Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

testament-2016

Testament, 2016

Instead of a long history of Testament, I’ll give you my version. Thanks to Headbangers Ball, Testament was part of my “Big Four” back in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Along with Metallica, Megadeth and Sepultura, Testament’s Practice What You Preach became one of my go-to cassette tapes, with tracks like “Greenhouse Effect” and “The Ballad,” both of which had music videos that were featured prominently on the cult MTV show airing at midnight every Saturday night. I went back and discovered the thrash metal masterpiece The New Order, then came Souls of Black and Low. I had a Testament concert poster proudly hanging above my bed. In summer, I wore a black tank top displaying the band’s iconic logo. Years after their release, I was still listening to those albumsreligiously. Then in the late ’90s, like many metal bands, Testament kind of lost its way, and I kind of went down a different path musically.

Now, Testament—after disbanding and reuniting in early 2005—is about to unleash its third album of the 2000s, The Brotherhood of the Snake. And if it’s anything like its previous two, The Formation of Damnation and Dark Roots of the Earth, then fans, new and old, are in for a treat. The Testament I grew up with has been back for a few years now, and there’s no end in sight.

Vocalist Chuck Billy took a few minutes of his time to give us some dirt on the new album, The Brotherhood of the Snake. (more…)

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Gruesome

Releasing seven studio albums from 1987 to 1998, Death was crucial in pioneering the death metal genre. During his influential career—and maybe even more so after his death in 2001—vocalist/guitarist Chuck Schuldiner has been acknowledged as the godfather of extreme metal. Death’s 1987 debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, is widely considered the first death metal album and became the blueprint for extreme metal. The lyrical themes of horror and gore, Chuck’s unique vocal style and guitar playing, the raw intensity and iconic album art were groundbreaking. Now in 2016, thanks to a new Death-worshiping supergroup called Gruesome,  we get to hear (and see) it all over again. 

To make a long story short, in 2012, Schuldiner’s corporation wanted to raise some money for a charity called the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund, so it put together the “Death to All Tour,” featuring former members of Death and other guest musicians performing Death’s classics. One of those involved was Exhumed vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey, who took it one step further, forming Gruesome, a Death tribute band. The catch was the band would write original music but play in the style of Death. Gruesome was rounded out by members of Possessed, Malevolent Creation and Derketa. The band released its Leprosy-inspired full-length debut, Savage Land, in 2015, and now it’s back with Dimensions of Horror (May 20, 2016, Relapse Records)—you guessed it, inspired by Scream Bloody Gore.

Live Metal’s Jeff Maki recently talked with Harvey about Gruesome’s new release and Death’s legacy. (more…)

Through Fire

Through Fire

Through Fire is a new name, but its origins might be familiar to some. Guitarist Justin McCain founded Emphatic in 2004 in Omaha, Nebraska. Behind singles “Bounce” and “Get Paid,” the band started making waves with its second album, Damage (2011), appearing at festivals such as Rock on the Range and touring with Halestorm. Lineup changes in the ensuing years eventually left McCain as the only original member, and as 2015 drew to a close, he and his bandmates decided to wipe the slate clean and be reborn as Through Fire. Now signed to Sumerian Records, the “new” band is pushing its first single, “Stronger,” and gearing up for the release of its debut album–title and date TBA–as it tours the United States on the “Generation Doom” tour, with Otep, Lacey Sturm, September Mourning and Doll Skin. McCain recently called in from the road to talk to Live Metal’s Greg Maki about the band, the single, the tour and more. (more…)

Anthrax

Weathering multiple lineup changes—including several at the vital position of lead vocalist—and withstanding many seismic shifts in the musical climate, Anthrax has persevered through the decades like few others. In 2011, the band started to reclaim its position at the top of the global metal mountain with the superb Worship Music, its first recording with vocalist Joey Belladonna since 1990. Its 2016 release, the phenomenal For All Kings, has solidified that position, and is a surefire album-of-the-year contender. Anthrax has been on the road supporting it all year, first on a U.S. tour with Lamb of God and, most recently, on a South American run with Iron Maiden. Festivals in the United States and Europe are on the horizon next, with a U.S. headlining tour possible in the fall. Drummer Charlie Benante checked in with Live Metal’s Greg Maki to discuss the new album, his line of coffee (Benante’s Blend) and more. (more…)

Doll Skin: Nicole Rich, Meghan Shea Herring, Sydney Dolezal and Alex Snowden.

