Posts Tagged ‘Metal’

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: TOOTHGRINDER

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


MARIA CIEZAK: For those who don’t know Toothgrinder, what’s the backstory?

JUSTIN MATTHEWS of TOOTHGRINDER: Everyone in the band has pretty much known each other for most our middle and high school careers. We have all played in other bands at one time, and coincidentally, all of our previous bands have played shows together. When everyone went off to college and our high school bands had broken up, Wills, Jason and Milky were still jamming on and off. One summer after my first year of college, Milky asked me to jam with them. I was a little hesitant at first, considering I thought my music career was over and I didn’t want to get involved in something that wouldn’t last. We had a couple jam sessions in Wills’ parent’s back room and realized we could make this work. We then picked up Matt as a bass player; we knew he had a background in jazz composition which helped evolve our eclectic style. I ended up going back to school as well as everyone else. Considering all of us were attending school full time, it was extremely hard to practice and play shows. Up until this year, we were only able to play during the summer and short winter breaks. I was going to school in North Carolina and remember about ten different occasions where I was driving a total of 20 hours to play one show. Though it was stressful, it made me more emotionally committed to the band and solidified my passion for it. Now that we have all graduated, I feel this is the first year we can call ourselves a real band. Up until now it has felt more like jam sessions and random shows. Fortunately, it is now more exciting than ever.

MC: Was the lineup always the same?

TG: Yes, the lineup has always been the same. I feel I can speak for everybody by saying the band would probably end if one of us split from the group. Each and every member of the band is irreplaceable. This goes beyond talent and creativity, we are pretty much family. I have spent more time with these guys than I have with a lot of close people in my life. It is something hard to understand unless you are in that particular situation.

MC: Where was your first show?

TG: Our first show was at a place called “Good Times”. Let’s just say it was very anti-climactic. This band started off extremely different than other bands I have been in. We pretty much began playing shows with absolutely no buzz and no one knowing who the hell we were or that we even started a band. We were the anti-facebook, anti-myspace band, with a more grassroots style.

That has clearly changed.

MC: What are your thoughts on the metal scene in New Jersey? Is there much of one?

TG: Yes and no. Yes, there is a metal scene with some great bands and great musicians, and no, in the sense that I feel the local fan base is not what it used to be. I remember chewing my nails to the bone just trying to find some sort of live video online, and now they are everywhere. I feel technology has a little to do with why so many kids do not go to local shows on the weekends anymore. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Though, I am extremely grateful there still is a metal scene, because for a while I thought it was going to completely die out.

MC: Who are some of your musical influences as a band?

TG: I cannot speak for everyone on this topic since we all have very different tastes in music. As a vocalist, I am greatly influenced by Mike Patton, Daryl Palumbo, Phil Anselmo, Phillip Lebonte, Greg Puciato, Chris Conley, Geoff Rickly and Maynard James Keenan, to name a few.

MC: What is on Toothgrinder’s iPod right now? Digging any new bands?

My iPod is ridiculous. I have been listening to a lot of nostalgic throwbacks lately. Some bands include Glassjaw, The Bouncing Souls, Shai Hulud, Pantera, Gin Blossoms, Pink Floyd and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. As far as “new” music goes, I am really digging this dude Wills introduced me to. His name is Charles Bradley. He has this James Brown style that I tend to like a lot.

MC: You guys just released a new record, however, it’s only three songs long. Explain!

TG: We have all decided that as an unsigned band it is better to release little bits of music more frequently, rather than an album with 60 minutes of music on it once every two years. We feel it gives people the chance to listen to everything we have to offer rather than skipping through an entire album until they find their favorite song… Technically, the album we just released is one song, but we split it up into three parts so people can skip rather than fast forward to a part they want to hear. It really is just our preference. We tend to do things our way, and we hope people appreciate that.

MC: Where can fans go to learn more about you?

TG: As cliché as it sounds, our facebook page and live shows. Personally, I feel our fans will not learn what we are about until they see us live. That is where the magic happens.

MC: What is your proudest moment in your career thus far?

TG: Honestly, I do not have a “proudest moment”. I am just so happy and thankful that I have come to a point in my life where I am involved in a musical project that is putting out quality music that people like to listen to. The fact that people listen to something we write, and enjoy it, blows my mind. It really does.

MC: What’s next for Toothgrinder? Tour? Studio again?

TG: All we want to do at this point is get on the road and keep putting out music. We are all at the crossroads where we want to quit our day jobs, say goodbye to our families and be gone for nine months. That is our dream and we are doing all we can to make it happen. Right now we are putting together a “do it yourself” tour for late spring. It is extremely hard, but I have the confidence that we will get it done. New music will be out in the next three months as well. Until then, we just got to keep on keepin’ on.

VULTURE KULT

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


What do you get when you combine the raw power of the Stooges with a modern grip and a long roll in the mud? Vulture Kult, that’s what.

(Ha! “Raw power”. Iggy Pop. I crack myself up.)

I am so happy to feature another Canadian-borne talent. This duo is juicy punk seared off the edge of rock.

