THE COVER STORIES

Meet the HEAVY team
AND their top 10 albums of ’16

Running a music publication is a big task, to say the least. It’s a privilege full of perks that come with interesting tales, but with it comes a high level of responsibility and diligence to respect information which is privy only to a few until released publicly. It’s something to be earned and that comes from a tight team of like minded people.

This year I purchased HEAVY Music Magazine in June and since then it has been an absolute honour to work with a team of music-loving individuals who have jumped in and produced some outstanding work. No words can describe my gratitude towards each of them.

2017 is shaping up to be a real killer with some massive tour announcements pending and in April We will be printing our first Annual Collectors Edition HEAVY Magazine along with a whole bunch of goodies to go with it.

Today we launch the first edition of our brand spanking new HEAVY DIGI-MAG along with some very low priced subscription options. By supporting HEAVY with a subscription you are helping us create a bigger and better source of heavy music news, interviews and more good stuff.

You may or may not know this but most publications don’t pay their writers or photographers for the hard work they put in, besides tickets/passes to shows and albums to review. Some do, most don’t. Our digi-mag contributors are all being paid for their contributions. By supporting HEAVY with a paid subscription you are helping us create a bigger and better source of heavy music news, interviews and therefore assisting in the promotion of local and international artists. Our digi-mag writers and photographers are paid for their work.

A big thank you to all of the bands, touring and record companies who have shown us just how important HEAVY is to the Australian music community. Without their full support, we would not be able to do what we do.

So, thank you all. \m/

Carl “Carlos” Neumann
Owner/Director/Writer/Photography

Top Albums of 2016

  1. Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour
  2. Avantasia – Ghost Lights
  3. Opeth – Sorceress
  4. Meshiaak – Alliance Of Thieves
  5. Metal Church – XI
  6. Epica – The Holographic Principle
  7. Megadeth – Dystopia
  8. Death Angel – The Evil Divide
  9. Anthrax – For All Kings
  10. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

HEAVY MANAGERS & KEY CONTRIBUTORS

Peyton Bernhardt
Interviews Manager

Top Albums of 2016

  1. Joyce Manor – Cody
  2. Pierce The Veil – Misadventures
  3. Storm The Sky – Sin Will Find You
  4. PUP – The Dream Is Over
  5. Highly Suspect – The Boy Who Died Wolf
  6. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
  7. Marching Church – Telling It Like It Is
  8. Letlive. – If I’m The Devil
  9. The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For
  10. Dance Gavin Dance – Mothership

David Griffiths
Gig & Album Manager / Resident Film Writer

Top Albums of 2016

  1. Epica – The Hologaphic Principle
  2. Blink 182 – California
  3. Chris Cavill & The Prospectors – All That You Got EP
  4. Green Day- Revolution Radio
  5. Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell
  6. Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
  7. Tracey McNeil & The Good Life – Thieves
  8. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – The Getaway
  9. Lacuna Coil – Delirium
  10. Killswitch Engage – Incarnate

Prarthana “Lady P” Venunathan
Editor & Writer

Top 10 Albums of ’16

  1. Rotting Christ – Rituals
  2. Gojira – Magma
  3. Sheidim – Shrines of the Void
  4. Mesarthim – .- -… … . -. -.-. .
  5. Mizmor – Yodh
  6. Ulcerate – Shrines of Paralysis
  7. Arkona – Lunaris
  8. Schammasch – Triangle
  9. Rudra – Enemies of Duality
  10. Insomnium – Winters Gate

Michelle O’Rance
Editor & Writer

Top Albums Of 2016

  1. Architects – All Our gods Have Abandoned Us
  2. Revocation – Great Is Our Sin
  3. Fleshgod Apocalypse – King
  4. Fallujah – Dreamless
  5. Aborted – Retrogore
  6. Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole Of The Law
  7. Black Crown Initiate – Selves We Cannot Forgive
  8. Be’lakor – Vessels
  9. Departe – Failure, Subside
  10. The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For

Daniel Tucceri
Editor & Writer

Top Albums Of 2016

  1. Arcturus – Arcturian
  2. Destroyer 666 – Wildfire
  3. Allegaeon – Proponent For Sentience
  4. Surgical Meth Machine – Self Titled
  5. Vader – Empire
  6. Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
  7. Belligerent Intent – The Crucifire
  8. The Ruiner – Self Titled
  9. Witchskull – The Vast Electric Dark
  10. Hobbs Angel of Death – Heaven Bled

Nikki Marie
Editor & Writer

Top 10 Albums of ’16

  1. Be’lakor – Vessels
  2. Ghost – Popestar
  3. Otep – Generation Doom
  4. Baby Metal – Metal Resistance
  5. Korn – The Serenity of Suffering
  6. Drown This City – False Idols
  7. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration
  8. The Pretty Reckless – Who You Selling For
  9. Darkc3ll – Haunted Reality
  10. Metallica – Hardwired to Self-Destruct

Monica Strut
Social Media Manager

Top Albums of 2016

  1. A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations
  2. Hellions – Opera Oblivia
  3. Avenged Sevenfold – The Stage
  4. Cane Hill – Smile
  5. Bad Moon Born – Chemical Lullabies
  6. Trophy Eyes – Chemical Miracle
  7. Parkway Drive – IRE
  8. Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
  9. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self Destruct
  10. Wovenwar – Honour Is Dead

Mattew Barton
Senior Writer

Top 10 Albums of ’16

  1. Amaranthe – Maximalism
  2. Panic! At The Disco – Death of a Bachelor
  3. Simple Plan – Taking One For The Team
  4. Killswitch Engage – Incarnate
  5. Light The Fire – Ascension
  6. Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell
  7. Hands Like Houses – Dissonants
  8. The Amity Affliction – This Could Be Heartbreak
  9. Devilskin – Be Like The River
  10. The Kreoles – Psycho

Kris “Man Of Luxury” Peters
Senior Writer

Top Albums of 2016

  1. Hellyeah – Undeniable
  2. Meshuggah – The Violent Sleep Of Reason
  3. Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional
  4. 12 Foot Ninja – Outlier
  5. Alter bridge – The Last Hero
  6. Nails – You Will Never Be One Of Us
  7. Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
  8. Korn – The Serenity Of Suffering
  9. Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan
  10. Distant Sun – Into The Nebula

Matt “Boltz” Bolton
Senior Writer & Social Media

Top Albums of 2016

  1. Opeth – Sorceress
  2.  Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts
  3. Superjoint – Caught Up in the Gears of Application
  4. Child Bite – Negative noise
  5. Death Angel – The Evil Divide
  6. Inquisition – Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
  7. Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder
  8. Rotting Christ – Rituals
  9.  Borknagar – Winter Thrice
  10. Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies

Callum “C-Dog” Doig
Senior Writer & Memes Legend

Top Albums of 2016

  1. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Dissociation
  2. The Black Queen – Fever Daydream
  3. Child – Blueside
  4. Every Time I Die – Low Teens
  5. NAILS – You Will Never Be One Of Us
  6. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – Nonagon Infinity
  7. Sumac – What One Becomes
  8. Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – Broken Lines
  9. The Drones – Feelin Kinda Free
  10. Septa – Sounds Like Murder

HEAVY CONTRIBUTORS

More people who have contributed recently who helped make HEAVY what it is and will be to come.
(In no particular order)

Matt Allan, Bethany Mafrici, Sofie Marsden, John Raptis, Elliot Thomas, Rod Whitfield, Antoine Loncle, Sam Sweeney, Derek Huckel, Thomas Lanyon, Kierra Thorn, Jess Miller, Cassie Walker, Mitch Alexander, Rebecca Reid, Andrew Treadwell, Alec Wilson, Mick Goddard, Mark Hoffman

interview with vocalist And violinist Tim Charles

NeObliviscaris

Australian metal act Ne Obliviscaris are trailblazers in every sense of the word. Not only in terms of their neo-classical, violin-enhanced extreme metal, with how they run their band. The Melbourne six-piece work their arses off and their songwriting, musicianship and presentation are all truly world class. They certainly deserve to be constantly writing, recording and touring and making their living from their art.

However, being from one of the most isolated nations on the planet makes it extremely difficult to get to that point. Where a band may be generating enough income to sustain itself and pay six members a wage, touring expenses will cost tens of thousands of dollars with each trip to Europe, America and beyond. So instead of playing the starving artist and whining, they decided to bite the bullet and do something unorthodox.

While many bands are utilising crowdfunding campaigns to fund recordings, tours, videos and other endeavours, NeObliviscaris decided to take that concept and push it several

steps further. They set up a ‘Patreon’ campaign, where their supportive fans would act as ‘patrons’ and fund their activities on an ongoing basis. According to violinist and clean vocalist Tim Charles, speaking from their tour in Rome, it has been a very steep learning curve.

“We’re basically trying to learn and adjust it all as we go,” he explains. “We don’t really have any bands to copy because no one else is really doing this. It has definitely been a challenge, but it has certainly transformed our finances. For the first 12 years of Ne Obliviscaris, nobody got paid for playing and performing in this band.”

“But in the last seven months, we all get a part-time wage now. We all have that dream of being able to do this full-time, and we have our fans to thank for that.”

NeO has been touring internationally on a regular basis, since their last album Citadel which was released two years ago. This would not have been possible without the support of the Patreon campaign.

“Everything has been a huge success on our end,” he says. “It’s basically been instrumental in our ability to do these tours. The only reason we had the money to go back and do our North American headline tour was because of the Patreon. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to do both; that and this current European tour.”

“Plus, we originally had the offer for a month with Enslaved, and then we also had the offer for the Euroblast Festival which was a couple of weeks earlier, and then our agent wanted us to try and do some headline shows. The only reason we could extend it to the seven-week tour, once again, is because of the amazing support we’re getting from our fans through Patreon.”

In spending so much time overseas, it’s always good to touch base with fans at home. This is exactly what the band is doing in late November and into December on their aptly titled ‘The World, Their Canvas’ tour. The tour has an added bonus in that it also features Germany’s mighty post/prog metal legends The Ocean, and Charles cannot wait for it to start.

“We’re excited about the Australian tour,” he enthuses. “We don’t get a chance to play back home very often anymore; it’s usually been about once a year. So it’s not something that happens all the time. But we’re excited for this one for a few reasons.”

“One, we haven’t been home in about a year to do any shows. I’m excited that we have The Ocean coming all the way from Germany to join us because they’re a band that I love. It’s fantastic that we’re getting a chance to do some shows with them.”

There is another reason why Charles is so excited about this tour. “It’s also going to be a chance for us to debut some new material that we’ve been working on lately. We thought we’d give our home country fans the first chance in the world to hear some of the stuff that will be on our third album.”

Speaking of which, the band’s gargantuan fanbase worldwide does not have too much longer to wait before

their third opus hits the shelves, the radio airwaves and cyberspace.

“It should be out sometime next year,” he reveals. “I think, in a perfect world, it’ll be out sometime in the third quarter of 2017. We’re aiming to record in the first few months of 2017. It just depends on how it all goes, we’ve got heaps of ideas, four or five songs in the works and a lot of stuff has already been done.

“But we’re making good progress and we’re definitely on track to have it out next year.”

Written by Rod Whitfield

with special guests THE OCEAN
______

FRI
NOV 25
2016

Melbourne
Powerstation

FRI
DEC 2
2016

Newcastle
The Cambridge Hotel

SAT
NOV 26
2016

Adelaide
Fowler’s Live

SAT
DEC 3
2016

The Brightside
Brisbane

WED
NOV 30
2016

Canbera
The Basement

SUN
DEC 4
2016

Perth
Capitol

THUR
DEC 1
2016

Sydney
Manning Bar

listen to ne obliviscaris

An interview with Synyster Gates

“We are going to do a lot of new and fucking crazy things.”

The music industry has gone through so many changes over the years, some for good, many for the bad. It seems the days of camping out for a midnight release or concert tickets are long gone. It was a magical time before the internet ruined any element of surprise… Or so we thought.

Avenged Sevenfold have trumped the pirates and torrents by keeping their latest release ‘The Stage’ to themselves. Lead guitarist Synyster Gates tells us “We had to burn every bridge, as far as press is concerned including all of our media family, and that was tough. You couldn’t send it to a bunch of people, because that’s when it leaks. Once it leaks, it gets on a fucking truck, once it gets on a plane, a train a fucking automobile (laughs)”.

The secret and suspense worked, with over 70,000 units moved within the first week, ‘The Stage’ goes back to a simpler approach where Auto-Tune was the enemy “Absolutely! I appreciate you saying that as it was very important to us. Sometimes you forget how to make it natural and free, by trying to make it so perfect. This was just a bunch of dudes, just going in, and trying to harness an energy, and the last thing we were allowed to do, was over think shit.”

This also marks the debut of ex-Bad Religion drummer Brooks Wackerman who replaced Arin Ilejay, “He bought in so much fucking amazing stuff, he bought in first takes (laughs); he’s a fucking freak. You would play a riff, and the last thing you would expect, is what he would play; we got a lot of mileage out of jamming with that dude.”

AX7 has always embraced new technology, and this time it’s no different. To celebrate the release, they played atop the famed Capitol Records Headquarters, but did it their way “ To do virtual reality and augmented reality like that, and to do it well. Its just starting to get to the point where its really exciting, we always like to do things differently, and it was just an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. Historically, we have been a meat and potatoes, kind of fire stage show kind of band, but this stuff is so cool, and unique, and its all brand new.”

This is the first Capitol release, and while the fall out with previous label Warner has been documented, Gates is looking forward. “There is no ill will, there are so many unfamiliar faces and regime changes there, while there are still some people there, great fucking people that are still fighting for us, we felt like the side piece, and we wanna be the main squeeze. Capitol came in hot and only showed us nothing but love.”

The band renowned for their live shows, are now looking forward to bringing this new album to the stage. “We are currently trying to work all that out; we just want it to be big, grandiose, and totally fucking left of field. We are going to do a lot of new and fucking crazy things man. We are spending a lot of money to make it the most unreal show, and something you have never seen before; it’s going to be nuts.” As for songs he looks to bring to the stage, “there will always be songs that will be so much more fun (to play live), but I think Paradigm, and Sunny Disposition, I am fucking excited about”.

As we wrap up, I ask Synyster Gates if he could go back in time and give himself advice 15 years ago “I know exactly what it would be. It would be: scour the internet for porn (laughs). No; in 2008, I started going on all these guitar sites and started to develop my vocabulary, and there has been shit online for a lot longer than that. So I would love to get an extra five, six, seven years of shared guitar knowledge from the web under my belt.”

Of course, I asked about a future tour, “We just want to get up there, have a few beers, play, and have fun. Our heart and soul went into this album, and we will see you down there very soon.”

Written By Andrew Treadwell

listen to “THE STAGE”

AN INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST DANI FILTH 

“It’s easy to stay there, it’s just whether you can make enough money to do it!” laughed Dani Filth when asked how difficult it is for a band to stay relevant in the modern music climate.

“This is what people don’t understand when they download and get everything for free from a band – the fact that it’s their livelihood. If someone came into your workplace and said ‘right, I’m having this and doing this and you’re not doing fuck all about it’, you would  be angry because you’ve worked for that and it’s the same premise here. A band, without people paying for records or paying for their music, effectively just go bust and when they go bust they can’t make music anymore, and that’s the be all and end all of it. I’ve worked and been self-sufficient for 22 years, and I can’t grumble, but it is hard work.”

Dani Filth is better known for his work as front man for Cradle of Filth, but on this occasion, he is talking about his “other” band Devilment, who have just released their second album ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’. While Filth is under no illusions Cradle of Filth will always be his first, and foremost, he is hopeful this album can solidify Devilment as a standalone project.

“Obviously when I first started with Devilment, it was just a bit of a laugh that grew into being a proper band and that grew into a debut album. I guess I was just pig-headed and wanted to keep making it work. We went through a few pitfalls and whatever but I’m balancing it quite well at the moment. Cradle of Filth is in the midst of writing a new album which is due for release next year so, currently, they seem to be orbiting one another like the seasons and fingers crossed, it stays that way. It’s a privilege to be able to get to a second album because that’s when people start taking the band a lot more seriously because they realise it’s a proper band and not just a vanity project.”

Despite having released more than a dozen albums between the two outfits, Filth admits there is still a degree of trepidation when a new album comes out.

“I guess so,” he said, about feeling the pressure. “I don’t think of it too much nowadays because with record sales, it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference. It’s people reactions more than anything. By the time the album comes out, people would hopefully have seen ‘Under the Thunder’ which is the lyric video released about two weeks ago. We also have a full blown band performance video called ‘Hitchcock Blonde’ which was out on October 24 that was shot in a deserted, definitely haunted hotel and shortly before the album is released there’s going to be a short, animated track released called ‘Full Dark, No Stars’. By then people, if they were oblivious to the band and hadn’t heard of us before or fancy a precursor of what the album tastes like, they will have a good representation from those. I couldn’t isolate one song and say this is Devilment in a nutshell because it veers quite a bit. There’s quite a lot of different material contained therein.”

With the second album from a band often treated as one that consolidated their sound and style, Filth says Devilment’s main aim when entering the studio was to do just that but also expand on the material in places that fans might not expect.

“Obviously we wanted to make something that built on the strength of the first record,” he offered, “and didn’t steer too far away from that sound but at the same time built on, expanded and played on the strengths of that record. We wanted to utilise everyone’s musicianship a lot better and explore songs in different directions and places. We have a new drummer, so we wanted to improve on that. We wanted to expand more on the vocal contribution with my stuff; the gutturals and narrative as well as Lauren’s (Francis, vocals and keyboards) sweet voice. It was like Beauty and the Beast, but it worked well (laughs).  Bigger, better, blacker, darker and more intricate music but at the same time you don’t want to lose sight of what the band is about. You don’t want people to say ‘great record, but it sounds nothing like the first one’ so you can have one eye on that as well.”

As well as building on the sound from debut ‘The Great and Secret Show’, Filth is on record as saying ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’ is more experimental and mature in nature, a claim which he vindicates here.

“It is experimental in that it explores unchartered waters for us in places,” he explained. “For instance, Shine on Sophie Moone is very bold and has a punk vibe with a heavy chorus then it just dissipates to this strange, eerie dropdown that would be like something from Tomahawk or a Mike Patton record. There’s stuff on there with which we took quite a few chances. DEA Della Morte is another song that’s just really fucked up (laughs) and experimental – experimental in the sense that we were trying to tread new water. We wanted to be a better and more creative band without losing sight of our sound and keeping a big production, while at the same time having songs that people can sing to and remember, which is also important.”
Aside from both band commitments, Filth also uses his spare time in film and television roles, which begs the question, is he a workaholic?

“Either that or an idiot,” he laughed. “I didn’t realise. Well, I did actually, I knew exactly what I was getting into but it just blossomed, and I’m quite headstrong like that. I’m pigheaded. I didn’t want to say ‘I can’t do this because it’s too much work’ (laughs). It’s like a snow globe. The bits fall to the bottom, and you turn it over and they all start sprinkling back again, and that’s what it feels like. Before this album even comes out, I’m going to be in the studio for the Cradle album, so it’s continuous work, but it’s good. It’s what I like to do. Plus it’s a saying in England to make hay while the sun shines and all that. It won’t last forever so what the hell!”

Written by Kris Peters

listen to devilment

“Fans expect new material a lot sooner and we wanted to give it to them”, explained SIXX A.M vocalist James Michael ahead of the band’s upcoming release ‘Volume 2 Prayers For the Blessed’.

“We are in an age of instant gratification so we knew that we were gonna be under pressure to create a lot of new music and we welcome that challenge. We had a blast making these records – in fact, we’re already writing songs for another record we are going to do next year. I think it is very important for bands to keep new material coming.”

Following on hot on the heels of ‘Volume 1 Prayers for the Damned’, Michael says the band feels vindicated by its decision to record two albums simultaneously and release them half a year apart.

“We’re really excited about ‘Volume 2 Prayers For the Blessed,” he enthused. “It’s been a long journey for us. As you know we had ‘Volume 1 Prayers for the Damned’ that came out earlier this year and we’ve been eagerly anticipating releasing this one since then. It’s really been a master plan that we had to release two records this year and everything has been going great. We’re very, very excited about our new single  We Will Not Go Quietly, which we’ve been playing live for the last couple of weeks but overall everything that we set out to accomplish with both of these records has come to fruition. It’s very gratifying to us as a band and exciting to be at this stage of SIXX A.M’s life.”

The plan to record two albums  worth of material with separate release dates may seem to be an unusual decision, but according to Michael, it was a tactical decision made for the right reasons.

“When we went into the studio last year to create both of these albums we knew at the time that we were going to write and record two separate records that were going to compliment each other,” he said. “Two records that were going to be musically and thematically connected but also that could stand alone so we could release them separately. We did 22 or 24 songs at one time and we broke them into the two records and the process of doing that was really an intentional one for us but then something interesting happened. Once we finished mixing ‘Volume 1 Prayers For the Damned’ we took a break from the touring and went out and did a month of festivals here in the U.S and we did a month over in Europe and what happened as a result of that is we went back into the studio, wrote a couple of new songs that weren’t even intended to be on ‘Volume 2’, and then added those and switched stuff up a little so although there are similarities, ‘Volume 2’ is like another transition of SIXX A.M. It was a couple of more months of hard touring and playing all around the world with a lot of great bands and we brought that back into the studio so I think the listeners will notice a difference in energy and progression and passion between the two.

One of the possible drawbacks of releasing an album months after it was written is the risk that some of the material may become outdated given the ever-changing worldwide landscape, but Michael believes all of the content is still relevant and pertinent to the times.

“Both albums were created during an insane time of our lives. Globally there’s so much to deal with right now. There’s so much that we as a society are having to process and work through that there was no shortage of relevant and current issues to deal with. We have songs like Rise or our new single which clearly deal with larger, global society issues but then we have songs like Maybe it’s Time or even the cover song we did Without You which really brings those things down to an intimate and personal level and that’s something that SIXX A.M has always done through all of our records. We’ve found a way to take very dramatic and very heavy global issues and deal with them on a personal level and I believe that is why we are connected so much with our fans and why the fans keep coming back to the music for a sense of acknowledgement or a sense of salvation in a way.”

[more below]

As well as putting thought into the writing, recording and releasing process, there is also meaning in the title variation between the two albums: the first record titled ‘Prayers For the Damned’ and the second ‘Prayers For the Blessed’. While not indicating any dramatic shift in musical direction there is an important degree of differentiation

“That’s a good question,” Michael enthused when asked about the opposing nature of the titles, “and that’s really what excites us… that question that you just asked me is really a question that I think we’re asking through our music. We have a song like Barbarians which is also subtitled Prayers For the Blessed and that song is addressing the very concept of being blessed versus being damned or being cursed. It raises the question of what really defines a person as being blessed or being damned and it kind of flips in that we as a society have our own impression of what we think being a blessed person is. I think that what SIXX A.M has done is flip that perception and forced us all to ask that question. Who are the damned? And why is that? And a song like Barbarians is really flipping that belief and saying, you know what, all along we always felt like we are the damned but maybe we’re actually the blessed. Maybe the misfits are the ones who are the blessed and maybe those that are in a position of power and the elite; maybe they aren’t as lucky as we all think they are.”

