Review by Jeff Maki
In this writer’s opinion, next to Type O Negative, Portugal’s Moonspell is the best goth metal has to offer. Its 2001 album Darkness And Hope is one of my favorite metal releases in recent memory. Their last effort, however, 2003’s The Antidote fell a little flat for me. The material was there but it just didn’t deliver the same power of past efforts. Memorial (April 25, 2006) is a brilliant album mostly along the lines of past Moonspell releases. (more…)
Archive for April, 2006
Tags: Arejay Hale, Equinox Tour, Halestorm, It's Not You, Josh Smith, Lzzy Hale, One and Done, Shinedown, SnoCore
Review by Greg Maki
My introduction to Halestorm occurred in February when this year’s installment of the Winterfresh SnoCore tour rolled through Baltimore. Halestorm took the stage first, but easily outshone the bands that followed (Flyleaf, Seether and Shinedown—three bands I also enjoy). Their presence on the Equinox Tour was the biggest reason why I went back to see a Shinedown-headlined tour again fewer than two months later. Now if only Shinedown would let them go home to record a proper debut. In the meantime, Atlantic Records has released One and Done, a five-song EP recorded live in Philadelphia, an almost hometown show for the York County, Pa.-based band. (more…)
Tags: Faceless, Godsmack, IV, Speak, Sully Erna, The Other Side, Tony Rombola, Voodo
Review by Greg Maki
Some bands can get away with repeating themselves over and over again. Some have even made long, successful careers out of it. AC/DC has been recording the same album for more than three decades. Over the course of their first three records, Godsmack followed a similar path. They had a formula, it worked, and aside from “Voodoo” from their self-titled debut and “Serenity” from 2003’s Faceless, they didn’t stray from it. Subtle changes and familiarity helped the band outgrow its status as a Metallica/Alice in Chains hybrid and establish a sound that, while not terribly original, was distinctly Godsmack. (more…)
Tags: Chris Mora, Henno, Jonny Santos, Mediaskare, Rebirth of the Temple, Silent Civlian, Spineshank, Thrash, Tim Mankowski
Review by Greg Maki
Two years ago, when frontman Jonny Santos left Spineshank, the remaining band members cited their desire to play heavier music as one of the reasons for the split. They should be eating those words now that Santos has returned in Silent Civilian, whose debut album is nothing short of a modern metal masterpiece. Rebirth of the Temple is a powerful musical statement combining the best elements of today’s heavy music and the thrash bands that inspired Santos in his younger days. (more…)
Tags: Anthrax, Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, John Comprix, Jon Schaffer, Judas Priest, Ripper Owens, Rock Star, Tim Ripper Owens
Every metal fan knows the story of Tim “Ripper” Owens, of how he was plucked from a tribute band in Ohio to replace the Metal God himself, Rob Halford, as the singer of Judas Priest. It even inspired a movie, 2001’s Rock Star. After leaving Priest in 2003 to make way for their reunion with Halford, Owens took over vocal duties for another veteran metal act, Iced Earth, and began working on songs of his own. The product of those songs is his new band, Beyond Fear, whose self-titled debut arrives in U.S. stores May 9. Owens recently spoke to Greg Maki of Live Metal about the new album, touring plans, Iced Earth and more. (more…)
Tags: 15, Buckcherry, Crazy Bitch, Fifteen, Jimmy Ashhurst, Josh Todd, Keith Nelson, Stevie D., Timebomb, Xavier Muriel
Buckcherry burst onto the scene in 1999 with “Lit Up,” one of the most instantly memorable rock songs in recent memory. But the band disintegrated just a few years later after only two albums. In 2005, founding members Josh Todd (vocals) and Keith Nelson (guitar) decided it was time for Buckcherry to return. The reincarnated band features three new members: bassist Jimmy Ashhurst, guitarist Stevie D. and drummer Xavier Muriel. The faces have changed, but the no-nonsense, rock ‘n’ roll attitude remains, as evidenced by the current rock radio smash “Crazy Bitch” and the other 10 tracks on their new album, Fifteen. Prior to the band’s recent show at the Recher Theatre in Towson, Md., Todd took time out to talk with Greg Maki of Live Metal.
LIVE METAL: Hey, Josh, how ya doing?
JOSH TODD: Alright. What’s up?
Not too much. First, I just want to say I’m really excited that Buckcherry is back. I think we really need bands like you guys.
Before we start talking about the new album, can you tell me why the band broke up originally?
I wish I could tell you that it was just one thing, but it was a lot of things. We had a breakdown at our record label, we had bad management, and internally as a band, we were not on the same page as far as it being a group effort. Three of the guys quit when we came back from the Timebomb tour. Then it was just Keith and I writing songs for the third Buckcherry record. It’s funny, because we had come full circle. Keith and I started the band, we write the majority of the material, and we’re the core. And it was back to it just being me and him again without a record deal, and we were just writing songs. It was getting really discouraging, so eventually we just called it quits.
