All posts by Anthony Carioscia

Hailing from Montgomery, New York, Anthony, better known as Tony has a love of horror films and heavy metal music and is a film editing student at Mount Saint Mary college and part time member of the improv troupe, Mission Improvable.

Insomnium Drummer Talks New Album Plans and Increase in Popularity

Ever since the mid-2000’s, Insomnium has been a well acclaimed band in Finland’s melodeath scene. Their doom metal influenced music, dreamy atmospheres and depressing lyrics land the band a distinct sound from their scene mates. When a US tour featuring them and Omnium Gatherium was announced, the band’s American fan base jumped for joy. Though I wasn’t able to make this tour I was able to speak to the band’s drummer, Markus Hirvonen, via phone. He was quite the character.

On touring this year: Our tour is going well. This is our first time headlining in the states and people love it. Our guitarist, the other Marcus, is playing in both bands and he’s going a really good job. Sure he loves to party and gets hungover, but his performances are still really well done.

On writing process of previous album: The writing process was a lot different on this one. Our guitarist Ville now lives in the UK. We have to practice through the internet because of this. It is a lot less stressful than trying to get everyone in the room at the same time. I feel the album was very good, one of our best. It is often compared Omnium Gatherium because we both now have the same guitarist. While there were some elements from Omnium Gatherium on the last album, it is different in feeling. Insomnium is more depressing while Omnium is more upbeat.

On connection between name and music: Yes, the music and lyrics give off the same feel as the name. Insomnium is a word meaning dreams with various interpretations and that is how I feel our music is. Glad you were able to notice this!

On future plans: After this tour we plan on working on our next album. We do not have studio time scheduled but we do have many ideas for songs. We will not do another large tour anytime soon. We are waiting till we finish the next album; we see the last album and tour as the end of a lifespan.

On playing with bigger bands: I am proud that we are getting to play all these huge name metal bands. I grew up listening to Dark Tranquility and am very honored to have toured with them. My goal is to one day tour with In Flames and Opeth. Those are two of my favorite bands and have always been a big part of me.

Interview: Bob Pantella Talks New Atomic Bitchwax & Monster Magnet Albums

Red Bank, New Jersey’s Monster Magnet are one of stoner rock’s greatest and most iconic acts. With classic tunes like “Spacelord” and “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”, the band ruled MTV in the mid to late 90s and continues to have a huge following today.

Atomic Bitchwax are a “super stoner rock” band from Long Branch, New Jersey and formed in 1992. The band’s sound is influenced by 60’s and 70’s rock as well as modern prog rock bands like Tool. Though they had songs in popular shows such as Jackass, the band never gained the fame that Monster Magnet achieved.

I was recently able to have a brief email chat with Bob Pantella, who shares drumming duties between both bands. The interview was not focused on Monster Magnet but on his lesser known band The Atomic Bitchwax, which he joined in 2007.

On Atomic Bitchwax’s style: Well, we’ve been called stoner rock since 1997 and we always thought it was ridiculous, so we decided to call it Super Stoner Rock which is twice as ridiculous. It was either that or Freedom Rock which we thought was  too redundant… “TURN IT UP MAN”!!!!!

On new Atomic Bitchwax, Gravitron: Well, for this album we wanted to take a different approach. The three of us rented a cabin in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to get away from our daily routines so we could really focus on the music. We even went as far as fasting for three weeks before hand. When you deprive yourself for that long it leads to a heightened awareness, which culminates in a vision quest. It was like being in a mental and emotional isolation tank. For the first few days we didn’t think we would be able to come up with any ideas at all. UNTIL…. Finn broke out a bag of sweet dank and what seemed like an endless supply of Oreo cookies…… Ok Ok I’m just fucking with you… NONE of that happened. Honestly we just got into a room and jammed together for a few hours and tried to play Sabbath Volume 4 in reverse…. Simple as that. It’s not rocket science.

On new Monster Magnet: Cobras and Fire, a redux of Mastermind, will be released in early October 2015. We’re really happy with the results. I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s really great working with Dave because he doesn’t let ANYTHING slip through the cracks. He’s such a perfectionist and it’s really an inspiration. As far as touring goes, I believe that there is something in the works for early 2016 in Europe and some east coast shows around Christmas time.

On Atomic Bitchwax & Monster Magnet touring together: Well you never know… anything is possible.

On the modern New Jersey scene:  It’s common knowledge at this point that the three of us share the same Druidic lineage. This Iron Age bloodline offers us a spiritual window most of our contemporaries are sadly unable to achieve. The end result is purely distilled riffs of mathematical precision for all future music to be measured by. With that said “The Ribeye Brothers“of Red Bank, NJ share this vision.

Top 7 Wes Craven Films (That Aren’t Nightmare Or Scream)

We recently lost one of the horror genre’s heroes, Wes Craven. The man is most known for creating one of horror’s best mascots with A Nightmare on Elm Street as well starting the slasher revival with Scream. The general public tends to forget the man made many more films. Kicking off Alternative Nation’s Halloween 2015 editorials, here are a few of Craven’s best films that don’t star Freddy Krueger or Ghostface.

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Deadly Friend (1986)

Paul Conway is a young child prodigy whose best friend is a robot he built named BB (who has nothing on robot BB-8 in the new Star Wars flick). He also has a crush on his neighbor Samantha, who is constantly beaten by her drunk father. One day, the two decide to play a prank on the town’s crazy lady, Elvira. This goes horribly wrong: BB ends up getting destroyed and Sam’s father throws her down the stairs, leaving her braindead. Paul decides to use BB’s chip to bring Samantha back. It works, but she doesn’t come back normal!

This movie is ultra cheesy but tons of fun. Originally it was supposed to be a sci-fi thriller that focused more on story, but the studio forced Craven to add scenes of gore and nightmares. Maybe one day we will see the original cut.

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Shocker (1989)

Horace Pinker is a psychotic TV repairman on a killing spree. This all ends when a football player Jonathan turns him in and Pinker his given the electric chair. Before his death, he sells his soul to Satan and fuses with electricity, giving him the power to travel through power lines, TVs, and even people (not making this up).

This film is 80’s cheese at its best. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and gets weirder and weirder as it progresses. If you enjoyed A Nightmare on Elm Street then you should be able to enjoy this one.

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Red Eye (2005)

Red Eye is a thriller about a woman (Rachael McAdams) riding a red eye flight to Miami. While on this plan she meets a man (Cillian Murphy) who at first seems really friendly… until he kidnaps her. She is then forced to assist him in a plot to kill a politician or else he kills her father. Showcasing a different style from Craven, the film feels very Hitchcock influenced. With well crafted suspense and a threatening performance from Cillian Murphy, this film will keep you at the edge of your seat.

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The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)

Starring Bill Pullman and based on the none fiction book of the same name, The Serpent and the Rainbow is one of Craven’s weirder films. Pullman plays an anthropologist who, after hearing about a drug that turns people into zombies, travels to Haiti to investigate. Like every movie with voodoo in it, this film is very surreal. Those who think that Wes Craven’s films are never intelligent should give this one a watch.

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Swamp Thing (1982)

Based on the DC superhero of the same name, Swamp Thing is one of the most underrated comic book movies out there. Dr. Alex Holland is transformed into the creature swamp thing when a lab sabotage is pulled by the evil Dr. Anton Arcane. He ends up helping out a woman named Alice Cable. The film is more of an action film with some horror elements. Craven made this movie to prove that he can do more than just horror… and he proved it well.

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The People Under the Stairs (1991)

Set in the ghetto, this film tells the story of a 13 year old boy named Fool. When attempting to rob the house of his family’s insane landlords, Fool, along with two others, get trapped in their house. They then face the horrors inside and learn some very dark secrets. Craven tackles disturbing themes such as incest and child abuse, but at the same time the film is very comical. The characters are also very memorable and the script is pretty original, making this a film that should be in any horror fan’s collection.

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The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Back in his early days, Wes made exploitation films. The Hills Have Eyes is about a family that has their car break down very far from civilization who are then attacked by inbred cannibals and captures Katy, the baby of the oldest daughter Lynne and her boyfriend Doug. After the attack, the surviving family members fight the cannibals to rescue Katy from their clutches. The film is very brutal and has very memorable characters. Deformed actor Micheal Berryman, who played one of the cannibals, is now a horror icon.

A sequel was made in 1984 which wasn’t very good… Wes Craven himself has admitted that he only made the sequel because he needed money. In 2006, the film was remade by french horror director Alexander Aja. This remake would end up being one of the best remakes of the 2000’s.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8W9KPhmYYtg&w=560&h=315]

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Wes Craven’s first film is also his most controversial. Inspired by the Ingmar Berman classic The Virgin Spring, this film tells the story of two young girls Mari and Phylliss. They are on their way to a rock concert. At the same time, two thugs, Krug and Weasel, as well as Krug’s girlfriend Sadie and drug addicted son are hiding out not too far from the venue. The girls are eventually kidnapped, sadistically tortured then murdered. Krug and company later drive off, but their car breaks done in front of a strange house. The old couple that lives there lets them stay the night. Little do they know this old couple are Mari’s parents!