Originally put together just to record the soundtrack for bassist Nikki Sixx’s book, The Heroin Diaries, SIXX A.M were never meant to be a touring, functioning

band but managed to strike a connection through their music that resonated with fans and forced the members to reevaluate their position.

“The Heroin Diaries was really used as something to inspire us to write music. When we made that soundtrack we were just three friends getting together and making music. We literally didn’t even have a name! We had no intention of ever touring and we certainly didn’t expect to have a hit on the radio. It was absolutely a labour of love,: a labour of passion but now here we are nearly ten years later and we are out on tour and we have fans singing every word to every song… I gotta tell you it’s a dream come true but a dream none of us were prepared to have.”

While having someone as recognizable as Nikki Sixx in the band opens many doors initially, Michael agrees that it was important for SIXX A.M to establish their own identity and not be ‘Nikki Sixx’s other band’.

“I think it’s something… the music has always come first with us. There really aren’t any egos in this band. We’re grateful to have created something that people are interested in and people return to for more and we are aware how difficult it is to have any success in this industry so we are constantly reminding ourselves of how lucky we are to have a platform from which people can react and respond to. It is very important to honor that expectation that people have of us to create music that is of the highest quality and that connects with people on a personal level.”

Finding a balance between attitude and music and then translating that component to your performance is critical in the modern music world, with even the smallest details of a band’s life and career under constant scrutiny. One seemingly compliments the other but are both equally as important to a band’s career.

“I think if you don’t have strong music that connects on a primal level with people then you don’t have any purpose to have good imaging or create good visuals,” Michael mused, “so it starts with the music first and foremost. But then along the way you have to be able to put on a show. You have to be able to entertain people and that’s something that I think we are really blessed to be able to have Nikki’s years of experience with Motley Crue. He has always been a master at figuring out how to connect with an audience in a sincere way and a dramatic way and SIXX A.M has benefitted from that experience and applied that to our shows as well, and I think that we are seeing that same level of passionate commitment from our fans and I think a lot of it is due to the whole thing. We’ve realized how important the songs are. We’ve realized how important it is to be honest with our message but we’ve also realized how important it is to dazzle people and put on a show and entertain because after all we are in the entertainment business”

Wirtten by Kris Peters

Written By Matt Bolton

Every genre has its most iconic albums. When it comes to thrash the number of albums and artists can be a very hard task to administer. HEAVY have made up a list of ten iconic albums in the thrash metal genre with six honourable mentions. Thrashers unite!

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Sodom – Agent Orange (1989)

Destruction – Release From Agony (1987)

Annihilator – Alice In Hell (1989)

Armored Saint – March Of The Saint (1984)

Overkill – Years Of Decay (1989)

Dark Angel – Darkness Descends (1986)

10. Death Angel – The Ultra-Violence (1987)

Coming from the Bay Area thrash scene, Death Angel continues to put out stellar albums, providing us with furious thrash since the iconic debut. All of the members were under the age of 20 when recording  ‘The Ultra-Violence’ at Banquet Sound Studios, Santa Rosa, California in 1986. Drummer Andy Galeon was  incredibly at the ripe age of fourteen. Classics such as Thrashers and the epic instrumental title track, The Ultra-Violence are still crowd favourites today.

9. Coroner – Punishment For Decadence (1988)

Swedish thrash trio, Coroner deliver the goods on their second release, ‘Punishment for Decadence’. The album was released through the aptly titled Noise label and recorded at Sky Trak Studios in Berlin. Things get real technical on this album and it stands the test of time as one of the greatest European thrash masterpieces. The distinct vocals of front-man, Ron Royce sets the band apart from their peers and the melodic guitar work of Tommy T. Baron is in complete unison with Royce and drummer extraordinaire, Marquis Marky, who also writes all lyrics for the album. The infamous Masked Jackal single featured a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic Purple Haze as a B-Side. The song also featured as bonus track on the album after the thrash-fest Voyage of Eternity.

8. Kreator – Extreme Aggression (1989)

Another monster of a thrash album to come out of Europe was ‘Extreme Aggression’, from German four piece Kreator. One of many speed metal bands to show influences from Celtic Frost and Bathory alongside Coroner and their German peers, Sodom who are another honourable mention with ‘Agent Orange’ (1989), in particular. Like Coroner before them, the album was released on Noise records however, the album was recorded in Hollywood, California. Mille Petrozza provides a powerful vocal delivery as he shares riffs with lead guitarist Jörg “Tritze” Trzebiatowski. The duo shreds along to the frantic bass of Rob Fioretti and chaotic drum work of Jürgen Reil.

7. Megadeth – Rust In Peace (1990)

Choosing between this and ‘Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?’ (1986) was a difficult task however for what it’s worth this is one incredible thrash record from the opener Holy Wars… The Punishment is Due, with that infectious riff to that final note of Dawn Patrol or Rust in Peace… (Polaris) if you have the reissue. Dave Mustaine’s distinct vocals set him apart from singers of genres across all spectrums apart from Thrash. The guitar wizardry of Marty Friedman and drum technique of the late, Nick Menza are standouts, particularly on the band’s fourth release. Menza is greatly missed.

6. Testament – The Legacy (1986)

The debut from the mighty Testament has the history to back it up as an ultimate thrash masterpiece. Guitarists Alex Skolnick and Eric Peterson, bassist Greg Christian and drummer Louie Clemente were all in a band that went by the name of Legacy. They were fronted by Steve “Zetro” Souza who went on to sing for thrash legends Exodus. Souza wrote most of the lyrics for the album, with Chuck Billy taking over the mic. The band changed the name from Legacy to Testament, released this beauty and the rest was history. Stand out tracks include opener Over the Wall, First Strike is Deadly and Alone in the Dark.

5. Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985)

The debut album features the mighty vocal delivery of the late Paul Baloff. It is the only full-length to feature the man, features Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt on guitar, Rob McKillop on bass and Tom Hunting it is truly an iconic thrash album with greats such as the title track, Bonded by Blood, A Lesson in Violence, Piranha and Strike of the Beast. The nine tracks were recorded at Prairie Sun Recording Studios, Cotati, California by the San Francisco Thrash titans.

4. Anthrax – Among The Living (1987)

The third album from thrash legends Anthrax contains classics such as the title-track Among the Living, Caught in a Mosh, I Am the Law, A Skeleton in the Closet and Indians. All these songs usually feature in the band’s live set. The album was recorded at Quadradial Studios, Miami, Florida and Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas. The album was certified gold and is definitely the band’s signature album. Joey Belladonna fronts the band that features guitarists Dan Spitz, Scott Ian, bassist Frank Bello and drummer Charlie Benante.

3. Sepultura – Arise (1991)

Brazilan thrash veterans Sepultura continue to put out stellar records but none can deny the power of the early Max Cavalera days. Although it is a matter of opinion when it comes to the greatest Sepultura record nobody would deny that ‘Arise is definitely right up there. From the title-track, Arise, Dead Embryonic Cells, Desperate Cry to the final track Infected Voice or the awesome rendition of Orgasmatron, a Motorhead cover on the European release, this album stands the test of time.  Recorded at Morrisound Recording, Tampa, Florida, United States and released through Road Runner Records it is a valid contender of the top ten thrash classics. The album featured the classic line-up of Max Cavalera on vocals and rhythm guitar, brother Igor on drums, bassist Paulo Jr. and Andreas Kisser on lead guitar.

2. Slayer – Reign In Blood (1986)

Slayer’s third album and first release through a major label, Def Jam is an instant classic. Bassist/Vocalist Tom Araya screams over the guitar duo of the late Jeff Hanneman, Kerry King and drummer extraordinaire Dave Lombardo. The album is just short of half an hour and the band is relentless from Angel of Death to the epic Raining Blood. There is not a dud track on the album and it is hard to not headbang your way till the album is complete. Rick Rubin has produced a masterpiece here.

1. Metallica – Kill ‘Em All (1983)

One could have chosen ‘Ride The lightning, ‘Master of Puppets or ‘…And Justice For All to be Metallica’s best record although the album to start it all was this 1983 debut. This is what makes it the most iconic thrash record. The classic line-up to feature James Hetfield on vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, the late Cliff Burton on bass and drummer, Lars Ulrich. Burton is known for his bass wizardry on the instrumental track, (Anesthesia) – Pulling Teeth. Other highlights include Hit The Lights, The Four Horsemen, Jump in the Fire, Whiplash and Seek &  Destroy. Every song on the album is a classic in its own right. The album was recorded at Music America Studios in Rochester, New York and was released via the Megaforce label. It is sure to play a big part in any thrash fans lives and is one of the reasons most continue to headbang today.

AN Interview with Mille Petrozza

“You have to find a style that no-one else has. That’s the key to being recognised”

“To me thrash metal is among the most interesting forms of music because it’s heavy and contains everything you love about heavy music with some twists,” explained Kreator vocalist Mille Petrozza.

“It’s a very creative form of music, and it’s a creative form of art, and it keeps people’s attention by going over the top with whatever is possible. You hear a thrash metal song, and it can be anything. It can kick you in the face, or it can be an emotional thing. It’s definitely one of the most exciting forms of music.”

Kreator is recognised in music circles as one of the Big Teutonic 4 of Thrash Metal, along with Tankard, Destruction and Sodom – the European equivalent to the American Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax).

With a career spanning three decades, Petrozza says that by now the band has figured out who they are musically and know and trust their sound. “I think things like that come with time,” he said of developing a band’s individuality.

“When you start as a band it’s cool to be inspired by other bands. It’s not a bad thing to not copy other bands but to be influenced by them. As you continue it’s better to find your own style and don’t try to be someone else. I think it is essential to find your own identity, otherwise there is no need for another band and that’s how we see it. Kreator has its own unique style, and we worked on that for a long time. It wasn’t a conscious thing that we needed to be original it just happened as we grew. You have to find a style that no – one else has. That’s the key to being recognised.”

Throughout the 1990’s, while Kreator were still somewhat experimenting with their sound, they released a series of albums that moved away from their thrash roots with diminishing success. They tried more death and industrial metal on “Renewal” (1992) and “Cause For Conflict” (1995) and experimented even more with goth and samples and loops on “Outcast” (1997) and “Endorama” (1999). While being an important part of the band’s growth and future sound, this period was not well received by fans and resulted in Kreator successfully going back to the tried and true of thrash for their 2001 release “Violent Revolution”.

“The experimental albums that we released in the ‘90’s were to us still 100% Kreator albums,” Petrozza defended. “Of course, in order to develop our musical style we needed to stray a little bit. I think nowadays when we release an album like the upcoming “Gods of Violence” those influences are still there but the DNA of every Kreator record is a thrash metal. It always has been, now more than ever. We found a way of combining all of those styles and influences and put them into the Kreator universe and created something unique and exciting that gives you an idea of how we write and how we feel. I guess that’s how we got back into thrash metal. It’s just there. It’s just Kreator and part of our musical history.”

With “Gods of Violence” due for release on January 27, Petrozza says the band is excited about the prospect of their fans getting a taste of the new material but stresses that nerves no longer play any part in the process.

“Nervous wouldn’t be the word I would use,” he said. “We’re anxious to get the album out and play for the fans but not nervous. One thing we do have to discuss is the set list for any new shows. Because this is the fourteenth album it will be a bit of a challenge to play a bunch of songs off the new record as well as the classics. That might be a bit tricky (laughs).”

“I think “Gods of Violence” is very much a continuation of “Phantom Antichrist”,” he added, “with a new twist maybe. We tried to make this album more exciting and put everything in there; put everything that we’ve got onto the record to an extent where in order to keep it exciting, we added more melodies and tried to write great songs and just release a Kreator album really.”

The opening song on the album, Apocalypticon, is a brooding instrumental that you wouldn’t expect for an introduction to a thrash album, but Petrozza is quick to point out that there is a reason behind the relative calm before the storm.

“The intention was to get you in the mood for the record,” he explained. “Before we release the album we are going to release things like photos and a trailer for the record where you can hear that song. We wanted to make it more epic. We wrote Apocalypticon and used it as an intro to get the listener in the mood for what was to come.” While “Gods of Violence” is a typically confronting title, Petrozza says that there is also depth behind the words. “We were trying to find a name that was a typical Kreator title,” he stressed. “The idea was to connect the ancient Greek Gods to current events like terror and wars and human atrocities and the connection is there in the lyrics for the songs. Gods of Violence was the first song written for the record and the title stuck with me. I was thinking back and forth but we decided to keep that. It’s right up there in terms of effect with our past titles.” Although admitting the thrill and excitement of producing new music is always a challenge, Petrozza does concede that it can get a little harder to do as the years go by.

The sheer volume of songs and albums can make the process more difficult, to the point it takes longer to write and record new material. “It does get harder,” he said, “because, you don’t want to release something in order to just go back on tour. That would be wrong. We have to live with these songs for the next two, three or four years. It’s not getting easier to do, especially because we are trying to write new stories and see the world from a different perspective. Four years after Phantom Antichrist came out the world has changed and finding the themes and finding things to write about takes more time.” This changing face of the world is also making things like touring more arduous, with terror threats and violence having an effect on many aspects of touring life, but Petrozza says that despite such things the secret to maintaining success and relevance comes down to one simple factor. “You have to believe in what you do,” he stated. “That’s the bottom line. It’s not easy to maintain and keep the same enthusiasm, especially in this day and age where there is a lot of travelling. Going to an airport nowadays is the worst as you can imagine because of all the security checks but to me what really matters is the music. I’ve always been a musician and I wouldn’t want to be anything else. Being in Kreator and contributing to the metal world with our music is exciting and fulfilling and it’s a strong part of my life. I just love what I do and I think the best thing I can say is if you can get into the music scene and music industry just stick to it. Be yourself and you will overcome all of the problems that come with it.”

Written By Kris Peters

LISTEN TO KREATOR

AN interview with bobby ‘blitz’ ellsworth


“It’s our fucken stage and we will fucken bury you!”

“Looking back on the early days of thrash it was always about hindsight,” recalled Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth, vocalist for thrash pioneers Overkill. “I never really understood it when it was happening because rules were being created from day to day and then they were getting tossed away three days later and new rules were being made. There’s obviously a map this many years later but when I was starting in the early days there was no map and that was the beauty of it. There was no book to follow. There were no rules to follow, and I think it was like a young man’s voice in the dark. He had to say something but he didnt know how to say it. He was a metal head but he didn’t relate to what was the mainstream metal so I think the beauty of it was it was just a natural reaction to what was happening, whether socially, politically, or musically in the world. One of my earliest thoughts about thrash metal is total chaos. I was a punk fan. I’ve been to Max’s Kansas City, I’ve been to Heebie Jeebies. I saw the Ramones, I saw the New York Dolls, but then the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) came in and if you put them both in a bag and shook it around and threw it out on the sidewalk you’d get fucken Overkill. Does that work? I don’t know, but if I said I had a plan I’m a fucken liar! The idea was that there was no plan and that was the excitement about it was that we were just different. Not because we wanted to be, it’s just the way it worked out with regards to let’s say our turtle makeup and our influences with to music.”

In those early days of thrash metal there were few bands with which to use as influence, and as such Blitz says Overkill were in the unique position of shaping their own sound. With the eclectic nature of the music and the rumblings of a musical revolution beginning to gain traction he says the only rules were there were no rules.

“We were kids at the time,” he remembered, “and you know, I have a voice kind of like Mickey Mouse on methamphetamines (laughs). I’ve had people come up to me and say ‘what a great band but I can’t fucken stand you man’, because I am an acquired taste (laughs). In regards to identity I think that just happened. Again, it wasn’t a cookie cut approach to it. It was more a case of, we as a group can make this happen so the identity showed up right away with regards to original material because I wasn’t the norm or the new rule in relation to what happened last Thursday for a thrash metal singer and it kind of worked out right for us.”

With Overkill preparing to unleash their eighteenth album, ‘The Grinding Wheel’, Blitz says the band has given up trying to reinvent the wheel and now just lets the music dictate its own direction. “We’ve been around for so long that at the end of the day Overkill’s Overkill,” he explained, “but I think it’s always the different nuances; the different spices that you add to things and we’ve accumulated a lot of those spices and tools over the years. Our music embraces everything from punk rock to doom and somewhere in between and if you add the energy it becomes thrash. I think this record for some reason contains most of the tools, whether it is punk rock or rock and roll or a doomy approach to certain things. A tune down or something here, a speeded up something there, so I think it really is like looking into a good part our history after eighteen records. The other thing is that we worked with Andy Steep for the first time. Andy has a certain way of doing things and we love the way he mixes with a little more organic drums or more of a guitar sound and it came out something like it was in 1992 with a fresh approach to it. Basically, you just take all of the tools in the toolbox and you take Andy Steep production and our input in to it and you have something special with The Grinding Wheel.”

Although ‘The Grinding Whee’l is completed and ready for release, it won’t see the light of day until February next year, with Blitz not even trying to hide his feelings on the delay.

“It sucks cock to be honest. It fucken blows,” he laughed. “We have a formula we try to stick to and that’s write, promote, release, tour and now we have pushed back the release ‘x’ amount of months and it’s a little bit; I won’t say debilitating but a little disappointing. We’ve always been able to keep our formula working for us and I think it’s one of the things that has kept Overkill working is the fact that we stay on that clock. We were ready as hell but it was just a case of miscommunication. Nobody was late. Nobody died so I was a little disappointed, but at the end of the day do you rush the record or do you have Andy sit there and keep on it? When it comes down to it we chose dignity over formula and money so somewhere at night I can sleep well.”

While seeming somewhat of a straightforward name for the album, “The Grinding Wheel” also served as a mantra for the band during the recording process, with Blitz saying it has multiple meanings.

“I don’t know how [the word] ‘grind’ works in Australia, but we obviously share some semblance of the English language,” he laughed, “but to grind out here is… sort of, who do you want in your foxhole with you? That kind of approach and this has always been a band that can get it done. Bare knuckles or tank, whatever it takes. If there’s an obstacle, we’re always willing to confront that obstacle. We’re always willing to grind through it. It’s not about quick and reckless; it’s to some degree slow and sure, and I think with us in a grind it always matches up. We always look for catchphrases – something we can go back to about writing. If you have a catchword or a catchphrase and the three writers, agree on it helps in the process. When Dave [Linsk, rhythm guitar, backing vocals] is throwing out a lead or an arrangement at me or D.D [Verni, bass, backing vocals] is throwing a riff at me, I know that both of those motherfuckers are grinding it because that’s the word. We’ve done it now for probably the last four or five albums that had that catchphrase or that catchword, so grinding is probably what we do. The idea of using the catchphrase is to keep us all on the same page.”

Overkill’s last two albums, “The Electric Age” and “White Devil Armory” were two of their highest selling and best-received albums since they stormed the scene in 1980 which reinforces the fact that thrash metal is enjoying a resurgence in the music ranks. While admitting their sustained success is sometimes a mystery to even the band, Blitz also believes there is no such thing as luck.

“I think it’s more when you catch a wave, you ride that wave,” he mused. “You never go into the studio to fail. You go in to win. I think that’s one of the things about thrash is it is about competition, and I have always liked competition, especially friendly competition. I remember touring with Exodus back in 2008/09 and Gary Holt coming off stage every night and giving me that cowboy look and a wink in his eye saying ‘beat that’ and I was like ‘I’ll bury you motherfucker’ (laughs). I think in there somewhere is your answer. The idea is you don’t sign up to lose. You don’t enter the race to lose. The idea is you want to win, and a band like Overkill with regards to any success that we’ve had is that we go in saying ‘this is ours. It’s our fucken stage and we will fucken bury you!’ If you can do that and believe it, it eventually comes true.”

Not only have Overkill tasted success in the world of thrash metal, but they have also remained as one of its elite for 36 years. Through a combination of relentless drive and competitive nature, they have survived through the highs and lows of metal unscathed and with their reputation intact, a feat enjoyed by only a splattering of bands.

“We lent people money in the early days,” Blitz laughed, “and they still owe us! Also, we’re from New Jersey, so when I was a young boy I grew up in an Irish immigrant family and D.D came from an Italian family, so when you put the both of us together, people are like ‘just leave those guys alone and don’t borrow money from them’ (laughs). But I think the point is it’s not about worrying about it, and we never did. Even in the 1990’s when times were a little lean and metal was a dirty word and thrash was passé that isn’t what it was about. We were like, can you pass me a beer and put it on the table while I take a piss? You zip it up, knock off the beer and you come back, and you do what you normally do. I think overthinking things sent a lot of guys home. A lot of guys sat in their Mums basement smoking Marlboro’s and playing their guitars saying ‘why won’t anyone recognise my fucken genius’ and I always thought to myself there are a few guys out there that do have the testicles to get through. Kreator was one of them. I love touring with those guys, they’re the real deal. You walk on a Kreator bus, and you know who you’re fucken talking to and they’re the kind of cats that wouldn’t accept no for an answer. I remember talking to Speesy and Mille one day, and Speesy says ‘what are you working on?’ and I said, ‘you know what I see in you guys? Me!’ (laughs). Not to be egotistical but more to say I recognise who I want in the foxhole with me and it’s guys like that. It’s not hard to stay there in the music industry if you know who you are and you can work out all of the other details around that principal.”

Written by Kris Peters

LISTEN TO OVERKILL

INTERVIEW WITH ANDREAS KISSER

“‘Kill ‘Em All’ by Metallica and ‘Bonded by Blood’ by Exodus were big influences in the early days of Sepultura,” recalled guitarist Andreas Kisser, “and the band Sacrifice from Canada was a band I listened to a lot when I joined the band, back in ’87. Kreator was also a big influence. Max and Igor (Cavalera) and Paolo (Xisto Pinto, Jr) listened to a lot more death metal; more of the Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and Sodom stuff. I liked all of that, but I was more into the thrash – technical guitar leads,etc. With our second album, “Schizophrenia”, I think we reached that junction; that collaboration where I brought my ideas and combined with their thoughts, we started to create a new Sepultura. We discovered our sound and talked about our stuff instead of just copying bands like Antichrist and Morbid and all of the bands I just mentioned. We changed a lot of our topics and what we were singing about. “Spreading the Disease” from Anthrax was a significant influence. We began to embrace living in San Paolo with chaotic traffic and police brutality. All of those experiences, we used to suffer with during those days as teenagers with long hair, listening to heavy metal and the consequences of all of that was ‘Schizophrenia’. We started to put all of the influences in, instead of just copying other bands and talking about black magic and that kind of stuff. Bands like Metallica had the inspiration from hardcore bands like Slayer, G.B.H and Discharge which was a big influence on us as well. Hardcore helped to shape thrash metal a lot.”

“I think Sepultura only found their sound on “Chaos A.D”, Kisser continued. “We started to find our place in the metal scene on that album because up to “Arise”, we were still very much compared to Slayer which for us, was a fantastic achievement but at the same time we wanted to be recognized for our own sound, and that’s when the Brazilian rhythm and instruments – especially the percussive instruments – came in. That’s where we started to find our Brazilian roots and heritage and all of the influences that Brazilian music has that we were denied for so many years because we all had radical minds as teenagers and we hated anything from Brazil. With travelling – the Arise tour was huge – we went everywhere. We played with Ozzy. We played Rock in Rio. We went to Australia and Japan for the first time. These were places that really opened our minds to new ideas and we started looking back to Brazil and finding these unique elements that only Brazil has; things like Samba and all of the percussion and different rhythms. That’s when we began to embrace that and use it in or music and that’s when we really found our sound. It takes time. It’s not something you can force. You have to develop, and there’s nothing wrong with copying your idols. You see Led Zeppelin taking the blues to a new level and many other bands too. The Beatles copied their American idols and stuff like that, so it’s natural. Along the line of a career, there is a time you find your characteristics and sound, and I think on ‘Chaos A.D’ we finally found the real Sepultura.”

