failed relationships, lust, family hardships, and depression. We believe that he was able to write in a way that people from all walks of life can relate to, and hopefully, take something away from this record.” Conveyer’s future is bright. “We just want to tour more and continue to meet new people,” Brooks says. “That’s by far our favorite part of being a band. We are really proud of this record, so we are just ready to hit the road in support of it! We’re doing an East Coast run in September for our record release tour, and we’re bringing our


INTERVIEW WITH DAVE TIERNEY AND KURT WAHLSTROM BY MORGAN Y. EVANS The Sharp Lads came back in March with Blackout Offensive, their third album of modern punk at the vanguard of being worth a damn. Recorded at Big Blue Meenie studios in New Jersey, it follows the excellent Death By Misadventure with a bang, proving the New York band have lost none of their bite. Altercation Records and The Sharp Lads have a great thing going on and you need to get hip to it!

Do The Sharp Lads actually believe “The Kids Don’t Want No Rock ‘n’ Roll”? “Who knows what the dang kids want and don’t want these days?!” bassist Kurt Wahlstrom says in a salty old man voice. “A lot of people come up to us saying how awesome and refreshing it is to hear our sound, like, ‘These guys are the next big thing that happened to rock ‘n’ roll!’ or ‘You guys are fuckin’ straight up rock ‘n’ roll that you just

Like hometown luminaries Tacocat and Chastity Belt, Seattle’s Mommy Long Legs spread their female-friendly political message through tongue in cheek lyrics, informing listeners of social issues while letting them in on the four close pals’ inside jokes. Guitarists Lily Morlock and Melissa Kagerer, bassist Leah Miller, and drummer Cory Budden’s creativity would have likely shone through even without such a strong preexisting feminist presence in Seattle’s punk scene. Still, the foursome appreciates the chance to come up around likeminded musicians. “We are extremely lucky to be making music in a city where being a female musician isn’t a novelty,” Budden says.

spew on fraternity dudes,” might be a little too silly to offend, but still get their point across. “Our approach to writing our lyrics has been to make fun of the people and things that annoy us in a blunt or sarcastic way that we couldn’t necessarily do in real life,” Kagerer explains. “We also make fun of ourselves.”

Mommy Long Legs made their name known back in March with their Life Rips cassette: a seven song collection of snotty chant-along punk in the vein of Bratmobile. Lyrics like, “Hurl, hurl, hurl on sorority girls/I want to spew, spew,




The tape was released just six months after the band formed. “We are almost at our one year band-iversary,” Morlock says. “We formed at some point in September 2014. Cory and I played in a band together called The Webs a few years back. Melissa and Leah lived with me at a house venue called Werewolf Vacation. We all just happened to want to play music together at the same magic time. After once practice, we knew we had to keep going. It was one goofy-ass cosmic experience.” With one of the best cassette releases of 2015 and a clear affinity for writing songs


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST TY BROOKS BY NICHOLAS SENIOR friends in Ghost Key, Dwell, and Until We Are Ghosts with us. After that tour, I know we are going to be touring in October, November, and January. Keep your eyes and ears out for Conveyer.” Based on the

sounds of When Given Time to Grow, Conveyer are not afraid to be heavy, both lyrically and musically, making them an absolute must-listen for fans of melodic hardcore.

don’t hear anymore.’ Other kids may not know better, and are just following what’s trending on Spotify and what they are told is ‘cool,’ which is why we wanna get this record out to the masses.”

Tierney adds, “We added Steven Dios on drums this time around. He’s a madman on the kit and the energy he brings is a big part of the album’s sound. We keep him chained up and locked in a box, kind of like the gimp in ‘Pulp Fiction.’ We only take him out to play the drums, so he always hits the skins with a lot of raw power. It’s a controversial method, but I think we’re the only band today using it.”

The band have grown since their last record. “We’ve definitely evolved,” says Wahlstrom. “I think it’s inevitable album to album, and we’re always trying new things and reaching new heights musically. [Vocalist] Dave [Tierney]’s voice has reached new amazing limits—which sometimes scare me—and [Rob] Fudge as well, achieving the next level of being a master guitar ‘shredder!’” he says, emulating Master Splinter from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” He continues, “Personally, I’m always pushing my boundaries as a bassist—I get bored easily—using different techniques, writing styles, and approaches instead of just picking one note. Some people say I’m playing sped-up reggae. I kind of am! Using distortion, playing chords, [and] dropping out definitely mix up the sound.”


One can’t help but wonder what “A Phist Phight with Fil Anselmo” is really about, and whether the subsequent tune “New Orleans (Seems like a Nice Place to Die)” means the band lost that fight. “We actually used to be in a secret jazz side project with ‘Fil’ in New Orleans,” Wahlstrom says, “and our last show ended in a ‘phist phight’ over—what was it again, Dave?” Tierney chimes in, “I think it was about how to split up the king cake… Or an argument about our favorite vibraphone players. For me, it’s Cal Tjader all the way.”



INTERVIEW BY BOBBY MOORE and performing together, Mommy Long Legs have a bright future. There are already plans in place for a second EP called McBlessed to be recorded before summer’s end. “The songs are a little heavier and address more serious subject matter, with an added dollop of ‘tude!” Miller adds

Additional plans include recording a fulllength and a mini tour in September with Portland folk punks Mandarin Dynasty. As Miller so eloquently puts it, Mommy Long Legs will be “staying busy as Oprah on an acid trip!”


The Brooklyn—by way of Boston—indie band Infinity Girl have heard their music referred to as “shoegaze” again and again over the years. Maybe it was just lazy journalism lumping them into the current resurgence of head-down bands with heavy guitar effects, or maybe it was because their sound did owe a little to bands like My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Regardless, with their first proper full-length, Infinity Girl decided to focus more on the postpunk aspect of the genre. The result, Harm, is an impressive exercise in energy and emotion, available Aug. 28 via Topshelf Records. “We all met in Boston—where most of us went to school—and were friends before we started the band,” recalls vocalist and guitarist Nolan Eley of the band’s commencement. “I played a couple of my songs at this open mic event that [bassist] Mitch [Stewart] and [drummer] Seb [Modak] came to, and they thought it would sound great with a really loud band behind it, so we got together and played. Then, I asked my friend [guitarist and vocalist] Kyle [Oppenheimer], who made really cool sounds on guitar, to try playing with us, and it was magic.”

That magic is now available in the form of Harm. “We definitely challenged ourselves on this new record to strip away a lot,” Eley says. “The songs are shorter, the arrangements are more sparse, there aren’t a lot of instrumentals, the mixes no longer have tons of reverb and delay—it’s kind of a reflection of where I was, personally, at the time. I had become pretty reticent and probably a little too dogmatic, and, for better or for worse, that made it onto the record. We came up with Harm, which we thought fit as the title of a record that was negatively conceived. The songs were also, in some ways, maybe a reaction to the labels “shoegaze” and “dreamy” being thrown around, and what kind of other music we were getting bunched together with because of that. We wanted to make a record that didn’t sound like this trendy shoegaze sound that has seen a bit of resurgence lately, but instead, focus more on the post-punk and hardcore roots of shoegaze.” “After we finished the record, we didn’t really know what to do with it,” he continues. “So we sent it to a few people [and] labels we liked and respected. [We were] not really expecting much, but Topshelf wrote back and had really


INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER BRANDON CARNES BY JOHN B. MOORE The foursome that make up central Illinois’ Looming had a pretty clear advantage over other upstarts when it came time to record their debut. Drummer Brandon Carnes actually owns his own studio—and lives in it—so any awkwardness was well behind them when they started laying down tracks for what would become their debut. Recently signed to No Sleep Records—who found Looming thanks to their friends

Run Forever—the band released Nailbiter on Aug. 14, and the record is a beautiful mix of no frills Midwestern indie rock with hints of emo.

It’s a tricky task to form a side project that can stand on its own and leave listeners hoping the passion project keeps going. North Carolina based musicians Jason Shi of ASG and Johnny Collins of Thunderlip’s newly formed group Wildlights expertly completes this task. Wildlights traffics in a certain type of timeless, no frills hard rock that could work in each of the past few decades. Shi explains of the band’s approach, “[We wanted] to write relatively simple songs with a focus on memorable melodies and riffs, but at the same time, there weren’t any rules. It’s just what came out naturally. We pulled from our influences and essentially wrote music that we would like to hear ourselves.”

“[Johnny and I] have been friends for a long time and always wanted to play music together; it was just a matter of finding time between our other bands and the hustle of everyday life.” Friends sharing music together is something so elemental, it makes sense why the band’s self-titled debut record—out Aug. 21 via Season Of Mist—feels so effortless. Shi explains that the band began when the two of them started jamming together whenever they had spare time. It’s that comfort that makes Wildlights such a smooth listen. There is a sense of enjoyment that oozes from the speakers the minute you press play.

Much of Wildlights’ ability to write such compelling, easy-going songs has a pretty simple explanation. Shi explains,

According to Carnes, the band began in the summer of 2013 when “[Guitarist] Mitch [Baker] and [vocalist and bassist] Jess [Knight] started writing songs together, as they were both looking for a new outlet. I

While this is a side gig for Shi, he mentions that this isn’t just a one and done for him. “I think the plan would be to play some shows, see what kind of momentum


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST NOLAN ELEY BY JOHN B. MOORE amazing things to say about it. After a lot of emailing back and forth and getting to know Kevin [Duquette] and Seth [Decoteau], we decided we really wanted to work with them.” Topshelf also offered Infinity Girl the opportunity to donate a portion of their preorder proceeds to charity, leading them to partner with Direct Relief Network to assist a still

devastated Nepal.

heard them practicing and liked the songs, so I asked to play drums. We eventually asked Jordan [Fein] to step in on second guitar. He had played in bands with me and Jess before, and wasn’t doing anything else at the time.”

emo and indie stuff; Jordan has had the same The Junior Varsity album on repeat for the last 10 years; I draw a lot from emo bands like Park and Mock Orange, and more current stuff like And So I Watch You From Afar and [Kanye’s] Yeezus.”

Now, their debut, Nailbiter, is a mixture of older material and songs that were finished in the studio. “I live in and run a small studio—like literally my bed folds out of the wall of my control room—so we’re all pretty used to working together in the studio,” Carnes explains. “We write and demo everything here, and we also tracked the album here. It’s really nice having the luxury of such a comfortable recording space. We were able to really try some different things and take our time experimenting with harmonies and sounds and all the fun little things.”

Despite living in a relatively small town, Carnes is stoked on his local scene. “The Springfield music scene is actually really great right now!” he exclaims. “There’s a neighborhood called Southtown where we’ve got our all ages venue The Black Sheep, my studio, a record store, a skate park, and a skate shop all on the same corner. There’s a really good mix of established bands and new younger bands in the local scene, and The Black Sheep is constantly bringing in touring bands.”

Musically speaking, “our influences are kind of all over the map,” Carnes continues. “We’re all from the Midwestern indie rock scene, so there’s definitely a solid foundation there. I think we all draw from a lot of different things, though. Jess listens to a lot of Hole, Bjork, and pop music; Mitch is pretty in tune with a lot of modern

After the release of Harm, the band will “start to plan a tour that will hopefully be in November,” Eley says. “And we’ve been doing quite a bit of writing and thinking about what our next record is going to sound like.”


Now that Nailbiter is out, what’s next for the band? “The next step for us is to start touring as much as we can and to keep writing new material,” Carnes says. “We’re just trying to enjoy what we’re doing right now.”



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST JASON SHI BY NICHOLAS SENIOR can be created from the album, and start writing again!” he says. For those seeking perfect musical accompaniment

to a Friday afternoon BBQ with friends, Wildlights fits the bill and then some.





Like most grindcore bands, recent Good Fight Music signees Of Feather And Bone dip their toes in the hellishly hot waters of both metal and hardcore. This symbiotic duality gives the band the chance to share the stage with a wide array of heavy rockers, both while at home in Denver and away on tour. All three members in Of Feather And Bone are Denver hardcore scene staples. Bassist and vocalist Alvino Salcedo says he played in several punk bands around town before forming his current project in 2012 with power violence vets drummer Preston Weippert and guitarist Dave Grant. Together, the trio sounds like modern extreme metal strained through a crust punk filter. “We pull from numerous styles and influences, which can be heard,” Salcedo says. “It is always interesting to hear what people compare us to, or what style they perceive the most when we play.” By writing music that reveals equal measures of their punk roots and more cryptic influences, the band have maintained their spot in a lesser known hardcore scene,

currently highlighted by straight edge purists Culture Shock, while earning footing alongside Denver metal giants like Primitive Man and Call Of The Void. “We tread a line of being a hardcore band and metal band,” Salcedo explains. “With Denver being a tightknit scene made up of a lot of the same people doing different bands, it’s awesome to see hardcore kids really being introduced to metal. We’re also embraced as a band by both sides. By playing to both ‘scenes,’ we have started to bridge a gap that shows people around here that there are so many shows in a given month that can expose them to so many bands.”


What, besides being surrounded by open-minded people from two stereotypically regimented scenes, does Salcedo feel is unique about being a Denver band? Is it perhaps the legal weed? “As for weed, it has definitely made an impact of being everywhere, and making everyone and their mother move here and hiking the cost of living up to nearly suffocating prices,” he says. “But as far as affecting the music that’s coming out of here, I think it’s just a bunch

of people who hole up to get away from the massive influx of people moving here recently, and in turn, write some awesome heavy music.”


and began playing together in their early teens. Since 2010, they’ve officially been The Penske File—a reference to the sitcom “Seinfeld,” which seems to have permeated the earth—and have released a few EPs along the way. Working around everyone’s disparate schedules means that recording and releasing records has always taken longer than the band would like.

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST TRAVIS MILES BY GABI CHEPURNY Burlington, Ontario’s The Penske File unofficially began when their members started playing Kleenex box guitars as

kids. Vocalist Travis Miles, drummer Alex Standen, and bassist James Hall have known each other since childhood,

Chicago trio Meat Wave don’t have an exhaustive set up, but they still manage to make plenty of noise. So much so, that the folks at indie label SideOneDummy couldn’t help but hear, and eventually sign, the band. The group—comprised of vocalist and guitarist Chris Sutter, bassist Joe Gac, and drummer Ryan Wizniak—will put out their SideOne debut Sept. 18. Delusion Moon is a baker’s dozen of complex indie rock songs spiked with punk influence that’s bound to win over legions of new devotees. “We have a really minimal setup,

so I think we’ve just been trying to find new ways to keep that interesting,” says Sutter. “I think [Delusion Moon and 2012’s self-titled] go well together. We didn’t totally change our sound or anything, but I think we’re trying to expand and vary what we’re doing. I think this new album is a bit more colorful.”






“As for us, we write and play the way we do because it’s what we like,” he continues. “As for anything from Denver inspiring that, it’s more the fact that we want to take what we do out of Denver and spread it to other places. We love Denver, but to be a band

For their newest release, Burn into the Earth—which dropped June 2 via Stomp Records—the band worked with Steve Risen in an eight day marathon stretch of recording. Whereas before, they would track everything separately, this time, the band were able to put everything together at the same time. Miles says, “We recorded in 12 to 14 hour stretches, but I feel like we benefitted from it, and

from here and to tour is not the easiest. The closest city to us is at least seven hours away, excluding Cheyenne, Wyo. That little bit of opposition is a driving force for us to show people that Denver may be isolated, but we have a lot, musically, to offer and we won’t let distance stop us from achieving that.”


it was cool to experience; we were all in the room the whole time. It was a very intense, concentrated time of recording, and I feel like it kind of adds a consistency and intensity to the sound of the record that wasn’t necessarily not there before, but it wouldn’t have been the same if we had done it over a long period of time here and there.” The band have long been on Canadian label Stomp Records and recently signed to A-F Records in the States for better distribution. Needless to say, the band were excited to join Anti-Flag’s roster. Miles explains, “If 13 year old me knew I would end up on A-F Records, I probably would have pooped.”



Despite their recent signing to SideOne, the band did not have the added benefit of extra resources while recording Delusion Moon. “We started recording it long before we were in contact with SideOne or any labels at all,” Sutter explains. “So, in that respect, there was absolutely no budget. Joe recorded and mixed the entire thing out of the goodness of his heart. In terms of time spent working on it, just like the first one, we recorded all the basic tracks live in one day at our practice space, and then, had a bunch of little days after, doing overdubs and vocals at Joe’s apartment. Very simple.”

est, maybe darkest thoughts, desires, and delusions, and what that entails for all of us. Truth, technology, power, [and] death are all themes throughout. Among other things. It’s hard to say. A lot of people have already caught stuff that I didn’t even realize, so that’s pretty cool.”

In terms of content, the record is dense. “I don’t think it’s a concept album, but I think it’s an album that’s very conceptual,” says Sutter. “I think the crux of it is that we’re all here on this earth, driven by our deep-

Sutter does admit that one of the record’s standout tracks, “The Gay Contempt,” owes a debt to Fox News. “Fox News is definitely to thank. And other networks like that. When we’re on tour, we unfortunately stop

INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST GUITARIST CHRIS SUTTER BY JOHN B. MOORE at McDonalds quite a bit. Many McDonalds around the country have what we like to call ‘Fox News Lounges.’ It’s a very comfy area of chairs or couches huddled around a flat screen playing Fox News 24/7. That’s very funny to me. It’s a crazy thing to have so much frustration or judgment towards something, but also find it hilarious.”







ile have long been regarded as one of the most technically proficient death metal bands on the planet. Renowned for their uncanny instrumental prowess and a near encyclopedic knowledge of ancient Egyptian mythology, the band has crafted some of the fastest, heaviest, and most certifiably epic metal tunes of the new millennium. Now, the band is back with their eighth studio album, What Should Not Be Unearthed, released Aug. 28 on Nuclear Blast Records. Aside from being a killer dose of modern day death metal, Nile’s latest record was also meant to serve as a heartfelt thank you to the band’s longtime fans. High octane ragers like album opener “Call to Destruction” prove that Nile still fly the brutal death flag high and proud, but the song—like many of What Should Not Be Unearthed’s tunes—showcases an array of dynamics and hooks meant to reward the listener with some good old fashioned head banging fun. “It’s very song oriented,” says guitarist and vocalist Karl Sanders. “The songs are meant to be heavy and fun to listen to. I think, sometimes, death metal bands get so technical, the songs get kind of lost. We definitely focused on making the songs heavy and memorable, something aimed straight for our fans that they would appreciate. They’ve stuck by us while we did some experimental kind of things. This time, we wanted to

make a record specifically for Nile fans.” Throughout Nile’s existence, Sanders has surrounded himself with some of the finest musicians the metal world has to offer. For the past 11 years, the band’s core lineup—which also includes guitarist Dallas Toler-Wade and drummer extraordinaire George Kollias—has remained intact, and they’ve pushed the limits of what blindingly fast and soul crushingly heavy death metal can achieve. What Should Not Be Unearthed is a delightful mashup of Nile’s two signature sounds. Songs like “Liber Stellae - Rubaeae” are fast enough to snap necks, but heavy enough to linger and actually resonate with audiences. “Music should be music, and it shouldn’t be restricted to one tempo or another,” Sanders says. “I hate to hear albums where the entire record is the same speed. Where there’s no variance, where it’s the same thing. I think so many bands these days have lost respect for the listener. I love technical death metal, but so many times, bands are just trying to outtech one another. After about two minutes of constant barrage of technicality, most listeners reach a saturation point where everything else is wasted. If you want to make music that people will enjoy listening to, you have to have respect for the art of listening and not just the art of shredding. Listening is its own fucking thing.” “This time we wanted fresh things for the listener’s ear. Not nessiscarily completely


I N T E R V I E W W I T H V O C A L I S T / G U I TA R I S T N I C K “ N E C R O S K U L L” R U S K E L L BY H U T C H


n 2005, Nick Ruskell started writing music with his now wife, bassist Emily Witch, and Hampshire, England’s Witchsorrow was born. They soon added drummer, Dave Wilbrahammer, who loved the idea of a band who would stick to their mission statement of doom. Ruskell calls the music that spawned from this trio “Puritan doom,” gloomy and full of dark wonder, in the vein of Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Saint Vitus, and Reverend Bizarre. Inspired by the ominous power trios of doom metal, they turned quickly from being an unknown band to triggering the interest of Lee Dorrain from Rise Above Records.