Though this film has a few scenes of pointless comic relief, this is Craven’s most vile and raw film. It is also one of the most popular films of the grindhouse era, even appealing to some people who don’t normally like these kind of films. This was also the first time Craven started a trend, as many clones were spawned, the best of these being House on the Edge of the Park which stars David Hess in a role very similar to his own in this. The film was remade in 2009 with Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul.

Album Review: Motorhead’s ‘Bad Magic’

Motorhead is a legendary outfit which needs no intro. Being one of the first bands to fuse metal and punk, vocalist/bassist Lemmy and co. paved the way for metal’s more extreme subgenres but at the same time demonstrate a lot of influence from old time rock’n’roll and blues. The band has over 20 albums that, for the most part, are very consistent and more often than not are of high quality.   

Coming off the heels of 2013’s classic Aftershock and several health-mandated life changes for Lemmy (I.E. smoking and drinking, something that worried many fans as Lemmy’s life style seemed to fuel Motorheads music), doubt was in the air as to the band’s continued success. The band would then clear it out that everyone’s favorite frontman was doing better and will continue fronting this legendary band. 

Fortunately, this life change has not hurt Lemmy’s signature voice or this record whatsoever, and Bad Magic tops Aftershock. Yes, this is a band that normally sticks to the same style, but this album’s songwriting and hooks make it one of the band’s best recent efforts.

Some of the highlights from this album include the opening track, “Victory or Death” which starts out with Lemmy screaming the title before going into some excellent bass and guitar work. “Electricity” and “Shoot Out All Your Lights” are both classic style heavy metal tracks the band has been praised for.

The song “Evil Eye” is filled to the brim with awesome drum work from Mikey Dee. Then we have the blues rock-charged track “Fire Storm Hotel”, showcasing Lemmy’s love for 50’s rock’n’roll and 40’s twelve bar blues.

The final track of the album is a cover of the Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy for the Devil”. This version is one of the song’s best covers because the band makes it their own and Lemmy does not try to sound like Jagger.

Overall, the production is spot on giving the album a live feel. While this isn’t going to top the classics like Ace of Spades or Overkill, Bad Magic is still a very solid release that shows Motorhead is here to stay and is essentially a compilation of the band’s best ideas.

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Megadeth Bassist On Risk: ‘We Weren’t Trying To Be Disturbed Or Godsmack”

In 1990, Megadeth would put out the massive behemoth of an album, Rust in Peace. The group’s subsequent offerings, beginning with Countdown to Extinction in 1992, may have proven the laws of diminishing returns was a true concept, but their catalog was still better than what most other thrash bands were doing at the time. Then, on August 31st, 1999, the band threw a curveball and released their most controversial and fan-derided record, Risk.

The aptly-titled Risk was a experimental album for Megadeth. Instead of a straightforward metal release, this album was a hodge-podge of sounds that permeated the hard rock landscape of the 1990’s that would not normally be found on a Megadeth album. “It was definitely a risk for sure,” David Ellefson tells Alternative Nation.

Fans accused Megadeth on cashing in on the rock music trends of the late 90’s. One example is the song “Crush Em”, which has industrial elements. This song featured as the theme song to the Van Damme film Universal Soldier: The Return. 

Then we have the track “Insomnia”, which is the band’s attempt at atmosphere, while “The Doctor is Calling” finds comparisons to Alice in Chains and “Breadline” screams late 90’s cheese in the same vein as bands like 3 Doors Down. “I’ll Be There” is a very soft ballad, probably the softest the band has ever done. Just about every song on this album is slow with no payoff, while Dave Mustaine seems bored.

Despite these comparisons to their contemporaries, Ellefson tells us in retrospect that the band tried to distance itself from such genres as post-grunge and nu metal. “I remember at the time, a lot of these nu-metal bands like Disturbed and Godsmack were coming out and we wanted to do something way different.”

Megadeth would bounce back in the mid 2000’s with albums like United Abominations and Endgame, only to put out an equally derided record in 2013 known as Supercollider. Sixteen years later, Ellefson looks back on the record rather fondly, even if the record wasn’t well received by the metal fanbase.

“Looking back at it, I feel if we had more time to work on it, it would have been a better record,” Ellefson tells us. “I remember spinning it a little while ago and thinking this isn’t so bad of a record. It might not be one of our best records, but I feel it has some good material on it.”

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Iron Maiden’s Albums Get Ranked Up!

Formed in 1974, Iron Maiden is a household name among metalheads and casual music listeners alike: the band’s mix of speed, energy, complexity, well written lyrics, and epic feel keeps fans counting the days to the next Maiden release and devouring concert tickets. Maiden is also known for staying true to their sound no matter what the current rock or metal trends might be.

Even bad Iron Maiden albums, for the most part, will have at least one good song. To celebrate the band’s soon to be released 16th album, The Book of Souls (due September 4), we decided to base the next installment of Ranked Up! on none other than Iron Maiden.

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TIE: The X Factor and Virtual XI (1995, 1998)

Both of these albums are tied for the same slot as they are both the worst for the same reason: Bruce Dickinson was replaced by Blaze Bayley, whose voice was not very good at all, and the songwriting ranged from subpar to godawful. During this time, Bruce released two solo albumsAccident of Birth and The Chemical Wedding. Both of these albums feature Adrian Smith on guitar and are much better then these two Maiden albums.

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No Prayer for the Dying (1990)

No Prayer for the Dying is the most infamous Maiden album to not have Blaze. Around this time, longtime guitarist Adrian Smith left the band and was replaced by Janick Gers. The single “Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter” is the band’s only number one hit to date, but the track itself isn’t very good. Credit is due, however, for the solid tune “Tailgunner“.

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Dance of Death (2003)

Released two years after the amazing Brave New World, this release was a bit of a step backwards, and the album failed to deliver the level of quality Maiden is known for. The track “Rainmaker” is one of the bands post 80’s songs, however.

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Fear of the Dark (1992)

Fear of the Dark is one of the band’s most overlooked albums. While the title track is one of the most popular Iron Maiden songs, the rest of this album is normally panned by your average listener. A dedicated fan will dive in and realize the album has many underrated tracks, including “Be Quick or be Dead“,“Judas My Guide” and “Afraid to Shoot Strangers“.

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A Matter of Life and Death (2006)

In 2006, several classic metal bands, including Terrorizer, Sepultura, and Slayer showed the world that putting out albums is something… that they should probably stop doing. Iron Maiden, on the other hand, showed us that still got it. The album was Maiden’s heaviest release at the time as well as their longest and most progressive. Many great tracks are to be heard here including “The Pilgrim“,”The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg“, “Different World” and “Brighter then a Thousand Suns“.

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The Final Frontier (2010)

This 15th entry in the Iron Maiden saga was originally supposed to be the band’s last release. Bassist Steve Harris would later reveal this to be untrue. It would have been a sweet final effort, as The Final Frontier is the band’s best work since Brave New World. The album is even longer then the last one, but doesn’t drag on at all. The best tracks from this album are “El Dorado“,”The Alchemist“, “Mother of Mercy“, and “The Talisman“.

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Brave New World (2000)

Thanks to Blaze, the mid to late 90’s were the worst time for Iron Maiden. This was until 1999, when Blaze left and Bruce came back and brought with him Adrian Smith. To this day, the band still has three guitarists. At the dawn of the new millennium, the band released this monster of a comeback. Brave New World is an hour and seven minutes of pure awesome. With tracks like “Blood Brothers“, “Brave New World” and “Wickerman“, this is easily the best non-80’s Maiden release.

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Somewhere in Time (1986)

Trying to figure out what Maiden’s weakest 80’s release is is a bit redundant, as they are all metal perfection. Somewhere in Time is still an amazing record, despite being ranked the lowest on this list in reference to that era. Best songs from here are “Wasted Years“, “Alexander the Great“, and “Stranger in a Strange Land“.

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Killers (1981)

Killers is the last album to feature Paul Dianno on vocals and first to feature Adrian Smith on guitar. This is the only Maiden album to date to have two instrumental tracks: “Gengus Khan” and “Ides of March“. Killers is largely composed of unreleased songs from the band’s self titled debut. “Wrathchild” is the most popular song from this album and was even featured in game that everyone probably forgot existed, Guitar Hero Rock the 80’s. The album includes other fan favorites such as “Twilight Zone” and “Purgatory“.

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Iron Maiden (1980)

Iron Maiden is some record that a bunch of no names put together in their spare time: Paul Dianno, Steve Harris, Clive Burr, and Dennis Stratton. It would launch the career of one of metal’s most legendary outfits. Running Free“,”Iron Maiden” and “Phantom of the Opera” are still stables of Maiden’s sets in a post-Paul Dianno world.

