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.
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.
After the heights that Amaranthe reached with their 2018 album Helix there many asking was it possible for the Danish/Swedish outfit to out-do themselves again. Well a lot has happened in that time. The award winners signed to Nuclear Blast Records and have now recorded Manifest… an album that even out does its predecessor.
“Well we did feel like we were on the right path with the previous album,” says vocalist Elize Ryd when I chat to her about Manifest. “When we released Helix we were very interested to see what people would see in it. At the time we were working on trying to find the core sound of Amaranthe and then we just continued from there.”
“After the release of the album we were like ‘hey this sounds really right,’” she says continuing. “But we also knew that there were a few things that we could change and we started to discuss those things and we decided to do things like lower the tuning so it sounded more heavy. We also wanted to simplify some of the song-writing and try to make it more personal. We really did get a confidence from releasing Helix and that really did help a lot because it gave us a boost. It gave us a confidence that we were able to use when we wrote and recorded Manifest.”
We laugh as we talk about Amaranthe’s heavier sound on Manifest. “I have been working with Olaf for fourteen years now and I have heard him play a lot of different guitars and I have to say that he really loves to experiment. That is the same for me when it comes to my voice. Whether it be with melodies or whatever I love to experiment and I also know what I like best when it comes to Olaf’s playing and I will specifically ask for that. I will be like “Olaf I want this kind of guitars” and this time we had that in mind when we were writing songs. We wanted to have songs that would allow groovier kind of playing.”
“If you listen to our music and past albums you will hear a different kind of playing on each album,” she says as we continue to talk about the band’s heavier sound. “The keys are always basically the same, although we did up some updates with Manifest because Yamaha gave us a really cool keyboard with some really cool sounds, but anyway with this album I think we just really inspired each other.”
Manifest is out on October 2nd through Nuclear Blast Records. You can listen to the full interview in our audio interview below.
When I spoke to Mark Morton a few months ago about their brand new album he was excited and couldn’t wait to get out onto the road and tour it. 2020 had other ideas though and live gigs as we knew them are now a pipe dream. Don’t think that is going to stop Lamb Of God from delivering their new works of art to the world though because the band have decided to return back to their home town and stream the performances out to the world.
One show will see the band play their new self-titled album in full while the other will see them play through their Ashes Of The Wake album from start to finish. It is a format that has Morton excited. “It is really exciting, man,” he says with a laugh. “It is just great to be able have a way for our fans to access us and for us to reach our fanbase. There are people out there who want to check out the new album in a new exciting way… I guess you can call it a new way.”
“They will also have the chance to revisit the Ashes album as well,” he continues. “That is exciting as well because that album is kind of revered by fans of the band. They see that as a classic from us. So it is just cool to be able to engage and have something to deliver during a time like this. It’s a pandemic and everybody feels challenged by that so this is a chance for the industry… not even just the band… to rebound and respond in anyway that gives the fans a chance to respond, it is a little bit empowering.”
You can listen to the full audio interview above.
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