To date, we have conducted 1312 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:
St.Paul, Minnesota was on the eerily quiet hangover edge left by a freak storm that had raged the night before, another one brewing on the toxic green horizon turning to dusk beyond Station 4. The club is situated a block off the riverfront, is small, but is the only place in the Twin Cities where you can really catch a Real Metal Show. Ozzfest would be held an hour away in Wisconsin the following day, and I was thankful for the opportunity to see Taiwan’s Chthonic in such an intimate setting.
Obsidian droplets of rain trace a slow procession down the face of a midnight sky. The scent of moss and forgotten bouquets fill the air, spiraling in a Venetian waltz with the mist as it settles around the shroud of earth draping you.
You sink ever further into the oblivion of this landscape…only this is not your death, it is Evoken’s 11 minute masterpiece “The Last of Vitality”, from their late album Antithesis of Light, and one of the most provocative Doom compositions to reach our ears. With a new label and new album Caress of the Void soon to be unleashed, guitarist Nick Orlando let me into the scattered realm of his tortured mind to discuss his journey through the Metal Underground.
The Internet has been an obnoxiously attractive platform for the success of many metal bands over the last few years. My Space, last.fm and YouTube have all helped shape what is widely known as the New Media Explosion, lending itself in large part to the dreadful emo-rock phenomenon. Where MySpace is concerned, several metal and hard rock bands writhe for a spot at the top of the most played charts, yet few have managed to actually impress anything new upon the genre. Terror Syndrome have, against all odds, broken through in only a few short months. The hype started in April of this year with some raw mixed Mp3s and quickly evolved into five full album-ready songs. After much growth and cohesion, Terror Syndrome average hundreds of hits per day and are prepared to release the ultimate metal album in the form of Stupidity For All…At least according to Devin Townsend drummer and Terror Syndrome founder, Ryan “RVP” Van Poederooyen.
Unfortunately, we are living in an age when many metal fans are lamenting the dilution of the Gothenburg sound. Let's face it, Come Clarity is no Whoracle, Stabbing the Drama is no Predator's Portrait, and even Fiction (as awesome as it is) is no Mind's I. Fortunately, there are up-and-coming Swedish bands, like the Bereaved, who bring back the famed Swedish sound that has shaped the face of modern metal.
The Bereaved was formed in 1998 when bassist Mikael Nilsson and lead guitarist Henrik Tranemyr recruited drummer Tobhias Ljung and vocalist Jonny Westerback, adding keyboardist Tony Thorén later on. They released their debut album Darkened Silouhette with Black Lotus Records, before being released from the label last year and subsequently signing with Vic Records. The current incarnation of the Bereaved includes Denny Axelsson taking over vocals for the departed Westerback and Per Berquist on guitar.
Mikael took the time to answer some questions for me. Here is how it went:
Influenced by bands such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, Pantera, and Johnny Cash, Devildriver was started by Dez Fafara (former Coal Chamber frontman) and Evan Pitts. Released through Roadrunner Records in 2003, their self-titled debut album focused on death and thrash metal. Their second album, "The Fury of Our Maker's Hand," released in 2005, was greatly influeced by Scandinavian death metal, specifically in relation to the guitar work.
Touring the United States, Europe, and Australia in support of their album, DevilDriver played with headliners In Flames, Fear Factory, and Machine Head. They also headlined in the Burning Daylight Tour. "The Fury of Our Maker's Hand" was re-released as a Special Edition in 2006 with three additional studio tracks, three live recordings of previously released material, and a DVD of all of their music videos to date.
Their third album entitled "The Last Kind Words" was released mid-June in Austrailia and the UK, and will be released late July in the US. Devildriver promoted their album in the UK at the Download Festival, alongside headliners Linkin Park, Iron Maiden, and My Chemical Romance.
Vocalist Dez Fafara took the time to answer some of my questions.
On May 5 I had the pleasure of interviewing a member of one of the bands my friends and I grew up on and got into metal because of - Static-X. After ritually going to see them for my birthday with my friends for the past 3 years, I was finally able to meet one and talk with one of the members of Static-X, I was able to interview Tony Campos. Tony was fun to interview. He was watching "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" when I got on their bus and we talked about it a bit before the interview. During the interview I was partially star struck, as I could not believe that I was interviewing someone I grew up listening to and always dreamed that I would be in this situation! Although I stumbled through some of it, I hold it as one of my best interviews. My questions to the Static-X bass player are as follows:
Saturday May 9 I had the opportunity to sit down and get in the head of the frontwoman of one of the most politically active bands to date. I interviewed Otep Shamaya of the band that bares her name, the awesome Otep. The interview went very well, I discovered we share the same political views and that their new album is definately going to be their best to date. Otep was very down to earth, personabale, and overall amazing person to talk with. The interview is as follows:
Cleveland, Ohio's Chimaira is a metal band with genuine passion for their music; they are relentless in their pursuit to make each album and show better than their last. The band has gained much recognition, touring with legendary metal icons and releasing consistently solid albums.