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Piece of Mind (1983)

Piece of Mind is the first Iron Maiden album to feature the band’s most well known drummer, Nikko McBrain. This album’s line up of him, vocalist Bruce Dickinson, bassist Steve Harris, guitarist Adrian Smith, and guitarist Dave Murray would go on to be known as the classic Maiden lineup. The band would keep this line up throughout the 80’s then bring in it back, with the addition of third guitarist Jannick Gers, in 1999. This album has “The Trooper“, which is one of the band’s most well known songs. “Flight of Icarus“, “Where Eagles Dare” and ” Die With Your Boots” and pretty much the rest of this album is just as good. Along with Powerslave and Number of the Beast, Piece of Mind is the best Maiden albums to start out with.

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Powerslave (1984)

Powerslave is the most underrated of the classic era Maiden albums. The song writing on this album is top notch. The album is most known for the singles “2 Minuites to Midnight” and “Aces High” as well as the 14 minute epic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner“. While those songs are awesome, the best song from this album is “Flash of the Blade“, a song that was used as the theme to the Dario Argento horror classic Phenomena.

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Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1987)

When a man is born the seventh son from a man that was the seventh son of his parents, this child would be born with supernatural powers. This man’s power would be strong enough to make a difference in the everlasting battle between good and evil. This is the story behind this epic concept album, the band’s only true concept album to date. Panned by fans during its original release due to the addition of synths, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son has now gone on to be one of the band’s most beloved works.

This album is also the first time Maiden would expand upon their prog rock influence, something that has stuck with the band in later releases. In 1988 the band would tour for the album and play the whole thing in its entirety. In 2012, they would tour again for this album this time was Alice Copper as support. Even when not celebrating the album, the songs “Can I Play With Madness“,”The Evil That Men Do” and “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” are likely to appear in the band’s set lists. Due to being pretty different from what the band is known for, it might not be the best album to start out with, but once you become a fan of the band it is a must hear!

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Number of the Beast (1983)

Number of the Beast was the fuse the sparked Maiden’s explosion out of clubs and into international success. Out was a majority of the punk influence from the first two albums and in were Bruce’s epic opera vocals, cementing the band’s signature sound. The album contains the band’s two most well known songs, “Run to the Hills” and “Number of the Beast” as well as what this humble writer considers the band’s greatest song to date, “Hallowed Be Thy Name“. Let’s just say if it wasn’t for a cheap copy in a local mall in middle of nowhere upstate New York, you might not be reading this list. The entire album is a masterpiece from front to back without a single skip-able track. Number of the Beast is one of the greatest metal albums ever released.

Interview: Megadeth Bassist Says Pantera’s Phil Anselmo ‘Sounds Best He Has Since Vulgar Display Of Power’

Edited by Brett Buchanan

David Ellefson is Megadeth’s second most iconic member. He has played on almost every Megadeth release and as of now the only other original member left in the band besides Dave Mustaine. More recently, Dave has been playing in a massive supergroup called Metal Allegiance. This supergroup also features guitarist Alex Scholnick from Testament, ex-Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, and Mark Menghi from the New York band Constricted. Their debut self titled album also features guests from metal greats such as Death Angel, Anthrax, Down, Mastodon as well as the one and only Bumblefoot. I was recently able to conduct a telephone interview with him. After being starstruck, I was able to interview him about this project, where he reveals that a recent collaboration with Pantera’s Phil Anselmo might be the best he’s sounded since Vulgar Display Of Power.

How did a huge gathering like this happen and what was the idea behind it?

It all happened when me and founder Mark were talking about jamming together as well as with a lot of other artists and how cool it would be. This was back right before Motorhead’s Motorboat fest in September. We then noticed a slot was open. The promoter then called me and I said that I think we could get this idea on there and call it Metal Allegiance. After the performance Alex hit me up and him and Mike Portnoy had the idea to make a record and not just keep this a live act. So December of last year we went over to Mike’s place and started writing songs for the record. When the songs were finished we showed it to Nuclear Blast and they signed us.

During that first performance did you guys have any original songs or just did covers?

At that time we did not have any original songs written. We just played covers by classics such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy.

Is this a one time only project or will they be more releases in the future?

I plan for this project to continue to develop. We hope to do future records and tours.We want this to be a really cool event that just keeps continuing.

I notice Geezer Butler and Wolfgang Van Halen were live guests. Any plans to record with them?

The thing is with Wolfgang was he was playing in Tremonti while we were on the boat. We told him we had plans of playing the entire self-titled Van Halen album front to back and asked if he wanted to jump in on some songs and he said sure. That’s the beauty of this project, we are not so locked into roles. We allow all these guests so we can have all these crazy and spontaneous moments.

For those that don’t know can you tell us about the upcoming live interview?

Only 100 people can get into it.It will be at AOL studios in New York City.It will be a very personal thing where audience can all ask the bands questions. It will be filmed and broadcast across AOL’s networks.

When listening to your album I noticed the track with Phil Anselmo, “Dying Song” sounded a lot like Down. Was this meant to be an homage?

Yes it is, and I found that to be really cool. This project is a collection of all styles of metal. When writing this album if we noticed a track sounded like something else we kept it and thought it was cool. If a song sounds too much like other stuff or to much like we have already done we try not to repeat that, but with this band we see it as tipping our hats to a style. If we heard something sounding thrash it’s awesome. We try not to limit anything, and as a result we now have a well rounded collection of all styles of metal. I thought “Dying Song” is one of the best performances Phil has done on record since early Down or even since Vulgar Display of Power. He really knocked it out of the park.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgFGODoXXbY&w=560&h=315]

Interview: Chelsea Wolfe Discusses ‘Abyss’, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Fandom, & Top Secret Upcoming Project

Edited by Doug McCausland

Chelsea Wolfe, a California singer/songwriter, is one of the most eclectic artists on today’s scene. With her lo-fi sound self described as “doom-folk”, Wolfe has gained an underground following among metalheads, art kids, and goths alike while touring with major acts such as Queens of the Stone Age. She’s probably one of the youngest musicians to say that Mark Lanegan covered her!

Meanwhile, in the realm of television, major networks have taken notice of her cinematic potential: last year, her song “Feral Love” was featured in trailers for the hit HBO show Game of Thrones, while more recently Wolfe has been gaining even more exposure via ads for AMC’s Fear The Walking Dead.

Chelsea’s making critical waves with her ethereal new opus, “Abyss”, and I recently had the chance to interview her via email. We discussed her new album, rising fame, and other topics relating to her work.

On the heavier direction of Abyss: We’ve been touring a lot for the past few years so for the first time I kept the live show in mind while writing an album. I knew I wanted to have some heavy songs that would translate well live and be fun to play. I played Roadburn, I love that festival. I think our audience is really varied, actually.

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On the themes of sleep paralysis permeating Abyss: It’s just something I’ve had for years so it started creeping into my music, into my daily mindset. I’ve had sleep and dream issues since I was a kid, but as an adult I started getting this version of sleep paralysis where I wake up, and my body wakes up, but I can still see the figures from my dreams in the room, like shadows moving towards me. At times I’ve lashed out or tried to fight them off. While I was writing this album I started talking about my experiences of sleep paralysis with other people, and got some books on sleep, and it all just kind of happened naturally. Not every song is specifically about sleep or dreams, but every song has a nod to it, at least.

On visualizing Abyss‘s music: I think it would be really stylized with deep colors, lots of blue. It would be like the painted world in What Dreams May Come.

On frequent collaborator King Dude: We met at the LA release show of my first album The Grime and the Glow a few years back, he played with us. We became fast friends. I’m sure we’ll write together again. We’re both just really busy right now and can barely make plans to hang out since one of us is always on tour.

On reunion of her old project, Red Host: No Red Host reunion. Those two are doing their own projects too, Ian has Darling Chemicalia and Jess plays with Happy Fangs. I am playing and writing music with Jess on drums for a different project though.

On top secret upcoming musical project: I won’t say too much about it yet, as we’ve still got a lot of work to do, but I’ll say that it involves a lot of different musicians.

On Game of Thrones: I’m a big fan of the show, but I haven’t read the books. I’m sure having a song in the trailer helped grow my fanbase in a way. Someone did yell “Game of Thrones!” to me as I was walking off stage at a show opening for Queens of the Stone Age once, haha.

Doug McCausland is assistant chief editor and occasional reporter for Alternative Nation… he is also Anthony Carioscia’s neighbor, and recruited him in late 2014 to put his metal knowledge to good use. You can get in contact with Doug at dmccausland1@gmail.com

Alternative Nation’s Modern Artists Showcase: Chicago Metal Edition!

Chicago is a city that has never been a stranger to metal, having produced many metal greats, including Cianide, Kommadant, Trouble, Macabre, Cardiac Arrest, Novembers Doom, Bongripper and Ministry. Metal shows tend to always be all over the city and there is even a metal themed burger place called Kuma’s Corner.

