Archive for May, 2009

LoadedSickReview by Greg Maki
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Duff McKagan has sold millions of albums and toured the world many times over, first as the bassist of Guns N’ Roses, then with Velvet Revolver. But he has never been one to rest on his success, getting fat and rich as he watches the royalty checks roll in. Even before the classic GNR lineup dissolved in the mid-1990s, he released his first solo album (Believe in Me, 1993). He went on to record a second solo disc that was never released (Beautiful Disease); form Neurotic Outsiders with former GNR drummer Matt Sorum, Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and Duran Duran bassist John Taylor; reform 10 Minute Warning, the band he played in before GNR; write and record with a host of other musicians; go back to school to earn a finance degree; and in 1998, form the band Loaded. (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
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I can tell you the exact day I became a Marilyn Manson fan: Dec. 6, 1994. I was at the Baltimore Arena with my dad and brother to see Nine Inch Nails at the height of its popularity. But first, I was introduced to “Satan’s favorite band,” Marilyn Manson. I quickly added Manson’s debut album, Portrait of an American Family, to my CD collection. His full-length follow-up, Antichrist Superstar, released two years later, still occupies a high spot on my all-time favorite albums list. I have been a Manson fan for almost 15 years now (roughly half my life) and have seen nearly every tour that has come through the Maryland/D.C. area.

I tell you all of this so that it means something when I say that The High End of Low, Manson’s seventh studio effort, represents the first time he has disappointed me. (more…)

charm-city-devils-lets-rock-n-roll-large-album-pic-2Review by Greg Maki
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It’s the name of the album and the first words you hear from frontman John Allen. On their debut, Let’s Rock-N-Roll, Charm City Devils leave no doubt as to what they are here to do. And for just under 37 minutes, the rock is nearly nonstop. (more…)

Every once in a while, a band comes along that stands above the crowd. Among the countless faceless acts struggling to find listeners’ ears, it assert itself, carving out a unique identity . Hailing from a small town in Kentucky, Black Stone Cherry is one of those rare bands. Its sophomore effort, Folklore and Superstition, released in August 2008, is a good-natured, Southern-fried slab of hard rock tunes steeped in the stories and lore of the band members’ heritage. People around the world are catching onto these guys. The band will spend the summer touring Europe, where it has built quite a following, before coming home to the States to take part in the “Rock and Rebels” tour featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock. This follows a spring tour with 3 Doors Down, Hinder and Theory of a Deadman. When that tour recently came through the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury, Md., Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down with guitarist Ben Wells after the band’s much-too-short 20-minute set to discuss the stories behind some of the songs on the new album and more.
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Epica-The_Classical_ConspiracyThe unification of metal and classical music is something we have seen more and more of during the last decade. Metallica was one of the first metal bands to perform with an orchestra and release a live album documenting that performance (S&M). More recently, Within Temptation followed with their grand DVD/CD Black Symphony. But to this point no band has seemed better suited for this type of concert than Epica. They combine classical, opera, power metal, death and goth, creating symphonic music that is multi-faceted and unique. Epica already features a mini-orchestra and choir in its ranks, so this was a natural step.

On June 14, 2008, this became reality when they collaborated with a full orchestra and choir in Miskolc, Hungary, during the Miskolc International Opera Festival. The band performed a 45-minute set of metal adaptations of classical songs and movie soundtracks, accompanied by the orchestra and choir, as well as symphonic versions of its own songs. The end result is The Classical Conspiracy, a double live album commemorating the event. (more…)

eluveitie-evocation-IEluveitie (pronounced El-Vey-Ti) is an eight-piece Swiss folk metal band that has risen to the front of the folk and pagan metal scene. The band already has participated in both the European and U.S. versions of Paganfest and released a successful album, Slania. Like other Viking/pagan metal bands, Eluveitie molds high-velocity melodic death metal with melodies, a wide variety of folk instruments and traditional Celtic music.

But let this be a warning. Although something special in its own right, this release is far different from what you might expect. Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion is not a metal album at all; in fact, it’s questionable whether it could even be called a rock album since the band has come “unplugged” for this release. The 15 songs that make up this album are all acoustic folk music that lean on the pop side of the musical spectrum. (more…)

drivealossofdesireReview by Greg Maki
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Reading that all four members of Drive A are under 20 years old and have shared stages with Rise Against, Papa Roach, Anti-Flag, Pennywise and Billy Talent did not fill me with hope. But the moment the title track kicked in at the start of their debut, Loss of Desire, any fears I had were dispelled. The song begins with a bouncy rhythm a la the Queens of the Stone Age hit “No One Knows,” then the real magic happens when singer/guitarist Bruno Mascolo comes in with his Scott Weiland-esque vocals. (more…)

susperia-attitudeNorwegian melodic thrashers Susperia have returned with album No. 5, their first offering for Candlelight Records, Attitude. I first started to get into this band with their album Unlimited (2004), and they followed that up with a strong release in 2007’s Cut from Stone. The band’s sound can be compared to Machine Head or Testament, a lethal combination of thrash, melody and classic metal. Unlimited hinted at a more accessible sound with songs like “Chemistry” and “Devil May Care,” and Cut from Stone took this further with “More” and “Lackluster Day.” No, they weren’t at all radio-friendly, but there was a noticeable, yet effective difference. With Attitude, Susperia shows off plenty of it, a band truly out to make a statement that they intend to remain heavy and underground into the distant future. (more…)

"Interview with Infernus of Gorgoroth: What's in a Name?"

