Kiwi speed metal outfit Stalker are about to drop their brand new album, Of Steel And Fire, through Napalm Records so this week we had a little chat to them about it.
When it comes to busy drummers nobody is busier than Dirk Verbeuren. As if being a member of Megadeth and Soilwork isn’t hard enough work he is also the stick-man for Norwegian death metal legends Cadaver who are about to drop their first album in 16 years.
“It all kind of accidentally started when Anders and I met back in 2014,” says Verbeuren as we begin to talk about the founding days of the new album – Edder & Bile. “I was filling in and playing for Satyricon whom I didn’t know that he played bass for at the time. Then when I was realised I was like ‘wow that is Anders from that band Cadaver that I loved when I was a kid.’ Then we sat down and he played me some more of the recent demos that he had been working on and he turned to me and said ‘why don’t we try and turn this into an album.’
Of course that magic didn’t happen overnight but the band kept working on it until they were happy with what they had. “Over the years we kept working on it,” he goes on to explain. “Some of the things we discarded and somewhere along the way we even changed the direction that we were going in but eventually it all came together and the touchstone for me was that there was a joy there because I got to work with Cadaver and they had a huge influence on me when I was a teenager so I kind of wanted to bring that raw energy from their early records. I followed the band their whole career but it was probably that early impact that has the biggest influence on you and I always thought that Hallucinating Anxiety was a masterpiece of a death metal album.”
Edder & Bile will be released through Nuclear Blast Records on November 23rd.
As Tumbleweed get set to approach their 30th anniversary in 2021, they return with a new single, ‘Shadowland‘ in 2020, the first new music from the band since 2013’s comeback album ‘Sounds From The Other Side’.
It was 2010 that saw the original five members of the group (Richie Lewis, Lenny Curley, Paul Hausmeister, Jay Curley and Steve O’Brien) reform for the first time in well over a decade to play a run of shows including Homebake and the Big Day Out. They followed up the live experience by getting back to the studio to write and record what would be Tumbleweed’s fifth album.
The album had followed a productive run in the nineties that included two ep’s (Theatre Of Gnomes & Weedseed) alongside the albums Tumbleweed and Galactaphonic before O’Brien and Hausmeister departed the band. Things continued on during the late nineties with the release of the albums Return To Earth and Mumbo Jumbo before the band faded out in 2000.
It was a chance meeting in 2009 between Hausmeister and Lewis that sparked the classic line up reformation and gave the band a new lease on life. Following on from the reformation tours and festivals as well as the release of Sounds From The Other Side, the band were back in full swing before the sudden passing of bass player Jay Curley in 2014 put things on hold once more.
There was uncertainty if the band would return to the stage or studio again but when they decided to get in the jam room with Jamie Cleaves on bass (who had grown up inspired by and was a long time friend of Jay’s), the time felt right to for Tumbleweed to once again return.
Following their own tours and a spot on the national touring festival Day On The Green, the band started writing a bunch of fresh tunes and were ready to get back in the studio. Enter Australian music legend Rob Younger, the frontman of Radio Birdman and The New Christs who also has a huge list of production credits from Died Pretty to The Stems and plenty of others in between.
A conversation between Richie and Steve in early 2020 led to them asking Younger if he’d be interested in producing their new music.
“I was always a big fan of Rob Younger’s work as a singer and as a producer and always wanted to work with him, when we had the idea to record a string of 45’s, we really wanted Rob to produce, considering he was responsible for producing most of our favourite Australian singles. We live in the same town, we have shared band members and crossed paths for the past 25 years but we have never worked together.” states Richie.
Rob was into the idea and before long they were in the studio, the first taste of those sessions is the new single ‘Shadowland’. “We surrendered to the process, we listened to his guidance, we learned a lot. We’ve all got a lot of respect for Rob Younger, we wanted to impress him, he brought the best out in us,” Richie says of the experience working with Rob.
A classic sounding Tumbleweed song that has been refined by Rob’s production, it also pushes Richie’s vocals to territories previously not really explored and questions the strange times we live in. “Shadowland is about the uncertainty of the future, these are strange times, dangerous and divisive times. When the truth is not believed, there is little you can trust or count on,” is how Richie describes the content behind the new single.
Tumbleweed’s new single ‘Shadowland’ is out now via Farmer & The Owl/BMG.
The single will feature as a double A side 7” with the next single Rebellion out November 27th.
