To date, we have conducted 1210 interviews. If your band is available for an interview, feel free to contact us and we'll see what we can do. Here are our latest:
Thursday, October 2nd saw Avatar, one of the most intriguing and visually arresting metal acts to emerge from Sweden this decade, perform in a support slot for Mushroomhead at Phase 2 in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Well prior to showtime, as early arrivals were casually gathering outside the venue doors, I sat down at a table in the adjacent restaurant with Johannes Eckerström, a true frontman if ever there was one. An outgoing giant of a young man, both in physical height and in spirit, Johannes is the latest in a long line of theatrically-inclined metal figureheads such as Marilyn Manson and King Diamond.
With the donning of trademark ghoulish face paint still a couple hours away, the German-Swedish singer and I were able to relate as contemporaries on a multitude of topics, starting with his band itself and running the gamut from musical nostalgia, to “selling out,” to nü-metal woes, to piracy, to cultural differences, to the “Rock God” myth and the “groupie mentality,” and much more.
We discussed artists as diverse as KISS, Foo Fighters, Christina Aguilera, Black Sabbath, Mayhem, Pink Floyd, Opeth, Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, In Flames, Rammstein, System Of A Down, Limp Bizkit, Soilwork, Blind Guardian, Devin Townsend, The Beatles, Beethoven, Machine Head, Nine Inch Nails, the Jonas Brothers, and Led Zeppelin.
If ever an interview could be described as a portrait of a person, I daresay it would be this one. I give you Johannes Eckerström of Avatar - unabridged, unedited, and uncensored.
On November 9th a new star will blaze into the sky, rising from the depths of New Zealand to light the way of a new era where the morning star alone reigns.
Covered back in 2012 in our look at the underground genre-blending metal scene, The House Of Capricorn's new album "Morning Star Rise" is nearing official release next month through Svart Records (read our review here), and pre-order info can be found at this location.
Vocalist Marko Pavlovic of the Aukland-based group was eager to share his vision of apocalyptic devil rock for the world, and now you seekers of the left hand path can dive into his dark wisdom through our interview below.
Blurring the lines between the genres of extreme music, Khold is just as comfortable in black metal mode as in groove or thrash territory.
It's been six years in-between releases since "Hundre år Gammal" came out, and with the other projects of the band's various members on hold, Khold came together once again to unleash "Til Endes," which is out now through Peaceville.
Khold member Sarke (also known for his self-titled black metal project) checked in with Metalunderground.com to discuss the Norwegian outfit's sixth full-length album (reviewed here). Below you can see what Sarke had to say about the band's Sepultura cover, how the new album came together, and discover the fate of Tulus, which features several other members of Khold.
Polyptych's second full length "Illusorium" is one of the most interesting extreme metal recordings of 2014 as it exudes a unique kind of frantic ferocity and epic scope.
Mixed at the legendary Tampa's Morrisound Studios, its sonic and musical pedigree definitely stands alone. If you haven't heard much about it before, please don't blame yourself. You should blame the circumstances surrounding its release. After all, the Chicago-based band wasn't able to find a proper label that could help to expose the new genre-blending juggernaut to the metal masses out there.
MetalUnderground.com wants to help to change that. We spoke with the band's bassist/vocalist, Frank Lato, about the creation of this commanding 10-track journey and the complexities of working as true independent artists in the already saturated underground scene.
Oscuro: It's been 2 years since your fierce debut "Panels Engraved." It's a relatively short period between albums having in mind that you basically are an independent band.
Frank Lato: Polyptych was initially conceived as a studio project only, and has never had a stable lineup until the inception of “Illusorium.” When “Panels” was written and recorded, the band only consisted of [guitarists/vocalists] Young Werther and Scott Skopec, with Matt Kaminsky providing session drums. Following the release of "Panels," I joined the band, and “Illusorium” quickly came together. Having a third member allowed our songs to develop much differently than they did on “Panels” because there was an extra person on which ideas could be bounced. Once the album was written, we decided that Matt would also be a great fit for this new material, so Matt once again recorded drums for the album.