Ruskell created three rules: “[First], we



would be slow and heavy. We wanted to be a three piece like Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath. The second guitar changes the dynamic. Second, we would write about graveyards, rain, castles, and old churches. I wanted to depict visions that were like where I live. The third rule was to use classic, hammy doom imagery.” That idea is pervasive throughout their new full-length No Light, Only Fire, which came out Aug. 8 via Candlelight Records. Witchsorrow’s Satanic tapestries are cemented with thick, heavy guitars and powerful drums. Ruskell’s vocals and lyrics solidify the terror-tinted imagery. Song titles like “The Gallows,” “Made of the Void,” and “Negative Utopia” clearly


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST/VOCALIST KARL SANDERS BY JAMES ALVAREZ unpredictable, because if it’s too unpredictable, people can’t fucking follow it,” Sanders explains. “A lot of times, that’s a tough balance to pull off, because not everyone’s mind works the same way. People’s ears all don’t work the same.” That’s where songs like the album’s monster title track or the uber infectious “Evil to Cast Out Evil” come into play. How, after more than two decades in the extreme metal biz, are Mr. Sanders and his cohorts cranking out some of the gnarliest songs of their careers? Perhaps it’s because Nile are more than just dazzling musicians.

convey his intentions. For No Light, Only Fire, these intentions were entrusted to a master of doom metal production, Chris Fielding. When he is not writing and playing classic doom with sludge serpents Conan, Fielding produces heavy records for bands such as Primordial, SSS, The Wounded Kings, and Winterfylleth. Ruskell recalls, “We recorded very quickly and had a couple days to let Chris sit and tinker. We went away and left him. We came back and heard new aspects. Chris’ knowledge of a studio is amazing. He is good, smart, and patient. We felt no stress. Emily said, ‘I was surprised. Chris is only person you let tell you what to do.’” “He knows how to get that certain darkness,” Ruskell continues. “When we were mastering, he was recording a brutal German black metal band. I was amazed. He knew to make the sound big and cavernous and dark. So, we asked, ‘Can you get that sound for us?’” On No Light, Only Fire, Ruskell focused his lyrics. “The hopelessness is directed,” he explains. “This is more hostile than ‘waiting.’ It’s like taking revenge. ‘The Gallows’ is a story of a murderer proud to be hanged, because he murdered a bad person. [These] songs are more than hate for everyone. In real life, we have to be reasonable and polite. That makes it fun to have this outlet with lyrics. Some of it is ridiculously misanthropic. I hate corrupt business people and politicians, racism

If anything, What Should Not Be Unearthed proves that Nile are meticulously crafty songwriters. “There’s a lot of care that went into those compositions,” Sanders says proudly. “These songs are our babies, and that can make it very hard to be objective about them. People get very attached to this guitar part or this vocal part or whatever, and sometimes it’s painful to cut these parts that don’t service the song. There’s been so many riffs that got chopped out of these songs, you could probably make a whole other album!” What Should Not Be Unearthed 2.0: The Lost Riffs. We can’t wait.


and homophobia. These are horrible people driven by greed who accept the public’s negative view of them and continue. They are not pulling wool over eyes. They are content being dicks.” Witchsorrow plan to take their new songs to the stage very soon. “I am getting antsy. I want to play gigs,” Ruskell assures. “This weekend, we have three, opening for Electric Wizard and Satan’s Satyrs. We have only played one gig this year, so as to focus on this record. But, we couldn’t say no to Electric Wizard. Our absence made people forget, and now, they are excited that we are back. I really like travelling and even just playing my guitar, playing loud heavy metal in front people. Hammering on a chord, dragging the riff; that is the essence of doom.”






ailing from Germany, Ahab released their fourth full-length album, The Boats of the Glen Carrig, Aug. 28 on Napalm Records. Ahab illustrate nautical stories of desolation and despair with demonic delivery. Most easily pegged as nautical funeral doom, Ahab adapt classic stories into grueling records, leaving listeners writhing in their wake. Since 2004, they have addressed literature from Poe to Melville and explored the depths of their creativity by turning printed works into musical adventures. Despite bearing a sea-related moniker, Ahab never fear that they’ve painted the band into a corner in terms of their subject matter or imagery. Drummer Cornelius Althammer simply states, “About 95 percent of the oceans have not been explored yet. There will always be tons of creepy stuff about the sea. We just have to find it.” Althammer feels confident that there are infinite bounties to be harvested from “this guiding theme.” For this outing, Ahab have tapped “The Boats of the Glen Carrig” written by William Hope Hodgson, published in 1907. As slow and crashing, bombastic and overwhelming as an ocean storm, Ahab are “absolutely fascinated by the characteristics of funeral doom.” Althammer continues, saying that their newly broken boundaries revealed “new facets [that have] enriched our sound in a very natural way.” The Boats of the Glen Carrig may fit funeral doom’s parameters, but Althammer insists that Ahab never intended to limit their work. “On The Boats of the Glen Carrig, you will find more funeral elements than on The Giant [2012]. We will never be over with funeral doom. We have just been adding much more musical variety to it over the years.” Ahab remain excited about the obstacles they face and liberties they must take when transforming a preexisting work into their own story arc conveyed through heavy, savage riffs. “Choosing literature is an absolute matter of feeling,” Althammer says. “We always search for a certain mood. Creepy, dark, psychedelic; hopeless or desperate; sad or brutal sections.” The work must contain what Althammer calls “a certain darkness. We must be able to

connect the pictures formed in our minds with those riffs.” According to Althammer, the challenges Ahab faced when making this album were not unfamiliar. “One was the selection of the book,” he says. “We had to find the one the time was right for. Songwriting went as always, including beating our heads in about single parts or riffs, waiting for clues.” But the band still experienced “excitement when all of us felt a song just became what it was determined to become.” They were elated by “the pure joy of listening to rehearsal recordings at the end of long days.” For production, Ahab worked with Jens Siefert again. “He already enriched The Giant with his incredible skills,” Althammer says. “The new studio, Rama Sound, in Mannheim, Germany, is amazing. Siefert and a crew of artists built it and are working in a very good sounding recording room. He has tons of microphones, amps, and cabinets.” While the Ahab sound remains dark and climactic, some of their approaches to The Boats of the Glen Carrig were new. “We decided to record the album halfway live,” Althammer reveals. “[Bassist] Stephan [Wandernoth] and I recorded drums and bass together. [Vocalist, keyboardist, and guitarist] Daniel [Droste] and [guitarist] Christian [Hector] did guitars. It felt much more rock ‘n’ roll than the way we had recorded before. It was a thrilling two weeks of working with Jens again. He is a very chill guy whom you can hardly disconcert. His sense of humor and unhurried temper make him comfortable to work with. I think this has a big influence on the result.” That result is an amalgam, borrowing different qualities from each prior album. Althammer declares, “In my opinion, it fits very well [into our discography]. All of our albums have sounded very different, but beyond a doubt ‘Ahab-ish.’ It is the same with the new one. It feels a very natural ‘number four.’ It has some psychedelic stuff, but, it is way more brutal than The Giant. It has that abysmal feeling you can sense. It has a certain ‘jazziness,’ which is probably new. The sound is much better than ever before.”




orwegian metal magicians Shining—not to be confused with the Swedish black metal band—are back and better than ever. The band’s upcoming Spinefarm Records debut, International Blackjazz Society—due out Oct. 16— proves how well defined Shining’s sense of sonic adventurism has become. Vocalist, guitarist, saxophonist Jørgen Munkeby says, “The new album has both more melodic stuff and also more dark stuff. It also incorporates both catchy rock stuff and also more crazy free jazz parts. While [2013’s] One One One was a bit lighter in mood and atmosphere than Blackjazz, I felt I wanted to [go] back to some of the dark and sinister energy that made it such an important album, both for us and for fans.” “Since the album is such a varied one, writing music this time was also quite different for each song,” he continues. “Some songs were written in the more traditional way, where I wrote a song, made a demo, and then, the band rehearsed it together and made changes, and then, went into the studio to record it. These are the more catchy rock songs, for instance ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘Last Day,’ and although they were recorded one instrument at a time, the arrangements were pretty much finished when we went into the studio. Then, we have the two jazz songs, which were written more like jazz songs, with a semi free melody and chords, but apart from that, it was up to each musician to play it the way they wanted to. These songs were also recorded live in the studio, with all the musicians in one room playing together.” It’s that musical dexterity that sets Shining apart. Not only does the record seamlessly switch between hard charging, anthemic pieces and free-flowing numbers, but the entire album feels necessary. Everything is meticulously crafted, yet International Blackjazz Society is still an easily digestible listen. Munkeby mentions that, while it wasn’t intentional, the album is definitely a cohesive piece; this furthers the unifying aspects inherent in the songs. Further, it’s

impressive to witness how consistent Shining’s albums are in quality despite their sonic leaps. Munkeby reflects, “I always try to keep a high quality on everything we do, which is why I spend so much time and money making it. When it comes to being adventurous with our musical progression, I think it’s just a matter of making sure I’m not boring myself. That usually means changing things up a bit.” Munkeby explains that he wants to spread the gospel of Blackjazz to more people around the world. “I think with this new album, we have been able to both strengthen and expand the concept of our own genre, ‘Blackjazz,’ he says. “I think the world of Blackjazz is slowly becoming something that can live on its own, and that it’s becoming so clear that other bands also can start playing Blackjazz, which I think would be awesome!” “The title of the our album is named after a secret worldwide society called the ‘International Blackjazz Society,’” he continues, “which is a mysterious brotherhood that has developed strongholds in Paris, London, Warsaw, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Oslo. According to Wikipedia, the organization live by their mantra, ‘For Excellence,’ and the organization’s own mission statement says they exist ‘To promote Cultural Excellence from Sea to Sea.’ There’s much more info to be found about the International Blackjazz Society on their website or on their Facebook page. They are a pretty elaborate organization, with several membership ranks, rules for meetings, and things like that. You should check them out! They even have their own freaking flag!” Shining will embark on a long European tour with prog neophytes Caligula’s Horse, and hope to hit U.S. shores in the near future. Given the strength of the band’s current and back catalog, coupled with their live prowess, and these shows are not to be missed.






ew York’s Faustian ska strongholds Mephiskapheles have joined forces once again after over a decade long hiatus. They released a new self-titled, self-produced, and self-released six song EP in June, and made the first 666 copies available in red and black splattered vinyl at their live shows. How have the responses to your recent live shows been? Enthusiastic, to put it mildly. During the time we weren’t playing, people were telling us how much they missed Mephiskapheles. Even though we never quite broke out of the underground, we got really far and ended up reaching a lot of listeners all over the world. When we re-formed, it triggered an outpouring of enthusiasm for our return that was bigger than we expected. For example, we were surprised to learn that, after New York, the second most hits on our Facebook page came from Mexico City, a place we haven’t visited yet. The Internet wasn’t a factor in the band’s initial run from 1991 to 2001. Why get back together now after an 11 year hiatus? It wasn’t planned. When we toured with the Buzzcocks in 1997, Pete Shelley told us that it gets easier the second time around. That conversation stuck with [frontman] Andre [A. Worrell] and me,

and we’d sometimes refer to it, wondering if we’d get the chance to find out. Then I was in Europe with The Toasters in the late 2000s, where it sunk in that Mephiskapheles’ music was still very popular with a cult audience globally. When I got home, we had a business meeting of former Mephiskapheles members to discuss how to market our old recordings, which we owned, but which had been out of print for years, so no one was getting paid. Next thing you know, a reunion gig is getting booked. After a few, they cease to be reunion gigs anymore. The first track on the EP is “Satan Stole My Weed.” You guys were tight, what happened? Exactly how we feel. You think the guy is cool and then, next minute, he’s acting all squirrelly. Next thing you know, he’s stolen your weed and is out the door. It sucks. We are currently making plans for a video that will explain the details of this unexpected and heinous crime. What are some highlights from the festival shows you’ve been playing over the last two years? We also had a fantastic gig in Hawaii, where we had formerly ruled the radio airwaves in the summer of 1996. It was great to be able to go back there. Riot Fest was just an incredible experience; for a bunch of Gen Xers, you couldn’t beat it.




“[We had] 16 total tracks, we finished re-




INTERVIEW WITH TROMBONIST GREG ROBINSON BY KAYLA GREET Riot Mike had been a big Mephiskapheles fan back in Buffalo, [and it] was a lucky break for us and put wind in our sails. It was a bit of a surreal feeling at that point. You’ve got your backstage pass, you’ve just played, and now you’re on the side of the stage watching Keith Morris and Flag, going, “Is this really happening?” Besides the record release and a couple shows in September, any plans for a full tour this year? We’re taking it day by day, month by month. A few more strategic forays from our New York base and we’ll be ready to

resentation that reflects their personal experiences during the studio process. “The Ride Majestic” is very near and dear to the band, as its lyrical content is intense, but deeply truthful. The track is revealed to be about dying and the fear of dying. Verbeuren describes the song as one that the band wrote together with equal input, as a lot of hardship was occurring at the time. He explains that the track was created in an attempt to recontextualize a negative experience. “It’s really about trying to take something negative and make a positive out of it,” explains Verbeuren, “because, in the end, the message behind ‘The Ride Majestic’ is that you have to enjoy life while it lasts.”


wedish melodic death-metal group Soilwork return to the studio, stage, and road celebrating their latest EP The Ride Majestic, released on Aug. 28, backed by label Nuclear Blast. The Ride Majestic will mark the 10th album since the band’s conception in 1995, and their first studio project since 2013’s release of The Inifinite, which was also their first double album. The album was produced by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios and recorded by David Castillo at Studio Gröndal in Sweden.


cording 15, and 13 actually made it,” says drummer Dirk Verbeuren. “The remaining tracks may be on a Japanese version [or B] side, but I’m not sure. They’re definitely some cool songs, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen with that.” The Ride Majestic offers some of the consistent Soilwork sound, but the band also aimed to experiment with the music. “There’s definitely unity, but at the same time, there is some different elements and lots of twists and turns,” says Verbeuren. Soilwork also applied certain lyrical rep-

Along with musical experimentation, Soilwork have faced changes within their lineup. For The Ride Majestic, Soilwork said farewell to longtime bassist Ola Flink, who had been part of the band since 1998. They have since recruited Marcus Wilbom—a personal friend of the band’s, as well as a previous lighting engineer—as a replacement. Their new lineup will be incorporated into their upcoming U.S. tour We Sold Our Souls to Metal, on which they are slated to play with Soulfly, Decapitated, and Shattered Sun. Wilbom made his debut with Soilwork on April 30 in Stockholm, but this will be his first U.S. tour with the band. Verbeuren describes the decision to recruit Wilbom

consider a longer tour. So far, so good, so let’s see what happens. Are people still shocked and confused when they hear “Satanic ska band” for the first time? I don’t really know what people’s first impression is, but apart from the odd religious wacko, I’d imagine it must seem quaint in this day and age that we would adopt any theme at all for our band, let alone Satan, Hell, etc. In a world filled with wacky ska bands, you need at least one who tries to go about it a little differently.


as “natural,” having being built from a preexisting friendship. “We’re all stuck in a bus together, so it’s really important to get along,” he says. “It became a natural choice. It’s easier to work with a person with same personality than a great musician who has a different personality level.” Prior to the U.S. leg of the We Sold Our Souls to Metal tour, Soilwork will perform live at the seventh annual Metal Hammer Awards in Berlin, Germany, on Sept. 18. Afterwards, they kick off their tour with Soulfly, Decapitated, and Shattered Sun at The Fonda in Los Angeles on Sept. 30, and wrap up in Albuquerque a month later on Oct. 30.







ontreal, Quebec, renaissance man Mark Sultan has more than made his mark on the music world over the last 25 years, and has returned to the much beloved garage rock duo The King Khan And BBQ Show for their first full-length in six years, Bad News Boys, which was released March 17 via In The Red Records. Under the BBQ moniker, Sultan is also set to release a new EP called Mark Sultan. It’ll be available to stream in September and only for sale in October/ November on The King Khan & BBQ tour. It’ll also be available in random mail order mailouts via In The Red and Burger Records in November. What was it like getting back together with King Khan? For the first stretch, we actually hated each other. You have to understand that the band’s breakup was ridiculous; so much animosity. Then, we recorded a 45 on my label a couple of years back, but we hadn’t gelled. Now, though, we’re back to being blood brothers and good friends. I guess we just needed time. We were just so close that our hatred was magnified, yet that closeness allowed us to remember who we are. You record under so many names and bands, how do you decide which one to write for? [Laughs] Yeah, lots of dumb names. Many bands… I mean, sure, for some of the bands, stuff is written specifically, but for my solo stuff or stuff with Khan, it’s just a matter of what goes best versus what’s due to be released versus the feeling of the recording or whatever. It all comes from my heart. You like to make music quickly, but do you write lyrics or parts that you hold on to? I really enjoy spontaneity. So, recording live is what I prefer, for example, in as few takes as possible. As for lyrics, I prefer to write on the spot, using a phrase here and there that I used phonetically for melody purposes when I strummed it out to begin with. Your music is so spontaneous and plentiful, do you ever have a hard time remembering how a song goes? Oh, man! Totally. I forget a lot of the stuff.

And I always feel bad when people want to hear stuff and I have to tell them that I don’t remember my own song! But, yeah, a lot of stuff gets recorded, never to be played again, unfortunately. When did you start wearing turbans and capes for your shows? Was it inspired by your Spaceshits days? Actually, the dumb costumes only came a lot later, as I stopped being so “serious” about this dumb shit. I would don dumb stuff in The Spaceshits, sure, and yeah, it promotes more nonsense at the shows, and that’s always welcome! You’ve created an entire world of music over the years. Do you plan to toy with other genres in the future? Yeah, I’m a rock ‘n’ roller. It’s my life’s blood and I very much revere it. It’s all light and fun, sure, but it really means the world to me. So, when I perceive bands or “artists” as phony interlopers, I really get worked up. This shit is sacred to me. I’ve done a lot of different styles, but my releases can be obscure. I had a punk band called Mind Controls, for example. And on albums like $, Whatever I Want and Whenever I Want, I recorded free jazz, avant-garde electronic type stuff, loops, etc. You just have to seek it out. I’m a music fan, first and foremost. But, yeah, rock ‘n’ roll and its offshoots are closest to my heart and capabilities. How would you reflect on your largely DIY career? I think, unfortunately, a lot of folks don’t understand that a lot of stuff they listen to is me singing, or my songs, or don’t know my solo stuff. Or that I am a punk who really has been living by his own rules for 20 years, booking myself, recording myself, “promoting” myself, playing around the world and wearing the same clothes every day. Money isn’t success. Your heart is only truly happy when you answer only to love. Art and music should be embraced when they come from the sincerity of your soul. I’ll get my recognition one day. In the meantime, it’s extremely important for me to pay my respect to rock ‘n’ roll—to sacrifice myself for its pure legacy.



inland’s Children Of Bodom have been throwing dark, melodic grooves together since the early ‘90s. Despite the loss of one of their guitarists, their newest effort, I Worship Chaos, might be one of their heaviest yet. Longtime co-guitarist Roope Latvala recently left the Bodom ranks, forcing lead vocalist and guitarist Alexi Laiho to make a few changes. The band decided to make things heavier by lowering the tuning of the guitar, something Laiho says makes a big difference. “I wanted to try something different and basically do anything to make the guitars and the record in general heavier,” he says. “It worked out great, because we only went a half step down. So, it’s not too drastic, but still makes a big difference.” The full-length still has the same vibe as before, but takes things down a seemingly darker path. The band—Laiho, drummer and vocalist Jaska Raatikainen, bassist and vocalist Henkka Seppälä, and keyboardist Janne Wirman—wanted the album to sound heavier overall, and they made it happen while simultaneously retaining their trademark melodic sound. Laiho says, “Overall, it has a lot darker vibe than the previous [records]. I think the songs are more approachable, being simpler structure-wise, which makes the whole thing a lot catchier. There’s the tuning, of course, but that alone doesn’t necessarily do anything. It’s that combined with the riffs, the overall groove, and the sound we were aiming for that make it heavier.” Children Of Bodom’s signature sound comes from their use of keyboards and ‘80s flare. From the start, Laiho knew he wanted keys included in the bands sound, and it’s stayed that way ever since. “I’m not sure why, but I always knew from the get go that we would have keyboards in the band someday,” he recalls. “Starting from our second demo from 1995, we did. In retrospect, it’s obvious to me that it gives

you endless possibilities to do new things, add more flavor, and sound a little different, especially in the extreme metal scene. Not that being different was ever the point, but it never hurts. Plus, having listened to Yngwie Malmsteen records when I was a kid, I thought the dueling keyboard and guitar vibe in the solo parts was always cool. Still is!” The members of Bodom grew up with ‘80s metal, a fact that shouldn’t surprise listeners. Specifically, Laiho has a deep affection for longstanding hair metal successes, W.A.S.P., who have weathered the years since spandex ruled the Los Angeles Sunset Strip. “I love the first two W.A.S.P. records to death!” he exclaims. “I guess it’s just the fact that even though they come from what one might call the ‘hair metal’ scene, they were always way meaner and darker than any of the other bands like that. Well, Mötley Crüe was mean as fuck, but at least musically, W.A.S.P.—especially the first [album]—was definitely darker if you ask me. I always found that appealing and still do.” To further explain the band’s frenetic sound, Laiho admits that he can’t handle silence, often needing something as simple as ‘90s sitcoms on the TV to help him fall asleep. “I don’t do very well in silence,” he says. “To be honest, that, to me, is way scarier than any sort of chaos around me, whether it be in life or in music. I’ve had my share of turmoil in life, but I’m also always learning how to channel that need for it in the music, as opposed to doing something stupid that leaves me with broken bones and a black eye at the end. Been there, done that. But it also doesn’t mean drama and madness 24/7. It can be as ‘crazy’ as me having to have Seinfeld on when I go to sleep. It’s the dead silence that freaks the living fuck out of me.”






