Tuesday, 31 March 2015
  • Interviews
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Shattered Sun

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Shattered Sun is an up-and-coming metal-core band and I was extremely honored and proud to engage these new metal artists. Being a Hispanic and sharing a love for the genre made this interview a bit special. How so? The entire musical line of this band happens to be Hispanic. My conversation with vocalist Marcos Leal was quite insightful; we touched on a lot within a short period of time. The direction and future of this newly minted project was astonishing. Shattered Sun is a sextet hailing from the small town of Alice, Texas. Their sound provides hard hitting riffs laced with Leal's unique vocal assault. The band provides ripping arrangements tooled in advance by its founder and guitarist Daniel Trejo along with input from their drummer, Robert Garza, who lays down some fierce acrobatic drumming. I can assure you it's a collaborative effort as the vocalist describes it and the musical foundation is laid brick by brick. Shattered Sun is a true testimony to the hard driving sprit of its members, a definite cohesiveness that eludes many bands today. They've all grown up in an area riddled with violence, gangs and drugs. All too often we hear how the...


Chiodos: Devil

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Chiodos is back with a vengeance on their fourth album, "Devil". The band has produced a sonic masterpiece that takes the listener on a musical and emotional roller coaster ride. Original vocalist Craig Owens and drummer Derrick Frost are back in the fold, and form the twisting and turning track for the rest of the band to ride upon. Keyboardist Bradley Bell, bassist Matt Goddard, and guitarists Pat McManaman and Thomas Erak play with wild abandon and stellar technical prowess. Owens uses every facet of his vocal ability to deliver the full range of emotions necessary to match his lyrics. He is the rare vocalist who can sing softly and sweetly, loudly and angrily, and everything in between. "Devil" is full of great songs of all styles of rock.


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Eden’s Curse: Live With The Curse
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:33    | Written by Lauri Lindqvist    PDF Print E-mail

Eden’s Curse, the multinational band whose members hail from all corners of Europe, and whose sound oscillates between power metal and arena rock, will release a live album on April 14. It is the first album with singer Nikola Mijić, who joined for the band's fourth album, Symphony of Sin, released in 2013. While listening to Live With The Curse, I realized just how much original singer Michael Eden’s voice made the sound of Eden’s Curse for me.

Although bassist Paul Logue is the mastermind of the band, Eden's vocals were a key ingredient in the band’s sound. Mijić's voice is thinner and more strident, with a sharper edge than Eden's. He hits all the notes, but the sound just doesn’t have the same emotional pull as Eden’s slightly cleaner and more emotive vocals. Mijić's voice sounds better in more aggressive songs, like “Just Like Judas” and “Jerusalem Sleeps,” than the clean, uplifting songs like “Fly Away.” Besides, Mijić’s vocals seem obscured by backing vocals in many of the choruses.

Of course, there are a lot of other things on the album to enjoy. You still get the great guitar work (including a blazing guitar solo that gets its own track) from Thorsten Köhne, the power metal riffs and symphonic drama of the songs from Trinity, the darkly anthemic songs of The Second Coming, as well as the soaring choruses of songs like “Fly Away.” The sound is pretty clear, except that the bass is a bit muffled, which is especially apparent in the heavy, should-be-thundering “Jerusalem Sleeps” and “No Holy Man.”       

Not surprisingly, nine out of 18 actual songs are from the album recorded with Mijić, Symphony of Sin, with a handful from Trinity, and a sprinkling from The Second Coming and the band’s self-titled debut.  “Time to Breathe,” an interesting choice for a single, was recorded during Marco Sandron’s brief stint with the band, and Mijić sings with a bit more grit and edge to his voice than Sandron. Several songs on this live album were originally duets: “Black Widow” with Andi Deris of Helloween, “No Holy Man” with James LaBrie of Dream Theater, and “Angels and Demons” with Pamela Moore, who was on Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime, but it sounds like Mijić handles all the vocals here. 

“Devil in Disguise,” from Symphony of Sin, makes me think, "I wish I could hear Michael Eden sing these vocal lines." It’s a fast, heavy song with anguished vocals and Eden’s emotive voice would shine. But for fans who don’t mind the change in vocalist, it’s a nice collection of Eden’s Curse songs, showcasing the band's entire history and their breadth of styles.

We Are One With The Bloodline
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:28    | Written by Brandon Delano    PDF Print E-mail

I recently sat down with Travis Neal, lead singer of Chicagos’s The Bloodline. We talked about the upcoming release, We Are One, as well as future plans for 2015.

Shockwave: So tell us about The Bloodline.

Travis Neal: Well, depends on what you want to know, like how it started or a little history of the band. The band started out about three years ago in the final stages of what the band was known before as Dirge Within. It took on a new life itself when we started to write our new music. We quickly realized that the sound was different, and we decided whether to put it out and be completely different than what the band was before that. We would change the name, start new, and leave all the stigma from the other band behind. I had never done a record with them; I had only done a few shows, so it was, kind of, like a new band once we started, so that’s, kind of, how The Bloodline began. We rose from the ashes of that band from a self-set fire that we decided to set.