Oscuro: The previous album was more straight forward Death/Black Metal with a lot of Scandinavian influences. However, "Illusorium's" musical scope is broader, with richer textures and atmospheres, more complex rhythmic patterns and occasional dissonant riffing. Is this a sign of musical 'maturity' for Polyptych; maybe as a consequence of the growth you've experienced as musicians during your 6 years-career?
Frank Lato: It is definitely a combination of all those things. As you grow older and play your instruments longer, you develop as a songwriter, and you acquire new musical influences. We knew with “Illusorium” that we did not want to repeat ourselves, so we made it a conscious point that this new album would be more varied, dense, and complex, while allowing it to retain a very specific atmosphere.
Also, as mentioned before, the addition of a full time bass player helped the band to develop ideas more fully, and "Illusorium" has bass lines that either complement or counter what the guitars are doing – something that is not present on “Panels.” Frank also helped introduce some other textures not present on “Panels” such as extra vocal parts, synths, and fretless bass. Frank would compose synth parts, and then as a band, we would decide where they should go, how frequently they should be used, etc. Due to this new focus on the band writing music as opposed to individuals, “Illusorium” took the shape that it did.
It’s hard to gain respect as a black metal band, with many purists in the scene believing in order to be considered a black metal band you must live up to a certain standard. You must dress a certain way, have certain beliefs, and sound a certain way. Odinists can’t sing odes to Satan. Bands definitely can’t use keyboards or instruments other than traditional heavy metal drums-guitar-bass.
In the case of New York’s Black Anvil, the members are guilty of being from a region, New York, considered to be “hipster.” Many journalists focus on Black Anvil’s members playing in hardcore bands, a fact that has no bearing on the group’s sound. The group's latest record (reviewed here) “Hail Death” features elements considered untrue such as clean vocals, melodies, and even some groove.
In the following interview conducted during a tour with Skeletonwitch and Ghoul, vocalist/bassist Paul Delaney expresses frustration in that so many do not get his band. He makes its very clear that Black Anvil, is indeed, a black metal band. Expressing dark emotions, “Hail Death” is a passionate album with plenty of black metal elements such as blast beats, tremolo-picked riffs, and goblin shrieks. A reading of his lyrics brings all this passion together and puts into perspective the band’s convictions.
One of the major draws of the fifteenth ProgPower USA festival was the opportunity to get to see Sweden’s super-prog gents in Seventh Wonder perform their album “Mercy Falls” in its entirety (minus the awkward voice acting) for a live DVD. Judging by the crowd that they drew for that night, it was glaringly obvious that the fans had been wanting this. It was to be a fine performance, and neither Seventh Wonder’s first in the states nor their last of the 2014 festival. The band played again to a crowd of gold badge-holders and VIPs on Saturday morning, just hours later, which was also filmed for the DVD. These boys had some kind of crazy endurance!
During their first performance, members of vocalist Tommy Karevik’s other band Kamelot were in attendance, supporting Tommy’s first love in a gesture of solidarity and genuine enjoyment. After Seventh Wonder were through, MetalUnderground.com writer Frank Serafine was able to sit with them for a short time to get some answers that fans have been eager to dig up: Is the new record going to be a concept album and is “Inner Enemy” going to be on it? Will the new songs be more like “Inner Enemy” or is it just an exception? Will you come to Chile? How about an American tour? Charismatic bassist Andreas Blomqvist, eager drummer Stefan Norgren, quiet keyboardist Andreas "Kyrt" Söderin, guitarist Johan Liefvendahl, and the ever-smiling vocalist Tommy Karevik gladly revealed a few things while lunching backstage.
When not defiling graves and taking the lives of their native Creepsylvania inhabitants as they sleep, Ghoul creates thrashing grindcore songs about the mayhem that occurs in their pathetic, pit-of-Eastern-Europe town. Whether it's battling marauding bikers, opposing Commandant Dobrunkum's dictoral decree against rock ‘n roll or just songs about grave robbing and consuming the succulent flesh of humans, Ghoul writes hilarious songs with catchy rifsf that skaters dig. These above-the-catacombs dramas play out on stage, too, in a Gwar-like-blood-spewing fashion.
The hooded miscreants once again arose from their tombs and took a barge to North America, Count Dracula-style, to join up with blackened thrash titans Skeletonwitch and NYBM force Black Anvil. In order to bring you the following interview, I had to lead the guitarist/vocalist Digestor into the closest thing to his catacombs, a rat-and-roach-infested alleyway. He felt more at home in that environment.
