Virtuoso trio Animals As Leaders recently dropped their latest record, The Joy Of Motion, and man, is it an explosion of an album! I caught up with guitarist Javier Reyes while the band was on tour, which debuted songs from the brand spanking new recording.
In Flames has always been one of the more proficient and consistent metal bands around, releasing quality albums every two years or so. Even after the departure of integral member Jesper Strömblad in 2008 (something that would be debilitating to most bands), they released their best effort to date, Sounds Of A Playground Fading. Rejoice, metal world, for they are back with another release, Siren Charms.
Boston recently had the pleasure of welcoming Glasgow-hailing post-rock giants, Mogwai. Having never witnessed a band of their caliber or unique sound live, I wasn't sure what to expect. I had been to many instrumental performances before – jazz, classical, progressive – but I knew this was going to be different.
The Henry Maneuver – if you haven’t heard of him already, well, you need to pay attention. This guy is certainly one musician to look out for. The first time I saw Henry in the flesh was with his previous band in a tiny venue in Baltimore. I was just blown away by his sheer musical prowess - it's enough to make you question how many instruments does one have to master before it becomes too much.
I hadn't heard from NEEDTOBREATHE in a long time - since The Reckoning in 2011 in fact. Turns out they were not only doing the usual band-y stuff, touring relentlessly and writing the next record. The band was grappling with some serious conflicts that almost broke them up (sibling bands are hard - speaking from personal experience here).
Extremist feels very familiar yet really showcases how the band has matured.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with guitarist Johan Söderberg of fantasy/Viking/Norse mythology-inspired melodic death metal band Amon Amarth. He talked about the latest album, Deceiver of the Gods, the writing process involved, being from Sweden, and more. Enjoy!
Metalcore giants Killswitch Engage are still roaring across the globe on their "Disarm The Descent" tour. I caught up with them at their hometown show, here in Boston, MA, at the end of last year. I got to talk at length with bassist Mike D'Antonio about the journey KsE has been through, his inside perspective on the band, and his role as a musician, designer and member of a ridiculously talented and fun band. Enjoy!
The first time I was exposed to Icon For Hire was when they opened for Red and P.O.D. at a Baltimore show. I was left mesmerized by the sheer energy of their live performance... and frontwoman Ariel's shocking pink hair and goth/punk getup, of course. (She even has her own fashion line, Custom Catastrophes, which you should definitely check out).
Many bands try to avoid being confined to a specific genre. Often, this a weak attempt to seem "unique" – most bands don’t even execute the whole "multi-genre" thing well anyway, inevitably ending up labeled as "alternative", "indie" or something of that sort.
Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree, No Man, Blackfield and more) is currently on his second world tour for his second solo album to date, The Raven That Refused To Sing. Armed once again with an immensely talented ensemble of Guthrie Govan (guitars), Adam Holzman (keyboards), Nick Beggs (bass, Chapman Stick), Marco Minnemann (drums) and Theo Travis (flute, sax, clarinet), Steven has once more been making waves with his unique brand of music and spectacular live shows. I had the opportunity recently to discuss with Steven about themes and symbols in his music, what his music means to the younger generation, his creative process, being a musical god/sex symbol (no, really), and making people feel. And a lot more, obviously. Enjoy!
Killswitch Engage's sixth studio album, Disarm The Descent, is slated for release tomorrow, April 2nd, 2013. The album marks the first with returning vocalist Jesse Leach after the departure of Howard Jones, Killswitch's vocalist of 10 years. In anticipation of the new record, we caught up with Jesse sometime back and talked about his big return, what really happened in those 10 years that he was missing, his process of self-discovery and music for him as an individual. A pretty in-depth interview, but it's worth it! Read on.
British rock band Young Guns has definitely been making waves. They were recently named the I Heart Radio/Clear Channel "New Artist of the Month" and have steadily been building up a dedicated fanbase. They have all the prerequisite criteria for a quality modern rock band - great pumping rhythms, good amounts of distortion, the ability to switch between intense moshy tracks and rock ballads, etc.
Hoobastank is back with the brand new album Fight or Flight, continuing their two-decade long stint in the modern rock music scene. Recently I chatted with vocalist Doug Robb about the band's departure from record label Island/Def Jam, the musical and lyrical content of their new music, balancing being a successful band with family life, and more. Read on!
A sneak peek from The Killers' latest! It's been a while since we heard anything new from these Nevada boys in terms of album releases (at least since Day & Age in 2008). "Runaways", the first single from upcoming album Battle Born starts with a somewhat trite piano and guitar intro. I mean, let's be real: how many times have we heard that 3-chord progression?
Alison Wedding is someone to look out for in the world of contemporary jazz. This singer, songwriter, keyboardist and associate professor in the vocal faculty at none other than Berklee College of Music (talk about multi-talented!) is back in the music scene with This Dance, her first release in five years.
Comprising an eclectic mix of musicians from Dallas and NYC and playing a tasty fusion of jazz, funk, rock and more, Snarky Puppy is the next big thing to look out for. Their live performance in DC was one of the best shows I've ever attended, striking a perfect balance between pure musical virtuosity and raw melodic simplicity that hit home. Recently I also had the opportunity to talk with Michael League, the main man behind the group. We canvassed topics such as what goes on behind the scenes, people's reception to their music, and generally what Snarky Puppy is all about - being a band with a purpose.
Ihsahn once again takes us on a musical odyssey of sorts with his fourth solo release. After an amazing trilogy of albums, The Adversary, angL, and After, the Norwegian composer and multi-instrumentalist continues to surpass expectations with the masterpiece, Eremita.
We spoke with P.O.D. lead vocalist, Sonny Sandoval, recently about the band's return to the music scene, faith as the basis for music and much more. Enjoy!
The chunkiness, merciless ringing bass, slaying hooks and intertwined clean melodies and vocals, make Make Me Famous something to look out for. "Make It Precious" is a prime example of the band's clear ability to transition between the brutality of good metal and a lighter emo/punk-ish, slightly electronica side with an amazing fluidity. The Ukrainian band is currently on tour promoting their debut offering It's Now or Never. Check out the video AND acoustic version of "Make It Precious" below (that's right).