Norway’s avantgarde metal heroes ENSLAVED have released their new single ‘Homebound’ from the upcoming record Utgard, that will be released in spring 2020.
“Homebound‘ is about the greatest reward of exploring and travelling intounknown territory – to “go viking” if you will, turning Homebound at the end of the journey. It is a song that takes Enslaved on a musical journey that is as much an homage to those who dared so we could play our very own style of music: from nurturing blackened roots to nodding at zeppelins in the sky, beholding teutonic thrash titans and watching speeding motorpsychos take off into the futures.”
The band recently revealed new details about the upcoming record – propelling the listener deep into their world, the musicians explain:
“Utgard bears countless meanings to us; an image, metaphor, an esoteric ‘location’, a word on its own etc. – on different levels and layers. From Norse mythology we know it as a landscape where the giants roam; where the gods of Asgard have no control; dangerous, chaotic, uncontrollable and where madness, creativeness, humour and chaos dwell.
The album is a journey into and through Utgard. It is a place of unification of that which is above and that which lies below. It is not about avoiding fear of the pitch-black darkness (it will keep on growing until the next confrontation), but to go into the darkness itself. This is the rebirth of the individual. In a world that has become so obsessed with the false lights of greed, jealousy and egotism this is a necessary journey.
Utgard is not a fairytale, it is a vital part of both your mind and your surroundings, and it has been since the dawn of mankind. Acknowledging that this realm exists and is a vital part of the self, has inspired us deeply since the early days of our lives. Enjoy our journey to the outer limits.”
CURRENTS have just dropped the new song “Monsters.
“‘Monsters’ is about taking responsibility for the toxic relationships in your life and using past failures as fuel for the future,” says singer Brian Wille. “The track features some different sounds for the band and I’m stoked on the riffs [guitarist] Chris [Wiseman] put together on this one. We hope you enjoy it!”
The song appears on the Connecticut band’s upcoming second album The Way It Ends, out June 5 via SharpTone Records.
The Way It Ends is the thematic and spiritual successor to Currents’ dense, bludgeoning, and smartly constructed full-length debut, The Place I Feel Safest (2017), and a direct follow-up to the blistering and diverse EP, I Let The Devil In (2018).
Those well-versed in Meshuggah, Humanity’s Last Breath, Vildhjarta, and Architects have embraced Currents with full-throated passion. A combination of their contemporaries and influences, channeled through unique perspective and personal experience, resulted in something revolutionary. It’s why they were handpicked for tours with August Burns Red, As I Lay Dying, We Came As Romans, Fit For a King, Born of Osiris, and the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour.
As New Noise declared: “CURRENTS is a band not to be ignored.”
Currents second studio album, ‘The Way It Ends’, will be available everywhere Friday June 5 through SharpTone records. New single “Monsters” is available to purchase and stream now at https://shrptn.co/monsters.
Respected standard bearers for 21st century metal, DEVILDRIVER have spent almost the last two decades pursuing a course of uncompromising artistry and nonsense-free dedication to the road. Led by the prolific Dez Fafara, the Californian crew have earned their reputation as one of the hardest working bands on the planet, while issuing a steady succession of brutal but distinctive albums along the way.
Their focus has remained laser-sharp, and never more so than on the monumental upcoming double album, Dealing With Demons. The first volume of the double album offering – entitled Dealing With Demons I – is set for release on October 9, 2020 via Napalm Records and will be available in several must-have formats.
Dealing With Demons I (the band’s first release of new, original material since 2016’s Trust No One) represents the onset of a final purging of the demons that have long haunted Dez Fafara and DEVILDRIVER’s music. From its eerie, ominous intro and the self-explanatory, explosive opener “Keep Away From Me” to the seething, poignant “Nest Of Vipers” and the chilling imagery of “Iona”, each track on Dealing With Demons I illustrates a different demon to be dealt with, or released.
In conjunction with the announcement of Dealing With Demons I, DEVILDRIVER have unleashed a searing, propelling new track, “Keep Away From Me”, alongside a new lyric video – a thought-provoking time capsule that paints a picture of positivity at its end.
Watch the stimulating visual, directed by Vicente Cordero, now!
Frontman Dez Fafara states about “Keep Away From Me” and its accompanying visual: “I’ve been social distancing since I was born. I’ve learned to try and embrace my Agoraphobia all my life. This is what the lyrics are about as we are all sheltered in place. They seem very clear. Now is not the time bands should shy away from the obvious by trying to push the narrative through their art as if everything is alright with the world and ‘it’s metal video visual as usual time’, as it is clearly NOT that time.
