To date, we have conducted 1113 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:
During the weekend of the annual ProgPower USA festivities, running into the members of Oklahoma-based progressive metal band Vangough is probably one of the cooler experiences an audience member can have. With influences ranging from Dream Theater to Pain of Salvation and video game soundtracks, their music is as much a trip as is a conversation with one of them. With several albums under their belt, the members of Vangough met with me on Saturday morning at this year’s festival to discuss the next record, their most recent 4-star record, “Kingdom of Ruin” (reviewed here,) the new directions of their music, and K-Pop and Milli Vanilli, somehow.
Switching back and forth between deadpan humor and outright laughter fits, similar to how the band’s style switches from mood to mood within a song, it was clear to me that the members of Vangough take their music seriously while taking the other parts of life with a twist of lime. The bandmates are: Clay Withrow (guitars/vocals), Jeren Martin (bass), Kyle Haws (drums), and Justice Jonston (keys/orchestra).
Anthropologist Sam Dunn and Banger Films have documented the history and evolution of rock’s ugly cousin, heavy metal. “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey” (2005) broke down metal’s various styles in a heavy metal family tree, and explained through exhaustive research and interviews, the construction and progression of each style. Although the film played on network television outlets such as VH1 Classic, an hour-and-a-half film is a mere scratch on the shield of heavy metal history.
After releasing a stint of award-winning films such as “Iron Maiden: Flight 666,” and “Rush: Behind the Stage,” Banger Films returned to metal lineage, this time securing a contract with VH1 Classic to release a season of “Metal Evolution: The Series.” Each week Sam and his crew presented an hour-long segment focusing on a single sub-genre. Dunn documented everything from the prototype bands that influenced metal’s loud and raucous nature to Black Sabbath’s rise, eventually landing on newer styles such as Nu Metal and Power Metal (‘80s German to modern Finnish symphonic).
Even though Banger Films released eleven episodes, there were still major holes in the series. Viewers reached out to the film company and asked why the network didn’t release episodes on extreme metal branches such as black metal, death metal and grindcore. The simple answer is none of the networks felt those topics were suitable for television.
Now Dunn and Banger Films have set out to create “The Lost Episode,” a segment devoted to extreme metal. Metal Underground.com called Sam Dunn to discuss how he and his crew plans to write, film, finance and release “Metal Evolution Episode 12: The Lost Episode, Extreme Metal.”
On Day Two of ProgPower USA XIII, progressive metal newcomers Beyond The Bridge opened the show and conquered the ProgPower hangover. Moreover, they won the sincere respect of the audience as they made their USA debut performance, becoming a real fan favorite of the weekend. Between the many facial expressions of bassist Dominik Stotzem and the display of musical prowess by the band, it was hard not to enjoy the performance.
With “The Old Man and the Spirit,” their impressive debut album (reviewed here), and live show, Beyond The Bridge set the bar high for the other bands of the day to hit. Later on at night, after the band had savored the sound of an uproarious auditorium clapping for them, the main songwriters of the band sat down with me in the courtyard of the Artmore hotel for an interview. Guitarist Peter Degenfeld-Schonburg and keyboardist Christopher Tarnow opened up about the concept of their album, how the band formed, working in the studio, getting close to an idea for the second album, and even about possible adaptations for the first.
Growing up on the game-changing melodic death metal music from Gothenburg, Sweden was very fun for me. However, growing up WITHIN the game-changing melodic death metal world of Gothenburg, Sweden must have been incredible. Such is Amaranthe's story. Evergrey, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, Soilwork, and other heavyweights took the genre to new heights and left in their wake a trail for others to follow and enhance. As I was about to learn, Amaranthe had come from this wake after entertaining ideas of starting a Gothenburg melodic death metal super-group.
It was Friday, September 14th, and in the middle of the afternoon at the Artmore hotel just down the street from ProgPower XIII venue Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia. Amaranthe was to go on stage in about an hour, but the band was very nice to agree to an interview in the courtyard of the hotel. Guitarist Olof Mörck and vocalist Jake E not only revealed the creation story of Amaranthe (originally Avalanche), but also details on the upcoming record, producing versus mixing, liver sandwiches, and actually being beaten up in their music video for "Hunger."
At this point in the band's career, Nightwish has become nearly everyone’s first thought when they think about heavy metal from Finland. With astounding budgets for consistently higher-selling albums upon each release, it’s safe to say that Nightwish is doing well. The reason the group has achieved the #2 spot in the US Top Hard Rock Albums charts upon the release of latest, “Imaginaerum,” (reviewed here) was due to successfully cultivating a fan base in the states, which had started with their very first US show at ProgPower 4 in 2003.