The city also has many local level metal bands, ones that have the potential to gain a dedicated following among metalheads. For this special installment of Modern Artists Showcase, I had the chance to interview a couple of them and compile together an index of several others. Read on and enjoy…

Mordatorium

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS1tF9FPz1M]

On band’s sound: We are death metal band, but we used to be all over the place. Over time we just got more old school sounding. We are largely influenced by Swedish bands like Entrails and Grave. The early tracks are more melodic and guitar driven.

On band’s name: It dates all the way back to my high school English class. The class room had a section of really comfortable desks and a section of comfy chairs and comfy desks. The teacher said the students who came in first could take the comfy chairs as long as they put them back. I would take them literally everyday. After a while, I felt bad for the other students, so for about a week I let other people have the comfy chairs. They wouldn’t put them back, so my teacher then said there was a moratorium on the chairs. I never heard that word before. I then fused it with the word mord which is German for murder.

On new releases: We just remastered some old tracks.  We are writing new songs, but that’s further in the distance, I guess. It will be a while before there is new stuff.

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On “Pizza Song“: We were just jamming in a room. I was recording on my phone and we were coming up with all these goofy things. It was a very magical spare of the moment thing. None of us remember how to play that song, so we can’t play it again. It’s a special one time only song about going to the bar to get pizza.

On Chicago’s metal scene: I think its been awesome lately. The metal shows here get good turn outs. We do still sometimes get bands that would kinda mess with each other. Bands from different groups of people who don’t really crossover. A lot of local bands end up playing with the same bands all the time, but other then that I think its great. A lot of good stuff going around.

On the return of old school death metal: I’d say it started around 2008 with all these bands keeping it going. A band I really think of is Entrails. They were around back in the 90’s but didn’t release anything, then came back in the last few years and are putting out successful albums. They are like a weird combination of a band that’s one of the originals and a throwback at the same time. We have got a lot of killer albums in this style recently. I think it’s great!

Nucleus

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNMQKiLHnWI]

On band’s sound: Definitely more of an older style of death metal. I don’t listen to any of the newer styles of death metal, nor would I know how to play it if you asked me to. I stick with the 80’s and 90’s stuff. I feel a lot of newer death metal is either too technical or too clean sounding. I’m a huge fan of Atheist, Demilich, and Timeghoul.

On band’s name: We were looking for something science sounding. A lot of the other names we came up with were already taken by metal bands. The name was a group decision among people who were in the band at the time. I am the only original member still in the band.

On band’s new releases: We are booked to record towards the end of August. It’s going to be a full length album with eight songs to be released by Unspeakable Axe Records, with the same style as what was on the EP.

On  NWA cover: That was a one time only thing. It is nothing something we would do again. It was the idea of former members of the band. Now we just stick to covers that fit the band’s style like our old Timeghoul cover.

On the return of old school death metal: I don’t know about come back as I feel people have always been playing it. The term old school death metal I don’t really like it. To me it just describes any band that sticks to the roots of death metal instead of being clean or super technical. I don’t like calling it an old style, just a different style. I don’t think it ever died out but I do notice it’s getting popular again.

Artist Index

 

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Reign: Technical thrash metal.

Savagery: Crossover thrash.

Scars Of Armageddon: Power metal influenced thrash.

Beyond De-th: Distinct mix of thrash, death and black metal.

Inner Decay: Mixes both older and modern forms of death metal to make an original sound.

Elbow Deep: Comedic metal band that mixes many subgenres.

They Die Screaming: Horror themed Death/Thrash.

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Narcotic: One of Chicago’s many old school death metal throwbacks.

Bear Mace: Bear death metal.

Everything Must Die: Death/grind.

Kataplexy: Brutal Death Metal.

Minimum Wage Assassins: Political grindcore.

Fin: Black metal with a minor “kvlt” following.

Smash Potater: High cholesterol crossover thrash.

Wil: Sludge metal featuring guitarist/vocalist,Dave Muntean of Nucleus.

Act of Destruction: Melodeath band of bassist,Nigel Bravo of Mordatorium .

Hate Storm Annihilation: Death metal with amazing drums.

Interview: Slayer Drummer Talks Jeff Hanneman’s Loss ‘Not Being Easy To Deal With’

On July 21st 2015, Rockstar’s Mayhem Festival came to Holmdel, New Jersey. The fest had several big names, though the highlights were Jungle Rot, King Diamond and Slayer.

Jungle Rot put on a crushing death metal performance and got the pit going. Their setlist only contained six songs, but they made the most of their short set.

King Diamond was the most hyped act of the year and had the biggest crowd of any band that day. The theatrical set mostly consisted of songs from King’s classic albums. It got even better halfway through when he covered the Mercyful Fate classics “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath” with Slayer’s Kerry King on guitar. The set then ended with three songs from King’s most popular album, Abigail. 

However, the final band of the night was none other than Slayer. Slayer started their set with several of their 2000’s songs including the three singles from their upcoming album Repentless. The second half of the set was all older songs including the popular tracks “Raining Blood”,”South Of Heaven”,”Hell Awaits” and “Angel of Death” as well as deep cuts like “Chemical Warfare”, and “Ghosts of War”. The band’s energy was great and the sound was spot on.

During the fest, Alternative Nation was able to catch drummer Paul Bostaph for an in person interview. We discussed the band’s upcoming album as well other topics related to his body of work.

Tell us a little about your upcoming album Repentless.

We all have different opinions on the album since we are all different people. It’s the first album we have done without Jeff as well as the first album I’ve been on since God Hates Us All in 2001. The whole time I was in the studio, Jeff was on my mind. He was a big part of the band and I feel I lost a friend. We still haven’t let things settle… that type of thing is not easy to deal with.

I noticed the three singles released for far,”Repentless”, “As Stillness Comes” and “Implode” are pretty different. Which one would you say represents the new album the most?

I wouldn’t say that one any of those songs represent the whole record at all. The different between the three represents diversity in the record. Each song on this record will have a different intensity. Some songs are darker then others. The three songs released show that it will not be the same thing on every track.

I see Mayhem Fest is going well so far…

Mayhem Fest is awesome! Unfortunately, I have not been able to see any of the bands on the second stage. The second stage is normally not very close to the main stage and we usually get here too late to catch those bands. I really enjoy sharing the stage with King Diamond. I’m a huge Mercyful Fate fan and love his solo stuff as well.

Your set list for this tour starts off with mostly newer tracks, then goes into an all old school block. 

Kerry normally puts our set lists together so you go him to thank for that. You also have to put into consideration that we have a new album coming out and have new songs we want to share with the fans. Also, when we tour, we can’t play the same songs all the time. We love adding songs people won’t expect to the set, but sadly we also have to sacrifice popular ones to do this. We will not be playing “Seasons In The Abyss” on this tour. That’s a song we love to play and I know people would want to hear it, but in its place we are playing “Ghosts of War” to change things up.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm2-25OVX0c&w=420&h=315]-

On the negative reception of Diabolus in Musica: I don’t agree. I love that album. They are a lot of great songs on that record. “Bitter Peace” is one of my favorite songs that Slayer has done. They are a bunch of things we did different on that record, but I feel its a good record.

On drumming for Slayer, Exodus, Forbidden and Testament: I never though I’d be playing drums in four different bands. To say this is a childhood dream come true to play for any one band I was a fan of… I’d say yes.

On the Judgement Night soundtrack: The big idea behind this movie’s soundtrack was to put metal bands together with rap artists. Playing with Ice-T was a lot of fun. He came in very intense. I loved it! It was my first time playing with Slayer, my first time working with Rick Rubin, and Ice-T was involved. It was a blast!

Slayer’s Albums Get Ranked Up!

The most extreme of the “Big Four” Slayer is a household name to casual metal listeners and die hard metal-heads alike. To celebrate Slayer headlining this year’s Mayhem Festival, as well as their upcoming album, we have decided to make the third installment of Alternative Nation’s “Ranked Up” series focus on Slayer. This list will include studio albums only; the band’s EP, demos, and cover album will not be included.

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Diablous In Musica – 1998

Last and certainly least on this list is this notorious record from Slayer.The 1990’s were the worst time for Slayer, and this album shows. On this release Slayer jumped on the Nu-metal bandwagon that was starting to plague the metal scene. The album is normally considered to be the band’s worst and the tracks are long gone from Slayer’s setlists.

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Divine Intervention – 1994

1994 marked a year where almost all the thrash metal bands moved away from the genre that made them famous. Slayer, on the other hand decided to stick to their guns and put out another thrash album… of course, the previous album on this list came out four years later.  Sadly this album is very bland. The album is very uninspired and feels like a watered downed version of Seasons in the Abyss. Notably, this was the first album to feature ex-Forbidden drummer Paul Bostaph. If you want to hear Paul play some really good thrash check out the Forbidden albums, Forbidden Evil and Twisted into Form.

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Christ Illusion –  2006

Originally planned to be released on 6/6/06, this album marked the return of original drummer Dave Lombardo, which makes Christ Illusion the first album with the original line up since 1990’s Seasons in the Abyss. The music is fast and thrash again, but some of the groove elements from God Hates Us All still remain.