he Australian metalcore group Buried In Verona have gone through a lot of changes in the past, and the events leading up to their latest record, Vultures Above, Lions Below, represent perhaps some of the biggest challenges the band have had to face. While early 2015 continued the success of their previous record, Faceless, it also marked the departure of their guitarist and bassist, Daniel and Sean Gynn, respectively. Eventually, the three piece built themselves back up into a full band featuring Mark Harris on lead guitar and Brandon Martel on bass. On Aug. 7, Vultures Above, Lions Below was released via UNFD/Rise Records, giving fans a taste of a whole new sonic aesthetic and a band reborn. “It just brought a fresh, new, positive attitude to the band,” says vocalist Brett Anderson,

“and when that happens, it’s hard not to feed off that and feel the same way. We are the strongest band we have ever been and this record is the best record we have ever done. I couldn’t be happier.” For their video for “Hurricane,” the band asked fans to submit letters about the negativity in their lives that they wanted to let go of, and then, burned them. “It’s about letting go of the negativity in your life, learning from your mistakes, and moving forward in a positive way,” Anderson explains. “We burned all those amazing letters after reading them, because, for me, it reflects how I deal with my negative issues. I use them as fuel to write my lyrics and when I sing them live or [during] recording, I let it all go.” Fans have noticed that the album’s first sin-



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST BRETT ANDERSON BY NATASHA VAN DUSER gle, “Can’t Be Unsaid,” has a more rock-oriented, less metalcore sound. “We always change as people as we grow musically and emotionally,” Anderson says. “With music, when your emotions change, your music

changes unless you want to make dishonest music, which I think people see through. Write what’s in your heart and mind at the time; don’t write to a style or genre or you’re just lying to yourselves.”

objects we have in our lyrics are that far from today’s world, really. I think “[The] Kalevala” is mainly about different human temperaments and nature and survival.

we have done so many albums together, so he knows already what we want and are expecting. In the past, we sometimes had discussions, like can he write more timeless stuff? I mean, we didn’t want coffee shops or cars in [our] lyrics. He’s writing very poetically, so I think it fits our music very well, as well as what we have done before. I think he has had some rough times in the past, so that’s where he gets his inspiration.

On the title track, did you intentionally mix beautiful music and somber lyrics? Pink Floyd were masters of that… Well, Pink Floyd has been very big influence to us since we started the band. I also think it has always been great combination to us to have that sort of mixture. We might be melancholic most of the time, but music is the way for us to express those emotions. I don’t like happy music with happy lyrics. At least one or the other has to be somber to make it tolerable.



ormed in 1990, Helsinki, Finland, metallers Amorphis have undergone many lineup and genre changes since their inception, and just finished playing a string of 20th anniversary shows for 1994’s Tales from the Thousand Lakes. “It’s been a nostalgic trip,” says guitarist Tomi Koivusaari, “and I couldn’t imagine 20 years ago that we would still even exist after so many years, but I’m glad we are still here.” Now, Amorphis are back with a new full-length, Under the Red Cloud, on Sept. 4 via Nuclear Blast. Under the Red Cloud is similar to the rhyme, “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailors’ delight.” What is the album’s central theme? I think those lines are very much the same world where inspiration came for this album’s lyrics. Under the Red Cloud means,




in this case, that you’re under a threat that something bad could happen. I guess there’s a lot of [lyricist] Pekka Kainulainen’s own life in those lyrics. The theme could be one man’s journey in this world, his beliefs, fears and different phases of life itself. The way he writes and [his] subjects are very similar to “Kalevala” things. [“The Kalevala” is a 19th C. epic poem compiled from Finnish oral history, folklore, and mythology.] Nature is very much present. What significance does the old ways, myth, and legend have in your daily life? I think those themes are still valid, if even more so nowadays. Now, when there is shit happening all over the world, the climate is getting worse, and everybody just wants more and more stuff, values which respect nature should be the main thing now. I don’t think that those

How has your style of playing changed since the early days? I would say my influence from the death metal days would be Paradise Lost, but today, I guess we are also taking influences from our own history. Everything we are listening [to]—and our listening habits are diverse—is affecting to our music in one way or another. I still would like to say Pink Floyd, because that band changed our way to experience and play music. Before that, we were listening [to] mostly metal, but that band had a strong visual element inside their music, and we strive for that same feeling in ours. What Amorphis’ relationship with Pekka Kainulainen? His lyrics must greatly affect the way the band is perceived, but he is only involved behind the scenes… Nowadays, it’s very easy to work with him. Like, this time, we gave him free reign to write the story however he feels. Of course,


Who is the female vocalist on “White Night”? Her name is Aleah Stanbridge from the band Trees Of Eternity. She also sings on a couple other songs as well. She did an excellent job, and her voice is very unique in my opinion. Other guests on album are Martin Lopez [from Soen, ex-Opeth], who played some percussion and Chrigel from Eluveitie, who played some flutes for few songs. Any plans for the remainder of the year? When the album comes out, we will do a full tour in Finland first. Then, we will open for Nightwish in Europe for five weeks or so; huge venues, which will be different from what we’re used to. I hope there will be a chance to tour in [the] U.S. with this album. There have been some plans, but nothing confirmed. I think—or at least hope—we still have some fanbase over there. But we’ll see what’s happening; we certainly hope that a U.S. tour will work out!





ver the past three years, since the release of their Relapse Records debut Possession, the winds of change have been blowing mightily for the Pacific Northwest’s Christian Mistress. Despite gaining an increasingly huge audience for their amazing throwback style of heavy metal, the band have endured quite a few setbacks including lineup changes and album artwork theft by Kanye West. However, they have come out the other end unscathed. On To Your Death— their second album with Relapse, out Sept. 18—the band’s sound is as vibrant, focused, and heavy as it’s ever been. What was the band’s mindset going into the songwriting process for To Your Death? OS: The writing didn’t really start until October 2013 when [bassist] Jonny [Wulf] and I decided  to move up to Seattle to play with Eric Wallace and Aaron O’Neil. Around that time, I was working on the first draft of “Neon.” Being in Seattle kind of changed the tone and set up a different vibe for us. As a whole, we’re just rolling with the punches and getting  inspiration  as we go.  Although I had ideas and direction for where this record could go and how we should approach it, I also understood that people and things change constantly, including members. [Drummer] Reuben Storey and [guitarist] Tim Diedrich, who joined at the end of the process, helped clean this record up. We had to leave a lot of wiggle room this time to adapt and make a record that tells a story or is a document of what we lived though. The album seems both more upbeat and heavier than Possession. Did you have a particular sound in mind? OS: Yes,  we had a deliberate sound and or idea for each song.  I felt the songs being diverse was a good thing.

With this being your second album on Relapse, did you feel pressure to top the first album? OS: Relapse was awesome through all this. They made us feel comfortable and didn’t pressure us at all. They weren’t worried about deadlines or any of the other bullshit that can really ruin the vibe. I feel we were on the same page and just wanted to put out a good record. Where did the idea for To Your Death’s album art come from? Did Kanye’s appropriation of your signature symbol change the art’s direction? OS: Yes, this record will not become a free ad. CD: To Your Death has an illustration by Pedro Felipe, who is an amazing artist. The pentagon shape—which holds the pentagram, of course—shows  the fall of Lucifer, a theme of the song “Eclipse.” However, “To Your Death”—or “TYD”—is the name of the bonus track we recorded in the studio,  which has a separate idea and  music path behind it  than all the other songs on the new record. That track is available in a limited flexi  with the vinyl LP. Are you still angry about the situation with Kanye? OS: I actually laughed when I first heard about it. The whole thing seemed  ridiculous. I’d say it was  mildly  irritating  rather than angering. The Internet press blew it way out of  proportion. It really just makes me think that nothing has changed since high school. You have this popular kid with money who does something kind of shitty to you, and you’re the poor metal kid who gets made fun of for it. It’s a loselose situation.





olumbus, Ohio, dark-punks Nervosas—vocalist and bassist Jeffrey Kleinman, guitarist and vocalist Mickey Mocnik, and drummer Nick Schuld—have been in the Ohio DIY punk trenches for years. In late June, the band began a month long U.S. tour in support of their second self-titled album, this time an LP that was released via Dirtnap on July 10. The record demonstrates a confident and fearless trio with a powerful chemistry, willing to bare their souls and their teeth, and delivering sound that is at once breathtaking and brave, vaguely familiar and uniquely unforgettable. How has Ohio shaped the way that you approach writing and performing music? The only thing that our band has gained from being from Ohio, it seems, is some amount of “Midwestern humbleness” that people tend to say that we have. Also, living in Ohio is cheap as hell and pretty centrally located, so it’s easy to tour without too much stress. Do you see yourself as others have described, as “punk kids playing postpunk?” “Punk kids playing post-punk”… That seems to assume that post-punk is not punk? I’m assuming that you are referring to the new trend of “post-punk,” which I personally view as bullshit and don’t particularly understand. Bands that sound anything like Joy Division label themselves as post-punk because Joy Division was post-punk? It’s like if some kid in art college now considered themself an abstract expressionist. So, no, I don’t view us in that way at all. Sometimes it even feels like a stretch to consider us punks, although I suppose that is how we view ourselves to some extent. Are you more comfortable playing a DIY basement show with punk bands than in, say, a goth club? Does one audience seem to “get you” better than others? As far as comfort and shows go, I always feel good in either situation. DIY shows are great, because it usually feels like people are there deliberately to see a show. Never played a goth club, but other clubs usual-

ly have good sound stuff and that’s nice. I can’t say really who “gets us,” people usually just stand there and bob their heads while they watch us. Is the songwriting a democratic process or does one person drive the Nervosas train? Everybody drives at the same time. Were there some new things musically or lyrically you were hoping to achieve with the LP? What were some things that you tried on this record that you hadn’t in the past? Every band should always be trying to do something new. We definitely aimed to try some new things musically. Specifically for myself, trying to write more moving bass lines, and trying to break away from some of the more typical chord progressions that we had used in the past. Lyrically, I really pushed to make the content much more personal and honest than I had in the past. Viewing lyrics as some kind of fucked up therapy session is something I’m sure a lot of writers do, but it was the first time I had ever viewed it that way, and it turned out to be as much terrifying as it was worthwhile. When did you begin writing the album and how quickly did you get into the studio to record it? It’s hard to say, being that we do everything, including the recordings ourselves. I can say, safely I think, that it took us about two years from when we started to when we finished it. Our drummer Nick Schuld engineered the record. That gave us the opportunity to pretty much do whatever we wanted and take as much time as we wanted. It was beneficial in getting everything exactly to where we wanted it. You’ve got a show with Mark Burgess coming up in the fall. Have Chameleons been a touchstone for the band in terms of influence? Nervosas has a song called “Less Than Human” that I wrote long before I ever heard Chameleons. Their song is much better than ours.









nless you’re getting paid to write hits in Nashville or commercial jingles, writing music should not be work,” Garret Morris, guitarist of Richmond, Va.’s Windhand, muses about finishing their new album. Seven years after beginning, it seems Windhand are about to shake the stoner doom metal world with their third full-length Grief ’s Infernal Flower—out Sept. 18 via Relapse Records—but Morris quashes the hyperbole: “It’d be incredibly narcissistic and just plain ridiculous for us to even think about things in those terms. We’re a band and we write songs.” Fans may take exception to Morris’ modesty, yet it’s understandable. The band are not redefining any genre; they just do it so damn well. After releasing their self-titled debut, they were immediately signed to Relapse. A split 12” with Cough, and then 2013’s Soma quickly attracted attention beyond the underground. Windhand soon cultivated acclaim from both critics and fans, the majority proclaiming the band were getting better with each release. Soma sat atop a litany of “best of the year” lists. Grief ’s Infernal Flower is better than Soma while continuing the formula, as noted by Morris’ humble declarations. “[Our] songs usually represent where we’ve been personally and creatively during the time period in which they were written.” Morris’ and guitarist Asechiah Bogdan’s riffs are thick, slow, and hypnotic. Their pace is tumultuous and churning. To match the haunting and dismal grind of say, “Hyperion,” and all of their dark material, vocalist Dorthia Cottrel croons in a smoky vapor. Her voice commands power, while illustrating a somber atmosphere of melancholy and regret. The rhythms emitted from drummer Ryan Wolfe and bassist Parker Chandler ebb and crash into the audience’s psyche while still gripping the listener viscerally. The solo woven into “Hyperion” is not that of a technical showcase, but simply an elaboration on the songs’ feel. A concise speaker, Morris eschews any notion of hype or pressure impacting the writing of Grief ’s Infernal Flower. Despite the universal lauding of Soma, Morris claims that fans’ anticipations and critics’ expectations did not shape the band’s mindset. “I think success for anyone is just




getting through the day, to be honest,” he says. “We’ve done three records, a couple split EPs, and dozens of tours. I definitely don’t think we’re an overnight sensation or have experienced ‘success’ quickly. These are the songs we had collectively accumulated over several months. The only pressure was to make sure we had everything the way we wanted it.” The nine track album was produced by Jack Endino. Morris explains, despite the initial songwriting process being the same as prior albums, Grief ’s Infernal Flower demanded an objective participant. “It was just time for a change. We recorded all the previous records ourselves at our rehearsal space,” he recalls. “We wanted to leave Richmond and not be distracted by anything. Jack Endino has made records we all love. We have enormous respect for his work. We booked three weeks with him in Seattle, flew out there with a bunch of equipment, and did the record. Everything was written during the five month period while we were home between tours and recording. We were ready to start tracking the day we got to Seattle.” Having a platform like Relapse Records has allowed Windhand to tour as much as they are willing. And they are willing. They have toured fervently since before their first album. From large fests to art spaces, Windhand has seduced many denim-vested longhairs and regular rock ‘n’ roll fans alike. They are celebrating the record’s release with a hometown show on Sept. 18, and following it up with a full U.S. tour— with Danava and Monolord—beginning in October and running until the end of November.





innish psychedelic doom ensemble Dark Buddha Rising’s newest fulllength, Inversum, drops Sept. 25 via Neurot Recordings. The roughly 47 minute album is comprised of two massive tracks, “E S O” and “E X O” respectively, and welcomes three new members to the band’s lineup. Inversum marks the beginning of the “third cycle” of Dark Buddha Rising. What were the first two cycles, and how did you know it was time to transform? After we made Ritual IX, it came very clear for us how to proceed with the albums. The cycles are integrated album ensembles. If you look into our work, it should become clear where we are headed and what these cycles are. The opening of the third one wasn’t a detached event, but a part of the process. Do you prefer to make intentional changes, rather than being guided by the muse? I think that even the intentional is somewhat “guided” process for us. The songs demand what they demand and we do our best to deliver it. The muse has to compromise as well as we have to in order to reach certain level, so we can make the skeleton of the songs. What led you to continue on under the same name after changing three band members? What have the new additions brought to your sound? The former members were more or less completion of the sound, but dispensable. There wasn’t any other choice regarding the circumstances. We feel that this was also a thing that was meant to happen. Now, everything is more dynamic and we can deliver Dark Buddha Rising more profoundly. Of course, the live situation changed from audience point of view, as we don’t have the blood ritual anymore.

You’ve said disarray is reversible. Are we forever mending and rending pieces of ourselves in the process of becoming our true selves? Certainly, until the end and beyond. I don’t believe in perfection, or things becoming complete. I feel that the process is more inspiring than the final outcome. Enlightenment is a blinding hoax, and that is when one should be most vigilant. What significance does the number nine hold for you personally? A long time ago, I became obsessed with triangles and number three, but soon, I realized that beyond triangles and three are multiplied layers. So, three times three equals nine, which led to the study of geometric shapes. I came across the Gurdjieff enneagram, which instantly inspired me as a figure. So, I examined the geometric features, and, based on that, I designed the emblem that we use to focus on. As far as the lyrics and artwork go, Dark Buddha Rising is not just a band for me. It is also my spiritual escape that forces me to think [about] and study this reality and beyond. Is it more difficult to invoke a feeling or transmission in the live or studio setting? They are different approaches to playing. In the studio, you must be open for impulses that are coming through, and in the live situation, you must deliver what came through. Nowadays, we enjoy playing shows and open the doors for audiences. Sometimes, it works extremely well, and we feel like we can lead the audience through different planes of mind. But in the end of the day, it’s up to people, if they are willing to surrender and receive the transmission. It doesn’t matter if most of them don’t; we don’t want to make music that everyone can relate to.



nglish band Black Tongue’s past two EPs—Born Hanged and Falsifier—were masterclasses in the burgeoning sludgewave scene, which takes the inherent heaviness in slower deathcore and magnifies it a hundredfold. When you’ve already conquered a sound and, really, the essence of heavy, the next logical step is to move forward. The band’s full-length debut, The Unconquerable Dark—due out via Century Media on Sept. 4—sees Black Tongue expanding their down-tuned horizons. Dark shades of Behemoth’s blackened death and misanthropic sludge and stoner rock seep into the musical pores of this debut, giving it surprising musical depth. It’s brilliantly heavy without getting bogged down by its own weight. Guitarist Eddie Pickard says of the writ-

ing process, “We didn’t want to write an album that was just Born Hanged 2.0 for 45 minutes. We wanted to keep our original fans happy with the heavy, while making a unique sound. We also wanted every song to speak for itself without the album becoming tiresome on a full listen. We wanted to take our ‘doomcore’ sound and introduce some black metal and stoner rock elements, whilst emphasizing the doom aspect of our sound. To compensate for the fewer number of breakdowns on the album, we decided to make them slower and heavier.” “This album came more naturally to us than anything we’ve ever written,” Pickard elaborates, “so we didn’t actually have to push ourselves at all. We all feel like this is what Black Tongue is supposed to sound like. We know that our genre is usually generalized as being simple to play, which can be true, as it’s very slow with a lot of breakdowns. To combat that, we introduced musical depth, color, and a little technicality to our sound. That being said, anyone going from the EP stage to the debut album stage should be striving to better themselves musically and thematically, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with The Unconquerable Dark. With the increasing number of bands playing similar music to us—slow, low, heavy—we felt like we needed to bring the genre to the next level.”




ardon the pun, but there’s a good reason for Twin Cities, Minn., based band Reflections to be reflective going into their upcoming third album The Color Clear. The album—which is due for release on Sept. 18 via eOne/ Good Fight—is a startling look at despair, depression, and the darkest recesses of the human soul. Musically and lyrically, The Color Clear is a clear departure from Reflections’ past.


Vocalist Jake Wolf has been through so



much the past 18 months. Wolf has battled addiction, and lost his roommate and close friend in a fire that destroyed his home. On top of all that, Reflections have had significant lineup changes, with guitarist Charlie Caswell and drummer Cam Murray leaving. All of that would topple most bands; instead, Reflections’ upcoming third album is a triumphant return for a band and a man seemingly lost. The Color Clear is technical, ferocious, and refreshingly honest. Wolf is quick to reflect on what caused the


INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE PICKARD AND ALEX TEYEN BY NICHOLAS SENIOR The Unconquerable Dark is just as soul crushing lyrically as it is musically. Vocalist Alex Teyen discusses his lyrical inspiration for the album: “In short, the lyrical themes of the album are an exploration of nihilism and misanthropy. […] It is an account of a person who can only see the darkness mankind has to offer, framed by fantasies of its undoing. It draws heavily from personal experience, and was an incredible outlet for a great deal of toxic thoughts and ideas I had accrued—and am still accruing—whilst battling depression, as well as a way of dealing with personal loss. Regarding the style and tone of the lyrical content, a more metaphorical and, at times, even gothic approach has

been leaned upon for this album, which is where my true passion lies.”

band’s changes: “After Exi(s)t came out, it was a real disappointment. We didn’t work as a band; it sucked.” He continues, “I’ve had a problem with drugs and alcohol for a while, and it wasn’t until 2014 when my friend past away in our house fire that I quit drinking. It was such a crazy experience, all the things that went wrong and the aftermath: having to go on tour right after that and knowing that there was nothing to come home to and one of my best friends was gone. So, I started using LSD therapeutically instead of recreationally and it changed my entire world, the way I think and see things and what I look for in the world. It made me look at the things that go completely unnoticed. Honestly, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to hold myself together if it wasn’t for that.”

things, I hope to get people to not feel the way that I do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m not still laying in bed wishing I didn’t have those things I hate about myself.”