Being at the forefront of the thrash movement almost since its inception, Sepultura has been privy first hand to many of the trends and fads that have at times engulfed the scene, with Kisser admitting there have been numerous changes within the genre over the years.

“It has changed a lot,” he emphatically stressed. “The thrash metal and the metal scene, in general, has survived and is still very strong today because it can mingle with other styles. Metallica brought the country music from America. Sepultura brought the Brazilian percussion, and you saw Anthrax going into rap and doing a collaboration with Public Enemy. Even Aerosmith did a tune with Run DMC and the Scandinavian bands have used more of that dark, gothic influence because of their cultural influences and it’s great to hear. Metal has survived because we have that ability not to lose the main characteristics which are heavy guitars and distortion but at the same time bring in new elements. It’s great to see nowadays bands like Municipal Waste and Lost Society bringing that thrash metal vibe back and it’s great to see young kids playing music like Kill ‘Em All and wearing denim and leather on stage. It’s cool. Young kids with energy using thrash metal to express anger, that teenagers-know-everything attitude and revolting against the world through music. Thrash metal is an incredible source of expression, and it’s great to see young kids having that urge and that power still.”

Getting to the summit of your chosen career is difficult enough, but staying there is another challenge entirely. You have to contend with up and coming bands wanting to knock you off your perch as well as people’s changing tastes and fickle expectations, but according to Kisser if you continue to push yourself musically and personally, there is no reason why you can’t maintain your success.

“It’s so dynamic, and there are so many things that happen every day in our lives, being in a band like Sepultura that travels the world,” he enthused. “We have numerous, great opportunities to play with people, and I think the main factor that keeps us alive and well is; how can I put it – we are not afraid to try anything new. I think art is a risk. If you don’t risk in art, you’re not doing art because somehow you are repeating either stuff that you have done before or stuff that other people have. There’s nothing new, nothing challenging. I love classical music – I play classical guitar and study as much as I can. If you read the biographies of these great masters like Beethoven, Mozart and Stravinsky; they all survived a lot of criticism when they brought new ideas to music because people weren’t prepared or ready to hear or listen to anything new. Without them, music would not have had that kind of evolution that we see today from rock and roll to blues to reggae and everything that happened afterwards including metal. Every time you do something new you are going to hear criticism because people are not ready for that.”

“Along the line of a career, there is a time you find your characteristics and sound, and I think on Chaos A.D we finally found the real Sepultura.”

Every time we release a new album we bring something new to it. I know we are going to lose and gain some fans doing that which is normal. We respect every Sepultura fan from all through the years. I know some people prefer the older music over the current but we recognise them all. We don’t do a political set list. In it, we play songs from all of the albums. We move in music because of the challenges we present ourselves with. We did, for instance, Rock in Rio with Steve Vai and here in Brazil, we play with pop musicians on the same stage. We learn so much as musicians, playing with people like that, and at the same time, we keep Sepultura alive with fresh ideas regardless of if people like it or not. We can’t think about all of them otherwise, we wouldn’t move. We love to risk, and that’s the beauty of art. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but every time we learn something new.”

That sound is about to be furthered even more with the upcoming January release of “Machine Messiah”. While not abandoning the notion of musical progression, Kisser concedes that Sepultura did embrace some older elements for the album.

“One of the biggest goals that we had was to make an album like the old days, the vinyl days. At that time, you had a limited amount of time, and you had to think about things like an opener for side B or a closer for side A. Along these lines in the early stages of the writing process and demos and pre – production we already had things like the title which helped us to build the album. Going to Sweden and working with Jens Bogren, we wanted to add a different spice; a different know -how and different influences and ideas. We worked with Ross Robinson at Venice Beach on ‘The Mediator Between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart’ album but this time we wanted to go back to Europe. Since we did ‘Chaos A.D’ in ’94, we hadn’t recorded anything in Europe, so it was great to change the vibe and have a different taste for the album. Musically we wanted something more such as working more on the leads. We have violins from Tunisia. We have a horn quintet in some songs. It’s our second album with Eloy Casagrande on drums as well, and we are a lot more comfortable with each other. Our goal is always to do something different with each album. The last one had a grey cover. It was very dark, very noisy, hard and aggressive however this one has a colourful cover but is still heavy and aggressive. We have a song like ‘Machine Messiah’ which is an instrumental one, so we just deal with different aspects of our musical baggage. We spent three years touring the Mediator album, so we had a few ideas that we wanted to use. We’re happy with the result. It’s one of our best works for sure.”

Written By Kris Peters

An interview with Eric Peterson

The roots of thrash metal began with the likes of Exodus and The Big Four, but its ‘dark roots’ were arguably founded and executed by Californian heavyweights Testament, who have been keeping the genre vigorous and lively since their inception in 1983.

With their eleventh full-length record ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ set to be released in late October, we had a chat with founding member and guitarist Eric Peterson, about the struggle and process the band undertook during the making of their latest recorded achievement.

“We were trying a lot [to get a new record done], but we were getting one to two-month breaks here and there,” Peterson begins. “Between those breaks we were doing a lot of tours, so it was stop and go, stop and go. When it came time to really put the pedal to the metal, Chuck (Billy) was moving, and moving is a nightmare — especially when you’re writing a record and you have a tour coming up. As a band, we weren’t really rehearsing these [new] songs.”

“I was doing more of the writing role and I had a ghost drummer I was working with to help me put the stuff together,” he continues. “I also worked with Gene (Hoglan) when he was available, because he does a lot of other projects. Everybody was kind of doing different things, so Chuck and I were the only ones with blood on our hands, so to speak. For me, I had a great time because I have a new man cave with new programs and mini kits. So I’ve got a pretty good system to jam and stuff.”

Moving forward into that topic, according to Peterson, vocalist Chuck Billy endured the most stressful moments.

“There’s a lot of riffing going on, so it’s definitely not written super easy. There’s a lot more involved in getting up to par — probably for Chuck to find his niche or what he needed to do. But, if we rewind back to before he found his niche, there were definitely some stressful times for him on finding what he needed to do. With a little bit of direction, his confidence went through the riff and it was all downhill from that.”

“In all fairness, I could see where Chuck was having a difficult time. But when people were hearing about all that, like I tell all our people in our camp; just wait until the record is done, and [then] see what’s up. Then, lo and behold, ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ is alive and well.”

With the entire progression of ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ being a rocky road for Testament, it became a new experience in which the band discovered new things they conjured up in the midst of the making of the album. Two examples would be where Billy eventually stumbled upon a new style and movement, along with Peterson executing fresh and diverse riffs that helped shape the record in a unique way.

“That was a difficult part too. Being a stickler on stuff, it’s not easy to argue with Chuck. I did a lot of that, and probably pissed him off a lot, but I think it made him re-evaluate what he was doing. Even with some of my stuff, he was like ‘I’m not feeling that, dude’, so it was like ‘Oh, fuck’, you know? With that being the case, I think we really tried to make each other happy, but at the same time, holding our own.”

“There were certain things where I was like, ‘No, this is killer. You just gotta trust me, and you’re gonna find something for it’. ‘Born In the Rut’ was one where Chuck was like ‘It’s just a riff, Eric. I don’t understand it. How do you sing over that?’ So I would give him ideas and even if he didn’t like the ideas, he would correct them and make it better.”

“There wasn’t a lot of time where we could write something else. We had to make do with what we had and not second guess anything. And we didn’t have to compromise everyone in the band; we just really made this happen. It wasn’t the easiest record to make, but it’s definitely one of the best we’ve made.”

Moving onto the meaning behind the album title, Peterson reveals that ‘The Brotherhood of the Snake’ is a real theme. Peterson describes it as something that’s real, but still quite unknown.

“It’s a brotherhood of secrecy and covenant that goes back about 6,000 years. Secrets that have been passed down and what roles the Brotherhood have played in the world, like politics and wars. There are even theories of mutation of man and all sorts of crazy stuff out there. All of that is super intriguing to us, and we found a lot of that information we were looking for that represented the music.”

Peterson also notes that the ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ tackles the theme of what may be perceived as the truth or fiction. With the development of the internet, Peterson feels that it’s impossible to hide from all the lies that have been exposed on the web.

“We were able to come up with an abstract version of the ‘Brotherhood of the Snake’ without any consequences. It’s based on realism but abstract in the way of science-fiction. There is a bit of truth to some of this stuff, and maybe I don’t even know what the truth is. But when you read stuff like that, you can kind of see a clear picture, and you look at the world and make your own perception of what’s going. Especially with the internet. It’s hard to hide from lies now, because there’s the ‘All Seeing Eye’ right now, and it’s crazy.”

“We stuck to that theme for probably the first four or five songs. There’s a lot of it that has to do with how the world is being run, and the new zodiac sign. There’s always these new, interesting things that are being revealed in our lives and the universe is expanding. So we tried to put that all into a nutshell.”

Written By Callum Doig

interview with dan lilker

Dan Lilker is a musical legend. He’s also the first to admit that the title doesn’t sit comfortably with him. But really it is the only way to describe him – the man has sold more than 5 million albums, was one of the founding fathers of thrash metal and during his career has played in bands such as Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, Extra Hot Sauce, Brutal Truth, Stormtroopers Of Death, The Ravenous and Venomous Concept. There was of course other bands that he was a guest of and he created a new sound of distorted guitar playing.

With Nuclear Assault heading to Australia for the first and last time with their The Final Assault tour I ask Dan how the term ‘musical pioneer’ sits with him. “It is very humbling,” he says after stopping to think for a few seconds. “I’m very flattered with it to be honest. I was there when thrash first started and I know that our records were considered breakthrough records at the time so I guess I can see why people may say that but I guess other people see it as more than I do… I don’t know.”

It doesn’t take very long into my chat with Dan to realise what a humble man he really is, it comes out even more as I talk to him about what it was like to sit down with author Dave Hofer who recently published Dan’s biography – Perpetual Conversion: 30 Years And Counting In The Life Of Metal Veteran Danny Lilker. Dan admits that talking to Dave took him on an emotional journey. “Yeah it really did,” he says. ‘Dave dug up all these old posters, photo books and letters and stuff… because it was back when people actually sat down and wrote letters… and I guess you could say that it definitely had a lot of nostalgic elements to it. And then there was just this general feeling around the fact that somebody was actually asking me all these questions to write a book about me, that was really surreal. I’ve never been really egotistical or anything like that so it was a bit strange that somebody was writing a book about me, but a lot of people have had really positive responses to the book so I think that’s great, but I don’t let it go to my head I just think that it is cool.”

Dan laughs when we start talking about the fact that Nuclear Assault formed right back in the mid 1980s yet this is the first time they have toured Australia. “We’re certainly going to make it worth it for our fans,” he laughs. “For Nuclear Assault our live shows have always been about being raw, of course thrash with a little bit of hardcore thrown in, what people call a crossover I guess. So our shows have always been about not having any big visuals or anything like that, it’s just about four guys getting out and playing hard and material wise we try to keep it pretty true. We’ll play a lot of the stuff that people know from the 80s and we’ll update things with some newer stuff but pretty much a Nuclear Assault show is about playing music and not much else presentation wise. We just go for it.”

He is also very apologetic about the fact that the band haven’t been here before. “It’s just things like the logistics involved. The flights are pretty for stressful and for our level of music obviously with thrash metal that’s not ideal. Plus we haven’t had many promoters approach us I don’t know why, maybe that’s distance as well but really I’ll get on a flight from L.A. to Sydney… I really don’t give a shit.”

That leads me onto asking just how much jet lag does affect a band when they are on tour “Oh shit man, I remember when I was in Australia with another band at one time in 1996 and we were about two days into the tour and was backstage in Adelaide about an hour before we were to go on stage and then all of a sudden I felt so f**ken tired out of nowhere. I was trying to lay down and things keep sliding over so that didn’t work… so yeah jetlag can really f**k with you. It really is the time difference that f**ks with you. When all the local bands are going on stage it feels like three in the afternoon for the rest of us. You really have to rest up which is not always because I remember once we landed in Sydney at 2am, flew to Adelaide and then had a eight or nine hour drive to Ballarat or somewhere like that. So year jet lag can f**k you up, but you’ve got to get there, rest up and adapt or otherwise you’ll end up on stage thinking “f**king shit it feels like it is 9 o’clock in the f**king morning.”

So how do you rest up do you go out and explore? “That really depends on where you are,” laughs Dan. “Sometimes in a place like Germany you’ll be in the middle of nowhere or in some industrial park and you really can’t go anywhere, other times you’ll be in a city centre and you can go and check out cool places or cool architecture or go somewhere and have a coffee or a beer so yeah it depends on where you are. If you in the middle of nowhere and you start going off you might never find your way back. But seriously the best way to rest up is to just chill out.”

With Nuclear Assault calling their tour The Final Assault we joke about whether they will do a John Farnham and do a number of farewell tours. “No way,” says Dan with a mock determined voice. “We’re not going to be one of those bands that makes our fans think ‘I’m never going to see these guys again’ and then twelve months later having them roll their eyes. We would never do that. So for our fans this is the last time and for our Aussie fans I am so sorry that it has taken so long to get down there but we thank you all for your patience and we are going to make the wait worth it.”

So there you have it Nuclear Assault fans this will be your one and only time that you get to see the band live on or shores so make you sure you don’t miss The Final Assault tour in February 2017.

Written by David Griffiths

LISTEN TO
NUCLEAR ASSAULT

AN INTERVIEW WITH RYAN QUARINNGTON

“It was never our intention to start playing thrash, it just kinda happened!”

The South Australian metal scene has never been stronger and proof of this is right in front of you in the form of thrash band Alkira. The foursome have just unleashed their sophomore album ‘Klotho’ on the world and drummer Ryan Quarrington recently sat down with HEAVY Mag for a chat about the album, what’s coming up for Alkira and how they sort of fell into the thrash genre.

Born in early 2010, Alkira began when vocalist Kyle Simpson and Quarrington began jamming together. “It was never our intention to start playing thrash, it just kinda happened!” laughs Quarrington. “Kyle and I started jamming in high school with the initial intention of starting a Sex Pistols cover band, but I didn’t have a ride cymbal at the time so we played Sabbath and Marilyn Manson covers instead,” he explains.

“After high school we kept jamming with a few different people and began writing originals which had a thrash metal vibe to them, most likely because we were, and still are, both 80s-era Metallica freaks. After a year or so we found Greg and Sean who shared a similar ethos, and the rest is history,” Quarrington says. Even though Alkira have moved away from Sabbath and Manson covers, there is a staple Sepultura cover in their set and Ride The Lightning has found it’s way onto ‘Klotho’ as a bonus track.

Covering such a classic and adding it as a bonus on their latest release is a great way to showcase the differences across the thrash landscape as there have certainly been a lot of changes from the 80’s to today’s music.“Musically, the diversity within the thrash metal genre is one of the most appealing things about it,” Quarrington says.

“Just look at the range of different styles of the originators in “The Big 4” and the teutonic thrash movement. I think over time thrash bands have just continued to incorporate more and more influences into their music, particularly the more extreme elements of black and death metal, so it isn’t necessarily all just down-picked riffs and skank beats anymore,” Quarrington continues. “I don’t care much for the “that ain’t thrash” school of thought – if it’s got skank beats, energy and attitude then it is somewhere on the thrash metal spectrum. Obviously the production quality has improved since the 80’s as well, but I personally don’t think that has resulted in better sounding albums overall.” And for ‘Klotho’, the production on the album reflects this.

“We’ve never been keen on the over-produced, quantized sound of many modern metal albums, so on ‘Klotho’ we wanted to get a big overall sound while still maintaining real, natural tones. That was one of the reasons we chose to go with Erik Rutan and Alan Douches for mixing and mastering; they always manage to perfect that balance,” Quarrington says.

‘Klotho’ has been in the works since early 2015 but it wasn’t until October that the band really started to focus on the writing process. “The story of the album is a continuation from our first album ‘Juggernaut’ and centres around the themes of rebirth, karma and religion. It is definitely a step up musically from our previous releases, but the songs came together really easily. We tried to incorporate interesting, unconventional song structures whilst still maintaining the core elements of a good song, which I think we achieved,” Quarrington explains.

“As with all our releases, all of the songs were written in the jam space. Someone might bring a single riff, a musical section, or even just a song idea and we will jam on it and go from there. The songs were then refined over a period of 6 or so months until we were happy with their final form. Everyone contributed equally to the music on this album, though the lyrics and vocal patterns are all written by Greg and myself, and no-one has ever brought a song to the jam space and said “learn this”. That just wouldn’t work in Alkira and I think that is why all our songs have so many different influences and styles sprinkled throughout them.”

The influences of the previously mentioned teutonic thrash and big four thrash bands are clearly stamped in the music that Alkira writes but what you might not pick are the left-of-field influences that define their particular sound.

“I would say that we subscribe to the same philosophy as Kirk from Crowbar – writing heavy music with 70s pop sensibilities. Particularly in the way we try and structure our songs and have some sort of “hook” to our choruses. Pink Floyd, Bowie and Coheed and Cambria are a big influence on the album concepts and lyrical content, and I’m a huge Dio fan so I always try to channel him when I am writing lyrics as well. Additionally, the creepy organ and sound effects on both KLOTHO and Juggernaut are partly inspired by Marilyn Manson,” Quarrington says.

Fans of Alkira will be able to hear these influences for themselves as the band round out 2016 with two more gigs, one in Collingwood at The Bendigo Hotel on December 10 at the ‘Bodies on Bodies Thrash Festival and then the launch of ‘Klotho’ at the Edinburgh Hotel in Adelaide on December 17.

No strangers to the touring circuit, Alkira plan on hitting the road hard in 2017 in support of ‘Klotho’ with a tour planned for June alongside Queensland thrashers Malakyte and Victorian black thrash band Requiem. Hopefully they do plan on getting overseas again as their recent tour of South East Asia was a huge success.

“Touring South East Asia as main support to Havok was definitely a highlight. We were huge fans of the band prior to the tour, so to get the opportunity to share the stage with them in front of those crazy Asian crowds was incredible,” says Quarrington. But touring is never quite all it’s cracked up to be and Alkira have definitely experienced both in their days on the road.

“Our first interstate shows in Melbourne were the perfect example of the highs and lows of touring, The first show was at the Central Club in Richmond with Teramaze, Harlott and more but it wasn’t well promoted and bombed badly – so badly that we had to fork out our own money to pay the sound guy! However the second show was at Cherry Bar with Frankenbok, Decimatus and Envenomed and is still to this day one of the best shows and afterparties that we have had on tour,” he explains.

“The hardest part about touring Australia is the distance between capital cities and the lack of support for mid-week gigs, meaning national tours have to be spread over several weekends which increases costs. Adapting to some of the shitty backline gear you get supplied (especially in Asia) can also be a challenge!” But issues or not, Alkira love to be on the road so pick up a copy of ‘Klotho’ now and keep an eye out for them at a venue in your town soon.

LISTEN TO ALKIRA

AN INTERVIEW WITH DEVIN TOWNSEND

It’s hard to put words together when describing the versatility and perspicacity of Devin Townsend. Having spent twenty-five years creating diverse and unique compositions in metal, Townsend is undeniably one of the most iconic and creative figures in the scene.

“I’m thirty records into this career at this point. More on a realistic level, I think it’s a step up from some of the stuff that I’ve done recently”, reflects Townsend, when talking about his latest offering, Transcendence. “I think it’s a really excelled and authentic addition to its analogue where I have no right to be authentic or anything with it at this point, so I’m stoked with it.”

Devy is known to have particular themes tattooed on a number of his albums, most notably on Ziltoid the Omniscient. On Transcendence, dealing with a number of negative emotions inspired the album conceptually.

“I think it’s all about getting over myself. I’ve spent so many years being so hyper-insecure about everything”, he admits. “I think that’s a lot of what’s propelled me into doing this for a living; you know, a need for validation and for attention and those sorts of things. Ultimately flies into the face of what I think life is about and what it is really about is, taking those fifteen or twenty minutes that are wonderful with friends and family or whatever and to really be present for that and enjoy it.”

Those familiar with Devin Townsend will be aware of two very different personas. When fronting Strapping Young Lad, an abrasive and often enraged Townsend could be found. Since launching his eponymous project, Townsend’s music often possess an uplifting atmosphere while simultaneously maintaining an aggressive tinge. That being said, happiness isn’t everything to Townsend.

“The idea of what I think the media sells us, where

we’re all entitled to perfect happiness, and the perfect body with all this money and rich stuff is all bullshit”, suggests Townsend. “I think the quest for that leads us to feel the need to control everything and everybody and [to] try and dominate with the power that goes along with it. I think in just a matter of time, as well as if you’re a complete narcissist, you just get bored of yourself.”

Ultimately, sobriety played a significant role in Townsend’s quest for happiness. “I’ve been sober for so many years, and I started noticing these patterns form and it things became clear to me. If you really want to become a better version of yourself, and you want to become happy and enjoy those moments, it’s going to require self-analysis and life work which will  change these things.”

“I was fortunate enough as a kid to recognise, that I had the ability to put the emotional things into music”, Townsend recalls. “That’s what provided a cathartic outlet for me for twenty-five years; being able to express myself with things I didn’t think I was capable of in real life. So, in my whole life and work, I would say it’s just me being exhausted and getting my shit together.”

While in the midst of putting the pieces of Transcendence together, Devin had another

epiphany. Revisiting the same process he did with Epicloud and Addicted, he re-recorded some of his old classics. On Transcendence, Devin revised Truth. On the other hand, such an approach has its downside.

“On the negative side, it makes the music for me, a constantly, evolving thing. It’s all part of the same trip like everything I’ve done, musically. It’s all about the same thing; it’s all about one thing that I can’t really define. And so, I always take another stab at it and attempt to make any of the songs closer to that original goal.”

To an extent, Townsend feels his perfectionist attitude is a natural outcome of the world around him. “It’s intentional, almost like when you turn on the TV, except, when you turn it on, it’s just misery”, he points out. “There are billions of people on the planet, and it seems that the current trains of mind and the current media agenda, at least from my interpretation, is that you’re not good enough. You’re not worthy enough and you deserve more.”

Being more specific, Townsend catalogues the all the elements contributing to an ‘imperfect’ society. “Your teeth aren’t right, your breasts or your abdominal muscles aren’t big enough. You know, all of these things that are beating into us in such a way that are presented politically or economically, have this really toxic sense of fear and hostility. I think the only thing you can do in the face of that is to write songs about how unhappy you are and how shit you think everything is.”

“And it sucks to think that in order to be at peace,  you have to fight for it. I try and make something that’s beautiful, heavy and positive. Plus, why wouldn’t you wanna do that?”