After all those years inbetween, Nightwish returned to ProgPower at Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia for a two-night stint on September 12th and 13th as a prelude to the 2012 festival weekend, ProgPower’s 13th official year. Kicking off their headlining tour with Kamelot, the band brought the house down. I was lucky enough to snag a quick interview with bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala after a short trip to the band’s catering room. As if he doesn’t already have a lot going on with Nightwish, we also discussed various projects of his, such as Northern Kings, Tarot, being producer for Amorphis, and the “Imaginaerum” movie.
Six years after sophomore full-length album "Continuum," the L.A. metal act Prototype has now returned to the scene with new album "Catalyst," released earlier this month through Nightmare Records. With the album out now and pummeling metal fans into submission, guitarist Kragen Lum got in touch with us to help get the word out about the new release.
A transcript of our chat can be read below, which offers a look into the sci-fi concept on these new songs and covers how the band changed up the sound by using seven string guitars. You can also find out info about Kragen's other band's Heathen and Pyschosis, along with his thoughts on the state of the current L.A. metal scene.
Turbid North is partially a product of their environment and partially a product of open-minded musicians. Mellow harmonies, classic rock, western, psychedelic freak outs, doom-y sonicscapes all help enhance the group’s brutal death metal base. They present extreme music from opposite polarties. Much of the group’s writings pay homage to nature, a thing of abundance in the Rydlinski brother's (Adam and Alex) and Nick Forkel’s life before moving to Texas. The memory of Alaska’s permafrosted aesthetic led to writing hymns to nature. Like Cinderella once said, “You don’t what you got until it’s gone.”
Moving to Texas also instilled upon Turbid North a definite down-south swagger. Amongst its current ranks are former and current members of The Destro and Debri. Whether the Lonestar State’s tradition for bruising groove played a factor in their music or not, these sounds leave an obvious cowboy-boot imprint on their music.
Nearing the end of their U.S. tour, Metal Underground.com joined Turbid North guitarist Alex Rydlinski and Nick Forkel upstairs in Head Hunters’ patio. These Alaskan transplants described life on the road, new material and how the group merged all of these styles and members (bassist Chris O’Toole is originally from England).
Sylencer is the brainchild of vocalist/lead guitarist Markus Johansson, who spent almost six years working on the band’s debut album, “A Lethal Dose Of Truth.” Some of that time was spent gathering an enormous list of guest appearances, including the likes of Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad, Fear Factory), and Sean Reinert (Cynic, Death). All together, there are over a dozen recognizable musicians who guest throughout the 16 songs on “A Lethal Dose Of Truth.”
However, there’s much more to the album than just stacked-up guest spots. The music goes everywhere from power metal to progressive metal, not sticking to one style for a long period. Though the names will bring in interest, the music will keep people around after the names are mentioned. I had the opportunity to speak to Johansson about getting all these noteworthy musicians involved, and translating this album to a live setting.
Folksy, psychedelic rock outfit Hexvessel is now only a handful of days away from the official release of sophomore full-length effort "No Holier Temple," which reflects on the idea of sacred places in nature. While perhaps not a traditional theme metal heads may be exposed to, except for outside a few folk metal bands, Hexvessel sits in that nebulous area between genres where fans of the extreme and the mainstream can come together to enjoy something a bit different.
Described more accurately as "neofolk" than "metal," Hexvessel still sits proudly on the Svart Records roster along with some truly dark acts. While diving into the band's new release in an interview, Mat "Kvhost" McNerney discussed the kinship between styles of music and how fans of devastatingly heavy sounds can get a needed fix from "No Holier Temple." An avowed fan of the underground, Mat also shared his love of unknown local Finnish acts, how this new album has changed musically from the first release, and how the band ended up with Svart Records.
It is hard to believe that nearly twenty years has passed since brothers Ciaran "Ardchieftain" O'Hagan and his brother Dermot started the pagan band Waylander in Northern Ireland. Through many years of demos and line up changes, Waylander is back with it's fourth album, "Kindred Spirits." The album is in the vein of a heavier pagan metal direction, which the band had shown signs of gravitating towards on their last album.
Another thing that is immediately apparent is the rich storytelling that Waylander is known for. Every album of theirs is not only a bona fide metal experience but an anthropology lesson as well. Vignettes of the Gaelic/Irish history permeate "Kindred Spirits" in the same way they have graced every other release. Chieftain O'Hagan not only sings about the pagan way, but lives it as well. He is involved in many of the traditions that make him and the band distinctly Irish.