Doll Skin, from left: Nicole Rich, Meghan Shea Herring, Sydney Dolezal and Alex Snowden.

In just two years, Doll Skin has gone from playing its first show at a high school talent show to being managed and produced by Megadeth’s David Ellefson, having an EP distributed by legendary Megaforce Records and touring the United States with high-profile supporting gigs and as a headliner. Did we mention its four members–vocalist/guitarist Sydney Dolezal, guitarist Alex Snowden, bassist Nicole Rich and drummer Meghan Shea Herring–are all teenage girls? Yeah, and these girls know how to rock. As they cross the country on the “Generation Doom” tour–also featuring headliner Otep, along with Lacey Sturm, September Mourning and Through Fire–Doll Skin has released In Your Face (Again), an expanded edition of the EP originally issued in October 2015 and already has material prepared for a full-length album to be recorded later this year. Sydney recently called in from the road to talk to Live Metal’s Greg Maki about the tour, the band’s formation, David Ellefson and more. (more…)

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Death Angel

Spawning from the Bay area thrash metal scene in the early 1980s, Death Angel’s marriage of aggression and melody was unique. The band gained a loyal following playing in the same clubs and stomping grounds as Metallica, Megadeth, Death, Slayer and Exodus. It was the newer, edgier underground band of the time. I know because I was a big fan. I remember trading my friend a bunch of cassettes for a copy of the band’s classic 1988 release, Frolic through the Park, and listening to its 1990 album, Act III, repeatedly in my bedroom on my boombox. It followed at a close second only behind Megadeth’s Rust in Peace. Yes, I’m old, but enough about me.

The band was experiencing its first real commercial success with Act III but broke up after the album’s tour. All but gone and forgotten, it eventually made a surprising return in 2004 with a new album, The Art of Dying, and a revamped lineup. In the years since, the band has remained active to the delight of thrash metal fans worldwide, touring and releasing album after album, each one stronger than the last. It’s next album, The Evil Divide, will be released May 27, 2016, on Nuclear Blast and is its third in five years, not including 2016 re-issues of Frolic through the Park and its 1990 live album, Fall from Grace.

Live Metal’s Jeff Maki recently talked with vocalist Mark Osegueda about the new record, the band’s evolution and more. (more…)

Corrosion of Conformity, from left: Pepper Keenan, Woody Weatherman, Reed Mullin and Mike Dean.

Corrosion of Conformity, from left: Pepper Keenan, Woody Weatherman, Reed Mullin and Mike Dean.

Corrosion of Conformity, or COC, has a long, complicated history, starting with its formation in the early 1980s as a punk band and enduring a multitude of lineup changes until reaching the peak of its popularity in the ‘90s. After the band went on hiatus in 2006, the trio that recorded the 1985 album Animosity—bassist/vocalist Mike Dean, guitarist Woody Weatherman and drummer Reed Mullin—reunited in 2010 to tour and eventually release two new albums. Last year saw the return of guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan, who had spent nearly a decade focusing on the supergroup Down, completing the reunion of the classic ‘90s lineup responsible for albums such as Deliverance (1994) and Wiseblood (1996). Writing is underway for a new album, possibly to be released later in 2016, and the band is hitting the road for a few headlining shows before a longer tour with Lamb of God and Clutch. Live Metal’s Greg Maki recently caught up with Mullin to talk about the tour, the reunion, the new album and more. (more…)

Rick DeJesus of Adelitas Way

Rick DeJesus of Adelitas Way

Adelitas Way frontman Rick DeJesus is one of the most outspoken figures in rock music today, and it’s not just about the talk for him. After the release of its third album, Stuck (2014), Adelitas Way took the reins of its present and future, leaving Virgin Records and going independent. Using PledgeMusic to reach fans directly and help fund its fourth album, the band now has control creatively and on the business end. If the new album, Getaway (released Feb. 26, 2016), is any indication, DeJesus and his bandmates—drummer Trevor Stafford, guitarist Robert Zakaryan and bassist Andrew Cushing—know what they’re doing. It’s a great hard rock record that captures much of the power and energy the band brings to its live shows. And DeJesus sounds like a new man while talking about the experience and the current state of the band—well, almost. He’s still as honest as ever about the music business and rock music’s place in it. Live Metal’s Greg Maki recently caught up with him to talk about that and more. (more…)

