Archive for October, 2009

Max Cavalera: "Fulfilling the Prophecy"

Max Cavalera: “Fulfilling the Prophecy”

If there was ever a prophecy written that one man would arise from Brazil to lead two bands into the metal promised land, then Max Cavalera has fulfilled it.

Not to take anything away from Soulfly, but I’ll always remember Max Cavalera as the guitarist/frontman for the Brazilian metal band Sepultura. Beneath the Remains was one of the first death metal records I ever heard, and I became a huge fan of the band. During their long run, thanks to albums like Arise and Chaos A.D., Sepultura became one of the most popular and well-known metal acts of the ’90s. Of course, all good things must end, so after the groundbreaking Roots album, Max had a controversial split from Sepultura and then formed his new primitive, tribal-metal-machine, Soulfly. In 1997, Soulfly picked up where Roots left off and Max has since traveled the world for music and inspiration, taking the aggression and tribal world fusion to all new territories over the course of six Soulfly releases. The last two Soulfly albums have seen even more of a return to Max’s thrash metal roots, and as Soulfly VII is in its early stages of development, fans expect heavier still.

During a fall 2009 tour with Cattle Decapitation and Prong,’s Jeff Maki boarded Soulfly’s tour bus at the Recher Theatre in Towson, Md., for an interview with Cavalera. Max talks about his metal legacy, the history of Sepultura and Soulfly, and his other projects, Nailbomb and Cavalera Conspiracy. (more…)

btbam-misdirectCall me a little biased on this one.

I’ve become a huge fan of North Carolina’s Between The Buried And Me (oddly, the name comes from a Counting Crows song) over the past year and a half. For those that have never heard this band before, it is unlikely you will hear anything quite like them. BTBAM is deemed “progressive metal” but their music defies even that easier characterization, as the band mixes pop, prog-rock, death metal and pretty much everything else you can think of.  (more…)

Getting to the "Root of All Evil" with Michael Amott.

Getting to the “Root of All Evil” with Michael Amott.

Since Arch Enemy replaced its original singer, Johan Liiva, in 2000 and brought in Angela Gassow, from the Wages of Sin album onward, the band has risen to a new level in extremity and popularity. Wages of Sin, Anthems of Rebellion, Doomsday Machine and their most recent studio album, 2007’s Rise of the Tyrant, are all extreme metal staples. But what about their older material with Liiva? Do fans remember it? Does it matter now that Gassow is fronting the band? Arch Enemy has handpicked songs from itsfirst three albumsBlack Earth, Stigmata and Burning Bridgesand re-recorded them with Angela on vocals, calling the collection The Root of All Evil. The intention is to introduce these older songs to new fans with the possibility of including them in live sets for years to come. The end results are fantastic as The Root of All Evil brings these songs to entirely new heights.’s Jeff Maki spoke with Arch Enemy guitarist Michael Amott just as the album was released. Amott talks about the reasons for The Root of All Evil and all things Arch Enemy, not to mention another great extreme metal band that he’s a part ofCarcass. (more…)

ensiferumWho doesn’t like Vikings? I mean, they were known to pillage and steal, they wore cool helmets and furs and beards and had names like Erik the Red. Next to being named Mack Strong or Jack Slaughter, how awesome is it to have “the” in your name?

It may be 1000 years too late, but Vikings finally have their own heavy metal genre. Actually, the subgenre of Viking metal started in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and gained more and more of a following over the years. This subgenre is distinguishable by several factors. First, the band is from Scandinavia. It is the home of the Vikings, after all. In addition, the band must include one orchestral instrumental, have lyrics about conquering Norsemen, have some sort of choir-like part and play a fast-paced version of power metal. Victory Songs (it just sounds Viking when you think about it), the new album from Finnish metal band Ensiferum, does all that and then some. (more…)

baroness_blue_recordStoner metal? Sludge? Call it what you want, but Baroness’ Blue Record is an all around great rock record. After reading the enormous amount of praise from both fans and critics, I knew this was something I needed to hear. After hearing “The Sweetest Curse,” I was impressed and intrigued, but it was their video/song “A Horse Called Golgotha” that really set me off—a riff-heavy, stoner-rock anthem—pure rock fury that had me pumping my fist to the colossal chorus.