Being from Northern Ireland and having a band composed of members on both sides of the divide, it is no wonder that Waylander chooses to focus on the true Irish traditions rather than identifying with the socio-political vagaries and strife that cause dissension. Chieftain was amicable enough to visit with us today and discuss Waylander's direction on the new album "Kindred Spirits" and the relevant tales that have inspired the music of the band.
After finishing up a four part interconnected series of albums (check out our reviews of "Ghost" and "Deconstruction"), Devin Townsend remains ever on the move and is already preparing for the release of his next project, titled "Epicloud." With the album set to drop later this month, I got the opportunity to speak with the eccentric metal mastermind himself to see what fans can expect from this latest sonic adventure. In his own words, "If what I do interests you, then this record is something you will probably think is good. If what I do bugs the shit out of you, then you’re not going to like it, so good luck and no hard feelings."
During our chat, Heavy Devy explained how "Epicloud" leaves the negative aspects of metal behind to put a positive focus on the good things in life, and how that necessitated using guest musicians such as Anneke from The Gathering and even a gospel choir. The surprisingly candid discussion also led to Devin discussing his connection on a personal level with metal icons such as Ihsahn over having children and a real life outside the extreme metal persona.
The full interview, available below, also explores his thought processes on the difficulty of choosing material for a live set list, an unexpected attempt at poop humor, and confirmation on an upcoming new Ziltoid album.
Inconsistent members, misrepresentation and the doldrums of answering interview questions with an assembly-line frame of mind have led to the dissembling of Candlelight Records’ most prolific band Abigail Williams. One question that founder and mastermind Ken Sorceron scorned was “tell me about your band name?” Abigail Williams was one of the accusing girls in the Salem Witchcraft trials. The group’s dark ambiance and orchestrations aptly describe a style of black metal that conjures images of superstition and witch burnings. Unfortunately, these ideas were not clearly expressed in their early marketing plan.
These mishaps are some of the reasons Sorceron is closing this chapter of his life. However, music is in his future plans. Metal Underground.com climbed into his van parked outside Beerland in Austin, Texas to find out more about Abigail Williams’ final hour and what the future may bring.
Canadian black/death metal act Auroch has been on a whirlwind ride these last few months, wrapping up the Canadian Abomination Tour, getting signed to a label, and now gearing up for the official release of debut full-length album "From Forgotten Worlds."
Amidst all the momentum, I got in touch with Auroch's Sebastian Montesi to see what he had to say about the band's recent success, as well as to discuss the dark cosmic horror at the center of the group's music. In the full interview below you can find Seb's thoughts on translating the Cthulhu mythos into musical expression, the best representation of the mythos in movies and games, and the band's excitement to begin touring internationally.
Swedish melodic death metal merchants Zonaria had been quiet in their camp up until late. In the years after 2008's "The Cancer Empire," the band took time out to reflect on how they wanted things done. Zonaria's last album was rushed to make the release date schedule, something the band wishes it had more time with. On 2012's "Arrival of the Red Sun" on Listenable Records, the group gave itself all the time it needed in the production process to release an album with no misgivings.
Once again the band enlisted Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry, whom it had went with on the first album. Now in the midst of filming a video for the track "Silent Holocaust," (a song which is streaming over at this location), Zonaria took the time to give us a brief chat about the band. The band's bassist Max Malmer, who was a sessionist until joining full time recently, shared his thoughts on Zonaria's path with the new album.
Because Obituary has a history that dates back a quarter-century, few will dispute their legacy as siring death metal's progeny. Considering how early this Tampa, Florida band planted its roots, it’s a bit ironic that two of its members—John and Donald Tardy—bear an adjective in their last name that denotes late arrival. Obituary didn’t come to the party, they hosted it. The group has left such obvious signs of impact--from John’s savage snarl to Trevor Peres’ mid-paced groves—that it doesn’t take a private dick to reveal the bloody prints they left on the face of modern metal.
Modern is hardly a term used for a band over twenty years old, but it still applies today, and not just in death metal. Metalcore and deathcore surely borrowed a few tricks of the trade from the Tardys’ and crew. As the group prepares to write its ninth studio full-length, promoters and fans still demand the classics. According to Tardy, upcoming European tours may feature set lists culled primarily from their first two recordings,” Slowly We Rot” and “Cause of Death.”
Three years have passed since Obituary released their last recording “Darkest Day.” The group has been too busy playing gigs to settle down and make a new album. There is a gap of information in these three years. In the following phone interview, John Tardy happily updated us on subjects such as past and future tours, the Tardy Brothers’ solo record and lineup changes.