Yes, the distortion in the amps and weight to the rhythm is more h-core than I usually endorse, but these guys make the extra bulk work to their advantage. They fall forward on your face, dragging picks across your cheeks and poking your eyes with free drumsticks. In that way they’re rock marinated in grunge- it’s all messy, screaming of greasy hair and exposed secrets. You can feel the sweaty grime recorded with the music. Even if they make the beats slosh about, every stain is intentional.

Don’t Let Rock n’ Roll Ruin Your Life (their second album, plucked out this year) is waiting to get stuck in your head. Anyone who ventures on the alt side of genres will likely appreciate this compilation. It reeks of classic underground influence without sacrificing the contemporary.

Get ready to pogo. (Or headbang. You choose.)

PAPA ROACH SHAKE THINGS UP WITH ‘THE CONNECTION’

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


BTB favorites, Papa Roach, are back in full force with a brand spankin’ new record, The Connection. They have returned to tear things up, unleashing a new album which invokes a vicious, vivacious intensity that is raw, relevant and ready to rock. With hit after hit, and no pun intended, they are Still Swingin.

This is a band that in my opinion has always evolved for the better with each album. While always trying something new, they are still fully aware of what works for them and how to make a smash. Every time they pick up their instruments and record a track, or perform a show, they are out for a rock war. I am a huge fan of their early work, including Infest, and was a huge fan of Metamorphosis, along with every other one of their CD’s, and I almost feel this record combines all of the essentials from their discography. It’s completely kick-ass from start to finish.

Jacoby had us all nervous this year, having to undergo surgery for his vocal chords, but he is back, and clearly better than ever. You can feel every emotion and pain throughout the lyrics he sings.

I am not writing this to review each track, or the album as a whole, but simply because of my pure, endless love for the sound of Papa Roach. No matter how young or old I was, their lyrics have always spoken to me, and still do. This record shows that this band has no signs of slowing down. I highly recommend picking up the Deluxe Edition, for two of the bonus tracks are some of the best on the album.

[Related Post: Papa Roach Is Still Kickin’ It]

PAPA ROACH IS STILL KICKIN’ IT

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

One of my favorite rock acts, Papa Roach, are back with a new single entitled Still Swingin. The track, taken off of their forth-coming album The Connection, has old-school Papa Roach written all over it. If you are an avid fan, you will know what I mean.

Check it out!

You can also catch these guys on the road this summer as part of The Uproar Festival.

BUTCHER BABIES

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

[Photo by Nick Pickles, UK-based Music Photographer]

Everyone has a drop or two of darkness spiking their soul. Most of us do our best to ignore it. I have never been one to accept this, and neither are the Butcher Babies. They define themselves as Slut Metal, but I assure you there is a lot more to them than luscious good looks. Carla and Heidi share centre stage with a sunder of screams. I haven’t heard leading ladies with this much power in their lungs since… ever. Conjoin these with metallicious instrumentals, and you’ve got yourself a force to be reckoned with.

They are unmistakably brutal. They are Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie’s rogue love-child. They are prepared to exorcise the demons you can’t face.

This kind of arsenic juice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I must admit I don’t care. They have got me thrashing around my living room like I’ve got two weeks paid vacation.

The best part is they have no shame in breaking rules. Their lyrics have substance, their videos touch on sensitive issues, and the girls have no issue with kicking ass while they shake their own.

This is what happens when the hardcore reject corporate influence. They bring rebellion to a scene that has become impossibly formulaic. I hope these guys can get signed without selling out. If anyone can do it, they can.

Did I mention they’ll be touring with Otep? If the metal scene has a seventh heaven, I’m getting close to those clouds.

Forget a slap on the back- these guys are a punch to the face. I for one enjoyed having my nose broken.

TATTERED

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


They reek of rock. The only thing I demand is that they make it louder.

Who? Tattered. Where? Olds, Alberta. (That’s right, these fellas rent in my province!) What? A gentle thunder. A pinch of punk, a pint of rock, and two heaping teaspoons of screamo.

I see in Tattered a decisive, ambitious group, consisting of four gentlemen talented in their own rights. Can’t form an opinion on their live act as I’ve never been to a show, but as they say on their blog, “The band is just itching to get back on stage.” That’s what I like to hear.

Theirs is not necessarily a style reduced to commercial appeal. Rather, I see them thriving with an indie label, a company that won’t suffocate them within realms of superficiality. No matter what, they need to always strike forward in the creative direction that they see fit. They can’t let anyone tell them how their band is supposed to sound, feel, or be.

They haven’t yet a video I can proudly cut and paste, but I will leave you with the emotionally fuelled Lies. The vocals are radio quality, the guitar has brutal control, and it’s all pieced together with a rough, well-rounded edge.

LISTEN: Lies by Tattered (Audio)

[Tattered Online]

OTEP

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Otep is a trip on the road of nu metal. Their album covers look like freakazoid acid trips, and their videos cause you to question everything. Sometimes, they’re too hard to touch, too chilling to listen to without the lights on. Sometimes, they’re the perfect soundtrack for a revolution.

Named for their lead singer, Otep Shamaya, this band lives, breathes and dies in their leader. This lady has more arsenic in her vodka and more ammo under her belt than any macho metal man. She is pure ferocity.