Written By Callum Doig

18
MAY
2017

Auckland
Powerstation

26
MAY
2017

Perth
Capitol

20
MAY
2017

Brisbane
The Triffid

22
MAY
2017

Sydney
Enmore Theatre

24
MAY
2017

Melborne
170 Russell

Devin Townsend Project

LISTEN TO THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

“I’ve only maybe been home maybe a month in the past year,” Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio says. “I don’t see my wife nearly enough. Or my dogs. I just tell her to pretend I’m in the army, but I’m not getting shot at. It’s the only drawback to having one of the greatest jobs in the world,” he laughs. “There’s always going to be drawbacks to any job that you do, but this is a gift from heaven to be in music and to have people come out and like your stuff. I’ve been in many bands that didn’t work. They just fell by the wayside for some reason or another, and this one worked. It feels great that you can produce something that people will like and that they want to go out of their way to see. Or, they want to have you come all the way across to Australia and play.”

It’s amazing to think that just five years ago the band were in limbo. Former frontman Howard Jones had quit and Killswitch Engage were unsure whether or not to continue. In that time, D’Antonio got back in touch with some old friends to form Death Ray Vision from the ashes of Overcast, who he played with, prior to Killswitch Engage.

“I really like playing with those guys. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your element and play with different people here and there. You can learn a lot if you’re not playing with the same people over and over again. It was real easy to throw some stuff together for that band, and at the time Killswitch wasn’t really doing much. It was the interim between Howard and Jesse [Leach, vocals] where we weren’t sure what was going on with the band. At the time I just wanted to play shows. It didn’t matter if it was a bar show to 20 people or a festival here and there. Throwback hardcore with a little bit of metal was a style of music that I thought was really fun. I got together with Brian [Fair] from Shadow’s Fall and Pete Cortese from my old bands Overcast and Seemless and busted out some songs. We made an EP and then a whole record on Bullet Tooth Records, and that was a lot of fun.”

With no new releases on the horizon for Death Ray Vision, D’Antonio has nonetheless been busy. “I’ve been writing a lot of demos, and I’m sure some of them will end up being Death Ray Vision stuff, but it’s not something we plan on doing super often. Killswitch is going super nuts right now with touring.”

Luckily, original frontman Leach (who had left the band in 2002) rejoined the band, and in 2013 they released ‘Disarm The Descent’. Earlier this year they went on to release album number seven, ‘Incarnate’.

“It was a bit different”, D’Antonio admits when asked about how the recording process for ‘Incarnate’ differed to ‘Disarm The Descent’. “It was a bit more cohesive this time around because Jesse was in the mix writing with us. On the last record, the music was all done when Jesse joined the band and he just had to put his stamp of lyrics on it. With this one, he was with us listening to demos, talking about parts, working out lyric ideas. Everyone in the band writes, so we all bring demos to practice and listen to and talk about. Sometimes we move them over to ProTools and play around with it with everyone’s input. It was great to have Jesse’s input and to have his ideas shining through, especially with the artwork. He had a lot to do with that as well.”

D’Antonio designs all of the album artwork and merchandise for Killswitch, which is a passion he’s had for a long time. For the artwork on ‘Incarnate’ a bizarre dream was used as inspiration. “Jesse had a weird dream about a person sprouting roots and going into the ground while his or her arms were lifted into the air. Cranes were circling above and snakes were coming up from below. It was sort of a good and bad, I guess. It was a challenge to figure out exactly how I was going to meet the criteria but that’s one of the fun parts, especially when you nail it and that was what happened.”

Next year, Killswitch Engage will embark on their sixth tour of the Australia. A country that D’Antonio loves but not for a reason, you’d expect. “I love your fruit bats,” he laughs. “They’re crazy looking. I’ve seen one hit a wall and get stunned and fall on the ground and flap around and then fly away. Those things are massive! They’re bigger than my dog. I have two pugs, and they would be frightened by a fruit bat. Last time we were there we went to the Botanical Gardens and checked out the fruit bats hanging upside down from the trees and watched them fly over the harbour when the sun was going down. That was awesome; it was like a vampire  or a Batman movie.”

Written By Matthew Barton

1
MARCH
2017

Auckland
Powerstation

7
MARCH
2017

Melbourne
170 Russell

3
MARCH
2017

Sydney
Enmore Theatre

8
MARCH
2017

Perth
Metro City

4
MARCH
2017

Brisbane
Eatons Hill Hotel

5
MARCH
2017

Melbourne
170 Russell

INTERVIEW WITH BEN WEINMAN

When it came to working with new people for the first time, Weinman was curious as to what the results would be in the long run. Overall, Ben Weinman feels that good chemistry between everyone is what helps shape a product into something special.

“It’s really a matter of having the right chemistry” he says. “So, there were a lot of songs in this band that had been going around for years with some that didn’t make it on the album, and some I never thought would appear. And they seemed to work within the context of the guys we ended up recording with. It was a very typical journey, but once we downed the right scenario, it was very easy and natural. One of the things I’ve learned from this collaborative process, which is different for me, is that you can’t force things. Just because you’re a fan of somebody, or you’re friends with them, it doesn’t mean there’s gonna be a creative chemistry. We hear the term supergroup a lot, but ultimately, this band was just a group of people that have been touring a long time that happen to have the chemistry that ended up working.”

With The Dillinger Escape Plan on the verge of breaking up after they finish one last tour, the axeman states that he’s far from being done with making music. Weinman announced that he has been collaborating and even managing Kimbra, as well as putting a few different ideas together for future endeavours.

“Giraffe Tongue Orchestra was already done before the Dillinger decision had even been made. So, it wasn’t really an attempt to replace Dillinger or anything like that. I will say that Dillinger has played its course for me, creatively. Although, it’s gonna be hard to not have that outlet, I’m still gonna be doing many projects and Giraffe Tongue is one of them. We’ve got a whole bunch of shows lined up for it and we’re just gonna take it from there. As far as other projects go, I’ve been doing all kinds of other things and behind the scenes things. Also, I normally collaborate with Kimbra, but now I’ve been managing her.”

Killer Be Killed, which features Greg Puciato (Dillinger Escape Plan) and Troy Sanders (Mastodon), and even Dave Elitch (ex-Mars Volta and Antemasque), effectively consists of members from those same groups. So, how is it that these musicians enjoy this strong rapport and connection?

“The Mastodon guys have been friends with us for at least fifteen years. We’ve known each other before they even became a band, and we’ve also toured a lot with them. So, obviously, when you’re talking with your friends and coming up with ideas to jam with them, the people you’ve known the longest are the ones that are the first in line. It’s interesting because, Jon Theodore and Thomas Pridgen are both drummers I’ve always wanted to play with. I’ve been friends with Jon for a long time and Thomas, I’ve been acquainted with him through other people, and now I’ve had the privilege of finally working with him. I know Dave Elitch wasn’t on any albums with The Mars Volta, but we’ve been friends with him for a long time, and he even tried out for Dillinger at one point.”

The work ‘supergroup’ is an exciting term for many in the music industry. Nowadays, there are more and more popping up and producing plenty of great music together in different styles outside of their comfort zone. With the boys of Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan reuniting once again, their new project Giraffe Tongue Orchestra features Alice in Chains frontman William DuVall, Pete Griffin of Dethklok and ex-Mars Volta drummers Thomas Pridgen and Jon Theodore.

“It’s kinda overwhelming, because it’s taken so long to get this done” guitarist Ben Weinman says when talking about their their debut Broken Lines. “It’s been done over such a long, structured amount of time that it’s been hard to have an objective overview of it all. Songs were written in different times and we all had the right amount of people in the same room. It all came together and it seems like it all happened really quickly. The response has been really great, and it’s the first thing I’ve done outside of Dillinger, and it’s been really fun.”

“Every step was like an accomplishment”, he continues. “You had to find the right people that connected in the right way, getting all the songs together and then finishing and mixing it. To have it being released on my own label and then playing shows for it has been really great at so many different levels.”

As it turns out, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra’s name was created after Brent Hinds took a visit to the zoo during Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan’s stint at Soundwave 2014. Weinman and Hinds found that their breaks in between the festival dates were also when the band’s first few tracks would be written.

“Soundwave was also where I met William DuVall for the first time, so we had some time to sit down and get to know each other. Brent knew him from way back in the day because they’re both from Atlanta. William had played in plenty of punk and underground bands back then, so there’s been a good connection with us all.”

“He was at the zoo during Soundwave, and before then, we had been working on some ideas in our hotel room. Earlier, at the zoo, he was holding a banana and a giraffe took its tongue and grabbed the banana from him and peeled it with his tongue and ate it in one swoop. We were so impressed and we both love giraffes, and when he told me the story and I was like ‘Holy shit, this giraffe really gets shit done!’” he laughs. “We thought of calling it just ‘Giraffe Tongue’, but we decided to make it Giraffe Tongue Orchestra in order to make it ‘GTO’, which is a really cool car as well. Plus, there have been so many different musicians involved so it feels like a collective of an orchestra, so that’s basically where the name came from.”

Weinman and Hinds’ Soundwave gigs with their bands were also where Weinman first met William DuVall, as Alice in Chains were one of the sub-headliners of the festival that same year.

Asking Weinman about what concepts were possibly based on the lyrics composed by DuVall, he wasn’t 100% sure as to what had been going through DuVall’s head at the time of writing his own parts in GTO. Although, Weinman has a rough idea of what had been seen as the main influence as he held the pen.

“It seems that all the music touched him a way where he had some conceptual themes in his life. He had a son and try to make a good life with his bands in a scenario where he’s a black man in a country where people are often judging him because of his skin. He probably also has themes of how people don’t realise that he’s a successful musician. He comes from the south, so some of that may have had some influence on some of the recent situations he had been in. There’s also the current political climate in the United States.”

Written By Callum Doig

LISTEN TO GIRAFFE TONGUE ORCHESTRA

PUSCIFER

An Interview With
Maynard James Keenan

Fronting a band called the devil’s vagina is yet another perplexing feature of Maynard James Keenan. Equally tongue-in-cheek and enigmatic, people understandably have a hard time trying to keep up with him.

Talking about the upcoming tour, along with the experiences he has had from his perspective, Maynard knows the pros and cons as to how much preparation is good or bad. “I’ve always learned that if you plan too much, you get your ass handed to you”, Maynard begins. “We have a particular show in mind, and we hope that it goes well. We just have to come prepared and cross fingers. It’ll be an entirely different tour and setup, and it’ll be something we’ve been working on this past year, and it’ll be a lot of fun.”

“It’s always going to bte difficult travelling overseas just because that expense for an independent band is daunting, with getting your show on a boat or on a plane. We’re just really thankful that the fan base has grown to the point where we can come down and break even.”

When it comes to the actual onstage performances, there’s a particular element to Puscifer that Maynard and co. are always trying to get out of themselves. For him, Maynard put faith in what the band are striving for above the costumes and themes. “What we end up trying to strive for, is to kind of step outside of what we normally do. And that’s not always easy because most people don’t know who they are to begin with and what it is they do. There’s no goal and it’s hard to view that, objectively. So, we’re always trying to push our boundaries. You just have to kind of dive into the deep end.”

Puscifer rejects the concept of people using their phones and advocate capturing every nanosecond of the show with the eyes, ears and mind. Maynard has been using every Puscifer show as a chance to remind people to live in the moment without the use of technology. “There’s definitely not just an audience participation, but there’s also an engagement.”

“There’s just stuff you miss. We put so many details in and that requires you to be engaged.” Keenan firmly believes that the human brain contains more than what a simple 128GB iPhone can carry. “If you’re fucking around with your phones, you’re missing a lot of it. Just unplug and be here for a bit.”

When it comes to Puscifer’s music, it’s a matter of balancing aesthetic with their live persona. “It’s impossible to describe music. I mean, Frank Zappa has a few words about that. But, the broad strokes that we’re doing for Puscifer, there’s an effort on mine and Mat Mitchell’s part and everybody else that I’ve worked with where we’ve found our interaction with the digital. We’re not a DJ set, we’re not a full electronic band, but we have a healthy dose of that in there. We try to work with that so that you feel the connectivity with your clock if that makes sense”, continues Maynard.

“Time is a moving creature, and you’re a part of the time. Time is a metronome; time is mechanical.”

“Time is a moving creature, and you’re a part of time. Time is a metronome. Time is mechanical. So, to be able to connect with that is a goal of ours. I’m not sure if we’ve done it yet, but it’s all about the journey.”

Puscifer’s follow-up to Conditions Of My Parole arrived last year to a great response from critics and fans alike. Maynard’s songwriting process is spontaneous and one which his bandmates still find peculiar.

“I kind of have vocal rhythms, initially”, Maynard begins when describing the song Grand Canyon. “I had this clear vision of how it was going to sound in my head and getting it out on tape and having  Mat stop looking at me as if I’m crazy. Then, when I lined the vocals up correctly, he was like ‘Oh that makes sense now’. But, when you’re building and sketching it, it’s difficult to describe. Usually, those things come together about 70% of the way in, and you may end up thinking ‘Okay, this is working!’ or ‘This is tragic.’” he laughs.

Puscifer started out as a solo project for Maynard, having a handful of contributors come and go. He now feels that because fellow musicians Carina Round and Mat Mitchell have been partaking in the experimentation, it’s starting to feel less like a one man army. Maynard has been focusing more on how he’s feeling at his age, to make Puscifer feel like a real band for all involved.

“I think there’s a family. I believe we’ve built this musical family that extends beyond any of my other musical projects. There’ll be some comers and goers just because of people having other lives that they’re leading. But, it’ll always have core people like Mat, Carina, Jeff and myself. There’s a camaraderie that’s hard to get to, especially in the younger bands that are a little less mature and pretend to have that ‘us against the world’ and ‘we’re better than everybody’ kind of attitude. At my age, you start living more around the community than being the warrior. We’re kind of settling into a nice lineup.”

Although one Maynard has a passion for food and wine, what sustainability means for the human race is of importance to him. “I don’t think people will literally understand what the word means, especially in the US because of the industrialisation of food. You know, in pre and post-WWII, foods started coming in cans and it was frozen and you would work in a factory. Most people enjoy processed foods, so they’d put colourful pictures on the cans and be like ‘here’s a can of Vitamin D, don’t bother going out in the sun, just drink this and you’re fine’.”

“There’s a total disconnect with that farm to table approach we used to benefit from as a connection. I feel that Puscifer is so connected with the winery and so much with what we’re doing with food, art, sculpture and gardening, all of those things are connected.” Maynard also muses on the importance of creativity, which he espouses at the beginning of most Puscifer concerts. “But, I guess it’s more like we’re exploring it for ourselves. So, if you get it, you get it, you know? I can’t force it on you, but it’s there for you. And especially on the What Is… DVD, we talk about the importance of creativity and how that kept us ahead from all the lions, tigers and bears.

So, there’s an importance to creativity in art and school. But there’s also a huge importance in shop, by understanding how to cut a board and put a nail through it or planting a garden. Home Economics is just as important as the art class.”

Written By Callum Doig

PUSCIFER TOUR DATES

SUN
22 JAN
2017

Melbourne
Plenary, MCEC

MON
23 JAN
2017

Adelaide
Thebarton Theatre

WED
25 JAN
2017

Sydney
Darling Harbour Theatre

THUR
26 JAN
2017

Brisbane
BCEC

SUN
29 JAN
2017

Auckland
Vector Arena

Listen to Puscifer

AN interview greg puciato 

All good things must come to an end. Unfortunately, the maniacal mathcore quintet Dillinger Escape Plan are calling it a day, by the end of the next year. Luckily, the band promised to give the world one last record “Dissociation” along with a tour to go with it. The band’s long-running, frantic and psychotic vocalist Greg Puciato spoke to us about Dillinger’s touring schedule, the group’s feelings on their impending breakup and their final stroke of genius.

“It was very difficult to make.” he says .“We were really zoomed in at a microscopic level, and when you’re zoomed in that far and you’re that immersed in something, it’s really tough to see it as a whole. Now that it’s done and that the time has passed, you’ll be listening to the record and you’re either like “oh man, this sucks”, or you can start to think of it as a whole and love the album.”

Considering that Dillinger’s end is near, many assumed that it was the main lyrical concept surrounding “Dissociation”. However, to Puciato, this is false as he and the gang had been working on the album before the verdict was made. But at the same time, “Dissociation” carries more than a single meaning with each track associated in some way  with the album.

“It is a pretty common misconception. That name has been around since mid-2013, and then the breakup decision came after that. So, we’ve been getting a cinematic high-end, and that’s really nice to have because then, creatively, you can kind of tie-in a lot of things.

I really like double meanings, so I like it when lyrics have multiple meanings that can go in many different ways. It just so happens there’s a lot of themes in my life that kind of overlap and it touched a lot of old scenarios at once.”

Widely acclaimed producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou had the opportunity to work with Dillinger’s latest effort all throughout the process. While the band had been working with Steve Evetts since their very first EP which was released in 1997, they felt it was time to make ‘Dissociation’ stand out as one of a kind.

“It was the first time we ever let a producer besides Steve (Evetts) touch any of our full lengths. We knew from very early on that Kurt was someone we wanted to work with. He obviously is a really creative guy, and he works more as a musician than a producer. It was really unusual to see the amount of creative liberty that he took with the album. Ultimately, it’s a good thing because now, the whole album has its own sonic characteristics that help make it stand apart from the other albums a little bit. All the other records we’ve done had a kind of similar sound, whereas this one has its own saying and fingerprint. Like, when you listen to ‘And Justice For All…’ it sounds like itself. Whether it sounds good or not, it just sounds like itself, and that’s really important.”

I really like double meanings, so I like it when lyrics have multiple meanings that can go in many different ways. It just so happens there’s a lot of themes in my life that kind of overlap and it touched a lot of old scenarios at once.”

Widely acclaimed producer and Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou had the opportunity to work with Dillinger’s latest effort all throughout the process. While the band had been working with Steve Evetts since their very first EP which was released in 1997, they felt it was time to make ‘Dissociation’ stand out as one of a kind.

“It was the first time we ever let a producer besides Steve (Evetts) touch any of our full lengths. We knew from very early on that Kurt was someone we wanted to work with. He obviously is a really creative guy, and he works more as a musician than a producer. It was really unusual to see the amount of creative liberty that he took with the album. Ultimately, it’s a good thing because now, the whole album has its own sonic characteristics that help make it stand apart from the other albums a little bit. All the other records we’ve done had a kind of similar sound, whereas this one has its own saying and fingerprint. Like, when you listen to ‘And Justice For All…’ it sounds like itself. Whether it sounds good or not, it just sounds like itself, and that’s really important.”

While Dillinger’s picture wrap is getting closer and closer as each minute goes by, Puciato feels that even though that it’s almost time for the band to bid their farewells, it’s also a new beginning for the rest of the five-piece. With guitarist Ben Weinman now managing Kimbra and performing as one of the few strings men for Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, Greg Puciato will also be working on some brand new material with The Black Queen as well as on some new endeavours that we will be seeing in the near future.

“It feels almost like the end of a chapter. It doesn’t mean it’s the end of you or anyone else; it just means there’s a new chapter that’s going to come, and that’s really exciting. For us, it’s a collective and as individual as the others. You’re going towards a new horizon and there’s that element of the unknown which is important when it comes to understanding about being alive, and that becomes an automaton. I’m definitely going to do a bunch of stuff with The Black Queen. That’s already commencing as its own separate thing that runs parallel with this. I’m going to continue doing that, along with some other things that will happen sometime in the future.”

Dillinger Escape Plan trolled fans at a show in Leeds where, instead of jumping around and going absolute bonkers, Puciato decided to sit down on a couch, drink coffee, read a TV guide and sing throughout the entire set. Even though that it was a hilarious way to perform, Puciato reaffirms that the band won’t be doing that for the rest of their oncoming tour.

“Usually, people expect us to go batshit crazy, but obviously with the show, we did at Leeds, instead of shitting on the stage, I ended up sitting on a couch with a coffee table. I would love nothing more to do than sitting down on a couch for the rest of the tour” he laughs. “But, that’s not gonna happen for the rest of the tour.”

For any of those panicking about whether or not Dillinger will be making one more stop to Australia before the band pull the curtains down, rest assured, they will. Puciato confirms that they’ll definitely return Down Under, one last time.

“We’re  going everywhere in the world we can before we call it a day. Australia has always been a highlight on every single tour we’ve done. Australia is always a place we’re excited to play in. At the moment, it looks like we’ll be there in summer or at least three-quarters of the way through 2017. We’ll definitely be there.”

Written By Callum Doig

LISTEN TO THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN

AN interview mark ‘hoss’ hosking

Australia’s mighty sons of the west, Karnivool, have been a headlining band in their right, both here and across a large part of the world, for a good decade now. According to longtime guitarist Mark ‘Hoss’ Hosking, there is actually a small sense of relief associated with not being the headliner, a case in point made by their special appearance supporting one of their biggest influences, Deftones.

“I’ve got to be honest; it’s been a while. We’ll try not to step on any toes, we’ve got to remember what you do as a support band. You get one beer from their rider, is that right?” He laughs.

“Seriously, it’s good; it’s awesome. It’s going to be so much fun.  I think being the support band takes some of the pressure off. It’s not your show, you’re almost a guest in many respects, so we’re just treating it like that, and just trying to enjoy it. Plus we haven’t played live for quite a while, so it’s a chance for us to get back together on the live front again.”

One slight inconvenience it does create is that some adjustments need to be made to their setlist, given that the support slot is generally a considerably shorter set than their headlining shows. They have many songs that people want to hear that are more than six minutes long.

“I think we get 45 minutes or something like that; under an hour anyway,” he says. “We’ve made the decision not to do too much of the new stuff, which we have been working on pretty flat out. There’ll probably be something representing the new music, but really just do a  classic Karnivool set, which should be fun. It’s really hard for Karnivool to do a 45 minute set, that could be one or two songs! We’ve got to try and pick the ones under five minutes, which is rare.”

Fans always marvel at these types of epic double and triple bills (this lineup features another superb Perth band, melodic prog metallers Voyager) when they are announced, but how exactly do they come together? “It’s a mutual love for this type of music,” he surmises. “We have done festivals with Deftones before. We’ve played in Moscow with them and I think we’ve done one festival in America with them before; we’ve always caught up, hung out and said hello. We get along well, we’ve both got similar mindsets when it comes to music. It’s just mutual respect, I guess.

“For us, we’ve had to turn down a lot of big international supports because we just didn’t feel it was right or it just didn’t make sense. It’s hard for Australian bands like us to do international supports because it has got to be for the right reasons. We just luckily hit a point where we can do this one, and also it’s a band that we could never say no to.”

Ever-meticulous and never ones to rush the writing and recording of their albums, the band is now sure to continue on with their usual four-year turnaround between records, with their fourth album due to be completed and out next year. The ever affable Hosking is more than happy to discuss its progress to this point and the process they tend to follow when incubating a new record.

“It’s weird for us, because it’s not like your average band, we’re not like ‘we’re going to go to the studio in April and be finished by May’. That doesn’t happen for this band, let’s be honest,” he laughs again, “but we have actually started recording. We’ve had a couple of good studio sessions of recording drums and bass parts. But for us that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s finished, we generally record stuff and then go back and re-write.