2012 has been a stunning year for new metal. In particular, the Italian scene has seen an explosion of quality material whether you talk about Luca Turilli's Rhapsody or Sound Storm and even those the world has not yet heard such as Wind Rose and Hollow Haze. The pressure was on for Vision Divine co-founder Olaf Thörsen (born Carlo Andrea Magnani). Carrying the distinction of bringing Labyrinth back to its legendary status at the top with the 2010 release "Return to Heaven Denied, Pt. II - A Midnight Autumn's Dream" upon his own return, he "set his destination" back to Vision Divine to dream up the new concept LP "Destination Set to Nowhere." With co-founder and Rhapsody of Fire vocalist Fabio Lione back in the fold since the 2009 release "9 Degrees West of the Moon," the dynamic duo returns with a seventh stunning progressive masterpiece (see Metal Underground.com's review at this location).
Granting interview time, Olaf Thörsen now set his destination for Metal Underground.com where he tells the whole story of "Destination Set to Nowhere": its concept on human nature, how it was written, what it was like to work with the world's best vocalist and just how much it meant to him to NOT have his music compared to generic power metal. What follows turned out to be one of your author's most enjoyable conversations.
Stealing Axion's debut full-length album "Moments" is due to drop through InsideOut Music in only a handful of days, and the band's music will have the opportunity to speak for itself as Stealing Axion officially breaks into the metal scene.
If you can't wait until the release date to find out more about "Moments," guitarist/vocalist Dan Forbrich is more than happy to walk potential fans through the sound and recording process for the album. Check out our interview with Dan below, and be sure to catch Stealing Axion on tour with Jeff Loomis, Vildhjarta, and Monuments this coming Fall.
In 2011, Australia’s Dragonsclaw made its mark on the traditional metal scene with the debut release “Prophecy.” However, coming from near geographic isolation, the band has faced an uphill climb to make a name for itself, even in the band’s own country. Through all the adversity, the band launched an internet campaign to release “Prophecy” and has seen steady worldwide attention since. Now, they are set to release an extended single this fall (“Judgement Day”) and a following up with the sophomore full length release in 2013.
Your author was afforded the opportunity to hear the demos for the upcoming EP and what they present is a more mature and progressive sound that builds on the successes of the first release. Singer Giles Lavery still hits the rafters, but introduces a lower end that really shows the true range of his vocals. The songs are longer, more progressive, but never lose sight of the band’s overall sound of traditional metal. Where “Judgement Day” retains the direction of “Prophecy,” “Eternally” and “Fear” are the most complete songs the band has written, incorporating keyboard work and epic themes giving the band an early Crimson Glory feel.
Vocalist Giles Lavery spoke with Metal Underground.com to unveil some of the details of what is in store for Dragonsclaw this fall and in 2013. The band is ready to dig in its claws, determined to leave a bigger impression on the metal scene.
When your band's initials are T.H.C. and you've got an album named "Rollin," it's pretty clear what direction your music is heading towards. But no one could mistake front man Bid Dad Ritch and his Texas Hippie Coalition as actually being a hippie commune out to spread the love, as new album "Peacemaker" is just as much about being an outlaw as it is about the sex and drugs - but more importantly, it's about the rock and roll!
Whether you want to call it "red dirt metal," "Southern fried Texas rock," or just "something to listen to while smoking up," T.H.C. combines a little of everything for a rock/metal melting pot that garners fans from across the musical spectrum. To find out more about the new album, what T.H.C. will be doing to celebrate the month of April 2020, and the band's "rough" process for writing new songs, check out the full interview with Big Dad Ritch below.
Whether working, playing shows or simply hanging out, The Blood Royale’s battle-ax wielders JT Smith and Tim Corken are omnipresence at Austin metal venues. Normally, Corken is in front of Beerland working the door, but on this Thursday night he was part of the entertainment. Although The Blood Royale has been kicking southern Texas in the shins for five years, Smith has more followers in his other band, Dixie Witch. Their big-belt-buckle, whiskey-brain, southern/stoner rock sound seems more closely related to Texas culture than The Blood Royale, but punks and thrashers come out of the wood work for the type of d-beat-downs that The Blood Royale offers. Keep in mind: this is the home of Chaos in Tejas festival.
The Blood Royale is a sonic cocktail of d-beat punk, grind, speed, thrash and the eyes and ears of politicians. Yes, they continue the time honored tradition of anti-establishment messages conveyed in punk rock, but they don’t consider their selves anarchists, which allows them to smell much sweeter than the gutter punks around town. There is certainly more to the group than a middle finger aimed at the mainstream, so Metal Underground.com met with Smith and Corken to dig deeper into the lyrics on their self-titled, debut CD, while finding out more about the bands history and upcoming live blood splatters. Surfs of the music world bow before The Blood Royale!