Most of the tracks on this album sound exactly the same, and the whole album feels like a Slayer parody, with God bashing lyrics in almost every song  that sound like they were written by an angsty 14 year old. For the most part this album was a missed opportunity at something that could have been awesome.

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World Painted Blood – 2009

Released six years ago, World Painted Blood is Slayer’s latest, as well the last album that will ever feature guitarist Jeff Hanneman due to his death in 2013 and Dave Lombardo as he left the band around the same time. The album has good ideas and the lyrics are drastically improved, though it sounds really overproduced. The best track from this album is “Hate Worldwide“.

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God Hates Us All -2001

Released on 9/11/01, the album’s original cover of a bible with nails and blood caused a lot of controversy. This caused a censored version of the album art to be released. The album style adds back the thrash elements while still sounding modern. While not Slayer’s best work, the album is a lot of dumb fun with over-the-top lyrics like “Paybacks a bitch motherfucker“. After this album, Paul left and Dave Lombardo would come back for a short while only to leave again then come back in the same year (not making this up).

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Seasons in the Abyss – 1990

Seasons in the Abyss is the fifth Slayer album and considered by many to be their last great one. The album was more mid-paced than previous ones expanding on a trait started on the last album. The album spawned several classic tracks including “Dead Skin Mask” and “War Ensemble“. The lyrics deal more with war and society instead of Slayer’s usual horror and Satan lyrics. To celebrate this release, Slayer toured for the album with Megadeth, Anthrax and Alice in Chains. Twenty years later, they would tour for the album again with both Megadeth and Anthrax returning.

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Hell Awaits – 1985

Slayer’s second album is also one of their most underrated. The album is Slayer’s first full thrash effort, as the last one had more of a classic metal feel. The lyrics on this album are all about Hell, Satan, and horror, just like on the last one. The title track is one of Slayer’s most well known songs and is still a concert staple to this day. The album though includes other killer tracks such as “Necrophiliac” and “At Dawn They Sleep“.

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Reign in Blood – 1986

Reign in Blood is the third album by Slayer and the band’s most popular. The album is also the band’s fastest album to date and the first one to be produced by Rick Rubin, who would produce most of the band’s albums. The album spawned Slayer’s two most popular songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death“. The album has many cool deep cuts like “Altar of Sacrifice“, “Criminally Insane“,and “Postmortem” . Dave’s first departure was soon after the release of this album, though he would return… and leave again, then return, and leave again, and so on.

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Show No Mercy – 1983

Back in the 80’s a little known band called Slayer was playing L.A. bars. They played a style similar to Venom and Mercyful Fate. They then saw Metallica play live and decided they needed to play faster than them, thus the sound of Show No Mercy was born. Unlike later albums which are mostly pure thrash, this album has a traditional metal feel, with some songs, such as “Tormentor“, not sounding like thrash at all. Best tracks from this album include “Die By The Sword“,“Black Magic“, The Antichrist” and “Evil Has No Boundaries“. Sadly, songs from this album are rarely ever played live nowadays.

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South of Heaven – 1988

Slayer’s fourth album, South of Heaven is the band’s best album. On the first three albums,Slayer tried to be the fastest band on the planet. Each one would be faster then the one before it. On South of Heaven the band slowed down their tempos and tone down the vocals. The album focuses more on having good riffs and diverse songwriting. The songs “South of Heaven” and “Mandatory Suicide” to this day are concerts staples. The album is loaded with other amazing tracks such as “Ghosts of War“,”Silent Scream“,”Spill the Blood” and pretty much every other track on the album. This is one of the best thrash albums of the 80’s and a must listen for any fan of the genre.

Interview: George Kollias Of Nile Talks Solo Album, Gives Tips For New Drummers

George Kollias is a Greek born drummer mostly known for being the drummer of American death metal titans, Nile. Ever since joining the band for their 2005 album, Annihilation of the Wicked, he’been the band’s most iconic drummer as well as one of the most acclaimed drummers in metal today. More recently, Kollias released a solo album, Invictus. I was recently able to have an email interview with George, who was eager to talk about this new release, while reluctant to discuss anything Nile-related…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqzZmNqdWck&w=560&h=315]

On Invictus: It’s an album I decided to release after years of writing music for my personal fun, I never actually planned to make an album but the idea came later on when fans who heard some demo started to ask for it. So far the reactions from the fans and magazines are talking about a very good album and I am extremely happy about it. I put a lot of time on it, it was mainly composed and recorded in between tours from Nile and Drum Clinics so it was “limited” time to say it better, but I had a lot of fun doing it and I plan to keep up with this project.

The idea behind this was to keep it as a one-man-band, I really enjoy the fact that I have to do everything myself, not because I have control of everything but because I can express myself on every area, writing or performing or even finalizing the album. It’s a big responsibility when you have 4-5 people being a part of it, but it’s completely relaxed if you do it all yourself. No tours are planned yet, I have been working on some ideas but there is no rush about it. One thing I can tell you for sure is I will be doing several drum clinics for Invictus and i’m thinking about a tour as well, a tour that I can get out as a drum clinician and perform the whole album, talk with the fans, etc.

On working with Rotting Christ and Firewind members: George Emmanuel is a good friend of mine and he wanted to contribute a solo and same goes with Bob Katsionis who’s a long time friend and ex-band mate in Nightfall, I also did the drums on Bob’s band Outloud for their last album to. So, pretty much, all my guests were friends and musicians I admire and wanted to have on my debut album and I am extremely happy of how things tuned out!

On the Greek metal scene: It’s growing and getting more appreciated worldwide, cause these days it’s easier for the new bands to promote their name and get out to tour as well. We still have the legendary bands like Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh going on, and actually better than ever, but there are also a lot of newer bands like Suicidal Angels kicking ass as well as new bands who are doing an incredible job. Lots of thrash bands lately, it’s always good to see some thrash popping up here and there since I’ve been a fan from the days I was a kid.

IOn whether speed or technique is better for a drummer: All, music in general. You can’t focus on one thing, and those who say they do they are actually not, or if they do, they are missing most of the fun. For me it’s all about what the song/band calls for, you do your best for the music and this is to me what a great drummer should do. So focusing on one thing… it’s not so good.

What I advise my students to do  is what I do: play multiple styles. It just opens your mind so much and it’s a great test to see your abilities and your limits. Playing with a variety of different styles can only be a good thing, it will never mess up what you do. And it can also be something very productive too since you will be getting more offers to play on albums/shows etc.

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Interview: Jungle Rot Vocalist Calls New Album ‘A Return To Roots’, Talks Mayhem Fest

Formed in 1994,  Jungle Rot were always a household name among Death Metal fanatics. Their simple, hardcore punk influenced brand of death metal and war themed lyrics make them a band that stands out among others in the genre. Their fame has been increasing even more in recent years, landing on Victory records in 2011 and are now slated to perform at this year’s Mayhem Festival as well as next year’s Maryland Deathfest. Vocalist Dave Matrise recently filled us in on the band’s upcoming tour schedule and new LP, Order Shall Prevail

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0RQfAiElao&w=560&h=315]

On Order Shall Prevail: Our new album is going to be a throwback to our old stuff. During my down time I was listening to our first album, Slaughter the Weak. I haven’t heard that album in a long time and it influenced me. We decided to go back in a way and bring back our old school sounds, the way it should be.

On lead single “Paralyzed Prey”: Well, that choice as the first single came from Victory Records. When we were recording the album, our producer did feel it was one of the best songs on the album. It is definitely a good one.

On performing new material live: We are going to play 1 or 2 new songs at Mayhem Fest. We plan on doing off-date shows where we will add 3 or 4 more new ones to the set.  Hopefully the reactions will be good!

On Mayhem Fest: I’m stoked to see Code Orange of course, those kids are crazy. I’ve known them for a while. I think I’m going on a little early myself, but I think I’ll be able to catch them. Slayer… I catch them whenever I can and of course King Diamond. I’m not too crazy about the other bands on the bill, but I’m willing to check them out. I want to check out Thy Art is Murder; I’ve heard a lot about them.

On modern death metal: I’ve been in this scene for about 20 years and I feel it’s been the same. We have the new bands playing the newer styles and the classic bands staying strong. I feel that’s what keeps it alive. For a while there were not many people doing what we are doing right now; we were a dying breed. It’s good to see it start to come back a little. Modern artists look at where death metal started and take influence from it. It’s here to stay!

On his fantasy war film: Directed by Spielberg for sure, because he’s one of the best. Who would star in it… hmm, let’s see…we would need some good ones. Maybe Glen Benton of Deicide could star in it. Have his facial expressions in there. Put him in the front line.

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Interview: Documentary Filmmaker Is Seeking Young Bands For Grindcore Movie

Not too long ago I interviewed Katherine Katz of grindcore outfit Agoraphobic Nosebleed, when she mentioned an upcoming documentary called Slave to the Grind – A Film About Grindcore. The film is going to tell the history of the grindcore genre and will be released on December 1st, 2017. Not long after, I conducted an email interview with Doug Brown, director of the film, who discussed how you could be a part of the project.