Unlike some in her genre, Otep is just as outspoken off-stage as she is on. She’s openly gay, an animal rights activist, and a proud spokesperson for the misfit.

Earlier this year, Otep released a new album, Atavist. It’s a push and a shove into the darkness, with some striking battle ballads, pain purges, and a cover of The Doors of all things. Classic rock turned black metal is strangely scrumptious.

If you need to let some rage out, this is the band for you. Grab an album, slap on your headphones, and ready yourself for a snapped neck and percolating soul.
 

SUBMERGE THE SKY, EARDRUM THRASH

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Here’s your poetic fix for the day.

Submerge The Sky has dipped their quill into that expressive ink, and are spreading their thoughts on the page. Get a whiff from this dark manuscript, and you’ll be forever enrolled in their class.

They were giving away cds for free at The Warped Tour, and right away I knew they were special. An epiphany dawned when I let the music have its moment. With one swift snap of the chain, I was set free. And when your music can do that to a listener, you are destined to gather a following.

Being such a young band (only formed a few years ago), the professional taint they already have is, suffice to say, impressive. Starting with the simple sets, and moving up as a definitive spark in the thrash scene, they have a very noble, sturdy course, eyes set straight ahead. Best part is, they’re completely linked in goals and talent. As we all know, synchronicity can be hard to find in a world full of the ‘me, me, me’ mentality. But these guys are singing the tune of ‘we, we, we’, and doing it well. As lead singer David says: “The first time we got together in a room something clicked; it was like we fed off each others artistic abilities instantly and have grown together because of it.”

It’s time to unleash these musicians into the streets. Let them rip away the stages of some local venues, pour all their infinite skill into the eardrum of the teen populace, and watch the wonders that’ll unfold. We, the listeners, are empowered by choice, and a band has nothing to do but sit and hope to be chosen. We can either submissively listen to the mulch that rules the radio, or we can dare to dig around for something different, something striking, something like Submerge The Sky.

Six guys + a whole hunk of musical love = the best rock n’ roll equation of 2010.

Check out their cute Who’s Who video below, raid their Myspace page, and let the love roll!

[Related Post: BTB Works Charity Booth at 2010 Warped Tour]

METAL MAIDENS: KITTIE’S GOT CLAWS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


These ladies are pure-bred metal maniac maidens. Epic emphasized.

I guess there’s some kind of stereotype floating around in the screamo world. Not many people expect to see gorgeous, independent women holding their own in a territory ruled by gravelly, booming vocals. (Or is that just me?) But Kittie has set out to stomp down that nasty little misconception, with manicured claws that can scratch your eyes right out. They’re way too powerful to be ordinary, but unfortunately that’s taken away from the attention they deserve.

If you feel the intense metal isn’t the way to win your heart, don’t worry, for the band has a good balance between that and the hard rock side of things. Not saying they’ll be cradling you in their arms (in fact, they’re more likely to make you their punching bag), but their ungoverned methods are worth admiration.
Once the shock factor has receded and the cracks in your skull begin to heal, you can really let their music knock you out. They’re like opium with teeth. If you’re walking around in zombie mode or feeling zoned out in a line at a convenience store, Kittie has the gusto to wake you up to the world.

But behind that tornado of sound you’ll find four astute, commanding women, who are all for living life, as well as kicking its ass.

Take a gander at this tasty dish.

(Warning: the video only slightly falls short of unsettling.)

GET YOUR MOUTHGUARDS READY, KIDS; PAPA ROACH RETURNS KICKING TEETH

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


For more than a decade Papa Roach has been one of rock and roll’s powerhouses, and from personal experience, one of the best damn live bands I’ve ever seen (do yourself a favor and get to the mosh-pit sooner than later). Their feet have been tightly planted in over 10 years of multi-format triumph, so what’s the next step? Please continue.

The boys are set to release their first live album later in the summer, and have laid five new tracks on Time For Annihilation…On the Road and On the Record. Lead single Kick in the Teeth was first exposed to me by a rock-star that I work with at the radio station (yes, that’s my job), and I immediately asked her for the title. It’s so full of energy and momentum it makes me want to get up and scream. This track is sure to ignite rockers globally. I had the pleasure of hanging with a the boys a few months back, and they expressed how they’re ecstatic for the release of the record (that’s me above, the chick).

They’ve recently parted ways with Universal, and are releasing it via Eleven Seven Music. Jacobie Shaddix’s commanding vocals demand what would be damaging aggression — “‘Cuz when it feels like a kick in the teeth, I can take it”. Bad-ass, huh? Another buzz-worthy track is called Burn, which I heard the band debut live, and let’s just say, it does just that. From the dabs that I have heard, the band has matched the strength of their live show releasing a record that annihilates the listener. It hits shelved August 21st, and hopefully they won’t collapse.

Do you think this track has chart-topping potential? Even if it doesn’t reach previous success levels, Papa Roach never seems to disappoint, changing up their style upon each release. Bands evolve, sometimes not for the better, but these guys have a solid decade of hits under their belts, and have aged like a fine wine.

Check out the performance below, and get your mouthguards ready kids, for it’s a Kick in the Teeth.