We as artists should speak up, inspire and change lives, or paint a picture – a time capsule if you will – by the narrative we push in uncertain times. This video is one such art piece as my band and thousands of others are forced into quarantine – cannot rehearse, take photos, or perform – to make a music video for the very people that have supported us for years. It’s trying times for the world and my outlook through this video is simply this: ‘here’s what we are going through as a family on this planet and as we embrace what is yet to come… please Stand Together’.”
Dealing With Demons I showcases the supreme form of the band – Dez, guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann, drummer Austin D’Amond and bassist Diego Ibarra. This isn’t just some of the most vicious DEVILDRIVER material to date, but some of their most lethally memorable too. Co-produced by Steve Evetts and guitarist Mike Spreitzer, it’s a triumph for teamwork and tenacity.
Dez Fafara says about the band’s writing and recording process: “I said to the guys, ‘if we just met today, what kind of music would we make? How would we stand the test of time, stand apart from others and stand above the competition? Let’s not focus on the past sound. Instead let’s kick into the future together.’”
With new milestones like Dez Fafara’s eerie verses on “Wishing” and the frontman’s first co-authored lyric (“Nest Of Vipers” was written by Dez and Neal Tiemann), Dealing With Demons I ferociously delivers the goods while kicking open several new doors for DEVILDRIVER to power through in the future. It’s a vital and violent clearing of the emotional decks, but it’s also powerful evidence that Dez and his band mates have given DEVILDRIVER a volatile, visceral kick in the ass. Demons are getting dealt with in the harshest of manners.
Dez Fafara adds: “It’s time to lay it all out, on two records. I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”
This is just the beginning – fans should be prepared for the onslaught of what is to come with the impending second volume of the double album, which promises to go even harder. This is a two-part acceleration into the future – after witnessing Dealing With Demons I, listeners will be clamoring for the second half!
Dez adds about the upcoming remainder of the Dealing With Demons saga: “Volume two will get into some very heavy topics as well. You’ll see the band progress even further musically as we finish this ode to the purge of all things Demonic.”
Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever
An array of must-have merchandise, bundles and music formats are available via both the Napalm Records and DEVILDRIVER official stores, including CDs, exclusive vinyl in various colors, picture discs, cassette tapes, skateboards, notebooks, clothing and more.
Plus, pre-order any format of Dealing With Demons I via the Napalm store and you’re automatically entered in a giveaway to win one of two exclusive Dealing With Demons I banners.
One of the things I have noticed while still interviewing artists during this Covid-19 lockdown is that they seem to have very wide reactions to the lockdown. Either they have found themselves to be in a very creative space or have found that creativity has completely dried up and they have concentrated on re-charging their batteries so they can hit the road running when the lockdown is finally over.
One of the bands that have been most creative during this time though have been Italian heavy metal band Secret Rule who fuelled by requests from fans have delivered an album of covers during the lockdown. With the band covering the likes of Ozzy Osbourne through to Placebo I decided to sit down and have a chat with front woman Angela Di Vincenzo.
“We just wanted to challenge ourselves,” says Di Vencenzo laughing when I ask her where the idea for Quarantine: The Other Side of Us came from. “Everything really started from requests. During the pandemic we thought about releasing something new and we thought about covering the Ozzy Osbourne song “Get Me Through.” That was a song that we had already played live three years ago when we were touring in the UK, so it was more or less ready.”
“After the release of that we thought about doing another cover,” she goes onto explain. “We thought about doing the Placebo song “Bitter End” which had already been on my mind for a long, long time. We had a very positive response to those with some of the comments on the music videos. Some people said it would be great if we recorded a whole album with cover songs so we decided to think about what songs could work for us and in only two weeks the album was ready.”
With such a wide variety of artists covered on the album I ask Di Vencenzo how the band decided on which tracks would be covered. “It was actually quite simple,” she says. “Everyone has a very different background so during the choosing stage we had a very long list of songs then we tried to keep those that we thought were morning interesting and ones that we could record in our style of course. In any case we would never have done cover songs similar to the originals, we hate that way of approaching songs. We think if a listener wants to listen to a cover song they will expect to listen to something different and new otherwise it is better to just listen to the original version.”
Of course the secret to creating a great cover song is to make it sound like it is your own so I asked Di Vencenzo how Secret Rule went about making sure that is what happened. “We started with the melodies,” she explains. “Then we worked on the arrangements without even considering the original songs – that was very important. In that way we were not influenced by the original songs, but at the same time the songs didn’t lose their essence.