Not altogether unexpected, given Evergrey’s close relationship with ProgPower USA promoter Glenn Harveston, it was still a nice surprise to most to see drummer Jonas Ekdahl and mainman Tom Englund announce a listening party for the new album, “Hymns For The Broken,” at ProgPower USA this year. Their video for “King of Errors” got the world chattering when it revealed that Ekdahl and previous guitarist Henrik Danhage were officially back in the band after a few years’ time. The listening party at the festival revealed that the support for Evergrey never waned among their core USA fans, with the crowd giving applause after every single song that played.
During their time at the festival, the Evergrey men made time to have a nice long chat in person with MetalUnderground.com’s Frank Serafine, during which it was revealed that much of the new album was inspired by mainman Tom Englund’s descent into depression and self-doubt, as well as overcoming it to get to where he is today. In good spirits, the guys joked throughout the interview. Englund even almost got teary-eyed when describing several touching emails he received from Evergrey fans. Moreover, it was revealed that Evergrey would like to eventually release an acoustic album, which would be an excellent choice given their flirtation with acoustic songs on past records.
Eluveitie. In 2014, it’s more than just a band name (especially if you can pronounce it correctly). It’s a symbol, a trademark, a familiar signature on a distinct masterwork born of an eclectic labor of passion.
It wasn’t always this way. When Nuclear Blast signed the underground Swiss octet in 2008, the “folk metal” subgenre had barely begun to make itself a rising force outside of Europe. Seemingly overnight, all that changed with the furious shred of a violin, the insane interlocking precision of flutes and whistles, and the solemn drone of a hurdy-gurdy (“Time to buy a dictionary,” puzzled many a stumped metal fan), all packed in a cannonade of melodic death metal riffage.
This apparently instant success, of course, was in fact the result of several years of uncertainty and perseverance, a far cry from the humble project launched by frontman and mandolinist Christian “Chrigel” Glanzmann in 2002. That evolving journey has continued to this day, throughout a massive world tour for the acclaimed 2012 album “Helvetios,” an extended break, and now, perhaps the group’s finest hour, “Origins.” (reviewed here)
Following Eluveitie’s first-ever performance on U.S. soil in support of the album, at the Baltimore Soundstage on Friday, September 19th, I caught up with hurdy-gurdy specialist and backing vocalist Anna Murphy backstage. Though fearless leader Chrigel had opted to hit the sack, several of Anna’s bandmates decided to join us, including drummer Merlin Sutter, guitarist Rafael “Rafi” Salzmann, guitarist Ivo Henzi, and - last but not least - bassist Kay Brem, who made a belated appearance bearing some vital information.
Formed in 2007, Canadian traditional metal act Striker set to stake a claim in the crowded so-called “New Wave of Traditional Metal” scene. If metal bands emerging from the Great White North are known for anything – it is how to fight, survive and win. They represent some of the most criminally underrated and classic bands found in heavy metal, especially when you count legends like Anvil, Exciter and Helix among newer acts like Cauldron and Skull Fist.
Spearheading a new influx of “true metal,” Striker has dropped its latest monumental effort “City of Gold” via Napalm Records earlier this month. It is a continuation of the power burst made on the breakthrough album “Armed to the Teeth” (2012) (see review here). With a little more punk influence added in this time around, the band have seemingly found “Cibola” and continue the march towards metal glory. Metal Underground.com sat down with the Striker’s newest axeslinger Tim Brown (Shadowblade/ex-Kobra and the Lotus), who joined in 2013, replacing Ian Sandercock.
Several hours before their performance of the “Remedy Lane” album at ProgPower USA XV in Atlanta, GA on September 12th, Pain of Salvation was in a kind of limbo of nervousness. Some of their equipment had been mistakenly flown elsewhere while they had been flying to the states, a broken snare drum disaster was narrowly averted by one of their Johnny-on-the-spot sponsors who personally made a trip to Guitar Center for them, and frontman Daniel Gildenlöw was in a cool-headed but obvious state of conflicted anticipation. It was hardly “the right time” to do an interview with the band. Nevertheless, Gildenlöw and guitarist/vocalist Ragnar Zolberg generously agreed to take ten minutes with MetalUnderground.com’s Frank Serafine to open up about their situation.