“Interview with Infernus of Gorgoroth: What’s in a Name?”

Founded by guitarist Infernus (Roger Tiegs) in 1992, Gorgoroth’s blasphemous, extreme form of raw black metal has made the band a long-running, influential figure in the metal scene. In the last few years, the band’s music hasn’t been the only story. From controversial Satanic live shows, prison terms, a band member publicly“coming out” with his sexuality and an ugly debate over rights to the band’s name, it has been an eventful and media-fueled ride for the Norwegian band. So much so that the hype has perhaps overshadowed what is most important.

In 2007, then Gorgoroth vocalist Gaahl and bassist King ov Hell tried to fire Infernus and take over the trademark to the name Gorgoroth. At one point, there were even two active versions of Gorgoroth. Infernus did not let this go quietly. The case was brought to Norwegian courts and in March 2009, after a long debacle—one that received almost daily reports from metal sites like Blabbermouth.net—Infernus won the rights to the Gorgoroth name and logo. Gaahl and King ov Hell have since formed a new band, God Seed, while Infernus has retooled Gorgoroth with a new lineup including the original vocalist, Pest. The next chapter of Gorgoroth has begun and the band is set to release a new album, Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt, in October 2009.

So what really happened? What’s the real truth behind Infernus’ fight over the Gorgoroth name? Is Gorgoroth just a band that lives through obsessive media hype or a black metal force driven by Satan himself? Live-Metal.Net’s Jeff Maki posed these questions and more to Infernus, who was eager to explain.  (more…)

swwaats-grandWith the second longest band name next to … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, S.W.W.A.A.T.S. (or Success Will Write Apocalypse Across the Sky), plays deathcore that is fitting for their name. This is death metal at its core but the music is saturated with hardcore and grind, making for an apocalyptic sound as if they were playing the last metal show on a charred, burned, barren wasteland that was once Earth. (more…)

Nick Catanese of Black Label Society

Nick Catanese of Black Label Society

On its way to becoming one of the top touring metal bands in the United States, Black Label Society has sprouted its own branch of a family tree that begins with Black Sabbath. Zakk Wylde, of course, rose to fame as Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist before creating what has become an unstoppable BLS machine. It’s no surprise that his bandmates are multitalented musicians, as well. Drummer Craig Nunenmacher is playing guitar and singing in a solo project called Mourning Doves. Bassist John “J.D.” DeServio has reunited with his old friends to form Cycle of Pain; their self-titled debut album is in stores now. And the Evil Twin, guitarist Nick Catanese, has teamed up with former Queensryche guitarist Mike Stone in the new band Speed X. When Black Label Society’s Black Label Bash tour recently rolled through Philadelphia, Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down with Nick backstage at the Electric Factory to discuss the tour, Speed X, Star Wars and more. (more…)

Epica's Simone Simons

“A Night at the Opera” with Epica’s Simone Simons

The Dutch have been the leaders of female-fronted metal for several years. Bands like The Gathering, Within Temptation and After Forever were some of the first to have worldwide success and the subgenre is now stronger than ever. Formed by ex-After Forever guitarist Mark Jansen in 2002, Epica has had great success due to their powerful combination of orchestration and symphonic metal. Much of that success can be attributed to their own metal maiden, the beautiful and talented vocalist Simone Simons. She sings in an operatic voice like no other and her style is unique for heavy metal. She is the foundation and centerpiece of Epica. The band has released four albums and currently is recording album No. 5, tentatively set for a late-2009 release.

On June 14, 2008, Epica followed other metal acts like Metallica and Within Temptation by collaborating with a full orchestra and choir in Miskolc, Hungary, during the Miskolc International Opera Festival. The band performed a 45-minute set of metal adaptations of classical songs and movie soundtracks, accompanied by the orchestra and choir, as well as symphonic versions of its own songs. The end result is The Classical Conspiracy (released May 8, 2009 by Nuclear Blast), a double live album commemorating the event.

Simons recently checked in with Live-Metal.Net’s Jeff Maki to discuss The Classical Conspiracy, the beginnings of Epica, their next studio album and more. (more…)