It was early in the year 2000 when the buzz started to go around the music scene about this brand new band called Linkin Park. People were starting to talk about this band out of California, people knew there was something great coming but couldn’t quite put their finger on what it was. I remember a friend seeing them at a show and then when trying to describe them to me said “they are kinda nu-metal but are kinda not… nobody has ever had this sound before.”
In September that year the world got its first dose of Linkin Park with their first single “One Step Closer” and by the time their debut album Hybrid Theory dropped in late October the band were already a mainstream success. Heavy music was once again being played on commercial radio and television… yes the album was a game changer.
It is hard to imagine that twenty years later the album is now one of the highest selling albums in music history and that the driving force behind the band Chester Bennington is no longer with us. In a way that makes the celebration of the album even more important – especially considering the band have just put together four brilliant special editions of the album that launched them in the first place
“There is so much stuff on this thing,” says Mike Shinoda desperately trying to pull up a list of what rarities are to be found on the 20th Anniversary Hybrid Theory release. “I actually forget what is on there…. there is just so much stuff,” he continues still laughing loudly.
“The process itself took about a year,” he says when he has finally find the list he is looking for. “A lot of it had actually been collected by friends of the band and some relatives. Lots of stuff came from parents and even from people that worked at the label, some even from management. It was a big team effort and we brought it all together with an art director that we have been working with since Hybrid Theory. We even did the front cover of Hybrid Theory with Frank. It was a huge team effort.”
One of the things that the band has always embraced is the fact that their music was globally loved, even in continents like Asia where heavy music has at times struggled to become mainstream. That is well reflected in the release of these special edition albums as the band found material from all over the world. “We also felt that we could be a local band to everywhere,” says Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson. “I think partially that happened because we are such a diverse group. We engaged so deeply so often even when we were just starting out. Even with Hybrid Theory we toured the world multiple times and we were going to parts of Asia that many of us had never been to before and we were hearing the songs being sung back to us so loudly.”
“Sometimes that was even happening in countries where English was not the primary language,” continues Delson. “I think that because there was an emotion in the words that is relatable to the world over, but particularly in Asia we have felt like we are a local band. We have felt that right across Asia.”
Nodding along Joe Hahn says he agrees with Delson on why Linkin Park connected with so many people but he also believes that the bond was caused from something even deeper. “I think it came from the connection and collaboration between Chester and Mike,” he says thoughtfully. “There was just something in the melodies that was a natural dynamic that they were able to play with. It did feel challenging at times to have two front-men but I think at the same time that was something that made us really unique.”
“But also when they were writing the music they would often touch on very personal instances but coming from two perspectives,” he says continuing. “They really had to find somewhere to meet and that place where they found the common ground did translate into something very universal and an universal emotion. They really struck a chord that was super personal and super relatable. At times it was really hard to makes things work but I think when it did it came across as something really magical on our records.”
The Hybrid Theory Special Edition albums are out now through Warner Bros. Records.
There is a new comer to the Australian extreme metal scene – and they are called CrisisAct. Of course if you have been lucky enough to catch the release of their first singles you will have noticed some very recognisable faces in the group – namely Dave and Joe Haley from Psycroptic, Matt Young from King Parrot and Brett Barnberger from Revocation.
“It actually came together quite quickly,” explains Dave Haley as I sit down to chat to him about the band’s debut EP Turn It Off. “Myself and Joe who also plays in Psycroptic we were just toying with the idea and thinking about how cool it would be to form some kind of grind band at some stage.”
“Then at the tail end of a recording session I was doing at the end of last year I had some time left,” he says continuing. “We decided to lay down some drums and then a month later I had completely forgotten about the drum tracks we had recorded because it was a spur of the moment kind of thing but then Joe hits me up and he had put together eleven songs that were good enough to release sans vocals.”
So the music was there but that of course was not going to be the final piece of CrisisAct coming together. “I thought the tracks were pretty cool,” says Haley laughing a little. “That was when we decided that we needed to get a vocalist and a bass player and put something together. It was definitely not something that was planned but it was something that had been in the back of my mind for awhile – to do a straight down the line death/grind band and it just all fell into place.”
You can listen to the full interview with Dave Haley in the audio interview above. Turn It Off EP is out now.
To any heavy music fan the name Phil Campbell should need no introduction. He rose to recognition with the almighty Motorhead before in 2017 teaming up with his sons and frontman Neil Starr to form Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons. November 13th will see the release of the band’s second album We’re The Bastards so we thought it was time to sit down and have a chat with him.