Tell us about your film: what made you decide to do a documentary on grindcore? 

Making this film has been on my mind for quite some time. I started taking the idea seriously close to two years ago as I was finishing my last film, Never Enough. It was a full year of making contact with musicians, assembling a competent crew (who was willing to get roughed up in a pit with film equipment) and thinking critically about what I thought should be in a film on grind before we picked up camera. I’m a music history buff, and the origins/directions of music trends is fascinating to me. I know that metalheads and punks devour information on music they dig, and since there was nothing comprehensive on grind, I am taking a chance.

Will it be a straight forward documentary or done in a more experimental style like Montage of Heck?

We are still getting footage, so the style of the final cut is unknown. All I know is that it will be pretty intense.

Which bands are you going to cover? Are all of them confirmed or are you still searching for more?

We will be interviewing everyone we can, but this does not guarantee them a place in the film. There are too many important musicians in the genre, not to mention the importance of the underground/DIY aspect…which I would argue is as important as the big names. At the end of the day it will be about: fit, flow, history, and story-telling. Yes – most people will expect Napalm Death, Terorrizer, Brutal Truth, Discordance Axis… but this film will have many wide cards that some of the hardcore fans will be pleased to see.

And yes – we are still searching for more. In a band? Get in touch!

Are you willing to show case younger unknown bands?

Yes. Young bands are the lifeblood of the scene, and nothing is more DIY than playing a basement for a handful of friends. Grindcore is about the music, and nothing is more about the music than an unsigned band.

With all these grindcore bands playing big festivals, Napalm Death having their biggest year this year, and the hype that all these bands have been recently getting, do you feel grindcore is more popular now then it ever was?

If Grindcore is popular, it likely has to do with a few technological factors. Firstly, the internet has made it easier to reach an audience half way around the globe. The online presence of music can also present a scene that is non-existent. You’d be shocked how many bands with a huge following/digital presence still playing in front of the same number of people I saw them play in front of a decade ago. Grindcore is never going to massive, but it will always be strong.

I’ve also heard terms like ‘hipster grind’ thrown around – even describing bands like Insect Warfare and Grindlink. If that is Hip… then I guess I’m a hipster. But at the end of the day, this shit is all online. I don’t hear these conversations at shows/festivals. If all anyone understands about grindcore is what it ‘seems to be’ online, they need to get out to a show. Shows haven’t changed too much and that is the real community. Support your scene!

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Grind music on Alternative Nation: Check out our interviews with Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway, Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Katherine Katz, & Bill X Nye’s Nick Jackubowski.

Interview: Agoraphobic Nosebleed Vocalist Talks First Ever Live Show, Solo Album & Grindcore Documentary

On May 23 2015, long time grind legends, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, played their first live show ever as part of Maryland Deathfest’s Saturday line up. The venue was packed and the crowd went insane as the band’s debut live show exceeded fans’ already high expectations by a mile. Sometime after the show, I was able to have an email correspondence with vocalist Katherine Katz, who joined the group for 2009’s Agorapocalypse. She talked about an upcoming documentary film that will use footage from this set, as well as other future plans for her and her bandmates.

What made you guys decide to play your first official show after never playing live?  Do you have any more planned or will this be a once in a lifetime thing? 

We debated about playing live for years and years. We wanted to be confident that the music would translate well live; after much planning and work, we felt ready to perform. The songs in the set are our favorites from a variety of albums and splits and ones that we thought ANB fans would especially want to hear live, like “Built to Grind” and “Agorapocalypse Now.” We will be playing more shows, and will make an announcement once our plans are definite.

I saw that there were people filming your set. Is there a planned DVD or Blu Ray for this? 

We are considering a DVD release of the show, but our set was filmed for Doug Brown’s documentary Slave To The Grind – A Film About Grindcore, which comes out Dec. 1, 2017. You can find more information about the film here.

I heard a rumor that there are plans for every band member to record a solo album.  If so, what sound will you be going for on your solo? 

My solo album, Arc, is finished. It has a stoner rock/doom feel to it, and the content is very personal. I began writing lyrics for it when I was caring for my mother who was dying of cancer and suffering from schizophrenia. The entire album characterizes my relationship with her and her passing. We plan to write a regular full-length, and subsequently, work on the other solo albums.

Any plans for your doom metal project, Salome, to come back? 

I can’t imagine that Salome will ever reform. I love the music we created, but we’ve all moved on—Aaron Deal plays for Darkest Hour and Rob Moore plays for Three Faces of Eve.

How did the transition from doom to grind feel at first? 

The transition from doom to grind wasn’t jarring, however, singing grind is more difficult for me—there is pressure to do a lot with very little space, and the rhythm changes are more complex. It requires greater awareness, focus, and energy, and as a result, singing for Agoraphobic Nosebleed has molded me into a better vocalist. My musical ear has definitely improved, and I’d like to think that my voice has too.

If you were to make a Christmas special out of the band’s Christmas releases, who would star and direct? 

The cast of The Brood, David Cronenberg directing. Perfection: Samantha Eggar as Mrs. Claus, Oliver Reed as Santa, and the psychoplasmic offspring as elves.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n81obSaGfrw&w=420&h=315]

What Do You Get When Science And Punk Rock Mix? BILLxNYE.

Geosonic Magazine Issue 1, Page 3                     Next page: Hudson Valley punk venues

BILLxNYE are a grindcore band from Middletown, New York that combine Neil Degrasse Tyson with Napalm Death. No, seriously. Though a local level act, they have already played with huge name acts such as Noisem, Full of Hell, Aborted and Origin, whose vocalist, Jason Keyser, even proclaimed his love for the band. I recently met up with Nick Jakubowski, lead vocalist and main songwriter, at the Touch Base Bar & Grill in Chester, NY. He told me the unsung story of BILLxNYE. Hail Sagan.

How would you describe your band’s sound?

Grinding noisy wall of harshness! We are essentially a punk band playing grind and noise, all at the same time, and annoying everyone.

Why did you choose to name your band BILLxNYE?

I wanted kind of a tip of the hat to the band Bruce X Campbell. The name immediately reminds you of the band. It’s short and sweet… and its Bill Nye The Science Guy. Who doesn’t like Bill Nye the Science Guy? The name of course also fits the band. We are pro-science, pro-atheism, and pro-skepticism.

Science is the main topic of the band. I was tired of punk bands not saying anything new anymore. Punk rock has always been very left leaning politically, but there was never any reason for it. It was fuck the establishment, fuck the right wing… but just for the sake of saying it. I realized that science was against the right wing, but was backed up by fact.

It just seemed like a natural progression of what punk ideals should be. As soon as I thought about it that way, it all made sense to me. I realized that science and accepting reality is the most punk rock thing you could do. If you reject this, you reject reality and there is nothing more punk rock than to tell someone to their face this and to fuck off, because they are affecting people’s way of life.

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A BILLxNYE EP released on mini CD format. Think those Nintendo Gamecube discs.

Any new music on the horizon? If so can you tell us about the upcoming release?

We have been playing alot of new songs recently. We definitely have enough for a new EP We are working on even more new material. Again we are a punk band, don’t have that much money, we are in and out of jobs, so the money to record is not there. We also go back and forth between recording in a studio environment and recording on a fucking tape deck. I personally like raw recordings, but when it comes to recording music, especially the grind songs, people want to hear their grindcore with crystal clear studio production. It’s this thing where half the band wants to record good and the other half is against it, but we do plan on recording another EP in the near future.

Will this new EP be grindcore or noise? I notice you jump back and forth between those genres in your releases.

What happens is when we do mini CDs, we do grind stuff. We also use cassettes for splits, with bands we like. On those we happen to play noise. That way we don’t get stuck doing one thing. I don’t want to get stuck playing one genre and then run the band into the ground. It’s almost like two different projects with the same name.

I notice that you are very well received in this area’s metal, punk and noise scenes. How do you think you caught the interest of these three different music scenes?

Music wise, we are more like a metal band. Our drummer David Gapay is originally from the death metal band Necroptic Engorgement and brings metal technicality to the drums.  We have the mentality of a punk band, punk being the scene I came from, so that just happened naturally. I really enjoy stuff like noise music, avant-garde, experimental and outsider music, so I added elements of that stuff to our sound. I like improvising with noise artists… we let other noise artists hop into our set because it just adds a layer of chaos to our structure, and the juxtaposition is really something I find interesting.

This gives a different vibe to our shows, because we may not sound the same as the last show. I think these elements of chaos is what kinda brings everyone together. It’s like the progression of a teenager into adulthood, musically. You start out as a young kid only liking metal or punk, you grow up a little bit and start exploring more genres. At the same time I get to feel like a kid and jump around with all the simple aspects of metal or punk, and then mix that with the intellectualism of the avant-garde scene. It’s looking forward and back at the same time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1Na5RF84WE]

With all these grindcore bands playing big fests and bands like Napalm Death getting lots of press coverage, do you feel grindcore is more popular than it ever was?