“That’s what we’re doing at the moment, re-working the bits and pieces of the songs that we want to be better and the songs that we want to improve. It’s a long, slow, arduous task, but as usual, the masochists that we are, we love it.”

Another factor in the lengthy turnaround between albums for the band is the fact that their singer Ian Kenny just happens to be in another ridiculously successful and busy band, Birds of Tokyo. While acknowledging that it certainly is an issue for them, Hosking finds it difficult to put an actual figure on the amount of time it costs them.

“It’s a good question, it’s something that we’re not even sure about,” he admits. “I can honestly say that we’ve been really lucky in that respect, in that we’ve got excellent management that times everything really well, to give us lots of notice on when we have people. To be honest, we write most of the music and then send it to Kenny anyway. We’ve always worked like that, and then we come back and change it later. That’s the easy way for us to do things, it doesn’t slow the process up in that respect.

“Having said that I think it would be quicker if we had more time with the guy, that’s for sure. But we’re all busy as well; his is just that big spotlight project that everyone wants to talk about. We just have to solidify the time you have to devote to the project.”

As for the longer term future, Hosking feels that there is plenty of juice left in the band’s tank. However he does hint at a stepping off of the beaten track for them in the medium term.

“I honestly think there’s plenty left,” he says, “I believe that after this album we’ll look to do something different and that the next record won’t be just another one. It will be something different and that being said, right now, we’re all in very interesting places creatively, which is awesome.

By Rod Whitfield

listen to karnivool

“We know we are good and we know what we are capable of.”

Staying ahead of the ever expanding musical landscape is becoming increasingly difficult as technological advancements continue to widen the market while simultaneously reducing choices.

With more music out there than ever before getting noticed and subsequently staying relevant is no longer a case of following the album/tour cycle that has been so effective in the past.

Bands are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ideas to keep their name at the forefront of people minds, but according to Javier Reyes, guitarist for the instrumental three piece Animals As Leaders, sometimes the best place to look is within yourself.

“Music is constantly evolving,” he offered. “The internet and streaming is changing things every year, faster than we realise. We’re constantly having to think of new stuff. As soon as we get to the next level there’s a new challenge that makes us feel like we haven’t grown that much. We know the band is bigger than it ever has been but it feels like there’s still a lot of work to do or that the work has just begun. At the end of the day it becomes a business and it becomes work and you have to keep tuning it like it’s some kind of engine by feeding it new things and new ideas. Whether it be tab books, videos, instructional stuff or endorsing instruments or products there’s a lot that’s involved and we’re constantly trying to work on it. We’re always trying to stay relevant.”

With their recently released fourth album, The Madness of Many coming out last month, Animals as Leaders provided a unique twist on this notion by releasing as their first single preceding the album a song that was far removed from their usual sound in the hope the attention it garnered would reverberate through the music community. It was a move that didn’t generate the expected response, but was still a fruitful experiment.

The song, ‘The Brain Dance’, featuring acoustic flamenco style guitars, was released as a conscious decision to divide opinion but instead was well received both critically and commercially.

“Absolutely,” Reyes admitted when asked if it was a deliberate ploy by the band. “The song is so different to anything we’ve done in the past. The original intent was to put it out and have people give negative feedback. We wanted to have a bit of drama and make people think that we had gone weak or commercial but it was the opposite (laughs). People said it was cool and amazing so it still worked out well.”

While admitting to caring more about how fans receive Animals as Leaders music than critics, Reyes also believes that in order to flourish as a band they have to be selfish more often and make music for themselves first and foremost.

“I’ve never read a review first and had it as the reason why I bought a CD or didn’t,” he said. “I think it’s a bonus to hear someone’s opinion with a credible name but ultimately I don’t think it matters what a reviewer thinks. It’s important to have the fans appreciate it too of course but when we wrote the first album we didn’t have fans but we still wrote music. There was no critics or fans, it was just a matter of us writing music for ourselves so I think we try to keep that approach with every album. We don’t set out or send a letter to the fans asking them to tell us what they want to hear on the next album and we don’t do that with reviewers either. We just keep doing what we want to do and luckily the listeners – both the reviewers and the fans – have gravitated towards it.”

Animals as Leaders was initially formed with a view to being a solo project for Tosin Abasi who is himself an accomplished guitarist, having recently played with musicians of the calibre of Nino Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Zakk Wylde as part of the Generation Axe tour earlier this year, but with the addition of Reyes and Matt Garstka on drums it was soon evident that the band was more than a one man show.

“The original idea was the owner of Prosthetic Records wanted Tosin to make a solo album,” Reyes explained, “but he didn’t want to call it the Tosin Project or whatever. He just wanted to give it a band name so it naturally evolved as an instrumental thing from birth. Now we enjoy the benefit of being able to slide in and out of different genres or support slots so luckily it has worked out for us.”

With three accomplished musicians in the band, particularly two guitarists who are in the elite of their chosen profession, Reyes says there is never a shortage of inspiration in the studio.

“I think we’re always trying to push each other,” he enthused. “We know we are good and we know what we are capable of. I don’t think we’ve ever limited each other. We’re just trying to do what’s best for the song and if someone can’t play it in that moment then they will learn how to.”

The biggest challenge facing an instrumental band is in the live arena. With no vocalist or front man it reduces the capacity to entertain by way of distraction and leaves every note or blemish as a feature rather than a component.

While admitting it can be difficult to sustain audience interest with only instruments as entertainment, Reyes says the band has found other tricks to add to their arsenal.

“We use lights and visuals,” he laughed.  “We don’t move a hell of a lot because we are standing there concentrating on whether our pedals are working so a lot of it comes back to production. We also try to interact with the audience but for the most part I think people are just intrigued with what we are doing.”

Because of the intricacy of much of their guitar work the band has been limited to what they can do in the way of improvisation on stage, but Reyes warns fans to expect the unexpected on next year’s tour.

“The older material is all prearranged,” he conceded, “but on the new album Tosin definitely tried to improvise a lot more and on this tour he is trying to improvise as well. We all agreed that if that’s where he is trying to go as a guitar player the best way to do it is live and putting himself in that position where he has to perform 100% so on this tour he is definitely improvising more and it’s the first time he has done that which is exciting.”

Written by Kris Peters

THE MADNESS OF MANY TOUR

with special guests PLINI and Nick Johnson
_____

SAT
FEB 25
2017

BRISBANE
THE TRIFFID

THUR
MAR 2
2017

PERTH
CAPITOL

SUN
FEB 26
2017

SYDNEY
THE METRO

TUE
NOV 28
2017

MELBOURNE
170 RUSSELL

WED
MAR 1
2017

ADELAIDE
THE GOV

INTERVIEW WITH MYLES KENNEDY

Rising from the ashes of Creed in 2004 with former vocalist for The Mayfield Four, Myles Kennedy taking up the singing duties, Alter Bridge made a less than flattering start to their career, with debut album One Day Remains receiving little in the way of critical or commercial acclaim.

It was hard to imagine the band would become one of the biggest names in rock just over a decade later, with Kennedy also playing alongside Slash in Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators.

“To be honest I learned during the Mayfield era not to read press,” Kennedy laughed of their uneventful entrance to music. “I’ve always just kind of lived in a bubble and I knew people were going to say what they wanted in the end and for me – given the fact we’d only been a band really for about four months when that record was made – I wasn’t going to take anything too personally because I knew the next record would be more like the actual first record. I look at Blackbird in a lot of ways as being the first Alter Bridge record because that’s when we were a band and the dynamic intent I think reflected that. I think when we first got together and started making music I certainly saw a lot of potential just because there was strength in that band that I didn’t possess myself and I thought that I brought a certain skill set to the band. I knew once we had time to become a cohesive unit it was going to be exciting but it was going to take time. Now we have that and twelve years later here we are which is crazy.”

Having recently released The Last Hero – which was met with both critical and commercial success – Kennedy enthuses that Alter Bridge is finally repaying the faith he felt all those years ago and are in a better place now than at any time throughout their tenure.

“We’re having a great time playing the songs live and for us I think that’s always the true test,” he said, “because you never really know when you are in the studio. You don’t have the benefit of playing the songs to see how they connect and how fans react to them immediately so that’s been really cool.”

Kennedy believes setting out with minimalistic goals for the album and a light hearted approach to the recording enabled the band to separate themselves from the music and allowed for a more natural production which in turn benefitted the final result.

“Really our process has refined itself over the years,” he explained of the album process, “and by the time we got to (last album) Fortress we really felt like we’d fallen into the groove as a band. I think the goal was to continue down that road but at the same time we didn’t want to make the same record over again so we tried to take a look at a few arrangement concepts or just simple things like alternative tunings that we hadn’t used before just to push ourselves a little further. A lot of times with records I seem to second guess things but I think with this one, probably because we didn’t allow ourselves to overthink it, it seemed to flow well. I think that shooting for something that is spontaneous and not overthought has the benefit of that once it is done it’s done and you just kind of move on, whereas if you spend a tonne of time overthinking something and reworking it over and over and document it and record it then it’s always in the back of your mind – at least for me as a writer. I would keep thinking ‘what if we’d done it this way instead? There’s five different ways we had thought about recording it’ but with this record I think we got it right.”

During their twelve years as a band, Alter Bridge have had several periods where the band has become inactive while members pursue other interests. Mark Tremonti, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips have returned periodically for tours with Creed and Kennedy has recorded and toured two albums with Slash. While not being an ideal situation for a band to be in having interruptions like this, Kennedy believes it has been more of a help than a hindrance.

“I think in some ways having these other projects has strengthened the band,” he mused. “At least, speaking for myself I feel that because I have had so many great opportunities it has forced me to continue to create and continue to write in different… not genres… but with different feels and with really accomplished artists, obviously Slash being one of them. It has helped me as an artist to evolve so I think it’s been a huge help in that respect. I think what has been a hindrance probably is just the amount of time we have. We’ve managed to put out a record every three years which is good but as far as the amount of time we’ve had to tour it’s been somewhat finite for these records. It could be considered a hindrance but at the same time there’s something to be said about not over – saturating a touring market and if you keep going back and back and back pretty soon people go ‘oh, Alter Bridge is back again’ and it’s not special any more. There is something to be said about the phrase distance makes the heart grow fonder. It’s human nature.”

Perhaps because of this constant time spent playing in different bands, Kennedy’s voice seems to get stronger every outing, with a man once seen as Slash’s sidekick now becoming an integral part of that band. Each Alter Bridge album has seen him improve, to the point that he feels there is an equal amount of confidence and experience in his vocal delivery.

“I think it’s a combination of both,” he agreed. “Just doing it over and over for the last six years particularly I’ve really learnt a lot about my voice and how to tap into the strengths and make sure I’m doing everything… not to go super shop talk (laughs), but from a technical standpoint doing it night after night really teaches you a lot so that’s been extremely beneficial to me as a singer. There was a book a few years ago called Outliers that I read and it had this very interesting concept in that once people put 10,000 hours into doing anything it tends to up their game considerably, so I think at this point with years of touring and grinding it out and putting in my 10,000 hours it’s really helped.”

One of the more astonishing facts of Alter Bridge is they have managed to retain the same line up since they started, a point not lost on Kennedy when it comes to the overall success they have endured.

“I think that fact is vitally important,” he stressed. “I feel like with Alter Bridge to replace anybody would be a pretty seismic shift. Mark is obviously an incredible guitar player and Brian and Scott in the rhythm section are maybe, in my opinion, one of the most underrated rhythm sections in rock just because people I don’t think are aware of just how much they bring to the band with their feel in particular. ”

“It’s something very unique and very powerful. They have this thick groove and I remember noticing that nearly twenty years ago when Mayfield was opening for Creed back in the U.S. I remember going out and watching a sound check one day and it was just the three of them playing and I remember thinking wow, this is something very special that happens when those two play together. I would be devastated if anything happened to those guys because I think they bring an incredible amount to the band.”

With Alter Bridge enjoying unprecedented worldwide success, Kennedy isn’t prepared to let the band rest on their laurels. While many are content to bask in adulation and glory at this stage of their career, he believes that the hard work actually begins now.

“Oh man, that’s the hard part,” he laughed about remaining relevant in the music industry. “It’s a lot of work. You have to really love it and there really is no… if you get in the music business once you get to a point where you feel content and comfortable that’s when the problems start. You want to stay hungry, that’s my motto. Stay hungry, keep writing, keep trying to evolve because there’s always somebody coming up behind you that would love to take your spot so you have to be aware of that.”

When it’s all said and done the one underlying and imperative component of job satisfaction is you have to enjoy what you do. No amount of fame or money can mask unhappiness and Kennedy is firmly of the notion that there is one thing and one thing only that to this day drives his passion.

“Just music,” he purred. “It’s that love. When I first discovered music as a kid I knew that there was a connection there. I knew that there was something special that I loved. I would sit in school and think about it and it helped me find my identity as a youngster and it became a passion that would not leave; it was just always there. As time has gone on it still feels the same. I still look at a guitar and I can see all of this potential and all this… to me it represents freedom. That’s the only way I can express it. The ability to express yourself and I don’t take that for granted.”

Written By Kris Peters

ALTER BRIDGE
TOUR DATES

SAT
APR 1
2017

Auckland
Powerstation

SAT
APR 8
2017

Perth
Metropolis

MON
APR 3
2017

Brisbane
Eatons Hill Hotel

TUE
APR 4
2017

Sydney
Enmore Theatre

THU
APR 6
2017

Melbourne
Festival Hall

Listen to Alter Bridge

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDERS FRIDEN

Listening to the tracks for the new album (Battles), I noticed the tracks seem more guitar-driven and melodic than the other albums since Jesper (In Flames founder and guitarist Jesper Stromblad) left the band – is this a deliberate effort to throw back to past styles?

 “I don’t know what we try to go for.  To be honest, we just try to write good metal, at least that’s what the band’s always been about, and it comes out in different ways, you know?  Every album sounds slightly different from each other because they are between rock music and metal, that’s the place we’re in at the moment.  We never sit around the table and talk and discuss what sort of direction we should take. I mean we always try to be In Flames, and to our ear we hit the mark, but again we’re just focusing on good melody. This time around it sounds like this, and two years ago it sounded like Siren Charms and two years earlier it sounded like something else, so we have to see.”

 It definitely sounds like In Flames.

“Yeah! I think so. That is important to us, and at the end of the day we have to be happy, and we are quite happy – we’re happy every time with the result.  It’s other people that say this or that, or they like it, some don’t like it and that’s fine.  Because we are happy with what we delivered, every time!”

I noticed that ‘Battles’, the new album, has some melodic rock stylings in it, especially noticeable in the title track.  While it still sounds like In Flames, how would you describe the album, in its totality?   Are you aiming to deliver a new sound or are you trying to reference something?

“Well again, we are not aiming to do ‘something new’, we’re just trying to write something with good melodies.  We don’t have this big goal of taking this turn or that turn, it’s all about…I mean it starts with the guitar, all the time.

I don’t want every song to sound exactly the same, but still, when I look at the album, we don’t write singles.  We write albums.  You look at the songs, you need to look at the certain type of songs.  It can’t be all like 3 minutes blast-beats throughout – that’s not us, and it tends to get boring after a while. The dynamics of the media on different playthroughs.  So, we wrote 15 songs for this album, but 12 ended up to on the album, so we have some extra – probably end up like on a vinyl or a bonus track here and there.  

And we left them out not because they’re ‘not good enough’, it’s just they didn’t fit on the actual album, the dynamic of it.

And maybe there are some rock elements, maybe there are some whatever type of elements, but you know Bjorn (songwriter and guitarist Bjorn Gelotte) grew up listening to RainbowDeep Purple, those rock elements.  He’s still stuck in that era in a way, he doesn’t listen to any new music and that guitar method shines through, where he’s coming from.  There’s no deliberate intention to get into melodic rock – I mean we are melodic, we’ve always been.”

‘No complaints here!’

“To answer your question, you want me to describe the music – I don’t really like to, because it’s not up to me anymore.  As soon as the album’s out, it’s up to everyone else.  I can’t, I mean I’m really happy with it.  It sounds perfect, it sounds like exactly the way we’d want it to in 2016, but again, it’s not up to me anymore; as soon as it’s out there it’s up for grabs, everyone can make their own description, which is fucking awesome I think.  When you join a band, sign a record deal, put your music out there – it’s out there!  That’s the way it is, that’s part of the game.”

“When you join a band, sign a record deal, put your music out there – it’s out there!  That’s the way it is, that’s part of the game.”

On that point, how much of that sound came from Bjorn, how much from yourself, how much from the new producer (Howard Benson) that you worked with on ‘Battles’?

“Well, me and Bjorn, we work really – we’re really tight, but for this album, working with someone like Howard Benson, it was slightly different because we’ve never had a producer like him – never really had a real producer ever, I guess.  We were working as a really good team, he’s a really good guy, but Howard wanted to hear demos of all the songs before, and we haven’t done demos in the past.  We’ve done a few, you know, let’s see where we are, but now he wants every single song, and he asked us what we want to say on every song, and so on.  And that’s something we’ve never had to answer to before.

But we go to LA two and a half weeks prior to the recording of the album, and created those demos, and plans came towards the end, and we just worked drinking beers, having a BBQ, and focusing on the metal 24/7.  So it’s very much a collaboration between us, and inspiration-wise we’re inspired by everything, but like I said, most of it comes from what we listened to when we were younger – it still sticks with you.”

What are you listening to now?

“Well I listen to all kinds of music, and I think I might be the more adventurous guy because I want to hear new things, I’m excited to hear new music, but my favourites are still the ones I listened to grew up with.  I think that’s the same for everyone.”

On that point, how much of that sound came from Bjorn, how much from yourself, how much from the new producer (Howard Benson) that you worked with on ‘Battles’?

“Well, me and Bjorn, we work really – we’re really tight, but for this album, working with someone like Howard Benson, it was slightly different because we’ve never had a producer like him – never really had a real producer ever, I guess.  We were working as a really good team, he’s a really good guy, but Howard wanted to hear demos of all the songs before, and we haven’t done demos in the past.  We’ve done a few, you know, let’s see where we are, but now he wants every single song, and he asked us what we want to say on every song, and so on.  And that’s something we’ve never had to answer to before.

 

But we go to LA two and a half weeks prior to the recording of the album, and created those demos, and plans came towards the end, and we just worked drinking beers, having a BBQ, and focusing on the metal 24/7.  So it’s very much a collaboration between us, and inspiration-wise we’re inspired by everything, but like I said, most of it comes from what we listened to when we were younger – it still sticks with you.”

“Then you pinch yourself; ‘get yourself together, this is the ultimate dream, this is the greatest thing you could be doing’, and you realise, fuck yeah, it’s awesome”

How do the new songs work out when performed live?  Have you had a chance to try them out?

“We haven’t!  We’re in Germany right now, we are about to rehearse the new material in a couple of hours. We have a show in Japan where we get perform the material on tour for the first time.”

Long-time drummer Daniel Svensson quit the band in late 2015.  How has the transition to the new drummer Joe Rickard gone?  What stood out about him to select him as the new permanent drummer for In Flames?

“He had some big shoes to fill, as Daniel is of course a long-time friend of ours – he’s been with the band eighteen years.  Having someone like that on-stage, you feel really secure – how do you replace a man like that.  And we didn’t really feel like doing a big audition process, we just said ‘Ok let’s record this album without a drummer in the band’.  And Joe (Rickard) was in the studio working with Howard, and Howard said ‘give the guy a chance’.  So we played with him a little and Wow, this guy can play; he’s hitting the drums really hard and on top of that he’s a really cool guy, we had a couple of beers and he fit perfectly into our group of people and we said do you want to record this album with us?  And he said yeah.  I was expecting hours and hours of auditions back in Sweden, but that didn’t happen.  We are practising and everything is smooth.  We haven’t toured yet but Joe has been on the road before and he can work a few beers, you know?  So we are in good hands.

You guys formed in the early 90s.  How do you keep the same drive to keep making metal, creating albums, touring, etc at the high level that you do after two decades?

“Because I love what I’m doing.  It was a dream of mine to play music, to record albums and then tour those albums – so I’m still living the dream!  You gotta  love what you do, and playing in-sync, on stage, in front of an audience that are really happy and give you tonnes of energy back is like the ultimate high, you know?  Nothing comes close, it’s fantastic.

And I get to create something in the studio, out of nothing – another album releases and a guy from Australia calls me up and asks me about it – it’s pretty good!  But the bottom line is I love it, and if you do that … I mean some days it’s a drag, of course; you wake up and you feel like you don’t want to do it.  Then you pinch yourself; ‘get yourself together, this is the ultimate dream, this is the greatest thing you could be doing’, and you realise, fuck yeah, it’s awesome.  But you have to have the passion, you have to have the drive, or it’s not the right place.  It’s long hours, it’s a lot of travel, it’s hard, hard work and if you don’t have it anymore, you gotta go.’

You guys and Dark Tranquility have been cranking it like that since day one.

“Yeah! Exactly.”

Are you planning an Australian tour off Battles?

“Ooh yeah.  Of course we will come to Australia.  I love being in Australia.  The first time I was there I told my girlfriend ‘We have to move here, it’s awesome’.  But I don’t know exactly when, but for sure.”

Are we going to ever hear another Passenger album?  I loved that album, it was fun.  Are there any other current side projects being worked on?

It was super fun to record, that was the thing, we just had such a good time and went touring on that album, and the record company wanted us to record another album.  But at that point, we didn’t have the drive (for another), it wasn’t that fun and we actually started recording it, but we felt extremely uninspired in the studio.  And if you feel that way, you shouldn’t just do it for the sake of putting something out there.  So as a band we just decided, ah, fuck it, let’s not put it out there, and I’m happy with that because you should do stuff you are 100% behind and I don’t think we were.  Maybe one day we will record something else, we’re focused on the new album right now – but it has to be fun!

Anders pleasure to talk to you tonight, and I will recommend the new album now that I’ve had a chance to listen to it in full – it kicks ass.  Thank you for your time.

“Thank you man for the support and the interest!”

Written By Alec Wilson

LISTEN TO IN FLAMES

AN interview with paul martin

Four-piece New Zealand band Devilskin’s members, all know the metal genre well. Frontwoman Jenny Skulander was previously in the band Slipping Tongue, guitarist “Nail” previously supported Iron Maiden with his band Chuganaut, drummer Nic Martin plays in metalcore band Seas of Conflict and his father, bassist and renowned New Zealand DJ Paul “The Axeman” Martin has supported the likes of Black Label Society and Motorhead with his various bands including World War Four and Blackjack. He’s also interviewed everyone from Metallica to Deftones. Saying all that, it comes as no surprise that Devilskin’s debut album ‘We Rise’ went platinum in New Zealand when it was released in 2014 and was also number one on the charts for four weeks.

“Not really,” Paul Martin states when asked if he felt added pressure when making the band’s new album ‘Be Like The River’. “For ‘We Rise’, there was probably eight or nine songs that didn’t make the album so we never had a problem with a shortage of songs. Plus, we were writing together for three or four years before releasing that album. A couple of the bigger songs from that [album, We Rise] were written on our very first jam together: Little Pills, Fade and Until You Bleed. So there wasn’t so much pressure; it was just having the time to do things because we wanted to do it properly. If you think about it, a platinum, number one album is pretty hard to follow up but it feels pretty good to us so we just hope the fans like it as much.” It turns out they do, as ‘Be Like The River’ shot to number one immediately upon being released recently.