You have a new album coming out in May.

Yeah, May 4 the album comes out. It’s We Are One, and it’s on Another Century, Century Media. It was supposed to come out on April 24, but we decided to push it back a little bit, you know, obviously for promotional purposes and stuff like that.  We have a single that’s, kind of, working its way around on the radio right now called “With Fire Comes Absolution,” so that’s pretty much it, and that’s all we’ve released from the record. We have two other songs that we’ve released that are demos, “The Blackout” and “Midnight,” that you find on YouTube and on our Soundcloud account. Other than that, we have a new video coming out towards the beginning of the release for the song “Poisonous” that we shot, so up until then, it’s just “With Fire Comes Absolution” coming out right now.

Nowadays with bands being spread out across the country and each member writing their own individual pieces and sending it in, how is the recording process with you guys?

Well, basically, the band is based out of Chicago; I live in San Diego. They write all the music collectively as a band and send everything out to me, and then I go over and write the lyrics, the melodies, vocal patterns and stuff like that. We’ll converse back and forth and decide what we want to keep and don’t want to keep musically, lyrically and vocally, stuff like that.  Then we put together the rough demos and I’ll fly out to Chicago when we record; we do everything in the Midwest.

What are your plans after you wrap up the current tour with Doyle?

We, basically, have a couple irons in the fire that we have tentative tours booked, but nothing has been confirmed yet, but some stuff is looking pretty good. As for right now, I really don’t have a for sure thing to say. We’re going to head home, just do some prep work because we are probably going to be coming back out in late April, heading out for a month-and-a-half or so on the package that we are working on. But it’s not confirmed, so I can’t say anything about it.

With you guys being renamed and rebranded, did your fan base carry over or are you having to establish a new fan base?

You know, it’s the same thing as back when I joined Divine Heresy; there’s obviously going to be fans that prefer Dirge Within or the former band with the former singer that may not like the stuff we have. But overall, I think 89 to 90 percent of the people that loved Dirge Within love this stuff that followed my career and the band’s career separately. They are really into it because it’s something different and something new; it’s not what they’re used to hearing from us.

So yeah, overall the response has been great. I mean, obviously we lost some fans that like the straightforward heavy, heavy, heavy all the time, and they’re probably going to be like, “It’s not for me,” but any major change or rebranding of anything and you’re going to gain some and you’re going to lose some. It kind of goes with the territory, you know, but overall people really seem to be taking good to it.

So for those that haven’t had a chance to hear the new material, how would you explain the new sound?

It’s definitely, I guess … I’ve never really tried to compare it to anybody, but I would say we are a hard rock band/metal band. I mean we’re not like these bands, but we definitely would be hand-in-hand with, like, All That Remains, Five Finger Death Punch, and Killswitch Engage, stuff like that with more radio qualities. There’s a lot of songs on the CD that are heavy, but are very much a song that could be on the radio as well, and that’s our main goal. We definitely want to [have] songs on the radio and we want to get on with shows like that.

So are there any bands you would like to go on tour with in 2015?

Oh man, there’s a ton. Now me personally, I would like to go out with bands like Shinedown or Breaking Benjamin, stuff like that. Breaking Benjamin we definitely fit with; they have the heavy overtones, we got the heavy overtones. Shinedown might be a little more rock. But I mean people can definitely look forward to us going out with Fear Factory, obviously, because of my ties with Dino Cazares, plus we’re just all good friends with those guys, and with Trivium as well. It’s something people can look forward to, definitely, [with] bands in that genre and active rock scene, and you’re going to see us invading all those territories. 

Doyle: Survival of the Fittest
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:20    | Written by Natasha Cawthon    PDF Print E-mail

[click image for photo album] 

Shockwave Magazine’s Natasha Cawthon recently sat down with legendary guitarist Doyle (Wolfgang Von Frankenstein) and frontman Alex Story when the band, Doyle, made a stop at Empire in Springfield, Va. 

Shockwave: After being part of some of the most influential bands in history, how is it to self-sustain your own band?

Doyle: Still working on it.

How did you come up with the title for Abominator?

Doyle: We had no title, so me and Alex were just coming up with crazy ass and nutty things right for titles. And I’m driving down the street and I just … You know how you talk to yourself in the car? I wasn’t talking to myself or nothing, and I just blurted out the word abominator. So the next song I sent Alex, I said, “What do you think about this one?” I said, “Here’s a Black Sabbath-y sounding song for Abominator,” and we named it Abominator, and it was the last song we wrote.

So what’s your favorite song from the album to play live?

Doyle: The last one [“Abominator”].

How did Alex end up coming into the band?

Doyle: Ask him.

Alex: I heard he was wanting to start a band, and I said, “With anybody else that will suck,” and it did. So I was like, “I’m going to have to help him with that,” and so I did. 

Graham is not on tour with you. Tell us about your fill-in bassist.

Doyle: I can’t … I don’t even know him. I met him when he showed up.