Now in their twenty third year as a band, Northern Ireland's, Therapy? are still going strong having released one quality album after another. Their latest record, "A Brief Crack Of Light" will be hitting the shelves in North America next month, and MetalUnderground.com had the chance to speak with frontman Andy Cairns about the album, as well as when fans can expect them to cross the Atlantic, plans for the future and Prime Minister David Cameron.
Diamond Oz: First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions. I’d like to start with your new album, "A Brief Crack Of Light" which will be released in the United States next month. Can you explain the meaning behind the title?
Andy Cairns: Hi, thanks for the interview, we're really excited that this album is getting a release in North America.
The album title comes from a quote by the Russian writer, Nabokov "the cradle hangs above an abyss and common sense tells us our existence is a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness". We felt the title fitted in with all the existential themes on the album. Watching life in all it's little dramas and absurdities all played out in such a short time span.
Diamond Oz: The album has been available in Europe since February. Why did it take so much longer for the record to be released in North America?
Cairns: We had to get the right people to put it out. We wanted to make sure that our North American fans could get a chance to be aware of the record and get their hands on it. A few of the people we talked to earlier didn't understand the band so we held off.
Chicago's Dirge Within is hungry to take the metal scene by storm, getting its music out there to as many people as possible across every conceivable platform. The band's latest assault comes in the now released form of "There Will Be Blood," which is the follow-up to "Force Fed Lies" (reviewed here).
With the album out Dirge Within had planned to spend the summer touring with the Shockwave festival, until the unfortunate last minute cancellation of the run. With some extra time now on the band's hands, I caught up with guitarist Shaun Glass to find out what's going on in the Dirge Within camp.
Our full interview is available below, in which he discusses the ill-fated Shockwave Tour, getting songs on the Rock Band Network, the recent Randy Blythe debacle, and witnessing two fans going at each other during a live show.
Wes Borland is best known as the eccentric guitarist for rap metal outfit Limp Bizkit, but he also splits his time as the frontman for Black Light Burns. The band released the well-received “Cruel Melody” in 2007. After a few years on hiatus, the band is gearing up to release their sophomore effort, “The Moment You Realize You're Going To Fall.” A heavier affair compared to their debut album, distorted bass and an abrasive guitar sound drives most of the songs. I had the chance to speak to Borland about the band starting up again, writing in isolation, and the differences between touring with Black Light Burns and Limp Bizkit.
Turin (Torino), Italy is more than a city that was the focus of the 2006 Winter Olympics. It is a city rich in history, best known as the home of the “Shroud of Turin,” which has been the subject of religious debate for years. The language (“piemontese”) is still steeped with the Celtic verbiage of its ancient inhabitants (“The Taurini”), who were destroyed by the Romans. A cultural, literary and cinematic center, Turin was the birthplace of chromatography and the Italian cinema. Ironically, this culture has been infused into the city’s symphonic metal scene with acts like Aevum, Phenris, Venice In Vain, and most notably Sound Storm.
Sound Storm was established back in 2002 as a traditional/classic metal band playing covers of Iron Maiden, Manowar and Savatage. At the end of 2003, the band began composing original material resulting in its 2005 demo “The Storm is Coming...” and successor 2007 EP “Northern Wilderness.” In 2009, the band started to define its sound with the stellar debut release “Twilight Opera,” through Rising Works. Once released, the band would begin its epic journey of evolution and now stands at the precipice of releasing one of the finest symphonic records ever, “Immortalia” (see Metal Underground.com’s review at this location). With the sophomore LP backed by Scarlet Records and scheduled for an August 28, 2012 drop, guitarist Valerio Sbriglione spoke with Metal Underground.com to give the entire low down on a release that should become immortal in the hearts of symphonic metal fans.
On July 6th, Nashville was doomed, so to speak. Impending Doom had arrived in town for a show at Rocketown that night, bringing with them a handful of other bands: Within The Ruins, The Plot In You, Erra, and To Each His Own. Despite having the smaller of the two Rocketown venues for their show, their performance was fitting of the scope of their band name.
Before the show, I caught up with Impending Doom vocalist Brook Reeves, along with his bandmates on the tour bus, for a video interview. The band is known for confrontationally Christian lyrics, constantly involving Us-Versus-Them scenarios. For example, in the title track to their third album, Reeves says, “For the unbelievers who repeatedly try to retain their belief in humanity, I promise there will be violence.”
I got them to elaborate on their message, talk about their latest album and modern production styles, as well as detail their songwriting process and their past.