The band is comprised of vocalist, Mark Hunter, lead guitarist Rob Arnold, rhythm guitarist Jason Hager, bassist Jim LaMarca, drummer Andols Herrick, and Chris Spicuzza on keyboards/electronics/ samples.
Signed by Roadrunner Records in 2001, Chimaria quickly recorded their debut album Pass out of Existence. Shortly after the album release, Jason Hager found he was going to be a father and made the tough decision to leave the band; Matt DeVries took over as rhythm guitarist. During their time at Roadrunner, drummer Andols Herrick decided to leave the band, replaced by Ricky Evensand, then replaced by Kevin Talley. After signing with Ferret Records/Nuclear Blast, Andols Herrick came back to record their forth LP, entitled Resurrection-their heaviest and most musically technical album to date.
It was amazing to sit down with Matt DeVries, along with my transcriber/photographer Bradley Hulett, to present to you this hearty interview.
At 17, Brandon is the youngest member in Mutiny. Before he even turns 18, he can say he's played everywhere from Starland Ballroom to Giants Stadium. Not too bad for someone whose only been playing guitar for three years. The guy can write a mean death metal tune [for evidence, just check out Mutiny's myspace page], put ridiculous solos to heavy rhythms, and balance out a song with heavy melodies of his own. Brandon is prepared to make Mutiny his life's work--it's his only project, and he dedicates pretty much all the time not spent sleeping to band related things. Expect to see Brandon and his sonic madness traversing the country with Mutiny someday....someday soon.
Edison, New Jersey's Mutiny have been rocking in their current line-up since May of 2006. Brandishing everything heavy -- from face melting solos to blast beats, they continue to create their unique brand of technical metal. Nonetheless, Mutiny's sonic output comes back to rest on heavy grooves and melodies.
With an average age of 18, Mutiny have a lifetime in front of them. Even so, they've already played countless shows, with the likes of Danzig, WASP, 3 Inches of Blood, and are moving on to play the Bamboozle Festival alongside My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, and Killswitch Engage.
I caught up with Mutiny for some Chinese food and throwing of a frisbee. What follows is a conversation with all five band members.
If there's a "new" band you should watch for, it would be Scar Symmetry. Hailing from Avestas, Sweden since 2004, the band features singer Christian Älvestam (Incapacity, ex-Angel Blake, Torchbearer), guitarists Jonas Kjellgren (ex-Carnal Forge, Centinex) and Per Nilsson (Altered Aeon), bassist Kenneth Seil and drummer Henrik Ohlsson (Altered Aeon, ex-Diabolical, ex-Thrawn). They are often compared with In Flames and Soilwork, but the main thing that sets them apart from other melodeath giants is the existence of clean vocals, which alternates with the death metal growls. Not to mention the amazing guitar work. These guys prove that the Swedes are still at the top of the metal game.
When fellow Swedes Dark Tranquillity and The Haunted brought their co-headlining tour to Vancouver, BC, it gave me the chance to sit down with the two Scar Symmetry guitarists in their tour bus to ask them a few questions, hear them share their pearls of wisdom and learn some Swedish from them. Here's how it went down:
American Hardcore captures the history of hardcore punk from Los Angeles through Washington D.C. and NYC, circa 1981-1986, based on the book of the same name by writer Steven Blush. Paul Rachman's documentary is a strong-willed outcry, which set a politically minded foundation for a lot of later bands.
Interviews with legends such as Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat), Henry Rollins of Black Flag, and H.R. (Bad Brain's fuel-injected dreadlock front-man) infect this DVD with power of such magnitude that you are transported into the sentiment of the time. The movie subtly points out the numbified herd mentality of the general populous, which gives the viewer a much needed kick in the arse when comparing the Reagan administration with the political state of today. Hardcore's aggression was a unified force-it didn't matter if you were a hoodlum, vegan, or straight-edge-at shows there was a sense of unity.
Edward Colver contributes a cornucopia of photos, keeping the movie true to the scene. The DVD also features live footage of Minor Threat, D.O.A, and the Circle Jerks.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Rackman and Steven Blush and talk to them about the newly released American Hardcore DVD; I am grateful to bring this exclusive Q&A to longtime hardcore fans.
Slayer formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Known for their distinctive musical traits, involving fast tremolo picking, guitar solos, double bass drumming, and screaming vocals, Slayer quickly gained recognition with their 1986 release Reign in Blood, which has been called "the heaviest album of all time". The band is credited as one of the "Big Four" thrash metal bands, along with Megadeth, Metallica, and Anthrax.