“I’m over the moon with it,” says Campbell laughing as I congratulate him on the album. “I am really pleased with it and I can’t wait until it is released next month so that everybody will get a chance to hear it.”
That leads me to ask him whether or not after all these years in the industry whether he still gets nervous when he has a new album coming out or whether excitement chases away the nerves. “I am certainly very excited about this one,” he says without even a beat. “I know it is a belter. It has thirteen new songs on it and it has the hugest, biggest production on it. There are great performances on it and great melodies so I am not nervous about it at all. All I really want to do is tour!”
“So far we have had really good responses from those that have heard it,” he goes on to say. “And you’re another one. But yeah last year we decided that we were going to put out an album for the end of 2020. So in January we got together in our studio and we had recorded some sound check ideas last year so we made them into some songs and then Todd turned up with five or six or seven songs so we put them all down. Then I had some songs and everybody had different ideas so basically by the end of February we were all rehearsed up and the songs were all in shape.”
Of course though best laid plans do to go pieces when a pandemic hits and for Campbell it was no different. “Then we had the major lockdown and all hell broke loose in March. Luckily we have our own studio though that Todd runs so we just put together the album there. One or two of us would go in with Todd at a time. We were all socially distanced there because we were in different rooms. We were in no rush to get it done… so that was how we put the album together.”
You can listen to the full audio interview with Phil Campbell below and We’re The Bastards will be available on November 13th through Nuclear Blast Records.
AMARANTHE have shared their declaration to the world: The Swedish metalheroes’ most epic album to date, “Manifest”, is out now!
“So, we come to it at last! We are so very proud and happy to finally unveil ‘Manifest’ to the world, an album written with so much pure joy and enthusiasm, and yet very nearly did not see the light of day. When faced with the decision to record the album despite a world wide pandemic, the answer was the same as when we canceled tours that were supposed to promote the album: we HAVE to release this album in 2020! As our long-time listeners are well aware of, AMARANTHE believes in positive, energetic and uplifting music, and we feel that such sentiments are more needed than ever before! Easily our most confident and convincing album to date, this is music born out of pure passion and eagerness to create. This is our manifesto, and all our aesthetic aspirations made apparent – this is ‘Manifest’.”
Order Manifest here: http://nblast.de/AmarantheAU
Album: Black Magik Terror
Date Of Release: 30th October 2020
Label: Napalm Records
1. Of Steel And…
2. Black Majik Terror
3. Setenced T…
7. The Cross
8. Iron Genocide
One of the complaints I hear over and over again about the heavy music scene at the moment is “everyone is making music that sounds like what everyone else is already doing.” Well if that is your beef time to flush out those cobwebs with the new album from Kiwi band Stalker.
Stalker is a band with a sound so unique I am convinced that no one has even produced this sound before… and nobody ever will in the future. Yes it is extremely unique and I love it.
There are certainly no second album blues for Stalker with their latest offering Black Majik Terror. Opening with a scream that any 1980s glam metal band would be proud of the opening track tells you everything you need to know about the band’s style and sound – it is a raw mix of glam screams and harder fast-paced metal that wins you over within seconds.
Showing a lot of growth since there last releases Stalker show throughout the album that they are always willing to try something new. Title track, “Black Majik Terror” opens with some good old fashioned Sunday organ playing before unleashing a brutal and to the point sound that reveals them to be one of those bands that you are going to want to tell your mates about.
What comes through loud and clear on this album though is the musicianship on the album. Daif’s vocals might be something like you have never heard before but also rearing its head this time around is the stunning guitar playing of Chris. Yes, this dude is one of the finest guitar players in the heavy music scene and this is the album where that is revealed for all to hear. Take one listen to “Iron Genocide” and you’ll see that he is a definite guitar maestro who has created some of the finest riffs in modern day metal.
The highlights on this album though are “Holocene’s End” and “The Cross.” The former is like a descent into madness armed with devil like cries from Daif and the result is a track that certainly hints at a much darker side to Stalker. Then there is “The Cross” a track with a long instrumental opening that strongly reflects a prog sound before exploding into life with amazing Stalker sheer brutality.
Lots of people use the term ‘next big thing.’ Black Majik Terror does more than that for Stalker though. This is the album that is going to expose them to a legion of new fans and have the whole heavy music world talking. Sensational instrumental work and a lead vocalist with a style nobody can emulate Stalker are the band that everybody needs to know about.
Rating (out of 5):