heavy metal

EP Review: Gyre - "Second Circle"

Progressive metal is a splinter genre where you don’t see a lot of DIY, at least not on a noticeable level or on this side of the Pond. New Jersey progressive metallers Gyre are forging into that territory with a four-song EP “Second Circle,” that attempts to fresh take on a long developed idea.

Album Review: James LaBrie - Impermanent Resonance

James LaBrie's last solo album, “Static Impulse”, answered a question I'm not sure had ever been asked: what would it sound like if LaBrie fronted Soilwork? Far from his progressive metal roots, “Static Impulse” was a modern metal album in every facet, blending melodic choruses to state of the art riffing and juxtaposed screaming vocals. More than a shock to expectations, the album was a surprisingly effective vehicle for LaBrie, and was better than I could have ever imagined such an effort being.

Album Review: Pillbuster: Pillbuster

It's the simple pleasures that help make life worthwhile. For me, there's the anticipation of listening to a new CD and the impossible wait just before the opening track starts playing. Generally, with my hand on the volume knob, I turn it up for maximum effect. When the first few notes begin there are three possible reactions - "Ooh, that's not very good. Let's try track two", "Eh, that's kind of what I expected" or "Hell yeah!".

Album Review: Deadlock - The Arsonist

Metal is not known for its beauty. It can be many things, beautiful included, but if there is one thing metal is known for, it's stringy-haired heaviness. Metal is not the music of the beautiful people, and we wouldn't love it so much if it was. But somewhere in calculations, the balance needed to keep metal from falling off the edge of relevance gets lost. Hearing as many albums a year as I do, which is still but a fraction, there is a titanic chasm of possibility few bands have jumped headlong into.

Singing the Song of the Huntress - A Conversation with Jill Janus

Often in literature, we see references to a person who has a piercing gaze, or is said to 'look right through you.' Never, until I sat down with Jill Janus of Huntress, did I fully understand what that meant. Her eyes are a pure, icy blue, and her gaze is somewhat magnetic. You lock eyes with her and get the impression like she's seeing inside you, watching your spirit. That said, she's also incredibly friendly, very gregarious and extra charming. We had a the following conversation about her band, her personal life including her Wiccan influences and, you know, Lemmy. Read on!
M.DREW: You just released “Starbound Beast.” Why release one album so soon after the first?
JILL JANUS: We’re a very inspired group of people. When you’re that inspired and you already have the songs getting ready to be birthed within you, there’s no reason to wait. We released “Spell Eater” in 20012, “Starbound Beast” in 2013 and we’re going to be releasing a third one in 2014. It’s like a trilogy, it’s all been planned since the very beginning, like maiden, mother and crone.

Speaking to Bodom's Children - A Conversation with Henkka Seppälä

Children of Bodom has always been treated as a work solely of frontman Alexi Laiho. His vocals and guitar theatrics and songwriting dominate each of the band's releases, and "Halo of Blood" is no different. But behind Laiho stands one of the most talented bands working in metal today; adaptable, versatile, heavy, melodic, anything they need to be. Hidden in the shadows of CoB stands Henkka Seppälä, bassist and generally amiable guy. In search of his story, we sat down recently as Mayhem Fest.
M.DREW: Tell me about “Halo of Blood.” It’s the big new thing, it’s your big, new album, what’s its inspiration? What’s the theme?
HENKKA SEPPÄLÄ: The music always comes from the same place. Alexi [Laiho] prepares stuff from his head and then we make songs the same way we’ve always done. Lyrically, he’s dealing more with some personal stuff, with some people who have been losing lately, some good friends. That led to other songs, and songs about losing somebody, which is a new topic for us.

Takes More Than Five Fingers to Play Drums - Jeremy Spencer of 5FDP

Five Finger Death Punch has broken the curve for a band's acceleration, going from niche act to headlining phenomenon in fairly short order. Now standing aside Rob Zombie at Mayhem Fest and on the verge of a double release, I sat down with drummer Jeremy Spencer to talk about the band, how they got here, what it feels like, and what to expect from this album.
M.DREW: I don’t know if you would remember this, but we met briefly a couple years back in the Albany airport at some God-awful hour in the morning. At the time, you were opening for Godsmack and Ivan [Moody] and I talked about how you guys could barely get a twenty minute set. Now, here you are on the marquee of Mayhem Fest. What does that feel like as an accomplishment?

Album Review: Monster Truck - "Furiosity"

Life experience, viewed through a sort of existentialist paradigm, is an extremely persistent animal. There are certain lessons that life seems bound and determined to teach us, no matter how many times we attempt to ignore the moral. Foremost among those teachings and concurrently the one that is seemingly reinforced most often in our lives is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a little shameful to admit, but I’ve spent thirty years on this earth and occasionally still have slips in my understanding of this basic tenet.

Album Review: The Winery Dogs - The Winery Dogs

Why are some musicians vagabonds, jumping from project to project in a constant state of motion? There's a cynical answer about the undying desire to find the band that will break through and bring fame and fortune, but for most it has to do with a need to make music. For a certain group of musicians, music is an addiction, something they have to constantly be involved with or else they go crazy. It's hard to separate these honestly passionate creators from the more shrewd businessmen, but every so often the answer becomes clear.

Music Soothes the Savage Superbeast - A Conversation with John 5

John 5 is one of those rare talents on guitar who manages to stand tall, outside the shadow of the hugely popular frontman of whatever band he's playing in. Much the same as Dave Navarro shines equally to Perry Farrell, Zakk Wylde was equal to Ozzy and Slash overcame the overbearing Axl Rose, John 5 has done the same in both Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie. Disarmingly polite and soft-spoken in person, we sat down with John 5 to find out what makes him tick, what music he loves, and naturally, to talk about the new Rob Zombie record.
M.D: I’ll start with the question everyone wants to know the answer to: how do you write a song for Rob Zombie and Rod Stewart in the same year, as you have?
J5: [Laughs] You know, I’m a fan of music, I love music. I really study how music is written and how music is played and it really is two completely different things going on but I really do enjoy music in general. I’m such a fan of really well-written music and well executed guitar and things like that. So, I just have always studied that my whole life.

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