Criticized by religious groups (which consequently generated album bans, delays, lawsuits and, most importantly, publicity) due to their outspoken lyrics and creative album art, Slayer's lyrics cover topics such as serial killers, Satanism, religion, warfare and the Holocaust.
Selling over four million albums in the United States alone, since their debut record in 1983, the band has released two live albums, one box set, and ten studio albums. The band has received two Grammy nominations, winning one in 2007 for the song "Eyes of the Insane", and headlined music festivals worldwide, including Ozzfest and the Download Festival.
I sat down with legend Kerry King to catch up on their Christ Illusion tour.
Unearth is the exception in today's generic radio-friendly metalcore, with songs that are injected with raw emotion rather than the ever so popular commercial mainstay. "A lot of our friends who used to be in kick-ass metal and hardcore bands are adding these pop choruses now for no reason," says frontman Trevor Phipps. "I think they're making the same mistakes that all the bands in the early '90s made when metal turned to complete horseshit. They're totally watering down their tunes to sell more records. We're just trying to prove that bands can still sell records and tour and have a career by making a heavy fucking record."
Unearth was formed by Trevor Phipps, Buz McGrath, Ken Susi, Mike Rudberg, and Chris Rybicki at Winthrop, Massachusetts in 1998. On the small independent label, Endless Fight Records, they released their first EP called Above the Fall of Man on May, 1999. Years after the release, Unearth signed to Eulogy Recordings to release The Stings of Conscience in 2002 and Endless in 2003. During the process of Endless, bassist Chris Rybicki left the group and was replaced by John Maggard.
I sat down with John Maggard to talk about their tour with Slayer.
Portland, Oregon's PROVEN is a hardcore metal band to sit up and really watchout for. The band is on a literal shooting star ride through the system on their way to worldwide recogniton, all in a matter of literal moments it seems since I first discovered them several months back on MySpace. The band is comprised of vocalist, Marc Halverson, Randy Ross on guitars/vocals, Sam Boggess on guitars, Josh Dixon on drums and Keith Fitzgerald on bass. I actually fell head over heals in love with their straight ahead, non-over produced hardcore sound when I first heard their demo tracks, but then obviously when I noticed they were being mentored along very closely by Billy Graziadei of Biohazard fame, I'm not going to lie, that really caught my fascination. I am very pleased to bring this new exclusive Q&A session to all of you that I've conducted with Proven's vocalist, Marc Halverson.
Cotati, California's AFTERTAYST is certainly about as green as they come through the doors here at metalunderground.com. I do think it's important amid all the top level names that I do bring to my worldwide readership here to not fail in recognizing the fact that there are bands who are just getting out the gate and need as much of our support as the rest of them. How the hell else is heavy metal going to prosper in the future? Unless you're all waiting for Justin Timberlake to start slam dancing behind the microphone. What is it with this guy lately anyway? The world acts like he's the second coming of Moses. Anyways, I digress, Aftertayst shows solid potential in many areas of their developing metal sound that I scout for: heavy, heavy... and yes, more of the heavy. Let's keep our eyes and ears open, along with devoted devil hornz raised for these dudes and wish them the best of luck as they move into the literal void of the metal biz, shall we? Here's my Q&A with Dan, their guitarist.
Sweden's VANMAKT are a black metal band that, that like so many coming up from the underground scene today around them, have found the newest form from the past decade or so now of this great metal sub-genre, to be wholly over-produced, synth'd out to the max and just plain watered down by the likes of big time acts such as Cradle of Filth. They have recently signed on with Singapore's Pulverised Records and are scheduled soon to release their debut album entitled: ”Vredskapta Mörkersagor”. And any black metal fan that is worth their salt needs to at least hear what these guys are up to, for I truly believe this band and many others off the greatly respected Pulverised label are going to set a new standard in the sound of pure evil for many years to come. I got some new Q&A in with their unholy menace on the four strings, Vladr.
British Columbia's OVER THE COALS formed initially back in the spring of 2004 in their hometown of Prince George, B.C., under the name of Burn Out West. Comprised of vocalist James McMurtrie, guitarist Matt Starkes, bassist Mark Moser and drummer Max Matthews, all having solid backgrounds in other local projects such as Disdain, Feedback and Fistfiller, they soon morphed into a much larger musical beast under the newly christened moniker: Over The Coals, thus starting to immediately cultivate their defining sound, a cross between Pantera and Corrosion of Conformity, with other old school metal influences that helped them create a genuinely distinct, ferocius and simply undeniable crushing style that would soon garner them much attention throughout their home scene within just their first set of gigs. The band is now arming itself with new material in ultimate preparation for its debut album and also plan on making it out to the west coast of the United States later this year to begin carving their name out on the rock world in this most legitimate of manners. I recently conducted some Q&A in with their guitarist, Matt Starkes to learn more.