The Color Clear is not for the weak-hearted, as it tells the tale of person at their lowest, then proceeds to delve deeper into the darkness. “The writing process this time around was super emotional,” Wolf says, refusing to shy away from the truth. “I am depressed every single day of life. It sounds weird, because I’m not saying it in a way to get you to pity me. I do appreciate the things I get to do, because through those

You can catch Black Tongue this fall on Carnifex’s Decade Of Despair Tour, with The Last Ten Seconds Of Life, Within The Ruins, and Lorna Shore. Pickard is both candid and coy about his hopes for the album’s release: “We have high hopes for this album. With Century Media’s backing, we are hoping to be able to bring our crushingly dark, heavy sound to higher levels and wider audiences. We hope that all of our existing fans and future listeners get as much out of this album as we do. Also, world domination would be nice.”


Unlike on previous albums, the lyrics on The Color Clear aren’t obscured with clever devices. “I did not want to be metaphorical when writing the lyrics,” Wolf says. This album is meant to be brash and cathartic, an album for people who are going through depression and dealing with the darkness. The best way to counteract the darkness is to let it all out, and there’s no question Wolf let everything out on this record. The band are hitting the road this September with Toothgrinder and Exalt, with many more dates in the planning stage. For those looking for an energetic and chaotic live spectacle that appeals both to your primal and higher sensibilities, Reflections are a perfect fit.







afe To Say’s latest EP, Hiding Games— out now on SideOneDummy Records—is a pretty noteworthy EP, not only for the Ontario quartet, but for any band. The EP is definitely a step up for the group as they push the boundaries of pop punk in an ambitious yet natural way. When talking about the new EP, frontman Brad Garcia can barely hide his enthusiasm. “We started writing this over two years ago,” Garcia reveals. “I doubt we’ll ever have that much time to do something like this again. We got to be really attentive to how we want to present our band, both aesthetically and sonically, and we’ll probably never have that freedom again.” Two years is a long time to spend on any project, let alone a six song EP, but it is clear that it was the perfect amount of time for the group to fully realize their sound. While most people know Safe To Say as a quartet, they actually entered the studio as a three piece, having amicably split with their previous guitarist Travis Morrison. “Touring wasn’t for him,” Garcia states. “It’s totally understandable. He just wants to do school, and that probably makes the most sense for people our age.” Garcia admits the band had no plans to add a fourth and it wasn’t until the trio started to really dive into recording that they considered becoming a quartet again. “We’d known our producer Cory [Bergeron] for a while,” Garcia remembers. “He had his own studio up in Ottawa where we ended up recording, and halfway through the process, we realized that he was the missing ingredient to the band. He

had such a big hand in rewriting the songs and all of his ideas fit so perfectly with what we we’re trying to do. We actually would have had Cory join originally, but he lived five hours away from us. Once we saw how well things were working and he casually brought up that he could make it work, it was a quick decision to make him officially part of the band.” While most bands go through member changes without much adjustment, Garcia was quick to point out how much Bergeron’s addition really helped the band realize their sonic vision. “He’s only the second youngest in the band, but he’s the most grown up by far,” he says. “He owns his own house and studio. It was really nice to have someone so levelheaded and on top of their shit.” Having someone that sensible was integral for the young band as they dealt with a level of freedom that few bands will ever attain. Since the band were recording at their nowbandmate’s studio, the constraints most artists feel while recording were virtually nonexistent. “We had all the freedom in the world to take our time and try as many stupid things as possible,” laughs Garcia. “Part of the reason it took so long is that I didn’t write songs just to write songs,” he explains. “It was two years since our first record, and two years in a band makes a world of difference. You start figuring out that you don’t necessarily want to play songs or make music—you want to play your songs and write your music.”




hape Of Despair are highly lauded masters of funeral doom. These Finns have been harvesting sorrow and gloom since 1998. Aside from flirting with new material in 2010—with the two tracks on Written in My Scars—fans have been lamenting the band’s absence since 2004’s Illusion’s Play. 11 years later, Shape Of Despair have birthed their strongest platter of mammoth riffed melancholy yet, Monotony Fields, available via Season Of Mist as of June 16. Rejuvenated by a new vocalist, Henri Koivula, and armed with a new batch of depression-drenched tracks, the band have been honing their live show. After 10 years, what made now the perfect time to release a new album? There were all kinds of things postponing us: personal issues, family life, other bands, laziness, lack of inspiration for everything. When we made Written in My Scars EP, we also parted ways with our previous vocalist. But, maybe that was actually the thing: having a new vocalist, we were working on our live shows first. I had a few songs ready. But if we compare those to the songs on the album itself, it’s good we got rid of them. How do you feel Monotony Fields fits into the band’s discography? Perfectly. I think that every release we’ve done, we’ve got different kinds of material and approach. But what’s important for me is that the atmosphere is that familiar Shape Of Despair inside. Even though we have these years in between these two albums, there’s clearly our sound and atmosphere on Monotony Fields. It is our sound, even though there’s a new singer. The sound is far better than on previous releases. I’m damn satisfied how we managed to capture the sound, still keeping the heaviness and ethereal soundscapes side by side. Themes aren’t straightforward suicidal or self-hatred, but more thought based, seeking solutions. Would you discuss the writing and recording process? In 2012, [guitarist] Tomi [Ullgren] and I sat down for some ideas I had. I remember we finished “Monotony Fields” entirely. That was probably the first song and first guideline we had for the rest of the material. [Vocalist] Henri [Koivula] worked alone with the lyrics. Composing went really well and quite fast actually. At least it felt that

way, since I wasn’t doing everything by myself this time. We started to record this album at the same time actually when two of us were touring with Finntroll. We had time since we didn’t have a label yet. Tomi suggested we use Impaled Nazarene’s regular guy, Tero Kostermaa. He is a talented guy. We used two spots mainly: Citylights Studio—old Hellhole where we recorded the previous albums—and a rehearsal place Tero had access to. We recorded everything within the few months of time. Actual recording days were only a few, since we tried to use only weekends. We could’ve made this in two weeks, but we chose to do this more freely, which wasn’t such a wise decision after all. Mixing was the most stressful I ever remember. Tero had all the files, and sometimes, we didn’t get any news for a few weeks. We couldn’t really control the flow as we wished. The final stage was the mastering process at Finnvox. All in all, this whole recording to a final release took about one and a half years. Quite long, but less than those 10 years. Were you always into the darker, more cynical aspects of life? I wouldn’t say always, but almost. I wouldn’t go digging in my youth that much, but I wasn’t too interested in living a normal life. I guess there were times when you wouldn’t care less what was going on, or even what you missed. I was quite suicidal, especially when I drank more and got some kind of kick out of trying some stupid things. I guess every teenager does. Nowadays, it’s just more hidden than earlier. Do the emotions in these songs fit into your daily life? How do they impact your friends and family? In the past, it wasn’t anything else than music; breathing the music and its soul, so to speak. Mostly, I just played music, wandered in the woods, and didn’t eat or sleep that much. I remember also that this way, I got quite good inspiration. Nowadays, it’s the same almost. Music is my life. It’s always in my head, even when there are not that many chances to create. There is family and job along with everything else. There’s no way to keep me out of my own music. I’ll create music even without arms if I have to. People have all kinds of hobbies, this is mine.






IDLAR—the reigning champs of Southern California’s raucous garage punk world—are set to release their highly anticipated new album, Too, Sept. 4 on Mom + Pop Music. The success of their 2013 self-titled debut propelled the band to an unexpected level of notoriety. Of course, in typical FIDLAR fashion, the band pay little mind to their newfound status as figureheads of a burgeoning punk movement. FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper says the band remain bent on navigating their career in the same free spirited manner that they always have. Because, after all: Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk. “It’s weird,” Carper says, reflecting on FIDLAR’s current position as punk statesmen. “When we started, there wasn’t any scene, so we created our own thing. When I say created, I mean we just played house parties. We never really fit in the whole garage rock world at first. We were too punk for the garage scene and too garage rock for the punk kids, and we were just too loud for the indie crowd. So, there was this weird in between. Like we really didn’t know where to play or what venues to play, so we just played house parties.” Thankfully, the universe had other plans for FIDLAR. Their manic live show and penchant for writing killer tunes quickly helped the band expand from the house party circuit to landing a deal with Mom + Pop Music and eventually touring the globe. “The first tour we ever did was with The Hives, and from then on, we were on tour for like three years pretty much,” Carper recalls. “Every time we’d get back home, the garage rock thing just kept growing and growing, which




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST ZAC CARPER BY JAMES ALVAREZ was weird for me, because that wasn’t around when we were starting out.” The young band were greeted as conquering heroes upon their return home and their debut album, FIDLAR—filled with slacker anthems like “Stoked and Broke”— became the blueprint for legions of disenfranchised youths looking to party. “The first record was just so fast and crazy and chaotic sounding. For me, I kind of wanted to try something a little different,” Carper says of the new direction the band explore on Too. FIDLAR’s trademark crowd surfing anthems are still there, but they’ve been remolded and injected with a revolutionary new concept: dynamics. “It’s a little more mellow, a little more melodic,” Carper says. “We tried to learn ‘loud, soft, loud,’ instead of ‘loud, loud, and louder,’ you know?” To help navigate this bold new sonic terrain, the band enlisted the help of acclaimed rock and country producer, Jay Joyce. “Picking him was the scariest thing ever,” Carper reveals. “There were a couple of L.A. producers we were going to do the record with, but then we met [Joyce] and—I don’t know, but for some reason, it just felt right. We got inside the studio and just let things happen. Usually, a lot of producers have an idea of what they want you to sound like, but for him, it was kind of like a journey, you know?” Carper credits

Joyce’s tenure as Nashville’s avant-garde production wizard with helping the band flesh out their rich new sound on Too. “That country music stuff,” Carper says fondly, “they know melody and lyrics, and they’re really good at guitar tones, man.” Boasting a collection of tracks like “Sober” and “Bad Medicine”—along with rerecorded songs the band previously released online like “Punks” and “West Coast”—Too features the right amount of precision guitars and infectious hooks to appease FIDLAR’s devoted fans and impress waves of newcomers upon its release this September. The song generating the most buzz is Too’s lead single, “40oz. On Repeat,” and its ‘90s centric music video that has taken YouTube by storm. Directed by Ryan Baxley—Carper’s brother-in-law and secret quasi fifth member of the band—the clip finds FIDLAR doing their best Sugar Ray, Weezer, and KoRn impersonations, parodying some of the finest music videos from MTV’s golden era. “We were talking about how ridiculous it was in the ‘90s,” Carper explains, “how ridiculous the music videos were and how much money they probably spent. So we did it, sort of paying homage to that era, but we did it with our versions on one budget in a cardboard cutouts style. It was wild and really funny. A lot

of our stuff kind of comes out like that in general. Even in writing music, a lot of it is pretty humorous and tongue in cheek.” But humor is often a coping mechanism. FIDLAR’s laugh out loud music videos and upbeat tunes often overshadow the bleak and tragic themes in Carper’s lyrics. Topics like drug abuse, loss, and alienation are just easier to digest over rad surf rock beats. This ingenious songwriting sleight of hand is something Carper learned from his musical heroes. “Green Day nailed the happy, sad song thing,” Carper says. “You could be bummed out listening to Green Day or you could be stoked listening to Green Day. I love Elliot Smith, too. I love sad music, because it kind of makes me feel better for some reason. The first record in general, and especially the new one, they’re all really sad songs. They’re all songs written on acoustic guitar, played really slowly and sad. By the time I get it to the band, and with the help of the producer, we work to turn it into a rock ‘n’ roll song.” Garage punk magicians, maybe rock ‘n’ roll wizards… Whatever you want to call them, it looks like FIDLAR have this sad, anthemic songwriting equation down and show no sign of stopping.








fter so many years of full time touring, I realized I hadn’t been able to just go watch shows as much as I’d like,” says indie singer-songwriter Koji. “That sent me on a spree of seeing bands like Guided By Voices, Built To Spill, Mission Of Burma, Superchunk, etc. Those shows reconnected me with how exciting it was to hear new sounds and discover new possibilities in music—and that realization that you can progress [and] do what you want. It freed my spirit in a way to just create without overthinking it. It’s the most fun I’ve had in the studio.” Sometimes the best inspiration can come from taking a step back from your own




creative process and watching the efforts of others. At least, for Koji, that’s what inspired his latest EP Fury, available via No Sleep Records. “Fury came by surprise,” Koji explains. “The writing just flowed and I interrupted another recording session just to record those songs with my band. Every once in a while, music can overtake you and you’re just along for the ride.” The four tracks that make up Fury are a blend of soft indie rock with a contemporary punk message produced by Koji’s long time producer and friend Will Yip. “Working with Will Yip for the last four years has been one of the most important things to happen to my craft and career,” notes Koji. “He’s one of the brightest minds in music today and beyond that, he operates with a positive soulfulness that just radiates pure musicality and artistry. It’s an honor to be counted among the artists he’s worked with.” Though Koji works as a solo artist, in studio and on tour he tends to work with a full band. This time around, his music was brought to life with the help of guitarist Chris Sigda of the band Likers, bass player Rodrigo Palma, and drummer Willie Rose. “My favorite track is the title track and in a close second is ‘Question,’” Koji says. “I can’t say enough how fun the songs are to play with a full band. […]

It’s the best Koji line up to date, and I’m honored to have worked with them on the record.” Alongside the release of Fury, Koji landed himself a spot on this year’s Vans Warped Tour. However, while many Warped bands view the tour as an outlet to reach more fans and make new connections, Koji took on the tour as a new lens to see the world. “It’s been such a crazy perspective from which to view the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, as well as the headlines about Sam Dubose and Sandra Bland. We have so much work to do on racial justice, gender equality, LBGTQ issues, hunger, health care, education, and so on. So to be able to sing and to speak out for human rights here at Warped is a true honor.” Koji doesn’t just voice his opinions at his shows, he has also spent a majority of the tour proactively promoting his Peacemaker project through The Giving Keys, a foundation dedicated to fighting homelessness in California. “In April, The Giving Keys reached out to me about doing a custom key,” explains Koji. “They create these beautiful jewelry pieces out of used keys that say different messages, and the idea is that you purchase a key that resonates with you and pass it on when you no longer need it. I knew right away that

I wanted to put ‘Peacemaker’ on my key in honor of my friend and fellow activist, Nate Henn. Nate was killed by a suicide bomber in Uganda five years ago.” Beginning in July, the keys became available through The Giving Keys’ website, as well as through Koji’s merchandise table on Warped, with 85 percent of the proceeds going to help end homelessness in America. “The keys have been sold out for several shows now,” says Koji. “Every day, kids come up asking about the keys. The thing that is most inspiring is the stories from the places we visit on tour. I love hearing about how people are making a positive impact on the issues they face in their town. It’s an honor to celebrate my friend Nate Henn as well as the leaders in each community that we stop in. I am so inspired by their examples.” The success of Koji’s limited edition key is just one of the many ways he has promoted and benefitted the causes he believes in. Through his latest EP, live sets, and simple day to day actions, Koji presents a peaceful yet proactive example of a strong voice in the music industry seeking change in the world today. Koji wishes to continue helping and vocalizing about many contemporary issues in the world, and makes sure to add that he’s “got a lot of singing to do” in the near future.






e knew that we wanted to try something completely different,” says Loma Prieta vocalist and guitarist Brian Kanagaki. “What’s the point of trying if you aren’t always progressing and working on becoming better at what you are passionate about?” Loma Prieta have been a strong force in the Bay Area hardcore scene for quite some time now, but with the release of their upcoming fifth studio album, Self Portrait, their fans are about to hear a whole new side of the band. Come out on Deathwish Inc. on Oct. 2, Self Portrait is set to launch a brand new chapter for the Loma Prieta sound. “We have been thinking more about songwriting in terms of verse and chorus,” explains Kanagaki, “push and pull, builds and crescendos. So, whereas we have written songs that were very linear in the past, songs that are flashy because of impossible [and] breakneck changes, we are sort of organically moving toward writing songs that are driven more by melodies and very driving rhythms.” No band ever wants to make the same record twice; in this industry, your music needs to perpetually evolve, and Loma Prieta are well aware. Thus, the sonic progression from 2012’s I.V. to Self Portrait can be heard in the dynamic created on the band’s latest 7’’ release. The promotional EP debuts Self Portrait’s first single, “Love,” with an older, previously unreleased track entitled “Trilogy 0 (Debris)” as a B-side. “When writing I.V., we didn’t have time to get to every song that we had in mind,” explains Kanagaki. “There was a lot left over and one of those songs evolved into ‘Trilogy 0.’ It seemed to exist both before and after the other trilogies [the tracks ‘Trilogy 4,’ ‘Trilogy 5,’ and ‘Trilogy 6’ off of I.V.]. It’s a song that we wanted to release, but it wasn’t necessarily a step forward, so we didn’t think it deserved a place on the new LP.” While “Trilogy 0” may not have been the perfect fit for Self Portrait, it did work as a perfect transitional song to help listeners digest the movement from I.V. to tracks like “Love.” “[‘Love’] seemed like the best song as an introduction to the new material,” notes Kanagaki. “It bridges the space between our older songs and the songs on the new LP. We didn’t want to release something too ‘out there.’ There are definitely songs that are better in our

opinion, but not necessarily good singles. This record as a whole flows very well and some songs need context. ‘Love’ is a strong stand alone track that is a subtle glimpse into our new direction.” As “Love” displays, there is a more organic flow to Self Portrait than previous Loma Prieta records, due in large part to working with producer Jack Shirley. “Working with Jack is great,” says Kanagaki. “We are very comfortable around him and that’s really important when trying to open up and be creative. We do a lot of things productionwise that other engineers might not want to try to tackle. I’m sure we are terrible and annoying to work with, but Jack seems to get that we are trying to push the boundaries and push ourselves musically.” Shirley even let the band track an entire song for the record improv style in one take. Loma Prieta headed in a direction further from the scattered noise of their earlier days, and closer to a progressive, post-hardcore flow. “We’ve been moving toward writing music that is rhythmically more driving and less chaotic,” Kanagaki says. “I think that’s pretty apparent with the new songs. We have pretty particular tastes in melodies and rhythms, so even though the new material is very different from I.V., it still somehow sounds like the same band.” As the release of Self Portrait approaches, Loma Prieta have begun playing some of their new tracks on their latest European tour. Along with debuting their new sound, they’ve also discovered some new aspects of their performance. “We finally realized that we aren’t a band that people want to rock out to and go crazy,” explains Kanagaki. “People want to sit and just watch us play. […] We view the whole set as a performance; it’s meant to flow as one piece. We don’t talk, there’s no banter. We try to string it all together into different movements, we try to make it as organic as possible. […] Sometimes, it’s noisy and chaotic, other times, it’s more reserved and pulled back. It makes more sense to us this way; it’s always an honest performance.” Kanagaki may humbly downplay the excitement people have at their live shows, but he cannot downplay the anticipation for this new era of Loma Prieta. With their new, out of the box, it will be a journey to see where this new style and record take both the band and their fans.