After the breakup, you stayed pretty busy. You worked with the guys that became Velvet Revolver.
Actually, the Velvet Revolver thing was never Velvet Revolver when I was involved in it, and it was me and Keith. That happened before Keith and I split.
OK. Then you did the solo album and played a lot of shows supporting that. During this time, was Buckcherry completely dead in your mind or did you always think that you would reform the band?
I didn’t really think about it. Like you said, I made a record and toured. I just kept working on my craft—songwriting and being a performer. I didn’t really think about it. I just got home, and the whole Josh Todd project ended in a really bad way. My relationship with my business partner ended really bad. So that was really disappointing. Keith and I just started talking because we had some personal stuff going on in our lives. We were really good friends, and we just kind of started rekindling our friendship. We didn’t really talk about Buckcherry.
When you did get back together and start Buckcherry again, what made that the right time as opposed to some time before or in the future?
I think the time away made us really appreciate what we have. It was our baby. We were very passionate about it. And I think Keith and I realized that we have a really good songwriting chemistry. Not that I didn’t realize that before, but absence does make the heart grow fonder. And we had some really good guys in particular that we wanted to play with that were good friends of ours that we always wanted to be in a band with. It’s as tight as it ever was, and it’s the band that we always wanted it to be. And the record is the best record of our career.
It’s named for the number of days it took to record it?
Yeah, we had a very small budget, and we tracked it in 15 days. When we listened back to it, it just sounded so damn good.
Did you enjoy working that fast?
Oh, it was great. Yeah, I really like to work fast. I love deadlines. You can only work that fast if you have a great band behind you. The rhythm section in particular in this band now is so much better than it was. It made the recording process so much easier. It was solid, and we didn’t have to do too many takes to get it.
How long did it take to write the album?
About five, six months. But we write really fast. We wrote 30 songs.
And it was you and Keith who wrote most of it, right?
Keith and I came up with the majority. I write all the lyrics. He comes up with the majority of the music. But we put it all together as a band. It’s a collaborative effort. The other guys write songs, as well. They write music, as well. Songs like “Out of Line” and “Carousel” started with Jimmy, our bass player. And there’s a song called “Back in the Day” that started with our guitar player, Stevie. It’s a collaborative effort.
You also worked with Marti Frederickson [Aerosmith producer, co-writer] on a couple songs. How did that come about?
The whole record was written. We were just like, “Fuck, it’s great, but I think these two songs could be a little bit better.” And we’d been writing so much and we were so close to it that we thought we’d get an outside opinion. Keith mentioned Marti because of the Aerosmith tie, and we went in and met him, and it was just instant chemistry. He’s really a rock guy, and he’s really cool. We tried writing with other people in the past, and it never worked out. He just instantly got it. We had “Sorry” and “Next 2 You.” They were finished songs. We just went in there and he polished them up a little bit, and there you have it. It just made the record that much better.
You said this is the best album you’ve made so far?
Absolutely. No question about it.
Is “Crazy Bitch” about anyone in particular?
No. It’s just about a chick where you have this really great mutual attraction, but the communication factor is awful. But you keep going back there for sex. You just can’t seem to stop fucking her.
You recently toured Japan with Mötley Crüe. How did that go?
Fun, as you can imagine. Us two together was mayhem, debauchery and fun. The shows were great. We had a really great time.
What has been the fan reaction so far since you got back together? Do people still remember the band?
Overwhelmingly great. The shows have been packed. We just sold out Irving Plaza [in New York City] last night. We sold out Harpo’s in Detroit. It’s been fuckin’ awesome.
How are the new songs going over live? Are people getting into them?
Yeah, a lot of people had the record because they bought it as an import. They’re going over great.
You’re playing in Maryland tonight. How have the fans here treated you in the past?
They’ve always been great. Baltimore has a radio station [98 Rock, WIYY-FM] where they were the first people to play “Crazy Bitch.” They edited it themselves. They got it off the Internet and started playing it. Did you hear that?
Yeah. Do you have any specific memories of playing shows here?
No. I wish I did, but it’s starting to become a big blur. I’ve been touring for 10 years. So I just take it one day at a time.
What is life on the road like for you guys?
On the road, you really try to find a pace, because if you start thinking about too far ahead, it can fuck you up. I just try to stay in the moment. Every night’s a new adventure. Some nights are crazy, and some nights are just totally overrated. You never know.
Do you have something that you consider a personal highlight in your music career so far?
Absolutely. Playing with AC/DC was a dream come true. Meeting those guys was awesome. They were really amazing guys, very humble. It was the best rock ‘n’ roll experience of my life. Playing Woodstock ’99 was amazing. And anytime we play Japan, it’s like a homecoming for us because they really love us. They’re very loyal fans. They were with us when we were down, and they’re with us now. They were the first people to come to the plate when we got back together as far as giving us a record deal.
In general, what do you think of rock music today?