“We set out to record the album in just two weeks,” she says laughing loudly. “We did that because we didn’t know when the quarantine would end. But it was very important for us to do it before the quarantine ended otherwise the title would not have made sense. No doubt the biggest challenge was to work on so many different songs that all required very different approaches. But working with Andy is always full of so many surprises because you will never know what he is going to create in a song.”
“For example it was crazy for me to sing an Eminem song,” she explains again laughing. “It was a real tongue-twister especially when it wasn’t in my native language. I remember when Andy sent through the arrangements I said ‘and who is going to sing this song?’ then with some help from some dirty words I succeeded in singing it. It was a great challenge for me that song.”
The past couple of years have seen some major changes for Japanese hardcore outfit Crossfaith. While the band has continues to build a strong fanbase they decided to leave the label that they had been with for a number of years and set up their own label in Japan. While that kind of decision sounds like it would lead to great stress I recently found out while chatting to the band’s front-man Kenta Kole that it has made them feel like they were working with a blank canvas as they prepared to work on their new Species EP which is out this week.
“We didn’t have any concept at all with this album,” he says with a happy tone in his voice. “We just decided to make every song stronger than anything we had ever done in the past. That was our only mindset. We had also started our own label and this is the very first record from the label so it felt like a new beginning and working on this EP felt like it brought us right back to the very start. That was a really great feeling and it seemed to give us a really strong confidence with this album.”
As our discussion goes on we talk more about the band’s decision to start their own label and what it means for them now. “We had been with Sony with five years I think,” says Kole. “They were a great partner but we needed to make a decision and we made the decision to start our own label. That gave us the chance to go out by ourselves and that was one of the main reasons why we decided to start the new label. And yeah it is tough but we needed to make the decision and we decided that we just had to do it. We now have to make all the decisions ourselves.”
The move also means that Kole and the rest of his band mates now feel a more sense of freedom with their work. “That is exactly right,” he agrees when I ask him whether they feel freer now. “Sony is also a major label, they are one of the biggest in the world and sometimes label like that can ask you do to stuff or ask stupid questions. We were lucky that we had some good guys at Sony and we never got any stupid questions, but now we feel like we are freer although we do have more responsibility aside from our music. That means we are free but at the same time we do have major responsibilities… I think that is the major difference.”
With that decision giving them a blank canvas to work on with this album I ask Kole what kind of things that meant for them as they started to work on the Species EP. “With this EP we used some different things that were inspired by 90s culture. I was born in 1988 so the 1990s in our generation. I looked back at the 90s and I felt that the 90s vibe has more excitement compared to right now so i wanted to use the 90s vibe and the 90s style.”
“We were looking at the movies… movies like The Matrix,” explains Kole when I ask him what kinds of things from the 90s did the band use for inspiration for the album. “I think that came out in 1997 or 1998 and when it came out it was like it blew my mind with the movie. I had never seen that kind of movie before when I was young… I got so many shocks. And that music at that time, there was Nu-Metal was so big. Back in the 90s rock bands were the kings but at the moment I would say that rock bands are getting weaker so it was good for me to go back and take a look at those movements because I still think that rock music is one of the most exciting kinds of music in the world. But yeah the 1990s had so many great cultures especially when you think of things like movies and like PlayStation, there was so many new things, it wasn’t just improving the 1990s had so many new things, so many cool new things. So we wanted this EP to be like that, and we had that idea before we even started out with the EP.”
Brisbane based rapper Tu P has just released his powerful new single and video ‘Coronavirus Brings Out The Worst (And Best) Of Us’.
Tu P (AKA Tu Pham) works as a doctor in family and mental health and has composed a track commenting on the COVID-19 pandemic, touching on cover-ups, political inaction and the human spirit.
He debuted in 2012 with the release of his album ‘Made Of Jade’.
In his career to date he has performed multiple shows in Brisbane, Sydney, London and New York. He has headlined Rhyme, Rhythm and Reason and has been a panel member at the Pho’nomenal BrisAsia Festival and Inter-Asia Pop Studies conference at Monash University.
Tu P released his single and video ‘Save Our Seas’ featuring Mark Sickmind, Mei Lee and Petrofsky late last year. The video gained over 1.5 million views on Facebook and was aired on radio across Australia.
A shortened version of the new single is available for download exclusively on Triple J Unearthed. This version of the track highlights the ‘best’ aspects of humanity throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.
SABATON continue their global assault in support of their latest album, The Great War, with a new live version of the album track ‘The Attack Of The Dead Men’ featuring RADIO TAPOK. The song was recorded during the band’s recent concert in Moscow and is now available on all streaming and digital music platforms.
RADIO TAPOK is a Russian artist who gained popularity by covering a plethora of famous rock and metal songs in Russian. He has a huge following in Russian speaking countries with millions of fans and subscribers across a range of social networks.