ill Janus is a peculiar combination of extremities: a graduate of the Juilliard School of performing arts, a model for Playboy magazine, an unrepentant pagan, and, most importantly, lead singer for the band Huntress. As frontwoman for a band that infuse moments of thrash and black metal into classic heavy metal, Janus’ unique attributes and operatic vocal range are captivating metal aficionados everywhere. The band’s third studio album Static is due out Sept. 25 from Napalm Records. As with the previous two records, the songs on Static are filled with dark imagery and occult subject matter. “All three Huntress albums are a trilogy,” explains Janus. “[They are] a tribute to the Triple Goddess, also known as Hecate. Each album represents the Goddess in phases: Spell Eater [2012] is the Maiden—youthful, sexual, and aggressive; Starbound Beast [2013] is the Mother—patient, nurturing, and intuitive; and Static is the Crone—wisdom, darkness, and death.” The role of the goddess extends to the album’s art. “Vance Kelly created the




artwork for all three Huntress albums,” Janus discloses. “He wanted to capture the vibe of my stage persona; the image on the cover was developed on tour. The Crone or ‘The Static Monster’ is a vicious, horny old cunt. Someone you would not want to seek unless you desire wisdom. Those who hear this record should desire to go deep. I have many secrets woven beneath the notes and within the music.” Janus has suffered with various mental illnesses almost her entire life, a subject that has finally come into play in a positive way on Static. “I would laugh, but I might start crying,” she confesses. “My mental illnesses have been a challenge [with the band] since the start. My Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia have finally been revealed in these new songs. I rejected that aspect [of my life] for years. My bandmates were the ones to encourage the visibility [on the new record], even though I terrified them. ‘Mania’ is about the struggle I face every day being Bipolar. My longing to end the Schizophrenia and multiple personalities that have plagued me for years is ‘I Want

to Wanna Wake Up.’ If I didn’t have music, I would be in prison,” Janus states matter of factly. “My mental illness is crippling, but music makes life possible. For a lifetime, I have lived for music, I’ve always known my purpose. The darkness that stifles me is released into the songs, shifting into beauty.” “Most musicians feel the way I feel,” she says. “I’m more extreme than most, getting telepathic with the Annunaki—deities in Mesopotamian cultures—and speaking in tongues; such strange behavior, I’m sometimes ashamed. But all of that eccentric shit would fall on deaf ears if it weren’t for my bandmates. Huntress would be nothing without [lead guitarist] Blake Meahl. He is my savoir.” At an early age, Janus was attracted to metal and punk, but, “[my mother] refused to let me ‘screw up my voice,’” Janus says. “I was born with a four octave range, so my mom insisted I perform in musicals and operas from the age of 10. As a teenager, I was performing in legitimate theatre

productions while singing in a Misfits cover band. I fell in love with Suicidal Tendencies, and that was the first band to really inspire me to be a metal vocalist.” “I don’t think of myself as a female singer,” admits Janus. “As Lady Macbeth so eloquently stated in Shakespeare’s bloody Macbeth: ‘Unsex me.’ I do not relate to female singers. The exception is Ann Wilson of Heart. I’m a little embarrassed to be a woman in heavy metal. I know I’m annoying. But I can sing the fuck out of anything and I won’t stop because I’m not welcome. Rob Halford of Judas Priest, King Diamond, and Danzig… They inspire me vocally,” she continues enthusiastically. “[However], the title ‘female-fronted’ carries a stigma I would love to abolish. But, I know this is how humans comprehend things, they want labels. I’m not here to change the world. I live for my purposes, but being forced into a category makes me irate.”




n order to understand the creative process behind Cattle Decapitation’s newest opus, The Anthropocene Extinction, one must go back a few years to their previous album, 2012’s Monolith of Inhumanity, and the reaction it garnered from the metal community. On Monolith…, the band broadened their sound quite a bit, adding touches of melody and slower, doomier passages to their brutal sound. It garnered quite a bit of praise and, in addition, won over a lot of new fans. When it came time to work on a new album, the band had one simple goal in mind: they wanted to top Monolith… “When writing Anthropocene, we at the very least wanted to make as good a record as Monolith…, but obviously we hoped to excel above and beyond that effort,” says guitarist Josh Elmore “We took the positive attributes from Monolith… and tried to turn those up to 10. The result is—to me—a more streamlined record as it compares to Monolith… The brutality is there as always, but the tunefulness has improved in my opinion.”




In addition, the band—including vocalist Travis Ryan, bassist Derek Engemann, and drummer David McGraw—again decided to use producer Dave Otero at Flatline Audio in Denver, Colo. In fact, using him on the new album was an easy choice for them. “We were pleased with the studio experience and outcome of the Monolith of Inhumanity sessions, so going with Otero again was a no-brainer,” says Elmore. “Tracking with him is a breeze, as he has a way of getting the best out of a performance without putting uncomfortable pressure on you. His ear is impeccable. You can be playing a long, complicated sequence of notes, and he will pick out notes that aren’t necessarily wrong, just ‘not awesome’ and have you do it again until it is awesome. He chooses the path that will ultimately lead to the best possible outcome for the record. We trust him with seeing through politics and interpersonal issues to get the best results.” In Elmore’s opinion, the band has hit their creative goal with the new album. “I think it is a more refined take on the direction we were heading with Monolith…” he says. “When writing Anthropocene, we took a cutthroat approach to axing riffs that

weren’t working as we would have liked or weren’t knocking our socks off. With time, we become pickier and pickier, so despite that being a pain in the ass when writing, the result is that much better for us. At times, Anthropocene is more straightforward than Monolith… However, that doesn’t translate to a less ripping quality. The music remains brutal at its core with tasteful touches of melody when appropriate.” He is not kidding. Anthropocene takes the best parts of Monolith… and improves upon them. The album is still very brutal—befitting a Cattle Decapitation record—but there are more moments of roughhewn melody, giving the record a certain dynamic quality that is missing in most modern death metal where playing it safe is the general rule. Metal legend Phil Anselmo lends his pipes to “The Prophets of Loss,” while Author & Punisher adds an industrial introduction to “Plagueborne.” In addition, Jurgen Bartsch of Bethlehem adds a spoken word piece in German for the closing track, “Pacific Grim.” Even as Cattle Decapitation change up their sound a bit, one thing remains the same: Wes Benscoter’s album artwork.

The band has a working relationship with the artist going back to 2002. Elmore says they keep going back to him because they really like the blend of social commentary, tasteful gore, and realism in his art. Elmore adds that the illustrations for The Harvest Floor, Monolith…, and now Anthropocene perfectly reflect the music contained on those albums. “Since Travis is the lyric writer and shapes the concepts and subject matter of the records, he and Benscoter have forged a good relationship,” says Elmore. “Wes is able to interpret and present the visual representation of Travis’ vision perfectly. The cover art and insert photos are a great visual aid. Songs such as ‘Pacific Grim’ and ‘Manufactured Extinct’ delve into the topics of the Pacific Gyre and the results of our unchecked use of plastics in our single-use society. Looking at the cover of the album, it is easy to see that image as the end point of this type of carelessness.” This just proves that the more things change, the more they stay the same. In this case, Cattle Decapitation are still producing boundary pushing death metal, wrapped up in provocative art that makes listeners think and question their surroundings.




STEVE VON TILL A Life Unto Itself











INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER JONAH LIVINGSTON BY NICHOLAS PENDERGAST While lots of thrash bands are singing about beer, parties, and more beer, Ramming Speed set the bar a bit higher with punky, thrashy dbeat songs about social injustice and the current political climate. Their sophomore album, No Epitaphs, dropped Sept. 4 via Prosthetic Records. The new album sounds very Disfear, like the first two Megadeth records slept with Tomas Lindberg at a Stockholm squat for a few months, and out of that came No Epitaphs. How much influence does European metal have on your band? We were definitely trying to channel catchy Swedish dbeat through heavy metal. We listened to a massive amount of Judas Priest, Disfear, Martyrdöd, etc. while writing. I think we’re an American band in that we’re not worried about screwing with metal, twisting it, turning it, and rubbing it in filth to make it ours. There’re definitely some big Euro fest guitar harmonies and double bass parts in the new songs that seemed to go over well this summer, but under all that is the framework of an American DIY band. Ramming Speed’s music could make your nose bleed, but the lyrics are actually really inspiring and thought provoking. Are you ever concerned that the music may overshadow the message? We always write the music first. The lyrics are important, for sure, but they’re usually a way of making the song matter after everything else is finished. I don’t




think either one really overshadows the other, but I do wish more people took the time to read the record insert to see what the screaming is all about. We’re not wasting air; there are a lot of reasons to be infuriated and we spend a lot of time picking our battles. There is an image floating around the Internet of Edward Snowden wearing a vest with a Ramming Speed patch. Why is it important for metal to relate to the political crises of the world? Extreme music can be so powerful, but the speed and volume and aggression aren’t as impressive without intelligence and thought behind them. I don’t care if lyrics are personal or political or whatever— they need passion and conviction if they’re going to move people. “Don’t Let This Stay Here” touches on NSA illegal wiretapping, but what other social issues do you touch on throughout No Epitaphs? What is “Choke Holds and Bullet Holes” about? For all of the anthemic riffs and Maiden-y guitar leads in the new songs, the lyrics on No Epitaphs were mostly fueled by anger at the injustices and failures of modern life. “Choke Holds…” is our way of showing solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The bloodshed from our racist criminal justice system is impossible to ignore, and I can’t think of a more pressing issue in America right now. In “Truth To Power,” [vocalist] Pete

[Gallagher] sings about the right wing’s attempt to rebrand Martin Luther King Jr. as their hero, and how the powerful will always try to rewrite the history books. He also sings about being crushed by debt, the failures of capitalism, and the media’s role in pushing us toward war, among other things. Do you think being true to your own creative vision has hurt you or helped you in terms of being recognized by the metal community? If anything, we’re just five normal dickheads trying to have a good time together, getting the evil out onstage, seeing the world, drinking beers. I think it might have hurt us not having more of an “image,” but all we can do is be ourselves. We work insanely hard in the practice space writing these songs, so regardless of anything else, I hope metalheads and punks all over can put aside any preconceived notions and give this record a high volume spin. This is our moment; this is what people should remember us by. There are some killer solos on this album, like on “The Life We Choose” and “Break in the Chain”… [Guitarists] Kallen [Bliss] and Blake [Chuffskin] are both super talented and unconventional shredders. We went into these songs with a lot more confidence than on past records, and set both of them loose to go as wild as they wanted.

We joked about wanting to be the Van Halen of dbeat, and once the train left the station, it was like, “Fuck it, unleash the Ferrari riffs!” Scott Ian recently said that the music industry has hit a pitfall, and a lot of underground artists are feeling the hurt. How is Ramming Speed dealing with today’s music industry? Financially, this band has always run at a loss, but that’s just how it works for probably 99 percent of artists. We would fucking love to go on tour and come home with rent money, but in this day and age, it has to be about the love and not the pay off. It used to be, “It’s a long way to the top.” In 2015, it’s a long way to the middle.


New summer releases from Topshelf Records: Sorority Noise Joy, Departed



The band’s sophomore full length album. FFO: Brand New, Modern Baseball "Sorority Noise have learned to channel their energy towards their arrangements, which have become more sophisticated, confident, well-produced and also more vertiginous in all aspects." -Pitchfork “[I]rresistible pop hooks, big Weezer-esque shreds, orchestral swells, grunge breakdowns so heavy they'll crush you into oblivion." -Noisey

Donovan Wolfington How to Treat the

Ones You Love CD / VINYL / DIGITAL


The band’s sophomore full length album. FFO: Ceremony, Ovlov, Joyce Manor “[D]istorted guitar rock at its finest.” -Noisey “[A] diversely alluring sophomore album” -Billboard

Infinity Girl Harm



The band’s sophomore full length album. FFO: The Sea and Cake, My Bloody Valentine “Harm's melodies are encased in swirling atmospheric cyclones, the debris of which -- a keyboard twinkle, maybe a sudden loud/soft moment -- occasionally smack you in the face.” -Billboard “[A] lush, emotive piece of work...” -Stereogum




The band’s third studio full length album. FFO: Pele, Explosions in the Sky “toe continues pushing the already nebulous boundaries of post-rock with apparent ease.” -A.V. Club “[E]cstatic, noodly, complex pop songs that unfold in less than five minutes.” -NPR

Wild Ones Heatwave



The band’s follow-up to 2013’s Keep It Safe. FFO: Purity Ring, CHVRCHES, Alvvays “Heatwave is pop perfection from start to finish.” -Drunken Werewolf “[A] soothing and comforting blend of dazzling piano and dream pop rhythms. Sullivan’s voice washes over the lush instrumentation, adding a sense of clarity to the tracks... It’s an elegant record, sparkling with layers of sonic exploration and pop structure.” -Consequence of Sound

New releases coming from Happy Diving, Suis La Lune, Enemies, Ratboys, Innnity Girl, Weatherbox,Wildhoney, Boys Life, Moving Mountains, The Saddest Landscape, Pretend, Special Explosion & more.






ou’re standing in the middle of a field, in the middle of Tennessee, in the middle of June. Throughout the day, you’ve seen bands like Hozier, Belle And Sebastian, My Morning Jacket, and Childish Gambino. Now, you’ve grabbed a churro and settled by one of the main stages. However, instead of being greeted by the safe, soothing sounds of indie-folk darlings Mumford & Sons, you begin basking in the glow of an intimidating red light, which gives way to a wailing wall of feedback, followed by a tribal drum intro with chanting. All of a sudden, all hell breaks loose and you are now the property of Slayer and their raging, psychotic war ensemble.


t this year’s annual Bonnaroo music festival, not only did the band completely destroy the preconceived notions that “hippies hate death metal,” but they provided a stunning glimpse at just how far-reaching the impact of these titans of ‘80s thrash really is. “Slayer has become some sort of subculture,” states Gerardo Martinez, label manager of Nuclear Blast Records. “It’s funny, you can have people who aren’t really metalheads, but their favorite band is Slayer. I think Slayer is like the people’s band. They’re the one band that—don’t be surprised if some big time lawyer is a huge Slayer fan, the same way a construction worker is a huge Slayer fan. I think they tap into all the demographics and that’s the beauty of Slayer.”

is their steadfast refusal to be held back. With former drummer Paul Bostaph back in tow, and Exodus guitarist and thrash metal icon Gary Holt holding down Hanneman’s spot full-time, the band have continued to soldier on without relent over the past two years. Though many have criticized their decision to carry on without Hanneman, for guitarist Kerry King, there was no other choice. “At the end of the day, do I wish Jeff and Dave were still here? For Jeff, absolutely. For Dave, for continuity, of course. But things come up and you have to move on,” insists King. “At this point in our career, it’s definitely fired up. Gary makes us better. He’s a mean motherfucker of a guitar player, so he keeps me on my toes, and Paul is just a machine. He had a 10 year stint with us

it’s not hard work. Some people obsess over stuff like that, but I go in like, ‘If it feels good, fine.’” Naturally, transitioning from having two main songwriters to placing those duties on the back of one person can be a very stressful situation. Fortunately, the band began the process early enough to give them plenty of time to work out the bugs. “If I would have waited until Jeff passed to start writing new material, it would have been a gigantic burden,” admits King. “Luckily, I was smart enough to—when Jeff got injured, I said, ‘I don’t know if this guy is gonna come to the party at all, so I better start writing stuff.’ I had a ton of stuff by 2013. So, over that long time period, it wasn’t such a burden, because I had basically the better part of four years to make this stuff up, go on tour, and

from Def Jam/American Records, and subsequently signed to underground titans Nuclear Blast Records. Choosing a new label, especially in 2015, is never easy, but they were confident they would be in good, capable hands with Nuclear Blast. “We know Slayer inside and out as far as musical terms go, so for us, we knew that we could do the job,” Martinez states. “I think both [the] band and management realized we were the right team for the band, especially at this crucial moment for them. I think Slayer in 2015 is more relevant than even 10 or 15 years ago.” Due to their departure from Def Jam/American, Repentless marks the first time in almost 30 years that the band did not work with legendary producer Rick Rubin. For King, this change was worked out well. “A producer to me, is a guy who’s there before I’m there and leaves after I leave,” he says. “[He] gets his hands in it and makes it his own as well, and Terry [Date] was awesome to work with like that.” This is the legendary producer’s first time working with Slayer, and the choice was a no-brainer. “I had been friends with many of the band’s friends over the years, but hadn’t met with them,” explains Date. “I’m always excited to work with people I would hang out with outside the studio.” Despite the massive pressure that comes with producing a Slayer album, Date’s approach to the album was unfaltering. “I feel every record I work on is important to the band’s career, this was no different. I just wanted to represent the band as accurately as possible.”

As the band laid waste to the Bonnaroo crowd—much like they have crowds the world over for three decades—they appeared completely indestructible. However, the entity performing onstage at festivals like Bonnaroo and Mayhem Fest this summer and gearing up for the release of their 12th studio album, Repentless, is a completely different beast from the one formed all those years ago. For this incarnation of Slayer, the construction truly began in February 2013 with a very public and dramatic separation from drummer Dave Lombardo. A few months later in May, they were struck with tragic news that guitarist and cowriter of some of their most iconic riffs, Jeff Hanneman, had passed away. For a lot of bands, this tragedy would have been a deathblow. However, one of the reasons that Slayer are such a dominating force




in the past and he has his own particular Slayer fans, which is pretty cool too.”

come back and see if I still liked it, which we didn’t have on previous records.”

In addition to fans being upset that the band was carrying on without Hanneman, the announcement that Repentless would feature minimal contribution from guitarist Gary Holt only made things worse. According to Holt, though his contribution on the album consisted mostly of showing up and shredding solos, it was actually a big relief compared to his normal duties in the studio with Exodus. “It’s liberating not to have to wear 20 hats,” he says. “I just went in and did my thing, and everybody was pleased and stoked with what I did. That was that. It’s nice after a career of always having to sit behind the controls, so to speak. I went in and busted ‘em all out in a day. Playing solos ain’t exactly rocket science. I mean, it’s fun. I don’t mean to say

Even though the band got a head start on the writing process, it’s still incredibly difficult losing someone they’ve written with for three decades. For King especially, there was an immense amount of pressure to make the new album sound awesome, but most of it came from within. “The main thing I felt was, I better come through, because if I don’t come through, I let Slayer down, I let the fans down, I let Tom down,” he says. “I wanted to make this a great record that people are gonna say, ‘You know what? This is still Slayer and I can’t wait to go see ‘em!’” Over the past two years, change seems to be one of the only real constants for Slayer. On top of their altered lineup, the band departed

Among the major benefits of Terry Date’s work on Repentless, the most beneficial is without a doubt his powerful production. “I think it’s definitely heavier and I love the production,” Holt exclaims. “I think the guitars are the biggest that Slayer’s ever had on a record; they’re like huge! It sounds killer and Terry did a phenomenal job.” Despite all of these changes over the last couple of years, at their core, Slayer have never changed. Repentless is easily the band’s rawest and heaviest album since 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss, and their dedication and durability are major reasons they’re still operating at such a high level after all these years. “Slayer’s never sold out, they’ve always remained true,” says Holt. “Some people obsess too much over the past. What you need to concentrate on is that you’re still talking about a band that’s remained true to its core sound for its entire career. How often do you find that?”









The Beltones (Reunion) / The Hotelier / Chumped / The Sidekicks / Elway / Pianos Become the Teeth / Tim Barry / Masked Intruder / Riverboat Gamblers Smoke or Fire / Defiance, Ohio / Mikey Erg / Iron Reagan / Night Birds / Restorations / Young Widows / Banner Pilot / Copyrights / PUP / Beach Slang / FOXING Jeff Rosenstock / Drug Church / Signals Midwest / The City On Film (Full Band) / Crusades / Kepi Ghoulie / Tiltwheel / Chris Farren / Annabel / Heartsounds / Timeshares Prawn / Great Cynics (UK) / Old Flings / The Murderburgers (DE) / Banquets / Frameworks / We Are The Union / Spraynard / Crocodiles / Look Mexico / Blacklist Royals Direct Hit / Arms Aloft / Such Gold / Cayetana / War on Women / Dikembe / Steve Adamyk Band / Superheaven / Loma Prieta / Lee Corey Oswald / Pet Symmetry / Nothington The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die / Toys That Kill / Underground Railroad to Candyland / RADON / The Gamits / 350+ BANDS!





harder to believe? The fact that Motörhead has survived long enough to release their 22nd album, Bad Magic, or the fact that it is one of the best of their long and storied career? As the band celebrates their 40th anniversary, it’s kind of trite to pontificate on how impressive their legacy is. You see, Motörhead can’t be a proper “legacy,” because they are still one of the most powerful and relevant bands playing rock ‘n’ roll.