To be honest I haven’t kept up with a whole lot of grindcore. There are very specific bands in grind core I like, such as Discordance Axis. It does make sense that it would get popular, though. Each generation the music has to get more extreme. People get desensitized to what was considered “not accessible” to people before them. Your father’s death metal or grindcore bands are no longer fast or heavy enough, so you have to do it faster, heavier or noisier… you have to step it up!

billxnyepins
Some official BillXNye pins.

 


Those guys are fucking gnarly… probably the only show I’ve ever been to that I almost went deaf. The drummer is really really good and clean at playing fast and heavy.

– Tod Elgnis (Orange No. 9 singer/guitarist)

Previous page: Mid-Hudson Valley Artist Index

Interview: Black ***** Frontman Defends Band Against Racist/Sexist Accusations

Warning: Strong language ahead. 

Portland’s most controversial band, Black Pussy, has been making headlines as of late for their outrageous name. Anthony Carioscia had the chance to chat with vocalist Dustin Hill, who defended the band against a the tidal wave of racist/sexist accusations, responded to an emotionally charged Huffington Post piece on the matter… and also talked about the music.

What would you say influences your sound? Can you tell us a bit about your new record?

I would say as the writer I’m really big into Syd Barrett/early Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy. We kind of take from everything. Everything influences us, but that late 60’s psychedelic groove used by bands like Cream is what we are mostly trying to channel. We try to smoke a lot of weed when we are working songs and it really chips into that whole vibe and keep it groovy.

The records called Magic Mustache. We recorded about 14 or 15 songs. We couldn’t fit all of them, so we chose the nine we felt were best for it. It’s not too overproduced but I do think the sound quality is really good when you turn it up loud, the way all rock and roll music should be. We have an EP coming out in July or August that will have the extra songs, since we recorded so many.

What happened is we had a pre-sale and because of record store day, the record was late. So what we did was the label and us wrote everyone who ordered and offered a free guest spot for any show in there area if they wanted to come. We knew the record was late, so we offered that to be as cool as we can. But you know, with anyone who hits us up, we try to be cool . We don’t have many guest spots on our shows but when people hit us up we say sure. We just like to be cool like that.

There’s a rumor that the band was originally named after the Rolling Stones hit Brown Sugar. Is this true? If not how did you get your name and why did you choose it?

We are not named after that song. I was writing these songs and I wanted something that felt 70’s and I wanted to have a sexy type vibe. These two words came to. I had to process these two words and I had to look them up and see what it meant because obviously I could see how this can be offensive. It wasn’t offensive to me as a creative person in a meditative state looking for a working title. The band name is ambitious. When you look up the word black, it doesn’t only talk about people. It also talks about evil, sadness, and magic. There are also many meanings to the word pussy.

How I got connected to the song Brown Sugar in my research of the words and the meaning. I wasn’t trying to put my one meaning to this i was just making sure  the title for my art project is clean. I then put on the Rolling Stones Brown Sugar. It was a satire song, basically an anti-rape, anti-racist song. From my point of view, I thought I hit the jackpot with the band name, because if I could have a cool band name that is also connected to something anti-rape and anti-racist it seems pretty positive to me. So that’s how I got connected to the rolling stones song. The name is not meant to be offensive at all. Our music is not offensive at all, it’s just good times rock n roll, psychedelic, acid rock.

Have you read the article in the Huffington Post concerning your band name? 

Yes, I have read that article. The girl was assaulted, I guess it was an attempted rape in the back of a cab, which is scary. Anyone being assaulted with the intention of rape is scary. Her and her band performing and getting complaints for having “black lives matter” on one of her guitars or amps was wrong. That’s when you have to rise up as an artist. Like, “oh, if you don’t let me do this i’m not playing”.  I haven’t changed my band name when certain venues won’t have me.

Like, when we toured with Kyuss, we were not allowed to play House of Blues because it was connected to Disney somehow. Not a big deal, I’m not going to change my band name because I can’t play House of Blues or because certain people don’t like it. If I was to talk to her artist to artist, I’d tell her to stand up as an artist. I feel bad she was assaulted in any matter, but this has nothing to do with my band name. It’s someone trying to connect my band name to what happened and that’s insane.

The world is getting too sensitive if a band name is getting connected to a person I don’t even know. I don’t think my band name is demeaning to woman or people of color. If anything it is a celebration of both those things. I feel for her as an artist and I think she should be tough and not let people tell her what to do. As an artist you just move on and you keep pushing your art the way you want to do it. I find it weird a club wouldn’t let them have ‘black lives matter” on their gear because it is such a big issue and black lives do matter.

Did you notice the petition going around to change your name? 

I think that petition is funny. There are bigger things to start petitions about. I think most of us on this planet realize this but some of us are too bored and like drama. They attack artists and smaller people. There are bigger issues to attack, but I feel they are too weak to attack those issues. So they choose something small, which is us. The petition hasn’t affected us besides us gaining more support.

Top 10 Metal Albums From 1995

1995 was a year for change in metal; mainstream groove metal was in full swing, old school death metal was dying out and being replaced with all kinds of spin offs, and black metal was starting to get mainstream attention. Many new ideas also started to come out of the genre, including several that are still influential in metal today. Here, in no order, are ten classics from that year.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCtjAmtIGf0&w=420&h=315]

At The Gates – Slaughter of the Soul

The fourth album by Sweden’s melodeath creators and the bands most well known, Slaughter of the Soul is more melodic than the band’s previous efforts and contains some of the band’s most well known songs. While not their best album, it’s still a solid release that helped evolve the sub genre.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8uw0L_csZk&w=420&h=315]

Immortal – Battles in the North

Immortal’s most well known album is one of the most popular Norse black metal releases. Like the previous two albums, the lyrics are about winter, fantasy and the forest. This is the first album to feature songs about the Blashyrkh, a theme that will appear on all later albums. A great album for those looking to get into Norwegian black metal.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhY6hy4Rfwg&w=420&h=315]

Abigor – Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)

Abigor’s classic record succeeds in incorporating symphonic elements that are very subtle and don’t drown out the other instruments, while also containing very distinct riffs and vocals.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hppxFR0KJDM&w=560&h=315]

Alice in Chains – Alice in Chains

Affectionately called Tripod by fans, the third Alice in Chains studio album displays the band’s usual sludge metal/grunge fusion with even more melodic songwriting sensibilities, mixing elements from the first two albums and the Jar Of Flies EP, making it the band’s most depressing release to date.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtSTzXU0mTY&w=420&h=315]

Dark Tranquility – The Gallery

While many melodeath albums have been released at this point (including one by these guys), this album helped to further define the genre. The Gallery is full of both clean and growled vocals, keyboards, depressing lyrics, and acoustic parts. All of these would later become part of the band’s signature sound. Bands like Kalmah and Omnium Gatherium would probably not exist without this album.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoHa48lqsqE&w=560&h=315]

Meshuggah – Destroy Erase Improve

One of the most important metal albums of the whole decade. On their first album the band played thrash with prog mixed in. On this album the band takes on a style of its own. The album’s full of groove, technicality, and free jazz influence. This style would give the band legendary status. Many bands would try to copy this style. Sadly, they missed the point.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjW_7N9dfCs&w=560&h=315]

Blind Guardian – Imaginations from the Other Side

Blind Guardian’s previous album, Somewhere Far Beyond, showed hints of the band transforming from traditional metal to power metal. Here is where the transformation is complete. While most power metal is very cheesy, Blind Guardian keeps the cheese level to a minimum and focuses on just being awesome, and IFTOS is one of the best releases from a band that never disappoints.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfAHfZc0pWE&w=420&h=315]

Down – Nola

Throughout the 90’s, Eyehategod, Pantera, Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity all released some solid work… so what better to do then have the bands join forces! Their combined might gave birth to Down! Mixing Black Sabbath with the sounds of the south, Nola is one of the best efforts by any of these musicians.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8raOyF92iQ&w=560&h=315]

Suffocation – Pierced From Within

Long Island’s Suffocation are most known for being forerunners to both the technical death metal and brutal death metal sub genres. Here on Pierced From Within, they perfected their style. Tons of amazing drum fills, guitar riffs, and grooves are heard here, resulting in one of the best death metal albums of all time.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-uM6oDkw8c&w=420&h=315]

Dissection – Storm of the Lights Bane

Last and nowhere near least is Sweden’s Dissection and their album Storm of the Lights Bane. The band’s sound is a perfect mixture of black metal, death metal and melody. Here on their second album, the band does it best. The album gives off a haunting feel mixed in with its fantastic guitar work and dark fantasy lyrics. To this day, the track “Where Dead Angels Lay” is one of the most acclaimed black metal tracks of all time. The band may be long gone, but their legacy lives on!