With an acoustic album to be released following two raw and polarizing “Road Salt” albums, Gildenlöw’s recent medical triumph over flesh-eating bacteria, and a North American tour now under way, it is a time of great change for the band. Among other things, the tall tag-team twosome of Zolberg and Gildenlöw revealed that the band had worked up a very special version of Dio’s classic “Holy Diver” for the acoustic album. Gildenlöw also discussed how putting his experiences into song changes his own recollection of those experiences over time as they become “the album.”
As of this day, the boys of the truly progressive act Leprous have finished their North American tour and will be moving on to Euroblast and a string of dates in the UK. Their set at ProgPower USA XV on September 12th was to be the first of the North American dates, the last of the tour dates to support their last album, “Coal.” Sitting down with the guys of Leprous after that show (vocalist Einar Solberg, guitarists Oystein Landsverk and Tor Suhrke), Metal Underground.com writer Frank Serafine was to find out that the band had already nearly completed the next album and is preparing to go into the studio to record it. Among talk about Solberg playing festivals with Emperor and other things, it was also discovered that the band’s previous songs are sometimes the stuff of dreams, written down shortly upon waking.
In part one of my conversation with Philip Anselmo, we revisited major happenings at last year’s Housecore Horror Film Festival and were brought up to date with the inner machinations of this year’s festivities. We touched on a couple of headline acts that will appear this year. This part of the interview we discuss his reunion with Superjoint Ritual. We also throw a bloody bone to the cast of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” parts one and two, who a small number of fans will be able to dine with along with HHFF top dogs Anselmo and true crime author, Corey Mitchell at the original house from the film in Kingsland, Texas. Anselmo also shares his feelings about the passing of Rigor Mortis guitarist Mike Scaccia and the trials and tribulations of Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, who will assume MC duties for HHFF.
The nights in Austin, Texas will once again grow darker this October when heavy metal icon and horror cinema freak, Philip Anselmo brings his second installment of the Housecore Horror Film Festival. In addition to screening over 100 films of a twisted and depraved nature, the entire remaining cast of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” part one and two will be on hand. A small number of fans can even purchase a ticket to dine with this ghoulish ensemble at the site of the original house.
This is just a brief overview of the film side of the festival. Each of the four days of the festival include nearly a dozen heavy metal bands of numerous sub-genres. Some of the bands producing the most hype include Glenn Danzig performing both Samhain and Danzig solo sets, Voivod, Gwar, Eyehategod, Macabre, Neurosis and Warbeast. Festival curator Philip Anselmo will reunite with Superjoint Ritual for a special performance. Blackened death metal cult of Portal, who holds a special place in Anselmo’s heart, will make their way to the Texas’ capital from Australia.
I had to split my interview with Philip Anselmo into two parts just to get a loose grip on all the festivities set to occur. In this first segment, we revisit last year’s festival including his personal highlights and talk about some of the inner workings in gaining this year’s lineup. Anselmo expresses his thoughts on some of the premiere artists set to appear and how he feels about them on a personal level.
For those few who haven't heard the good news: the pre-Nevermore outfit Sanctuary has risen from a more than two decade slumber to announce 2014 as "The Year The Sun Died!"
With the album due out next month, buzz is hitting a fever pitch, and we've been excited to speak with the band members directly about the return of an iconic outfit that ended too soon.
After our writer Rex_84 spoke with guitarist Lenny Rutledge last month to talk about the original demise of Sanctuary, we also just got both Rutledge and vocalist Warrel Dane on the phone to further dissect the new album and see where Sanctuary is going from here.
Check out our latest interview with Sanctuary below to find out how the group approached writing new music with an outfit that hasn't been active since the '80s, what's happening with music videos and live shows, and read Warrel Dane's proclamations on the failure of world religions.
Hailing from Winnipeg, the melodic death metal outfit Laika will drop second full-length album "Somnia" at the end of the month via the band's own Filth Regime Records.
We've been following the promising young group since 2011 and watching the development of this release with much anticipation, and now that the album is nearly upon us we got in touch with vocalist Jordan Dorge for an inside view of Laika.