For those who think Mastodon is the current king of Sabbath-heavy, sludge metal, give Blue Record a try. And that’s not a knock on Mastodon, it’s just that Blue Record is that damn good. (more…)

skeleton-fireSo what would thrash sound like with death and black metal vocals, you ask? OK, so I’m sure many bands probably come to mind, but the latest is the “true metal” band Skeletonwitch, whose sophomore album Breathing the Fire is what we’d call blackened thrash metal. (more…)


Review by Jeff Maki

“Wormwood” is a title that’s been used frequently throughout the years. It has a Biblical connotation (Wormwood was a star in the New Testament Book of Revelation that crashed to Earth, poisoning one third of the waters), ties to the comic book and music worlds (it appeared as a song title for both Michale Graves and Tristania), and it has been used as a title in literature for horror stories. In this case, Wormwood—the title of Marduk’s 11th studio album—disturbingly and accurately describes the rotting, decayed and blaspehmous sound of this veteran Swedish black metal band. Although it’s meaning is unknown, my best guess would be the Biblical reference. Why expect anything less from a band that once released an EP called Fuck Me Jesus? (more…)


Photos by Greg Maki (more…)

SOLAReview by Greg Maki
The early years of the 21st century were an eventful time for Mötley Crüe. The album intended to be their return to form, New Tattoo (2000), and the subsequent tour flopped. Illness forced drummer Randy Castillo to the sidelines; his replacement was Hole’s Samantha Maloney. Castillo eventually was diagnosed with stomach cancer and passed away in 2002. The year 2001 saw maybe the most important development of the latter portion of the band’s career: the publication of their autobiography,The Dirt. An episode of VH1’s Behind the Music had hinted at the debauchery that followed the Mötley men wherever they went; this book elevated it to legendary status. (more…)

Mötley_Crüe_-_New_TattooReview by Greg Maki
At first listen, Mötley Crüe’s New Tattoo, their eighth studio album, feels like an underwhelming effort. You might find yourself wondering what Nikki Sixx was thinking when, in The Dirt, he called it “the album that should have been the successor to Dr. Feelgood.”

New Tattoo, released in 2000, is the rare album that is front-loaded with its weakest material. But even though “Hell on High Heels, “Treat Me Like the Dog I Am,” the title track and especially “Dragstrip Superstar” have more than a few cringe-worth moments and sound more like the output of a less talented Mötley Crüe imitator than the band itself, they show us a group ignoring trends and getting back to what it really is at its core—a rock band that defines its sound with Mick Mars’ guitar and writes songs about girls, drugs, fast cars and the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle. The worst of New Tattoo easily trumps the best of their previous effort, the misguided Generation Swine (1997). (more…)

Mötley-Crüe-Generation-SwineReview by Greg Maki
Mötley Crüe had made an album with new frontman John Corabi—self-titled, released in 1994—that moved the band in a darker, less frivolous direction, that fit a time when grunge and metal bands like Pantera were infiltrating the mainstream. Naturally and for a variety of reasons, the record was the biggest failure of the band’s career. Despite that, they soon hit the studio with producer Scott Humphrey to work on its follow-up. But the chemistry that led to the topnotch Mötley Crüe album was gone and, before long, at the pushing and prodding of the bigwigs at Elektra Records, Corabi was out and Vince Neil was back.

All is right in the world again, right? Not quite. (more…)

MC942Review by Greg Maki
One thing you can never accuse Mötley Crüe of is being predictable. In 1989, Dr. Feelgood became the band’s first No. 1 album and went on to sell more than 6 million copies. Two years later, the Decade of Decadence compilation charted at No. 2, spawned the Mötley classic “Primal Scream” and eventually went double platinum.

So what they do next? Find a new singer, of course. The parties disagree on how it happened, but in February 1992, Vince Neil was out. Enter John Corabi, formerly of The Scream. They could not have found someone more unlike Neil—Corabi with his dark look and deep, bluesy, versatile voice, and Vince with his sunny blonde looks, hard-partying image and limited vocal range. (more…)