Making it four decades is clearly an impressive feat, and you can count the bands who have successfully pulled it off on your fingers and toes. While they all have different reasons for their success, Motörhead’s continued success this deep into their career can be attributed to one thing: “I believe in it. I really believe in it, I believe in rock ‘n’ roll,” says frontman, bassist, and deity Lemmy Kilmister. “I think that rock ‘n’ roll is a much better religion than religion is, because rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t let you down.” While the band’s recent albums like 2013’s Aftershock and, now, Bad Magic—which dropped Aug. 28—have received rave reviews from fans and critics alike for being milestones of heavy-hitting rock ‘n’ roll, Kilmister doesn’t necessarily see it that way. “It’s all derivative, since about 1958. Ever since then, we’ve all been playing what they played,” he admits. “It’s the same sort of beat, it’s just the voices changed and the guitars have changed, but it’s still the same music.” For all of its impressive and punishing riffs, one would assume a fair amount of planning went into the




making of Bad Magic. However, like most aspects of Motörhead’s career, the album’s success really boils down to the band’s unfuckwithable demeanor. “We don’t try to do anything, we just do it,” Kilmister says. “And that’s half the battle. You can’t plan an attitude.” While there wasn’t a ton of planning on the band’s end, they did do one thing a little differently. Bad Magic marks the first time that their current lineup—which includes guitarist Phil Campbell and drummer Mikkey Dee—wrote and recorded an entire album in the studio together. But this wasn’t Kilmister’s first goround with this recording style. “It was pretty much the same,” he shrugs. “We did a lot of albums where we all went and did it together, because we would have run out of money if we had relied on overdubs. It was more or less the same, three bozos rather than one bozo.” When your life reads like a storybook, you don’t have to look far for lyrical inspiration. Throughout Motörhead’s career, one of the most consistently strong elements has been Kilmister’s ability to weave stories throughout his lyrics. His inspiration comes from

everywhere, but particularly from his favorite authors, such as Stephen King. “I read books a lot,” Kilmister explains. “I don’t watch the TV. I don’t wait till it comes out on the TV show. I like to talk about it while it’s still in the book, because books are so much better than movies. Even if you read a book that inspires you not to be like that, it’s still a good influence, right?” Though his lyrics are mostly fictional, they do contain a modicum of truth, particularly on Bad Magic’s opening track “Victory or Die” in which Kilmister mentions seeing a UFO flying overhead. “I did, you know. It was in 1966, before I did any drugs, before I drank alcohol,” he admits. “We were coming back from a show in Yorkshire, and I saw this thing come over the horizon at about a thousand miles an hour and stop dead in the sky; we still don’t have anything that does that, right? They weren’t even close to inventing it, you know? There were four of us who saw it. We stopped the car and got out to watch it. I saw it, and then, it zipped off from standing still to original speed across the horizon on the left. We still don’t have shit that does that.”

After 40 years in Motörhead and an additional 10 years in various other bands, one might assume Kilmister is close to hanging it up, but he realizes that music isn’t just something you can quit cold turkey. “That’s the thing with music,” he says, “you don’t lose it, it’s with you the rest of your life. Even if you stop doing it, you can still hear it night after night in your head, so I think it works pretty good.”








ax Cavalera has dedicated his life to heavy metal. The man’s accomplishments— from the early days of Sepultura to his recent supergroup, Killer Be Killed—is the stuff of legends. Now, Cavalera’s pride and joy for the last 18 years, Soulfly, are poised to unleash their 10th and most punishing studio album, Archangel, Aug. 14 on Nuclear Blast Records. Let that sink in for a second, folks. How many acts are getting wilder and more extreme on their 10th album? “My mindset for this was, I wanted to do something very different than the other Soulfly records,” Cavalera reveals. “Especially Savages, which I love, but Savages was more about the groove and the production. Terry Date produced it and did an amazing job. It’s the best sounding Soulfly record of all, but I wanted,




sonically, something opposite from that.” And by opposite, Max means a balls-out extreme metal update to Soulfy’s trademark groove metal sound. Cavalera describes the overall vibe of Archangel as being “influenced by Behemoth and Belphegor, more extreme. The fast stuff is even more fast, it’s more aggressive.” Aggressive is right. Archangel boasts some of the heaviest songs of Soulfly’s career. The head bobbing grooves that we’ve come to love and expect are still there, but the enormous influx of brutality is undeniable. The album even features guest appearances from King Parrot’s Matt Young and Nails mastermind Todd Jones, two of the metal underground’s most promising bands. Songs like “Sodomites,” “Deceiver,” and the album’s title track hold their own against any modern extreme metal act’s heavi-

est jams and truly represents a new benchmark in Cavalera’s storied career. And this is the guy who brought us “Arise” and “Territory.” “We Sold Our Souls to Metal” is Archangel’s first single and also serves as a perfect summary of the album itself. The song is an anthemic celebration of being a metalhead. “It’s something I always wanted to write,” Cavalera gushes, “an anthem for the music I love.” Inspired by the work of his heroes who influenced the early thrash metal movement—“Discharge, Black Flag, and Motörhead,” he says—the tune is the perfect punk-metal hybrid designed to spark maximum crowd participation. “The song itself is pretty basic. It’s a simple thrash song,” Cavalera explains. “It’s a very simple song, but I think those are the hardest to make right. Because it’s so simple, it’s right on the borderline of generic, but you can’t let it go past that line. It’s got to stay simple, but be exciting enough to be cool. We paid attention to the song and did it the right way.” Like most things in his life, the latest Soulfly album is a true family affair for Cavalera. Archangel marks his seventh collaboration with Soulfly lead guitarist and

brother in arms, Marc Rizzo. “I think me and Marc are definitely the backbone of Soulfly,” Cavalera reveals, “When I found Marc, I knew I was going to stay with this guy for a long time.” After making his debut on 2013’s Savages, Max’s son Zyon is once again manning the drums, and pushes his playing to an unprecedented new level. “He hated the recording of Archangel, because we really worked him,” Cavalera says of Zyon’s trial by fire in the studio. “On the song ‘Archangel,’ there’s this huge double bass part. It sounds killer, like Behemoth or some really elaborate death metal. Zyon wanted to do it with one bass drum, but [acclaimed record producer] Matt [Hyde] is like ‘No, no, no, go back to the double bass, brother!’” “You want to be in Soulfy, you got to suffer!” Cavalera says playfully. “I think it made him a better player at the end of it. Some of the rolls he’s doing remind me of Dave Lombardo. I never know what he’s going to do next and I wanted to capture that on the record.” After close to two decades—and now with 10 albums under their belt—it’s impossible to pin down what Soulfly will do next, too. If Archangel is any indication, it’s going to be ridiculously heavy.



.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless’ career in music took root at age 2. “My first memory of anything in life: I was 2 years old and I remember hearing Chuck Berry’s ‘Sweet Little Sixteen.’ And you might ask how is it related, well, it is very related, because [if] the first memory of anything you have in life is a song like that, obviously it motivates you. That set me on that path and, music being what it is, I think the creative spirit is always looking to stretch the boundaries of where it can go.” Since the band’s inception in the very early 1980s, Lawless has watched the music industry change in ways not many would have imagined. Mostly, it’s the changing business model that has caused the evolution—or devolution, as Lawless calls it—within the industry itself. “Well, the evolution or devolution can all be tied to one thing right now, which is largely the Internet,” he says. “If you look at the sales model that Ahmet Ertegun created at Atlantic Records in the ‘50s and ‘60s, we used that sales model for 50 years, all major labels did. The Internet comes along and shatters that model. What that model was able to do was literally to corral people, to harness them and move them in a direction at the same time; in other words, create a movement.” Despite the power of the Internet, it provides too many choices to have the same effect that major networks used to have. Lawless says, “The Internet is not able to do that, because

W.A .S.P. INTERVIEW WITH BLACKIE LAWLES S BY GABI CHEPURNY it’s so fragmented and it’s got so many wide hit. That’s impossible to do; the choices. 70 million people watched machinery, that mechanism doesn’t The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. That exist anymore. As much as we really would never happen again. There despised it, to watch it work, when it were limited choices, you only had was right, was an unbelievable thing three major networks, and now the of beauty.” choices are infinite. You’re never going to be able to corral people or to Despite the changes, W.A.S.P. is still lead them in a direction of being able releasing new material. Their most to do that again.” recent effort, Golgotha, harnesses the heavy sound that the band is known Many have been wondering what for while still sounding fresh. The this means for bands and performers band recorded it at Lawless’ own stugoing forward, and how they are sup- dio and retained complete control posed to get careers started. Lawless over production, except for mixing admits that he doesn’t know how a which was done by producer and forband is supposed to get started these mer Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader. days. “Consequently any genre is As Lawless says, he and W.A.S.P. are gonna suffer because of that,” he con- taking fans on a lifelong journey, one tinues. “When we were all on major that’s based in truth. labels, we hated them, but at the same time, we understood that they had “We’re writing down what we see and, the power to make things move. If for any artist, that’s where the truth you released a single, and they want- is,” he explains. “You’re not gonna ed somebody in Japan to get on board take an audience on a lifelong journey and they wanted somebody in France without doing that, you’ve got to tell to get on board, they made a call and the truth, or at least the truth the way it all happened that day. If your song you see it. How long can you keep was happening, you had a world- writing about your girlfriend’s red

high heeled shoes? It might work for a little bit, but if you’ve got any artistic sensitivity, you can’t stay in that same place. I mean, you can, but if you do, you’re just somebody who makes records, you’re not an artist.” Regardless of what has been happening throughout the industry, there are still a few parts of it that will always remain the same. Lawless explains, “Recording has technically changed and the concept of the Internet cannot be underestimated, [but] I do know one thing: that a good song is a good song. And it doesn’t matter when and where it is, people are gonna find it. They’re gonna seek it out. And so, at the end of the day, that’s really what you’re looking for in any band. It starts and stops in the song. You can have all the pyro in the world, you can have an amazing stage presentation, which is great, but it’s gotta be rooted in the song. And that part of the business is never gonna change.”








Every band has a narrative. It could be personal, technical, or even existential. Consider your favorite band for a moment. You likely can recite their entire narrative—the important overarching concepts, or the narrative as it relates to you, the listener. Memorization of names and faces and dates and places—a skill we all mastered as early as elementary school history class—has proven to be a valuable one. Think about it. Looking back, you might have said, “When am I ever gonna use that stuff?” But the stuff itself didn’t matter; the way we learned it became the important lifelong cog in our brains. Because of our learned ability to memorize, we can map out timelines inside our heads for nearly everything: we can remember when our favorite band formed, released their first album, played their first show, and perhaps most importantly, when that band entered our lives. Every band has a narrative, but it’s an external one, mostly applied and recited by outsiders. Defeater has one, too. The band formed over a decade ago in Boston, a city steeped in American history, much of it bloody and ugly. They’ve released three albums and an EP, beginning with 2007’s Travels. 2011’s Empty Days & Sleepless Nights was, for lack of a better term, their breakout record, a sprawling, cathartic take on aggressive modern hardcore that was as accessibility as the genre has probably ever been. Then came Letters Home in 2013. Defeater’s fourth album, Abandoned, will be out Aug. 28 via their new label Epitaph. It is possibly the band’s most well-rounded work to date. But Defeater have as much of an internal narrative as they do an external one. The band’s entire discography— their entire being, really—is one large overarching concept, centered around a fictional working class New Jersey family and the people who enter and exit their lives in post-World War II America, at the height of the country’s power and influence which undoubtedly came at an incalculable expense of many of its own people. It’s a densely novelistic narrative, full of darkness and alcoholism, familial conflict, and catastrophic violence all enabled by the unspeakable horrors of war, no doubt subtly infused with notes from vocalist Derek Archambault’s own life experiences. Abandoned, specifically, is about a Catholic priest initially drawn deeper into his faith by his war experiences before his life tragically unravels. Abandoned is not the first time Defater have veered outside the family and the confines of their story. 2009’s

Lost Ground EP centered on a homeless African American WWII veteran turned street performer—“The Prophet in Plain Clothes” from Travels—who returned home not to a ticker tape parade, but racism, poverty, and strife. But the new fulllength feels like a way for the band to expand this universe they’ve created while maintaining similar themes. In theory, this story could go on forever. Archambault says that the slight shift “was something we discussed within the band, to let the story splinter off in different directions. It’s not just about the family; it’s about all of these people who have come in and out of their lives and sent them on these journeys and into these dark places that make up the story. We wanted to show that there’re more people than just those within the family churning the story.”

[Bruce] Springsteen, Todd Rundgren, Gram Parsons, they’re all incredible storytellers.” Of course, every great story needs an ending, whether that ending is an exclamation point, a period, or most often, an open-ended question mark. Archambault seems more optimistic about Defeater’s future than he did a few years ago. “I think maybe if you asked us three years ago, we probably only thought we had another record in us. But times change, things change, people change.” The band’s new deal with Epitaph seems to have breathed new life into the band. “We thought we only had one more record, because that’s all we were set to release with Bridge Nine,” he ex-

plains. “I feel like, three years ago, we didn’t have the opportunity to release more records with a label like Epitaph, we weren’t touring as heavily, we had had a couple breaks before my hip problem. There’s definitely no shining light giving us motivation to keep going, I just feel like the band’s in a better place now.” “As far as the story goes, I’ve been thinking about it and developing it much more the past couple years just internally, in my head, and thinking about where I could take it from here,” he adds. “But even though there’s never been a record that doesn’t involve these characters in one way or another, the band is the story.”


Like almost any work of fiction, Abandoned and the rest of Defeater’s discography is injected with and inspired to some degree by real events. Archambault says there’s “no clear cut number” on what is fiction and what is truth, just that the story “is written and inspired by real life as far as my life, my bandmate’s lives, my family, friends of mine; like anything that’s fictional, it is [still] generally influenced by fact.” When asked if he feels boxed in as a songwriter by Defeater’s concept— even as it becomes less rigid with Abandoned—Archambault lets out a laugh and says, “It’s something I enjoy doing. I think I found a niche for me, and I think I’m slightly good at it.” “It’s all just storytelling, though,” he continues. “Not every song I’ve written for Alcoa or the multitude of other bands I’ve been in was fact. It’s not just, ‘I’m feeling a certain way, I’m gonna put it on paper.’ I feel like a lot of those songs sound like you’re reading out of a teenager’s diary. My favorite songwriters and authors pull you in with gripping storytelling.” Storytelling is what Archambault’s favorite songwriters do best, and, listening to Defeater’s music, it’s not hard to hear that he’s doing everything he can to embody that spirit. His favorite band is The Clash, and he’s quick to credit Joe Strummer as a massively important and unheralded storyteller and songwriter. “Strummer’s name doesn’t necessarily get thrown around as one of the best songwriters, but I feel like there’s much more depth to him than he ever got credit for with The Clash,” he says. “I feel like those last three solo records explored why he is such a brilliant songwriter.






he Seattle riff mongers in Black Breath are back with another slice of sinister and mind-bogglingly barbaric metal jams, Slaves Beyond Death, out Sept. 25 via Southern Lord Records. The band’s third full-length finds them exploring even more ominous sonic terrain, crafting the heaviest and creepiest album of their career.

McAdams says, referring to Sentenced to Life. “With this, we just wanted to try the other thing. Let’s put intros on top of intros, do weird ass shit and see what happens.” Even Slayer couldn’t make Reign in Blood part two, so they went darker and churned out South of Heaven. The lads in Black Breath have gone a similar route, summoning some of the gnarliest riffs from the great metal abyss and creating a genuinely creepy atmosphere on Slaves Beyond Death that would have made Jeff Hanneman grimace with delight. The

album’s title track, along with bruisers like “Arc of Violence” and “A Place of Insane Cruelty,” stand tall as some of Black Breath’s heaviest and most knuckle dragging tunes ever. Then, there’s fast numbers like album opener “Pleasure, Pain, Disease” and “Burning Hate” that find the gang melting faces like before, but with insane lockstep precision. The shifting tempos and stop on a dime changes become even more impressive when you consider that the band’s drummer, Jamie Byrum, was still recovering from getting hit by a friggin’ car when they began recording. “Our


Expanding on the critical and mosh pit success of their last release, 2012’s Sentenced to Life, Black Breath have refined

their proto death metal meets hardcore sound on Slaves Beyond Death, and the results are completely bludgeoning. Black Breath frontman Neil McAdams describes the band’s approach to the record, saying, “We talked about things in a broad sense, about wanting to do things a little bigger.” Where Sentenced to Life was like a wildly unhinged thrash/crossover locomotive, barreling through speakers just shy of derailing, the band decided to go the slower and heavier route for album number three. “We just did something short, to the point and very aggressive,”





drummer Jamie, he got hit by a car and broke his leg in four places,” McAdams reveals. “He was in recovery for over a year. He was still in recovery when we went to record. His drumming across the whole record is great, considering the fact that his leg was swollen as hell while he was playing.” Slaves Beyond Death finds the band dabbling in new tempos and exorcist friendly tones, while their lead screamer explores the depths of his vocal range as well. Don’t worry, there’s no good cop vocals or off key crooning anywhere near this album. Instead, McAdams fleshes out a more pronounced and tortured howl on

Slaves Beyond Death, graduating from the frenzied hardcore inspired bark of their previous records. “My kind of approach is to stay fluid with what you bring to the table,” he explains. “You really need to stay open minded about what is going to end up giving you the best overall product— even if it means doing something outside of your comfort zone. I had never sung like that before I entered the studio at all.” Of course, great things tend to happen when you record at GodCity Studios. Slaves Beyond Death’s crushing and uber haunting vibe is the byproduct of another successful collaboration between Black

Breath and production wizard/Converge guitar scientist, Kurt Ballou. “I love working with Kurt,” McAdams says. “He’s an awesome dude and he’s really, really good at what he does. Having already done two records with him, he already knows what it is we’re looking for and it just works out really well. He would show up whistling riffs from this record and humming shit off it, and we’re like, ‘Well, if he’s into it, it’s going to work, because he’s very picky about what he gets into.’” Slaves Beyond Death is audibly pummeling, has Kurt Ballou’s singalong stamp of approval, and features some beautifully

twisted cover art courtesy of Italian artist Paolo Girardi. But what exactly does the title mean? “Harvesting souls to do your bidding in the afterlife,” is McAdam’s response. “It’s what the Zodiac Killer talked about in his letters. That he was killing people so their souls would be his slaves when he died. But then, there’s also an overarching theme that eternity is kind of slavish any way you look at it. Whether you’re in heaven or hell, you’re still trapped somewhere forever doing someone else’s bidding. No matter how you look at it, it’s still cruel.”




treyu are back and better than ever. Armed with a strong love of Swedish melodeath and ‘80s arena rock, the SoCal group was one of the most beloved in the ‘00s metalcore scene for good reason. Each of the band’s first three records is a classic of the genre, but most people wrote the band off after they announced a hiatus in 2011. With underperforming major label albums and a strong sense that Atreyu’s passion was burning out, most assumed the band was dead. But Atreyu are most definitely alive and well. Vocalist Alex Varkatzas recalls the whole ordeal. “It was like waking up in the morning. There wasn’t much thinking about it; it was a very easy process. Four years ago, the band was in a spot where we had done everything a band like us could do at the level we were at: Ozzfest, Mayhem Fest, Taste Of Chaos, Warped… We were really just a bit run-down. We’d been going full speed since we were about 19, you know? So, we just really needed to recharge the batteries; the way we operated the band, it was all encompassing. There wasn’t much room for personal relationships, so it was just the right time to take a break. We felt like it was close to us getting to that point where we’re beating a dead horse, and we didn’t want to be that way. We didn’t want it to get to the point of oversaturation. We wanted to give it a rest and see if our hearts were still in it later on. Fast forward four years, and [guitarist] Dan [Jacobs] starts kicking around the idea of doing a 10 year reunion show for The Curse, which turned into writing ‘So Others May Live,’ which turned into, ‘Let’s make a record and play more shows.’” Love Live is an outstanding return to form. The band’s upcoming sixth album—and first for Spinefarm Records—is due out September 18, and Atreyu couldn’t have served better notice of their unexpected longevity. The album is a winning collection of glorious riffs, stadium-ready choruses, and—in a move that will please longtime fans—free of Varkatzas’s singing. Put simply, Long Live is the best Atreyu album yet, eclipsing even those early fan favorites.

You can get carried away trying to do all this stuff on a record, and we wanted to go back and think to ourselves, ‘What would an alternate A Death-Grip On Yesterday sound like?’ To me, this new record [is what] would have come instead of DeathGrip. There’s no melodic singing from me on this record, and I think when we took that turn, it changed the course of our band. It wasn’t a conscious decision on our part, but looking back, I don’t like singing as much as I like screaming and jumping around, being me. On this record, I felt like I was me again, and that led to a more aggressive, throwback feel.” Long Live has the passion and energy of a whole new band, combined with the experienced songcraft of seasoned veterans. Varkatzas agrees, “We wanted to get back to that Atreyu feel, whatever the fuck it is about us that people connect to and that we connect to. That raw, visceral thing, whether it’s anger, sadness, or passion. There’s something about us that connects to some people when we play this music. I feel like that connection hasn’t been there, so it’s nice to really feel that again with this record. What’s great about Long Live is that we feel that spark again, but we didn’t go about it the easy way by just trying to rewrite The Curse.” The band are going to be very active this fall. They are heavily hitting the festival circuit in September and playing some record release shows before embarking on a headlining tour throughout the U.S. Varkatzas is very excited to get these new songs out live, speaking with an enthusiasm normally associated with young acts. It highlights why Love Live is so successful, and why—against all odds and expectations—Atreyu is back and better than ever. The fact that the band’s unexpected resurrection is this impressive is just the icing on the cake. Varkatzas is somewhat coy about the band’s future: “I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m honestly just enjoying the ride, and I couldn’t be more excited for these next couple months.”


