There are just some bands that really take you back to a time and place whenever you hear them. Yes, I am going to sound like an old codger when I say this but one listen to the brand new Elephant Gun album and I was transported back to my uni days. Back to a very well spent youth that saw me in live music venues every Friday and Saturday night eager to hear bands like Magic Dirt, The Mark Of Cain and Spiderbait plying their wares. And while Elephant Gun perhaps never reached the lofty heights of the others they were certainly a favourite with the other reprobates that I called friends during my tertiary education.
Flash forward 20 years and Elephant Gun have just dropped a brand new album… an album that thankfully doesn’t change too much from what they were doing two decades ago… and an album I should say that is one of the best damn alternative rock albums you will hear this year.
So many of the bands that I listened to back then have returned over the years and many have made one simple mistake – they try so hard to be ‘new’ that they forget the sound that made people fall in love with them so many years before. Luckily, Elephant Gun haven’t made that mistake. Take one listen to the opening track on Now To Survive, the terrific “Kill Street Blues”, and you straight away hear a familiar alternative rock sound that takes you back to those late 90s live venues in St Kilda and Fitzroy.
If anything has changed it is the fact that Elephant Gun have musically become more mature and seem to be a little bit braver with some of the choices they make. From the haunting opening of “Devil On The Dawn” through to the smooth hard rock sound of “Handspan” there is a feeling though that this is a band that have found their sound and want to share it with the fans that have missed them so much.
The catchiness of tracks like “Surrounded” and “Titanic” certainly doesn’t take anything away from the rawness of Elephant Gun… in fact the band sounds heavier and harder than ever. Then there are “Mexicana,” “Caesar” and “In The Light” that are so raw that you would swear that they were recorded live.
There are two gems on this album though that make the record something really special. First off there is the sensational “She” that showcases the amazing guitar work of Michael Barrett and Todd Angus while Angus’ vocals seem to take the song to a whole new level. Then there is the amazing guitar driven “In Hell” that shows that there is still a place for old school alternative rock in 2020.
Now To Survive isn’t a band trying to re-live their glory days, this is an album that show that Elephant Gun are just as relevant today than they ever were. This is a stunning album that shows for this band the best may still be yet to come.
When a band is made up of members of other bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Morgoth, Nile, Napalm Death and Susperia you now the term super-group is something that probably should be used. That is certainly the case when it comes to Insidious Disease who have been toiling away over the past few years on their new album After Death. Silenoz found time away from the band and his heavy Dimmu Borgir schedule to talk to us about the new album.
“Yeah it was 2011 about a year after the release of Shadowcast when we started dabbling with some new ideas,” explains Silenoz as we begin to talk about the creation of After Death. “Obviously we haven’t spent seven or eight years working on the album – it has been on and off but a lot of the ideas on this album are from 2011 and 2012. As far as the song-writing process goes I think this has been a good thing for this album because when you spread your song-writing process over so many years it is bound to end up having good variety. That is definitely the strength I see of this album.”
He laughs slightly as we talk about having the process last for so many years. “There is a downside to it as well,” he adds. “The downside of it is that you can keep going back and wanting to change things. We all had to agree very early on that when we decided a song was finished that we would leave it be… we didn’t want to go down that rabbit-hole of wanting to change things all the time because that way you could really fuck things up royally. But yeah it feels good now being able to go back and listen to the album now that it has been away ourselves for awhile. The strength, at least from my perspective, is the variety.”
After Death will be released through Nuclear Blast Records on the 30th October 2020.
Ironically if you want songs about some of the world’s most macabre serial killers the best band to turn to is in fact Macabre. Whether it be Bundy, Speck, Gacy or Ramirez chances are that at some time during their career Macabre have written a song about it. Now after a decade of silence Macabre return with the brilliant new album Carnival Of Killers and front-man Corporate Death (Lance Lencioni) was only too happy to have a chat to us about the album.
“I never get nervous,” says Lencioni laughing when we talk about whether he is nervous or excited about the album getting released. “I played at Wacken in front of 50,000 people and people were asking ‘aren’t you nervous?’ and really no I just get out there and have fun with it. Maybe when I first started doing a few shows I was a little bit nervous but when it comes to writing I enjoy it and I enjoy the studio experience just as much as I do playing live.”
“There is something exciting about being able to create it and then mix to make it sound like it did in my head,” he says continuing. “Then you get to put it out there, but when it comes to the response yeah we haven’t done an album in awhile but we are on a good label now. Nuclear Blast are really good people, great to work with. We did an album with them back in 1993 and we had talked to them a bit over the years but we were kind of waiting for the right deal with this album. We had offers with this before but we weren’t going to jump into anything because we have been around for 35 years now. The best deal was with Nuclear Blast so we went with it.”
Carnival Of Killers is out through Nuclear Blast on 13th November 2020.
It is hard to believe that hard rockers The Casanovas have been rocking the fairy city of Melbourne for over a decade now. Now with their new album Reptilian Overlord out there for all to hear the band have delivered another surprise – the title track from the album as a single.
“It is probably the heaviest track on the album,” says Casanovas guitarist Tommy Boyce as we talk about the single. “A lot of the album is hard rock and heavy metal but that one is much more Black Sabbath/Metallica like. It is a bit heavier than the other tracks but that certainly doesn’t mean the rest of the album is lightweight by any stretch of the imagination.
That leads me to ask about the old school raw sound that is very present with the single as well. “I guess it is,” says Boyce after thinking for a moment. “I mean my equipment is all very much old school. I have all this vintage gear and we recorded with Mark Opitz who is an old school AC/DC and Rose Tattoo style producer so that is the kind of vibe that we go for generally. That’s not because I want to be retro that is just the sound that I like.
And if you are wondering where the theme found throughout the single came from, well you can blame Youtube for that. “I got stuck down a rabbit hole of David Icke videos,” says Boyce laughing. “It is not something that I would subscribe to and whether or not you believe his idea that there is some kind of reptilian elite that rules the world from behind the scenes it makes for a good story regardless. That was the inspiration behind the song!”
Reptilian Overlord is out now through Rubber Records.