See what Jordan had to say about delays in the album finally leading up to this official release and find a full track-by-track break down explaining the "Somnia" concept below.
"Sepultura And Les Tambours du Bronx: Metal Veins-Alive At Rock In Rio" could be considered the "Stomp" of heavy metal. Filmed on the main stage at one of the largest rock festivals in the world, Rock in Rio, French industrialists Les Tambours du Bronx electrify Sepultura in front of their hometown by playing 225-liter barrels with beech wood bats or even axe handles.
The grand performance can be heard on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray on September 16th via Eagle Rock Entertainment. The DVD and Blu-Ray contain an exclusive documentary of behind-the-scenes footage including interviews, rehearsal and sound-check plus clips of the band before hitting the stage.
I spoke with Sepultura front man, Derrick Green via a conference call from his home base in Brazil. In the following conversation, he gave me insight on participating in what he feels is probably the loudest concert he has ever played!
Sanctuary punctuated the 1980s with an exclamation point with "Refuge Denied" (1987) and "Into the Mirror Black" (1989). Their initial effort was a chillingly dark record that towed the line between power metal and thrash. Warrel Dane's falsetto voice rivaled metal gods King Diamond, Rob Halford and Geoff Tate. Also, Dave Mustaine produced the album and played a solo on their cover of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," further marking this as a metal classic.
Dane injured his voice during the making of the album, which forced him to sing in a lower register than the previous recording. Although the sophomore recording didn't retain such incredibly high vocals, Dane sang with a greater sense of anger and developed his deep narrations. On the whole, the album showed more progressive traits with heavier grooves and prominent bass lines via Jim Sheppard. The album also showed a fuller production.
This album would also mark the band's swan song. Rumors formed that the band quit due to pressure from their label to become a grunge band, which guitarist Lenny Rutledge refutes. Dane, Sheppard and the newly acquired Jeff Loomis would go on to form Nevermore, which showed the three shed its 80s metal armor for 90s metal groove and progressive virtuosity.
Seventeen years after disbanding, Sanctuary reformed. A couple years after their reformation, Nevermore split. After a few years of shaking off the rust in front of crowds, mostly during one-off shows such as the metal cruises 70,000 Tons of Metal and Barge to Hell, once again the band landed itself in a studio and created its first recording in twenty-five years, "The Year The Sun Died." I spoke to the main man behind the music (Dane wrote the lyrics), Lenny Rutledge to get a sense of how they made this comeback. We had a bunch of catching up to do in the following interview including hearing about the band's split, return and getting Dave Mustaine on board to produce "Refuge Denied."
Obituary's brand new album "Inked In Blood" is almost here! In fact, the 3-decades-old death metal quintet and Relapse Records will release it on October 28th. Recently, Metalunderground.com had the unique opportunity of visiting the band's compound at Tampa's Redneck Studios, and listened some of the mixes for this long awaited recording.
This is Obituary's first full-length since 2009's "Darkest Day" and it definitely sounds like a concoction of some of the band's most characteristic trademarks. Without a doubt, songs like "Violence" and "Inked In Blood" deliver the goods via their lethal combination of doomy soundscapes, sudden attacks of vicious speed and infectious grooves— all garnished by John Tardy's imposing vocal style.
Taking a break from the arduous mixing process, the band's co-founder/drummer, Don Tardy, talked with us about this new self-produced material, the decision to self-finance the recording with the help of fans, and what's in store for Obituary's immediate future.
Oscuro: It’s been 5 years since 2009’s “Darkest Day.” Why did it take you so long to produce another album?
Don Tardy: I don’t know why. First, we were very busy with touring for our previous album “Darkest Day” and then... I just think that now we are not 20 years old anymore. Everybody has children, families, so I think that when we were done with touring, everyone just went back to normal life and enjoyed their children and families a little bit. Then, we really just made sure that we took our time writing these new songs.
We were in no rush, we had no expectations, and we really just wanted to have fun with the process: we wrote a song, we would listen to it, make changes, think about it, listen to it, and make changes, so it was just a long process. Then, of course, 2 years ago we came with the idea of the classic Obituary set list so that took us on the road and we were very busy again, playing the classic set list, so the album got delayed a little bit longer. The good thing is that it is finished. We are very proud of this record.