Varkatzas describes the album’s writing process, saying, “We wanted to make a more passionate and raw record that just happened to have an aggressive feel to it. We didn’t want to have singles. We just wanted to make an overall great record.










ew bands have the “progressive post-hardcore alt-metal” genre on lock quite like Coheed & Cambria. Due in part to having a discography consisting entirely of concept albums based on vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez’s comic book series “The Amory Wars,” over the course of their career, the band have consistently caused minds to simultaneously expand and explode in a manner even Rush could respect. After a decade of crafting lyrics that read like a psychotic mixture of “Game of Thrones,” “Avatar,” and “Star Wars,” dealing with heavy topics is not an issue for Sanchez and the band. However, when choosing a lyrical theme for their eighth album, The Color Before the Sun, Sanchez decided to touch on the heaviest topic of all: real life experiences. No mages, no Monstar viruses, no 10 speed bicycles, just a collection of 10 songs that deal with the emotional highs and lows of the human experience.


While it’s obviously fun to write about fantastic journeys through the 78 planets of Heaven’s Fence, according to guitarist Travis Stever, journeys across the planet Earth can also provide lyrical inspiration. “Really, it was a personal decision for Claudio, he started working on songs having to do with his life,” explains Stever. “It’s always been his decision to throw his life and all of the symbolism into this concept, so it was his decision to say, ‘I don’t want to have these songs be conceptual; I want them to just be personal songs that I’ve written [that] come from a place of what’s happening in my life, and therefore, come from a place in the band’s life.’”




Though the desire to write more about personal experiences led them to nix the sprawling, massive concepts for now, it was their consistent adherence to concept albums that truly inspired this change. “I think that it was [also] people not believing that we, as a band, can go do something that’s just a record. [They’re] just, like, creating a boundary for Coheed & Cambria, that because we have this name and because there’s this concept, that we can’t just make a record. I think that, for

Claudio and the band, it’s something that’s important to us to let it be known that there is no boundary, that we can just go make a regular record.” One of the biggest changes for the band during the creation of Color Before the Sun was their decision to record the album in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce. “If we were gonna do it with somebody and have them be a part of making this record, we wanted it to be something different,” admits Stever. “Jay Joyce, his approach and everything about it seemed very appealing to try something different.” The band witnessed an immediate impact on the band and album thanks to the studio’s unique energy and atmosphere. “It’s still a Coheed record, but what it ended up doing is making us push to have a completely different approach with cutting it live and the equipment that he has in his studio,” Stever continues. “I think, perhaps, if we set up and did it in a random house, it wouldn’t have had the same energy that we got out of having recorded it at his studio.” Though recording in Nashville literally took the band far from home, their preparation for the album took them far from home figuratively as well. “We had done a lot of the work in Claudio’s basement, like preproduction going through the songs,” says Stever. “Claudio had a real set idea of what he wanted out of a lot of the songs, so basically, us working together in his basement is really where it happened, designing and making the songs what they were gonna be when we performed them at Jay Joyce’s studio. So, it was very different for us on that end.” Of all these changes, the biggest had to be recording live onstage in a cathedral with Joyce. “We’ve never done that. There’s definitely an energy that came with that,” exclaims Stever. “I think that the record has this organic, live energy, because, as a band, people have always said when you go to see us live, you’re getting this power that’s a little bit stronger than on the record. So, basically, with this record, you’re going to get Coheed live—it’s just live in the studio, for the most part—so that’s exciting to be able to tell people that you did that. I think that’s a huge growth and maturity for the band.”







ver the past year, I have been producing various songwriters and recording stripped down records at my house for a session label I call One Week Records. Those records are 10 songs recorded live with some overdubs in a week’s time. The idea is to capture a performance without all the editing, tuning, and other techniques that remove the flaws. I believe those flaws make the recording and the artist an individual. People are naturally flawed, and that is what they have to offer that is unique and special. Those records had a large effect on my approach to Stitch Puppy. I wanted to try to record predominately live with minimal editing. The limitations can be real positives. Second-guessing can lead to benefits too, but songs will often drastically differ from where you began. Sometimes, years later, I will find an original demo and think, “What happened?” That won’t be the case with Stitch Puppy, because the piano and guitar were recorded live and mostly without a click or metronome. My writing partner and close friend Brian Wahlstrom and I recorded nearly every track live together. Before the Stitch Puppy record, I had never recorded live for a studio record. I have always seen a record as a chance to strive for something better than you can produce normally, and that is still something I see as valid. There is an art to the microscope and an intensely analytical recording process, but, the thing is, all my favorite recordings by other artists and bands have always had that raw energy of a pure sound without all the bells and whistles. There is often something about that demo version that is so honest and pure. Stitch Puppy came out sounding a bit more lo-fi, like a demo. I do

imagine all the things I could have done to make it more precise and polished, but I know it’s the right thing for me at this point in my life. Most importantly, it only took a couple weeks to record. That was great, because I was never lost or out of the moment. Only time will tell if the record stands up to other records I have made that had a more meticulous process, but the bottom line is: it feels good to be brave and let things go. It feels honest and I am glad I did it. Another thing that makes Stitch a bit different is the piano presence. Brian Wahlstrom played on nearly every song on the record. Piano just adds so much tone to the tracks. Like bass guitar, it fills in the blanks and completes the underlying tonal bed for the vocal and other melodies to sing. All that piano sets it apart from my other music. Brian Wahlstrom is a soulmate, musically speaking. He is an incredible musician. He completely gets what I do musically, and when we write and perform music together, he always challenges me. The cello player on the record is my dear friend Serina Chang. Serina’s great. She is one of those people who you want to spend all of your time with, because she is so positive and fun. I composed some of the parts Serina played, but there are many moments where she just improvised and all of those parts made the cut. She is gifted, and I am so lucky to have her presence on this record. She just added so much depth. I wish Brian and I could tour with her. Her day job and passion is in the tech world and, if I am not mistaken, I think she played a large role in the development of those smart watches people are wearing. So, I imagine music remains a part time passion for Serina.

I had a few singers on the record too. Yotam Ben Horan from Israel’s Useless I.D. and Chris Cresswell from Toronto’s The Flatliners. Great guys, great bands. Both are close friends and added something very special to each song they sang on. The songs on the record are all inspired by friends, family, and places I regular, and the issues I have encountered this last year. At the center of the lyrics is a symbol: a doll named “Stitch Puppy” by my daughter. Stitch is a doll my daughter and wife made me a few years ago. He is my most prized possession. I keep him by my bed when my daughter and I are not animating him in a stop motion film. I don’t know how they did it. They somehow made a figure that appears to have wisdom and figurative scars. He has a defeated yet accepting appearance. He holds a bouquet of flowers top down to his side like he was waiting for someone who never showed up. I think of him as a representation of purity, strength, and sometimes, a numbness that comes from loss and grieving. Stitch is a sort of Victorian mourning doll. I see empathy in him. He reminds me others suffer more than I do. He brightens my day. I am a grown man but, honestly, this doll calms me like Vicodin. I dressed as him for the album cover and a video. He is green and has no hair, so I had to shave my head and paint myself green. We shot all over San Francisco. It was funny. People had all sorts of reactions. Most would simply say, “What are you filming?” in hopes it was for something far more high profile. Some were almost violent though. They seemed so offended by the character and his warranting film. People are unpredictably odd to me. I imagine Stitch Puppy would feel the same way.







rooklyn, N.Y.’s Worriers have dubbed themselves “an American melodic punk collective,” and their challenging yet catchy songs are a vehicle for the songwriting of vocalist and guitarist Lauren Denitzio, formerly of The Measure. Worriers’ new album Imaginary Life is out Aug. 7 via Don Giovanni Records. How does Imaginary Life stand out from Cruel Optimist? What themes are present on the album? Imaginary Life is our first real full-length and it was written with that in mind. I think it holds together as a body of work a bit more in that way, as well. It’s the happiest I’ve been with anything I’ve recorded, and I think you can hear the difference. This record is probably more overtly political, while keeping in mind personal experiences, or more personal aspects to those political views.    You’ve said that this record is a sort of alternate universe fantasy, a world of “what if?”s. Definitely. All the songs take that into account to a certain extent, even if they’re talking about hoping for things to be different and acknowledging that those worlds could only exist if certain social things were fundamentally different. Maybe that sounds disheartening, but I think the songs are generally hopeful.




“They / Them / Theirs” is an incredible anthem for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Are these situations that you see in everyday life? I think gender identity and the gender binary are things I definitely think about every day, and am constantly confronted by other people’s conceptions of those things. It’s not always entirely negative, but we live in a world where patriarchal notions of gender roles and heteronormativity are still so strong. While I might try to insulate myself from those things, they don’t go away entirely. I think I’m constantly trying to navigate how to exist in that world, which has been difficult and painful at times. But the song was written from a place of letting go of some of that and not caring as much about what other people say, assume, or expect me to be. I can’t speak for everyone in the band as one gender, but I think everyone stands behind me in the general sentiment of the lyrics. Three out of four of us are queer, and I’m just happy the band reflects that aspect of my life pretty clearly.  “Yes All Cops” touches on a huge hot button issue in America. Are you receiving any blowback on that song? We really haven’t received any negative feedback on it at all, or any necessarily strong feelings about it. I think it’s a difficult thing to talk about, or maybe more difficult to want to bring up in casual conversation, but is important to have discussions

about. I try to make it really obvious—even through lyrics—how I feel about the police, or about people choosing to become police or to call the police. So, if a song about that spurs conversations about those things, and about racism and discrimination among the police, then that’s awesome.   What sparked the incredible vocal melodies on “Parts”? We really went to town with the vocal melodies on every song after recording them, and only some of them stuck around for the final record. Lou Hanman—who recorded a lot of the vocal harmonies in the U.K.—thought of the basis for a lot of the harmonies. But Marc Jacob Hudson, who recorded the record, actually really liked working on three part harmony, and has experience working with gospel groups. We sat there thinking of these swelling harmonies on that song for a while, just having fun with it. We toned it down a bit, but “Parts” in particular kept a lot of the harmonies we wrote.    How was working with Laura Jane Grace as a producer on the new album? We were on tour with Against Me! for a string of shows as a way to get to know each other, work on the songs, and for Laura Jane to hear us play live. She was great to work with and really generous with us. It was a great experience to have an objective opinion really pushing things during

arranging and recording the record, and I learned a lot during the process. Laura Jane and Marc are both really talented, and I feel lucky to have spent so much time with them on this project.   Lou Hanman also plays in Caves, but has relocated to New York. Is she going to continue doing both bands? Caves is absolutely still a band, and they’re playing FEST and working on a new record. Their LP Leaving is coming out on Dead Broke Records soon as well. Lou is my partner, which is what brought her to New York, and it just worked out that she was both willing to live with me and take over on lead guitar for a while.     Who is in the current version of Worriers? Currently, it’s me, Mikey Erg on drums, Lou Hanman on guitar, and Audrey Zee Whitesides on bass.  Is there a plan for a record release show and tour to promote Imaginary Life? Absolutely. We’re playing a record release show at the Knitting Factory on  Aug. 7 with Emilyn Brodsky, Adult Mom, and Fleabite. We’re doing two tours in August and September—including some shows with Cayetana and Chumped—that I’m really excited about. We’re also playing FEST, and hoping to tour west after that. We’ll be announcing those very soon…   



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s a band who hail not all that far from Hell, Mich., it makes sense that The Black Dahlia Murder would devote much of their upcoming seventh album to a discussion of Hell. Absymal—due out on Sept. 18 via Metal Blade Records—showcases their musically adventurous streak, alongside their signature melodic death metal style. Vocalist Trevor Strnad discusses how the band has been able to maintain its creative drive over the years. “I think it’s an overall want by all parties involved to become a better band,” he says. “We always want more, better, more dynamic songs. We also have stayed true to a sound we began with the first record, but have been slowly expanding on it.  I think we really turned a corner with Ritual. We became a more mature band.  That was the first album to incorporate a lot of other instruments and a wider variety of song speeds and styles. We learned a lot from the success of that album about what we’re able to do creatively if we put our minds to it.” Abysmal is




as dirty and immediate as the band’s early work, while furthering the group’s reputation as some of the best metal musicians around. It’s quite the feat. “I really do feel like it’s our best,” Strnad continues, acknowledging its cliché to say so. “I know that it is.  The music speaks for itself. [Guitarists] Ryan [Knight] and Brian [Eschbach] were just on fire for this one. I think they want to see this band rise to the next level, and we’re really clawing their way there. I think there is a vastly deeper emotional quality to the songs than there has been in the past, and keeping the recording real and raw really helped get the earnestness of the material get across to the listener.” Strnad expands on the music, “Once I had a few songs in my hands, I started to realize how special the material was. There was just something more urgent about it. I feel like the guys really rose to the occasion. I do find it to be darker, but I don’t think it was ever planned that way; it’s just how the songs came out this time around.” Regarding the lyrics of the

album: “Abysmal is definitely a macabre work, and I enjoy working within that wheelhouse.” The way Strnad contributes to the writing process is both hilarious and maybe too honest. “The album was written by Brian and Ryan; the music was split about 50/50. By the time I am hearing it, it sounds largely complete. Then, our drummer Alan [Cassidy] added his two cents. Then, I sit with the songs in my underwear and write into a word processing program. I find it helps to write the song as I am hearing it the first time. I feel like I am the most creative and excited about the music then. If I don’t have the time to work on it all at once, I find it best to wait till I can.” Unfortunately, Strnad’s opinion on boxers vs. briefs remains a mystery.   Strnad is honest when reflecting on what the band’s past decade plus has meant to him. “I remember when all I wanted was to make one real album, just something I could hold in my hands and show my parents,” he admits. “Now, it’s gone so far be-

yond that.” There’s no question that the band is in a great place right now, both internally and creatively. Strnad doesn’t mince words when discussing how bright the band’s future is. “Seeing something you’ve made from the ground up mean so much to so many people is an incredible feat and it feels amazing. I am the most proud of still being here. We always want to be doing this.  There is no end or finish line.  The ability to still tour and do well, while so many of our peers have fallen off over the years, is unreal. We are very thankful for our position.” As expected for a band as prolific as The Black Dahlia Murder, there is an abundance of touring lined up in the foreseeable future. Strnad explains, “We will be very busy for the next two years. Next up is Canada in October with Iron Reagan, Harms Way, and Maruta, followed by a full U.S. leg in November.” Between the release of the band’s the best record and their massive North American tour, there’s no doubt that the second half of 2015 is going to be great for fans of death metal.





–rian Gorsegner doesn’t ape his frantic vocal style in everyday conversation, of course, but the quick, over-caffeinated way he speaks hardly comes as a surprise. For all the credit—and rightfully so—that bassist Joe Keller and guitarist PJ Russo receive for driving Night Birds’ aesthetic, Gorsegner is quite the underrated piece of the puzzle. During the band’s raucous live performances, he runs around the stage like a man possessed, his eyes bulging out of his skull as he snottily screams anthems about suburbia, fallen pro wrestling heroes, and midnight movies. For all its tantalizingly freewheeling energy and sheer refusal to compromise for anything less than total tactical aggression, Night Birds’ new LP Mutiny at Muscle Beach carries a different amount of weight compared to the New Jersey band’s previous work. These songs are fuller, the production warmer, and for the most part, heavier on agreeable nihilism and lower on camp. It’s by no means a “serious” record in the way that, say, Black Flag’s Damaged is, but like Damaged, it feels like a turning point for the band and their voice; a new beginning. It also, from the sound of it, had a chance of never happening. “After the last record [Born to Die in Suburbia] came out, I found out my wife was pregnant,” Gorsegner explains. “We canceled a European tour, the record came out, we did a bunch of rush touring, and then, I had a baby. For anyone who has children, it’s an interesting transitional period, but my wife ended up having postpartum depression. Being into punk and knowing people who have suffered from depression, you feel like you have a pretty good understanding of it, but this was way different. It was like something I didn’t even know existed. […] I told everyone [in the band] I’d take three months off to be at home with my baby, and use my downtime to write.”




“Obviously, if you’re the one suffering from it, that’s the worst, but the second worst is being second in command and watching this person go through it,” he continues.

“So, that was pretty fucking awful, and it kind of kicked off the album writing. My favorite song on the record, [“Blank Eyes”], came directly from that experience. I’d never really had an experience like that, where I took something and directly wrote about it, like a therapeutic thing.” Gorsegner’s wife is doing much better now, he says, thanks to an antidepressant that she’s now been completely off of for six months. Their daughter, 2 years old in November, is healthy and happy. Night Birds returned to the site of …Suburbia’s recording, Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studios, to track Mutiny…, this time with a producer—their first record with one—in Chris Pierce. The LP also marks the recorded debut ovcvf drummer Darick Sater, who Gorsegner largely credits with bringing that fresh energy new drummers often do. “A drummer change can be a massive change in sound. [Previous drummer] Ryan [McHale] came more from a garage background, was more rough around the edges. Darick has multiple ALL and Descendents tattoos and comes from that school of completely ‘play to destroy,’ but he’s a seamless, really hard-hitting drummer. So that alone laid down a very different foundation.” Parenthood often softens even the toughest, most nihilistic people into human-shaped piles of Play-Doh, malleable to any and all whims, and hell, even more conservative. Gorsegner feels that to a degree, admitting that he has “this whole new form of love that I didn’t even know I could have toward a person, and that’s crazy. I find myself doing the silliest shit, like singing ‘You are My Sunshine’ at 3:30 in the morning to this little creature.” But his outlook hasn’t drastically shifted, nor has his need for Night Birds as an outlet. “I guess I’m always nihilistic toward different things and there will always be different things that are worth hating and being negative about,” he says. “Whether it’s the ‘80s and you’re writing about Reagan, or it’s now and you’re writing about the Kardashians, there’s always gonna be something. I don’t play punk rock to write happy go lucky songs. It’s medicine for me, it’s what I need to do to survive after working a desk job dealing with customer service for 50 hours a week. If, at the end of the week, I don’t go play a show, I might drive to somebody’s house and strangle them.”




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hile yoga has been a tool for strengthening people mentally and physically for centuries, it hasn’t commonly been associated with brash punk rock communities. Yet, there is a profound crossover between the two practices. In each, people are seeking a moment of release, and finding balance within themselves and the world around them. Bands form dynamic narratives of sound that inspire us to react deeply. Going to a show and being surrounded in reverb and distortion can dissipate negative feelings like a form of meditation. Miguel Chen—bassist for the punk band Teenage Bottlerocket—has used meditation and spiritual practice since 2006 to deal with anxiety and depression. After initially disregarding friends’ suggestions to try it out, yoga has been a part of his spiritual practice for two years, something that he finds highly beneficial. “The physical aspect of yoga became a whole new layer to my spiritual practice, building on years of meditation,” Chen shares. “The more I dove in, the more I realized yoga provides an all encompassing approach to spirituality and life.” Particularly powerful is the realization that we can have control within ourselves. Outside forces and experiences can disrupt our happiness, but ultimately, how we react can adjust our balance. Chen breaks it down: “This moment here and now is already perfect, and when we come back into balance with ourselves and the world around us, we can see life as it really is. There are many ways to return to balance, and I think punk rock is a very effective tool for that. It helps us cut through the bullshit and live fully in the now.” Chris Pinto—vocalist for the funeral sludge metal band FÓRN—agrees about yoga’s balancing effects. As a relative newcomer to the practice, having begun last February, he says, “It greatly interested me to try yoga once I heard just how many things yoga might be connected to and unlock

for a person.” Pinto elaborates that it’s a great creative tool as well, saying, “Interestingly enough, it has helped me write lyrics in a way, because I have learned techniques from yoga that I’ve applied to doing vocals, mostly breathing techniques that help me figure out different vocal patterns. Also, doing yoga before writing helps me focus and think much more clearly.” Punkers and many musicians on the road push themselves to extremes. These scenes have rich histories of excess and nihilism, but Chen is quick to clarify, “Punk rock really is what makes me want to treat my body differently, yoga is the tool to do it. So much time sitting in a van, hauling gear, or jumping around on stage starts to take its toll. Not to mention partying all night, eating garbage, and sleeping poorly. Years of these behaviors made me want to take better care of myself. Yoga provides the opportunity to not only take care of myself physically, but to get in touch with my deeper self, figure out what my mind, body, and spirit are really craving.” And where might these cravings be fulfilled? Pinto mentions trying black metal yoga while on the road in Austin. The premise of black metal yoga is commonly using those stretchy-hot, soothing poses of Vinyasa yoga in a dimmed room, often by candlelight.