Lacey Sturm

Lacey Sturm

Three and a half years after stepping down as singer of the platinum-selling Flyleaf, Lacey Sturm has returned to music, releasing her first solo album, Life Screams, on Feb. 12, 2016 (read review). Led by the first single, “Impossible,” the record features the passion, conviction and inspiring message of love and individualism—as well the unmistakable voice—that have won her so many loyal fans over the past decade. Lacey recently checked in with Live Metal’s Greg Maki to discuss Life Screams, her spring touring plans and more. (more…)

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Following the tragic death of original vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012, Hernan “Eddie” Hermida joined Suicide Silence and the band released its “comeback” album,
You Can’t Stop Me (read review), in 2014. Full of new deathcore anthems, the album has been a huge success, allowing the band to tour for nearly two years since its release. The touring cycle began with the 2014 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival and took the band around the world and back again. But now the band may have just received its biggest gig yet, opening for Korn on its 20th anniversary tour. Like so many others, including me, the members of Suicide Silence—Hermida, rhythm guitarist Chris Garza, lead guitarist Mark Heylmun, bassist Dan Kenny and drummer Alex Lopez—grew up listening to Korn and have been highly influenced by the nu-metal forefathers. It may not seem like it within Suicide Silence’s style of harsh, metallic deathcore, but if you scratch the surface, trust me, it’s there.

At the tour’s stop at the Fillmore in Silver Spring, Maryland (read live recap here), Live Metal’s Jeff Maki sat down pre-show with Hermida, and the two gushed like fanboys over Korn, and discussed Suicide Silence’s new Sacred Words EP and the band’s early plans for its next record. (more…)

Wilson

Wilson

A debut album titled Full Blast Fuckery is bound to turn some heads. But on its second release, Right to Rise (Razor & Tie, June 29, 2015), Wilson has taken more of a let-the-music-do-the-talking approach, with a greater emphasis on melody and songs that tell their story in their hometown of Detroit, Michigan. The result is an album brimming with power and personality that also expands the scope of the band’s sound. Wilson is spending the late summer and early fall on the hardDrive Live Tour, reaching wider audiences as it opens for Trivium and Tremonti. When the tour came to the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey, Live Metal’s Greg Maki sat down outside the venue (with the soothing sounds of Tremonti soundchecking in the background) with frontman Chad Nicefield and guitarist Kyle Landry to discuss the new record, Detroit and more. (more…)

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Max Cavalera

For 30 years, Max Cavalera has given us metal in all shapes and forms. From the thrash and death metal of early Sepultura records Morbid Visions (1986), Beneath the Remains (1989) and Arise (1991), to the groove metal of Chaos A.D. (1993), to even nu-metal on Roots (1996). Then with Soulfly, he gave listeners a tribal metal soundscape with albums like Primitive (2000) and Prophecy (2004), all the way to extreme metal on Enslaved (2012), while Savages (2013) was a potpourri of all things rock and metal. And now with Soulfly’s new album, Archangel (Aug. 14, 2015, Nuclear Blast Entertainment), he’s gone to Biblical proportions—literally.

Inspired by The Old Testament, which Max describes as “bloody and brutal and perfect for metal,” Archangel is yet another different direction for Soulfly, though still a metal one. And that’s the common denominator with the body of Max’s work: metal. Max lives for metal. Not only does he play metal, but he’s a huge fan of it, both old and new. As I’ve written before, it’s like he is a prophet sent here by the metal gods. He wants to play metal forever, he shows no signs of slowing down and his spirit for metal will never die. His legacy now stands at an astonishing 21 studio albums between Sepultura (six), Nailbomb (one), Soulfly (10), Cavalera Conspiracy (three) and Killer Be Killed (one).

Days before Soulfly was about to hit the road with Soilwork, Decapitated and Shattered Sun for a U.S. tour (view tour dates), we talked with Max at length about Archangel and its Biblical inspiration, his albums standing the test of time and … “Maxfest?” (more…)