Alex: He’s quiet, like, he don’t talk a lot, or he may be asleep. I don’t know. He’s like a ninja; he just pops out and he’s there all of a sudden.

What’s the writing process like when the two of you are together?

Doyle: We're never together; he writes in Alabama and I write in New Jersey.

Do you use Skype or anything like that?

Doyle: We’re too stupid for anything like that.

Alex: We do it the most difficult way possible: We, like, send smoke signals and shit. We’re like goddamn cavemen. We’re still sending shit on, like, fucking CDs back and forth.

He comes up with riffs and shit, like, fully composed pieces. I try to leave it how he’s got it so that it’s more him and not so much my writing style. I just flow over it. A lot of times we just go with the first thing I free flow over, and then we’re like, “There’s a song.” … Other than that, he comes up with the music, I come up with the vocals, and we do that.

Everyone knows you make your own guitars and amps, did you want to talk about that?

Doyle: Not really.

Do you want to tell us about the next album you are working on?

Doyle: Sure. We’re just going to do the drums over. You know, we almost finished the drums and then our drummer left, so we’re going to have another drummer come in and do it. There’s 13 songs, and we have no title and no artwork and we have no money. 

You’re running a pledge music campaign to fund the new record?

Robin [the tour manager]: Yeah, fans that participate in that will get an exclusive fun item from Doyle, so keep an eye out on officialdoyle.com.

Doyle: They will not be going out to dinner with me.

Do you have any future plans for another band or tours that are coming up?

Doyle: We just have our booking agent trying to get us more shows.

Are there any places you want to go that you haven’t gone yet?

Doyle: Anywhere but the United States.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming tour with Mushroomhead?

Doyle: I have not thought about it.

We know that you make some hot sauce.

Doyle: I do. Do you want to taste it?

I do, because I put hot sauce on everything. Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Doyle: Sure. It’s really good, which you are about to see.

You have a new one coming out as well, right?

Doyle: A super hot one for everyone who wants to be a tough guy, and their assholes can bleed when they shit. It’s called Abominator; it hasn’t been fortified with vitamins yet.

We noticed you didn’t put sugar in it.

Doyle: Sugar? Why would there be sugar in it? It’s vegan.

So you are labeled as one of the fittest musicians.

Doyle: No, the fittest. Did you read it? That’s what they said.

How do you stay so fit?

Doyle: I work out every day.

What about your diet?

Doyle: My diet? It’s a vegan diet.

Do you have any future plans for another comic?

Doyle: They’re doing a sequel or, um, working on an animation, like a cartoon. 

Last Updated ( Monday, 30 March 2015 19:27 )
Ancient Rites: Laguz
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:16    | Written by Steve Wass    PDF Print E-mail

Ancient Rites’ sixth album, Laguz, provides an epic musical journey. Described as “Black/Historical/Epic/Heathen Metal” on the album's promotional sheet, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I pressed “play.” However, I soon discovered that there are not only harsh growls and black metal guitars, but also rich folk melodies, which make this outing all the more grandiose.

The one-two punch of the instrumental “Golden Path to Samarkand,” which is basically a fantasy movie soundtrack, and the blast beats of “Carthago Delenda Est” that follow immediately afterward, exhibit the blending of more than a few genres. The closest sonic comparison I can draw is a vague, folky Fleshgod Apocalypse (or even the more history-oriented Ex Deo) with some clean, true metal guitar solos.

“Apostata” marches you right along into battle, while “Umbra Sumus” is relentless (although not overpowering like many FGA songs), but ends with a particularly poignant, even-paced solo. The renaissance music and nigh whispering evoke a storyteller as the adventure ends on a lighter, but no less enjoyable note with “Fatum (Ill Fate/Noodlot).” Overall, I think fans of epic metal, like The Summoning or Caladan Brood, would particularly enjoy this solid album.

Work of Art-Framework
Monday, 30 March 2015 19:08    | Written by Michael McGeehan    PDF Print E-mail

Melodic rock/AOR music used to rule over here in America until grunge came along and killed it in the early 1990s. Thanks Nirvana. Over in Europe though, it's a completely different story. Rock and AOR still thrive there. A perfect example of that is the band Work of Art. Hailing from Sweden, this trio put out their third album entitled Framework on Frontiers Records.

Guitarist Robert Sall, drummer Herman Furin, and vocalist Lars Safsund, have again put out a collection of music that is literally a work of art. Catchy riffs, harmonic melodies - anything that pretty much describes AOR (adult-oriented rock) - are on this release.

"Time to Let Go" starts off the disc with its soaring vocals that Safsund, also the singer in Lionville, does so well. Sall, also in the band W.E.T., is an exceptional guitar player, and it shows on "Can't Let Go." Frontiers Records is signing AOR bands left and right, and Work of Art is definitely in the top 10 right now of great new rock.

Unfortunately you cannot just go out to your local record store and purchase this. When you find it online, get the Japanese version, which includes the bonus track "On the Edge of Time." You will not be disappointed, I promise you.


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