Martin discusses title tracks not making the album and where the title ‘Be Like The River’ came from. “Well, there’s a song on the new album called We Rise [and] the first album was called We Rise but that song didn’t make the cut. There was a song we wrote for this album called Be Like The River which also didn’t make the cut,” he laughs, “so it’ll probably be on the next one. The lyrics [of Be Like The River] are basically about being like the river that cuts through the stone. So it’s all about following your own path, carving your own path, getting through your difficulties and finding your own way. Basically getting to where you need to be by cutting through all the bullshit. We just thought that title suited how we felt because we’ve stuck to our guns and just kept things rolling along.”

Talk quickly turns to what it’s like to play in a band with his son. “Fantastic,” Martin grins. “I’ve been in a lot of bands with a lot of different drummers and there’s always just been a problem with the drummer,” he laughs, “so this has worked out really well. Nic is a really dedicated musician. He plays some guitar and piano on the album as well and I just couldn’t be prouder.” Paul goes on to explain how his son joined the band. “When he [Nic] was 15, our original drummer had to have an operation and we had a tour booked so I told Nic he’d be filling in and he was real green and freaked out but he did an amazing job. Basically, after a week or so we didn’t wanna go back to the old guy. As a Dad, I couldn’t be happier and as a bandmate, I couldn’t be happier. It’s a real treat for me to be in a band with him.”

Next year, Devilskin are heading over to Australia to support fellow hard rockers Halestorm on their east coast tour. Martin is very quick to say what he loves most about Australia. “The weather,” he laughs. [I also love] the people you meet. It’s just a totally different place to New Zealand but rock and metal fans are pretty much the same all over the world. The Aussie metal fans are just as crazy as New Zealand metal fans. Australia is such a beautiful country and it’s always a trip to hop on a plane with a guitar case. We want to conquer Australia.”

It’s pretty clear that Martin loves being a part of Devilskin. “The best thing [about being in Devilskin] is we get to create music and record it for the fans. The worst thing? I can’t think of anything,” he says honestly and laughs. “It can be a little off-putting at times when you’re having dinner with your wife and people who love the band come up to your table. I don’t know what the etiquette is but the fact of the matter is, they’re only doing it because they love the band and the music you make. So there’s no real downside. For me, anyway. It’s all positive.”

Written by Matt Barton

supporting HALESTORM

TUES
10TH
JAN 2017

MELBOURNE
Corner Hotel

WED
11TH
JAN 2017

SYDNEY
Factory Theatre

THURS
12TH
JAN 2017

Canberra
The Basement

LISTEN TO DEVILSKIN

AN Interview with Matt Heafy

“It just felt that the record was cursed from the beginning.”

“When I was eleven I tried out for my first band and that band was a pop-punk band,” Trivium frontman Matt Heafy says. “I played Dammit by Blink 182 but I actually did not make it into that band so I was super depressed and I kind of gave up on whole band idea. Later on, within the next year, a classmate gave me the Black album by Metallica and I’d never heard metal before and as soon as I heard the record I knew that was the type of music I wanted to play.”

It turns out, that classmate should be to thank for giving Heafy his love of metal and, thusly, the world got Trivium. A band who, back in 2003 when Heafy was just 17, went on to release their debut album Ember To Inferno. Now, 13 years and a further six albums later the band have decided to re-release that iconic debut with their three demo releases. Ruber (the red demo), Caeruleus (the blue demo) and Flavus (the yellow demo).

“I just felt like the record [Ember To Inferno] was cursed from the beginning,” Heafy states when asked why the band were re-releasing the record. “I went out release date to buy it myself and it was unavailable really across the state of Florida, maybe even across the whole States. That was because Lifeforce [Records] didn’t have proper distribution at that time and by the time they did, [album number two] Ascendency was already coming out so Ascendency really eclipsed the release of Ember To Inferno.”

The band have obviously matured since 2003 but Heafy still has fond memories of working on the album and didn’t want to re-work the album in any way. He wanted it re-released just as was originally released. “The big thing with me was not remixing, not remastering, not rerecording, but releasing this thing with the integrity it was meant to be originally but then also had the option for people to see how Trivium was from the beginning by adding the demos to it and making the release special. What I wanted to do with Ab Initio – Ab Initio in Latin means ‘from the beginning’ – I wanted to take people back to the earliest possible Trivium and bring them up to speed with the moments before Ascendency. So this whole thing was really like a back story or an origin story to Trivium.”

Don’t expect to see Trivium play Ember To Inferno in full anytime soon, however. “As far as Ember goes – we’d never play it from start to finish,” Heafy admits. “Ember, it might be too old school for some of our newer fans. If we ever did a full record it’d have to be something like Ascendency or In Waves or Shogun. Something that all the facets of Trivium fans agree upon.”

A few years ago, Heafy ended up “blowing his voice out” at Rock On The Range is the US due to years of singing and screaming incorrectly. Luckily, guitarist Corey Beaulieu ended up taking over the screaming at their live shows but it was still having an effect on the band. But, a call from M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold, it turns out, saved his singing career.

“The guy that put me in touch with Ron [Anderson, vocal coach] was actually Matt from Avenged Sevenfold. When I blew my voice out he actually reached out to me and put me in touch with Ron so those guys saved my singing career. Ron Anderson determined my screaming style was one hundred percent incorrect and my singing style was pretty incorrect. So my screaming was ripping my vocal chords apart and the incorrect singing technique was also affecting my vocal chords. I’ve been training with Ron now, maybe, two or maybe three years. When I’m on tour it’s five days a week for two or fours hours a day of singing. I’ve managed to rebuild the vocals back up so now I can scream again. It’s a new technique but it’s the same sound it used to be [and] it’s just much safer and I feel like it feels even more brutal than it did before.”

However, that doesn’t mean the band are going to be back in the studio anytime soon.

“We actually do not [have any plans for a new album]. The only focus for us now is this final European tour and the US tour but there are no formal plans for writing or recording a new record right now. We don’t have time. I logged a four hour singing day today and my singing is better than ever and my screaming is more brutal than ever but we just don’t wanna write while preparing for a tour. I don’t like doing that. I like having writing time away from everything else.”

LISTEN TO TRIVIUM

Separating yourself from your love and passion is never an easy thing, but after years spent playing with bands that possess the caliber of Machine Head and Soulfly, Logan Mader did just that in 2003, suddenly deciding to stop performing and instead focus on the production side of music, much to the disappointment of the metal community.

It wasn’t until a chance introduction years later via video with Australian-born Lauren Hart that Mader elected to come out of his self-imposed exile and return to what he was born to do. Play guitar.

“I had been producing bands and mixing records for the fifteen years previously but I hadn’t really played my guitar as a passion in that time,” he recalled. “I played it when I had to – when I was writing music or helping out producing stuff -and then I came across Lauren. Monte Conner from Nuclear Blast sent me a video of her playing guitar with a view of me producing her and said he thought of me when he saw it. He had the idea of me forming a band around her and the video which was interesting enough so I met with her and we hit it off immediately. We started writing music and she said she wanted to do a really heavy form of black metal type of thing and I got inspired by that. She wanted me to play guitar in the band and I was like ‘fuck that’. Part of me was saying I should start playing again because it was a big part of my life that I had missed for a number of years so eventually I said ‘fuck it, I’ll do it’ and gave it a shot. I’m glad I did. It feels good to be playing again. It feels good to tour. As an artist, I have that passion again. I’m also the producer and mixer of the album and the manager of the band so I’m wearing all of these hats (laughs).”

With Mader’s reputation in music circles he could have easily formed a band comprised of established musicians and gone down the supergroup road that is the flavor of the moment. Instead he chose a group of relative unknowns, with Hart never having fronted a band previously.

“It’s more challenging to do it the way I did,” he explained. “I have a lot of confidence and I like a challenge. I like it when things are difficult and I like to compete against the odds and take on things that seem impossible. I do my best work when I’m driven the most in those situations. I wanted a fresh, new band and didn’t want people to think it was a studio project or side project that I did once and didn’t think of again. Our first record was actually Lauren’s first time making a record. She was never really in a band before.”

Perhaps because of this, or maybe just because the band has had time to gel, Mader believes the upcoming sophomore release Evolution is a much better reflection of the band than their debut The Life I Remember, which was released in September of last year.

“We have definitely found our unique identity as a metal band,” he enthused, “and that is just real fucken metal! I don’t know how to classify or categorize it but it is quite dramatic and emotional and heavy and groovy but it has progressive elements as well. Lyrically, Lauren has grown a lot in her ability to tell stories and with general lyrical content that is

meaningful and heavy that is not provoking but complex and intelligent. It is a reflection of how far she has come with her vocal style and her delivery from the first record. We did a couple of tours to get her feet wet and her main growling tone is much deeper and more guttural now. She also has this total screaming voice that also hits the notes. Her clean singing has evolved a lot too. We don’t use a lot of it on the record but there are songs we perform that call for it and she really kills it on those.”

When it came time to start work on ‘Evolution’, Mader says the goals were simple.

“Our goal was to make an important album that was going to resonate in the metal community and go down in history as an important metal album and I think we’ve done that,” he said confidently. “The initial response has been really good with our first single Eye of Chaos performing amazingly on You Tube with almost one million views already, which is far better than anything we’ve done before. Another thing with this album is we have added another guitar player, Max Karon, who is a really amazing player and riff writer. He collaborated with Lauren and I on the record. He brought speed to the music and with three of us on guitar now it has taken it to a whole new level than the first record. We’re now using a lower tuning with seven string guitars so the riffs are amazing.”

With intimate knowledge of the behind the scenes process of putting an album together, Mader took most of the duties on himself but admits that bringing in outside factors for part of the cycle was imperative in bringing the best out of the band and their music.

“I’ve been producing long enough to be able to separate the creative, the technical and the sonic side of things,” he said.

“The sonic and the technical are second nature to me. I know how this record needs to sound so it was really a producer’s dream project for me (laughs). I didn’t really have to step away. It’s almost like it all came together itself. Lauren worked really closely with me on the arrangements and we tore the songs apart a couple of times and put them back together until they got to where they needed to be. Some of them started off as two separate pieces of music – two different songs – and ended up being cannibalised into one song and somehow working.”

“It was one of those things where you never settle, you never give up; you just keep going. I did want to get a different set of ears on the mixing so I hired Jens Bogren to do the mastering and I have never done that before. I normally do my own mastering and I can do it well enough but I’ve been a fan of Bogren’s work for a while and I wanted to hand it over to see what he could do. I let him do what he does and he has some amazing analogue gear plus he’s got a great studio in Sweden, so I felt confident he could bring it to the next level sonically and he did. He got it really loud and gave it some harmonic distortion. I’m happy we decided to use him. It felt good to step away from it at that point. It was like I got it to the finish line but let someone else take it over and put the icing on the cake, which he did.”

Written by Kris Peters

So, you think it’s easy being a rockstar?

From the trouble we went through to score interview time with The Dead Daisies singer, John Corabi, we don’t pity the guy.

Between international time differences, flight delays, hotel rooms and constant travelling how do you know what day it is?

The answer is; you don’t. It’s just one big journey made up of memories and faces instead of days and appointments. Oh, and voicemails from Eddie Van Halen and Tommy Lee. “One night a few years back, right after I joined Motley Crüe, Tommy Lee had some drinks with Eddie Van Halen and they were partying in their super human way”, Corabi reminisces. “Eddie’s like ‘your singer’s awesome, he’s got a great voice’, so Tommy called me and they left me a message.”

“It’s Eddie saying ‘hi Corabi, it’s Eddie Van Halen’ and went on about the record, which was pretty cool.”

Despite living the rockstar life, The Dead Daisies remain a tightly run ship, with a schedule so unforgiving, that even the slightest change in plans throws everything out of whack. Hence, The Dead Daisies roll on as a full throttle machine on four-year long roller coaster ride along a rocky road. “They asked me to play a show in Cuba and do a few shows that were already lined up, and I’ve been in the band now for almost two years.
 Myself, David, Doug (Aldrich), Marco (Mendoza) and Brian (Tichy) want to keep it this way and keep moving forward with this line up.”

You never know what you’re going to get when you score an interview with a front man, with their interesting egos. Ticking the boxes for confidence and attention seeking, it isn’t hard for our conversation to run over time and feel like a chat with an old friend. So comfortable did Corabi feel that he revealed he’d completed the interview naked!

Still, rock and roll is serious business. What ‘business’, exactly? Selling records. The Dead Daisies wrote and recorded two full-length albums in a month each, with a doubtful Corabi reassuring himself that “if Deep Purple can record eight songs in three weeks, then we can do twelve songs in four”.

THE

CULT

INTERVIEW WITH BILLY DUFFY

“Bob Rock (producer) had to come in and finish the album off, and he’s very task orientated gentlemen; he basically just gets shit done.”

“I think it’s important for us psychologically, especially for myself and Ian (Astbury, vocals) as songwriters to make new music and it’s a joy. It’s also refreshing to have a few new songs in the set for the fans to appreciate,” enthused guitar player for The Cult, Billy Duffy. “It’s great to not just play the old songs because it does become sad if you keep playing only your old stuff – you just become your own cover band then, you know what I mean?”

The Cult is best known for a string of hit singles early in their career, including Fire Woman, She Sells Sanctuary and Love Removal Machine, songs which have seen the band cast into the upper echelon of the rock world.

The downside to that is that many of their fans seem to live too much in the past when it comes to the band’s music, with Duffy admitting it can be frustrating and restrictive.

“It’s not healthy,” he said of being stuck in a musical time warp. “I understand there are bands out there that don’t get along and don’t want to write songs together, so they embrace playing older material but with The Cult, and me and Ian especially, we are very passionate about making and playing new music and moving forward. It’s what keeps you engaged more so than the touring. Me, I’m more into playing live. I’ll make new records, but I’m not as thrilled about that side of it as Ian.”

With the band’s last album ‘Hidden City’ still garnishing positive reviews and generating favourable fan response, Duffy says the album as a whole, has thus far stood the test of time.

Having written music together for over 30 years, Duffy admits that while the chemistry between himself and Astbury is undeniably strong, there are times when coming up with fresh ideas can be difficult.

“It gets more challenging to keep going to the well and coming up with something that’s interesting,” he conceded, “but it’s not impossible. If you take enough time between records and don’t rush it, it will come to you. I think any band would tell you it’s a challenge to keep coming up with stuff and that’s kind of why I’m so proud of ‘Hidden City’. It’s got an edginess to it and sounds like it was made this century. It’s an authentic rock album. We’ve not lost touch with our roots or what people like about The Cult, but I’d like to think we were ready for a few other elements. Sometimes we’re reaching back, but there’s a progression, and that’s continuing with this album. I just can’t imagine making the same album a couple of times. It would be so crazy, but bands do it. It’s a catch 22. I remember saying to Ian once about a riff ‘you don’t like it because it sounds a little like our biggest selling song ever, that’s bad right? (laughs). You have to reinvent yourself but also, it’s definitely a challenge.”

“We’ve managed to integrate three or four songs off the album that go down fantastically well live with the fans,” he continued. “We don’t overdo it, but it is important to keep the set fresh with new material. ‘Hidden City’ is still going strong and getting great reviews – not that we’ve made records for reviews ever – but it’s nice when you get them as a band.”

‘Hidden City’ saw The Cult move back into more guitar focused territory than its predecessor, with Duffy pleased that it is a notable return.

“There was a lot of time spent on the guitars on the album,” he said. “One of the discussions we had beforehand – it was a minor whinge I had – was when we did ‘Choice of Weapon’ it was a bit panicked towards the finish because we took too long in the writing stage and we were a bit meandering in the studio. Bob Rock (producer) had to come in and finish the album off, and he’s very task orientated gentlemen; he basically just gets shit done. We had been meandering a little, ran out of time and money when Bob came in and said ‘right guys, let’s finish this

record’, and my only concern was I didn’t feel enough time was spent on the guitars and the actual enjoyment and the craft of the guitar playing. It was like ‘I need a solo here Billy, can you go and knock one out?’ or ‘Can you put more strings on that?’ I felt like I was on a conveyor belt, there was no time to savour it. I was forced to do fast food guitar playing because that was the situation with the album so this time when we got together there was two things we brought up. We wanted to spend more time writing the songs and have breaks in between so the songs could digest and not all sound the same and secondly I just wanted more time in the studio on the guitars.”

With a constant stream of new bands and material being unleashed on the music public, many bands shelf life is lucky to reach three albums in the modern climate.

When you consider the fact The Cult are still churning them out more than 30 years after their debut ‘Love’ in 1985, it puts things in perspective.

“You have to be able to take a punch to stick around,” he agreed. “You might not win every fight, but you can’t have a glass jaw to use a boxing analogy. You need to have a little bit of tenacity, and I believe new music helps to keep you in the scene. A lot of the great artists – and I certainly don’t compare us to any of these people – but people are always reaching for something fresh. Ian and I got together because we’d both been embarrassed before and we felt like we wanted to work together and have a long career. We wanted to be musicians for life. We were serious about having a long-term career but a long time in the music business might be ten years, and we’ve done 30 years plus! We got lucky but tenacity and being able to take a few blows and come back from them help. You have to keep a sort of child-like wonderment and not get too old or gnarly about the industry while keeping innocence and a certain naivety. I think that’s important when you are trying to create new stuff.”

Written by Kris Peters

The Cult

Hidden City

LISTEN TO “HIDDEN CITY

Sweden is a country renowned for its great metal bands. With Opeth, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth just to name a few, another that will soon be on your list (if they’re not already) is Amaranthe.

Amaranthe are a unique beast as they have three vocalists. Elize Ryd, takes care of clean female vocals, whilst Jake Lundberg does the male clean vocals. Rounding out the trio is Henrik Wilhemsson, who does “harsh” or “unclean” vocals. “It’s [based on] one hundred percent how we feel about it. It’s an emotional decision”,  Ryd states when asked how they determine vocal parts.

The six-piece band features drummer Morten Sorensen, bassist Johan Andreassen and Olaf Lorck on guitar and keys and have just released their fourth studio album, Maximalism. This comes just two years after their previous album Massive Addictive and one year after a B-sides collection titled Breaking Point. The album has been labelled by some as ‘pop-metal’, however, others consider it to be their heaviest offering yet.

“I think that we always have those elements, but since we wrote the first album [2011’s self-titled] we have developed a lot as songwriters”, says Ryd. “I don’t think there’s a big difference, but the production of the vocals was changed a little bit because I personally wanted to change it and maybe make it stand out more as pop. I think maybe how we write the songs and the vocal melodies. That’s what I’m personally best at”, she laughs. “I’m very inspired by Abba and also Queen and that’s why we like to bring in a few old rock influences we had never used before actually.”

“I’m very inspired by ABBA and also Queen and that’s why we like to bring in a few old rock influences we had never used before actually.”

After a brief moment of thought, Ryd reconsiders the bands’ approach to songwriting. “On the other hand, some people have said it’s a more heavy album.

Maybe if you listen more at the guitar arrangement which Olaf does, he’s a great metal guitarist. He thought it would be fun to do something different with his guitar, to play it more old school rock in a few songs. I’d say for the next album it will be more in the direction of melodic metal or something like that. We haven’t decided yet where we want to take our sound.”

In 2011 and 2012, Ryd went on tour with Kamelot as a touring vocalist and speaks highly of the experience. “One night to the next I went on a perfect tour and they taught me so much. I know them very well and they are very close to me. With my own band, it’s like we are siblings. Amaranthe is a little younger, but Kamelot is more stable because they’ve been in the business longer, so I felt very safe going on tour with them.”

One place that Ryd and Amaranthe have never been to is Australia, a country they have been trying to get to for many years. “We have tried to plan it. For some reason it hasn’t worked out yet, but we are planning it again. We talked about it last week. We actually said that we have to make sure that we go there. So that’s what we are aiming for. We are planning it, and I can’t promise anything but stay tuned because I think that we are very close. Much closer than last time when I thought we were close, but now I can feel that we are really close,” she laughs.

When asked what she loves most about working with Amaranthe, Ryd smiles and exudes a sense of pride. “I was part of the creation [of Amaranthe] and to look at how far we have come. It makes me thank all the great supporters. We had the pleasure to tour with Kamelot and they have a very big audience, and we toured with Hammerfall which also have a big fan base. I’m also proud that I never changed myself, same with any of the other guys. We stuck with the same thing with what we started from the beginning all the way through to now which is really cool. I like being myself and I don’t have any rules. I mean, I make my own rules, and I decide where I wanna take this. That’s what I enjoy the most. I have great people to work with. Everybody in this band is so extremely talented, so I’m very happy about that.”

If you don’t already know about Queensland industrial rock act Darkc3ll, then it’s about time you did. Amidst a wave of Aussie heavy bands making a name for themselves, Darkc3ll have supported goth and industrial heavyweights Wednesday 13 and Combichrist and have performed at international festivals such as The Civil Unrest. Currently in the middle of an Australian tour and having just released their brand new album Haunted Reality, a jocular Jesse Dracman describes the band he fronts as “a Fourth of July explosion at a James Brown concert”. “There’s a darker tendency there as well – like Manson meets KISS. Darkc3ll isn’t a product of the mainstream we’re a product of something out there that many kids can relate to. We always like to bring a party to the stage and everybody is invited.

“There’s a darker tendency there as well – like Manson meets KISS. Darkc3ll isn’t a product of the mainstream we’re a product of something out there that many kids can relate to”, declares the vocalist. “We always like to bring a party to the stage and everybody is invited. We’ve been around for a few years now, recorded four albums and I guess we’re a bit of a black sheep in the Australian music scene.”

So how did Darkc3ll get together in the first place? “We’ve come from various backgrounds. Postmortem and I come from horror bands so we were familiar with the whole getting freaky thing. That’s been with us our whole lives. Darkc3ll for us has been an evolution because Matt and I have been writing for seven years and we had a previous band that was like a rock ‘n’ roll version of Darkc3ll. We had some success with that and we realised that we could do

quite well if we just created the sound that we wanted, hence Darkc3ll evolved.” With Darkc3ll currently living the dream and touring around the world, Dracman and his cohorts have no regrets.

“Getting to do stuff like this has been a combination of a lot of hard work and personal sacrifice, but if we ask ourselves if we have any regrets about it, no, no we don’t”, he states point blank. “We went to the U.S. with a plan to perform one hundred per cent at every single show and we did that. All our peers and the media over there said ‘you guys are a world class act, you’re bigger than you think you are.’ It was weird hearing compliments like that”. As flattering as the attention was, the vocalist maintains the band still had a lot to learn. “It was a real educational experience for us. It was life changing for us and made us a stronger band.”

Having played some legendary venues in America, were those places all they were hyped up to be? “Oh yeah, certainly. It is one of those feelings that hits you when you are sitting there. It hits you when you walk into the venue and see something like a picture of Jimi Hendrix on the wall or the ‘Budweiser Welcomes Home Motley Crue’ from when they filmed Kick Start My Heart. Seeing those things and then going back stage and thinking about half the bands that have been there, you really feel a shift in the air. It is almost supernatural.”