RADIO TAPOK has previously released a cover of the song ‘The Attack Of The Dead Men’ with the lyrics translated to Russian. In collaboration with SABATON, his own version was released a few days before the official SABATON version was available.
During the recent concerts of SABATON in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, RADIO TAPOK made an unannounced surprise appearance on stage and performed the song with the band. The unique live performance was recorded in Moscow and has been mixed by Jonas Kjellgren who is also the person behind the mixing and recording of “The Great War”.
SABATON bassist Pär Sundström comments: “It’s a special honour for us to collaborate with RADIO TAPOK. He is a very talented artist and his cover of our song ‘The Attack Of The Dead Men’ was so well received, that we did not think twice when we decided to invite him on stage to perform the song with us in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The performance was so good that we had no other option but to release this collaboration!”
The song tells the story of Osowiec Fortress and a battle during World War 1 where the forces of imperial Germany used chlorine gas against the Russian defenders who had no protection against gas and had to wrap wet clothes around their faces in desperation. They were not expected to survive and that is why their counter attack was so surprising and successful. Wrapped in bloody cloth and coughing blood, they charged and the legend of the attack of the dead men was born.
SABATON’s latest album, The Great War, was released in 2019 and it hit the #1 in the charts in various countries including Germany, Switzerland and Sweden and an amazing #7 on the official Australian ARIA Charts. The record has been lauded by fans and critics since its debut on worldwide charts last summer and features numerous colossal singles like ‘Great War’, ’82nd All The Way’, ’The Red Baron’ and ‘Fields of Verdun’.
Last month, The Used called upon fans to submit videos of their frontline fighters as part of a very special project sharing “Every day you wake up and leave your loved ones to fight to keep us safe. We want to showcase them in our new music video.”
Today, the band has unveiled the music video for “The Lighthouse (feat. Mark Hoppus)” featuring Nurses, Doctors, First Responders, Gas Station Attendants, Grocery Store Clerks, Delivery People and other Essential Workers as well as members of The Used and Mark Hoppus at home with their families.
Fans can watch the heartwarming video today at https://smarturl.it/BeYourLighthouse. It is a beautiful tribute to the people that are tirelessly working to keep all of us safe through these unprecedented times. The video also showcases how truly diverse and dedicated The Used family is.
Speaking to the message behind the track, front man Bert McCracken shared the following message: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
“Doubt can be an avalanche. It can cascade out and infect everything it touches. Inspiration is also infectious. The original chorus lyric was “I can’t be your lighthouse”, until I was reminded by my 6 year old daughter that I can be and I am. It helps to remember that we all have the capability to inspire someone in our own way. Please enjoy our song The Lighthouse as much as we do. Love, Bert“
“The Lighthouse (feat. Mark Hoppus)” comes from the band’s recently released eighth studio album Heartwork, which was released last month via Big Noise. Heartwork celebrated a strong first week, locking in #2 spots on both the Current Alternative and Record Label Independent Album charts, #3 on both Current Rock and Top Current Album charts as well as landing in the Billboard Top 200 at the #87 spot.
The album arrived with the unbound spirit of the pair of platinum albums that first introduced The Used to the world, mixed with the dramatic air of their gold-certified third. The emotion, sincerity, and vulnerability found on The Used (2002) and In Love and Death (2004) is more urgent and insistent than ever on Heartwork, a diverse 16-song offering filled of self-examination, hyper-literate exploration, political pyromania, and keenly self-aware yet unrestrained whimsy.
Songs like recent singles “Blow Me”, “Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton” and “Cathedral Bell” take their place alongside some of the best-known jams to emerge from the frenetic “screamo” world, anthems that conquered hearts and minds and Active Rock. “The Bird and the Worm,” “The Taste of Ink,” “All That I’ve Got,” “I Caught Fire,” and “Blood On My Hands” are beloved for their raw emotion, authentic defiance, and inviting empathy, all of which etched them into the spiritual DNA of a legion of likeminded listeners across the globe.
Twenty years ago, The Used was brought to life and has since released a collection of albums that shaped the space of the alternative rock scene. High energy live shows, gut wrenching relatable lyrics, and melodies that blended pop sensibility and hard rock was the perfect combination to make an everlasting impression on fans globally. Heartwork is exactly the album Used fans need right now.
Fans can stream Heartwork and purchase exclusive merch bundles today at https://theused.ffm.to/heartwork. The Used is Bert McCracken (Vocals), Jepha (Bass), Dan Whitesides (Drums) and Joey Bradford (Guitar). Heartwork is out now.