A new force to be reckoned with in the metalcore world, Texas quartet Darkness Divided has skyrocketed straight to a record deal and is officially a part of the Victory Records family. You can now hear what all the fuss is about, as the band's debut full-length "Written In Blood" (streaming below) has officially been released through Victory.
We also got in touch with the band to discuss it's sudden success, the metal scene in the San Antonio area, and switching gears from music school to traveling the country in a van for metal shows. Read the full interview below.
Krieg's "Transient" - a tale of being a stranger in your own mind with no place to call home told through the genre of black metal - is coming out on September 2nd via Candlelight Records (reviewed here).
Both an intensely personal story and a collaboration of creativity with newly recruited members, band mastermind Neill Jameson got in touch with us at Metalunderground.com to explain the process behind the album and what's going on with the lyrical themes and cover art.
In the full interview below, Neill explains what the band will be doing to celebrate 20 years of existence, what happened with the group since the release of previous album "The Isolationist," and how Krieg meshes songs with drastically different sounds in a live setting.
A month ahead of the start of a North American tour with Pain of Salvation (sponsored by MetalUnderground.com), the Oklahoma-based prog metal foursome Vangough is in heavy rehearsal mode. With a few videos making their way to the band’s YouTube, an eager and locked-in beast is emerging and preparing to hit the ProgPower USA debut hard. Finding success through their ’Touring The Madness’ Kickstarter, which doesn’t end until the 21st of August, Vangough hope to be able to capitalize on the momentum and push for stretch goals. Lead guitarist/vocalist Clay Withrow caught up with MetalUndergroud.com after hitting the $3,000 band Kickstarter goal to talk about the band.
The Swedish all-female hard rock / heavy metal band Crucified Barbara is on the verge of releasing fourth full-length album "In The Red," due out September 10th via Despotz Records.
Vocalist Mia Coldheart was kind enough to connect with Metalunderground.com to discuss the new album, including tough issues like sexual abuse and gender roles in the metal scene brought up by the track "To Kill A Man."
Read on for the full interview where Mia talks recording in Gothenburg, shooting a music video, and digging deeper past the surface with song titles and lyrical themes.
The Danish melodic death metal troupe Illdisposed is now a full 12 studio albums in over a more than 20 year career.
Latest output "With The Lost Souls On Our Side" just saw official release last month, and to mark the launch of the new full-length disc, guitarist Jakob "Batten" Hansen checked in with Metalunderground.com for a new interview.
Below you can find Hansen's thoughts on negative reviews, discover the band's preferred method of recording, and see what he has to say about Illdisposed existing for an astonishing two decades.
xFiruath: Did you record this album again at Antfarm Studio and The Batcave? How long did the recording take and how did the process go this time around?
Jakob: That’s exactly what we did. It’s a winning combo. We started tracking the drums at the Antfarm Studio. There’s an empty swimming pool there that is perfect for drum recordings. It’s adding a great ambiance to the acoustics. The rest was recorded at The Batcave, which is my own place. We don’t have to rush things there, we can take the time we’ll need. When all recordings were done, Tue Madsen mixed and mastered the album at the Antfarm. All in all the process took five to six weeks.
xFiruath: What sort of lyrics are sported on “With The Lost Souls On Our Side?”
"The Flesh Prevails," the third album by San Francisco atmospheric death metal outfit, Fallujah, has an airy, dualistic quality. Guitar harmonies, synth, keyboards and even female vocals instill the record with angelic beauty. While the vocals harmonize with these light aspects, their guttural nature reveals a certain darkness beneath. Also, the guitars and drums are played at a speed that adds a hint of violence to these peaceful melodies. This speed and all the layers may seem chaotic at times, but there is a gentle finesse that helps the band maintain balance.
Fallujah's approach and ability has led to their garnering much accolades by fans and critics alike. Their placement this year on the extreme metal tour, Summer Slaughter, has increased their popularity while continuing to inspire an already built in audience (I noticed many Fallujah shirts). I caught up with vocalist Alex Hofmann after the group performed under scorching heat in Austin, Texas to talk about the Summer Slaughter and "The Flesh Prevails," which was released less than a week before this interview.