Doug McCausland is co-editor and reporter for Alternative Nation. If you have any questions or tips you can email him at dmccausland1(at)gmail.com

 

12 Bands That Should Play Maryland Deathfest

Every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of Metalheads and punks make the journey to Baltimore Maryland Deathfest (aka MDF). Starting in 2003 as a small fest that only booked death metal and grindcore, MDF eventually grew into one of america’s biggest extreme music festivals, adding a huge plethora of different metal(and some none metal) subgenres with over 80 bands playing in three different venues (Edison Lot, Ramshead Live and Baltimore Soundstage) over four days.

The line ups have always been pretty impressive, with many bands who don’t play in the US (and some that don’t even normally play live) always on the bill. Alternative Nation’s Anthony Carioscia has some suggestions for the festival down the line…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=ZUHAAltgmbI&w=420&h=315]

Krieg

Black metal band from the mythical land known as South Jersey. The band is known for its distinct mix of fast, raw energy and atmosphere. The band is also known for their cover of “Venus in Furs” by the Velvet Underground.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=042yyvj_dhI&w=420&h=315]

Swans

Yes, it’s been along time since post-punk/noise rock outfit Swans have been MDF friendly, but the same could be said about Amorphis, who are on this year’s bill. Like Amorphis, Swans could play one of their older albums in full. A set based on Filth or Cop would have a huge draw.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOfsMESDCrU&w=560&h=315]

Necrophagia

The horror-themed death metal band Necrophagia has been around as long as death metal founders Death and Possessed, but did not get the credit those bands received.  Many old school death metal bands have played the fest… the time is now for Necrophagia to be among them!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRJyKP8crAI&w=420&h=315]

The Locust

It’s a surprise California’s experimental grindcore outfit never played MDF. The band’s distinct sound, devoted fan base, and over the top stage shows are sure to bring in heads.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVvDOTxEb_Q&w=560&h=315]

Rudra

Rudra are a Singaporean band who mix blackened death metal with Singaporean folk music. They call their style “Vedic metal”. With a sound soimilar to Israeli band Melechesh (who have played the fest) and MDF’s love for booking Asian bands, Rudra would be right at home at this fest.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MOvk-dNLRY&w=420&h=315]

Shrinebuilder

One of the best supergroups in all of metal. This awesome stoner doom band is commonly thought to be broken up, but they are actually just on hold. Three of the bands that make up this band have played the fest before (Melvins, Neurosis and Saint Vitus), so it shouldn’t be too hard to get this project on the bill.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX5TH_thOao&w=560&h=315]

Lurking Corpses

A horror punk band with metal influences.  The band has been getting a lot more attention recently with the release of their latest album, Workin’ for the Devil. They are set to play Hell’s Head Bash Festival this year. The band’s unique sound and over the top look would make for a fun set at MDF.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkdG0hjGzgw&w=560&h=315]

Blut Aus Nord

France’s acclaimed black/ambient/industrial fusion who, depsite popular belief, actually does play live shows once in a blue moon… next year that blue moon should shine over Baltimore!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHYNOMKCSMc&w=420&h=315]

Root

From the Czech Republic comes this nice hidden gem, Root, a black metal band from the first wave of black metal. Their early material influenced a lot of the old Norse bands( mainly Burzum, who used one of their riffs). On their later albums they changed to a more epic-sounding heavy metal band.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dUbTxm7Y-w&w=420&h=315]

Toxik

Toxik are a thrash metal band from Westchester, New York.  The band mixes speed with technicality and falsetto vocals.  Their first album, World Circus, is one of the best NY thrash albums out there.  Every year, MDF has a few classic thrash bands on the bill. Toxik deserves to be one of them.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJznI121Ox0&w=420&h=315]

Sarcofago

Brazilian black metal pioneers, Sarcofago, have been broke up since 2000. As of 2006, members of the band have been playing Sarcofago tribute shows. Over the years, MDF had several people play tribute shows to their old bands (such as Nocturnus), and this would be a great tribute on the MDF bill. If they get them in 2017, they could even play an anniversary show for their first album, INRI. 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i70zFUh5ugA&w=420&h=315]

Discharge

Since 2013, MDF’s Soundstage venue has been the place for the punks. The venue is always loaded with more extreme forms of punk such as grindcore, powerviolence, crust punk, and crossover. It’s surprising the band that started all of these never played the fest. The Soundstage is young, so Discharge might be the most likely band on the list to be added to a future line up.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyRao18lxX4&w=420&h=315]

Mercyful Fate

Does Mercyful Fate even need an introduction? The band that’s been requested for this fest for many years, it was rumored that MDF tried to get King Diamond but couldn’t because King was not ready to perform again. As of 2014, he’s been touring again, played Fun Fun Fun Fest in Texas, and is set to play the Mayhem Festival. MDF should one up these fests by getting all of Mercyful Fate to play. The band would obviously have to play the Edison Lot on Saturday with a 90 minute set.  This would the means to make a flourishing fest even bigger.

Honroable mentions:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkP0xJZEAwA&w=560&h=315]

Humming Bird of Death

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90bgtLRQIEE&w=420&h=315]

Sadus

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uItO3GKoL_c]

Nucleus

Doug McCausland is co-editor for Alternative Nation... if you have any questions, concerns, complaints, or death threats, you can let Doug know via dmccausland1(at)gmail.com.

Interview: Exodus Talks Tour With Testament, Praises Goatwhore & High On Fire

On April 29, 2015, Testament and Exodus played a sold out show at the Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, New York for their current leg of the “Dark Roots of Thrash II” tour. This tour is the first time these thrash giants have toured together.

After the opening act Shattered Sun, Exodus took the stage.  They started their set with a nice mix of later material before getting the crowd really going with their classic track “A Lesson in Violence”. The set continued to be a mix of new tracks and classics, such as “The Toxic Waltz” and “Bonded By Blood”. The band ended their set with the fan favorite “Strike of The Beast”. The band’s sound was spot on and the mosh pit and the crowd got more and more energetic as the set went on, a normal trait for Exodus’s shows.

Though Exodus is a tough act to follow, Testament started their set with “Over The Wall”one of their most acclaimed songs, before taking the audience through a retrospective set consisting of their classic studio albums The LegacyThe New Order, and select tracks from Practice What You Preach. The stage had a backdrop of the band’s first album cover as well as two talls signs with demon heads on them that would occasionally breathe smoke.

Strobe lights flickered and changed color through the whole set. Metalheads both young and old were screaming along to their favorite tracks from these classic albums. The band played an almost two hour set , with their perfect sound and stage presence keeping the crowd interested. It’s certainly a metal tour to behold. I caught up with Exodus drummer Tom Hunting prior to the show, who brought me up to speed on the current tour, his opinion on modern metal music, and a couple of fanboyish tidbits…

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Photo by Ray Rollings Jr.

How did an awesome double bill tour like this happen?

This is a sequel to Testament’s “Dark Roots Of Thrash Tour” they did two years ago.  For this tour we wanted to bring a Bay Area package. The two bands never really toured together. We have played random one offs but never a full tour. It’s doing good, man.

Yeah, I heard the show at Mojoes in Joliet, Illinois over sold by four hundred tickets.

That wasn’t us, that was the promoter (laughs). Something was going down with the local government and the venue. A fire marshal was called. The promoter was in a tough spot because the venue was only meant for so many people. I think the local government was trying to bestow some new laws. It got messy. They would do a body to body swap where someone would get out of the venue, then they would let another person and that person who went out wouldn’t be allowed back in. It sucks for the fans, but we couldn’t do anything about it.

With the high demand for this tour and how well it’s doing, do you feel Exodus is bigger now then they were in the 80’s?

I think it’s a different time & different climate for sure. I think the state of metal, in this country, is pretty good right now. People are still coming to shows and supporting live music, which is good because I think this music is best delivered live. We are in a very good place right now.

Are there any modern metal bands you keep an eye on? 

I’m not the most knowledgeable on new bands, but I feel Warbringer are doing it old school, and doing it well. Then there is Goatwhore, who I absolutely love. Not really a thrash band, but my favorite Bay Area band right now is High on Fire. They just have that groove. I love anything with groove in it. A bunch of bands today are doing it right.

Any advice for young metal bands just starting out?

Keep in mind that if you are able to play music, for a living, it’s a gift. Don’t get caught up in your own legends, no matter how many people tell you how bad-ass you are.

Back in 1989 you guys did a cover of the War classic “Lowrider“. What made you beside to do an out of genre cover like that? If you were to cover another 70’s funk song what would it be?

Probably something by The Ohio Players. Not “Rollercoaster of Love”, but maybe “Fire” or “Skin Tight“. We tossed around ideas of doing another funk cover. That War song was kinda near and dear to our hearts because Gary and I grew up in an area where the funk culture was pretty heavy. That song covered to heavy metal pretty easily. War just wrote good music, super talented band with a killer riff section.

If you were trapped on a desert island and could only bring one album which would it be?

It would have to be Rainbow’s Rising. I just think that album is a journey. It’s just a great album. Classic metal band with Dio and Richie Blackmore, it just crushes.

Also check out my interview with Testament’s Eric Peterson.

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Photo by Rob Muller.

Edited by Doug McCausland.