London, UK's BORDEL is gearing up for an eventful 2007, totally intent on making waves all over the globe with a fistful of gothic metal attitude that's combined with a dedication to writing heavy songs with the literal independent spirit of the underground and a focused intent on making as many new fans of their music as humanly possible. A relatively new band, having only met its inception in 2002, this band is utterly fearless and makes no bones about what they strive to accomplish in an over crowded rock business that feeds off of the last hit band's newest failures. I think what makes Bordel a legitimate contender in the long run is that they don't seem seem to have much care for understanding of the market they are in and that unlike most who dare to break the mold for fear of not fitting the perfect formula, Bordel takes their route through the backdoor, not making a noise as they creep up on the first time listener and simply let their kick ass music do all the talking. I got some Q&A in with their drummer, Iban.
IRON BEARD is not the name of an upcoming B-rated flick starring one of the guys from Cheech N Chong. No, this young, upstart metal acts hails all the way from The Rhondda Valleys, South Wales. The band consists of drummer, Richard (Dicky) Mears, bassist Luke Jones, guitarist Nathan Morgan, and Julian Dickman on vocals. They blend a multitude of different heavy music sounds that certainly stays clear of the extreme metal expression dominated by over the top blast beat dramatics and keyboard synth'd out calamity you hear being produced by so many countless metal acts today. No, this band strips it down, much like New Orlean's Down has been doing it all these years and are still kicking everyone in the nuts. They seem to have their heads on straight for the shady and outright scandalous doings of the record business with a positive vibe that emanates from the fact that these cats just like to throw it down for the love it. I'm pleased to bring you all this ever-so-worldly Q&A with their bass player, Luke Jones.
Chicago, Illinois metal act HURTLOCKER has been through the ringer these past couple years, mainly with having lost their former dummer to a drug-related incident. But they also would soon learn the ugly side of the business when they got little or no PR and touring support from their label Napalm Records after putting out their brillant last full-length offering entitled "Fear In The Handful Of Dust". But they're metalers, not pussies, and they still are more than alive and kicking with a new positive approach to how they will handle things once they complete recording of their new album here in 2007. I expect some great things from these guys, more than just about any upcoming act I've scouted, promoted or made of fun while doing my work here. I sat down for some cool Q&A.with Grant Belcher, Hurtlocker's lead vocalist.
Richmond, Virginia's SOUTHERN VEIN has just now started to find its own footing in the underground heavy music scene and at this early stage appears to be one of those acts that clearly knows what it wants to do musically, easily heads above ninety-five percent of the upcoming competition that surround them. Formed in the winter of 2005, with a leaning toward Southern-rock and punk, they have found that kind of unique voice I believe, along with the proper nurturing, that could take them to incredible heights in the business. But as is anything in life, we all kow that only time will tell. I got some Q&A in with their lead vocalist, Brandon Malone.
Boston's HOSTILE TAKEOVER is one of the more legitimate contenders I've scouted recently to have a chance at moving out of its small hometown ranks and possibly onto a more promising future in the metal world. Its lineup features Ricardo Matos on vocals, Kevin Raposo on drums, Matthew Freeman on lead Guitar, Dustin LaRose on guitar and Serg on bass guitar. They cite Lamb Of God, Shadows Fall, Pantera and Unearth as their main musical influences and seem to have a strong grasp early on at what they want to achieve. I got some Q&A in with their bassist, Serg.
York, Pennsylvania's NINETAIL has stuck with the same headline on their MySpace music profile all along: "Fuck you, come and get us!". And I can't help but see that this daring attitude they've put out there among the swirling ocean of thousands of competing metal bands - to indeed be that thorn in everyones side - is now what's truly started to reflect itself in their recorded music and live shows, performances that have included them sharing the stage with some of the biggest names in the business like MUSHROOMHEAD, DEVILDRIVER and SOULFLY. Back in 2004 the early version of Ninetail hooked up with the two driving guitar forces behind SPINEBELT, Don Belch and Chris Evans. Its been a match made in heavy metal hell since. I am really pleased to be able to get some Q&A done with lead guitarist, Belch.
Fargo, North Dakota's SONS OF POSIEDON are one of my recent metal music discoveries that flatout continues to grow on the proverbial ears with each and every spin from their new self-released album entited 'North American Metal'. They have become hometown favorites over the last several years with one highly entertaining performance after the next and a bass player that is clearly unrivaled in the 'let it all hang out for the hell of it' department. Whether he's covering his nearly nude body in strawberry preserves on stage or sticking fireworks in his ass and lighting them off for the cheering crowd, Hat of Sons of Poseidon always seems to be doing a bit more than just his part of throwing down a rockin rhythm section to entertain his fans and that's what rock n roll is all about.