Jesse goes on to explain how some fans have opened up to the band. “They are very unique and I say that with love and nothing but positive feelings. We’ve realised that with this band we have been able to provide the ultimate vessel that has allowed many of these people to come out of their shells and express themselves in ways that they have never been able to express themselves in public before.”

“Songs like Freakenstein, they get it, that’s their anthem. We sing songs that these girls and guys get and freaks no longer feel like freaks.” Dracman has one message for them; “It’s good to be a freak!”

“That is one of the things, man. We never expected in our wildest dreams that we would be listening to people about what our music has done for them. I’ve had emails from people that have almost committed suicide and been saved by our music”, he reveals. “We’ve had people with health problems, life-threatening illnesses that have come to us and said that our music has helped them through some really dark times.”

The list goes on; “I’ve had families with autistic children come to us and say that our music has been the most positive impact in their kid’s lives because they jump around, they react, they respond.” As much as they enjoy the rock and roll lifestyle, those kinds of responses have given their work more meaning. “It’s great to do shows and all the fun stuff, but it is humbling to know that you are making an impact in people’s lives as well.” Nonetheless, it is an idea that is taking Jesse some getting used to. “I am still trying to learn to say the word ‘fans’ though, because to me we are still just a bunch of mates making this music that we love.”

Darkc3ll’s latest album Haunted Reality is out right now.

Written by David Griffiths

2016 has been one hell of a year for Sydney’s Polaris. After dropping a killer EP, ‘The Guilt and the Grief’, in January this year and touring virtually non-stop ever since with some of Australia’s biggest hardcore names, it’s a wonder these guys even had the time to sit down for a 15-minute interview. Fortunately, drummer Daniel Furnari and guitarist Ryan Siew managed to find the time to chat to HEAVY about the mammoth year it has been for Polaris, and continues to be as they set off on another tour with Northlane.

“It’s been pretty crazy, really.” Furnari comments. “We dropped the EP in January and it took off way better than we expected. This will be our fourth tour off the EP. We’re pretty stoked with how everything is going right now.”

“This will be our biggest tour yet in terms of the size of the shows.” Siew adds. “I don’t think we’ve ever really played venues this big outside of Sydney, it’s very cool.”

Turning attention to the band’s highlights of 2016, Furnari and Siew are unanimous when speaking about the opportunities the band has had thus far.

“Opening for Parkway Drive at our hometown show was pretty damn surreal. It was one of the first shows in a very long time that I’ve been legitimately nervous for,” recalls Furnari.

“Our headline tour was probably another highlight as well. We didn’t realise how far the EP had reached, so on our headline tour we were blown away by how big some of the shows were.”

“There’s definitely a huge difference in the vibe of opening a show compared to playing your own headline show,” agrees Siew.

In the past 12 months, Polaris have performed with some enormous Australian bands: Parkway Drive, Make Them Suffer and Northlane all feature in addition to the band’s own headline tour with the likes of Justice for the Damned and Pridelands, to name a few. From this, it is clear that there are inherent notions of camaraderie throughout the Australian hardcore scene; as Furnari puts it, “it’s a very supportive network.”

“I think being so far away from everything in Australia brings out this unity and support by all the bands. I don’t know if it’s really as noticeable overseas, but because our scene is so small, once you’ve been touring and playing shows for a few years you’ve basically toured with half the bands in the country. It’s really awesome the way everyone supports each other and shares each other’s music around.”

Despite a friendly and immensely supportive local scene, touring in Australia does have its difficulties, admits Furnari and Siew.

“It’s a lot more expensive to tour around Australia. You can only really play about 10 shows on most tours, so it takes a lot of work and commitment.”

Writing music, however, seems to be a far less arduous task for the band. Their fluid creative process reflects in  their music. “The multitude of influences that combine during the early stages of writing facilitate open experimentation and exploration”, explain the two musicians.

“All five of us are really involved [in the writing process]. Most of the music is written while we’re all in the same room together hashing out ideas, so all our different influences seep in in some kind of way.”

“We definitely don’t sit there and consciously say ‘we want to introduce a lot more of this sound’ or anything, we just keep writing riffs until one of us gets excited and then we roll with that.”

Furnari and Siew also cite a number of heavy bands for their influential impact upon the sound of Polaris, from metalcore bands such as Underoath, Architects and The Devil Wears Prada, right through to Meshuggah. Electronic music is also a key influence on the band’s music, particularly in terms of the “soundscape-y, atmospheric” elements of particular tracks. Through all of this, it’s evident that Polaris approach creating music with extraordinarily open minds as they continue to work on writing their debut album.

“We never really set out with any goal. We just kind of go with the flow, see where the music takes us.”

“I think if you do put limitations on what your sound should or shouldn’t sound like, especially in your early stages [as a band], it’s a bit restrictive because there’s so much room for growth there.”

“We have quite a few tracks written at the moment, and we’re confident that we’re on a good path. I think we’re at the halfway point, we haven’t locked in when [recording] is going to happen or anything but the writing is definitely going well.”

“The plan is to get the record out next year. It’s definitely on the cards.”

December sees Polaris back in Melbourne for Invasion Fest alongside a gargantuan line-up of Australian hardcore acts. After this, the release of a debut album seemingly imminent and a spot on Australia’s thriving heavy music festival, UNIFY, suggests 2017 is already shaping up to be just as exciting for the band as was 2016. In short: Polaris are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Written by Sam Sweeney

Devin Townsend Project

knocked loose

For an American band that has only been around for three years, Knocked Loose have already established an enormous presence here in Australia. The release of their debut album ‘Laugh Tracks’ in September has launched the band into a string of tours not only across the US but also across Europe and Australia for the first time. We spoke to frontman Bryan Garris ahead of their eagerly anticipated first venture over here in January.

“I never thought that going to Australia was something that was an option for us to do,” remarked Garris. “It’s insane. That’s the best way to describe it. It’s crazy to tell our friends we don’t have another US tour until next year because our next two tours are abroad. It’s something I never thought would happen.”

Currently wrapping up their US tour with Stick To Your Guns, as well as Stray From The Path and Expire, both of which Knocked Loose knew prior, Garris was full of praise for each band.

“Right off the bat, they were super cool; they were super fun to hang out with. The tour had an amazing vibe.” When asked about the shows themselves, Garris commented that “they were the biggest shows we had ever played.” It’s obvious that things for the band are accelerating at an unprecedented pace.

Moving on, we spoke of the personal significance of Knocked Loose for Garris and his ethos for writing music.

“I’m a person that believes in constantly doing something that you want to be better at.”

“I try to take advantage of this opportunity to get things off my chest that I wouldn’t normally be able to discuss. I try to write all my lyrics very time-and-place.”

“Pop Culture was written in a very detrimental time period of my life, I was fresh out of high school and I was going through all the changes a person thinks that they go through when they leave high school: losing friends, feeling like you’re in the real world and like you have to make big moves or else you’re gonna be screwed for the rest of your life.”

“Laugh Tracks was very much a growth in my writing to where I was able to find words to speak on subjects that I wasn’t able to speak on with Pop Culture.”

“I’m a person that believes in constantly doing something that you want to be better at. I’m always writing, whether I keep it or use it or not, I’m always trying to write to keep my brain going. I’ve started to jot down things that maybe I’ll expand on with the next record, whenever that time comes. I try to just let things come to me; I don’t like to plan them when it comes to writing. I have no idea where I’m going to go with it, but I’m excited to see where it ends up.”

The band’s formation was another point of interest. Forming in 2013 in Kentucky, three years has proved to be plenty of time for Knocked Loose to establish themselves in the global hardcore community, and I learned that multiple early line-up changes, experimentation with different musical styles, and opportunities for early tours shaped the band’s early days.

“Our bass player, Kevin, I’ve known basically my whole life. I was in an older band that broke up, so Kevin wanted to start something with me. He knew Isaac, our guitarist, who’s a lot younger than us and was 13 when we started playing with him. We had a different drummer at the time.”

“At first we were really soft, which is kind of hard to believe now, but then we scratched it and we started over from a more death metal approach. We did that for a while too, didn’t like it, and we scratched it. We got a different drummer and took a more traditional hardcore approach to it; we did that for a while and didn’t like it.”

“We got our first tour offer before we ever had an EP out, but we really wanted to take this tour so [after another change in drummers] we wrote Pop Culture in a very short amount of time and just made it crazy heavy. That was really the only goal, to be as heavy as it can be without it being corny or cheesy. Then Pop Culture got way bigger than it was ever supposed to.”

“We’re comfortable playing heavy music, we all like playing it. You can call us whatever kind of band you want, you can call us a hardcore band, you can call us a metalcore band, we just know that we’re heavy and we’re always going to be heavy.”

In terms of the future for Knocked Loose, Garris is optimistic.

“We’re a band that always stays busy, and we’re trying to figure out what makes the most sense in terms of allowing ourselves to be as busy as we can be without over-saturating. We’ve started talking about writing again – still very early in that process but we just know that it’s coming, so we’ll probably start writing again. Until then we’re just going to be doing the same things we normally do, touring and trying to get our name out there.”

Do yourself a favour: grab tix to see Knocked Loose, Relentless and Reactions supporting Stick To Your Guns this January here!

Written By Sam Sweeney

It’s never easy to deliver a second album, but Trophy Eyes frontman John Floreani is a satisfied man. Speaking from the US of A, he unabashedly reveals the positive response to their new record, ‘Chemical Miracle’. “UNFD loves it, our managers love it, my mum loves it”, he laughs.

“Everyone has been fantastic. We’ve been playing the new songs over here in America and people are already singing them. They’re stoked on it, actually much more even than our old tracks”. Once a low-profile outfit from quiet Newcastle, it’s a point of pride for Aussie rock fans that the band is attracting audiences, world over. That isn’t to say that’s been achieved without a lot of hard work, with their US success attributable to the elbow grease invested in touring the States last year with Warped. “Every night when I finish the set, I run down to merch and just try and meet as many people as I can”, Floreani reveals.

“At least five of those people every night saw us at Warped Tour and those people I guess have told their friends. We’ve had a lot of people say ‘I showed my friends you guys after Warped Tour’, people saying ‘my friend showed me you guys, they saw you on Warped’, so word gets around. It definitely helped us make our presence stronger in America”.

It’s not just the Western countries that are lapping up Trophy Eyes, as Floreani gleefully points out. “My favourite show we’ve ever played was in Northern Italy. We’d never been there before. We expected two or three kids to show up. It was like 250 people in this room and they knew every single word. They couldn’t even speak English and they were still singing along. It was totally mindblowing”. Despite their overseas jaunts, they’re still loved back at home Down Under.

Prior to heading over to America, the UNFD artists packed out a gig at Frankie’s Pizza in Sydney and anyone who was there isn’t likely to forget it anytime soon. “I feel like Trophy Eyes’ sound is suited to that environment”, Floreani notes, praising “tiny little venues you can fit as many people into as you can and just go crazy”.

“It’s getting drunk and jumping off weird shit and expelling all of that energy”, he mentions. “We’ve had a couple of Frankie’s shows like that”. Beneath the rush of the moshpit, there’s substance under what Floreani puts forth and his desire to instill meaning into his music informed the creative process of ‘Chemical Miracle’.

“’Chemical Miracle’ I guess just kind of sums up life. Everything in life, or in the world that exists, is a chemical. But the way it exists, we still don’t know how or why life is”, ponders Floreani. “So I guess in that sense, it is a miracle. I guess that’s how I see life. I kind of explained that to the boys and they thought it was a great way to depict that meaning”. Prevalent themes on the album relate to love, death and plunging into the depths of melancholy. Rather than simply being about life, ‘Chemical Miracle’ explores what happens when you’re living.

“In everybody’s lifetime, they go through things like love and death and depression, things that dramatically change the way you look at the world and the way the rest of your life plays out”. While Floreani claims to be the kind of person who doesn’t “really talk to anybody” about his feelings, the album is a candid recollection of his encounters with friends committing suicide and having seen his “fair share of depression, heartache, and love”.

“I guess writing about things is therapeutic for me”, he admits. “It’s totally important for people to speak about their feelings. If I could help anybody with the music we’re writing it would be with [the fact] that there’s somebody out there who feels like that. It’s okay to feel like that and feel normal”. It’s not all doom and gloom with Trophy Eyes, despite the human experiences detailed on ‘Chemical Miracle’ being devastating at some points. “My mother cares for us as a single mother and I learned what a person will do when they love you unconditionally, like a mother loves a child”, he points out.

In his words, mothers will “do anything they possibly can regardless of their own wellbeing. I’m very grateful for that kind of lesson so early on in life”. Floreani’s candour is refreshing and something his fans clearly appreciate, with Trophy Eyes selling out three dates of their 2017 Australian tour. For better or worse, Floreani believes life is all about learning through experience. “Doing it, and getting your hands dirty. These things will happen, but it’s all about experiencing them”.

IN NOMINE DEI NOSTRIS

A MONTHLY COLUMN WRITTEN BY PRARTHANA VENUNATHAN

Hails and welcome to the first digi-mag edition of In Nomine Dei Nostris, which translated means ‘In The Name Of’. Here, I aim to understand, explore and bring to you the obscure, cryptic and hidden wonders of extreme music. This genre represents much more than what meets the eye, or the ears; it is, in many ways, a portal to the taboo, or that which is misunderstood. This week, the focus of my article came to me during a pronunciation lesson I was doing (I’m an English teacher by profession). Indeed music is a language in itself, but it is a one that uses other languages as a medium to convey the beliefs and thoughts of bands and musicians.

However, it isn’t just any lingua franca that holds my attention, but those of an ancient kind. There is something so captivating about the sounds of Latin, Sanskrit or Aramaic, Greek and even Gaelic. These were the means of communication and expression thousands of years ago, exhibiting speech that is so rhythmic, raw and hypnotic. That being said, the primeval beauty of these tongues coupled with the power of metal is nothing short of mind-blowing. Consider black metal riffs interwoven with ancient liturgical chants in Latin, or blast beats guiding the drone of an old mantra in Sanskrit. In a way and certainly with a select few bands, it is as if you are delving deep into a history lesson, but in a way you have ever learned before.

I’d like to take this time to tell you, some of the bands that have really brought out the importance of languages from the past through their music, combining both to create pieces of art that will have you hooked from beginning to end.

Salem (Israel) – Al Taster

Language: Old Hebrew

 

Hebrew is a language that has always fascinated me with it’s abrupt sounds and it’s importance in both religion and history. Although I’m not entirely sure whether the Hebrew used by Israeli metal band Salem, in this track is of an Ancient or Modern nature (it has been taken from the Psalms so I’m guessing it is older), I marvel at how they’ve seamlessly used such a difficult language and combined it with metal. On discovery of Salem, I listened to them just as I would with any other new band; but when I came across this track in particular I realized that it wasn’t English. Hailing from Giv’atayim, Israel, Salem has actually been around since the mid-1980’s and is the first extreme/black metal band to come out of the country.

Dying Out Flame (Nepal) – Shiva Rudrastakam

Language: Sanskrit

From Nepal come the powerful chants and Vedic sounds of Dying Out Flame, a band that inculcates one of the oldest known languages in the world, Sanskrit. A significant aspect of the lyrical content is the use of ancient stotrams and mantras from religious texts, ones that are used in Hindu rituals to invoke the spirit of the Gods. In the case of these Nepalese metallers, they headbang and shred relentlessly as an ode to Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. Playing primarily death metal, the band also add to the uniqueness of their sound by using traditional instruments, thus creating a style that is otherworldy, majestic and absolutely intense.

Amocualli (Mexico) – Ntikaa

Language: Mayan

The Aztec and Mayan civilizations will always remain an important part of the ancient world. The raw, primal and spiritual persona of these cultures are unmatched and brought to life by bands such as Amocualli from Mexico, who consider themselves a pre-Hispanic black/folk metal band.

Black Kirin (China) – Death Contract

Language: Ancient Chinese

Melodeath and folk metal is a beautiful combination, but becomes even more so when the heavy melodies are growled in Ancient Chinese and the tracks carried by an enchanting Oriental vibe. Black Kirin from China deliver a musical treat for the senses with their historically-themed lyrics and the plentiful use of folk instrumentation.They bring together an array of sounds and make it work perfectly. Quite frankly, Black Kirin have chosen the right path to venture on, as it isn’t everyday that you hear Chinese whistles, Opera-singing and the like flowing smoothly alongside the fierce harsh vocals and hectic double bass fury.

Kawir (Greece) – Hymn to Winds

Language: Ancient Greek

Said to be one of the pioneers of extreme metal from Greece, Kawir bring a strong blend of extreme and black metal music. Much like their contemporaries in Rotting Christ, the band pay ode to their native language, on a number of their tracks, combining this with the use of many stories from Greek mythos.

Jambinai ( South Korea) – They Keep Silence

Language: South Korean

This particular band has been one of my favourite discoveries from 2016, especially the memory of seeing them live at Hellfest. Jambinai hail from South Korea, another country that has an age-old culture and language but one that we often look past due to it’s passion for pop culture, similar to Japan in that way. South Korean is certainly not as old as some of the other languages on this list but I felt the need to give this band a mention, especially considering the fact that they use traditional instruments such as the Geomungo and the Haegum. The weird mix of post-rock with noise, metal and folk elements may sound a bit odd at first, but trust me when I saw, what it builds up to be, is absolutely stunning. Of course, most of the vocals are in South Korean.

Taake (Norway) – Hordaland Doedskvad

Language: Norwegian

There is no way I was leaving the legendary Taake and Hoest out of this edition. One of the best black metal bands in the scene, these veterans have been obliterating ear drums and shattering craniums since before you were born (certainly well before I was anyway). Taake are a straightforward, no-bullshit band, plain and simple. They sing in Norwegian and command the attention of those present in front of them, even those who are just listening. Being quite a controversial band with edgy, extremely blasphemous lyrics and Hoest stirring up a fair bit of scandalous statements over the years, the band still remain to be royalty in their genre, powerfully delivering up the rawest, most grim black metal tracks you’ll ever hear. Personally, the fact that they use their native language throughout is evidence of the respect they have for cultural heritage and Norway, is a strong point.

In Extremo (Germany) – Omnia Sol Temperat

Language: German

In Extremo have always been a change of pace to listen to with their neo-medieval metal tunes, keeping in line with the entertaining and fun elements of folk music but with a heavy twist, bringing something different to the metal scene. This particular is possibly the only one they’ve done in Latin but it’s not in the Wiccan, ritualistic style you’d expect Latin to be used in a metal track. It’s certainly one that you can sing and dance along to. While this is just one of a few metal songs whose lyrics are in one of the oldest languages in the world, most other songs such as those by Rotting Christ or even Nemesea see the use of excerpts of Latin but not a whole composition. Nonetheless, whether it is two words or two verses, there is no doubt that it adds a certain elegance to even the most haunting songs.

Misþyrming (Iceland) – Ég byggði dyr í eyðimörkinni

Language: Icelandic

Where else, but from the eerie depths of Iceland, come the dark and dissonant layers of Misþyrming’s black metal, bringing forth the majesty of the Icelandic language. A descendant of Old Norse and an important member of the Germanic family, Icelandic dates back to the 12th century and has always caught my attention with it’s poetic tones.

Cruachan (Ireland) – Oro Se Do Bheatha Abhaile

Language – Irish

Folk metal is always a favourite but not many have the boisterous charm of Cruachan, the Irishmen who take immense pride in their Celtic heritage and folklore. Much like their counterparts Primordial, Cruachan bring together the primeval wonders of the Celtic world through old jigs, folk instrumentation as well as tales and myths of their land.

HEAVY ROOTS

Focusing on seminal heavy bands: an in-depth look at where they rooted from and branch out to

WRITTEN By Matt Bolton

With their roots based in Queens, New York City, Anthrax was formed by guitarists Scott Ian and Dan Lilker, and named after the evilest sounding word Ian came across in a biology text book. The band went through a number of vocalists in their early days, with Ian’s younger brother Jason Rosenfeld briefly stepping in before Ian’s school mate, Neil Turbin took over for their first demo in 1982. Anthrax were on the same bill as an up-and-coming Metallica in 1983 and went through a number of guitarists, with current guitarist Greg Walls replaced by Bob Berry who was in turn replaced by Dan Spitz of Overkill.

A second demo was recorded in 1983 and Charlie Benante replaced Greg D’Angelo on drums. Record store owner Jon Zazula was given both demos and after releasing Soldiers of Metal as a single and Howling Furies as its B-side on Megaforce Records (home of Metallica and the classic ‘Kill ‘Em All’ (1983) record), the band released their debut full-length ‘Fistful of Metal’ (1984).

After tensions rose between Lilker and the other band members, he departed before touring and went on to form Nuclear Assault. Lilker was replaced by Benante’s nephew and roadie Frank Bello. Following a successful US tour in 1984, Turbin left and Matt Fallon was recruited as his replacement soon after. Fallon didn’t last long and hardcore covers band The Diseased kept the remaining members busy for sometime until Joey Belladonna was chosen as the new vocalist. ‘The Armed and Dangerous EP’ (1985) was the first recording to feature Belladonna.

‘Spreading the Disease’ (1985) was the second full-length for Anthrax and the first for Belladonna and bassist Bello. The album featured Medusa, Gung-Ho, Armed and Dangerous and Madhouse, which a video was made for. 

Ian and Benante were joined by former bassist Lilker and vocalist Billy Milano branching off to form crossover thrash band Storm Troopers of Death, releasing ‘Speak English or Die’ (1985). The album features the infamous March of the S.O.D./ Sargent D and the S.O.D. and countless tongue-in cheek songs such as Pre-Menstrual Princess Blues, Fist Banging Mania, Fuck the Middle East and the aptly titled Diamonds and Rust (Extended Version) which clocks in at 2 seconds. The band went on hiatus for some time with Ian and Benante returning to Anthrax and Lilker returning to Nuclear Assault. Milano on the other hand, formed spin-off project Method of Destruction or M.O.D, as opposed to S.O.D, releasing “U.S.A. for M.O.D” (1987) also on the Megaforce Label.

Anthrax hit back with what Benante described as their ‘signature album’,Among the Living’ (1987). It featured classics such as Caught in a Mosh, I Am the Law, A Skeleton in the Closet and Indians. The album was dedicated to the memory of Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, who was to thrash what Chuck Schuldiner of Death was to death metal.

‘I’m the Man’ (1987) was the band’s second EP and was one of the first examples of rap metal. The Beastie Boys were a big influence, with Belladonna and Benante switching places. Benante would rap while Belladonna got behind the kit. Ian and Spitz, both Jewish like all members of The Beastie Boys, based the melody of the Jewish folk song Hava Nagila with the main riff used on title-track, I’m The Man.

‘State of Euphoria’ (1988) was the fourth full-length from Anthrax and saw them tour the US with funk metal outfit Living Colour, as well as joining Exodus and Helloween on the Headbangers Ball Tour. The album was also promoted when Anthrax supported Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden and Metallica on tours for their respective new albums. New songs such as Be All, End All, Who Cares Wins and Antisocial were instantly popular and went onto become staples of their live set.