I don’t think there’s much rock music. I think a lot of the so-called rock music is, like, emo or punk-pop-rock or whatever you want to call it. It’s just way too straight. It’s very boring. There’s not any real genuine frontmen, and I don’t think enough people take risks in rock ‘n’ roll. They take risks in rap, but not in rock. I don’t necessarily mean risks like saying “fuck” all over your record or something like that or talking about chicks. The last great rock band of our generation taking risks was Rage Against the Machine. Unfortunately, they’re not around anymore. I like to be taking risks. I just feel like that’s what rock ‘n’ roll is all about.
What bands are you listening to these days?
My mandatory list or new bands?
Let’s go with your all-time favorites.
AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine, Slipknot. I like some old school gangsta rap, like N.W.A. and the Geto Boys, stuff like that. As far as new stuff out there, the last record I really liked was The Killers record, and that’s kind of like old news now. But that was a really great record. I really like this new Flyleaf song, “I’m So Sick.” I really connect with the lyrics, and I think it’s a really cool song. That’s about it.
Now that the band is back together, is there an ultimate goal for Buckcherry?
I want a multi-platinum record. That’s a thing I haven’t achieved and I want that. I want this band to be recognized for what it is, a great rock ‘n’ roll band that has its own sound that definitely got out there when there was nothing, there was no rock ‘n’ roll, and made it on their own and continued to do it. And I want to get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at some point with a catalog of music.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to encourage everyone to go out and buy our new record. Fifteen is out in stores right now. Go to Buckcherry.com and check in. We’ve got street teams you can join, message boards, Buckcherry radio. We always update our touring schedule on the front page so you can always know where we’re at and come check out a show
Tags: 15, Buckcherry, Crazy Bitch, Josh Todd, Keith Nelson
Review by Greg Maki
Most elements of popular culture are tied to specific moments in time. Just watch VH1 and you’ll see how much people–especially those lacking the proper context–enjoy laughing today at what was successful yesterday. Quite frankly, much of it deserves derision. The best entertainment–whether it’s music, movies, TV or anything else–is timeless. When it comes to music, particularly hard rock, the first band that springs to mind for me is AC/DC. With the exception of a different singer, there is little to distinguish the music they made in 1975 from what they churned out in 1995 or at any other stage of their career. And I mean that in a good way. (more…)
Tags: Bleed the Sky, Chris Mora, Henno, Jonny Santos, Logan Mader, Rebirth of the Temple, Silent Civilian, Spineshank, Tim Mankowski
Two years ago, Jonny Santos decided he needed a change. Without a clear plan or goal, he left Spineshank, which, as its frontman, he helped sell a million albums worldwide. It hasn’t been easy, but Santos is back, returning to his thrash metal roots as the singer and guitarist of Silent Civilian. With its debut album, Rebirth of the Temple, due to hit stores May 2, the band has been on tour since early February, first with Nothingface, now with Bleed the Sky. The road has not been kind to Santos and company, costing them a guitarist after less than two weeks. Then bassist Henno broke his ankle in an onstage mishap. A temporary guitarist is filling out the band now as it searches for a permanent replacement. Meanwhile, Henno has kept on rocking, playing his bass sitting on a bar stool on stage. As they say, the show must go on. Santos wouldn’t have it any other way. Prior to Silent Civilian’s recent show at the Colosseum Sports Bar in Wilmington, Del., Greg Maki of Live Metal sat down with Santos on the band’s RV for an in-depth interview. (more…)
Tags: Anything for the Devil, Ben Schigel, EP, Logan Mader, Rikets
Review by Greg Maki
Any fan of hard rock and metal with a bit of a theatrical flair almost has to like a band whose members sport names like Provo, Crawfish, Deadmike, Sp.Ed. and Coolwhip. They, along with vocalist Scott Rose, form Rikets, a band out of Cleveland that has a lot going for it. (more…)
Tags: Andrea Ferro, Closer, Comalies, Cristiano Migliore, Cristina Scabbia, Depeche Mode, Enjoy the Silence, Karmacode, Lacuna Coil, Marco Coti Zelati, Our Truth
Review by Greg Maki
Thanks to the breakthrough success of 2002’s Comalies, Lacuna Coil spent months and months touring the United States with the likes of Type O Negative, Anthrax, P.O.D. and Ozzfest 2004. It’s unsurprising then that their fourth full-length release, Karmacode, bears a strong American influence. That’s not necessarily for the better, though, as the more familiar Lacuna Coil trademarks are what make the album a satisfying listen. (more…)
Tags: Andrea Ferro, Comalies, Cristiano Migliore, Cristina Scabbia, Karmacode, Lacuna Coil, Marco "Maus" Biazzi, Ozzfest
Fresh off the breakthrough success of Comalies, which hit it big in America two years after its release, Lacuna Coil is back with a new album, Karmacode. When guitarists Cristiano Migliore and Marco Emanuele “Maus” Biazzi sat down with Greg Maki and Jason Price of Live Metal on their bus prior to a recent show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. (they are opening for Rob Zombie), their excitement over the record and the opportunity to play new songs after four years could not be contained.