“I’ve heard various metal songs over the years and was like, ‘Whoa, this would be killer to do yoga to,’” he says. “Once I tried doing them together it actually made sense and worked so well.” BLACK YO)))GA in Pittsburgh, P.A., is at the forefront of this blooming approach. Their site states a clear objective: “Our goal is to form a heavy, meditative space and spread the benefits of yoga to people in our art and music communities.” This will resonate with punk rockers, who are often drawn to the music’s unique energy and ideals outside of the status quo. Since they don’t have their own gym, 200 hour RYT certified instructor and BLACK YO)))GA founder Kimee Massie runs the operation like to a nomadic band.

They instruct in spaces all over their city, wherever sound systems and windows are lacking, presumably. If you aren’t in the area, the playlists are available online at blackyoga. Ultimately, we all need to find a way to be our best selves and enjoy our time in existence. Whether it’s in a circle pit or on a mushy mat, it’s crucial to keep yourself centered. Chen reflects, “For many, yoga is a great way of accessing and connecting to that power, and that’s  why I feel so strongly about sharing it. I’m not saying yoga is the only path, but I do believe it is a very direct path and it can benefit many other people.”









or a decade, 20 Buck Spin has been unleashing treacherous metal deviants upon the world. Titans in underground music like Graves At Sea, Yob, Pallbearer, Coffins, and Kylesa are embedded in 20 Buck’s catalog. The label also exposed the world to tremendous talents like Mammoth Grinder, Brainoil, Bone Sickness, Oranssi Pazuzu, Foreseen, HKL, Abyss, Samothrace, and—their latest all-stars—Khemmis. Owner and founder Dave Adelson harvested experience from his years at other labels to release his first record by pressing 1000 compact discs. “But more than that, it required motivation,” he adds. “Not only to make something, but to do the work of convincing people to buy it.” Discussing the current landscape of the music business, Adelson reflects advises bands to embrace social media. “I believe it’s a good idea to have presence on social media,” he says. “I know there are labels who take over a band’s social media presence. Lame. Having a unique persona is beneficial online and off.” As far as his own label goes, he says, “We try to post a mix of stuff that promotes the




bands, but also our interests as a label. I post pictures of  treasures  from my old tape collection. It’s cool to connect with people who follow the label. Not every post has to be  trying  to sell somebody something.”  When deciding whether to sign a band and release their record, impressing Adelson isn’t enough, though it is his “first and foremost criteria. But, you have to consider if you can actually sell it,” he says. “I’m not a natural salesman. I can’t sell you something that I think is boring. There are a million examples of something that sucks that will sell. But it won’t be on 20 Buck Spin.” After being wooed by majestic riffs and low growls, Adelson thinks logistics. Deciding how many vinyl slabs to press is an “instinctual decision.” “After you’ve been involved in a label for a long enough time, you have a sense of the band and its wider place in the music scene. Do they tour much? Are they willing to put in work?” Noting the varied levels of experience and discographies of 20 Buck Spin’s bands, Adelson explains that securing the proper audience for each band demands different levels of nurturing.

“A more established band will sell themselves to a certain extent,” he says. “In that case, you might do an even heavier promotional push than on a newer band, strange as that logic may seem. 20 Buck Spin mostly works with newer bands. That’s what excites me the most. It’s often the earliest material of influential bands that stuck with me the most. I want to be the label issuing the early material. I would never let a band just sell itself, though, and sit back and relax.” As taut as Adelson’s experience can make his precise predictions, there must have been records that did not impact the world like he thought they would. That must be a financial blow, and an emotional one as well. “When something you think is fantastic doesn’t resonate with people, you wonder, ‘Is everybody an idiot, or am I?’” he says. “Usually, I lean toward everybody else. Thankfully, I have a 17 year old daughter to remind me that it’s me.” On the other hand, there are surprises as well. “Well, the first Pallbearer album becoming as popular as it did was a surprise,” Adelson admits. “We  didn’t  release it with the expectation that so many  people  would latch onto it.

Just figured it would be another in a long line of great doom albums we’ve released. I’m very glad for them that it had such a wide appeal. They’ve worked very hard.” With his humor, exceptional taste, and experience, Adelson should be able to continue releasing great underground music for a few more decades at least. 20 Buck Spin just put out Khemmis’ most recent offering, and will soon surpass 75 releases by submitting the new record from Nightfell, Tragedy and His Hero Is Gone legend Todd Burdette’s black metal duo, who are fresh off of their outstanding Southern Lord debut. Go snatch ‘em in early fall!






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Minibosses once did a heavy metal cover of the “Ducktails” theme song there. It was intense.

copy of the record that just fell into my hands.”

That doesn’t even cover the store’s huge selection of records and CDs. Any classic album you could ever want—Ramones, DEVO, Rolling Stones, Nas, Billy Joel, Bob Marley, Slayer—they’ve got it. In this era of declining brick and mortar shops, this is a huge boon. But the real treat

That sort of excitement is palpable in Streetlight’s staff. Go inside and you might find Matt, the punk-metalhead who can go toe to toe with anyone about Melvins and Alice Cooper. Or there’s Gilbert, who—despite his Gibby Haynes-style hair and mustache—is the most laid back guy ever and will be happy to talk about

is the huge influx of rarities they get in every day. This particular writer once snagged the first Choking Victim 7” and the 12” version, as well as the U.K. press of The Beastie Boys’ Polly Wog Stew EP… on the same day!

bands ranging from Bauhaus to Men At Work. Then there’s the perpetually baseball capped “B-Rich,” the nicest guy ever, who gets as excited as you do when you find a really, really cool record.

“I gotta say, we see cool and unusual records coming in the door every single day,” Brodsky adds. “So many of them are cool to people on a subjective level. For instance, I was thumbing through the country section a few weeks ago and saw a record released by a guy named Lee Mace that had a long running Opry show in Osage Beach, Mo., where my family vacationed when I was a kid. We went to the Ozark Opry every single year and I desperately looked forward to it. 40 years later, here’s a

“The purpose of Streetlight is to provide a place for people to buy physical goods where they can interact with real people instead of their computer,” Brodsky adds. “I think the LP is truly a beautiful format. I mean it is physically beautiful. It’s big. It’s pretty. It’s got all that great artwork and often liner notes or maybe a poster tucked inside. How great is that?! And then, there’s the sound… Well… You know…”



INTERVIEW WITH STORE MANAGER PAIGE BRODSKY BY JOHN GENTILE fab four covered in blood and holding dead babies on the cover; divorced couples using the store as neutral ground in order to exchange children. “I think the key to the survival of the indie record store is turning it into a community cultural center, of sorts,” says Streetlight San Jose’s store manager, the perennially peppy Paige Brodksy. She is constantly zapping through the store, saying hi to shoppers while marking records, updating the store database, and dropping treasured albums in the “new arrivals” bin. “It can become a place where people who are interested in music, movies, art, and live converts can go to be with and meet other likeminded people.”


an Francisco, 1975: Robert Fallon—owner of a small used stereo components store— looks down at the floor of his cramped shop. A mysterious stranger has accidentally(?) left a box of records on the floor. Unable to locate this elusive donor, Fallon decides to sell the records. As it turns out, people are way more into buying cool records than rusty reel assemblies. 40 years later, the stereo parts store has morphed into an independent, world famous chain of records stores, with one of the flagship shops being Streetlight Records San Jose. The stereo components are long since forgotten. That mystery box of records has not. These days, depending on what day you stop by Streetlight, you might see any of the following things: San Francisco rapper Andre Nickatina requesting a strawberry soda before a signing session; Rodney Bingenheimer from the famed Rodney on the ROQ flipping through racks; a copy of the rare Beatles Yesterday and Today album with the

The San Jose location is a beacon in the South Bay, regularly hosting live performances by famous, and not-so-famous bands. Tegan And Sara packed the place to the gills and played an intimate acoustic set. Angelo Moore of Fishbone set the place on fire, jumping through the crowd like a mad man. A band you probably haven’t ever heard called the





ly, they came with the songs written and ready. There was not a lot of need for changing things or jamming. In contrast, I recently finished an album for Behold! The Monolith. Yes, they had full songs, and were prepped to record. But, they were very open and encouraged my input as far as arrangement, etc. We lengthened some parts, cut out a few things, added guitar and vocal parts; a lot was changed from demo stage to mix stage. The songs were great to begin with, and we made them even better together in the studio. When did you first feel confident enough to be the guiding force of an album? I don’t remember. It was hard at first. When I started, I was the “young guy.” I guess it happened naturally as I gained experience. But again, it depends on the situation, still. I am not always the leader or guiding force. Sometimes, I just engineer. Other times, I help write songs and have to be the team coach. It just depends.



illy Anderson has produced many classic metal albums. Legacy albums. Big albums. Definitive albums. But he is averse to being pigeonholed, emphatically pointing out the wide variety of albums he has helmed. His resume confirms an array of eclectic sounds from Jawbreaker to 7 Year Bitch to Cattle Decapitation. But, fuck it, the litany of doom, stoner, and sludge records are undeniable. High On Fire, Cathedral, Neurosis, Melvins, Eyehategod, and so many more. Having started in San Francisco before establishing his own studio in Portland, Ore., his experience and approach is an exemplary map for aspiring producers to




study. Before he rushes off to Brazil to record Labirinto for a month, he takes a moment to let us in on his industry secrets. Do you have a certain process or does it vary with each band? Everything varies with the band. And it varies with the situation. Sometimes, I am in a situation where the equipment is not ideal or something I’m not accustomed to. How important is equipment to you? Equipment is very important. When I first started out, I placed less import on the gear, more on the performance. I’ve come to learn, over the

years, that they are both equally important. I can still get a “sound” from anything, in just about any situation. But, the better the gear is, the better the sound will be. How much preparation do you expect from bands? I like when a band is prepared and has their stuff ready to play [and] record. I also like when they are flexible and open to changing small things about the music to possibly improve the dramatic qualities and overall picture. When Pallbearer came to record with me, their songs were ready and recorded exactly as written. Yes, there were small things that got changed here and there, but most-

Would you discuss the producer dynamic? How do you handle people being late, slack performances, drug use, etc.? The technical part isn’t my favorite, though I do feel like I have to know a good deal of it. The part I enjoy the most is the strictly artistic part. Coming up with arrangements, making the band comfortable, getting the best performances, and doing what it takes to make things happen. Psychology is about 80 percent of what I do; the tech stuff is just the vehicle to get us there. The substances can be difficult. I won’t say a lot about it, but when you have a certain amount of time booked, you have to come through, drugs or no. I’ve done some stuff under circumstances that weren’t ideal that still had to come out anyway. I’ve also had the opposite happen, where substances vs. circumstances made for an amazing legendary album and experience. How do you feel about your legacy as it stands today? Hmmm… Not sure what to say about that. I feel that I’ve been doing this a long time, well over half my life. I’ve gotten to work with some of my favorite bands. I feel very lucky for that. I also feel like I haven’t done my best work yet.


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oncerts. Festivals. Reunions. Acoustic jamborees. If you’re devouring these pages, you probably love live music as much as we do. Here some of the premier shows going on this season, in your neck of the woods.


Southern California’s finest garage punk exports are hitting the road this fall in support of their much anticipated sophomore album, Too. FIDLAR shows have become synonymous with crowd surfing hi-jinx of the highest order. Be sure to catch them onstage now so you’ll have your own wild Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk stories to look back on when you’re old and incapable of handling general admission gigs.





CHELSEA WOLFE w/ WOVENHAND Prepare for a night of dark, soulful, and completely entrancing folk rock when acclaimed songstress and recent New Noise cover star Chelsea Wolfe tours the States this September with Wovenhand. Wolfe’s new album Abyss features some of her heaviest and most daring material to date and should sound extra amazing in concert.



w/ Cannabis Corpse, Archspire, Black Fast

The in your face technical thrash metal titans of Revocation are ripping through the U.S. this September. In case you need more reasons to jump in the pit and destroy your neck, they’ve decided to bring their buddies in Cannabis Corpse, Archspire, and Black Fast along for the trek. What’s not to love about this thrash and death metal bonanza?




w/ Defeater, Expire, Superheaven

Are you ready for a generous helping of mosh riffs and sweet ass singalongs this fall? The pop punk-hardcore heroes in Four Year Strong are touring this September supporting their new self-titled album and are bringing the lads in Defeater across the country with them to ensure maximum sweating at the gigs below.



TODAY IS THE DAY w/ ABIGAIL WILLIAMS Steve Austin and his faithful noise mongers in Today Is The Day are bringing the metal warriors in Abigail Williams across the U.S. this fall. Just how will these venues withstand such a barrage of riffs and utterly tortuous vocals? Your guess is as good as mine. elow.





n 1979, a diminutive young woman appeared on the French TV network Melody. As polyrhythmic percussion banged away behind her, she strutted onto the stage in a patchwork black and white tracksuit that was one part Mafioso, one part “Miami Vice,” and one part marching band attire. Suddenly, she started a spastic dance that consisted of her shaking her slim hips, kicking out her leg like a ballet dancer, spinning in circles, and frequently brushing her thick hair out her of doe-eyes. Then, she started singing a cover of

Arthur Brown’s 1968 ode to Satan, “Fire.” Unlike the psychedelic original, this version was a weird mix of punk, funk, disco, and African music. It was at once avant-garde and made for the dance floor. The French audience didn’t know what to make of it. Little did they know—nor did anyone else, for that matter—that this was Lyon-born Lizzy Mercier Descloux who had recently returned from a sojourn in America where she had been studying up on the punk scene, hanging out with Richard Hell, and palling


around with Patti Smith. While in New York, Descloux started working on her own music, eventually releasing her debut LP Press Color in 1979. In more recent years, Press Color has been categorized as no wave, punk, and proto-dance music. Those titles are more convenient than accurate. More than anything, Press Color was the result of a young French girl coming to the U.S., checking out the bourgeoning N.Y. punk and art-rock scene, and then reshaping it into her own vision. In addition to “Fire,” the album consists of seven freak-out, dance-y tracks. “Wawa” is built around a surf riff, bolstered by a bouncing, proto-house music backbeat. “Mission Impossible” takes the show’s theme song and warps it into a modern African rhythm. Comparisons to P.I.L. and The Slits are not misplaced. Then, there’s the wry humor of “Tumor.” A vitriolic take on the standard “Fever,” Descloux switches the title lyric to “tumor,” changing the refrain to, “You give me tumor when you kiss me, tumor when you hold me tight.” However, the recorded faded away as quickly as it appeared, due both to its weirdness, and its release on the famed, but of limited reach, ZE records, which was run by Descloux’s then boyfriend, Michel Esteban. LIZZY WITH PATTI SMITH PHOTO: MICHEL ESTEBAN

Descloux went on to record several more albums, including the French

hit “Mais où Sont Passées les Gazelles? (But Where have the Gazelles Gone?)” in 1984. But, by the mid ‘90s, Descloux moved to Corsica and gave up music in lieu of painting and writing. Tragically, in 2003, she contracted an aggressive form of cancer and, by the following year, was gone, Press Color having never really gotten its due. Following a very limited, rare 2003 reissue of the album, Light In The Attic Records is making the release widely available and more than doubling its running time. The reissue appends the rare—and even freakier—Rosa Yemin EP and three more bonus tracks. Of particular note is “Morning High,” a dark, ambient spoken word track that also features a young Patti Smith. In the track— adapted from a work by libertine poet Arthur Rimbaud—Smith reads a dark litany about a chaotic, hellish pandemonium while Descloux reiterates the dark prophecy in French. As the ominous music drones in the background and Smith and Descloux read in their cold, unfeeling voices, it becomes clear how both artists— still young in their craft—were so far ahead of their time. Even listening back to these tracks now, they still seem to be forward thinking. Fitting for an album called Press Color, with a cover printed in black and white.





surrounding me; they all know it too. I can see them bracing themselves for the loud bang. One of them backs up slowly to avoid my brains staining his shoes. Another keeps a watchful eye on the bodega clerk inside to make sure the police won’t be called.

don’t look at the gun, so I turn my head away… “PLEASE! WHATEVER I DID—I’M SORRY!!!” He laughs and lowers his voice… “Get on your knees and tell me you sorry.”


t is about 3:15 a.m. and I am standing in line for the bathroom; a long wait. I think: “The drug hours are upon us, so someone’s either too fucked up to aim straight or they’re setting up rails.” Finally, the door opens. A 40-something suit type walks out followed by a young, flamboyant punk rocker in a Black Flag shirt who is zipping up his fly. I don’t think much of the strange pairing as I step inside the bathroom. As I approach the ledge above the stalls to roll one of those things I like, I look down to find a paper towel wadded into a ball on the floor. It is slowly unraveling and I can see a fresh wad of cum in the center of it. A little souvenir left behind from the punk queen and his daddy just moments before. A bit offset by the timing of everything, I ditch my plan and split. I turn the corner down Rutgers Street just two blocks from my house when a Black man in his 40s turns the corner. From his posture and the look on his face, I can see he is in a vicious mode and extremely intoxicated. He looks at me and points, “There’s that nigga right there.” I speak up: “Nah man, I think you’re looking for someone else.” A neon “OPEN” sign is blinking in the bodega window behind him. As I try to step around him and go inside to avoid the conflict, four of his comrades—all different ages—walk out of the bodega and immediately surrounded me. They all agree with the man to one degree or another that I am “that nigga.” The calm vanishes and panic sets it. I put my hands up and scream, “Yo, guys! I think you got the wrong person. Seriously, I have never seen you in my life.” The leader breaks into the center of the circle with me and cocks his fist back, “Shut the fuck up!”




I flinch; my voice cracks, “I’m sorry man! I’m sorry! Whatever I did, I’m sorry!”
I look at the other guys surrounding me for a hint of empathy. Nothing. Cold as a witch’s tit. The leader puts his fist down and looks back at his boys with a smile. The smile of the Tyrant. The smile of the Terrorist, the smile of a one percent C-Suite Executive, the smile of the Slave Owner, the smile of the Policeman. The horrible smile of the man who has my life in his hands. He turns back to me, his eyes so intoxicated, he can’t properly fix them on me. He reaches for the waistline of his pants above his dick, and pulls out a big, shiny gun. I don’t know what kind of pistol it is, but this fucker looks straight out of a Jason Statham flick. I can’t look at it. I turn away. I find the situation to be less terrifying if I just

I quickly drop to my knees and—even in the extreme setting—I find this request not only to be a bit strange, but also homoerotic. As I bend to the ground, I think, “This is kinda gay.” I see the look on his friends’ faces when he says it. They are a bit confused, and they start to panic and look around to make sure no one is coming. That’s when I begin to break down: “I’M SORRY! PLEASE DON’T KILL ME! PLEASE!” He pushes harder. I scream. I am unraveling. He isn’t just taking my life; he’s taking away any feeling of security and sense of home I know. Here I am on my street, just two blocks from home, with a gun to my temple. I feel smaller than a mouse dick at this moment. There is no pride in being a hostage. I know I am going to be murdered for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I look up at the guys

The last—the youngest in the group, maybe 16 or 17—has a different concern… He looks horrified, maybe as horrified as me. He looks deep into my eyes, which are welling with tears, and he nods his head at me. What a moment in my life I shall never forget; what a connection between two peoples’ eyes! He gives me a subtle nod and slowly raises his hand for the gun… “Nah, my G. I don’t think he’s that nigga.” I still can’t muster up the strength to look at the gun or my aggressor, but I can feel the warm barrel and the bullet with my name on it slowly pull away from the back of my head. “Get up, you faggot, and get the fuck out of here!” I stand up and one of them kicks me square in the ass. A swift kick that sends me well on my way. The older one puts the gun on my back and screams, “Run! Or I’ll shoot your ass.” And I do just that—I run. Around 5 a.m., I get home. I don’t sleep that night. I feel like I am going to have a heart attack. I can feel my heart pounding through my chest and there is nothing I can do to calm it. I write this as a public thank you to the kid who saved my life that night. He, just like me, was someone in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, in the off chance you ever come across this: thanks for speaking up.




“Terror has ‘The Solution’ to tired, played out hardcore.”











New Noise Magazine - Issue #20  

Featuring: Motörhead, Defeater, Slayer, Atreyu, Cattle Decapitation, Culture Abuse, Nervosas, Huntress, Koji, Worriers, Windhand, Mark Sulta...