The follow-up ‘Persistence of Time’ (1990) proved to be more successful than its predecessor, this time with Joe Jackson cover, Got the Time and Belly of The Beast. In My World was played on the aptly titled, My Dinner with Anthrax episode, on Married with Children.

‘Attack of the Killer B’s’ (1991) saw a compilation of B-sides and live tracks from the band. It featured new versions of I’m The Man, Milk (An Ode to Billy), being an S.O.D. tune and the infamous Bring The Noise which led to a tour with Public Enemy. Arguably the most well-known rap-metal song to date, this would be the last studio recording involving Belladonna for quite some time as he was fired from the band due to creative and stylistic differences.

Former Armored Saint vocalist John Bush joined the band and a label change was initiated, with Anthrax moving from Island to Elektra records and releasing ‘Sound of White Noise’ (1993). This album was also the last to feature guitarist Dan Spitz. Classics such as Potter’s Field, Only, Room for one More and the Twin Peaks-inspired Black Lodge featured on the album and the distinct vocal stylings of Bush were welcomed.

‘Stomp 442’ (1995) was the seventh release for the band and second with Bush. Although Benante played most of the lead guitar parts, the album also featured Paul Crook on guitar. Crook was also a touring guitarist for several years, as was Dimebag Darrell of Pantera. The album saw classics like Fueled, Random Acts of Senseless Violence and Nothing. Elektra did little to promote the album, which led to another label change.

Independent label, Ignition Records released Volume 8: The Threat is Real (1998), an underrated album in this writer’s humble opinion. The album featured Killing Box with guest vocals from Phil Anselmo and guitar solos on Inside Out and Natural Born Idiot by Dimebag Darrell, both members of Pantera. Opening track Crush was also one of the highlights along many others.

S.O.D. returned after a string of reunion tours with Bigger Than The Devil (1999), released on Nuclear Blast records. Keeping the humour intact with Celtic Frosted Flakes referring to Swiss Extreme metal group Celtic Frost. The single Seasoning the Obese was a play on words of the title to Slayer record, Seasons in the Abyss.

After the impact of the 2001 US anthrax attacks which caused band name change rumours, the NYPD believed it would be the wrong thing to do so no changes were made. At a benefit gig for 9/11 the band dressed in boiler suits with the word’s Were. Not. Changing. Our. Name. on each member. Another label change was on the cards this time joining with Sanctuary Records who released the much anticipated, We’ve Come for You All (2003). This was the first to feature lead guitarist Rob Caggiano on lead guitar and the final studio album with Bush on vocals. The album featured surprise backing vocals by none other than Roger Daltrey of The Who and the guitar brilliance of Dimebag Darrell,  who joined the band once again, this time on, Cadillac Rock Box and Strap it on.

The Greater of Two Evils (2004) saw the final recordings of Bush on vocals, giving his renditions of Turbin and Belladonna tunes. S.O.D. also released their final album, Rise of the Infedels (2007) which was described as an extended EP with a running time of close to an hour. La Raza (2010) was the first album released by Armored Saint since the band went on hiatus eight years ago. Since then Win Hands Down (2015) was released via Metal Blade. Armored Saint is where Bush has his full concentration on now, and the stellar release shows that it has paid off.

Worship Music (2011) saw the return of Belladonna with stand out tracks The Devil You Know, Fight ‘Em ‘Til You Can’t and In The End, a song dedicated to the late Ronnie James Dio and Dimebag Darrel, with backdrops displayed on stage while on tour.

For All The Kings (2016) saw new guitarist Jon Donais of Shadows Fall on lead guitar, replacing Caggiano who left in 2013 to join Denmark group Volbeat. A video was made for Monster at the End and also features songs that dealing with the outside world. Evil Twin is relevant, focusing on issues such as the recent office shootings of the French satirical publication and other mass shootings that we hear of on a regular basis.

Anthrax is one of the thrash bands who continue to branch out today. Looking back Anthrax has brought on many groups who fall into the crossover thrash genre due to the influences  S.O.D. and rap metal owes a lot to both the I’m The Man EP and Bring The Noise single. There are no skeletons in the closet for Anthrax… maybe just the one…

Fistful of metal (1984)

Spreading the disease (1985)

among the living (1987)

state of euphoria (1988)

persistence of time (1990)

sound of white noise (1993)

stomp 442 (1995)

Volume 8: the threat is real (1998)

we’ve come for you all (2003)

Worship music (2011)

for all kings (2016)

LIVE GIG EDITION

Written by Bailey Graham

Welcome to the first Digi-mag edition of HEAVY OZ, where we look at a handful of some of our home-grown talent making rounds both domestically and around the world. Every band featured in HEAVY OZ has shown to possess consistent, quality studio albums with a live show to match. This edition showcases five acts who excel in the latter category, with live performances being a cornerstone for each band’s success.

No strangers to Melbourne’s ever-growing metal scene, the “Melodeath” masters have proved time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with. Their highly successful debut release, 2011’s ‘Bleed the Way’ paved the way for some of Melbourne’s most energetic and memorable live shows to date, with subsequent releases ‘Resillusion’ and ‘Partum Vita Mortem’ only adding a plethora of high-speed madness to their arsenal.

An absolute staple of any Orpheus Omega live show is the wall of death that occurs during the usual closing track Sealed in Fate. Never a dull moment from start to finish, it’s no surprise that Orpheus Omega has garnered several support slots for some of Metals most famous acts – from Insomnium to At the Gates, from Lacuna Coil to Children of Bodom, the Melbourne five-piece have made big waves in their eight-year career.

Listen to Orpheus Omega

Armed with a sound that’s all their own and an on-stage persona that none can imitate, Melbourne’s Hybrid Nightmares are one of Australia’s fastest-growing metal acts.

With one EP and epic four-part series known as ‘The Four Ages’ under their belt, the five-piece have plenty at their disposal to enthral and surprise their audience. It’s not only their sound that is unique, but their stage show is one of the most mesmerising spectacle’s one can witness. With each member donning eerie robes, light armour and their unique take on the ever-popular corpse paint,

With each member donning eerie robes, light armour and their unique take on the ever-popular corpse paint, Hybrid Nightmares take this one step further with front-facing black lights that illuminate hand-drawn veins on each member’s arms and face. resh off a headline tour of Japan, the progressive five-piece continue to dominate stages across Australia, with no signs of stopping a

Fresh off a headline tour of Japan, the progressive five-piece continue to dominate stages across Australia, with no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Listen to HYBRID NIGHTMARES

The most difficult to categorise band on this list, Melbourne’s Alithia have been self-described as “Astral Space-Core” and from only a few minutes of listening to their tunes, you can see why such a term is used.

Their unique take on the prog-rock genre has garnered numerous accolades and applause not only in Australia, but across the globe. Now four albums into their career, Alithia have cemented themselves as one of Australia’s most beloved acts in recent years, with a highly devout cult following everywhere they go.

If there’s one thing that separates Alithia from much of the prog-rock cohort, it’s their level of energy on stage that places on a firm grasp on every member of the audience and doesn’t let go until the final note has been struck.

Listen to alithia

Of all the bands on this list, Vanishing Point, are by far, the biggest and most well-known. No extravagant stage effects, no insane amounts of on-stage energy, Vanishing Point’s greatest asset is one thing and one thing only – technical brilliance.

Never a flat note from vocalist Silvio Massaro or a missed note from any member of the band, jaws are left on the floor time after time after witnessing such a brilliant display of musicianship.

From the local stages of Melbourne’s pub scene to the grand stage of Wacken Open Air, the Victorian natives continue to pioneer the Australian melodic metal scene into the stratosphere.

Nearly two decades into their career, if there’s one band that are to be the standard for live performance musicianship and technical ability, it’s Vanishing Point.

Listen to vanishing point

I’d be a damn fool if I didn’t put this band on the list. One of Australia’s most entertaining acts of all-time, it’s Queensland’s pirate-metal crew Lagerstein.

Armed with two critically acclaimed albums and enough rum to subdue a Kraken, Lagerstein’s live shows are second to none.

To describe Lagerstein’s live shows is nigh-impossible, so instead of trying to word it out or show some amateur-fan video, here’s the best possible description of a Lagerstein show.

Listen to lagerstein

A big buzz is swarming around soon-to-be-released horror film Peelers, gaining a ground-swell of excitement with hit festival screenings late this year. Aside from being the opening night film at the ‘A Night Of Horror Film Festival’ in Sydney, it has won a swag of awards at international festivals, including Best Picture gongs at the Arizona Underground Film Festival, Atlanta Horror Festival, Chicago Horror Film Festival, FANtastic Horror Film Festival in San Diego, Indie Gathering International Film Festival and the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Due for release in Australia in 2017, director Seve Schelenz insists the monsters in his film are not zombies, but “infected humans, infected beings, or just infected.”

“We definitely wanted to create our own version of ‘monsters’ so to speak. If you love zombies though and you want to follow all the rules of the game, uou may have an issue with our film because we have kind of created our own world of infected people. While it doesn’t follow the zombie rules, it does follow all the rules that we have created.”

So at what point did Schelenz decide on the rules of his world? ‘”That definitely happened in the screenwriting process,” he explains. “Without giving away any spoilers, we took those old clichés of how to stop a zombie and then bent those rules. I think that was the whole start of us wanting to create something completely different and that was the catalyst to create something different, but not have it way over the top.”

Being a horror film set in a strip club, Peelers features one of the strongest female characters to appear in a horror film for quite some time; the baseball-loving Blue Jean, played by Wren Walker. Schelenz explains how the character came about and how Wren Walker won the role.

“Blue Jean was always going to be the strongest character in the film. We always wanted the main protagonist to be a female. We wanted to turn the table on this sub-genre of horror, stripper horror, because typically with these films you have your girls, you have your nudity, they really aren’t that smart or they get killed all the time and the boys save the day. We didn’t want to have that. We wanted to flip it around and have the girls save the day and have the girls fight back. Funnily enough, we do have one male character in there who is a bit of a heavy and he doesn’t actually get that many chances to fight back. It is the woman that kick butt.”

“Without giving away any spoilers we took those old clichés of how to stop a zombie and then bent those rules.”

“The character of Blue Jean has certain traits; she’s a former baseball player, she’s very much in shape, she’s very confident, owns a strip club and she’s the kind of mother to all these strippers”, points out Schelenz. “She really is the strong character that we wanted. When Wren came in to read for the part, she was actually one of the last actresses to come in and we were yet to find the right actress for the role. Her boyfriend at the time said “no, go, go and try this out” when he saw the ad for the auditions and she reluctantly came in. To use a term that really works for the character, she hit a home run!”

The director of this upcoming horror flick also spoke about what the shooting process was like. “We only had a limited number of days we could film because of our budget,” says Schelenz. “We are a true independent film and the money is literally coming out of the producer’s pockets, so we only had a limited number of days to shoot. Of course, our location was prepped to look like a strip club and we did each section of characters each day depending on where they were in the bar.” It wasn’t all smooth sailing but eventually, the filmmakers prevailed. “There seemed to be a small crisis everyday, but it all came together and we had a lot of fun filming it. It was crazy too.”

Written by David Griffiths

“Originally this project started as a Kickstarter film,” explains Director Mathew Holmes.

Australian cinema’s fascination with bushrangers has endured since the birth of Aussie cinema. The first feature film ever made in the world was about the notorious Kelly Gang, created here in Australia in 1906. Since then, the Ned Kelly story has been told a number of times on screens for better or for worse. In 1970, Rolling Stones’ front-man Mick Jagger travelled to Australia to don Kelly’s armour to mixed reactions. Over three decades later, Oscar winner Heath Ledger played the notorious outlaw for director Gregor Jordan. The bushranger cinema legend doesn’t stop at the Kelly family tree. In 1976, Dennis Hopper played Mad Dog Morgan in a performance that became infamous for Hopper’s off-screen behaviour rather than anything on-screen.

One bushranger though that hasn’t had his story on the big screen is arguably Australia’s most notorious bushrangers, Ben Hall. In a number of ways, Hall was a more prolific bushranger compared to Ned Kelly but nonetheless is often overshadowed by him in the history books. That is all about to change now thanks to a brand new film called ‘The Legend Of Ben Hall’, directed by Matthew Holmes.

Surprisingly, Holmes states that he originally intended to create a short film. “This project started as a Kickstarter film”, he explains. “We were really successful at raising more money than we required, so when we had shot for a short amount of time we showed our footage to Odeon’s Eye Entertainment. They were so impressed with what they saw, they decided that this should be a feature. So, we kept working together and expanded it into a full two hour film. I had actually wanted to make a feature film about Ben Hall, so I already had a script ready to go.”

For Matthew, his fascination with Ben Hall began as a young teenager. “I’d actually always wanted to make a bushranger movie since I was about 13 or 14 years old, but I’d always wanted to make it about Ned Kelly and make it a bush western; an Australia western. But, then they made Ned Kelly and someone said to me that I should check out other bushrangers and they mentioned Ben Hall. So, I discovered Ben Hall in 2007 and as I started to read the history I realised that I had stumbled onto a wonderful true story that was screaming for a movie.”

As Holmes discovered, countless eyewitness accounts existed by people that knew Ben Hall. Whilst the story is faithful to those accounts, how did that help Holmes when it came to casting the film’s major roles? “ I started with the look”, reveals Holmes. “I went with actors that looked like their historical counterparts. That was very important for me because we have photographs of the people themselves. We know what they look like and I wanted a film where it looks like history is coming to life, so it was very important to me that the actor playing Ben Hall and the actors playing his gang looked similar to who they were playing. That started the process, then, of course, there was acting ability but I didn’t want either to be mutually exclusive”

“We spoke to so many actors,” says Holmes. “We auditioned them thoroughly and we found some wonderful performers throughout Melbourne and Sydney but we were also able to reach out to some Australian staples and get some great people like Arthur Angel and Andy McPhee. That gave the film more weight and they were super excited to get involved because they loved the material.”

The Legend Of Ben Hall will be in cinemas on December 1st.

Written By David Griffiths

Illustrator Of The Month

Dan “God-Awful” Fabris

Unbeknownst to an innocent neighbourhood in the northwestern suburbs of Melbourne, a master of monsters toils away passionately bringing to life something god-awful by design.

In the hollows of his home, the artist and illustrator known as God-Awful violates crisp sheets of poster paper with the flesh of ghouls, armies of corpses and beings your worst nightmare wouldn’t dare conjure up.

Dan Fabris’ style is a “tangled car wreck” of his childhood influences, which include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Toxic Crusaders, eighties horror and old Warhammer 40k books.

“It can be horrific and full of gore, but I’m trying to get a twist [of] something fun in there too.”

Growing up in Victoria’s Goulburn Valley, this small-town kid always had a keen eye for illustration. It was the typical ‘small town’ story of bored kids who found their fun in the arms of heavy music, rather than the arms of crosstown football rivals. After initially learning guitar at high school with his friends, God-Awful realised the rock star path wasn’t quite for him.

“I gave up right away because I wasn’t good. They [his friends] stuck at it and started bands; bands that needed artwork. I remember seeing my first Pushead t-shirt when I was maybe five years old; his stuff is so grim and gnarly which stuck with me.”

That brings us to the present, where God-Awful has made gig posters for the likes of punk rockers GBH and Agent Orange, as well as numerous local punk, metal and grunge artists and festivals.You are probably familiar with his work without even realising it.

In just the past year God-Awful has designed and illustrated almost two-dozen gig posters, for both local and international artists. “I only got to five of these shows because I’m a shit bloke. I better make that my New Years Resolution!”

Another challenge the artist would love to set for himself is to make a gig poster for every weekend for one whole year. “It would kill and bankrupt me because the illustrations take me ages to do and I undercharge for local shows, but it’d be heaps of fun.”

“I know the struggle of bands trying to make any money playing those, and that any bump in the number [of] punters through the door for a show with a decent poster is probably pretty small.”

“On the plus side, I do get free entry to a lot of gigs, which is usually good for another pint or a kebab on the way home, which is really what it’s all about in the end, right?”

Be sure to check out more of God-Awful’s incredible illustrations on Facebook and Instagram.

Connect up with “God-Awful” on his social media:

Tattooist Of The Month

BENNY BONES

Benny Bones was born in Rotorua, New Zealand, and lived there until he his early teens and then moved to Tauranga. In 2001, he moved to Melbourne along with his family. He has worked on art in many different forms and states that growing up in a place like New Zealand had a huge part to play in his artistic abilities and becoming a tattooist.

When he moved to Melbourne, especially being in a big city, things really started to kick off for him. From that moment forward, his new hometown started to throw many enticing opportunities at him.

While Bones’ art style lies between Oriental and Neo-Traditional, he has based most of his career around Japanese artwork. To Bones, it’s a “form of tattooing that has withstood the tests of time, and so much is influenced off it”. Darkness is a common theme he gravitates towards, featuring motifs such as skulls, severed heads and wrathful deities.

Even though he often has a lot of fun with the designs he makes, he also prefers to not focus on any rules and let himself perform his magic without any hesitation. Bones began tattooing ten years ago at the Living Canvas Studio in Eltham and was apprenticed under Scott Boys, who currently owns the Eruption Tattoo Art Studio in Macleod. Bones states that he’s extremely grateful for the fact that Boys gave him a chance. Bones woke up one morning and decided to walk into a shop to ask for a job in the industry. He then walked in and showed the tattoo parlour a portfolio of non-tattoo related drawings and sketches Bones had from art school.

He worked at Living Canvas for five years before moving to Korpus Tattoo Studio in Brunswick where he works to this day. Bones has been lucky enough to work alongside plenty of talented artists including Alvaro Flores, Steve Cross, Mayo, Andrea Daniel, Samantha Sirianni and plenty of special guests. He has treated Korpus like a particular school for himself and claims that his time there has been invaluable.

While he hasn’t been known to tattoo celebrities, Bones has had the opportunity to tattoo Alexisonfire and City and Colour frontman Dallas Green and his wife while they were on tour for City and Colour. Bones has also tattooed Slats, bassist of King Parrot, who he counts as one of his friends.

Bones feels that his future in being part of the tattoo industry is going to be a bright one and is planning on travelling sometime next year, including a visit to the Brighton Convention in the UK with a fellow tattooist and friend Stu Pagdin. Bones will also take part in some local conventions in Australia, such as the Rites Of Passage Festival in Melbourne.

Be sure to check out more of Benny Bones’ work on his social media pages or email him at [email protected]

Connect up with Benny Bones on his social media:

Take a moment to think about your favourite album. Venture beyond the music and, most likely, you’ll find yourself visualising the cover artwork. That image is the one element that has come to represent, so intrinsically, that particular collection of tunes. At the same time, it provides a tangible context to the subjective world of sound and the human imagination.

Given that Metal music has always been extremely visual and dramatic; the role of the artwork has proven to be crucial in the aesthetic development of the genre.

“We all see things in our heads while listening to music. The melodies, lyrics, and instruments get that reaction from us. The album cover helps to reveal an added value otherwise not available without the accompanying imagery,” declares Berlin-based visual artist, Eliran Kantor, who has created some of the most arresting visuals in the discography of bands like Testament, Sigh, and Atheist. For him and many others—including Dream Theater’s vocalist, James LaBrie— the album artwork creates a connection so powerful that it transcends mere artistic barriers. “It’s not just a matter of getting your favourite artist’s music,” LaBrie comments. “It’s also feeling [that] you’re in the room with them, because you have this artwork that makes the listening experience even more personal,” “You can’t get that unless is something tangible.”

That’s the kind of psychological impact that most artists and record labels have been trying to convey since the early years of the XX century when LP packaging started to get commercial development. As author/sociologist Deena Weinstein, explains: “Album covers have two separate functions. One is a commercial function, to identify the band, the album’s name, or it may even identify the genre. The second is—let’s call it the aesthetic function.

Lots of times, this enhances the music that you listen to inside.”

Weinstein’s theory is supported by thousands within the music industry, including Obituary’s drummer, Donald Tardy, who wisely points out: “Album covers draw fans in. Fans relate to it. It brings them back to what they remember from the first time hearing those songs. Also, fans might listen to an album because the cover has an appealing look and they might give it a shot.”

Undoubtedly, these recollections mentioned above clearly demonstrate that the right image can become a powerful media to transmit a message that has artistic, psychological, and commercial connotations. Sadly, the arrival of the digital revolution has radically changed the game for traditional formats like the CD and Vinyl, while also affecting the role of the cover artwork and music packaging in general.

For some, like Morbid Angel’s former vocalist/bassist, David Vincent, the reigning climate is very discouraging. “These days, the world has changed so much,” he says. “I remember I used to go to record stores all the time, and I looked at covers and be intrigued about what kind of music the albums contained. Nowadays that doesn’t exist. It’s not the same.”

As hopeless and accurate as Vincent’s views are, the whole situation also has a positive side. Ironically, the new challenges have compelled designers, records labels, and bands to explore new ways to present physical products. Limited CD/LP editions and special box sets are living proof of that. Whether they include alternative artworks, inventive packaging, or other kinds of goodies, these products have a clear objective: to keep buyers interested in physical music products and their accompanying graphics.

Despite its cons, the Internet and digital worlds have brought some benefits, like the ability to freely launch virtual campaigns around album covers. Eliran Kantor perfectly exemplifies this. “If right now, a band like Testament goes online with a new cover, on Facebook alone, they already have over 1,000,000 fans registered for instant updates. This means that in about an hour’s time while spending $0.00 on advertising and before the artwork is picked up by the press, over a million people will have seen it, and it’ll reach millions by the end of the day with the fans and media sharing it.”

Whatever the future has in store for albums and their different formats, some people believe that covers artworks will still be vital for the ongoing development of the industry — especially for heavy music. Ultimately, in this age of the ‘faceless’ digital format, it depends on the combined efforts of bands, labels and fans to keep alive the interest in the physical forms and cover artworks. That’s a fact.

With these reflections in mind, we invite you to explore the book “…And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers.” This book (as well as Heavy Magazine’s series of the same name) is a compendium of 264 pages, 450 graphics and 105 interviews that delves into the stories behind some of the most significant album artworks in the history of Metal music. Musicians, designers, and industry insiders will share their memories regarding the making of each of the visual pieces that will be explored here. We hope you enjoy this ride. Be prepared to be visually blown away. Stay heavy.

“…And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers” is a one-of-a-kind, collection of revealing stories/interviews, and stunning graphics about the making of some of the most iconic album covers in the history of Heavy Metal music.

This beautifully illustrated coffee table book includes the stories of artworks like Slayer’s “Reign In Blood,” Morbid Angel’s “Blessed Are The Sick,” Metallica’s “And Justice For All,” Blind Guardian’s “A Night At The Opera,” Death’s “Symbolic,” Tiamat’s “Wildhoney,”Carcass “Heartwork,” At The Gates’ “Slaughter Of The Soul,”Testament’s “Dark Roots Of Earth,” Opeth’s “Heritage,” Mayhem’s “Grand Declaration Of War,” and many others.

This 264-pages book features more than 450 color graphics and exclusive interviews with members of Amorphis, Napalm Death, Carcass, Morbid Angel, Anthrax, Cynic, Testament and many more, about the making of some of their most iconic artworks.

…And Justice For Art: A Heavy Metal Visual Journey

This would make a perfect Xmas present for yourself or a friend!